When developing a website, entrepreneurs have three primary approaches along a spectrum of complexity from “do-it-yourself” sites to fully customized built and hosted sites, to hybrids falling somewhere in between.
Which approach is best for your business is a matter of time, cost and experience, both in initial development and ongoing site maintenance.
“Do-it-Yourself (DIY)” platforms:
The easiest and least expensive way to establish a website is through one of many “do-it-yourself” web platforms including web.com, wix.com, weebly.com and godaddy.com. These services provide a turnkey solution offering users a domain name, hosting platform, customizable design templates and a variety of plug-in apps to enable activities such as e-commerce. These site-builders often provide access to stock photography as well as enable the user to upload their own images. These platforms leverage a “WYSIWYG” (what you see is what you get) approach to design, meaning an individual with no technical skills can design a website.
Professionally designed websites:
On the opposite end of the spectrum are custom designed websites. These sites require selection of a website host and custom development of the site architecture; and as such, will most often require assistance from one or more professionals to help create and manage the website. Because of their complexity and the resources necessary, they are often a more expensive option. Some of the key considerations and resources in this approach include:
- A web hosting platform – the electronic system that will house the website.
- A domain name.
- A web designer or team knowledgeable in user experience, site design and programming languages to manage the development of the site. These individuals (or others like them) can handle ongoing maintenance of the site once live.
- Content resources to create copy, images or video for the site itself.
Many food companies find their needs lie somewhere in between the two models described above and WordPress provides a solution. From its beginnings as a blogging site, WordPress has evolved into the dominant website platform powering 39% of all websites6. It is a highly customizable, but easy to use platform popular with many small and medium sized businesses. Similar to do it yourself (DIY) tools, WordPress offers customizable templates, though the freedom to edit is far greater than with DIY sites. With that freedom comes a slightly more complicated programming interface. Unlike DIY sites, a WordPress site requires the user to host and maintain the site on a separate web hosting platform. A WordPress site, while relatively straight-forward, requires some level of experience to manage efficiently. A food business may want to outsource the management of a WordPress site if they do not have the technical abilities, interest or time to learn.
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The blog sections of DIY website builders offer some great guidance. Here’s some of our favorites: