This is a guest post from out friends at The Blue Focus.
I have met with many highly intelligent clients who lose all self-confidence when I suggest they create a website for their business. Jelly-legged, they say they don’t know code, don’t want to know code — don’t ever want to have to think about code. To soothe them, I quickly and gently tell them that they can create a website without knowing a thing about programming or code. With great relief and normal breathing patterns returning, I explain.
Today’s website building requirements have changed enormously from just a few short years ago. There are now even “drag and drop” website builders where all you have to do is – well, drag and drop your content, videos and images into pre-designed spaces. This enables a non-techie to build a complete and professional-looking website.
CAVEAT: All that being said, not all website builders are created equal!
I want to talk about three of the most popular website builders folks are using and explain why, despite their many favorable components, I prefer one over the other two. All of them manage the hosting and system administration for you. The three in question are Weebly, Wix and WordPress.
Pros: Weebly is a good hosted platform so no software installation is required. You can choose from dozens of website templates, many of which are really lovely. You can even edit them with Weebly’s page editor. If you have an e-commerce store, this content management system (CMS) can support it. Weebly also comes with built-in support for e-commerce so you can start selling off your site pretty quickly. Other pros include built in features for photo galleries, sliders, contact forms, and more.
Cons: Because Weebly is a hosted platform, you are stuck with the features they provide. You can’t change your site even if you hired a designer or developer. If you have an e-commerce site, you will have to pay a 3% transaction fee for every sale, unless you upgrade to their business plan…more $$.
Pros: Wix is a drag and drop site builder. Like Weebly, Wix is a fully hosted platform, so no fees for that. They have hundreds of templates from which to choose, and they are fully editable. They offer many free and paid apps that provide features and functionality to your site. It’s free with a limited bandwidth and storage.
Cons: I think a real turn-off is that Wix shows their branded ads on your website, unless you upgrade to their Combo or Unlimited plan. Also, if you ever want to move your site from Wix, it is quite an involved and complicated process. It’s also not the fastest loading site around.
There are many reasons why I prefer WordPress for my clients. In a word or two, it is simply more professional. This CMS powers such sites as NASA, CNN, eBay, The New York Times any many other well-known companies.
Pros: WordPress is easy to use; it’s free and has wonderful plug-ins you can add. Along with all of its versatility, it has several important advantages.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is used to help a website rank higher on search engines, such as Google, Chrome or Bing. WordPress provides themes that are designed with current SEO standards in mind. The CMS is flexible enough so that you can easily update your site to stay on top of Google’s best SEO practices. This makes WordPress sites Google-friendly, which is not a small asset.
WordPress provides a place to enter title tags and headings, which are basic SEO needs for your site.
WordPress allows you to optimize your content by allowing you to use underlined words, hyperlinks (both internal and external), image uploads with alt tags, and crawl-able content.
We should all know by now that Google loves speed. WordPress’ basic installation and standard themes load quickly and efficiently. You can slow your site down with tons of videos, or too many scripts running on a page, but plug-ins are available to help.
Cons: OK. We want to be fair, even though WordPress is our fav. There are a few cons. You can’t create groups and assign permissions to others, so team work is made a little difficult. I hope they fix this in the future. E-commerce is possible with WordPress plug-ins, but they do not provide as high a functionality as other systems. Custom layouts can be difficult to use for the novice, and there is a definite learning curve involved in using this system.
If you need expert advice on which system to use to create your website, give us a call. We will be happy to calm your nerves and show you how easy it can be to stake out your website claim.
Breathe deeply and be happy!