If your CBD company is new to the scene, then you’ll want to put your best foot forward. Website platforms are a huge part of your business’ success, and even more so if it’ll be your business’ primary source of revenue.
A good starting point is to establish what the main function of your website will be. Will it be for ecommerce? A place to lead customers to your brick-and-mortar store? Or a referral tool for a service even? From there, start to think about the features you want to be included on your website. Since most CBD companies sell directly through their websites, we’ll be focusing on ecommerce web platforms here.
Because the CBD industry is still very new–and many companies, like Facebook and Google, want to play it safe by not allowing ads–some website platforms have kicked CBD companies off. To avoid any future pains, make sure to check the platforms’ policy and terms and conditions section for any warning signs for cannabis-related companies.
Squarespace is a good starting point, especially for new CBD businesses with a low budget. It ticks a lot of the necessary boxes like pricing and useability. For those who don’t have the means to work with a web developer, the easy-to-use platform is a good option, and provides a platform to make beautifully designed websites without having to code.
As with everything, there are pros and cons, but the positives of Squarespace outweigh the negatives. From a backend standpoint, it’s relatively easy to use, with professional themes that are current and visually appealing.
On the operations side of things, Squarespace makes running an ecommerce page simple. There are built in analytics so you can track everything yourself, plus it offers ecommerce templates.
The websites are optimized for mobile phones, making it easy for customers to buy your products on the go. And with 70% of web traffic happening on mobile devices, this is essential.
The themes however can be restrictive for custom designs. If you’re looking to personalize your website, then a web developer might be the route to take. They also don’t have a plugin marketplace to add third party widgets, so, like the theme restriction, you’ll want to know what you need in a website platform before your dive head first into using a one that might not be right for your business.
Wordpress is one of the most popular website platforms. It’s ecommerce extension, WooCommerce, runs 25% of all websites worldwide! Unlike Shopify though, it doesn’t come with everything integrated and it doesn’t offer hosting.
In order to have a fully functioning ecommerce website, you will need to find a host and install Wordpress on it. From there you choose a theme that’s compatible with WooCommerce, and finally install the WooCommerce plugin. It’s a process, and it leaves room for complication, but that’s Wordpress’ biggest downfall. If this is a non-issue for you, then read on.
The great thing about Wordpress is that it’s easy to use and has an intuitive interface that doesn’t require any coding knowledge to work with it. It offers advanced features for larger online stores too; a selection of plugins and extensions so that your website functions like you want it to.
When it comes to the design of your website, there are tons of both free and paid themes so that you can control the look and functionality of your website. With Wordpress, there is a lot of freedom and flexibility, since they have many plug-ins available.
Shopify has over 1,000,000 active users and for good reason. The ecommerce website builder has hundreds of built-in features, templates that can be customized for different needs and it’s compatible for the sale of both physical and digital goods.
The great thing about Shopify is that it works for a variety of business’ needs and resources. If you’re looking to keep it simple, don’t fret, the platform offers 70+ professional themes and it’s designed so that a web developer isn’t necessary. However, there is an option that lets you edit both the HTML and CSS; allowing you the freedom to design your website exactly as you’d like.
The website builder is one of the strongest on the market today. That’s because it enables businesses to sell across multiple platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay.
And like Squarespace, Shopify includes a built-in mobile commerce shopping cart.
A few downfalls of the platform that you’ll want to consider are it’s kludgy storefront creation process, which requires you to switch between both the editor and dashboard and it’s inability to reformat your website’s content if you switch it to a different theme. Overall, Shopify is a strong, viable option for your CBD business.
Depending on what you’re looking for, your website choice for your CBD business will be different. But, these three are leading the way in the web platform and builder scene and they all have something useful to offer. All of their pros outweigh their cons, but Shopify especially takes the cake with the best features for a website builder.