So you’re ready to step up your game and get your idea out into the world. Congrats! Creating a gorgeous website has never been cheaper, faster or easier than it is right now.
But, before you can build your site you need to choose a platform. Let’s go through your options.
OPTION ONE: FREE WEBSITE PLATFORM
A free website platform is a site that allows you to build your site for free. An example of a free website platform is Blogger.com.
You can set up your site very easily, and without having to invest a single penny.
There are a few other popular platforms that let you create your site for free, including:
Wordpress.org (free to use, but you need to pay for web hosting)
The good news is that most of the free platforms are designed for people who aren’t overly tech savvy. But keep in mind, some platforms are easier to use than others. Why not spend 30 minutes creating a free account and playing around with the different options I’ve listed out here. You’ll soon get a feel for which platform you might like to go ahead with.
As these options are free, there are of course going to be a few downside to consider. Depending on the stage of your business and your website needs these might not be deal breakers.
The first downside of using a free website platform is that you don’t have full control or ownership of your website. That means your ability to customise your site can be limited. So if you want to make your site look really custom or branded, then a free platform probably won’t be the best for you.
The next potential downside is monetisation.
The way that Wix.com and Wordpress.com generate a profit is by leveraging your website traffic and placing ads on your site. It’s worth bearing this mind if you choose to build your site with a free website builder as this can affect how your business is perceived to your potential customers. The way you monetise could also be affected so so make sure you consider this when choosing your website platform.
OPTION TWO: PAID WEBSITE PLATFORM
Again, there are lots of options for paid platforms to choose from. To help you make your decision I’m going to only talk about the three most popular platforms.
Wordpress.org - not be confused with Wordpress.com, which is a different website platform with different features - is the most popular platform for professional bloggers and online businesses.
The reason people love it is because unlike other platforms, Wordpress.org has lots of “plugins” that help you create and customise whatever you like. It also has thousands of designs in the form of “themes” so you’re bound to find something you love.
The downside of the Wordpress.org platform, and something that I hear from clients all the time, is that there is definitely a learning curve if you’re not super tech savvy. Getting set up and maintaining your website can take a lot of playing around and learning how to use the platform. It’s your responsibility to update software like your theme and plugins and figure out hosting for your site.
I’d recommend installing a WYSIWYG editor if you’re going down the Wordpress.org route. This makes it much easier to edit your website. I like using WPBakery which is an intuitive drag and drop builder that you plugin to your site.
Squarespace.com has become really popular in recent times and they’re doing a ton of marketing to get the word out about their platform. One of the key features that is offers is “website builder technology” which is a tool that makes it genuinely easy to build a website from scratch with just a few clicks of a button. You simply “drag and drop” elements to where you want them on the page.
You can add text, images, logos, videos etc. by simply dragging them where you’d like them. In my opinion, Squarespace is the best “drag and drop” website builder out there. Customising the look and feel of your site is a breeze by using the built in Style Editor.
Squarespace provides hosting and makes it easy to set up your business email address too. They’ve also recently rolled out an email marketing service that syncs up to your site. If you’re a non tech-savvy person this option will probably suit you best.
I’m a big fan and my website is built on Squarespace.
The only downside is that once you’ve learned how to add content and pages, you may feel your site is a little lackluster or looks too much like your original template. At this point it might be worth enlisting the help of a web designer to give your site a nice professional polish.
Shopify.com is a popular ecommerce platform. Online sellers use the platform to manage every aspect of their business — from products to orders to customers, selling online and in retail stores.
If you’re looking to start selling online and are offering more that six products then I would highly recommend Shopify.com.
Shopify make it easy to customise your storefront and there are hundreds of themes you can try.
It’s highly scalable so as your business grows Shopify can accommodate that growth. It can even operate as a till system if you’re planning to sell in a physical store in the future.
In summary, no matter which platform you go with you can always transfer your content over to another platform later on if you decide you want to change. The most important thing is that you get started. Get ready to crush any lingering limiting beliefs and let go of whatever is holding you back. You got this!