WordPress v Website Builder - Which One is Right for You?

WordPress v Website Builders – Which One is Right for You?

WordPress and Website Builders enable you to create a website but the process and structure is different between the two of them. This article will look at the differences between the two and examine the pros and cons for each so you can decide which platform suits your needs best.

What is WordPress?

What is WordPress?

WordPress is an open source Content Management System (CRM) which allows anyone to use, and make modifications to, the software for free. You can upload your own content and images without the knowledge to be able to program. This means that it’s not just available to developers but that it is accessible to anyone or any business who wants to build a website. WordPress powers over a third of all websites ranging from personal blogging sites to multi-national companies.

*Please note that throughout this article I am referring to WordPress.org rather than WordPress.com

 

What is a Website Builder?

 

What is a Website Builder?

Popular website builder examples that you may be familiar with include Wix, Weebly and Squarespace to name a few. With website builders there is no access to the code and normally it’s a drag and drop block building interface with structured templated options that you can use to build the website. You do not need any prior experience at all to use a website builder. They are aimed primarily at smaller businesses and freelancers.

 

Things to Consider

Before making your decision on how you want to build your website, here’s a checklist of things you need to consider first: –

  • What is the purpose of your website?
  • How much experience do you have with websites?
  • What type of business do you have?
  • What are your future goals for growth for your business?
  • Do you have products to sell?
  • What budget do you have in mind for your website?
  • Will you be looking after the website yourself afterwards?
  • How much time have you set aside to build your website?

If you have the answers to these questions in your mind as you work through the benefits and features of each website type, it will help you to become clear on which platform is right for you.

Let’s look at each one in more detail.

 

What’s the Difference: WordPress v Website Builder

 

WordPress: The Pros

User Friendly

Although I think the WordPress interface is user friendly, I think that someone with no experience with WordPress might find it challenging.

Fully Customisable

A WordPress website can be built to look exactly how you want it to. If you have some experience you may be able to manage this yourself. Some themes and templates do offer basic customisation for you. If you need more customisation than you know how to do then you can work with a WordPress developer to help you.

Grows with your Business

Your WordPress website can grow with you as your business changes. You can continually improve and add to your website and make big changes as your business evolves without having to move your website. For example, you can develop your website further to be able to sell products online, offer online course and memberships.

Blog Ready

The origins of WordPress go back to its roots as a blogging website platform back in 2003. At that time, a former blogging platform software called b2/cafelog was discontinued. In 2003, two users of this platform Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, decided to build a new blogging platform based on the b2/cafelog which became what we now know as WordPress.

The History of WordPress

WordPress has still retained the blogging functionality at its core but has evolved so much over the years and can do so much more. Producing great content is at the core of a great website and using the WordPress blog is what it was designed to excel in.

Full Control of your Site

If you have a WordPress website, you can take it anywhere with you. You can change hosting companies and migrate your website, intact, from one hosting company to another. You can also make full backups of your site (I always recommend having one backup set away from your hosting company) so that if anything were to happen to your hosting company you could still transfer your website elsewhere.

SEO for WordPress

WordPress is written with high-quality standardised code so by design it is very user friendly for search engines. You can enhance this by using SEO plugins to add a deeper level of searchability to WordPress websites. With WordPress you have more options to improve the technical aspects of SEO.

WordPress Community

One of the biggest benefits of using WordPress I have found is the collaborative community behind it. Whether you are a complete beginner or a long-time pro, you will not find a more helpful community if you get stuck or need to reach out for help for a problem. You can start with the WordPress.org support  first and there are excellent community groups too on Facebook where you can find helpful advice and search for answers and problems.

No Programming Required

WordPress has many options for non-coders with a range of fantastic themes available today. To use WordPress, you don’t need be able to program and use code unlike other CMS such as Joomla or Drupal. Although I would always recommend that if you do go the WordPress route that you take the time to learn some code, particularly HTML and CSS and the foundations and hierarchy of WordPress.

