Choosing the Right Web Platform for Your Business: Blogging, Ecommerce

Aug 25, 2017 | CREATIVE TIPS & TOOLS

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:

  • Blogging
  • Online Portfolios
  • Ecommerce
  • Businesses

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

Blogging Platforms Compared

The Leaderboard

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.

The Limits

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.

The Leaderboard

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.

The Limits

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

Ecommerce platforms compared.

The Leaderboard

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 Limits

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.

The Leaderboard

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 Limitations

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
  • Profit
  • Custom options
  • Security

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!

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Jaclyn Hawtin

Jaclyn Hawtin

Senior Data Architect

Over a decade of experience in product management, devops, startups, and agile methodologies. Track record of simplifying complex technical processes for cross-functional teams. Proficient in user centered design, UX, IX, UI, IA, user research and data analytics for responsive web, mobile and tablet applications. Incredibly adaptable, fluent with both people and machines.
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