Choosing the Right Website Building Platform
If you’re a small or mid-size business owner with a modest marketing budget, I have good news for you: It’s never been easier to create a beautiful website for your company on the cheap. Website building platforms are increasingly affordable and easy to use, with endless tools for customization. Gone are the days when you had to be a coding expert to create an attractive website.
In this article, I’ll outline three of the major players in this space—WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace—while providing pros and cons for each.
WordPress is the OG of website building. Since it debuted in 2003, it’s become widely used and well regarded by web developers and designers.
WordPress offers thousands of professional website templates (referred to within the platform as “themes”) for prices as low as $19.
Its templates are highly responsive, meaning the website changes automatically to look its best for the particular screen size and orientation of the user’s device. Elements on the page, like images and text, shift dynamically to adjust to the user’s view.
Because it has been around for so long, there are endless plugins and widgets to choose from that enhance the appearance and UX of your site.
WordPress sites are excellent for e-commerce and social media integration.
Of the three website builders described in this article, I would say that WordPress is the least intuitive. You will likely encounter a steep learning curve if you lack prior experience in web development or design.
Some basic knowledge of coding is extremely helpful when using WordPress, if not outright necessary.
In my opinion, the backend feels clunky and can be hard to navigate.
Unlike other website building platforms that give you everything you need right off the bat, you will almost certainly have to download plugins and widgets to use WordPress with ease—and while many are free, some of the best ones are not.
Overall, WordPress is often the best choice for people with prior knowledge of website building but may present challenges to a beginner. If you’re willing to take on the learning curve, it can create some of the most eye-catching, responsive, and dynamic websites around.
Wix has been around since 2006, which many people may be surprised to hear since it really started taking off over the last five years or so. Its ease of use opens the world of website building to just about anyone.
Thanks to its drag-and-drop system, Wix is incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. No prior coding experience is necessary. In my opinion, it boasts the smallest learning curve of any website builder.
It offers many stunning website templates to choose from, which range in style from modern and minimalist to classic and elegant.
Wix provides the capability to customize your website for mobile view, rather than having it automatically optimized. This gives you more freedom to enhance mobile UX.
The Wix App Market offers tons of plugins to extend your site features, enabling things like e-commerce, event management, live chat with customers, and much more.
Wix websites are non-transferrable, meaning you’ll have to invest time and money into recreating your site on a new platform if you decide to switch over.
SEO optimization is harder on Wix. The platform does offer a helpful SEO Wizard, but it’s less advanced than its counterpart on WordPress.
It isn’t the best option for especially large websites (around 30 pages or more) because the navigation menu does not support complex substructures.
Because it’s so convenient to use, you don’t get the same total control or advanced features that other platforms offer—but this probably won’t bother you unless you are a professional coder or developer.
Wix is a great option for your average small to mid-size business owner. It’s extremely easy to get started and create a stylish website that you love. But if you’re a larger company with a need for more advanced capabilities, Wix will probably be too simplistic for your liking.
Founded in 2004 as a blog hosting platform, Squarespace has grown into one of the most popular brands in the website building space. It uses a unique grid-like system where content is split into blocks that can be dropped on different areas of the page.
Squarespace has a minimalist backend design that is easy to navigate and use. I personally love the drag-and-drop block system, and find the whole platform aesthetically pleasing.
It boasts a large selection of sophisticated templates that are ultra-customizable.
Like Wix, Squarespace is great for beginners because it doesn’t require any knowledge of coding—but like WordPress, it makes coding easy if you do prefer to use it. In that way, it’s sort of a “best of both worlds,” appealing to non-developers and developers alike.
Squarespace is a true all-in-one platform, which means no need to figure out external apps or extensions. Website analytics are included within the platform.
While the block system is super easy to use, it can sometimes feel restrictive. You have to be careful with it because one misplaced block can throw the whole design off.
The all-in-one nature of the platform is generally a positive, but the downside is that it lacks support for third party apps and extensions—which, depending on your individual needs, may be a major downside or may not matter at all.
Squarespace has all the basic marketing tools, but it isn’t quite as advanced as platforms like WordPress in this area. For example, you’ll likely need to use a workaround to implement more advanced SEO tactics.
Like Wix, Squarespace sites are largely non-transferrable; you can transfer your content to another hosting provider, but not the website itself. That means it’ll take some time to rebuild on another platform.
How We Can Help
Designing the perfect website for your business can feel like a time-consuming and daunting task. Let us help you out! We love helping small and mid-size business owners realize their dreams of a stunning website at prices that won’t drain your budget. Contact us today to get started.
About the Author
Suzette Feller is a Marketing Consultant at Parklife.