Work with a Web Designer

If you want to go the WordPress route by don’t want to get involved in building it yourself then a great solution is to work with a web designer or developer who can do the job for you. After all, we cannot be an expert in everything and there is much more to a website than just building it. Working in partnership also gives you the support you need as you grow your business and you can keep on track with doing what you love rather than worrying about the tech. If you’re looking to partner up with the right web expert but you’re not sure who to choose then take a read of What You Need to Know to Choose The Right Web Designer

 

WordPress: The Cons

Need to Buy Separate Domain and Hosting

You need to make arrangements to purchase and set up your own domain name and hosting. This is quite straight forward to do. What’s the Difference Between a Domain Name and Web Hosting?

Can be a Steep Learning Curve – not as easy as you think

My personal opinion is that if you don’t have any prior experience of WordPress then it’s not as easy as you might think and can be quite a challenge and definitely a learning curve. I have read a lot of articles that say WordPress is easy to use but I find that it’s only easy if you know how.

Time Consuming

If WordPress is relatively new to you then there’s no doubt that it will be a time-suck. It’s the same as learning anything new, it takes time to get up and running. You have to decide if you want to invest the time to get your project off the ground.

Need Knowledge of Code for Customisation

If you want your website to look a certain way then you need to have knowledge of how to make those customisations. So depending on your background, then you may be a little more limited. However, the upside is that you can always get help from someone who can make those customisations for you.

Needs Regular Maintenance

To keep a WordPress website safe and secure you must keep it up to date. WordPress Core itself and the plugins that are used on the site will need to be regularly updated. You can access all this through the WordPress dashboard but make sure that you always make a backup of your site before making any changes. Why You Need to Know About Website Maintenance

Vulnerability

WordPress may be more vulnerable to attacks than other CMS but there are things you can do to keep your site as safe and secure as possible. Regular updates and backups are crucial when running a WordPress website WordPress Hacks: Is Your Site Vulnerable to Attacks?

No Direct Support if Things Stop Working

If you need support with your website there is not a ‘one-stop-shop’ for support. A good hosting company will offer you great support if you get technical problems on the website. If you have issues and need help with your theme, then a good theme developer will have great support documentation and client support. I use GeneratePress for all my site development as the support is second to none. However, if you are working with a web designer like me, then I can work with you on an ongoing basis to support you with having a maintenance plan in place so you don’t have to worry.

Work with a Web Designer

To invest in working with a web partner requires the right kind of budget up front. A good web designer will not only help you with the web build itself but will provide you with on-going support so you have one ‘go-to’ for everything to do with your website. How Much Does a Website Cost?

 

If you are keen to work with WordPress but don’t want to deal with the technicalities yourself then the perfect solution is to work with a WordPress designer to get you up and running. Click To Tweet

 

Website Builders: The Pros

Get Up and Running Quickly

Once you have opened an account with a website builder, you can get up and running pretty quickly. There’s no big tech headache to get over, everything you need is right at your fingertips. Of course, like anything new it will take a bit of getting used to but if you are familiar with interfaces like Mailchimp and other drag and drop systems, then it shouldn’t take long to get used to it.

Domain and Hosting Included

Everything to get you up and running is included as you sign up for a website builder. Your domain and hosting are usually taken care of all under one roof.

Easy to Use Drag and Drop Interface

With a drag and drop visual interface, it makes it easy to see what you are doing and build your blocks into place. There will be a choice of template, so the design is already done for you. All you need to do is upload your content and images and hit publish!

Build a Website Without the Tech Headache

You can choose a template to suit your needs and add in your content and images. Most website builders have a basic build available with additional apps that you can buy for add-on features, so you can have the website as you want it without having to know anything about the code to do it. Website builders are perfect for people with no website experience whatsoever.

Website Maintenance All Managed for You

You don’t have to worry about maintaining the website at all as the website builder will take care of all the maintenance behind the scenes for you.

