The internet can be a confusing place with so many websites competing for your attention, many offering ‘the deal of a lifetime’ or ‘the best way to…’ it can be a little difficult to know who to believe or which is the best option to choose.
When creating a new website either from a blank piece of paper or a remake of an existing website one of the first decisions you will need to make is the platform the website is based on. Although at first it probably doesn’t occur to you that different platforms can perform differently in search engine results. Admittedly this was more of an issue a few years ago as platforms have now realised the value of search engine optimisation (SEO).
For this article we will assume you are going to create the website yourself rather than hiring a website designer and developer to do it for you.
What is a website Platform
First lets explain what we mean by ‘Platform’. There are many different options to create a website, from writing the code line by line to buying a website package off the shelf which is already made for you. The platform is the structure that the website is going to use to organise the content of your website. Most of these platforms are called CMS’ (Content Management Systems). They make it easy for you to organise your content and make changes when needed. I have created a list of the most common platforms below:
Standard website and Blog websites:
Free website platforms and hosting:
(there are many of these out there! – I’m not a fan of these)
Writing the code to build a website
Another option to create a website is to actually write the code yourself, this would need an understanding of the programming language you wish to use or willing to spend the time to learn it (which is fun!).
There are many programming languages out there to create websites, the most common are HTML, CSS and PHP.
The upside of writing the code is that you would be able to create a bespoke website just for your needs, the downside is it will take a lot longer.
Using a template to base your website on
Most of the CMS platforms (inc the ones mentioned above) use templates to help your customise your website. You can change the template of your website with a click of your mouse and the look of your site can be completely different. The content, like the About page or blog posts will not need updating they will simply fit into the new image of the template.
Buying an off the shelf packaged website
Finally there is the option of buying a website with the hosting included, this is often the option if you intend on creating an online shop (e-commerce) as the platform would need to handle the Shopping Cart and payment options.
So there are your main options, now as this article is really about search engine optimisation (SEO) let me explain how these options can make a difference in search engine results.
There are two main things to consider:
As mentioned above this is not as a big problem as it used to be a few years ago. To help search engines like Google and Bing to understand what your websites page is about we need to send the search engines some signals. There are many rules on what you can and can’t do in this area and we will discuss these in future posts. The important thing is to make sure the platform can send all the important signals to the search engines (don’t worry I will help you out on this).
Some platforms offer Free (often) hosting of your website and initially this might sound like a good idea. However please be warned about these! Search engines use many signals to value your website including several about the server which hosts it. There is a chance that if you share your website on a server with another website which has a bad relationship with the search engines it could pass on this to your own website.
So with all this info we are going to just give you some recommendations on safe options.
- If you are a business do NOT use a Free service, it doesn’t cost too much to host your own website with companies like TSOHost and VidaHost (a couple of our favourites).
- If ranking high up in search engines is important to you and you are not creating an e-commerce website just install WordPress. It is really easy to use and VERY SEO friendly, hence why 70% of CMS websites on the internet use WordPress.
- If you are starting an online shop you should be ok with the ones listed above, some are better than others in different areas so it is down to your own experience. I recommend creating a trial account on all and play around, which ever you find easiest then go with that one.
I know this post is very basic and looking from high up but we had to start somewhere and it makes sense to start at where you would be starting at.
If you have any questions we are all to happy to answer, additionally if you have any suggestions for people please add them to the comments below.
Next time we will be discussing the importance of the Title meta tag and how to create the Ultimate Title Tag to help your website rank high in Google.