Website platform differences

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A question or a scenario we encounter a lot comes from those that have previously setup websites, or are potentially looking to setup a website, on a proprietary platform like Wix or Squarespace. Often times these are called “closed” platforms, or another term that is used is “hosted solution”.

The basic idea is that you sign up for a monthly fee on their platform, and you gain access to a seemingly simple usable web building tool that you can use to create your website. The drawback to this echo system is that now you are completely restricted to whatever limitations are present in their system. You may only use what is available, including templates which many other businesses are using as well. This leads to a bit of a lack of originality.

Additionally, if you ever plan to move away from a closed platform, the only thing that you technically own is the content. The design, template, functionality, and data will not come with you to another platform.

One thing to get out of the way: these platforms can provide a valuable option for some businesses or individuals. Sometimes this tool can make sense. Understanding what you are going to use your website for is the key to whether or not a closed system will work for you.

Open Platforms

Also called “self-hosted solutions”, these platforms come in several varieties both paid and free to use. The most important aspect of open platforms is that they are fully customizable. There is no proprietary platform restrictions that dictate what you can or cannot do with your website.

Typically this comes in the form of functionality.

For example, let’s consider for a moment that you want to begin using your website to begin marketing on a much greater scale. In order to achieve this goal, you’ll need to pay much more attention to your website’s optimization, SEO and begin taking measures to track and measure your results. You might want to use advertising that would then funnel into a trackable form that then feeds into a leads engine.

On a closed proprietary platform, this scenario is impossible to achieve.

We’ve taken over quite a few websites from clients that have begun their website journey on a Squarespace website. The reason we’re usually working with them is that they’ve hit a functionality ceiling and can no longer grow their business using that platform. It’s a fine place to start, but at some point your business will require more tools, capabilities and functionality.

What’s Out There?

The most notable example of an open ended platform is WordPress, which as of 2017 powers millions of websites. It’s completely free to use and customize, which can offer it’s own risks and rewards. Finding an excellent WordPress developer can be a challenge and can range in quality wildly. Click here to better understanding the quality of the WordPress site you are getting or might already have.

Other CMS choices that we may build or maintain websites for include:

  • Craft CMS
  • Expression Engine
  • Grav
  • eCommerce platforms such as OpenCart or Magento

Our primary concern for any project that we start is choosing the right long term solution that correctly fits the needs of the client. For example, WordPress may not be the best choice for a large church or non-profit organization based on how their organization functions.

We work with our clients to determine what makes the most sense and how the strengths of the CMS that we’re using fits into their long term business goals.

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