Pros and Cons of Various Web Building Platforms


There are many platforms that allow you to build a website quickly and easily. Deciding that builder, isn’t so easy. This article is aimed at helping you find the best web building platform for you and your business presented by Tom at Go Smart Media. For more information check out his other articles or his website.

1. Squarespace

The best for beginners so to say, very accessible for newcomers with lots of template selections (design and categories) Very user-friendly with an intuitive UI. A perfect option for people who want a build a hassle-free clean and simple website without having to be focused on being tech-savvy. It comes with a monthly fee and an E-commerce platform, similar to the next option I’m going to discuss Wix. All in all offers a wide selection of themes and is very responsive. If you’re a newcomer, an extremely viable option and choice.


• Easy, simple, and clean intuitive design and UI
• Lots of free template selections for a variety of categories
• Mobile friendly and responsive
• Easy to set up and maintain
• Diverse range in terms of design options


• Not as good as WordPress in terms of SEO
• Add-Dropping can be tedious
• Different editing and live preview screen

2. Wix

When stacked up against open-source platforms say python or WordPress, Wix has held its own and it’s extremely popular amongst web designers for its diverse customizability. Due to not being open-source, it can limit the number of available tools but despite this, it ensures up to par quality. The advantage with Wix is despite its limitations its plugins will not affect site responsiveness making it a very good option for people looking for an easy and simple website setup. Just like with Squarespace, it has a monthly fees.


• Wide variety of template selection and design options
• Ability to add animation and videos
• Free plugins
• Extremely flexible when it comes to designing


• Can be expensive
• Limited tools due to being a proprietary platform
• Not recommended for E-Commerce

3. Weebly

Anyone familiar with Squarespace should feel at home using Weebly’s add-drop interface. Very easy and simple to use, offers flexibility with various themes and add-ons etc. Compared to the others, however, its flexibility is quite limited.


• User friendly with decent SEO
• Easy drag and drop features
• Very responsive (both on mobile and desktop browsers)


• Basic design options
• Ad’s are visible on the free version
• Not recommended for bloggers (needs improvement on those features)

4. Django (CMS)

For the gurus and one of my favorites primarily due to its security, unlike WordPress which is built on the PHP language, the Django framework is built on the powerful python language making it extremely robust in terms of design as well as security. Provides built-in authentication making it less prone to human error protecting sites from SQL injections, CSRF attacks and cross-site forgery, and other common vulnerabilities. It’s open-source with good technical knowledge it can be molded into anything. It’s also extremely scalable due to rapid development when it comes to designing from scratch. You can design anything on this the only drawback is the language, python is more complex than PHP, meaning high-level programming expertise/knowledge is a must. 


• Free open-source web framework anyone can utilize it
• Includes all the functionality to build an extremely intuitive web design
• Extremely versatile, build backend APIs
• Authentication management
• Extremely secure
• Create your own content management system (CMS)


• Requires a lot of coding knowledge and expertise otherwise there are no limitations in terms of design and versatility with Django
• Not really necessary for small businesses

5. Joomla

Not a very popular option but for anyone who is looking for another alternative to say Weebly or Squarespace then this is worth a try simply due to a wider selection in themes and extensions overall. It’s the best of both worlds, especially for people who didn’t find what they were looking for with Wix or Squarespace.


• A plethora of design templates to choose from (more than Wix and Squarespace)
• Lots of free extensions
• Open Sourced


• Known for its compatibility issues in some cases
• Doesn’t have a seamless navigation
• Adjustment options are rather limited

6. Drupal

More of a modular design platform and works extremely well with medium to large enterprises, due to its modular structure it’s very customizable able to accommodate any business requirement. The downside is you will need a very good dev team and good coordination, making sure they are well versed with Drupal and PHP. It’s also very well secured offers rapid systematic updates and has lots of pros for any business avenue.


