Choosing a Host and Website Builder

This week we had to select a site builder and a website host. This article describes the process I followed to reach my decision.

Choosing a Website Builder

My website is required to support selling products through an affiliate program. I didn’t want anything too complex; it had to be simple and intuitive, and be able to support content marketing.

I chose WordPress because 20%-25% of websites around the world run on WordPress. They use WordPress because;

  • It is easy to use
  • There are no license fees and is free to use
  • It is portable and does not tie me to any propriety systems
  • It is flexible and we can find 1000s of themes and plug-ins for almost any required functionality
  • Adding content and changing themes can be done quickly
  • It is search engine friendly
  • It is easy to manage through the WordPress dashboard
  • It can handle different types of media including text, images, audio, and video content

As a leader in CMS (Content Management Systems), WordPress drives search engine visibility through the use of targeted keywords and phrases in the content. This allows me to target my content towards a specific audience. WordPress also allows us to build a community using links to social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and it has a built in e-mail system.

WordPress is also good for turning site visits into leads and sales. Using the Google Analytics plug-in, I can track which content gets the most visits, and which are shared or commented on. This allows me to monitor and control my site by removing poor content and build on my good content.

comparison

There are many good website builder tools I could have considered for building my website. However, if I want to build something for the long-term, in other words, a website that is scalable, flexible, and robust, I believe that WordPress meets all the criteria that are important to me.

Choosing a Host

Choosing a host was a difficult assignment this week. Going to individual hosting sites was like dealing with used car sales people who only tell you the good about their products. To find out the pros and cons of various hosting companies, I reviewed the comments on a few hosting review sites such as www.pcmag.com,www.whoshostingthis.com and the link provided in the assignment information, http://www.top10hostinglist.com/ to look at their recommendations. Curiously, only two hosting companies appeared in all three reviews; bluehost and InMotion. 4 hosting companies appeared in 2 of the reviews, and 16 companies only appeared in one of the reviews. This suggests that selecting a hosting company is dependent on what is important to the reviewer.

The scores below for each host relates to their position in the review list so a low score is good. I gave 11 points if the hosting company did not appear in the review.

review-scores

From my initial comparison, I was able to reduce my list of hosting companies to Bluehost, IPage, Hostgator, and eHost (ranked 8). These companies all provided the things that were important to me which are, support for WordPress, Google Analytics, AdSense and eCommerce capabilities.

Any one of these 4 products would have worked for me so it came down to price. Bluehost and Hostgator are large players in the web hosting environment and were a little more expensive than the smaller companies. I selected iPage over eHost for this course because there is a monthly fee for security (SiteLock) associated with eHost. Data security is important to me because we will be building a business site and we need to be able to keep customer’s personal data secure. Also, iPage was in the top 2 for two of the reviews. (Strange that wasn’t in the PCMag list at all.)

Bottomline, I chose WordPress because of its simplicity, scalability and transportability, and I chose iPage because of it’s price. If I outgrow iPage, I have the ability to move my website to larger hosting company such as Hostgator or Bluehost.

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