Have you been trying to decide between using WordPress or a website builder, such as SquareSpace, Wix, Shopify, or Weebly, to create your own website? What are the differences between them? What will best meet your needs? In this blog, we hope to answer these types of questions. We want to help you know what are the pros and cons between WordPress and website builders.
One of the best ways to explain the difference between WordPress and website builders is using a house analogy. As we try to explain the differences between the two, we hope this analogy will help clarify some points for you.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a platform on which you can create and manage your website. The main difference is that WordPress is a content management system. What does this mean? A content management system is “designed to support the management of the content of Web pages. Content includes text and embedded graphics, photos, video, audio, [and] maps, . . . that displays content or interacts with the user.”
WordPress is like buying a house. With this analogy, a WordPress house can be built completely custom (i.e., a custom theme) or based upon existing popular floor plans (i.e., a premium theme). And just like building your own house, you own it and you have control of what you do with it.
What is a Website Builder?
Four popular website builders are Wix, SquareSpace, Shopify, and Weebly. A website builder allows you to build your website using the company’s designs and space.
One way of thinking about a website builder is it’s like renting. You don’t own your website if you use a website builder. What you do is “rent” out a space. You pay monthly payments and if you want to move your website, you need to design a new website.
Benefits of WordPress
As previously mentioned, one of the main benefits of using WordPress is that you own your website. This means if you want to change hosts, you can—this is a major benefit of WordPress.
With WordPress, if your hosting company ever shut down, you would still have your site because you own your website. It wouldn’t disappear with the closure of the company hosting the site. While with a website builder, this is not the case.
WordPress also allows you to create a very high-quality website. There are so many different themes and plugins available for WordPress websites. All of the plugins let you customize your website to a certain extent. You can also choose which theme best suits your company. All of these features, along with the coding involved with WordPress, create a polished looking site. They also make WordPress a versatile option, with the ability to make it more your own.
While WordPress can get a little complicated, it has many themes that are very easy to use. The easiness simply depends on which theme you decide to use.
To go back to the house analogy, when you own your own house, you don’t have to ask the landlord for permission to change anything about you house. You can just do it. This is the same thing with a WordPress website. You have full control over it, since you own it, and you can therefore modify it as you please. With a website builder, you are limited to what changes you can make. It all depends on what the website builder company will support.
Because you own a WordPress website, and it’s very versatile, a WordPress website works best if you are looking for long-term growth.
Benefits of Website Builders
One of the greatest benefits of a website builder such as Wix, Weebly, Shopify, or SquareSpace is that they are generally very easy to set up and to use. Again, the level of easiness depends on which theme you decide to go with. Website builders have a drag and drop feature. This feature lets you drag in your content, drop it into the space you want it displayed on your website, and voila—your content is there. Because of this, you can create your own website yourself. It takes less time to create a website using a website builder than with WordPress.
Website Builders can be cheaper than WordPress. If you are looking for a frugal and budget-friendly way to build your website, Wix, Weebly, Shopify, or SquareSpace are good options.
Going back to the renting analogy, you pay on a monthly basis with website builders. This can be helpful, especially if you’re not sure whether or not your business is going to succeed long-term. Paying monthly means that you still have a website, but you haven’t invested too much time and money for a business or project that didn’t end up working out. In the long run, this can save you a lot of money.
If you use a website builder, they also take care of everything for you: hosting, maintenance, etc.
What to Consider
Now that you know the difference between WordPress and website builders, and know some of their benefits, you need to consider several things before deciding which to use:
- Your budget. How much is your budget for creating a website? If it is $1,000 or less, we recommend that you go with a website builder such as Wix, Weebly, Shopify, or SquareSpace.
- Purpose of your website. Is your website going to be used to establish your credibility as a company, or is it going to be used to generate more business? If the purpose of your website is to establish your credibility, we recommend that you go with a website builder. If the purpose of your website is to generate more business, we recommend that you go with WordPress.
- Are you just starting out or are is your company established? If your company is just beginning, a website builder would be a better choice. We recommend this because there are a lot of variables you just don’t know yet. For one, is your company going to be successful? If your company is more established, consider using WordPress. This gives you more options, allows you to better tailor your website to you and your customers’ needs, and you know that your website is worth the investment.
