A website platform provides the foundation for your website and lets you customize the look and functionality with simple tools. The platform you choose will also have an impact on your website’s functionality and how your viewers interact with your message online.
There are numerous website builders available. Review the best website platforms now.
What are the Benefits of Using a Website Platform?
Website platforms enable users of all technical abilities to create an outstanding experience for their customers. If you can’t afford to pay a website developer to create a website for your business, using a website platform, also known as a website builder, can aid you in setting up your online presence.
Here is a list of the major benefits a website platform can deliver.
A website builder makes it fast and easy to start a website. Instead of waiting for developers to create custom integrations with your tools and software, you can choose a website platform where all you need is an add-on or a plugin to power this functionality. Many platforms have website templates based on your industry or line of work to make design simple and guide what content you need on the site.
Using a website platform is far cheaper than creating a custom website. You’ll pay for your domain, hosting fees and perhaps a small subscription fee for the website platform, but it won’t be as pricey as a custom website.
No Need for Technical Resources
You could spend months learning how to develop a website through coding training. Or you could use the best website building platform to simplify the process. These platforms are very beginner-friendly and show you how to customize your website’s content and design with great ease.
Designs You Can Customize
Just because these website platforms come with templates doesn’t mean you don’t have control over your website’s look. You can customize templates with your colors, fonts, images, formatting, placement of content, buttons, email sign-up boxes and more. So while the base design is there without you coding it, you can still make it match your style and brand.
Manage Your Website from Anywhere
Because your website dashboard is just behind a login screen from any browser, you can update your website from anywhere, anytime. So you don’t have to be on your company’s network to make updates or changes.
What to Look for in the Best Website Platform
Consider these 5 features to ensure your platform can provide a website to help your company grow and create a customer experience to delight and retain customers.
Ease of Use
Updating your website should be simple. Finding how to update content through add-ons or plugins should be clear. Choose a website platform that makes it simple for you to change out photos, update your brand colors and keep your content updated.
Website security failures could harm your business’s reputation. Don’t allow that to happen. Make sure you select a platform with strong security that protects you from hacks and malicious attacks. One breach of customer data could rob you of your relationships with your customers.
Some website tools are better for organizations of all sizes. This is what you want in a website platform because you don’t want to have to move your website as your company grows.
Make sure that your website can handle large traffic volumes and can expand with your business.
Downtime is frustrating for both website administrators and customers. While you might be able to save some money on subscription fees to get a website platform with some mild downtime, this isn’t worth it. Look for a platform with nearly perfect uptime records to ensure you’re always prepared to welcome online customers.
Sluggish websites will fail to perform for SEO, making your business more challenging to discover. Faster websites experience lower bounce rates and higher conversion rates. Make sure that your website platform provides outstanding speed and reliability to create a good online experience.
The Best Website Platform
With so many do-it-yourself website options available, it can be challenging to know where to start in finding the right one for you. We’ve helped by creating a list of the top options available and listing out pros and cons for each to help you weigh your options.
Best for Companies Planning to Scale Operations Quickly: WordPress
WordPress is an open source website builder that is the foundation for more than 30% of all websites. The builder is scalable to meet your company’s needs throughout the life of your business. And thanks to the fact that it’s an open source platform, you’ll find thousands of plugins to accomplish the functionality you want.
- Free website platform (just pay for a domain and hosting)
- Drag and drop builders and WYSIWYG editors make it easy to manage
- E-commerce functionality
- Simple integration with leading tools like Google Analytics
- Mild learning curve with no customer support without a managed hosting partner
- Some security risks if you don’t know how to keep the platform updated
Pricing: WordPress is a free open source website platform. You’ll still need to pay for a domain and hosting though to power your website.
Best for Small Businesses: Wix
Wix is an incredibly easy-to-use website builder thanks to the drag-and-drop editor and simple customization features. You’ll have tons of options for templates to get you started in making your website look and function the way you want.
- Incredibly easy customization through drag and drop tools and clear design menus
- Tons of options for add-ons, both free and paid
- All paid plans include free SSL
- Challenges in changing templates once you’ve built your site
- Slower load speeds than some other website platforms
Pricing: Prices start at $14 a month. Test out the platform for 14 days for free.
Best for Opening an e-Commerce Website: Shopify
Shopify is among the leading e-commerce website platforms. It powers more than 400,000 websites and is the 3rd largest e-commerce platform.
Some e-commerce solutions only power your website’s shopping cart and not the regular page content. However, Shopify is an all-in-1 solution.
- Accept payments through Shopify Payments or optional 3rd-party payment gateways
- Manage inventory through the platform
- Intuitive drag-and-drop interface
- Option to add in-store POS for brick and mortar locations
- More expensive e-commerce solution compared to competitors
- Migrating to other website builders away from Shopify is challenging
Pricing: Test out Shopify for 14 days with no credit card required. After that plans start at $29 a month for the website builder. You’ll also pay 2.9 percent plus $.30 per credit card transaction through your website.
Best for Bloggers: Weebly
Weebly offers dozens of website designs to get you started with creating your company website. You can see exactly what your site will look like thanks to the live-page editor. Add photo galleries, sliders and contact forms to get the functionality you need.
- Helpful SEO guides for those who are new to building a strategy
- App center with add-ons to power your website
- Option to create a membership area
- Affordable pricing based on your needs
- Design options are more limited than some of Weebly’s top competitors
- Not ideal for websites in multiple languages or sites that drive traffic from many countries
Pricing: You can get started with a Weebly website for free, but you won’t have access to all tools available. Paid plans start at $6 a month, making it an extremely affordable website platform.
Best for Highly Visual Businesses: Squarespace
Squarespace offers modern website templates with serious visual appeal. Choose from many different templates to meet your needs or even pick from various templates for different pages of your site.
- Drag and drop items to prepare a webpage in minutes
- Option to add e-commerce functionality
- Modern website design options with stunning visuals
- 24/7 customer support
- Very limited integration options
- Limited payment options for e-commerce (PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay)
- Not the best for SEO functionality
Pricing: Prices start at $12 per month with a free custom domain for the 1st year.
Best for Startups: GoDaddy Website Builder
GoDaddy is best known for being a website hosting service, but it also offers a website platform called Website Builder. The builder is incredibly easy to use and integrates well with GoDaddy’s SEO services to help you get started with building your online presence.
- Easy to make website updates from mobile devices
- Integrates with Getty Photography to help you create a stunning website
- Features are extremely limited
- Does not scale well as your business grows
- Challenging to move your content to other platforms as your business grows
Pricing: Prices start at $5.99 per month for an annual plan.
Build a Great Website
The website platform you choose will have a huge impact on the ease of updating your content and the experience your customers have when visiting your site.
Test out a few of the best website platforms outlined above to see if it’s right for you. Then get ready for an easy experience of setting up your new website thanks to a strong infrastructure foundation.