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Comparing website systems: a quick guide to the pros and cons of each option for a business

When it comes to a business website you have a multitude of options to choose from, and this can be overwhelming. Do you choose a free website building platform, a self-hosting platform such as WordPress or, a cloud-based eCommerce system?

Correctly identifying your needs and demands of the future website will see you choosing the best option for you and your business. Below, we’ve put together a brief guide on the pros and cons of each business website option in the hopes that this saves you some time and the feeling of being overpowered by the number of solutions open to you.

But first we have to identify critical factors your decision making will centre on:

  • A platform that will allow the best search engine rankings for your business website
  • How much control over your website will you have in terms of easily and quickly updating content? Also, will the search engines actually be able to find and read this content?
  • If you need a custom-built website, which content management systems allow you the most features, functions and user-friendly design?
  • Can you easily migrate your website should you experience any problems or issues?

Consider the real cost of free website builders

Many business owners are attracted to free website building platforms, some of the more widely known ones being Wix, Weebly and Square Space. These are great options for launching personal websites but how well do they work for business purposes? Would they offer you a backup plan to protect your data? Not having the use of your own URL or domain name can raise question marks on how serious you are about your business which can impact your ability to generate quality sales leads. How reliable are these platforms that have their own servers?On the plus side:

On the plus side:

  • Basic use of the platform is free.
  • Templates are readily-available with a set format and structure. All you have to do is pick one.

The downside:

  • There are limitations in design, features and functionality with add-ons available at a premium price.
  • You are restricted to only 5 web pages; your business website may need more to accommodate all your products or service offerings.
  • You can’t avoid the advertisements displayed on your website unless you upgrade and then it is not free.
  • Not capable of handling complex eCommerce website requirements.
  • Your website will look like the thousands of other websites out there, even in the hands of some of the most talented graphic designers.
  • And on that note…who’s doing your design? A professional designer is almost always a better bet than your own design, not matter how good you think you are.

Cloud-based Ecommerce systems do not apply to every type of business

Web-based Points of Sale systems such as Big Commerce, Neto and Magento are handy tools for business websites with SMEs finding them a viable option. POS systems do not provide advantages to every type of business though. These systems are advantages for populating shopping carts with products but do not offer the SEO advantages of blog pages or content creation capabilities.

Shopping cart plugins like WooCommerce and Virtuemart work in a similar way to web-based eCommerce websites with the addition of more control that may make them a better choice for SMEs since they are easy to set up and you have full control over the source code.On the plus side:

On the plus side:

  • Presents a cost-effective alternative for small businesses.
  • No need for expensive equipment such as servers to host the site on.

The downside:

  • Some systems require technical IT expertise with some understanding of software development. And with this in mind, some Commercial CMS platforms are licensed to a particular IT company. That means that you will pay a lot of money to run on their system, a system whose code only they have access to.
  • Custom development (which is extremely difficult to migrate to a new platform) on these systems can be very expensive… sometimes upwards of $20 000.
  • These systems are also well known for their insistence that open source platforms are sub-par and code heavy in the hopes that you’ll opt for something else. With our expertise, we can recode and rebrand websites built on commercial website systems that will rank better and cost far less with added flexibility.
  • Subscription fees apply.
  • Dependent on a reliable internet connection

Self-hosting platforms such as WordPress

For the serious business owner, whose priorities are to increase sales opportunities, promote a positive brand image and nurture positive performances on search engine rankings, using a self-hosting platform such as WordPress to launch a business website offers the best prospects for success. WordPress gives you complete control over your website. You have the back-up you need and migrating your website is hassle-free. You have the further choice of choosing hosting packages to suit your budget.

On the plus side:

  • SEO-integrated features
  • E-commerce integration plug-ins
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Pre-formatted and customizable templates
  • It’s easy to learn and extremely user friendly. Check out our videos here for more info.

The downside

  • WordPress websites must be constantly updated with new content. This is a plus in a way as all search engines love updated websites.
  • The website must be kept continually up to date (something normal for all website softwares.

RCS Websites have the required experience and proficiencies to work with any of the website building platforms or POS systems noted above. Make the best choice for your website today. Strike a balance with a self-hosting platform. Contact us for more information on the services we offer that will best represent your business.

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