Looking to build a website for your business? You’ll need to start with a solid backend. The backend is the code that connects your website and its content to the world, and works with the front end to deliver a dazzling and user-friendly product to your potential customers.
Sound complicated? Fortunately, there are a number of platforms that make this process easier. We asked professionals in business and web development to talk about the best website builder programs to help you create a powerful site that fits your needs without the headache of starting from scratch.
Designer, Developer & Digital Marketer
WordPress is Best
The best website backend for most individuals and small businesses is WordPress CMS.
This is for a few reasons:
1. It is widely supported and powers over 30% of the internet and web pages that exist.
2. Due to its popularity, there’s a plethora of resources, YouTube tutorial videos and other developers you can hire to help.
3. It can be easily modified for just about any website use case scenario.
WordPress, like other backends, is far from perfect, but it’s the most functional and flexible option, and there’s no shortage of info online to help you learn how to use it properly.
What’s best for you?
Often, the right question to ask isn’t which website backend is the best — it’s which website backend is the best for you. For business owners whose needs are relatively simple, the “cookie-cutter” website builders like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace shouldn’t be overlooked. In this case, “simple” can be defined as non-interactive. In other words, the “cookie-cutter” website builders are designed primarily for showing information to customers, not collecting information from customers — at least, not detailed information.
Website builders like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace can handle contact forms and basic eCommerce. Appointment scheduling, online learning, or interactive designs are typically well outside their reach. It’s vitally important for business owners to think about what they’ll need five years down the road. There’s nothing worse than spending months building a website on a platform, only to realize you need to switch because that backend can’t do what you need it to do.
Almost everyone has heard of WordPress, and although it’s supposed to be simple, usually it isn’t — at least at first. The plus side of WordPress, and the reason why we use it for our websites, is that it’s entirely customizable. For example, we needed a backend that would allow us to generate custom webpages for every kind of cell phone and give visitors the ability to search, filter, and compare every phone. There isn’t a website backend in the world that would have allowed us to do that “out of the box.”
WordPress is a “head start.” Business owners don’t have to create an entire website framework from scratch. It’s hugely popular, and it’s solid, but it requires some simple maintenance and professional customization to get it to look just right. Sometimes I think of WordPress as “the best of the worst,” because every website backend has its pros and cons.
To wrap it up, businesses with very simple needs and limited budgets should use Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, or another easy-to-use website builder. Business owners who have more complex needs should choose a backend like WordPress that gives them the ability to build the exact functionality they need. Above all, business owners need to think ahead so they don’t back themselves into a corner by choosing the wrong website backend and having to switch at some point down the road.
David Payette is the founder of upphone.com and payetteforward.com, cell phone comparison and help websites visited by over 1.5 million people per month. His YouTube videos have been viewed over 10,000,000 times. David runs a team of 15 employees, freelancers, and interns.
There is no correct answer
There isn’t really a correct answer to this question as everything depends on how you want your website to work. Each type has its own pros and cons, and different backends are suited to different cases.
For lots of projects, an elaborate backend is just not needed; simple websites don’t need to use the likes of React, Django or Vue. But for a great, flexible option, I’d recommend Angular. It’s simple enough to use on smaller, less complex projects, but is very easily scalable and there’s plenty of online support due to its popularity.
The documentation for Angular is extensive but user friendly, which makes it so much easier for Devs to find key details quickly, and it has excellent support to MVC structures. Because it’s developed by Google, Angular receives regular updates and improvements, so you can be confident it’s a solution that will last.
What is your circumstance?
Don’t self-host whenever you can.
Just subscribe to an easy to use site like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, WordPress or others. They all pretty much do the same thing, ranging from a static site to something more like a blog. There will be lots of out of the box (free) templates to use, or you can buy premium ones. There’s no need to have someone build a custom template. Don’t waste your time with it, at least at the start.
Best ecommerce platforms
If you want to run an online store, there’s no reason not to choose Shopify or BigCommerce. Again, it just works, there’s little setup and you’ll be selling in minutes. In my experience, the seeming savings from running anything on your own are far outweighed by the setup and maintenance costs involved.
Once you’re doing something very unique you could consider having someone build you a custom solution. At that point, work with someone that can make a good tech decision, because you’ll be wedded to that decision for the foreseeable future, but also note that platform choices likely won’t make or break your company. Whether you’re using the coolest language or the hottest new framework will only matter in attracting quality developers who are capable in these technologies. Python, PHP and Java are definitely safe bets and they all have their merits for different applications.
This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.