The world of digital marketing has become a complex one. Even specialists need to keep their skills constantly primed with the latest technology and practices. So it’s no surprise that the average small business often finds itself struggling to keep its digital footprint well-primed. So why not engage a digital media house? After all the most savvy of digital media houses are surely better equipped than the average business owner, what with their talented teams of young creatives and energetic tech-geeks, working around the clock to strengthen the online brands of their clients.
But with the demand for digital skills ever outpacing the talent, prices for quality digital services have shot up. In this sense the daunting digital dilemma for the average business owner can present an insurmountable challenge. But hold on, before you press that ‘x’ on the top left of your browser window, I have a message of hope. A bunch of suppliers out there have been working on solutions to simplify processes and empower small businesses. Today I’ll delve into two of my favourite options, which I believe can easily give a business a powerful, eye-catching web presence with a bunch of clicks.
An effortless route to setting up a website: WordPress.com
WordPress.com has created a user-friendly solution that even the more digi-clueless business owner can easily muster. With a bunch of clicks you can sign up for one of its plans and get going with your very own site. Choosing the right plan is an important part of the process. The Premium plan allows you to access better themes and customisation than with a personal plan. But for access to SEO features, removal of WordPress branding and to integrate your analytics with Google you’re really going to want to sign up to the Business Plan. The Business Plan is going to cost you around €300 per year, but will give you most of what you need. The Business Plan also allows you to install plugins, which widens considerably the options and functionality of your website. Even though many basic users might at first see this as an unnecessary feature, I find that the restrictions of the Premium Plan quickly lead to the conclusion that the Business Plan is not so much an optional upgrade. While WordPress.com will easily allow you to upgrade from Premium to Business at any stage of your subscription, the point is that you better factor in the Business package into your costings because if you’re basing your decision to go for a WordPress.com subscription on the pricing of a Premium Plan you’re soon going to feel shortchanged.
- Easy to set up and use
- Business plan gives you unlimited storage space, SEO tools, ability to install plugins and easy Google Analytics integration
- Very good customer support
- Allows you to export site if you decide to move to another platform
- Any plan that costs less than the Business Plan contains significant restrictions, particularly relating to SEO. This can significantly hamper web presence.
- No ftp access and no access to source files in general.
- It’s a bit of a closed box. This could be a plus if you’re not interested in seeing what’s inside, but if you’re going to need customisation at some point this will be a problem.
If you’re after a simple process to quickly setting up your website, and consider the 300€ price tag for a Business Plan acceptable, then we’d highly recommend WordPress.com. However if you’re thinking your site might require coding customisation at some point, or if you’d prefer to go for a cheaper option, even if it might take you more time to customise, then WordPress.com might not be for you.
A user friendly solution with more power and flexibility: Siteground.com
Siteground rank as having the best customer support in the hosting market. Their hosting services also allow for one-click WordPress installation. So if you’re looking for a simple way to set up your site but aren’t afraid to go that extra mile, Siteground gives you much more flexibility and functionality than the WordPress.com option. When you sign up for one of the plans on Siteground their support will help you get started. They will basically install WordPress on their server and can also assist you in setting up the domain to make sure your site is fully up and running. From there on its up to you whether to log in through the wp-admin page of your WordPress instance (i.e. just type in your domain plus /wp-admin to access your WordPress back-end), whether to enter through the cPanel and edit the files directly from there, or whether to use an FTP client to manage the files.
- Incredibly great support
- Good speed as long as you respect the plan parameters.
- Access to source files means you have complete control
- Relatively easy to setup
- Might seem a little more complicated for the less internet savvy user. The look and feel of the user panel is also more clunky
- The plan is not automatically scalable as with other alternatives such as Amazon and Azure.
Siteground is currently our favourite WordPress hosting option. The ease-of-use complemented with the great support and the customisability of the site make it a great and cost-effective option.
Disclaimer: We’ve shared our honest views about each of these platforms and we receive no payment for the reviews above. But if you’re thinking of signing up to either of them we’d appreciate if you’d click on the following affiliate links to help support this blog: Siteground WordPress.com