Website Platforms – There is No Holy Grail

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Now that you’ve done your homework we can talk a little about all of those confusing website platforms, hosting companies, editors or what have you. But first, my credentials. I did some brief work over at How to For Engineers and the initial product stuff and some of the back end for the DogHouse Forge, purveyors of fine cutlery.

Told you they were fine purveyors.

Now, I claim no expertise and remind you again that you get what you pay for around here. I do claim to have very, very limited experience with Blogger, Squarespace and now, WordPress.

The Players

I say there is no Holy Grail because I haven’t found any one thing that does it all well. It being build a website for whatever your needs are with the commonly understood operator of doing “it” on the cheap. We’re not made of money over here. I made my first Blogger site and it was fairly easy to use, as easy as WordPress is for general blogging needs. You get the www.yoursite.hostingcompany.com tag, but that’s OK if you’re not trying to make money. We’re not about not making money, so we’ll focus on the big gorillas in the room and we’ll call them Squarespace and their related visual builders (such as Wix and Weebly) and WordPress.

The Quest

No doubt, noooo doubt, Squarespace was easier to set up. I did have a partner that helped me, but he was as lost as I am (no offense). You just go, they walk you through getting the name and it’s a one stop shop for payment. Then they do kick you in the pants and start charging you to make your site cool. Want to sell stuff? Pay up. Want to have easier shipping? Pay up. It’s not the end of the world, but it is kind of frustrating because you’re told that it’s easier and they avoid those adult conversations in their trendy TV commercials.

I really only mention a visual builder, like Squarespace, because I had a fellow small business acquaintance talk to me about websites. We were chatting about our struggles and she lamented about disliking her WordPress site and all of the pains and frustrations that went with it. She dearly wished to get over onto one of those skookem builders like Squarespace so that things would be easy. I silently laughed but kept my mouth shut as I remembered all of the pain we went through to build the old version of the DogHouse and the even larger pain when it came to selling stuff from it. Go for it if you think you will have the most basic of needs for your eCommerce site such as selling widgets from your garage or something similar that doesn’t involve drop shipping, custom orders, sales and promotions, etc. Also, and this will come back to bite me, my experience is only valid as of about a year ago. Old in Internet terms, but it’s all the experience I have on the subject.

With all of that behind my belt, I decided to try out WordPress. I did have a dear friend and savvy entrepreneur, the owner of Keynamics. He is sort of an SEO guru and harped on me about the ability of WordPress to do two things really well: scale and SEO. To me, that sounds amazing, scaling to a million orders  is what all the ladies are after but I’m not there just yet. I don’t speak SEO but I know that better is, well, better. If you want to speak SEO, check out this book:

Play Google's Game

SEO Playbook

Now that I’ve been using it, so far so good. WordPress isn’t that bad, it did take maybe two days longer to get “set up” and was certainly frustrating to get everything bought and linked and situated, but I’ll walk you through what I did in the next few blog posts. I’ve been impressed with all of the supports, plugins, themes, widgets and general nonsense that you can get with WordPress. As a DIY kind of person, which I imagine anyone wanting to build a website is, you might really enjoy the challenge of building a website. As always, if you’re willing to spend a few bucks to get things going and make it smoother, I’m pretty sure it’s a lot cheaper to go this route as well.

Nope, there’s no Holy Grail of website platforms, but you sure can have a heck of a time looking for it.

Before I wrap this up, I want shine some light on what was a confusing aspect of WordPress to me: “.com” and “.org”. Take a look for yourself and see if you can figure out the differences. Until next time

 

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