Posted on: November 13, 2023
Your company website serves as a virtual storefront for your business. Often, in our digitally-driven world, it’s the first point of contact for potential clients, partners, and even investors.
As we head into 2024, it’s not enough to just set up a website and forget about it. Static websites quickly date, which is evident and off-putting to visitors viewing them. In contrast, appealing websites are fresh, obvious that they’ve been updated and demonstrate a well thought-through user experience.
You also want a website that is easy for you to work with, robust (so it withstands the latest security challenges), and caters well to your audience in its visuals, messaging and functionality.
When people are looking to overhaul their website, we’re often asked about the leading platforms. Here is our summary of the 4 popular ones for small and medium-sized businesses.
WordPress: good flexibility and scalability
WordPress has been a popular platform for many, many years. It’s good for those businesses seeking a combination of flexibility and scalability with their website and plans. With its addition of WooCommerce (if required), WordPress offers endless possibilities through its wide range of plugins and themes.
It can also provide the tools to manage subscriptions, accept payments and accommodate almost any requirement you have. Depending on which theme you use, these add-ons may require the skills of a developer to initially set them up and manage them for you over time.
WordPress is incredibly SEO-friendly and ensures that your website ranks well on search engines, driving organic traffic to your business. Many businesses bolt on the Yoast add-on with its handy traffic light system to improve a page’s SEO for a specific keyword.
Many free themes are available through WordPress, but businesses often find these templates require a bit of personalisation. Some say this is perhaps one aspect of WordPress that can become frustrating over time. The more complex your site; the more expertise you’ll need from a developer to implement what might seem relatively small amends.
Wix: intuitive, user-friendly and affordable
Wix is a popular option for smaller B2B businesses that are budget-conscious and value ease of use. Since its launch in 2006, its intuitive drag-and-drop interface means you can create a professional-looking website without any coding knowledge.
Offering a variety of templates tailored to different industries, it allows you to quickly personalise the site to match your brand identity. It also supports a range of marketing tools, such as email marketing and social media integration, to help you reach your target audience more effectively.
Initially, when Wix launched, its focus was on enabling business owners to build sites themselves. More recently though (and due to the growing popularity of its technology), many developers, website design agencies and IT companies support using Wix. Look out for ones who can provide services to build and customise the site for you.
Next year, there are plans for further developments as Wix looks to become an even stronger competitor to WordPress.
Squarespace: great design flexibility
Squarespace is a popular choice for building visually appealing and user-friendly websites, making it a viable option for many. You do, however, need to carefully consider your specific needs and priorities before deciding on a website builder, as less personalisation is offered.
While Squarespace offers convenience and style, businesses with unique requirements or an extensive reliance on specific integrations might benefit more from other platforms.
That said, the appeal of Squarespace is its variety of professionally designed templates. These can give your website a polished and modern look without the need for extensive design skills or expertise.
Squarespace also ensures sites are optimised for mobile devices, ensuring sites look and function well on smartphones and tablets, as do the other options we’ve shared.
Squarespace also offers an all-in-one option, meaning it can also provide hosting, domain registration, and content management in one package. This simplifies the process of managing your website, as you don’t have to deal with multiple service providers.
Squarespace’s pricing can be relatively high compared to some other options. While the platform offers excellent features, the cost might concern budget-conscious businesses – especially those in the early stages of establishing their business.
Weebly: great for Simplicity
Weebly is a website builder that brings many aspects of a website together. Integrating templates, eCommerce, and marketing tools all work side by side. With the wide range of pricing plans, there is something that suits almost everyone.
Weebly is not the most used platform, but feedback from users is that it is intuitive and set up can be achieved within just a few clicks. It does, however, have limitations in comparison to other options. If you only need a simple website though, this could be a good option.
Choosing the right website platform for your business in 2024 will depend on your specific needs, budget, and the specialist resources you have available – such as technical expertise. Whether you require e-commerce capabilities, flexibility, user-friendliness, or whizzy functionality, there are many competing platforms that can cater to your requirements.
Investing time to evaluate your options carefully is important, as you will want to avoid wasting money and effort further down the line. In your evaluation, keep your business goals at the forefront of your mind, as well as your ideal website visitor and the journey you want them to have on your site. User experience is everything!
You also want a site that stands up to the latest security challenges on the web. Websites are continually being targeted by hackers and cybercriminals. When selecting your platform, do check out reviews for its security credentials. Also, be prepared to quickly apply whatever software updates it issues, and check those updates don’t break or affect any personalisation features you’ve applied to your website.
If you’re planning to redesign or update your website in 2024 and would like to discuss how your ideal customer journey could look, please do get in touch. We’d love to help.