“Should I build my site in WordPress or a website builder?”
is a question we get asked quite a bit. Well, it really depends on 2 things:
- What do you need the website to do?
- How much time and budget do you have to build a website?
Here, we’ll explain the difference between WordPress and website builders. Then we’ll give you our recommendation. But first, what is a website builder? What is WordPress?
Website Builders are like coloring books:
WIX, Squarespace, etc., are types of website builders, which provides you with a template (or the equivalent of a coloring page) and you can “color” it in with your content and images. Website builders are good for sites with basic content without a lot of complex needs, customizations or functionality.
WordPress is like Legos
You can create anything and everything with WordPress – use it to build your masterpiece. WordPress can power anything— from a personal blog to a full-blown university website. As a result, it can sometimes feel confusing and abstract— because it’s designed to be able to do a whole lot. WordPress is currently powering over 75 million websites and is the most popular blogging tool and content management system today.
|Wix offers limited customization, but all of their features are closely controlled and tested to ensure they are working properly.
Wix does offer premium apps you can add – other times you may have to do without.
Squarespace designs are based on pre-design templates and website building tools. Like Wix, they are closely controlled and tested.
|WordPress is very flexible and customizable. With a nearly endless amount of themes and plugins available you can customize your site and add any feature you wish. WordPress can deliver much more functionality.
|Ease of use:
|Wix is a very user-friendly, drag & drop website builder. You don’t need to know how to code as Wix is catered to non-technical users. The trade off is you’re limited to their specific template layouts, elements and styles.
Offers a desktop and mobile site – not responsive across all devices. But it is fast to use and good if you’re in a time crunch.
Squarespace is also a drag & drop website builder, so you’re able to place images and content almost anywhere, without touching a line of code.
|WordPress does have a learning curve, because it offers more options and customization settings. But once you get the hang of it you’ll be impressed at what it allows you to accomplish. WordPress does offer drag & drop builder plugins you can add, giving you as much control over your site’s content as you do in WIX.
|Wix has a dedicated support team with organized tutorials. You can also get help through the phone or 24/7 email support.
Squarespace has a dedicated, 24/7 support team to answer your questions, along with 24/7 email support, user guides, live chat, and a support forum.
|WordPress has a large community forum ready to help. If you run into trouble with WordPress, you can easily Google for an answer. In certain cases, you may end up paying developers for help.
|Since Wix doesn’t open its platform to external developers, they control all aspects of the platform, so they manage all the updates and maintenance work for you.
Squarespace manages all of the performance and security updates for you automatically – no clicks and no worries.
|You are responsible for maintaining your website, though much of this can be automated or handled by a third-party. When updates need to be deployed, you simply have to click the update button.
|Wix has a free plan (includes ad and can’t connect unique domain name). Wix also offers 6 premium plans, ranging from $5.00 to $25.00 per month. View Plans.
Squarespace has no free plan and is $12-$18 per month. View Plans.
All plans include hosting, but you’ll need to purchase a domain name ($10 – $15 per year).
|WordPress itself is free.
You can go with the hosting service of your choice, which costs about $5 – $7 per month.
You will need to purchase a domain name ($10 – $15 per year).
Wrapping up: WordPress or Website Builder?
When to use a website builder
A website builder makes sense if you:
- Need to get online now
- Want to get your first website online in the quickest manner possible.
- Have a limited budget
- Need a fairly simple website, such as a blog
- Don’t expect a lot of traffic
- Don’t need email addresses or are using a third-party
- Want to design the website yourself, but you don’t know how to code
When to use WordPress
WordPress makes sense if you:
- Can wait at least a few days to go live
- Need to make a complex, large-scale website
- Want a truly customized design
- Would spend time and/or money to get something highly customizable
- Want more control over the final look and feature set of your website
- Need something a site builder does not have the template for
- Need functionality a website builder cannot provide
- Expect fair to intermediate amount of traffic
- Want control over the hosting or you want to own your website
- Need email addresses (from the hosting)
So What Do We Think?
We’re big fans of WordPress! As designers we believe investing the time in WordPress is worth it. With WordPress, you’ll have more control over the final result of your site and the long-term direction of it. With website builders, design may suffer, because the idea isn’t to come up with all kinds of fantastic custom designs for websites, it’s about producing an effective layout that can be replicated over and over again. Ultimately, time and resources are the essential factors to consider when you make the decision between WordPress and a website builder!
Do you use WordPress? WIX? Squarespace? Share your experience with us below.