• Open-source platform
• Good systematic updates
• Foolproof security
• Mobile-friendly themes


• The interface isn’t very user friendly
• Steep learning curve
• Can be limited in certain modules

7. Magento

One of the most popular and most chosen in the E-Commerce world due to its scalability. It’s an open-source platform making it extremely popular and versatile. Due to it being feature-rich it’s picked over other popular E-commerce platforms such as Shopify, woocommerce, or Volusion. Tier selection for specific customers as well a wide variety of currencies makes it a great platform for global selling or even building a global marketplace. Due to its scalability as I mentioned it’s great for medium to even very large businesses.


• Very scalable hence it’s suitable for even massive businesses
• Best, if not one of the best choices for E-commerce due to its ubiquitous feature elements and tier-based pricing systems
• Very mobile friendly
• A large community of users


• Can be pretty tedious to host, dedicating hosting is recommended or can be downright necessary
• Can be expensive due to it having overall fewer developers (for reference finding a technical Magento developer can be much harder and expensive than for WordPress)
• Time-consuming and can have slow loading times (if you’re using the community version of Magento enterprise and the premium version are pretty fast in comparison)

8. Shopify

One of the most well-known platforms for anyone that’s been a part of e-commerce web design, it’s a very popular option offering a wide array of template selections, extensions, and whatnot. It’s also very SEO friendly and comes with a lot of tools to play around with. It provides some of the most well-designed storefront pages and themes.

However, to keep in mind it only provides 10 free template selections among themes, which is pretty limited you’re going to need to pay to access more design features and elements. Regardless, Shopify has some of the most solid plugins around, with over 1200 apps that can help automate your tasks. Shopify is also known for its great customer support compared to other platforms available 24/7.

Also comes with great marketing tools and AMP features for mobile users, great social media integration sell stuff even on Pinterest. Automated generated sitemap, can really help as google utilizes it to analyze webpage content.


• Excellent for retailers one of the most widely used for E-Commerce
• Excellent for less tech-savvy people while also being a very versatile and powerful platform
• Great support


• Pricing is where a lot of the issue lies with Shopify if you want to unlock more advanced customizations you need to pay more as well
• Nowhere near as customizable in terms of custom features compared to its competitors Magento and WordPress
• Advanced plans can be pricey, especially for small businesses

9. HTML5

Open-sourced and one of the best when it comes to cross-platforms meaning it should virtually function with all devices and it’s mostly browser dependent, pretty much all major browsers support HTLM5. Coding elements are also clean and less tedious anyone who grew up during the 90s will appreciate its neatness and it’s very easy to learn. There is also more consistency with HTML5 sites overall.

Lots of page elements to play around with in terms of customizability, it’s great for SEO and requires little maintenance compared to other options here. It has great consistency in performance and offers a very modern user experience while having the shortest latency times. If you want to add multiple vids or want a responsive design-rich website, this is a great option, it will also save businesses time and money in the long run due to its ease of use for devs as well as less overall maintenance. 


• Easy to learn for devs, very versatile platform
• Amazing for SEO
• Eliminates the need for multiple developments
• Storage options for HTML5 are very reliable
• Friendly cross-platform interface easily compatible with all devices that support HTML5 (mobile, desktop, tablets, etc)
• Requires way less maintenance than most options mentioned on the list
• Extremely consistent in performance


• It can require modern browsers to access it, this is not a problem in itself, but statistically, there are still a lot of people with older browsers, OS and firmware updates in general, in this instance customers will not blame their own system, they’ll blame you for it
• Despite its overall versatility, multiple device responsiveness can be pretty annoying
• The language is evolving, this can be a good thing but bad in the case it’s less of a disadvantage but more of a threat, as it can cause rendering issues if it’s updated so you need to keep tabs on the site so nothing breaks if there’s any new development
• Different Video supports might cause compatibility issues depending on the format and browser used i.e. Firefox in many cases might not support the ogg theory in many cases, so this is something to keep in mind

Tom Mills

Owner/operator of Go Smart Media Marketing & Design in Nova Scotia.

