Which Website Platform is Best for your Business?
With the age of the internet firmly upon us it has become easier than ever to own your own website. This boom in the online market, we see more and more free website platforms appear, including Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and, of course, our favourite – WordPress! As a business – or even an individual, like an artist or author – it is easy to fall into the trap of trying to make and manage your website alone using these free or cheap alternatives.
It can become a bit of a nightmare!
In this blog we’re going to look at all these free or cheap website building platforms and what they really offer.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is one of the most user friendly and powerful WCMS’s in existence. WCMS is the acronym for “web content management system”. Basically this is an application that supports creating and modifying digital content online. Over 25% of the websites online use WordPress and BSO solely uses WordPress as our platform for creating your website.
What is Wix?
Wix is a “drag-and-drop” website builder. This means you can quite literally drag and drop your content (writing, images, video etc) into the website and it generates the code for you.
What is Weebly?
Like Wix, Weebly is another “drag-and-drop” website builder.
What is Squarespace?
Squarespace is a WCMS platform like WordPress, offering website and blogging services, as well as hosting. However, Squarespace runs on a SAAS or “software as a service” system that requires a hosting fee and subscription. Their services can also only be bought in a bundle – you can’t just have a blogging platform, for example, you would have to subscribe to Squarespace’s hosting and website platform as well.
“Drag-and-Drop” vs WCMS
So you’re probably asking why a drag-and-drop system would be worse than a WCMS. It certainly sounds easier!
Never forget the adage – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Drag-and-drop websites like Weebly and Wix command a limited number of free (or “cheap”) templates which means you just might not find one that suits what you want for your business. Sites like Weebly and Wix that rely so heavily on templates means there’s no way to personalise or customise the look and strategy of your business. In the case of Weebly, you are further restricted insomuch that once you pick your template, there’s no going back! You cannot change to another template once you’ve chosen one. This means that if you want to keep your website up to date, you would have to constantly recreate it to keep up with current trends – whereas with a WCMS platform like WordPress you can alter any part of the website at anytime!
Drag-and-drop sites like Weebly and Wix also limit – and in some cases restrict! – SEO (search engine optimisation). SEO is important as it relates to how you and your business rank on Google. If you have little or no SEO presence, people are simply not going to find you when they go looking for your service online.
Which is clearly not what you want as a business!
The reason that templates from drag-and-drops restrict SEO is due to their automated processes and Flash that they set for standards – these website platforms actually do not permit the use of Google analytics and, sometimes, even ecommerce! Ouch!
Drag-and-drops, like Weebly and Wix, also prevent businesses from creating sites that allow user interaction. You are also prevented from setting a primary location for business. This is why it is important to go to a professional website builder or developer who can use a WCMS platform to code your site to perfection and boost your online presence as well as connect you with your users and customers.
Why Choose WordPress over Squarespace?
So why should you choose WordPress over another WCMS like Squarespace? Because unlike WordPress, sites like Squarespace don’t offer you as many freedoms. Much like Weebly and Wix, it has all-inclusive templates for you to use. And while they have far more customising options than Weebly and Wix (with design based heavily on photography that you can replace with your own images) you are still essentially “renting” a space for your website – much like an apartment, you can paint the walls and change the furniture but at the end of the day it is still the same apartment as your neighbour.
Their SEO options are also extremely limited and difficult to use for the average user, with very little space for meta-descriptions. Meta-descriptions are incredibly important – these are the taglines that appear under your website’s search results on Google – think of it as the blurb for your business. While it is best to be as succinct as possible when it comes to meta-descriptions, Squarespace’s limits are far too restrictive. It is also extremely difficult to integrate important social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and analytical functions (Google analytics, redirects, etc) into your website without going into the Advanced Coding sections.
While Squarespace advertises its ability to host ecommerce sites, the functionality of them is spotty at best and suited more to small, personal sites who may occasionally sell an item or two – definitely not small businesses and bigger who rely on ecommerce functionality.
Even managing images is difficult due to Squarespace’s preference for design over function and marketing. This lack of support for 3rd Party Apps means most people using Squarespace have to hire a developer to work with Squarespace’s “Code Injector” on top of the bundling and licencing fees.
That’s right, Squarespace is not free. And you can’t choose to purchase one website platform over another – you must buy everything bundled together with a yearly subscription fee of up to $400. They do offer one free domain for a year, but you are then charged up to $70 a year for hosting as well, on top of your subscription fee. So add that to the price of hiring a developer to ensure your website has basic business functions, and the fact you’re still forced to work with templates, and you might as well have simply hired a developer to code you a beautiful, custom website to begin with!
WordPress has free and priced templates, as well, however it stands out from the crowd by allowing developers and website builders – like BSO – to create websites from scratch. That means your website will be unique and there are little to no restrictions on what you can do, whether it be a personal website, a small business’ homepage or a large ecommerce company.
So Which is Better?
Drag-and-drop website platforms like Weebly and Wix might seem tempting due to their ease of use, but they’re really better suited as personal website and blogging platforms, where you don’t mind looking like a carbon-copy of your neighbour. If you want any kind of SEO or Google presence, or even basic business functionalities, then these sites are not for you.
SAAS platforms like Squarespace look good on the surface, but the deeper you delve, and the more you spend, the more you realise the functionality is really only slightly better than your conventional drag-and-drop. Again, if you’re looking more for a small, personal website then Squarespace will work for you.
This is why BSO Digital prefers WordPress. And why we will always recommend WordPress to our clients. There are endless possibilities when it comes to WordPress and its development capabilities. From small business to big corporations, BSO Digital with WordPress can make – and easily maintain, alter or completely revamp – the perfect, unique website for you.
You can save yourself a lot of time, stress and money by hiring BSO Digital to professionally build your site for you!