Every business owner, technical manager, or even researcher who is looking to understand what are the available options to have the first step on the web, a “Website”. There are 3 development options to decide which one to choose, know the advantage and disadvantage for each:
In a world full of options and marketing, business owners find themselves in a position to decide the direction for their website or application development. The problem exists because they, probably, seeks advice from family or friends, which is very dangerous for 3 main reasons:
- They may not the expert in this area
- They will speak based on previous experience that could be not successful
- They don’t know exactly the big picture of your project
For a typical journey of decision making on technology, people start first searching on the web using some relevant keywords and explore given options, then go into other Facebook group to validate their search results. For most of the market, this could be misleading, because:
- Most results will point on big names (Microsoft, Google, etc.)
- Only Enterprises have strong SEO activities, so please expect high cost for your project
- It’s all about MARKETING, nothing proven technically.
So, what shall you do? Who to believe? And which direction to take?
Here is a quick guide to choose your technology or platform for your project, idea, or startup.
First of all, you need to understand the trade-off between total cost of ownership and flexibility, the less cost the less flexible your website will be. Flexibility is not about design, but features, because most of the low-cost options are built on the idea of template that are done once and could be replicated several times by changing images, fonts, and styles.
Mainly you have 3 levels to follow:
The most known in the market, due to the amount of service providers and the hell of dollars spent in digital marketing activities.
The lowest cost. It’s definitely easy to use, if you are not technical at all, not problem, it’s like drawing it on a piece of paper, you can change all design over and over with no extra cost, and your website is live in a day or less!
Best for: Informative website (without services), static website.
Minimum flexibility. Apart of the design and ready-made template (e.g. contact us form) you will suffer having additional feature not supported. Actually, there are a way, by paying to 3rd party development partner to do it, which means you lost the benefit of low cost. Please bear in mind that if you want to add hosting or your own domain you might be asked to pay for Premium cost. Also, you might find a competitor close to you having exactly the same website, it’s a template and you both purchased it.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
It’s Freemium. From its name, the raise of this concept is to encourage writers (bloggers) to have a tool to use for publishing online with minim effort and reach capabilities for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Afterword, other specialized CMS appeared to serve other technology needs.
Still easy to use with more development effort, especially in the front end. If you are a blogger so you don’t have a problem, your thoughts will reach the world, unless you want to add your own domain name, but don’t worry, will cost pennies. The same applies for E-Commerce website, you have to bother about your inventory and logistics not the technology, others took care already.
Although it enhanced with time to have ready-made components, done by the community members or technology partners, that serve lot of needs, yet it’s about content. Those partners are seeking profits, so you find your self tight to monthly and renewal fees for every release. Your business still easy to copy, because as you find this tool, your competitor will as well. For advanced features, will have to pay more, hidden costs.
The most flexible options, yet require upfront investment. Investment may vary based on the technology used, you have to choose either Open Source, or Commercial technology. Each has it’s use and benefit. It’s your call.
It serves all type of business, not always expensive if you seek limited and unique functionalities. You will have control over every component in the website or application, hard to copy, you control its security aspects, and open choice for hosting facilities.
If you don’t have enough money to pay upfront you might reconsider this option, or you can split your project into phases.
There is no one solution that fit all scenarios. It all depends on your entity type and business goals, are you individual or freelance, startup, enterprise looking whether to have a presence online, or targeting online users by adding values, offering and promoting services, etc.
Budget and the flexibility options are factors that shape your decisions and directions, along with business stage, means if you are tight with your budget you can start with the minimum features to proof your concept till you get acceptance from your targeted market, and then move to bigger scope, some people consider it as investments, source of income increase, or asset.
Since you are reading this article so I advise you start asking for advice or consultancy from professional in this fields that are not biased to one direction, hence it will turn into a sales pitch.