Building a website in 2020 has never been easier due to the sheer volume of builders to choose from. But it wasn’t always this easy to create a beautiful website.
Back in the day, building a website for your business meant you needed to learn how to code, or you needed to hire a coder–and that was just for getting the bare-bones of the site up-and-running!
If you wanted the site to look nice, that meant hiring a wizard of front-end design.
Luckily, those days are long gone.
In 2020, you don’t have to know how to code, and you also don’t require an eye for design. All you need is the ability to research which option is better for you: WordPress or website builders?
And since you’re reading this article, you definitely have a knack for internet research!
By the end of this piece, you’ll know the difference between WordPress and website builders, the pros and cons of each, and have the knowledge necessary to decide which is right for your business.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress became popular for being one of the best open-source platforms that bloggers could use to create websites and share their writing with the world.
While the platform is, in fact, used to build websites, it’s officially known as a content management system (CMS).
While in it’s early days, it sufficed as a platform for bloggers, WordPress continually improved, growing into a powerful website building tool with almost endless capabilities due to its expansive list of plugins.
WordPress gives you a lot of tools to use when building and customizing your website; however, learning how to properly use those tools can take a bit of time.
As far as price is concerned, the platform itself is free. The costs come from getting certain plugins, themes, and hosting plans.
What Are Website Builders?
Unlike WordPress, website builders are limited to just that: building websites. They aren’t CMS platforms, and although they do come with their own plugins, their list often pales in comparison to WordPress’s plugin catalog.
You’re likely already aware of many popular websites builders such as Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly.
The primary benefit of using a website builder like Wix is its simple and quick set-up process. For most, you just have to create an account and start designing your website!
Website builders are also known for their drag and drop capabilities, which make designing your site an easy task with little to no hassle involved.
If you have no interest in design, you can also use pre-built themes that were designed by professionals to give your business site a slick and clean feel.
Most website builders start out with a month-long free trial and then move you to a low-cost basic plan to higher cost premium plans.
When Should You Use A Website Builder?
Due to their simplicity, website builders are perfect for business websites that don’t require much functionality.
Think portfolio sites, websites that feature your business services, photography and art archives, and restaurant websites that showcase basic business details, or sites meant to give a local business an online presence.
Website builders are also great for independent contractors or freelancers who need a professional digital space to send potential clients or customers.
Website builders also don’t require any coding knowledge whatsoever and they don’t allow much custom code, but the caveat to that is that these sites are far less customizable than websites that do allow for the insertion of custom code.
For website hosting, the website builder you go with will also be your hosting provider. This is great if you don’t want to have to decide among different hosting services.
Keep in mind that exploiting your website with website builders is not a possibility, meaning that if you decide you want to move your website from Squarespace to Wix, or from Wix to WordPress, that process will either be difficult or impossible.
When Should You Use WordPress?
While WordPress may have a steeper learning curve compared to popular website builders, once you’ve become proficient with the platform, you can accomplish almost anything with it.
WordPress is a CMS, so it’s more content-oriented by design. Like website builders, WordPress comes with a practically endless number of themes to choose from.
Use WordPress is you need a website that includes a database, needs membership and/or login capabilities, needs to run large-scale eCommerce stores, or needs to represent your larger corporation.
On its own, WordPress doesn’t come with drag and drop capabilities, but that really isn’t a problem because you can download a plugin like Elementor or Divi to add that functionality to your site.
While you don’t need to know how to code to use WordPress, having that knowledge will give you an edge because you’ll be able to customize the site’s code however you like.
For hosting, you can either go with WordPress.org or choose another hosting provider like HostGator, BlueHost, and many others.
Another great benefit of using WordPress is that you can export your site’s content if you want to switch hosting companies or themes without starting your entire website from scratch.
So, Which Should You Choose?
Now that you understand the pros and cons of using WordPress and website builders, the last thing to do is ask: What is right for your business?
If you need a website up within just a few hours, you’d be wise to choose a website builder. If a longer set-up time isn’t an issue, going with WordPress will give you the freedom to make your website whatever you need it to be.
Get a piece of paper and write down what your business needs from its website. You’ll want to be clear about your budget, how large the site needs to be, what purposes it will serve online, and how much you’ll want to customize it.
Only after you take those needs into consideration can you know for certain which platform is right for you.