How Should I Build My Website: Wordpress vs. Website Builders?

How Should I Build My Website? WordPress vs. Website Builders

How Should I Build My Website: WordPress vs. Website Builders?

So you have made the decision to build a website for your business. Great! Next step, you need to decide how to build it. Content management systems (CMS’s) such as WordPress offer more flexibility in terms of design and layout, but usually come with a higher price-tag due to the hours of development work needed to get your site live. On the other hand, Website Builders- such as Wix or Weebly– put the control back in your hands, allowing you to create a site with little-to-no coding knowledge, but without the ability to customize your site to your heart’s content.

 

With almost 30% of all websites built using WordPress, there is no question it is the most popular CMS. Originally developed as a free, open-source platform for bloggers, WordPress’ customizability and user-friendliness helped the platform gain ground as the CMS of choice for building websites of all sizes, across all verticals including giant web properties such as NYTimes.com. Modern website builders have surfaced in recent years offering drag and drop, what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) tools to build an online presence without the need for implementing or editing code- creating opportunities for even the smallest of businesses to gain visibility online.

 

And with more choice often comes more confusion. So which platform should you use to build your website? Here, we at WebCreate have broken down the key factors you need to address in order to decide which platform is more suited to your business needs and personal capabilities- WordPress or a Website Builder.

Factor 1: Type of Website

As stated in our Ultimate Guide to Building Your Website, one of the most important tasks before you begin creating a website, is defining its purpose. This will not only set the tone for the content, design and functionality of your site, but will help you determine whether you can benefit from the ease of a website builder or require the power of WordPress to build your site.

Brochure-style or one-page websites tend to be the perfect contenders for Website Builders as they generally serve to promote a business, provide information and advertise products or services. Requiring fewer customizations, the core focus is building a beautiful, engaging website that will best represent your business and get your brand message across to site visitors. Such websites include:

  • Portfolios
  • Business services
  • Photographers, artists, musicians
  • Restaurants
  • Community and local businesses

And more.

 

Businesses that require more technologically advanced features than a brochure website will probably find the customizability and flexibility that WordPress offers more suitable. This includes:

  • Websites that require a membership or login area
  • Websites that include a database
  • Large-scale eCommerce websites
  • Corporate website
  • When the website is your product

Bottom Line?

Brochure-style or one-page websites= Website Builders

Advanced, customized websites= WordPress

 

Factor 2: Coding Knowledge

Presumably, the reason you are here is because you would like to take a hands-on approach to the creation of your business’s website. If you have some knowledge in HTML code, you may find that creating your website with WordPress is not that hard. Yes, the learning curve will likely be longer than that of a typical website builder, but with access to themes and plugins that remove the majority of coding required to build a site, it is possible to build a beautiful website on your own.

 

TIP: If you do decide to create your website using WordPress, we highly recommend employing a developer to build your website instead of facing this task alone. Whilst these services will add to your costs, a professional developer can customize your website’s design, layout and functionality more efficiently, not to mention complete the whole project a lot faster than if you were to build the website on your own. Once the website goes live, familiarize yourself with the platform so you can take over the day-to day management of the website. Whether adding fresh content or editing the basic site elements, if you can manage the ongoing maintenance, you stand to save on hundreds to thousands of dollars a year on development fees.

Website Builders on the other hand are the perfect solution for users with no coding knowledge. With their WYSIWYG editors, as well as the drag-and-drop functionality, you see exactly how your website will look as soon as you edit it. This highly visual approach to creating a website makes website builders the obvious option for users looking to build a website quickly, effortlessly and with no coding experience.

TIP: It should also be noted that there is a growing number of website developers and designers who specialize in creating websites using website builders. You can utilize their services to speed-up the creation process or for assistance in adding extended features such as eCommerce and other integrations.

Bottom Line:

Got coding knowledge= WordPress

No coding knowledge= Website Builder

 

Factor 3: Budget

As with most business decisions, budget will play a key role in the website builder vs WordPress decision making process. But budget alone should not be the main factor. Downloading and running WordPress is free and standard hosting packages will usually cost between $3-$10 a month. Whereas business accounts with Website Builders (including hosting) generally start at around $12 a month. If we only considered the ongoing costs of the platforms themselves (not including logo/website design, domain purchase, themes and images which all add to the total cost), WordPress comes out the cheaper option. But unless you have the coding skills and knowledge of a professional developer, you will likely need to hire a web developer or web designer to either build or build and maintain your website (and suddenly the costs of WordPress far outweigh those of a Website Builder).

TIP: Thanks to freelance marketplaces such as UpWork and Fiverr, you can easily source developers from around the world at a much lower price than was once possible.

But you should still be prepared to invest at least $5,000 for a good developer to create a fully customized WordPress website (there’s an emphasis on good for a reason- you may find significantly cheaper developers, but be wary that the quality of work is often reflected in the price). Website’s built by developers using a website builder usually cost less than those built using WordPress, with prices starting in the 100’s of dollar for Website Builder development.

The following table identifies the possible scenarios where one should select WordPress vs. a Website Builder.

Wordpress vs Builders

Bottom Line?

It’s clear that budget alone can not be the deciding factor, but if the decision were based solely on budget:

Low Budget= Website Builder

High Budget= WordPress

 

Website Builders Vs. WordPress: Head to Head

 

 Website Builders WordPress
 Editor
  • Simple, view website as you edit
  • Drag and drop to add elements to site
  • Text editor similar to Microsoft Word
  • Simple but more technical than website builders
  • Need to install plugins to add elements to site
Customization & Flexibility
  • Customize colors, fonts & choose from selection of templates
  • Less flexible than WordPress
  • Some Website Builders offer access to code
  • Highly customizable, thousands of themes to choose from or use developer to build site from scratch
  • Thousands of plugins to add functionality and elements to site
  • Full control of code
 Hosting
  •  Included
  • External, prices average between $3-10/month
 Support
  • All builders offer online resources
  • Some offer phone support
  • Online resources available
  • Huge community of developers in online support forums
 Installation
  • No installation, just open an account
  • If performed manually, can take time and requires technical know-how
  • Many hosting companies offer 1-click installation
 Price
  •  Business accounts from $12/month
  • WordPress is free
  • Additional costs include developer fees, one-time fee for theme, some plugins, hosting
 Future Considerations
  • Some but not all Website Builders offer export capabilities
  • Domain names purchased through Website Builder can be harder to transfer out and vice-versa.
  • Site content can be imported and exported if wanting to change hosting companies, themes etc.

 

As it is clear, the best platform for building your website hands-on depends on your business needs, technical capabilities and your available time. The benefit of website builders is that you can ‘try before you buy’ and we therefore recommend giving one a go as they will generally suffice for most conventional business needs. You can even check out our Website Builder Comparison Table to find the best website builder for your business.

If you wish to build a website beyond the conventional brochure-style site, you will require a platform with more power, more flexibility and more options. In this case, WordPress is the answer. To find out more about WordPress, read our in-depth WordPress Review.

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