In today’s marketing world having a website is crucial. Options do exist for those with little or no coding experience. However, not all website building platforms are created equal and some are better suited for some types of business over others. Let’s take a closer look at a couple of famous platforms: WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly.
Wordpress is technically not a website building platform. It’s an open-source content management system, meaning it is software. WordPress is included in this article because one in four websites is powered by WordPress or has a WordPress powered blog. Some famous websites and blogs powered by WordPress include Microsoft, the Rolling Stone, Mashable, TechCrunch, the New York Times blogs, and CNN blogs.
Originally, WordPress was a tool to create blogs but now it can create any type of website. Today, it is the most popular way to create an ECommerce website.
Wordpress is free to install and customize, unlike Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly. It’s not a locked propriety service, so a website can be moved from one hosting site to another. Costs come from hosting sites, not WordPress. Because it’s self-hosted, the creator has complete oversight over their website. WordPress does have a learning curve but because of its popularity, information is easy to access.
Squarespace caters to creative business fields like photography, music, and graphic design. It focuses on quality over quantity. Thus, Squarespace has only a handful of templates, but they are of high quality. Websites will look professional.
Squarespace is best suited for websites that require a massive number of photos because the site requires high-resolution photos. If for whatever reason, a business does not have high-resolution photos, Squarespace is partnered with Getty Images to equip users with high-quality images.
Businesses are able to sell an unlimited amount of product without transaction fees on Squarespace sites. Social media and email marketing can be integrated. Yet, it’s not suited for long-term growth. Also, a word of wise to eCommerce businesses, the eCommerce options are supported only in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Ireland.
The website is not beginner user-friendly. Users may need some technical experience. It’s not a true drag-and-drop platform. The drag-and-drop is limited and requires some time to get used to. But on a positive note, creators can see changes while they are being made instead of having to click preview like WordPress. Squarespace websites are mobile friendly and templates can be switched after the website has gone live.
Squarespace is not free but does offer a two-week free trial and the first year of the domain is free. It only offers fully hosted options and users must follow Squarespace hosting subscription terms. Websites cannot be switched to other hosts and other preexisting hosting accounts cannot be added. Lastly, users have limited control and access to their data.
Wix, in a way, is the opposite of Squarespace. It has hundreds of templates, has a true drag-and-drop platform, and is beginner friendly. With Wix, templates cannot be switched after the website is live. Building a website is free but in-house purchases do exist like third-party apps and social media integration.
Like Squarespace, the domain is free the first year, is mobile responsive, and users must follow Wix’s hosting subscription terms. Also, websites cannot be switched to other hosts and users have limited control and access to their data.
What makes Wix unique is Wix not only has the classic template platform but it has an AI platform as well. Wix ADI asks the user a series of questions and creates a website based on the answers. The user is able to make edits to the final design. Users with coding experience can also use Wix code and edit the HTML.
Wix is great for small businesses, cafes, and hospitality businesses. It’s not the best choice for creative fields like photography, graphic design, and music. Better options exist for blogging. Lastly, Wix is not powerful enough for businesses that are global or household names and large eCommerce websites.
Weebly is the most accessible and beginner friendly platform. Weebly was created for bloggers by bloggers. It follows a WordPress model. Users install software from the hosting account and have complete and total oversight of the website. Websites can switch from hosting site to hosting site as long as the hosting site is a Weebly partner.
The platform is free to some extent. The free account includes the site builder and 500 MB of storage. Creators face stipulations with the free account, including Weebly ads displaying on the website and the Weebly name being integrated into the domain.
Weebly excels in websites for blogging, events, portfolios, and online stores. It’s a great website builder for eCommerce businesses that are just starting out. Weebly is partnered with Square, Stripe, and PayPal and has an integrated shopping cart and automatic tax calculator. The platform also includes customizable email templates, Facebook ads, and features to help keep the online store in one place.
Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly all have their advantages and disadvantages. WordPress is a content management system that is versatile and powerful to handle all types of websites but does have a learning curve. Squarespace is best suited for creative fields and users with some technical experience. Wix is the opposite of Squarespace and is best suited for small businesses. Lastly, Weebly is the most user-friendly and great for eCommerce.