Your website is the lifeblood of your business. While some will have different functions and needs, the concept is the same: your website needs to be built correctly in order to satisfy your needs.
This involves using the correct technology stack, from your CMS to the plugins and addons used to extend certain features. So, how do you know what software or what framework to use? Well, you need to know the correct questions to ask and what areas to evaluate in order to make the right decision.
Here is what you need to know, and answer, in order to make sure your website is built using the right tech stack, to best suit your needs and business goals.
Determine what core functions you need.
This is the basic question you need to ask, and it’s basically: What does your business do?
If you are a service-based business like this Brisbane area pest treatment company, and the main function of your website is to publish information about your business, then you would want to consider an easy to use content management system, like WordPress. Now, if your business is an e-commerce website and generating sales is your main focus then a platform like Shopify would be something to look into.
You are either going to be focused on selling or providing information (content), so pick the right base to use. A WordPress site like this doctor’s blog will require different resources than an e-commerce website being sent thousands of visitors every minute.
Ask if you need a blog — content marketing or paid ads.
There are some platforms that just aren’t good if you are going to be focused on organic traffic via Google. But, for some e-commerce websites that isn’t a concern because of their marketing strategy.
“If you are going to be focused on blogging and ranking organically, then Shopify isn’t going to be the best option,” says April Gillmore, whose online marketing company ClickFirst Marketing’s services help with both paid and organic marketing. “Their blog function is not that great and their overall content side isn’t SEO friendly at all. But, if a company is focused only on paid ads, then it’s a non-issue. In fact, many e-commerce companies don’t even worry about organic results and only run paid campaigns.”
While a lot of people really like Shopify as the e-commerce side, those that do want to blog also can install WordPress on a sub-domain. This isn’t the ideal SEO situation, but it’s still better than using Shopify’s blogging function.
Identify what integrations are needed.
Are there specific programs, applications or software that you need your website to integrate with? It’s important that you know this ahead of time.
“The more common integrations, like Mailchimp, for example, will be available on all platforms,” says Darryl Howard, an expert at how to make money blogging. “This is more of a concern for industry specific programs, inventory management software, or random third-party software needed to run your business.” Make a list of everything and then send an email to each platform and ask if their solution will handle all of your integration requirements.
Most software platforms will have a list of common integration capabilities, but those are constantly updated, so take the time to send an email and contact them directly with your specific needs.
Estimate traffic volume.
How much traffic you anticipate will determine what type of hosting and server configuration you will need. The last thing you want to do is be unprepared and under powered for high traffic scenarios.
“If your website is just a blog that will have minimal traffic at first, then you could throw it on a VPS and pay around $30 a month for that hosting and be fine,” says Pedro Del Nero of Vaporizer Vendor. “If you are going to be sending a lot of paid traffic you want to make sure there are no lags during high activity, so you might want to opt for a dedicated server with a CDN (content delivery network) setup.”
If you are an e-commerce business and going with Shopify then you don’t need to worry about hosting, as they handle that and are able to scale your ‘space’ according to your traffic volume.
Pick between in-house team or product-support.
Do you have someone in your office or on your team that can handle development, upgrades and issues related to your website? This is important as it will determine how support issues are handled.
“If you have an in-house developer then you can get more custom when it comes to functions and theme modifications,” says Patrick Tracey of recycling and waste disposal company Osienv. “There will be times when one function is updated or changed and it directly impacts something else. If you don’t have a developer to help you, then you have to reply on product support direct form the software company, and they will typically only help if you are not running custom modifications.”
If your technical resources are limited then you will want to try to keep things like themes and plugins running a very basic setup. The less customization used, then the less likely there will be an issue that ‘breaks’ your site.
Consider monthly maintenance and upkeep budget.
For the best website performance you need to use what is going to deliver the results you are after. If that means having a developer on retainer, so be it.
“If hiring a fulltime developer or technical team member isn’t in the budget consider having one on call, that you can pay by the hour, or that has a certain number of hours pre-paid each month,” says Chris Moberg of best mattress review site Slumber Search. “This can help you with little things like updating themes and plugins, to making little custom adjustments and tweaks to improve performance.”
You can find many options on freelance marketplaces. There are overseas developers you can hire for low hourly rates in a pinch or even negotiate a low cost monthly retainer that gives you access to a few hours of their time in the event of an emergency.