Building a new website can be a stressful process but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. The most important step is to first determine which content management system and eCommerce solution is most aligned to your company’s long-term goals. Today, there are hundreds of different solutions, but only few are truly the best fit for a growing life science company.
The Top Candidates
Content Management System: WordPress
Launched in 2003, WordPress is the most popular content management (CMS) system in the world. It is used by over 74 million websites and of the top 10,000 websites on the internet, WordPress is the most common CMS platform – and it is for a reason.
1) It is 100% free
You don’t have to worry about additional fees due to increased traffic, or requiring a blog. WordPress is and always will be free. Additionally, WordPress is open source which allows a developer customize the source code as needed. This provides great flexibility in case there’s a special function that isn’t included out of the box. This leads us to our next point…
2) Extremely powerful out of the box
WordPress is ready to use right after installation. Revising pages with the visual editor as well as modifying data is user friendly and simple. You won’t have to pay a web developer by the hour for each content modification that results in thousands of dollars saved on retainers. Even better, most of the time any additional features already exist for free since WordPress provides thousands of free plugins to add numerous additional special functionalities. These would include integrations to Google Analytics, MailChimp, Hubspot, Salesforce and more.
3) SEO friendly
Google’s Matt Cutts specifically endorsed WordPress as being the preferred CMS platform for their search engines to crawl and index.
Since WordPress is the most used CMS platform in the world, this means that they are constantly updating and preventing future vulnerabilities. Of course, being the most popular CMS platform also draws the attention of increased hackers trying to exploit the software. However, with an experienced web development team that is installing recommended security patches, this isn’t something to be concerned about.
5) Mobile usability
In May 2015, Google announced that all websites that are not mobile friendly would be taking a significant hit in search engine rankings. This increased the importance of mobile usability more than ever. WordPress is already innately user friendly and responsive.
eCommerce Solution: Magento
There’s plenty of eCommerce solutions out there include WordPress’s own Woocommerce, PrestaShop, Shopify, OpenCart and more. However, none are as robust and scalable as Magento. It’s no wonder why among the top 10,000 websites with eCommerce, Magento is the leader. The world’s leading brands including Samsung, Nike, Nestle along with numerous small and medium sized business use Magento. Just as WordPress was created to be the most user-friendly and functional content management system, Magento was created from day 1 to be the best open source eCommerce solution.
1) Magento is open source
Similar to WordPress, there are no licensing fees, or other hidden costs to use Magento Community Edition. Magento is written in PHP, and any expert web development team you work with should be well versed in PHP in the first place. This means custom code and modules can be written for any specific functionalities. In life sciences, this might mean customization the search functionality to be more robust and more intelligently trigger the correct products among your database.
Magento is extremely SEO friendly in the way structures your product database for search engines to easily crawl. You don’t need to do much to ensure your website is already optimized for SEO. A few free additional plugins such as Yoast’s Magento SEO extension is enough to make your eCommerce site into a ranking machine.
3) Highly scalable
You can count on never running into roadblocks as your company grows and adds products by being on Magento. There’s nothing worse than building a new site but realizing in a couple years that you’ve outgrown the eCommerce platform you’re built on and have to completely redo the website.
4) Community and Support.
The Magento community is huge, and this means numerous free forums and resources to help resolve any issues you run into. Most developers are trained in working with Magento so you’ll easily be able to find talented developers to help you manage the website as well. This can’t be said with other eCommerce platforms – if you have an issue, it can be extremely difficult to find support or a experienced developer on that framework.
What if I want to have the best of both worlds for my new website?
Many life science companies are service based or still in clinical trials. Therefore, they would only require a beautifully custom designed website with the user-friendly functionalities of WordPress content management system. Other companies want all of the features of WordPress as a CMS platform but also have a large online store with thousands of different sizes and formats of products. Unfortunately, WordPress’ innate WooCommerce is not the best suited for most life science companies due to limitations in scalability. On the other hand, Magento is the perfect choice for the eCommerce store, but lacks the features of WordPress.
At Supreme Optimization, we offer the ultimate solution for companies that need a robust eCommerce solution but want the flexibility and user-friendly CMS platform that WordPress offers. Our developers are able to fully integrate Magento as a backend and WordPress as a frontend content management platform. Simply put, to make changes to the content, structure and visual appearance, you can use WordPress CMS and reap all of the benefits by doing so. On the other hand, the entire product and sales store is all configured in Magento and then seamlessly integrated under the same visual design and style. This method provides clients with the full flexibility of WordPress in addition to the robust scalability of Magento’s product database.
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Author: Sheldon Zhai
Sheldon Zhai is an expert digital marketer with a background as a molecular biology researcher and product manager at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He’s the founder of Supreme Optimization, and loves spending his time testing and researching new data-driven online marketing strategies. Also he enjoys scuba diving, mountain trekking, and an insightful book combined with a cup of coffee.