Choosing the Best Website Platform for Your Business

Business.com / Sales / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Learn about several top website platforms and decide which one is a good fit for your site, depending on your business goal.

For businesses only now establishing a website, it is understandable that the process is overwhelming. There are hundreds of website platforms available with all sorts of features, capabilities, and dissenting answers to the question, "Which platform is best?" But the better question to ask is: "Which platform is best for my business?" Each platform caters to specific purposes, whether it is e-commerce, a media-rich content site or a simple blog.

E-Commerce

Magento

Australia-based website analysis company BuiltWith says that as of February 2014, the most used quantifiable e-commerce software is Magento (11.7%, compared to 33.8% that use an unidentified custom cart).

What It Is: Open-source e-commerce Web application in PHP.

Cost: Community Edition is free; Magento Go (hosted) runs from $15-$125/month

Pros: Magento is highly customizable; includes a group of payment gateways pre-installed; provides built-in SEO capabilities like a Google site map and search engine-friendly URLs as well as many more features. There are thousands of templates from which to choose (for a price) for simple customization. Magento is easily integrated with third-party applications. There are many base features Magento offers without any customization

Cons: It's can be very taxing on the server. It requires a very optimized server to run efficiently.

Volusion

What It Is: Hosted e-commerce platform written in ASP.NET.

Cost: $15-$135/month

Pros: Having been around much longer than its competitors, Volusion is a simple solution with built-in features like a Facebook store and a mobile-optimized version. It is also slightly easier to customize.

Cons: There is no built-in blog feature. Conversely, with its age, some say it can be somewhat outdated.

BigCommerce

What It Is: Hosted e-commerce platform written PHP.

Cost: $34.95-$199.95/month

Pros: BigCommerce provides a built-in blog and SEO features such as custom page URLs and image alt tags. It is customizable with some simple HTML/CSS editing. You also get a mobile-friendly shop and the option of 65 payment gateways.

Cons: It is one of the more expensive hosted shopping cart solutions. BigCommerce also has limited built-in applications and offers the least amount of customizable templates.

Related:Website Advice from 8 Famous Internet Memes

Media-Rich Content Sites

Drupal

What It Is: Open-source content management framework written in PHP.

Cost: Free

Pros: Drupal is completely customizable and powerful. Some also claim that Drupal is the most SEO-friendly, with a module designed specifically for this purpose. The SEO tools integrate keyword research, management and extraction; content optimization, reports and tagging; link management; architectural enhancements, and more.

Cons: There is a steeper learning curve with Drupal, so those starting out may be overwhelmed by its complexity.

Joomla

What It Is: Open-source content management framework written in PHP.

Cost: Free

Pros: Joomla is one of the fastest growing and most widely used CMS. Its admin interface is advanced, but is relatively user-friendly. Joomla has thousands of extensions available for customization.

Cons: In addition to its steep learning curve (although not as steep as Drupal's), Joomla has limited SEO capabilities. Some of the plugins, unlike Drupal and WordPress, are paid.

WordPress

What It Is: Open-source content management system based on PHP and MySQL based on PHP and MySQL.

Cost: Free

Pros: Once just a favored tool of bloggers, WordPress has grown into a CMS capable of creating customized, media-rich sites. The CMS has some advanced features via thousands of free plugins and is among the easiest to learn to use, as it does not require extensive programming knowledge.

Cons: Because it is the most user-friendly, it also means that it is the least powerful. It's also susceptible to security breaches.

Yii

What It Is: Open-source PHP framework best for developing Web 2.0 applications.

Cost: Free

Pros: Yii is lightning-fast compared to other platforms. It was designed with enterprise applications in mind, so each webmaster has full control over the site.

Cons: It is probably one of the hardest platforms to learn to use, and it has the least amount of community help available.

Related: Web Design Tech: Using Responsive Web Design to Improve SEO

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