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Basic SEO Tips for Small Business in Nova Scotia


In this article “Basic SEO Tips for Small Business in Nova Scotia”, we will discuss the various SEO strategies, tips, and tools to obtain a higher Google page ranking, more website traffic, leads, and business.

SEO (Search engine optimization) is a basic internet marketing strategy with an end game that allows potential future customers to find your website on Google so that they can purchase your products or services. So, the basic principle involves teaching Google that you are an authority in your niche (market). Through creative content writing, backlinks building, and social sharing, you will be in the top three positions on page #1 of Google in no time.

Starting off with an SEO-friendly website is key to gaining exposure on top search engines like Google. to do this you must pay attention to on-page SEO principles like headers, meta areas, structured data plugins, quality content, and linking to name a few. So, in short you not only have to build a great looking website, it must be optimized for the search engines if you hope to compete on Google for your products or services.

With this marketing philosophy in mind, here are some basic SEO strategies and tips for small business in Nova Scotia.

1. Choosing the right keywords

Choosing the right keywords cannot be emphasized enough here. For each and every business in Nova Scotia there are going to be a different set of keywords that will be used to build a footprint for your brand on Google. Google marketing is the foremost SEO strategy if you want to achieve success in your chosen niche online.

Have you optimized your site for Google? What will your keywords be?

If you a local restaurant or pub, then you may want to use keywords like “best hot wings”, or “affordable family restaurant Halifax”, and other long tail keyword phrases like “waterfront restaurant in Halifax Nova Scotia” that will get you found at the top of the SERPs (search engines results pages).

After all you are trying to get found for terms people are already searching for in Google. You have to teach Google that you are the top restaurant in your GEO targeted area “Halifax Nova Scotia”, not your competitors’ website. How do you do this? By writing steady content with your chosen keywords and indexing it on Google on a regular basis.

That is the first step. Other important SEO steps would be creating off-page content and backlinks pointing back to your main website. Building authority backlinks is an important SEO strategy if hope to drive search engine results and website traffic.
Create a list of the top 12 keywords for your business that users will be searching for online to find your website. Keep it simple and try to use a good variety of keywords on all page of your websites including the “About” page, “Services/Products” page, “Contact” page, and “Blog” areas.

The Blog will be the area on the website where you write quality articles to attract visitors to your site. The bonus here is that each piece of content written for the site gets automatically indexed on Google via the WordPress sitemap plugin. So, your visitors get answers to their questions with quality blog articles and Google indexes your content and increases your page rank as a result. This is a win / win in the world of internet marketing and SEO.

You are in fact teaching Google that you are an authority in your chosen market. In this case it is “affordable family restaurant Halifax”. Beating local competition here is the name of the game where you ultimately want to be found in the top three positions on page #1 of Google for your keywords.

Choose the right keywords and you will get the SERP ranking you desire and will enjoy many years of success in business in Nova Scotia.

The more content you write for the public and not just to self-promote your brand, the more likely content will receive higher algorithm points on Google. An important tip in Google Marketing (SEO Services).

Other tips with keywords would be to use keywords in the article title, the first paragraph of the article, as well as in categories and other meta areas of the article like descriptions and image alt tags.

Summary – write for humans first, not for search engines – this is important to get the search rankings you desire!

2. Building Off-Page Links to Your Website (Backlinks)

Building off-page links that point back to your website are called backlinks.
Backlinks are an important SEO tool that play an important part if your overall page rank in your GEO targeted area of business.
So not only is writing quality content on your website blog important, but you should also think about writing articles on other websites, social channels, forums, and related market websites where possible. Related markets in this example would be on other restaurant sites, local directories like Yelp or Yellow Pages, and any and all social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Interactive Web 2.0 sites (Tumblr, Reddit, LinkedIn) and social channels are important support sites that allow you to create authority links back to you remain website (thus the term backlinks).

The more high-ranking (quality) websites that contain the keywords and URL to your website, the more likely that your page rank will increase month after month on Google and other major search engines like Yahoo and Bing.