- What is important to you? Is the quality of your website important to you? A website builder is built by the site owner, and you can tell the quality of their craftsmanship. If brand is important to you, it would be in your best interest to hire a professional to build your site. That professional will most likely use WordPress due to its flexibility.
ThemeSupport Can Build a WordPress Website
If you decide to use WordPress, we can help you build your website! We offer a special plan just for this purpose.
You get to choose the look and feel of your WordPress website. We just need you to provide the content, pictures, and videos you want displayed on your site. If you’re a little unsure about some of the content or videos, we can give you some suggestions.
After this, we can build your website for you! It will take us about 2-3 weeks to finish it. We offer a very affordable price, and are happy to answer any questions you may have.
What is Hosting?
A host is the company that manages the servers where your website is stored. Many hosts also sell domain names. Some companies that offer hosting are GoDaddy, Google, and Amazon.
With a website builder, hosting is included in their costs, so they do it for you. With WordPress, you have to find your own host.
What are the Most Popular Website Builders?
Four of the most popular website builders are Wix, SquareSpace, Shopify, and Weebly. While each website builders have their differences, Wix, SquareSpace, Shopify, and Weebly all share some similar features.
All four website builders offer:
- the drag and drop feature
- 24/7 support
- Mobile Optization. This means when a person looks at your website on a mobile device, your website will fit to their screen and make it easy to use from there.
Wix offers a variety of templates, both in number and in style, as well as a lot of features and apps. Some of the features are video, chat, and a mobile app. Wix also offers a 360 degree feature. As far as pricing goes, Wix offers a free plan. While it has many limitations, it is a very cost-effective way to build your website.
One unique thing about SquareSpace is that they offer a free trial. So you don’t have to immediately buy the template or a plan. SquareSpace also has “award winning templates,” and they have a variety of template to choose from. SquareSpace can also export to WordPress. If you decide you want to use a WordPress website in the end, you can export your content form a SquareSpace website to a WordPress website.
Weebly offers the ability to do e-commerce. While the e-commerce plan costs more, it’ s a nice feature if you are looking to do e-commerce. Weebly is very easy to use and also offers a free plan. Their free plan has many limitations, but it is an option.
Shopify is an e-commerce website builder platform. Whether you would like to sell products online, on social media, or even in store, Shopify allows you to create a website on which you can sell your products. You can do a 14-day free trial with Shopify before committing to creating a website. Shopify not only helps with selling products, but it can help with marketing, payments, checkout, and shipping.
How do I set up and use WordPress?
Creating and setting up a WordPress website requires many steps and can be a little complicated. WordPress offers a free tutorial on how to set up a basic WordPress site and may be able to answer any questions you have.
ThemeSupport can help you set up your WordPress website! We understand that there is a lot that goes in to creating a WordPress website, and we are here to help!
What is the Process if I use a Website Builder?
With any website builder, the first thing you need to do is go to their website and sign up. You then need to choose a plan, choose a theme (or template), and can then begin to create your website! It’s quick and easy.
Which is Right For Me – WordPress or a Website Builder?
To sum everything up, the main question you need to ask yourself is, “What is most important to me in building my site?”
Cost – If cost is the most important factor in building you website, and your budget is under $1,000, then choose a website builder and build the website yourself. If you have a larger budget, and are willing to spend more to get a quality website, choose WordPress.
Brand – If brand is important to you, then you should go with a third party building a WordPress site for you. One of the reasons that website builders cost less is you build the site yourself. Professionally built websites will have a better look and feel to them – they are products of quality craftsmanship. Also, WordPress is more versatile. If brand is the most important thing to you, then hire a professional to help you build your website.
Ease of Use – This one is a tie. It really all comes down to which theme/template you decide to use in WordPress or the Website Builder. There are many WordPress themes that are easy to use with free or low-cost installation.
Ownership / Control – If this is most important to you, you should definitely go with WordPress. A website builder does not allow you to own your website; you are essentially “renting” a space if you use a website builder. If you buy a WordPress website, you own it. Because of this, you have full control over it.
Growth – As your company may grow, a WordPress website can grow alongside with it. This is because you own the site, you can change the site without limitation, you have full control over the site, and you have a marketplace with tens of thousands of plugins to easily expand your site functionality. So if growth is one of the most important things to you, go with WordPress.
Are you still unsure which is the best option for you? We can help you decide! We offer free consultations and can answer any questions you may have.