Affordability for a Lower Budget

You normally have a monthly plan with a website builder and this covers everything you need. You can pay anything from as little as £10 per month. You may have additional expenses if you want to add certain functionalities through apps you can buy for features you need on the website.

Customer Support

Customer Support is a ‘one-stop-shop’. With one point of contact for all your needs 24/7.

 

Website Builders: The Cons

Limited customisation options available

Out of the box, customisation is limited. Having said that companies like Wix do have their own ‘in-house’ developers who are available to help with customisation at an additional cost. You will also find that just like designers and developers who specialise in WordPress, there will be developers who specialise in website builders.

Cannot Transfer your Website 

The biggest downside of a website builder is that if you cancel your account, you also lose your website and have to start over elsewhere. Although the content and images on the website belong to you, the website doesn’t. If you want to move away in the future to a different option, there will be the need to start again. You can keep your domain however and transfer that to another domain provider.

SEO

Essential SEO features like adding title & description, heading tags, image alt tags, SEO friendly URL’s are provided by website builders and it’s normally simple to set up the SEO basics. However, website builders don’t have the tools to implement many SEO optimisation techniques to help with your SEO strategy.

Slower Loading Website

This type of website is hosted on shared hosting so you will be sharing servers and bandwidth with other websites. This can result in slower website loading speed, especially if you have very large image files on your website. From the research that I have done, there seems to be a consensus that out of the box, website builders do load a lot slower than a WordPress website. From my research, I found that large images with no optimisation was the biggest problem with website builders. Not all website builders it seems automatically optimise images so this can have a detrimental effect on site speed. A way to get around this problem is to optimise your images using a tool such as Short Pixel first to compress your images before uploading.

 

I think that there's a place both for WordPress and the range of Website Builders out there in the marketplace. Click To Tweet

 

More In-Depth Examples of Website Builders

Examples of popular website builders are Wix, Weebly and Squarespace to name but a few. Each have different benefits to suit what you are looking for. For an in-depth review, this article from Robert Mening ‘Best Website Builders – I signed up with them, here’s my review…’ goes into a tried and tested comparison if you want to look into more detail about website builders and which one might be the best one for you.

 

Which platform is best for you? WordPress v Website Builders

The answer really depends on the answers to the questions that I asked at the beginning of this article: –

  • What is the purpose of your website?
  • How much experience do you have with websites?
  • What type of business do you have?
  • What are your future goals for growth for your business?
  • Do you have products to sell?
  • What budget do you have in mind for your website?
  • Will you be looking after the website yourself afterwards?
  • How much time have you set aside to build your website?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make the right decision for you. It will depend what stage you are at in your business. If you’re looking to get started with minimal fuss then a website builder might be the perfect option for you to just get started. It will certainly give you some experience with websites that will help you make future decisions.

 

What Do I Think about WordPress v Website Builders?

Although I love working with WordPress, there’s no doubt that if you have no previous experience that it will be a learning curve and will take up a lot of your time especially if it’s unfamiliar to you.

If you are keen to work with WordPress but don’t want to deal with the technicalities yourself then the perfect solution is to work with a WordPress designer or developer to get you up and running. Any good designer will be a long-term business partner to help your business grow in the future and your website with it.

I think that there’s a place both for WordPress and the range of Website Builders out there in the marketplace. My opinion is that if you are not ready for the technical challenge then WordPress might not be for you. However, if you have the budget and can work with a web designer to get your project off the ground, then WordPress would always be my personal choice.

If you want to get up and running with no hassle and get online quickly without as much worry, then Website Builders could be for you. It also gives you a starting point to gain experience in the online world. As your business grows and changes you can change later on. However, the downside of that is that you won’t be able to take your existing website builder website with you if you want to move away from a website builder in the future.

If you have any questions about WordPress and how it could work for you, then feel free to get in touch.

Imogen Allen

Imogen Allen

I help you get a web design that you can be comfortable with and feel proud of. I’ll be your website partner, helping you get noticed online without turning you into a shameless show-off

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