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Why Choose WordPress Over Website Builders Like Squarespace and Wix?

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What is a Content Management System?

When it comes to building a website for your business, you have many things to consider. One of the first things you’ll want to figure out is what type of platform you want your website to be built with: a content management system (CMS) or a website builder.

Examples of CMS’s include WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Examples of website builders are Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix.

Let’s take a quick look at what Google recommends right up front:

Interesting… website builder, website builder…

Am I in the wrong business, as a WordPress designer?

Since 2009, I’ve been building websites using WordPress. However, WordPress doesn’t show up on the first page of Google. What gives?

Aside from website builders paying money to be at the top of Google Search with Google AdWords, the technical details of why this is happening makes a good topic for another blog post. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate why I believe building a website with WordPress is superior to a website builder.

Let’s start with the pros of WordPress.
 

Why WordPress?

WordPress POWERS the internet.

At the time of writing this article in early 2019, the latest version of WordPress had been downloaded more than 65 million times. For context, the current version of WordPress was released less than two months ago. Fortune 500 companies that use WordPress for their websites include The Walt Disney Company, Microsoft News Center, SONY Music, and Target’s Pulse Blog.

According to Australian technology firm BuiltWith, of the top 1 million most-trafficked websites, 35% run on WordPress. The second most popular CMS used is Drupal, at just over 3%. Website builders combined for less than 3% of the top 1 million most popular websites on the internet.

You have UNLIMITED DESIGN and CUSTOMIZATION options

There are virtually no barriers on the design front when you build a website with WordPress.

You can start with a theme/template and fully customize it, you can start from scratch with no template, or you can do something in between – my preference.

The biggest complaint I hear from clients that start using a website builder is that they can’t get their website to look as good as the sample sites or the original templates. Here’s the reason why:

When you build a site through a website builder, your content (photos, text, videos, headlines, etc…) must fit into the template expectations. Your images must be the same size (and quality), the number of words and characters in each paragraph and headline must match the template… and so on.

You can see how this might cause a problem. With WordPress, your website can be designed around your content.

Boom.

Did I hear you say you wanted to add some “fancy” functionality to your website? Great! WordPress has a plugin repository full of more than 50,000 tools that can be added to your website to make almost anything you could think of happen. There are also tons of independent plugin creators out there working to add even more functionality to WordPress websites on a daily basis.

Additionally, if you want to redesign your website down the road, having the content in WordPress, to begin with, makes it simple to start moving everything around.

You own ALL of your content

When you build a website through WordPress, you are 100% in control of everything. Every word that you type, every image you post, every video you share on your website is all yours. This is obvious, right? No.

If you build a website using a website builder platform, you don’t get to “own” every aspect of your website. This means:

If you ever want to move your entire website from the website builder platform over to another platform, it’ll be difficult to reproduce it exactly without a lot of additional work – time and money.

With WordPress, you have full control over everything. Therefore:

You can easily backup your website (pages, posts, images, files, uploads, database, etc.) – so if you need to reproduce your website, it’s very easy to do so.

You can TEST UPDATES before making changes on your live site

When you build a website with WordPress, you pay for hosting separately. Most hosting providers will include a staging server – essentially a copy of your website that lives behind the scenes. These “staging” sites can be used to test updates before pushing them live to your audience. This is beneficial for a couple of reasons:

  1. First, it allows you to see what your site will look like after you make these changes. This is helpful when it comes to changing a design element of your website.
  2. Second, if you make an update to the WordPress CMS, your theme, or certain plugins, it’s possible that these updates will cause something on your live site to displace or appear in a way you did not intend. Testing out these updates on a staging site is highly recommended.
  3. Finally, you don’t want to be testing out updates, design changes, or even basic content changes on a live site in real-time – what if people are visiting your site and see the update you’ve made, but adding text pushed an image to the wrong position on the page? It’s just bad practice. Test behind the scenes, then, when approved, push live.

You can SCALE your website as you grow

As I mentioned earlier, WordPress powers a number of Fortune 500 companies as well as numerous other big sites. It is a CMS that is ready to handle whatever you throw at it. You want your brand/business to grow, right? I can’t stress enough how important it is to plan for that early on. It will save you lots of time and money to plan for this at the beginning. Set your website up the right way, the first time, so you don’t need to worry about migrating to WordPress in the future.

You have unlimited options for SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION and SECURITY

Because you have full control of your website, WordPress allows for top-notch SEO and security settings and protocol. I don’t need to go into more details here, just know that with website builders, you’re limited to the options for SEO and security.
 

Reasons Not to Choose Website Builders

Here’s a quick list of reasons not to choose a website builder:

  • You don’t own your content – you don’t have access to the code, the database, or the files, making it nearly impossible to pick up and leave to change to a different platform in the future.
  • Lack of design/customization options.
  • Your content must fit into the template in order to look good.
  • You have to pay for your CMS. Once you realize you want to switch to WordPress, it’ll cost you $$$ to hire a professional who can start from scratch and build you a site based on your current site.
  • Many website builders make it difficult to redesign your website. Once you choose a template, you’re locked in.
  • No staging site to test changes/updates.
  • Many websites that use website builders look similar because of the templated look/feel.
  • Limited SEO and security options.

If you have an online store or need to make online transactions, website builders are limited.
 

In Summary

WordPress is far more powerful than the likes of Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix. Sure, you’ll find nice-looking websites powered by website builders, but remember – your content will NEED to fit the template, or you’ll need to hire a professional designer to make everything fit into the template nicely.

Do yourself a favor and consider all of these things before building your website. It’ll pay off in the end (and probably in the beginning as well).

If you have further questions about this or anything else related to building a website, please contact me.

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