Squarespace, Wix, Shopify, WordPress, Square, Weebly… with so many website hosting and online store options out there, how be sure you are choosing the right now? There are not necessarily “good” or “bad” options, each one just has something different to offer that could benefit your business and sales differently. So we are not here to tell you which hosting platform to choose. However, we are here to share with you some insights that will help you decide.
Before picking a website platform, you need to ask yourself: Are you trying to build a website or an online store?
You may want to do a mix of both, but ultimately you need to determine what your main goal is. If your main goal is to share information about your business, build brand awareness, showcase who you are, or share your story, choosing a platform that focuses on website creation should be your number one priority. However, if your main goal is to primarily sell your products online, then you should be picking a platform that will make it easy for you to sell and for your customers to purchase your products, one that focuses on e-commerce.
Another important thing to consider is what other features you may want to include on your website (ie. subscriptions, member-only areas, online booking, etc.) and how you may want to scale your website in the future.
The goal is to choose a platform that will meet your needs right now, and that has the capacity to grow with your business.
Building a content-driven website
If you are looking to build a website where you want to share about your business, your values, mission, vision, goals, story, and want to primarily share content with your audience, you need to look for a platform that puts a lot of emphasis on design features and content management tools.
Our recommendations for a content-driven website: Wix or Squarespace
Both are very user-friendly
They both have free templates that can be customized
Wix has more free templates than Squarespace, however, not all Wix templates have the same professional look as the ones on Squarespace.
Wix templates are easier to customize without adding code to them. Some Squarespace customization will need added coding.
Both platforms have many different app integrations, but we would recommend checking if they have what you need before you get started.
Adding an online store to both Wix or Squarespace is possible.
Both platforms have the ability to add an e-commerce side to your website.
From experience, we would rank Squarespace above Wix for e-commerce.
If you are looking for a larger scalable online store, we recommend looking into Shopify as an option. We do not recommend Wix for a large-scale online store.
Building an e-commerce focused website
If your primary goal is to sell your products on your website and develop an online store that makes purchasing easy for your customers (and order fulfillment easy for you), you need to consider platforms that provide you with the features you need.
Recommendations for an e-commerce focused website: Shopify or Squarespace
Both options offer a user-friendly and easy-to-manage e-commerce platform. However, it is important to note that Shopify is an e-commerce platform first and foremost, while Squarespace is more of a content management system with e-commerce added on.
Your selections would depend on the number of products you have and what selling/back-end features are most important to you.
Shopify has the most robust online selling system.
Squarespace has also invested a lot into its e-commerce side and has a lot to offer with its online store features.
From a design standpoint, Shopify has very few free templates and more paid ones that you can choose from, compared to more free templates with Squarespace.
Customizing templates on Shopify is also very limited from the design side, unless you are comfortable working with the coding side of the site.
Note: For both content-driven and e-commerce websites, there are also factors around SEO that you should consider when choosing your hosting platform.
If you are mainly looking to develop an e-commerce website, we would rank the above mentioned platforms as follows:
If you are looking to develop a design and content-driven website, we would rank these platforms as follows:
When choosing a website platform to work with, It is important to look at both back-end and end-user needs and at what platform works best for your specific vision and goals. If you need a bit more support, we would be more than happy to help guide you through the decision-making process. Please feel free to reach out to us if you need any help or direction with choosing the right platform for building your website.