Choosing a website platform can be confusing, and to be honest it can be a little overwhelming.
There are so many options but which one is best for you and your business?
Grab a coffee, and let's talk website platforms!
What is a "Platform?"
Let's start with the basics...
Your website is built on what's called a platform which is a collection of code that is written in a programming language to create web pages that make up your website.
A few different platforms that I'll cover below, and highly recommend looking into, include Wix, Wordpress, and Squarespace.
Where to Start?
Start with asking yourself a few questions.
In what way will your website serve your business ( blogging, e-commerce, portfolio, information)
The time you can spend or pay someone to spend on the development/design
If you plan to ever sell services or digital products on the website
How much flexibility or customization you need over the design
Your experience and skill level when working with technology and websites
The features and functions that you would consider a necessity
By asking these questions and having a clear goal for how your website will serve your business and your audience will make it easier in the decision process when choosing which platforms is best for your business.
Which Platform is Best?
This is a great question and to be honest there's no right answer.
The better question is which platform is best for my business?
By this time I'm hoping you have a clear goal in mind for your website in order to match your needs with the platform that's going to serve you the best.
I'm going to go into more detail of a few of my favorite platforms, and why they might be a great choice for your business!
// Wix //
One of my all-time favorite platforms!
I'm going to be honest with you. I haven't had a client complain about Wix, and it's capabilities. However, if you are needing very specific functions on your website this may not be the platform for you.
Whatever those specifics may be I would encourage you to research to see if Wix is capable. Most of the time it is, but it just depends on how detailed and specific those needs are.
It's a platform that is constantly updated and upgrading based on trends, and the community responses. One thing I love about Wix is that their team listens to what the users within the community are asking for and make it happen. They are on top of trending themes, updating their gallery of stock photography, easy integrations, and more.
I recommend Wix to my clients who are wanting to manage their own website. It's one of the most user friendly platforms out there that helps guide you and support you in the process of setting up and updating your space online.
There's no need to know how to code with Wix, it's a drag and drop design function which makes it very customizable and easy to learn!
Another major pro with this platform is they support just about anything you'd like to do from blogging, setting up an online store, even to online ordering for restaurants.
They have quickly become one of the leading platforms
Along with each platform having their pro's there are also cons.
One con when using Wix is that you don't own your website. You're paying either a monthly or annual subscription to have your website on their platform and to have access to their functions. If you ever decide to move your website to a new platform there are no files to download and take with you like other platforms allow. You will have to start from scratch, and rebuild on the newly selected platform.
Now, some consider that a major con due to their goals and needs, but others actually prefer it because they aren't having to manage files or understand website development.
Overall Wix is an excellent choice for multiple industries, and is becoming highly recommended as one of the leading platforms.
Wix.com. is where everything lives! You don’t have to go anywhere else to set up or host your site. Typically making it a bit cheaper (this depends though)
The technical side is taken care and not something you have to learn.
You have a range of features
A great integration feature for eCommerce
Drag-and-drop site building and design
You can have a basic website up and running in a day
Amazing technical support
It’s very customizable. You can update design and pages as you please making it very flexible.
In order to have a store or sell anything on your site you must have a business account which typically costs more.
Some designs are not SEO-friendly.
The blogging module itself needs updating
// Wordpress //
Wordpress is a great option but is a little more technical than other platforms. Two things you need to have with Wordpress as your platform is a theme and a host.
Unlike Wix, Wordpress gives you the ability to own your site entirely. This means if something were to happen you are the owner of all your website files, photos, and content.
This gives you an easy migration bonus that you wouldn't get with Wix or Squarespace. If you needed to move to another host Wordpress makes that simple without having to start from scratch.
With this luxury comes the steps of having a separate host and theme.
I highly recommend using a theme and host outside of Wordpress. Don't go with their free versions...you'll thank me later.
Some hosts that I recommend looking into are Bluehost and Siteground.
When choosing a theme a huge pro is there are thousands of themes out there.
I recommend looking for one that supports the functions and design you are looking to create.
My favorite is Elementor, it gives you the flexibility to customize your design without a huge learning curve, and it is fully responsive without having to code; meaning it will be responsive on any/all devices.
Wordpress also gives you the options to have endless plugins and integrations which helps improve the appearance and function of the website.
The truth about Wordpress is there are a lot of hidden cost aside from the hosting fee, theme fee, etc.
There are a lot of people out there framing the cost of a Wordpress site being little to none, but they aren't giving you the reality of the costs that you are bound to pay with a fully functioning site.
You will have a hosting fee, theme cost, and your additional plugins as well as integrations will cost you. This, majority of the time, far surpasses the cost of a Wix or Squarespace monthly payment plan.
Another con is without a theme builder coding is required. This limits you in a lot of ways but mostly in the design of the website, and if you don't have the motivation or time to learn CSS this will be a major setback in using Wordpress without a theme.
I will say Wordpress is pretty challenging when it comes to learning all of the moving parts. For some clients this has created a lot of frustration when trying to manage themselves. Even when using a simple theme builder the back-end is something you will have to become familiar with as well.
With Wordpress you will also have to manually back up and update your website. This is super important for the function and health of your website and to ensure everything runs smoothly.
WordPress (software) is free.
There are thousands of themes and plugins to choose from.
Many people use Wordpress which gives you a lot of information and resources about things that may potentially go wrong
It has a lively community.
It’s a great option for blogging
WordPress is customizable (if learned)
A WordPress site has hidden costs
You will have to deal with a separate hosting company
Understanding how one theme works doesn't mean you'll be able to work in every theme
Most plugins work differently from one another as well
The admin dashboard can be challenging to learn
A lack of support. You have the internet to utilize with questions that may come up, but no technical support is offered by Wordpress
Wordpress as a whole is a learning curve
// Squarespace //
I love Squarespace because it caters to almost anything you're looking to do from blogging, ecommerce, providing information, etc. It really gives you a space that is not only beautiful but also pretty straight forward making it a time saver.
This platform at first can be a little tricky, especially if you're more familiar with using Wix or Wordpress, but it's a platform that is super easy to get the hang of much like Wix.
Squarespace has a lot of beautiful themes that are already designed so well! I tell people who are looking to do their design themselves that if they follow the design of their Squarespace theme they will almost always come out with a trending website design that their audience will respond well to.
This platform makes it easy to navigate both in the design/build space as well as the back-end of the site. It's pretty consistent with it's easy to use space.
My favorite part about Squarespace is that there are a lot of resources are great customer service if anything were to go wrong that might be a little too complicated to figure out yourself. They have 24/7 customer support!
One thing I initially found very annoying was the limiting design capabilities within the themes.
Although they have a lot of beautiful theme options there isn't a lot of flexibility to customize the themes without learning CSS.
This makes it really frustrating to have a customized design.
A huge part of choosing a platform is making sure it supports optimizing your websites responsiveness on every device which Squarespace does, BUT once again it's very limiting on customizing.
Squarespace will automatically adjust the design to each device, but this sometimes results in an awkward placement with super large fonts or photos in an odd spot of the page, etc. This makes the responsive function almost irrelevant and in need of a custom CSS to ensure it reads/is laid out the way it's meant to be.
A lot of beautiful templates to choose from
Blogging feature is one of the best
Great support, they even have a live chat to speak with a member at anytime
You can edit site on Squarespace app
Usability of the website editor is awkward which makes it challenging at times
Provides only one sub navigation. This makes it difficult for larger website that require a menu hierarchy or a multilingual site
They score a low rating on Google’s Page Speed Tool for SEO
Doesn’t let you edit your page title in blog posts
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