If you’ve been thinking about starting an online business of any kind, you need a website. Website Creation is one of the Five Foundational Elements you must have to be successful in business online.
If you’ve never created a website before, the entire concept can be overwhelming. Deciding what platform to use can be really confusing. Don’t Panic! I’ve broken it down for you!
There are basically three different types of website platforms:
- Free-standing sites with independent hosting
- Bundled sites with dependent hosting
- All in one solutions, which combine a bundled site with other services, such as email and courses or memberships
Let’s take a closer look at each.
1. Free Standing Websites
These are the oldest type of websites, and probably the most common. With a free standing website, the website itself, which is the collective of webpages, “lives” with a host, through which it interacts with the world wide web.
The major benefits of creating a free standing website are
- Maximum ability to customize
- The ability to easily move the site to a new host without having to recreate what already exists
- Lowest cost to get started
In the past, free standing websites were complicated to create, and often required complex coding. Fortunately, a variety of website builder programs have been created over the years making it possible for someone with little or no web development experience to build their own site… no coding required!
These days, the most common type of free standing website for online businesses likely utilizes WordPress.
WordPress is a program that can be installed on your domain (cariwise.com is an example of a domain) to make website creation pretty easy. There are also thousands of add-on programs, called plugins, that can be added to wordpress-based websites. Plugins are one of the things make these websites really to customize.
2. Bundled Websites
Bundled platforms are the second type of website platform, and were likely created to make website creation easier for the non-techy person. With bundled sites, the website and hosting are dependent on each other, which means they cannot be separated.
Bundled platforms usually include a user-friendly website builder, and a variety of features that can be incorporated and customized.
Sounds pretty good.
Unfortunately, there are limits to what you can create with a bundled website. Which means as your business grows and you want to incorporate more advanced features, you will probably have to start over from scratch.
Why from scratch?
Because remember these types of websites are bundled… they are dependent on the host, so you will not be able to move the website to a different host down the road.
Personally, I want more freedom, and I don’t really like to have all my eggs in one basket.
To put this in perspective, consider this: What are you going to do if your bundled website company has a catastrophic failure or goes out of business? It’s likely your website could just disappear.
The cost is another thing to take into account when considering a bundled website. The “convenience” of having your website, hosting and builder all bundled as one comes with a higher price tag than a free-standing website.
A few examples of bundled website platforms, all of which have loads of happy customers and appear to function pretty well, include Squarespace, Weebly, Wix and WordPress.COM.
I know, I know. A few paragraphs ago I was talking about WordPress on free standing websites, and now I just mentioned WordPress with bundled sites. Let’s sort this out using a little history.
WordPress began as a bundled site specifically for blogging, but over time it evolved. Although it is still possible to create a bundled WordPress site through wordpress.com, it is not necessary nor recommended.
If you want to build on WordPress, you are much better off using the version that installs on a free standing domain so you can get all the benefits of an awesome platform, along with all the freedom.
3. All-In-One Website Solutions
The third type of website platform is the all-in-one website solution. This type allows you to create a bundled website, and includes additional features, such as email service or sales funnel design. Most of these can also host your digital courses or memberships too.
Well…. Kind of. For someone who wants the fewest number of programs possible, and needs it to be pretty easy to put together, these are a great solution. However, like with bundled websites, there are limits to what type of website you can create without having to hire a coder to work around the existing system.
Kind of a pain in the… backside.
And again, there is the all eggs in one basket concern… along with the inability to move off the platform without recreating from scratch. A catastrophic failure in one of these systems could destroy your website, digital course, membership site, email system and sales funnel in one fell swoop.
Now I’m not aware of this having ever happened…. But after recently seeing a friend’s all-in-one platform suffer a major issue on the last day of a program launch which impacted email delivery and the sales funnel… I’m just not confident enough to risk relying on one platform for all my essential systems.
The Truth About Technology
When it comes to technology, it’s not a matter of IF it fails, but WHEN. So it’s a good idea to have some general idea of how you can get back up and running quickly if something goes wrong. With all-in-one solutions, you are pretty much at the mercy of the platform.
So what’s the bottom line?
For me it’s a free standing website utilizing WordPress for the win. Ultimate flexibility. Ultimate control.
AMAZING plugins out there that make website creation a breeze. My personal favorite is Thrive Themes and their membership includes all of their plugins including a super easy webpage builder.
With any type of website platform, you’ll be learning something new. So save yourself some major headaches down the road and just start with a free standing WordPress website.
If you are feeling a little intimidated or overwhelmed by the possibility, don’t panic! In my new course, The Online Business Bootcamp, I’ll be walking my students step-by-step through basic website creation using a free standing website with WordPress platform as my base.
What’s step-by-step? It’s literally “do this, click here, check this box” detailed instruction. If you can watch a video and follow along, you can build your website! The course begins in March 2019 and registration will be opening soon.
If you found this blog helpful, please consider sharing with a friend or colleague who might benefit from the information. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email or DM me on Instagram (@CariWise). I’d love to hear from you!
Whether you are working to build a business in coaching, consulting, online courses, or physical product sales, please remember this….
The number one thing you can do to move your online business dream closer to reality is to just keep going!