WordPress is one of the most utilized website builders in the world, powering about 23% of all websites as of 2015. It’s best known for its robust capability, flexibility and relative ease of use. Some of the world’s largest sites are built with WordPress. Don’t let that intimidate you though – WordPress is also great for small businesses. It’s incredibly adaptable, allowing you to grow your site alongside your business. Regardless of what stage you’re at with your company, WordPress can address your specific needs.
Though WordPress is perhaps the most capable of all website builders, we understand the need to shop around and compare various site offerings. Here’s how WordPress stacks up against some of the most popular website builders around, and why we still think WordPress is the best choice for you.
WordPress vs. Wix
Wix is a drag-and-drop website builder, making it very easy to use for those without a technical skill set. It offers around 500 templates to choose from, and adds new tools and features to use on a rotating basis. However, Wix offers far fewer tools to its users, unlike the thousands of plugins available to WordPress users, many of which are free. At the time this article was written, over 43,000 plugins are available for WordPress, downloaded more than 1,206,073,614 times. That is a staggering number of add-ons and tools available to you. Wix may be easier to set up initially, but your site will not be able to grow with your needs. Given the limited number of features available on Wix, you will have a harder time evolving your website to stay relevant and competitive. Eventually, it could look outdated. And an outdated site is one that will drive away sales, new business and repeat customers.
The fine print:
Wix is pretty easy to use, but not adaptable or flexible like WordPress. If you anticipate business growth (as we all should), you may outgrow your current site, and might need to start over with a new builder.
WordPress vs. Squarespace
Like Wix, Squarespace has pre-designed templates to choose from to build your drag-and-drop website. The templates are clean, minimalistic and free of clutter – perfect for artists, restaurants, and wedding or occasion businesses, but not necessarily for stores. While this is a good option for creatives, users have far less control over the design of the site. WordPress grants its users total creative control of all aspects of the website. You’re also not locked in to one theme or look – you can update and evolve your site as needed. Squarespace offers far less flexibility than WordPress. You can integrate some non-Squarespace tools, but it will be difficult to execute. Support is offered for Squarespace users…which is helpful, but also leaves you at the mercy of the support team. If something were to break on your website (or worse, the Squarespace hosting went down), you’d have to wait on Squarespace to find and address the issue. You wouldn’t be able to fix it yourself immediately, which could cost you money in lost sales or business if your site was impaired for too long. If you’re the type of person who would rather be in control of your website rather than leaving it in the hands of a third-party provider, Squarespace may not be the best option for you.
The fine print:
Squarespace offers attractive, minimalist themes perfect for artistic businesses, but maybe not online stores. If something breaks, you’ll have to wait on Squarespace developers to fix it, rather than address the issue immediately. Again, you will have far less creative control over the design and direction of your site than if you used WordPress.
WordPress vs. Weebly
Weebly is a user friendly, minimalistic drag-and-drop site builder. The templates aren’t as robust as Wix or Squarespace, but they are conventional and intuitive for your visitors to navigate. There are some options to edit the HTML/CSS code, but it is very limited to the full span of control and customization you have with WordPress. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to integrate non-Weebly tools, so you are limited to what’s available within your theme. If there is a specific feature you’d like to operate differently, even if minimally, you aren’t able to customize it to your needs. With WordPress, you can streamline all functions to suit your specific needs and have full control over design and operations.
The fine print:
Weebly is user-friendly, but even less robust than Wix or Squarespace. It’s a good starter site for users who have very few needs. Weebly lacks the control and customization that WordPress offers, and cannot grow with your business if and when you discover a new direction.
WordPress vs. Shopify and Bigcommerce
Shopify and Bigcommerce are very similar – both are reputable ecommerce website builders. Bigcommerce has powered over 95,000 sites. Shopify currently boasts more than 243,000 active stores. While both offer great benefits, such as premium themes, full support and app stores with integrated add-ons for sale, neither can compete with the full range of customizable options offered by WordPress. Remember, WordPress has 43,000 available plugins, many of which are free. Even though Shopify and Bigcommerce are perhaps the most comprehensive competitors, they still lack in the flexibility of customization that you would find with WordPress. You can find great themes for churches, pest control, you name it, on WordPress. WordPress allows you to easily add new pages or a blog, which enables you to capitalize on content marketing and SEO. The code behind WordPress is simple and clean, making is easy for search engines to read and index your site. Each new page, post or image can be optimized with its own keyword, meta tag, description and title. You can optimize your site for multiple keywords, and get found by more people. The more people that find your site, the more money you make.
The fine print:
While Shopify and Bigcommerce are attractive options with their extensive capabilities and integrated apps, they still lack the total control and customization WordPress offers. Many ecommerce stores are powered by Shopify and Bigcommerce, but WordPress grants users better opportunity to be found on search engines through clean code and key word optimization.
Operating WordPress effectively does take some development skills, but that doesn’t mean beginners should shy away from it. There is a community forum where global WordPress users convene to interact and ask questions. WordPress offers extensive documentation into setup, and the tool itself offers an intuitive, user-friendly interface. If you have a team working under you, you can assign logins to each of them and control how much of your site they can access. When stacked up against competitors, WordPress offers the best control and most customization. If you have a clear vision of your brand and where you want to take your business, there is no better website option that will give you quite the same autonomy into the direction of your site.