There are far more options for building websites than most people realise. Picking the right one starts with working out what you need and want.
Is the site a place to reinforce who you are or is it your shop-front?
Do you need a custom design or could your branding fit into a template designed to work well on the web?
Are you looking for clients to contact you directly or customers to buy online from you?
Do you need password-protection, membership areas and online courses?
The problem with specialists
Choosing from the range of options
There are two main groups of website building systems that are best for your size and type of business:
1. Hosted website builders
These are the easiest to use and are the most stable options for building your website.
You may have heard of Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace and One. These are all hosted website builders.
There are hosted website builders that specialise in online shopping websites. These include Shopify, Tictail,
If your business model is membership and training-based, there are hosted website builders that provide you with all you need to manage members and password-protected areas and online courses. Kajabi is a well-liked option but you see that the pricing reflects how powerful it is. Some of the standard systems, like Wix and Weebly can handle basic versions of membership sites and training online and they are far cheaper.
2. Self-hosted content management systems
These over a lot more opportunity for custom development - programming your own site elements - but this comes at a price. These really require help from a developer who specialising in the particular system. They need hosting somewhere and they need protecting. Security risks are higher, especially if you don't update the software immediately as a new update comes through.
The most well-known self-hosted CMS is Wordpress. It isn't alone, there is Drupal and Joomla, Magento and a whole lot more.
There are also custom coded sites which big companies with complex sites and a high level of security use.
How to choose the best one for your business
We realise this isn't the most exciting of marketing topics but it is really important, so please do read it...
Google thinks that all websites should have an SSL certificate.
If you have not heard about SSL till now, then here's what SSL actually means - Secure Sockets Layer. It is an encoding system in which all the data that gets transferred between your website and the server is encrypted in a language which is unreadable by third parties. It remains secure from hacking.
An SSL certificate helps your website in several ways:
1. It improves your ranking on the search engine
Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo generally display those websites on their top results page which come with SSL certification. Being a small business owner, it is imperative for you to get the customer's attention online. To improve your ranking and visibility online, you should go for SSL certification. Your ranking for the SEO keywords that you are targeting also improves rapidly if you have an SSL certificate.
2. You gain the customer's trust
Almost 50 percent of online shoppers have said that they trust an e-commerce website more which has an SSL certificate and prefer to shop from such websites only. Imagine the number of customers you are losing out on just because your website does not have SSL certification! You can attract so many more customers if you opt for one.
3. The safety of your data is ensured
Sensitive data like credit card numbers, usernames and passwords are protected by SSL encryption. All the transactions that take place through your website are hundred percent safe and secure. The danger of hacking drops right off and you can carry on your business without worrying about data leaks.
4. You get extra authentication
The SSL certificate that you get from a trusted provider makes your confidential information unreadable not only to third parties using other servers but also to those devices which are on the same server as yours. This additional authentication is provided by the public key infrastructure or PKI.
5. You can avoid from being declared dangerous by Google
Google is ensuring that all websites that show up on its search engine have an SSL certification indicated by the https:// in their website addresses. This is being done with the help of the red font color which is appearing on the link of non-secure websites in the form of http://. This red color warns the visitors to your website that it is not secure enough for sharing sensitive data. This can ruin your credibility online. SSL certification is a necessity for e-commerce websites specifically because of the transactions that are carried out.
The general advice is if you want your small business to perform well on online , you need to get an SSL certification as soon as possible.
We advise ALL our clients to get SSL certificates as soon as possible.
Contact us if you need help. In many cases, they are free.