In my “Startups Suck” post, I alluded to the excitement of being ready to sell. You finally come up with a product that sparks people’s interest and, all of a sudden, you start thinking it’s time to do business. It’s undeniably a thrilling moment, but it’s also important at this pint to be able to decide what selling method you are going to use. Today –– for many, at least –– this boils down to a simple decision: Should you build a website for your budding business, or use an all-in-one platform like Shopify?
Let’s compare the options….
Building a Website
A Variety of Templates
Building a website used to be a lot more complex, requiring the use of HTML and CSS codes for the most basic functions. But today anyone can buy an advanced WordPress template that comes with multiple layout and style options. It’s also increasingly popular to opt for low-code design platforms like Squarespace or Wix –– which also comes with lots of templates. All of these options allow you to build a professional-looking website without having to input a single piece of code.
If you install a template using a platform like those discussed above, you’ll find it to be extremely user-friendly, allowing you to add functionality to your site just by clicking on a button and installing a plugin. These ready-made pieces of code allow you to create a gallery, offer your clients a contact form, or place a social media icon where you want it. Many of these plugins come for free, but even if you need to pay it’s usually a small amount.
The main advantage of creating your own website is that, on paper, there are no limits to what you can do. You may quickly find that a particular template has some limitations, but if you learn to code or hire a professional web developer –– or if you simply keep looking for fresh options –– you’ll be able to find just the look and functionality you want for your store.
One of the biggest advantages of using Shopify to set up a store is that it comes with built-in security measures. The platform provides a free, secure SSL certificate, which a piece on Forbes explains is essential for online stores. Basically it ensures that store visitors’ data will be transferred over a secure network. It also prevents your platform from being filtered by some firewalls and anti-virus programs.
Built-in Marketing Tools
It’s also important to point out that a lot of the tools you’d have to add to a website are essentially built in with Shopify. Most notably, a Shopify review at AskMoney highlights that the platform comes with built-in search engine optimization tools, making it easier for people to find your store through Google. The platform also makes it easier to launch and manage social media campaigns using Facebook, as well as implement keyword-based ads with Google.
Arguably the main advantage of a platform like Shopify is that it eliminates the need of building a catalog and shopping cart system from scratch. This process can take a lot of time, even when working with experienced designers or a site builder that doesn’t require coding. But Shopify helps you to quickly set up a catalog that is simple to browse and has a professional look, making it easy to earn your clients’ trust.
Even if you have a really good product, a bad shopping experience can seriously reduce your sales. In order to prevent this, you need to build a professional-looking and versatile online store that offers all the security measures and convenience people expect. Whether you do this by building a website from scratch or creating a store with Shopify depends on how specific the design you have in mind is, and what kinds of features or customizations you have in mind.