There are a number of different web platforms that are targeted at small businesses – platforms like Squarespace, Wix and Weebly. If you’re thinking about setting up a new website then these platforms can look very attractive as their ‘drag and drop’ interfaces enable you to get up and running with something professional-looking very quickly. However, we’d always recommend WordPress as a better alternative. Here’s why.
- WordPress is free – A service like Squarespace costs a minimum of £10 per month for the entry level basic options. This cost can rise quite steeply once you start adding other functionality such as an online store. In contrast WordPress is free. Of course there are still costs associated with it – at a minimum you’ll need to buy a domain and pay for hosting for your site (although if you sign up for our Build a website in a day course there’s a year’s free hosting included in the cost!) but WordPress itself is free.
- WordPress is much more widely supported – There are an estimated 75 million WordPress sites in the world, that’s around a third of all websites, making WordPress by far the most widely used web development platform. This means there are many more resources available to support WordPress sites and, should you need help or want to outsource the running of your site, many more developers with WordPress skills.
- Squarespace, Wix and so or are locked down ‘walled gardens’ whereas WordPress offers much more customisation and functionality – Another side effect of WordPress’s popularity is that there are also many more themes, page templates and plugins available for WordPress than for any other web platform. This gives you much more flexibility in terms of how your site will look and what it can do, which may not seem important at the start but can become extremely important as your business grows.
- WordPress enables you to keep control of your website no matter what – When you build your site with WordPress you own the content, the images and all the customisation you add to your site. If you want to switch to another service you can. There’s no way that WordPress can ‘switch off’ your website and cut you off – it’s open source software than anyone can use. By contrast, the other services mentioned are all commercial organisations in business to make money. If they ceased operation you’d lose your website. If they decided to switch your site off for whatever reason there’s nothing you could do about that. For these reasons we’d always recommend WordPress as a safer option.
If you’re used to a ‘what you see is what you get’ style of visual editor then the WordPress interface can take a little bit of getting used to. It’s probably fair to say that Squarespace, Wix and so on are easier for a non-technical person to get to grips with straight out of the box, but the price you pay for that is all the limitations listed above.
You may be able to to live with these limitations if you’re just running a small personal blog, but if you’re running any kind of business website and you’re hoping to grow your business then WordPress is a much better option. Our one day training course will show you how easy it is to get up and running and you’ll end the day with a simple but fully functional website that you can use as the basis of your own business site, along with the skills you need to develop and run it.
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