Emmanuel Raheb is the CEO of Smart Age Solutions, a digital ad agency and coveted Premier Google Partner. Contact him at eraheb@smartagesolutions.com.
According to The Local Search Association’s study, “The Digital Consumers,” 63 percent of consumers use websites to find or engage with local businesses.

This means that businesses without websites that add value to the consumer research process, are easy to use, and clearly and succinctly convey information about the product/brand are missing out on opportunities to get customers to fulfill a call to action.

Your website is your company’s digital storefront. Oftentimes, it is the first impression that consumers get from your business. The wrong first impression might mean that customers never make it to your physical store.
    
One of the first steps that go into creating the right site for your business is determining what goals you have for the website. What I’ve found is that people pay tons of money but then they realize the website they’ve spent all this money on doesn’t align with their goals.

The four types of web platforms on the market are: e-commerce, content-based, proprietary and DIY builders. Below, I explain each one while outlining their pros and cons.

20180911 four solutions graphic

1. E-commerce Solutions

At first glance, creating an e-commerce site for luxury jewelry might seem like a waste of resources. Most jewelry buyers like to see the items in person.

However, online sales for the luxury industry, which were 6 percent in 2016, are projected to grow to 18 percent in 2025, according to a report from McKinsey & Co. This means that e-commerce sites in this industry will become increasingly more relevant.

E-commerce solutions are very scalable and have unique features like inventory tracking and the ability to process transactions that other types of web builders won’t necessarily have. The source code is open to any development company so your website can easily grow along with your business.

However, using this option requires a higher level of expertise, which makes it difficult to build a site alone.

2. Proprietary Solutions

Closed-source technology companies are a good solution for those who are new to creating a website and want one that is relatively inexpensive.

The company that owns the source code will typically take care of any issues you have with the CMS and perform any software updates.

One thing to consider, however, is that switching web platforms may be difficult or impossible since the technical back-end of your site is built with closed source software. Proprietary solutions also have scalability limited by the company that created them. 

3. Content-Based Solutions
20180911 keyboardContent-based platforms are perfect for bloggers and businesses selling intangible services but not so much for brick-and-mortar jewelry stores. (Source: iStockPhoto.com)
Content-based solutions are primarily made for blogs where you can publish unique content. They are also good for brick-and-mortar businesses, like repair or pawn shops, that don’t have products that need to be visually displayed on the site.

Other businesses may find that this option is not robust enough for their needs because of the limited features.

Although this solution is easy to use, its limitations mean that some users will find it difficult to develop an intricate navigational structure that allows customers to explore product offerings with ease. I do not recommend using a content-based website.

4. DIY Platforms

Barriers to entry for website creation no longer exist because of builders that allow people with no technical knowledge to easily create their own site for a relatively low cost.

DIY platforms seem to be an easy-to-use option, but setting up a website is very time consuming. You have to write your own compelling content and find high-quality images, among other tasks. In the long term, limited scalability may hinder your growth.

Some businesses might have multiple goals, in which case you must do research on specific site builders that serve several purposes. For example, you may need an e-commerce site that lets you post blog content.

Within all of these platforms types there are a variety of features available. Consider which features are most important to you before making a decision. Remember that this software will serve as the foundation of your website, and anything built on a rocky foundation will crumble.

Emmanuel Raheb is the CEO of Smart Age Solutions, a digital ad agency and coveted Premier Google Partner. With nearly 18 years’ digital marketing and e-commerce experience, Raheb is passionate about helping and strategically growing national jewelry brands and local retailers alike. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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