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What’s the Best Website Platform?

Over the years, I’ve been asked “what is the best website platform?” A business owner or marketing manager that’s asking that question is asking the right question, even though they may not know why exactly. I’m going to try to definitively answer this question. However, to get a fully satisfying answer, you need a full understanding of why the web platform you choose is important and what to be looking for within a website platform.

Why a Website Is So Important To Your Future

For a business or organization, a website is a cornerstone piece of their digital presence. How customers find you, how people pay for products/services, how they access their customer information is all tied up in that website and the platform it is built on. As Ecommerce and mobile applications become essential to the success of even a small business, a fully integrated solution is key. But it’s not just online shopping and an iPhone app, something seemingly as simple as email marketing and online forms can be affected a bad website platform. There are countless examples of this but fitting one is a Wix site owner trying to implement an email signup list.

A Bad Choice Puts Limits on You

Not being able to effectively launch a new marketing channel like email marketing can severely hamper the growth of a business. Many Wix site owners quickly realize how limiting and expensive Wix’s own email marketing tool is, so they try to implement a third-party solution like MailChimp. The result is a complex workaround of landing pages and buttons that makes the signup process painful for the customer. Customers tend to not deal with painful situations, no matter how beneficial.

Your Needs are Going to Change

The web platform you choose will dictate so much of your future. Many times, business owners are initially picking a platform purely from the standpoint of cost. Because of their initial starting point, they don’t see the possibility of ever needing any e-commerce functionality, using email marketing, or even opening a brick-and-mortar storefront. But as their business grows and changes, those needs start to arise, and they start making decisions on solutions based on either compatibility with their initial website platform choice or from a cost standpoint. Typically, because a company’s digital presence isn’t being looked at in a holistic manner, things like “cost” are not being accurately compared.

Why Can’t You Just Switch Web Platforms Later?

Switching may be quite frustrating and expensive, depending on the platform. The short answer is that you need to pick a platform that allows an import/export feature so you can put in the content from your old site into the next platform. Wix in particular is so locked down that content and images must be stripped out manually. This may be trivial with 4-5 pages but can be quite a task for a 100+ page website. Many business owners with a lack of SEO understanding will jettison dozens of pages in their migration to a new platform, unknowingly causing a myriad of problems that can affect their online growth.

A Cautionary Tale

While it sounds like I’m picking on Wix, I see Wix as one of the biggest business killers around. Businesses, and even a lot of nonprofits, are lured in by the free or seemingly cheap monthly fees. They end up spending hundreds of hours crafting their site and start realizing how many add-ons they need to make their site functional. Because of this “sunk-cost” into the work they did to build their website, they add the additional monthly services to where their “cheap” Wix costs well over $50 a month. The saddest situation I’ve seen is a business owner using Wix on the brink of closing their business. They were spending more than $120 a month on Wix “apps” and had a nonfunctional email marketing, e-commerce, and site contact form. $120 a month comes out to $1440 a year. For what they were paying for that entire year, they could have gotten a new site built and hosting paid for an entire year. While I would like to say that this example is a one-time occurrence, it’s quite too common.

Possible Lost Revenue

The complexity and cost of switching a website from one platform to another increases the more you add to your existing site. But there could be a hidden cost as well, one associated with the lost revenue that could’ve been generated due to implementing a faster website or a modern e-commerce store.

This point was made so clear by a client of ours who had for years been talking about implementing an e-commerce component to their website. They were an older company, and they had a lot of legacy systems that made moving them over to a more modern framework a lengthy process. The owner dragged their feet on the process due to the large internal cost and training it took to implement a new system internally with their staff. We continued to push, and they launched their new e-commerce store in November 2019. The expectation was that the new e-commerce store would generate 5% in new revenue. During the month of March and April 2020, it was their primary method of revenue for their entire business. Without that e-commerce site, I cannot imagine what their financial outlook would have looked like with a closed retail store for 2 months.

So What is the Best Website PLATFORM?

There are some key things to look for when considering a web platform. As mentioned previously, a website platform needs a robust import and export feature. Another thing is that it needs to be extremely easy to edit and make changes while also being an immensely powerful development platform. Implementing something like an email marketing service shouldn’t require an understanding of code to set up. Reliable website platforms are built as a part of active open-source communities and provide plug-ins and other extensions that provide you the most options moving forward. If there hasn’t been any activity within the open-source community in the last six months, you should be very worried.

Taking that all into consideration, we believe our platform McNair Web is the best website platform. It’s a robust web platform built on the WordPress open-source community where you can take advantage of third-party plugins and support but still have a cohesive web platform experience. We built McNair Web on a hosting infrastructure that allows us to scale your site up based on traffic, without a painful migration to another website platform. This means that McNair Web is great for somebody just starting out but also is powerful enough to provide enterprise class hosting to large organizations. We also provide our business essentials add-on that gives you best in class email marketing and custom forms built right into your website platform. McNair Web customers can also upgrade to an e-commerce and mobile apps.

Learn more about McNair Web and see our pricing plans here:

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