Backlinks to your website, that come from sites with a good PA / DA score (page authority / domain authority), will in turn increase your own PA / DA score translating into high search engine rankings. MOZ created this SEO measurement tool to help website owners figure out where their website ranks in comparison with that of your competitors. The higher your PA / DA score, the higher your website will rank on Google when users are searching for keywords in your local area.

So, to sum up as far as backlinks are concerned, try to create links on site that have a high authority ranking and you can’t go wrong. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Wikipedia, and LinkedIn are all high-ranking PA / DA sites with scores up to 100 DA. Try not to create backlinks on sites that have a PA / DA scores of 30 or less.

Businesses in Nova Scotia with fewer quality inbound links will have a much lower domain authority score that those businesses that employ good SEO backlinks building principles.

Summary – focus on quality with content and backlinks and you will be rewarded with a higher page rank, more website traffic, and revenue.

3. Writing High Quality Content

Writing high quality content for your website is very important for SEO! The focus when writing high quality articles is to not only help those who are looking for your content, but it’s help Google decide who is an authority in your field. Take your time, write quality content and be the authority!

When someone searches on Google for any given set of keyword terms, Google shows only the best results back to the searcher in a page that has the top 10 results. You want your website to be in these top ten results, but ultimately in top three positions on the first page of Google. People are basically fickle by nature and few seldom search beyond the first three SERP results.

A good digital marketing company in Nova Scotia that is versed in SEO Services, will know Google’s Best Practices and will produce content to get you the best search engine results. There are many that will offer a free SEO consultation if you have questions before creating your own content.

Where are people looking for on Google?

Basically, people jump on Google because they are looking for a quick answer to a question. Whether they are looking for a cleaning company, a local restaurant or a local web design company in Halifax, you need to teach Google that your website contains to most valuable content to show to this searcher.
Usually Google will show the best search results (SERP) back to the user based on the quality of the content on the pages and articles.

Other factors in Google’s search results are how many quality backlinks (internal and external) are pointing to other internal website pages and to external websites, as well as how many blog post shares, testimonials, citations and fan interaction on top social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Some tips on creating quality content are as follows:
• Write for your readers, not for search engines
• Make your content engaging and simple
• Any a question, solve a problem, that’s what searchers are looking for
• Think about the intent of your articles
• Make your articles educational and accurate
• Write to be an authority in your market
• Write about relevant topics that are trending
• Keep your content current, prices, deals, tips
• Google loves measurable activity so write often
• Write on Google My Business for local exposure
• Always keep your SEO strategy in mind when creating content
• Quality content will increase brand awareness and loyalty

Companies who write good quality content on their website pages and blog tend to get the high page rank results and in turn more website traffic as a result. Aim to be the best result for the user’s search on Google – simple!

Creating high quality content is a great SEO strategy right out of the gate. The goal is to create quality content that is simple and informative like articles, pictures, videos, menus, contests, infographics, charts, photos, and memes will get you notices by search engines. Trust me, you will get rewarded with more search engine website traffic by writing great content that is created for the user in mind.

Quality content will not only improve click-through rates, generate leads, and sales, it will increase the overall Google footprint and create brand awareness in the process. Try to include your own experiences, data, and case studies where possible to generate the best possible content.

Summary – Creating quality content that is relevant to what the user is searching for on Google in one important SEO tip for any small business in Nova Scotia. Quality websites tend to attract quality page rank results.

4. Building Social Media Awareness

Building social media awareness takes time so be patient 😊

Creating a social media presence online certainly is a valuable tool from an SEO perspective as well as a free sales opportunity. It basically costs nothing to create business pages on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn. So why would you not take advantage of this free advertising source?

The more fans and likes you get on your social media channels, the more interaction you will receive from your fans, who tend to mention your channel, your products or services, and give you valuable reviews, all captured by Google. Yes, search engines pick up this activity even on social channels and give you valuable algorithm points that all go towards your final website page rank.
By building up your social presence, you not only get found often in Google, but you get an opportunity to sell your products or services directly to the public.

