Social media is one of the best ways to get your message out there in our noisy world, and attract customers. But that’s not enough. You also need a website that articulates your message, and tells visitors who you are within seconds. A professional and slick website will draw people to you, and add credibility to your business.
But which website platform should you use? Is WordPress King, or are there others that will do just as good of a job? Competitors are upping their game all the time, with new platforms popping up frequently.
These website builders are great for sole traders and small businesses who are eager to create a website without hiring a developer, and can make changes to it as and when they desire, without ending up with a headache!
What are your needs?
Before we move on to compare WordPress with some of its strongest competitors, you need to get crystal clear on what your goals are for your website.
For example, is having a blog a priority? Do you need an online store? Will you require a contact form, or a photo gallery, or a reservation system?
Write all of these things down before you begin your search.
Next, think about where you want to grow. Will you be making frequent updates to your site? Will you be adding more products in the future?
It’s important you select a platform that will handle your needs as your business grows in the future. Some platforms make it fairly easy to switch platforms, but others don’t, and it’ll be a lot less stressful for you if you’re able to stay put.
Once you’ve mapped out the above, you can move on to looking at the various website platforms available, which we’ll be exploring below.
WordPress is usually the website builder that comes to everyone’s mind when thinking about creating one; so it probably comes as no surprise to you that WordPress.org is the world’s most popular website platform.
There are actually two versions of WordPress available: WordPress.org and WordPress.com. The one we’re discussing here is the self-hosted version, and the most popular because of its features, and ease of use.
It is also an open source website builder, which means that this gives you the most control over your website.
WordPress is a free and open source website builder. This means that you have maximum control over your website compared to any other builder in this list.
- Complete control over every aspect of your website
- WordPress.org can be used to build any type of website: an e-commerce store, a membership site, or a community forum, and a lot more.
- Thousands of beautifully designed themes to choose from that you can customise.
- Access to 50,000+ free plugins that add features to your site.
- WordPress also has the built in ability to translate your website into other languages, so you can easily create a multilingual website if required.
- You will need to spend a bit of time familiarising yourself with the system, so that you can manage your website — but it’s not too tricky to learn, and there are plenty of help articles available to guide you.
- You will need to manage plugin updates, and create backups of your site, as these are not done automatically.
- You will need to pay separately for hosting.
Wix is the perfect platform for someone with zero technical expertise — all you have to do is drag and drop, and hey presto: you’ll have a beautiful looking website in no time!
Similar to WordPress, Wix allows users to create a range of websites including shops, blogs, and password protected sites.
It’s a simple platform but doesn’t compromise on functionality.
- Hundreds of templates to start with, designed for a wide range of businesses.
- Its intuitive site-building interface, allowing you to insert content anywhere without any restrictions.
- Good mobile site building tools, and allows you to preview how your site will appear on mobile.
- Wix is a fully hosted platform, so you won’t have to pay for hosting.
- A free plan is available for you to try the platform out and see if it’s for you before committing.
- If you decide to switch templates, you will have to rebuild all your content.
- Free plans will show Wix ads on your website, so if you’re looking for a professional looking site you will need to upgrade.
- Moving your site from Wix to another platform is a complicated process.
- You will need to purchase your domain name separately.
Squarespace also allows users to create beautiful websites, portfolios, stores, and blogs. Their ready-made templates make it easy to get started, no matter what your goals and direction are as a business.
The interface is easy to navigate, and there are also lots of guides in their Help section, if you get stuck at any point.
- Beautiful, responsive designs for all types of content, and are fully customisable.
- A secure and robust platform for hosting your website.
- Good analytics tools.
- All websites are mobile responsive and don’t need to be edited separately.
- There are fewer templates available than with its competitors, and they are also more restrictive.
- Doesn’t allow much customisation for mobile sites.
- Limited integration with third-party services.
- You are unable to add additional payment gateways, and can only use Stripe, Apple Pay, and PayPal.
These are just three of the most popular and easy to use website platforms available to you today. Once you know what your needs are, test a few sites out to see which one you naturally gravitate towards.
A list of features is great, but you’re the one who will be creating the website and probably updating it (at least in the early days), so it’s vital you’re able to navigate your way around it easily. So trust your instincts, and choose the platform that best suits you and your business.