Friday, 1 November 2019

DIY Website Builders Vs. Self-Hosted WordPress: Which Is Better For Your Small Business?

DIY Website Builders

Pros to Using Website Builders:

Design—For many website builders, you can choose from hundreds of attractive, business-specific designs that are fully responsive and use HTML 5. The downside is that once you choose a template, you can’t change it.
Very Easy to Use—With drag-and-drop features, putting together a website is a snap with Squarespace,, and similar platforms. Visual page editors allow you to see exactly what your page will look like as you go.  
Website builders can be as inexpensive as around $5.00 per month and include hosting. You will need to pay for your own domain yearly. Watch out, though, as some DIY website builders offer free or very cheap introductory rates that go up significantly over time. 

DIY Website Builder Cons:

Lack of Flexibility—DIY web builders lack the flexibility and versatility that WordPress offers. These builders are designed to handle typical websites as found with restaurants and small businesses. While you can do editing within a predetermined framework or template, you can’t go too far “out of the box.” Creativity is limited.
Limited Addons/Plugins—DIY website builders do offer add-ons to enhance your website’s functionality, but not nearly as many as WordPress. You can also expect to pay extra for them. On a positive note, because the add-ons are built in-house, they don’t have the bugs you sometimes encounter with WordPress plugins.
Hosting—While website builders come with their own hosting, it’s important to note that you can never move your website to another host. If you want to go with a different builder, you can’t transfer your site over. Additionally, most have limitations in the amount of bandwidth (traffic) even with the most expensive options. It’s also worth mentioning that if you want to upgrade to ecommerce, many website builders don’t allow for that, resulting in you rebuilding your entire website with another host. 

Who Should Use a Website Builder?

DIY website builders will work well for you if you meet the following criteria:
  • No experience with website html or css code
  • Low traffic
  • Small budget or little for upfront costs
  • Need to launch within the next week
  • Looking to build a basic, no-frills website

Building Your Business Website Using WordPress

WordPress Pros:

Design Options—When using WordPress, you can choose from thousands of free and paid themes, many with their own customization options. You can easily switch themes or customize them as much as you please. If you want something more customized, you can hire a developer to create a custom theme. 
Flexible—WordPress offers infinite possibilities when it comes to design and functionality. The key is knowing how to accomplish your website goals. 
Versatile—You can run any type of website on WordPress, whether it is a personal website or blog, a large online store, or anything in between. This can make WordPress seem overwhelming, but it is helpful because you have the ability to scale up or add functionality as your business grows. 
There are literally thousands upon thousands of WordPress plugins available for use on WordPress websites, many of them free. If you can imagine it, chances are there is a plugin to help you achieve your website goal. However, pay close attention to plugin reviews before installing them because some of them can perform inconsistently. 
You can install WordPress on any host that uses MySQL with PHP support. If you ever want to move to another web host in the future that provides better service or pricing, you will have no issue doing so. This gives you the freedom to choose the hosting plan that gives you the speed and performance you need to provide visitors the best possible website experience.

WordPress Cons:

Significant Learning Curve—WordPress is powerful, and it is fairly easy to modify/update content. However, there is certainly a learning curve involved, which can be very frustrating to those with no working knowledge of the platform. 
Backend Editor—WordPress uses a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editor, which is more challenging because you can’t see your changes in real time. Instead, you have to click “preview” to see what your page looks like on the front end of the website. You can find plugin-ins to have a front-end editor.
While WordPress is free, you will likely end up needing to hire a developer to help you get your website up and running (at the very least for initial setup) if you are a novice. Additionally, you may need a developer to help with ongoing maintenance or system/plugin updates. Of course, you will also pay for your hosting and domain on an ongoing basis. 

Who Should Use WordPress?

 WordPress is the way to go if you:
  • Can wait at least a week to take your website live
  • Need a large site built or one with complex functionality
  • Can afford the upfront cost of hiring a developer
  • Want something highly customizable and scalable
  • Want the ability to switch hosts
  • Expect a high-traffic website
  • Need functionality you can’t get from a website builder

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