You need more than a website. You need a platform.

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platform

It starts pretty much the same every time.

Someone tells you that you need a website. So you get one built for you, or build it yourself.

And everything is going fine. You are happy with it and maybe you keep checking Google for your site's name (and cheer when it shows up).

Eventually someone explains that you need more – you need to rank in Google for more than just your name. So you spend some time on that.

And then you realize you want your site to do more than just be pretty. You want it to go to work for you. You want to collect leads.

At this point, maybe you're not on WordPress and you start seeing the cracks of your earlier solution. Or maybe you're on WordPress but you realize you need more than what you've had built for you.

You want a system. A solution.

And that's when someone tells you that you should be making money online.

So you hear “eCommerce” and get excited, but have no idea what to do next. No worries, Google is there to help you.

Until you start reading about PCI compliance and payment gateways. Maybe this isn't for you.

Or you realize that for eCommerce to really work, you'll need something to sell. You wonder if it has to be physical. Maybe it could be digital – like a video recording, or an eBook.

Yes, that's it – digital downloads for a small fee  – that's what you want added to your website. But you have no idea how to do it. So you ask for help.

Suddenly you're realizing you stepped into what feels like the deep end of the digital pool.

No worries, you find someone or read a few articles and you're clear on what to use. Until you read the next article.

Should you use WooCommerce? iThemes Exchange? Easy Digital Downloads?

You're not sure anymore.

In talking to a friend, you realize you've been using the wrong words. Sure, you were talking about eCommerce, but the online videos you want posted are more like a membership – because people can watch them later.

So you realize, yes, that's it – membership site – that's what you want added to your website. But you have no idea how to do it. So you ask for help.

Suddenly you're realizing you stepped into what feels like the deep end of the digital pool.

Should you use WooCommerce? iThemes ExchangeRestrict Content Pro? MemberPress?

You're not sure anymore.

No worries, you find someone to help you and you realize you've been using the wrong words again. Because really, you need more than a membership – because you want people to hold concurrent “memberships” – you want them to be able to sign up for more than one course. Online courses. That's what you need.

Yes, you realize – that's it. You need eLearning (or a learning management system). That's what you want added to your website. But you have no idea how to do it. So you ask for help.

Suddenly you're realizing you stepped into what feels like the deep end of the digital pool.

Should you use WooCommerce and Sensei? WP Courseware? Something else?

You're not sure anymore.

This is all just a website, right?

Why all the fancy words? Can't all of this work together? You start using the word “just” a lot.

And then we get on a phone call. And I hear you share your frustration, and I get it.

All you wanted was a website that works for you. For your business. As an author, speaker, coach, small business owner.

And I say these words to you:

You need more than a website. You need a platform.

A single, integrated website solution that pulls together online courses, memberships, digital downloads, physical products for sale and more is what you're talking about.

Where no part of it is an afterthought.

That's not just a website. It's more. And it takes more thinking and planning. But it's not impossible.

It's a platform.

And you can have it. And you should have it. And you should use WordPress to build it.

In the next series of articles, I'll show you how to think about it, so you can either build your own or talk with others using the right words so you get exactly the help you need.

About Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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