There are more ways than ever to claim a corner of the Internet for yourself. Business owners are no longer limited to building their own website from scratch using complicated code and Dreamweaver. The build-it-yourself web design options are numerous, but here we’ve rounded-up the most popular and reputable web platforms available.
In this post we discuss popular web-building platforms for:
- Online Portfolios
Spoiler alert– the Digital Dames feel strongly that WordPress is the best, most comprehensive and scalable solution for any online business. We’re not endorsed by or sponsored by WordPress (although open to it if any of you have a contact at WordPress HQ, wink, wink). We have more than 20 years experience between us designing hundreds of websites, and we feel that WordPress is the best option to suit everyone’s needs.
But first– let’s start with the basics.
Blogging Platforms Compared
There are many leading blog-specific platforms such as Medium, Google-owned Blogger, Tumblr, and the classic WordPress.com. If you’re looking to focus just on blogging– sequential journaling-style web writing with photos, links, etc., any of these could be a good option for you to start.
The Quick Take
The benefit of using a blogging platform such as the ones listed here are the pre-built community that comes with your blog. This means that other bloggers can find your work. Each of these platforms offer limited options for customizing the design of your blog, too (although less so with Medium). Most also offer both free and paid layouts or “themes” to give your blog its own unique look.
These blogging platforms offer some limited flexibility and ability add additional features using custom HTML or CSS code. However, your ability to add custom features to your blog is extremely limited. Say, for example, you’d like to add a feed of Instagram photos to your site. This isn’t so easy with blogging platforms like Medium, Tumblr, etc., unless you are highly skilled at adding custom code.
Moving on to the creative portfolio…
ONLINE PORTFOLIO PLATFORMS
Online portfolio platforms compared.
If you’re a maker or other creative trying to display a portfolio of your work, there are various options available for you. Sites such as Behance, Cargo Collective and Contently are great options for building a highly simplistic, templated portfolio.
The Quick Take
If you need the bare-bones basics and don’t intend to use your online portfolio to proactively attract customers, one of these sites is probably fine for you. Most offer at least the bare bones features to allow you to build basic pages including a splashy Home Page, About Page/Bio, Contact Form, and of course, a way to display your work in a visually compelling manner.
Often times, these sites allow your work to speak for itself, although the layout/design of the sites are highly limiting. Again, adding custom features to your site can be a challenge if you’re using these options.
Ecommerce platforms compared.
If you’re offering an ecommerce store, there are a few options available, too. Popular sites like Etsy, Big Cartel all offer creative entrepreneurs options to build online stores to sell their product(s). Some like Society6 even incorporate fulfillment, shipping and returns into their model. Shopify is another popular ecommerce tool used by business owners that is offers more robust options– for extremely high fees.
The Quick Take
Each of these sites offer varying features and pricing structures, and these are good options if you’re just getting started with an online shop.
The more money your online store makes, the more money these sites make as well. In the long-term, you’ll want to own an online business that is more within your creative control, with more technical function and most importantly, more profit in your pocket.
ALL SIGNS POINT TO WORDPRESS
Online business platforms compared.
Finally, let’s talk about the other web-builder options for any other kind of online business you’d like to launch. Some of the leading do-it-yourself web builders– a.k.a. CMS (Content Management Systems) platforms– include WIX, Squarespace, Weebly, and yes, WordPress (if using the WordPress.org option).
The Quick Take
All boast easy-to-use web building tools, millions of users and a variety of templates to choose from. The truth is, no matter which platform you choose, it takes time and energy to learn a new platform.
Our Argument for WordPress
What makes WordPress so impressive is its Open Source structure, which means that thousands of developers from all over the world are constantly creating themes and plugins that help DIY online bosses add almost any functionality to their site imaginable. Additionally, although you benefit from independent developers who build and maintain various web features, the site owner is completely in charge of hosting and maintaining their own site.
WordPress boasts 75 million users worldwide from small businesses to huge corporations including CNN, The New York Times, and eBay.
The biggest hurdle with using WordPress (and having total control over your site) is the learning curve involved… which is why the Digital Dames feel so passionate about arming bosses with the knowledge they need to fast-track their skills to launch and manage their online business.
To summarize, here are the quick reasons we feel that WordPress is the ideal solution for all online businesses:
- Creative control
- Technical function
- Custom options
Over the next few weeks we’ll be breaking down each of these steps into more detail. Be sure to join the collective by signing up for our emails to be the first to know when our new posts go live!