What web development platform should I use?
Figuring out what platform to build your website on is a crucial first step to any project. The right choice lies in being aware of your website goals. Are you trying to sell a product? Is it a place for you to post and present content? Do you need a custom front and back-end system coded from scratch with the addition of special features? After looking into your needs as a business and how you’d like to use your website, we’ll get a better scope of what platform to use for your project. There are the three main options we use to create custom websites, each of which caters to different needs.
Whatever your industry, odds are you’ve heard of everyone’s favourite CMS, WordPress. WordPress is incredibly powerful and easy to use, making it a top choice for bloggers, small businesses and agencies. To give you an idea of how popular it really is, WordPress currently powers 28% of the internet (and growing), with 24 posts published worldwide per second and at 60% market share for all Content Management Systems.
So why use WordPress?
It’s an Open Source CMS
WordPress is an open-source CMS, which means anyone has the ability to freely modify and build on WordPress code without worrying about purchasing a license. This means it’s a comparatively low-cost option, as WordPress supplies the management system for our developers to work on and develop the front-end design.
It’s easy to use
The WordPress software provides a framework to create menus, pages and posts (which pertain to categories), meaning you’ll have all you need in the back-end to create a bare-bones website. Best of all, if coded well, it’s superbly easy to manage from the back-end for clients that are intending to manage their own content after launch. This includes easy form fields, logical structure and hierarchy, and easy-to-edit content in a text editor.
It’s SEO friendly
Another major benefit of WordPress is that websites hosted on the CMS generally rank well on search engines, having a structured framework to solve readability issues and are easily crawlable for keywords by Google.
When choosing WordPress, you have the option of selecting a website template, one of WordPress’ own, one purchased from elsewhere on the internet, or you can opt for a custom website built by professional developers.
If you go for the custom websites route, the biggest benefit is that your website won’t look like the out-of-the-box, standard template but instead will be an interface specifically designed for you. All this, along with the huge positive of having a user-friendly and manage dashboard that’s industry standard. Our developers and project managers work hard to make the back-end usability experience just as seamless as the front-end. This means easy flexibility but well-structured content blocks that make it simple to stay within the style guides – meaning consistency and great design site-wide.
Laravel is another one of our platforms of choice – particularly for larger scale, highly-customised projects. It’s another open-source framework that is built on PHP (just like WordPress), but with added versatility and stability to develop outstanding web programs of great complexity. Laravel has quickly become a favourite PHP framework for developers for its ease of use in the development process. This means developers are able to work much more efficiently through the programming stage with minimal potential for mistakes in code.
So why build a custom website on Laravel?
You’ll have the flexibility to develop anything you want
Laravel’s biggest benefit over WordPress is that what you develop doesn’t have to be confined to WordPress’ standard structure for things like posts, pages, attachments and so on. While Laravel allows developers to create small and large-scale applications, we recommend the framework for something a little more complex that might need custom features. For example, logins and profiles, comments, a rating system and much more!
It’s extremely secure
Laravel will operate unit testing to make sure that new updates done by developers won’t break anything else in the application. This results in a much more secure way to implement changes in any website built on the platform. These safeguard against internal breakages within the website, but Laravel is also known to be much more secure to external threats than other, more popular open-source platforms.
Clean documentation and support
A highly-important trait for a developer when selecting a platform is clear documentation. Laravel’s documentation is clean, organised and easy to understand for the user.
Its unique features can cut working time in half
Laravel has a modular framework that is designed on a large selection of libraries that split into segments. Each assumes modern PHP principles which allows for beautifully responsive websites. This combined with Laravel’s utilisation of Blade, a powerful templating engine which is unique to the Laravel framework, saves hours by allowing the developer to get straight into creating pages. Blade also keeps the developer’s code well-organised and avoids duplication of code.
Laravel also has an abundant selection of pre-installed libraries which provide a framework to program unique features. For example, Laravel’s Authentication library is very useful for creating advanced features for logins, profiles and creating a secure database for any website.
Shopify is an e-commerce software that allows you to easily set up an online store and sell goods and services. It is widely used by retailers, now powering more than 500,000 businesses in 175 countries. More than 1.2 million people actively use the Shopify backend platform to manage their website and roughly 1.3 million people purchase from a Shopify e-commerce site annually. With 500,000 businesses trusting Shopify to put through their transactions, it’s no wonder that Shopify is the most popular choice for reliable e-commerce trading.
So why choose Shopify?
It takes care of security
A major advantage of using Shopify over going solo and being responsible for your own e-commerce site is Shopify’s iron-clad security regulations. Shopify invests millions of dollars into ensuring their platform is not only secure, but adheres to PCI rules and regulations. When it comes to customer’s credit card details you’d want to make sure that every detail is safe.
One thing that is universally essential for selling products online is a über-fast load speed. There’s nothing worse than putting your details in to make a payment and getting a dreaded ‘server not responding’ notice. Shopify uses all of its resources to make sure the websites hosted have a fast initial response time and quick speeds at the built-in checkout.
It provides great hosting and technical support
Shopify combines reliable security with just as reliable hosting. The platform understands that when running an e-commerce store, technical support needs to be round the clock as well as fast, accurate and helpful. This, teamed with a comprehensive list of FAQs makes Shopify a very well-supported platform.
The SEO is low maintenance
Shopifys allows easy addition of title tags and meta descriptions which allow search engines to easily index your site, like WordPress. Of course, there are manual ways to make sure your site is better ranked by search engines such as keyword testing, regular content updates etc. However, this will ensure your site has the bare minimum to be ranked well.
If this still sounds a little confusing, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are experts in custom websites and work hard to stay in-the-know about the best processes for creating websites of all types and sizes. To learn more about out custom website process, contact us to have a chat about your next project.