Plan in hand, you're ready to start investigating software platforms to run your website on
This step is if you have been reading through the previous page The Planning Stage and you have developed a rough plan about what you want out of a website. Now it is time to consider the software platform that might best fit for your needs.
The server where the software platform is going to reside
There's plenty of software platforms to choose from, although there are two fundamental differences you need to consider when choosing a platform. Is it intended for...
- A Software Platform with Managed Hosting - meaning all the software platform's application files, running of the server, etc is managed by the company you are going through. An example of this is Shopify where you don't see any of the background mechanics.
- Self Hosting - meaning you are responsible for the install of the software platform, running and maintenance of the server, storing of application files and content. An example of this is a WordPress installation running on server hosting of your choice. Commonly hosting providers offer packages where they maintain the running of the server (ie system administration). So there are choices here depending on your computer skill set.
If you don't know a lot about web development, server administration or don't intend to employ these kinds of services, I would choose a platform that runs on a server that the software company manages. It essentially shields you from all the complexities and responsibilities of running a server. Even if you take a middle ground with self-hosting and use a hosting company that manages the server, there is still going to be technical hurdles that you will come up against. Although, if you have some technical knowledge and a willingness to resolve issues as they arise, taking on the hosting component and using a managed hosting company can be a great middle-ground.
Wordpress - Quite often it's the right choice for most small business needs
First up, let's jump straight in and have a look at WordPress. Why? because it powers about 30 per cent of the internet and has functionality for most needs.
WordPress has a huge community to tap into and thousands of plugins that can assist with more the specific feature requirements that you have to service your customers.
Is WordPress a managed hosting or self-hosting platform?
It's actually both. You can either download and install WordPress to your own self managed hosting or use wordpress.com which manages the hosting for you.
This course WordPress for Beginners by Envato Tuts+ gives you a good insight into WordPress if you are previously unfamiliar with the platform. It does run for 2 hours 20 minutes but is well worth persisting through if you think WordPress may be the direction for your next website.
WordPress Course - Free Online WP Course for Beginners
Author: Envato Tuts+
Shopify - If it's e-commerce you want ..and easy to use
Shopify is aimed at businesses wanting to set up an online store to sell physical or digital products.
Shopify Tutorial for Beginners
Author: Santrel Media
This graph at W3Techs shows the popularity of the various market leaders when it comes to content management systems.
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