Article By Pierre Zarokian.
Web design has come a long way since the early days of primitive HTML and CSS programming. New technologies and advances have allowed web designers to accomplish things the earliest programmers could only dream of. In today’s web design landscape, there are a number of platforms that can help your websites reach their highest potential. Here are some of the best web design platforms that we recommend.
WordPress is one of the most popular web design platforms, as it is used by 35% of websites on the Internet today. Though it was conceived as a blogging platform, today’s WordPress is an amazingly versatile open-source platform with an endless array of free and paid plugins for added features and functionalities, such as e-commerce and SEO plugins. It is also a Content management System (CMS), meaning you or your clients can easily edit the content online. With WordPress you can also easily move your website or hosting to any hosting company.
Dreamweaver gained popularity as a platform that allowed you to code websites visually, automatically converting website designs into HTML for you. Dreamweaver is still a highly customizable, graphic design-friendly platform, although it is not as easy as WordPress.
Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace
These three platforms make it easy for beginners to create eye-catching web pages through their massive list of attractive, high-quality templates. Just be warned that once you choose a template on Wix, you’ll have to start over from scratch if you switch to another one. Also, Wix and Weebly have free and paid versions, while Squarespace is exclusively a paid web design platform. These platforms are all CMS. Also, if you ever want to move your website to another hosting you would not be able to do so, you are stuck with the platform that you pick and moving to another posting or platform, would require a redesign.
When it comes to e-commerce, Magento is one of the most trusted web design platforms for the world’s biggest retailers. Its malleable source code and many features give users access to many options such as price variation and SEO optimization. However, Magento’s payment plans are quite expensive, making it ideal only for large retailers. There is a free “Magento Community Edition,” though it lacks the support and important extensions of the paid version. Some of the biggest ecommerce sites like Louboutin, Coca Cola and Nike use Magento. Magento also is also a CMS.
Shopify is a more convenient and affordable alternative to Magento for e-commerce websites. It also comes with its own hosting, so you won’t have to pay extra. Like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace, it is a beginner-friendly, template-based platform, which also means that it won’t be as flexible as Magento. Some of the bigger companies using Shopify are Budweiser, Tesla and Kylese Cismetics.
Like WordPress, Joomla is a CMS (content management system). It shares many of WordPress’s advantages, such as a large number of customizable plugins, as well as e-commerce and SEO support. Joomla also has better security support and is easier to modify through coding than WordPress. However, it is not as customizable or user-friendly as WordPress, requiring some programming experience to use effectively.
Drupal is the CMS that lets advanced programmers bring their most inventive ideas to life. It allows complex coding for websites that require heavy customization to meet clients’ expectations. As mentioned before, this platform is a powerful tool in the hands of an experienced web designer, but it was not designed for beginner web developers, so it’s best to leave this one to the experts.
There are many other platforms out there worth a look. If you are going to do ecommerce you may also look into OsCommerce, Volusion and Big Commerce. My most important advice here is to do your research well, because it is not cheap to make a website or easy to switch one you make one, so you want to make sure to use the right platform from the get go.
Pierre Zarokian is the founder of Web Design Express, a web design company in Glendale, CA. Read more articles at Pierre Zarokian’s Blog.