Choosing The Right Website Platform For Your Needs
Both small and medium-sized businesses have never had a greater need for an online presence that is strong and stable. Before making a purchase, 80% of shoppers carry out research online first. In addition 85% locate local businesses via the internet.
The U.S. Commerce Department estimated that the year 2014 saw a whopping $304.90 billion worth of goods purchased online, a clear indicator that people are interested in buying, not just looking!
In fact a survey carried out by BDO, an investment and accounting firm, stated that 78%, of big retail businesses are anticipating close to a 10% increase in their 2015 e-commerce figures.
When it comes to small businesses, 85% have their own website.
The increase in online sales is rapid!
For SMBs, 31% said that over half of their sales are online purchases, whilst 16% stated that 100% of their business sales are made online. The U.S. Commerce Department reported that in 2014 just 6.5% of retail sales were completed online.
Consumer behavior is fast on the change and adapting to it is vital.
For most businesses developing a website is at the top of the priority list, regardless of how may other pressing items are on the same list!
Within three months of business setup, 58% of SMBs launched their website, whilst 70% did so within their first six months.
It is clear that SMBs know the importance of having a strong online presence.
Of course, in comparison with large companies, SMBs don’t tend to have website developers, or IT experts as staff members.
SMBs noted several significant challenges when it came to setting up and launching their website, these were as follows:
The exploration of various web platforms
This is pretty much the first crucial decision that a SMB makes when setting up a website; deciding on the platform.
For small businesses who chose WordPress as their platform, they noted that their choice was based on it’s easy usage, as well as the ability to customize the website to a high level.
It could be said that the significant popularity of WordPress is also self-perpetuating. In other words, it has so many users, that finding plugins, solutions to problems, templates and so on, is an easy task with many experts to consult with.
However it couldn’t really be said that WordPress is ideal for all small businesses. Out of WordPress users, 26% noted that they would like it to be easier to make changes to their site, additional features were wanted by 25% and 21% commented that they would like to see a quicker load speed for their websites.
It is good news then, that if WordPress doesn’t meet your needs, there are many other great alternatives to choose from.
There are a few crucial points to consider when making your decision:
– Think about your intended use. Is your website for selling goods?
Will you be displaying art?
Or perhaps you wish to share information? Your chosen platform should match your specific needs.
– Consider The Learning Curve.
Check out the difficulty for setting up a website on a potential platform.
If you don’t feel qualified to meet the required skills for a particular platform, then remember to include in your plan the need to employ someone to set the site up for you correctly.
– Think About Costing.
Knowing your budget is vital as you will need to consider how one specific platform can fit into this budget. Check out fees for the website, as well as the cost to hire an expert if necessary.
– Look At Customization Features.
Do you have a certain brand which you want to see reflected on the website?
Do features need to be added by a plugin? If this sounds like you, then a platform with customization features is crucial.
– Assistance With Coding And Developing.
Some platforms need at least moderate, if not advanced, technical abilities.
– The Ease Of Editing And Updating.
Will you require help every time you want to update your site? Whilst a custom site may prove challenging, Template and WordPress tend to be easy to update.
– Think About Analytics.
Will the platform give you information on site visitors and their frequency?
Such detailed information can assist you in developing a full understanding of your market.
Begin with a list of your company needs, this includes whether simple communication is key, or if a complex e-commerce approach is required.
Consider your budget and try to find the best option within it. Give special thought to the features and functions which may be useful as your business grows.
For example, if online sales is a future plan, then a WordPress site with the option to add e-commerce later, could be an ideal choice.
A Final Note.
Almost half (46% to be exact) note that the design of the website is the top influencing factor in deciding how credible the company is – if you want to be among the top dogs, have a website design that makes you stand out for all the right reasons.
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