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If you’re wondering which platform to choose for your website, you are not alone. It’s one of the most common questions I hear among business owners and would-be bloggers.

Bottom Line I’m going to Narrow down to the following:
If your business is strictly Product Sales, choose Shopify and you can move on.
For (almost) all else or to have a combination of a shop for Product Sales and other website pages and other options, choose a Self-Hosted WordPress Site (With WooCommerce), especially if you want to grow the website while your business grows. Self Hosted is also a lot cheaper less than Half the price to a bit over Half, so great for New businesses just starting and trying to reduce costs.

Let me break down the reasons why by covering the pros, cons, and the lowest cost associated with each platform.

WordPress

WordPress is an open-source content management system that’s been around since 2003. Not to be confused with WordPress.com which is a hosted blog platform. I don’t advise using WordPress.com because it’s very limited and really only for a basic website because it doesn’t allow for much customization. What I’ll be referring to is a self-hosted WordPress site.

Pros

Cons

Cost

Technically, it can be done for free

You could build your own server and host your site for free. But most people won’t do that because of the technical hurdle and maintenance nightmare, and instead will pay for hosting. Typically, people spend about $10/month for a reliable host and about $20 to register a domain name. For hosting, I recommend HostPapa which now have Servers Worldwide including Australia which allows faster page loads from where ever you business is located. Above is an affiliate link, but I also use them for my own websites and client sites and I can say they have great customer service and up-time. You can read more about them and other Hosting providers in out other Blog Post ” 5 Best Website Hosting Options For Your Business “


HostPapa.com 100% Green Energy Web Hosting

 

Shopify

Shopify is an e-commerce platform with its own payment processor built in that launched in 2006. It’s incredibly easy to get started selling online. Because it was built for e-commerce, I recommend it if your business is exclusively product-based.

Pros

Cons

Cost

$348 per year

The Shopify basic plan is currently $29 per month plus a fee of $0.30 + 2.9% per transaction (which is the standard rate among all payment processors).

Squarespace

Squarespace also started in 2003 as a hosting company. It didn’t become the easy to use drag and drop builder it is today until a surge of venture capital in 2014. It’s known for beautiful, easy-to-make websites. The major drawback of Squarespace is that it has traded ease of use for flexibility and function.

Pros

Cons

Cost

$144 per year

Squarespace can be as little as $12 per month for their basic plan when you pay annually. It even comes with free registration of a non-premium domain name.

Wix

Wix is a funny little website builder that started in 2006. Originally the code that ran Wix wasn’t actually what real websites were made of. It was almost like a parlor trick of code to make the site go from design to live. You’ll need to be a tech geek to appreciate it, but just trust me when I say it wasn’t normal. It was the first drag and drop builder I ever encountered back in the day and a lot has changed since it first launched. For instance, it now uses normal website coding language to make a real website.

Pros

Cons

Cost

Free

You can have a super basic free Wix website if you want. This makes Wix the ideal choice for non-business individuals or groups to create an informational site, or start-up businesses who need a simple site to test their market.

Others

Other platforms include Weebly, or Joomla, etc. which typically suffer from flexibility, limited functions, and SEO issues, making WordPress a better choice as a website platform in the long-run.

Website builders made for a specific function, like Kajabi for online-courses or Infusionsoft for the customer management system are very expensive (at least $1,200 per year) and their web design capabilities are limited because the purpose is the service as a software, not as a flexible website builder. I only recommend those types of builders if your business relies on their services as your primary source of revenue.

Conclusion

For most small business owners and bloggers I recommend WordPress because of the flexibility. For businesses that are product-based and need a robust e-commerce site, I recommend Shopify. For digital businesses, like coaches and course creators, I recommend choosing a platform that will deliver the customer management system you need to run your business, like Kajabi.

I suggest you start where you’re comfortable and take a phased approach if you need. Phase one might be a free Wix site because that’s all you can afford. Or maybe it is using Squarespace because it’s quick to set up and you need something ready for an event this weekend. Phase two would be to move to a long-term solution like WordPress.

Whichever you choose, I encourage you to take your business and your online presence seriously. Your website is the calling-card for your brand online. Consider where you want your business or blog to be in the future, how you’ll market your site, how you want your clients to use your site, and which platform will serve you best in the long-run.

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