Did you know the Internet plays host to 1.8 billion websites on every website platform imaginable worldwide? And that number only continues to grow with approximately 380 new sites going up every. single. minute.
While that’s enough data to make your head spin, we can glean two important things from it. One, you need a website. Two, it needs to serve your audience well.
But in order to make a difference with your content online, you first need to determine the best website platform for your needs. That’s why we’ve made a list of six questions to ask yourself before you begin your next website building project.
1. What is the purpose of my website?
If you only answer one question from this post before you head off to discover the best website platform for you, it’s this one. Do. Not. Skip. It.
Asking the purpose of something is a deceptively simple question. But knowing the answer to it will save you time and money over and over again. And this applies to anything, not just to finding the best website platform to serve your business.
Here’s the thing…
Every website is different, even if they’re all made up of zeros and ones, hex codes and programming that makes your head swim. Some are designed to sell. Some are meant to inform and excite. Others exist to serve a reader without asking for anything in return. You need to get clear on what your website needs to do before you begin to build one. Knowing the answer to this question will help you weed out website platforms that don’t meet your needs or may require a lot of workarounds to create the functionality you envision.
2. What features will make a website platform the best for me?
This question goes hand in hand with identifying the purpose of your website because once you know why you’re creating (or recreating) your website, you will know what features you need to make it work.
So what exactly are website features? They are the functions and settings that position your website to appeal to your audience. Think of them as the ingredients to make your favorite cake that wows everyone at the party (remember when we could have parties?! 😭)
Some features that every website offers: domain name, navigation bar, search bar, logo, buttons and images.
Some features you may or may not want depending on your website platform needs: e-commerce integrations, live chat, drag and drop functionality and custom coding.
Make a list of features that are crucial to your business needs along with a list of what would be nice to have before you start researching a website platform to make the process as painless as possible.
3. What are my design needs and how will I meet them?
With every new website comes an opportunity to lean into your existing brand, give it a minor refresh, or overhaul it completely. That’s why we recommend making a decision about branding before you begin to build a new website. There’s no need to go through the process only to change how it looks a month later.
Before you determine the best website platform for you, consider the visual experience your audience will have when visiting your online home.
Do they desire a clean layout with lots of white space?
Will they expect beautiful images of your products with close-ups?
Does it matter if you use stock icons or will custom-designed ones make an impact?
If you’re not rebranding, you still should make a list of all of the assets you need to track down or request from your designer. You will need logos in appropriate sizes and dimensions, your font family and brand colors, original image files for your team and products or services. You might also want a custom pattern to add interest to your site pages or graphic templates to use for each of your blog posts.
These are just a few things to jumpstart your thought process when it comes to naming your design needs for your website.
4. Can I afford the best website platform for my business?
Cost is always a consideration when you’re in search of a solution, even when it comes to your website platform. It’s tempting to go the cheapest route possible but hit the pause button before signing up for that web service with the really, really good commercials.
Compare rates and plans using the information you’ve compiled about your website wants and needs. Find out if there are added savings if you commit to an annual plan versus a monthly one (trust us, you’re not going to want to go through this process again for at least a year!). And if the price still astounds you, explore your options with a professional website design and development company. They take care of everything you need to get set up on the best website platform for your business. Plus, you can call them if something breaks. 😉
5. Do I have content ready for a wireframe?
A wireframe is your website blueprint. It creates a visual representation of where your content will live on the screen before you build it out. It’s an important step in the web development process because it allows you to experience the site structure as a potential user before you spend the time and energy to create the real thing.
One trouble area you might run into when creating your wireframe is creating content. Wireframes typically use placeholder content or general descriptions, so you’ll need the actual content to fill in when it’s time to build your website. This is a great time to go through existing websites or materials you have to consolidate your information and freshen it up. Or if you have a budget for new copy, hire a professional copywriter to make sure your gorgeous new website offers relevant, engaging information that will convert your browsers into buyers.
6. Who will be responsible for migrating content and making updates?
One final question to ask yourself before diving into the deep end of the best website platform solutions is who’s going to be responsible for it? Shiny new toys are pretty and fun (you should see our closets!), but after the shine wears off, your website will still need to be cared for even if your goal isn’t e-commerce or driving traffic.
Websites regularly need plug-in updates, cache clearing and spam maintenance to keep them running at their peak performance. At the start of your website project, assign the task of migrating your content and making updates to someone on your team or hire someone to manage it for you. Or put a recurring date on your calendar to check for updates and remove outdated content or information on your site.
Now, you are well on your way to figuring out what the best website platform is for your business and what to prepare for as you begin the build-out process! Here at SizzleForce, we eat, sleep and breathe all things copywriting and website development. In fact, we offer a Get-It-Done Day that caters to business owners looking to revamp and rewrite their sites! And for those with a do-it-yourself mentality, you would be right at home in SizzleForce Marketing Academy, the kindest place to learn how to market your business on the internet.
Wherever you are on your website journey, hang in there. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and no one expects you to overhaul your website overnight. You’ve got this!