#askAshleigh - What website platform should I use?

I get this question a lot. To be honest, it’s the number one question that I get from people that email me or from people that I talk to on social media. It’s a great question and I can see how it can get people caught up in a sea of anxiety. There are SO (or seaux if you’re from southern Louisiana like me :)) website platforms to choose from.

I want to run down some quick thoughts on the most popular platforms (Squarespace, Wordpress, & Shopify), who I think they’re best suited for, and the pros and cons of each:

website-platform.jpg

Squarespace

Best For: Anyone in any industry looking to get started quickly and easily. Comes with templates that are easy to make your own, add in your own logos and colors, and easy to edit and maintain.

PROS:

  • Don’t have to worry about plugins or hacking (generally)

  • Templates are designed with certain businesses in mind to help with design and content ideas.

  • Easy to get started and to grow

  • Can purchase your domain through Squarespace or through a third party

  • 24/hour customer service

CONS:

  • Can be costly depending on whether you pay annually or monthly.

  • Can be hard for physical product sellers to add in products that allow for a lot of customization.

  • To unlock some eCommerce features you do have to pay more (abandoned cart for example)

  • Some CSS may be needed to get certain looks that you want. 

  • Mailchimp integration on Personal Plans no longer availiable. You have to pay more to easily integrate Mailchimp into your site. 

 

If you’re looking for a beautiful out-of-the-box website that you want to get set up quickly, Squarespace is the way to go.

 

Wordpress

Best For: Wordpress shouldn’t scare off beginners to the web game just because it seems very technical. Wordpress can be easy to use and a very robust platform for anyone willing to use it.

It can be used by anyone in any industry.

PROS:

  • The Wordpress platform itself is free, what you pay for is hosting and a domain name.

  • There's a plugin in for essentially everything. A lot of these plugins are made by some really bad ass programmers and can help take your website to the next level: WooCommerce for products, JetPack & Yoast for SEO, Elementor for designing, and more.

  • A variety (I’m talking huge) of ways to develop the design of your site: free themes, premium themes, free page builders, etc.

  • Probably more cost effective than the other options if you find the right host for you.

CONS:

  • Can be susceptible to hacking and spam

  • Can be hard to get started if you’re not that tech savvy or aren’t willing/don’t have the time to learn

  • Does require some maintenance and troubleshooting from time to time especially when a plugin isn’t acting right.

 

If you want a website with a little bit more umph and want to include more capabilities and features down the line, Wordpress is for you.
 

Shopify

Best For: Anyone looking to sell products online. Shopify is built with sellers in mind, and comes with a whole host of features and apps that can make running an online shop super easy and more profitable.

PROS:

  • Multiple Plans with unlimited products on each

  • Many apps to add to your website to help with selling, abandoned carts, showcasing customer reviews, etc.

CONS:

  • Month to Month pricing can be expensive if you’re running a small shop.

  • The initial set-up of Shopify and connecting your domain can be a little tricky.

  • If you want to leave Shopify and take your shop to another platform, you're only able to export a CSV of your product information. 

 

If selling physical products is the core of your business model, and you plan to expand and add on more products in the future, Shopify is for you.

I hope this clears up some confusion for you. No matter what, try to think about your business in the future and where you see yourself. After you do that, think of everything you’re going to need from your website to make that happen. Keeping these things in mind will make sure that your website grows with you and your business without any issues.