Website Design

Questions You Must Answer Before Selecting a Website Platform

Photo of Jasmine LeBlanc Jasmine LeBlanc - June 14, 2018

Selecting a website platform can be overwhelming since there are plenty of options and you want to choose the best one for your needs. While you can listen to other people’s opinions about what works best for them, at the end of the day, you need to thoroughly research the website platform that will benefit your organization the most. To help you with that process, we formulated a list of questions to consider when selecting a website platform.

What Is a Website Platform?

Woman-Determining-Best-Website-PlatformPut simply, a website platform is what you use as the foundation of your website. It is the system that you or your team will have to use to maintain your website over time. Choosing the right one for your organization is essential because you want to ensure it can support the goals you set for your website and is easy to manage.

Questions to Consider When Selecting a Website Platform

We broke down the questions you should consider into three categories: internal team, features, and budget.

Internal Team

These questions regarding the size and capabilities of your organization’s team will help you narrow down your website platform choice.

  • How many people will be managing the website?

If you are counting on having multiple people on your internal team manage your site, then you need to avoid platforms that only have a one-person content management system, like Wix and SquareSpace.

  • Will the people managing the website be internal or an external agency?

While there are pros and cons to managing your website internally versus using an external agency, it’s important that you know the answer to this question before selecting a website platform.

If you are using an external agency, they will most likely have more technical capabilities, so there will be more options for choosing a website platform. If you are a nonprofit organization, then you may be able to recruit tech-savvy volunteers to help you manage your website.

  • If internal, what are the technical capabilities of your team?

You have to answer this question honestly if you are going to manage your website internally. If your internal team isn’t fluent with technology, then you should avoid a website platform with a large, technical content management system like Joomla or Drupal.

Features

Prior to selecting a website platform, you need to uncover what functionalities and capabilities your website will need to have. Doing so will decrease your platform options and help you pick the one best-suited for your organization.

  • Consider if your website will need the following functionalities:
    • Ecommerce

      Does your website need to sell your products and have the ability to accept online payments?

    • Donation management system

      If you’re a nonprofit, does your website need to support the donation management system you choose so that your users can easily contribute?

    • Lead Generation

      Does your website need to be capable of having multiple forms for leads to enter their contact information?

    • Event registration

      Will your website need to provide event registration forms and information to your users? Does your website need to be capable of integrating with external online event registration systems?

    • Automation

      Will you be repeating tasks on your website weekly, monthly, or quarterly?

  • Do you need drag and drop capabilities?

If you are not on the tech-savvy side of website development, then you may need to consider a website platform that has drag and drop webpage builders. Popular website platforms that offer this feature are WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace.

Budget

  • Will this be in phases because of budget constraints?

Your budget may not allow you to incorporate all of the functionalities your website needs all at once. You may need to launch your website in phases. This is important to consider because you may be able to start with a low-cost, basic website platform and later upgrade to a platform with additional features when you have the available budget.

  • What will you prioritize based on your budget?

Your budget will help narrow down your website platform options. Based on your options, you will have to prioritize your website’s goals. For example, if your primary website goal is to have ecommerce capabilities, then you will need to select a solution that allows you to have that function while remaining in your budget.

If you can’t find a solution that supports your primary website goal within your current budget, then you’ll have to decide whether to adjust your goals or your budget.

 

These questions should help you narrow down your website platform options and assist you in making an educated and informed decision for your site. When you choose the right platform for your organization’s website, you will decrease the limitations you come across because you’ll have selected the one that best fits your needs.

Redesigning your website? Download our free planning template that will help you thoroughly plan and track your progress—from creating a strategy to launching it!