Start with usage goals.
An opinion from David Farmer | CEO of Ad Giants
Websites are just as important today as any other aspect of your business. In fact, one could argue it's the most important depending upon what type of business you have. Which leads to the essence of this article. Building with the end user in mind.
Most people are so quick to "get something on the Internet" they overlook "why" they even have a website. That's why most are simply an online brochure. And who wants that? Your customers certainly don't. All of us have sites we see, use and admire because they provide ACTUAL UTILITY. A slick online ordering process from your favorite restaurant is not only satisfying, it's becomes a place you tend to use more simply because it IS useful and easy.
Not all businesses can be a restaurant or have the step-by-step process of ordering, but more CAN find a way to provide just as much ease-of-use and utility for their customers. Rather than just be able to check the hours and services for a business, wouldn't it be cool to be able to interact with the staff at the business online to get what you want? To accomplish this, and before just diving into the deep end of website development, these are a few things to consider:
1. Do we have a strategy for customer usage of the new site?
2. Have we thought through any cool ideas of how to interact with our customers better using our online system?
3. How can we make our customer more "sticky" with our website?
4. What platform should we use? Wix, Squarespace, Go Daddy. Weebly? Selecting the correct platform is also critical to your website success. Not all can do the same things.
5. Will I manage the site after building it or will I hire someone?
6. How much do I have budgeted to build it?
7. Does the platform offer more than just a website builder? Can you run more of your marketing using the platform to save money?
8. Are there processes in our business that the website can handle to save us time and money?
9. How important is the mobile version of my new website?
10. How will most of my customers access it? Mobile or desktop?
An experts opinion.
Pros: Open Source, established, powerful, endless plug-ins, responsive themes
Cons: Open Source, most 'hacked' platform on the planet, not easy for a novice to manage, based on set themes unless you hire a coder to do custom, outside hosting costs you carry.
This platform is not typical for smaller businesses, even though they tout how simple certain versions or themes may be. It's difficult at best for most owners once built and more costly each month to maintain.
Pros: Simple interface, unique editor to their platform (not WYSIWYG), hosting built in, extensive plug-in modules, somewhat easy to maintain.
Cons: Interface is slightly less complex than WordPress, so you still need to learn it, limited functionality as compared to other platforms.
Squarespace is a solid and popular solution for smaller businesses. It does come with a level of complexity as compared to other platforms that is confusing at times.
Pros: Easy to open a Go Daddy account and do it all at one time, affordable
Cons: Very limited functionality, Go Daddy is not a web builder company, not a super easy interface, themes and templates are limited and basic, generic in look and feel, a 'toy' compared to other platforms.
Grabbing a new domain from Go Daddy makes sense, but after that, use something else to create your new site.
Weebly, Duda, Ukit, Hostgator, etc.
Don't even bother.
Pros: Unlimted plug-ins, easiest interface around, hosted environment with secure hosting certificates included, easy to manage, fantastic stock imagery and video, mobile editor included, all-in-one marketing platform, you can literally run your entire business using Wix, Did I say simple?, extremely affordable, fantastic support, powerful SEO Wizard built-in, pro-network for help, and on, and on, and on...
We've been using and watching Wix for over 7 years now as experts, and what started out as a great idea without much substance, is now, in our opinion, the most powerful and legit website building platform on the planet! Our customers love it and can manage every aspect of Wix once we give them a quick training (like 5 minutes!)