How to pick the right platform 
for your simple website

 

Picking the right platform for your website is like picking the right haircut, it depends on you – or in my case, it depends on my receding hairline. Your needs will dictate what's right for you. By no means is this guide a substitute for a conversation with an actual person who makes websites, but it should point you in the right direction. It's related to another guide about how to build a simple website without going crazy. 


Consider these three questions when choosing a website platform

1. How easy is it to build, customize, and update my site?
2. How easy is it to get help?
3. How much will it cost? 



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Let's define 'simple'

Just to be clear, this guide is directed toward people looking for a simple site without complicated features (like Facebook) or a massive amount of content (like Wikipedia). Common examples would be business websites, online portfolios, and blogs.

 

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Everyday folk

This guide is for people who aren't coders, programmers, developers, or even particularly tech savvy. If the terms "html" or "css" give you a panic attack, relax,  this guide is for you. 


 

The major platforms

 

This isn't a comprehensive list of platforms by any means, it's a combination of the most popular and (in my opinion) the best. Keep in mind 'best' is subjective and based on your needs. 

 
 

I could list the pros/cons of each of these platforms but I'll save you time; here's why Squarespace is my personal favourite.

 

 

 
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Easy to Build – The process of setting up a Squarespace account, installing a theme, and adding content takes under five minutes; it's easy. I realize this now sounds like a paid promotion but I promise I'm not being paid by Squarespace to write this. 

 

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Pretty Customizable – Visual customization to your site ( like layout, colours, and text styles ) is very easy. Because all their sites are responsive (display properly on all device), there are limits to the level of customization. 

 

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Amazing to Manage – This is where squarespace shines in my opinion. Their interface for adding and editing content is easy to use and allows you a lot of freedom. Fun fact – I used Squarespace to layout this very page and I have no coding ability at all.

 

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The Price is Right Squarespace is 8$ a month with a 14-day free trial. You can pay a little more each month and access some premium features but the base set of features is more than enough for a simple website. You'll be asking yourself, "how is this only 8$ a month?"

 

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Unbelievable Customer Service – Squarespace has a team dedicated to helping its customers. They know their service inside and out, the don't speak in technical mumbo-jumbo, and more important, they care about fixing your issue. Also all their major help articles feature video walk-throughs in addition to images and text. 

 

Extra goodness from Squarespace

They're always improving their service and adding features and you just keep paying the same 8$ a month. 

All their templates are responsive, meaning they're designed for all the different screen sizes people have today (and tomorrow).  

I just need to say it again, their customer service and content management interface are unlike any I've used before. 


 

Here a few extra things to consider

 

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Wordpress.com vs Wordpress.org

Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org are two different services. Wordpress.com is a simple a blog service. Wordpress.org is more of a DYI kit where you download the blog software, pay for hosting or manage a web server using FTP (scary acronym, I know). Why are they both called Wordpress? I don't know, I blame a nerd somewhere.

Wordpress.org is an amazingly powerful open-source tool with many developers using it, improving it, and building awesome themes and plugins for it. However you have to be somewhat tech savvy to install it and setup your hosting. 


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Make a single, dirt-simple web page

Flavors.me is an awesome tool for building a single page website. The beauty with their system is it uses all your existing services like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr (and many more) to display your content. This might be thee quickest way to make a single page. 


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What if I want to build a custom site?

Building a custom site was the only option for many years and it isn't always a bad option. If you know a nerd (developer) or a company, tell them about your needs and ask them about your project. 

 

Pros

  • You can build anything you can imagine. There are no limits on how custom your website can look and function.

    The sky is the limit!

Cons

  • You'll have to find either a developer or pay a company to do it.
  • It's expensive; some companies charge over 125$ per hour for their services. 
  • Building anything from scratch takes longer.

Other options

There are almost endless platforms and services to use to build your own website. Here are a few other options to review but as I mentioned, you'll probably be happiest using one of the major platforms I mentioned. If I've missed any notable platform (shame on me) and please let me know.

 

 

The End

 

 

Again, this guide isn't a substitute for a conversation with an actual person who makes websites, but I hope it's pointed you in the right direction.

Checkout my guide on how to build a simple website without going crazy.