If you’re reading this, this means you either thought about or are ready to get started on developing your website. Right now you maybe wondering: “How do I start the website process?” In order to get started with any website, you will need to decide on three things! The top three things you need to decide on are as follows:
3. Design Platform
I chose to pair these two together because they go hand in hand. Your domain is in this format–https://www.yourwebsite.com. The .com extension could easily be .biz, .org, .net–it soley depends on what you choose and what your website content will be about. In a nutshell, your domain is the address and how people will be able to get to your site. They may access it by typing in the domain directly as is or by doing a search engine search via Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
Once you’ve made up in your mind what your domain will be, you will need a place to host the content. Think of this is the home for all of the your content to be stored. You will need a reliable host to ensure that you have the best uptime and that your website will run quickly and smoothly as possible. Some of the key players in the hosting industry include BlueHost, GoDaddy, Host Gator, 1and1, and Arch Hosting. The latter company,Arch ,Hosting may not be as familiar to some of you. I found the company via Android Central Digital Offers. I was able to take advantage of a lifetime hosting package. The only thing I pay yearly is for the three domains that come with the package. My experience with Arch Hosting has been pretty good so far. They have awesome customer service and the CPanel has all of the things you’d get from some of the bigger companies. The thing that really sets it apart from the others is the pricing! As I tell everyone I deal with, be sure to research and find the company that works out for you.
Choosing a platform to design your website depends on what the content on your website will focus on. For example if you are selling items online, you may consider using Shopify, Big Cartel, Prestashop, and any other eCommerce website service. For any other type of website that is content driven you can use platforms such as WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Joomla, and Drupal. I’ll give you my top three choices and I will list my preference.
Although Joomla and Drupal offer powerful content management system tools for powering your website, the three platforms I will focus on are WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace. For each I will list what I think are the advantages and disadvantages of that platform. I’ll be rating each platform based on ease of use, pricing, data exporting, and its template selection.
Wix is very easy to use with its drop and drag compability. It offers plenty of templates to get you started. Although there is a free version of Wix, it can become a bit pricey with prices ranging from $5 to $25 per month. If you want to export your data, don't even think about it. You'll have to settle with wix or copy and paste you content offline.
Like Wix, Squarespace is easy to use. In fact, its user interface is fairly easy to drop and drag modules in your workspace. You do have the ability to export certain content but not all. The pricing structure is reasonable ranging from $12/month billed annually ($16 month to month) or $18/month billed annually ($26 month to month). Squarespace does offer a few templates that are appealing to the eye, but nothing that wows me.
WordPress takes a bit of a learning curve to edit a template. Luckily with tools such as Divi, Beaver Builder, Elementor, and many more plugins, you can design WordPress sites with ease. If you need to backup your data or export it out, there are plenty of ways to go about it. There are plugins available and you can access your FTP Account and backup files to an external source if needed. If you host directly through WordPress.com, they have pricing ranging from $0 to $25 per month billed annually. If you go with a self-hosted WordPress site, you'll go through your hosting provider such as GoDaddy, Arch Hosting, or Bluehost. WordPress is normally apart of the shared hosting packages and most providers offer a Managed WordPress hosting solution that ensures security and efficiency! WordPress has numerous templates to choose from since it has such a huge community!
WordPress, in my opinion, is the clear winner because of its ability to allow users to export data and the selection of templates is vast. You’ll need to read plenty of documentation when starting a self-hosted WordPress site. If you’re a person that can normally figure things out on your own, you will be able to tweak certain parameters to ensure that your WordPress site will run efficiently. If you’re a novice, your web host provider should be able to assist you!
If you don’t want to have to deal with a lot of technicalities then Squarespace and Wix will work just fine for you. Just remember that you’ll have to figure out a way to backup your content in case you want to move to WordPress or any other content management system. Wix and Squarespace both provide easy drop and drag capabilities to make web designing much easier.
I’d love to hear your preference! Which platform do you currently use? Sound off in the comments below!