How do you build up your social presence you say?

Well by writing and sharing valuable content from your website to social channels is a start when trying build up your social presence.

Be sure to write effective posts on Facebook and other social channels complete with a title, description, pictures, a CTA (call to action) that makes fans want to click the link provided, and any relevant contact information should they want to reach out.

Great tips to boost your social and brand presence online:

• Thought provoking captions work
• Be Unique, give some personality to your social presence
• Fine tune all social channels to match the website brand
• Make your posts engaging, fun, and interactive
• Tag other users on social channels to promote engagements
• Hashtags are all powerful, attract similar interests
• Promote commenting and social interaction
• Repurpose older content, refresh past topics, share on other channels
• Breaking news regarding your brand’s products, services, polls, surveys
• Educate your fans, provide tutorials to become an authority in your field
• Post regular content, fans will eventually look for your posts

Be imaginative! Contest and polls on social channels are also a popular way to grow your social channels.
Before long, you will have 100 fans, then 1000. As time goes on and you continue to share content and interact with your fans, you begin to be the go-to source in your niche on social media with a much larger social footprint. Building social awareness may take some time so be patient.

Writing engaging content on your website and sharing on top social channels like Facebook will grow your social media channels. All the content you create on social channels turn into backlinks. Google indexes these links along with any links from your websites and relates Web 2.0 channels that all go towards your page rank score.

Summary – Any business or tourism business in Nova Scotia that ranks on page #1 of Google tends to get more website traffic, more leads, and more revenue in the process. Don’t underestimate the power of social media.

5. Building a UX/UI User Friendly Website

Building a user friendly (UX/UI) website may be one of the most helpful SEO tips in order to keep users longer on your website, and to keep them coming back.

By creating a user-friendly website that is easy to use will not only keep your visitors happy but will increase your page rank on Google as well. UX/UI is one of the top-ranking algorithm factors now on Google, that and mobile search and voice search in 2022.

Always create a clean website that is easy to navigate and has reasonably large print for mobile users (mobile friendly) and all browser types. This practice will get you top ranking points on Google and other major search engines in no time.

Always try to communicate well with your website visitors by using a variety of large H2 and H3 sub-headings in order to improve the readability of your site. Headings that contain your keywords are more likely to get ranked higher on Google, especially if it is easy to read. Make the headings easier to read and grab those extra page rank points while you are at it.

Make each page on your site stand out, look great with good used of white space, and has well written HTML code. This will ensure that you get in turn get rewarded with a higher page rank and more website visitors.

Site speed cannot be overlooked when it comes to web design, Getting visitors to your website and keeping them on your website is hard enough, so when they do finally land on your site, make sure you keep them with readable text, infographics, photos, and information they can use.

Things to keep in mind when creating a user-friendly website:
• Colors for pages and backgrounds
• Text typefaces and fonts
• Graphics added to engage with and inform readers
• Structure and layout (header, footer, body, wireframes)
• Readability in all browser types
• Make it responsive to all browser types and devices
• Make it accessible for all users including those with disabilities
• Use of Whitespace, spread out text and graphics
• Make and CTAs (Call to Action) stand out

Slow loading images will kill your site. If you site takes more than 3 or 4 seconds to load you may lose your visitor, this is a fact! Again, people are fickle, they want quick results so they can get back to what they were doing. You could be losing up to 50% of your website visitors or more with a poorly designed website that doesn’t load quickly.

Keep the images minimized and optimized for quicker page load speeds and your visitors will stay on your site much longer, possibly purchasing an item from your shop and not from that of your competitors’ site.

Summary – Create a website that is viewable, has quick loading graphics, and is optimized for all devices and mobile browsers. Mobile friendly websites are now rewarded by search engines more than ever before.

Tom Mills

Owner/operator of Go Smart Media Marketing & Design in Nova Scotia.

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