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:
- Business services
- Photographers, artists, musicians
- Community and local businesses
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
|Customization & Flexibility|
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.