Having a website for your business is tremendously important. Not just for your customers and clients to see what you’re all about, but to also bring in new customers and clients that find your website when searching specifics on search engines like Google or Bing. There are many different options of builders and platforms to design your website on. In this blog, we will be comparing premium options like WordPress, Shopify and Squarespace as well as free options like Wix and Weebly.
Getting to Know Each Platform
In our opinion, and the opinion of many others, WordPress is the best all-around website builder. Over 35% of all websites on the internet are run through WordPress. Over the years, it has become easier to use for front end development. We recommend hiring a developer when it comes to a WordPress website as it can be complex for someone with no experience in the field to take on. When our team builds a website, we provide training and video tutorials to show our clients how to easily update content and images on their site. It is important to make sure that you are using WordPress.org rather than WordPress.com.
Shopify is great if you have an online store and don’t offer in-person services. The store is easier to manage on Shopify in comparison to WordPress’ WooCommerce platform. However, it offers less organic SEO capabilities than WordPress. We recommend running Google ads in tandem with a new Shopify store.
Squarespace is extremely easy to use. It is inexpensive and the price includes the theme as well as hosting and your domain. However, Squarespace offers very little organic SEO. An honourable mention also goes to ShowIt, which is a drag-and-drop website builder. We found this platform to be overwhelming and once again, offered very little organic SEO. If you are just getting started and need a website fast, Squarespace is a good option for you.
Free Builders: Wix, and Weebly
These builders are also a great choice for businesses just starting out that need a website as soon as possible. They are easy to use but offer very little organic SEO. If you have a strong referral-based business, you can get away with these options. However, if you want your website to generate leads for you, do yourself a favour and invest in a professional website on a professional platform.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is essentially the process of getting organic traffic to your website through search results on search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. We at Rosewood like to weigh our options before making a final decision. We tested out all the above-mentioned website building platforms, and no platform generates SEO like WordPress does. Shopify is a close second, but again, is recommended for online stores that do not offer in person services or sales. Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly all performed poorly when it came to organic SEO.
Choosing a platform to design your E-Commerce website is not easy. For those who are unsure what an E-Commerce website is, it is basically a software that allows you to build an online store and sell your products with cart options as well as shipping, inventory, etc. For those who are in need of an E-Commerce site but are unsure of which platform to go with, we highly recommend WordPress or Shopify.
With WordPress, the E-Commerce feature is not automatically included. You will need to install a plugin called WooCommerce which will then give you all the E-Commerce features. This can be a lot more difficult but will ultimately be less expensive as there are no recurring fees.
Shopify on the other hand is extremely quick and easy to get up and running. After you sign up, you will go through easy step-by-step options to customize your website and add your products.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is a difficult factor to go off of when building a website. If you are planning to build and design your website on your own without the help of a developer, then this is definitely a weighing factor. If you are planning to design your website by yourself, then Squarespace, Wix or Weebly would be beneficial for you. As your business and website grows, we always recommend transferring over to WordPress or Shopify. WordPress definitely has a learning curve, which is why we recommend hiring a developer to help you set up an efficient website that not only looks great but will optimize great on search engines. We also provide training after all web development projects.
Cost & Performance Value
Higher Cost = Higher Value
When it comes to website building and designing, you really do get what you pay for in terms of performance. It is important to clearly understand the skill level of your developer. They may be a design pro and build a stunningly beautiful website. However, they may not understand the complexities of Readability, SEO, and Performance Optimizations. It is important to ask questions and understand exactly what’s included in the web design package you are purchasing.
Lower Cost = Lower Value
If you want to build a website that is 100% free, Wix and Weebly are the two options for you. However, building a free website on these platforms will mean that your website domain will be www.yoursite.weebly.com or www.yoursite.wix.com. If you wish to have a domain name that just includes your business name, you will need to pay for this no matter what platform you are using.
Essentially, WordPress is free to download and is an open source which means that you have maximum control over your website, unlike the other builders we have mentioned. However, with WordPress, you will need to purchase your own domain name as well as hosting. This is mandatory as hosting is what puts your website live on the internet. Without hosting, it is not possible to have a website that is available on the internet. With Shopify, Squarespace, Wix or Weebly, the hosting is included in whichever plan you choose.
Upon reviewing the website platforms mentioned in this blog, our personal favourite here at Rosewood is WordPress and Shopify. Building a website is an important step in bettering your business and is definitely worth the cost as it will build, improve, and grow your business more than you could have imagined. SEO is extremely important, and building platforms like Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly just don’t cut it in comparison to WordPress. As we mentioned, WordPress definitely has a learning curve. But have no fear! Rosewood’s team of website builders can help you design the website you want and make it optimized for search engines like Google and Bing. This is done through various things such as keywords, alt tags, meta descriptions and more.
Rosewood is a full-service digital marketing agency outside Toronto dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and small businesses grow their online presence. We work with clients across North America and Europe to identify, strategize and reach their marketing goals!
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Until next time,