There is now a wealth of ways to build a website without the need for coding from the ground up. However, choosing the right platform on which to build your business website can be overwhelming.
Before you dive into reviewing the different alternatives and website builders think about what you need and want from your website first.
What's your website Goal?
We recommend that you write down and make a plan of what you want to do with your website. What are your goals and what features would you like to see on your website?
For example, do you need an online store, now or even potentially in the future? Be sure to consider your growth options; will you be adding regular updates to your website? Do you need a blog section? Would you be selling more products on your website in the future?
You want to be sure that your website platform is capable of handling all your needs as your business grows. Everything that follows, the look, functionality, user experience, maintenance, adding on, and more will all be determined by this choice.
Important Factors to Consider when Choosing a Website Platform
Make sure before choosing your website platform you review the following:
- Ease of Use - you want it to be easy to use, ideally come with a drag-and-drop builder, powerful editing tools, and customisation options
- Design - how customisable is your platform? Are you limited to a selection of templates or is the design as flexible as your imagination?
- Features - What flexibility do you have to add features? Are there good SEO tools, or options to integrate third-party tools like your CRM, Google Analytics, a multitude of payment integrations, and social media?
- Scalability - Whilst some website platforms are great for beginners as your business grows can your website grow and scale with it without the need to change platform?
- Pricing - What platform offers the best value for money both now as you grow and need to expand? Check for hidden costs / add ons.
- Customer support Whilst you want your website to be intuitive to use you also may want to make sure expert support is available when needed, or as you grow your business and have less time and option for someone to maintain your website for you.
Common mistakes made when creating a Website
We have many people that come to us who haven't thoroughly thought through their needs and scalability first, have a made a start and then hit problems similar to this:
- "I had a website a while ago, a friend did it for me but they are too busy to update my website for me or I don’t have the login to it"
- "I haven’t got one because I can’t afford a minimum of £1000 to get a web developer to do my website."
- "I tried a few years ago to do it myself but it is too complicated so I just gave up"
- "I have a website that was easy to to start using a website builder, but now I can't get it to look like I want or add this feature I need"
The Pros and Cons of Website Builders
Website Builders like Wix and Squarespace make it easy for you to build a website. They are aimed at beginners and have a range of pre-made templates. You don’t need to purchase your own web hosting and install the software (as you would with a self-hosted tool). Instead, you can just register for an account and start building your website – the service takes care of hosting and maintaining everything for you.
However, if you decide you want to switch your template afterward there is a lot of rebuilding to do, so you become limited in what you can customise in terms of look and feel once you have started.
With a WordPress website on the other hand you can customise everything! There are hundreds of thousands of themes to choose from, and you can customise to your heart’s content. You can add plugins or use code to make each theme do or show whatever you like. In other words, there’s no real limit to what you can do with your WordPress website. You can even install page drag and drop builders to make it easy for you to add content. That said, there is a lot going on inside the platform, which can make it overwhelming for new users.
Website builders like Wix and Squarespace now offer a lot of tools and features and have some 3rd party integrations. However, you are restricted to what they offer, whereas with WordPress plugins there is no limit to what you can add and integrate with your website. So in terms of scalability WordPress will lay down a solid foundation and grow as your business does. You can add and remove features as you need them, without paying for things you don’t need.
Website builders can seem like a good option because they seem like an affordable option to get started yourself if you don't have the budget for a website designer. However, whatever platform you use as a do-it-yourself designer is going to have a steep learning curve and take time to get something ready to launch. By choosing WordPress early on it also means that you only have to learn one system and way of working rather than, say, if you were to spend a year learning how to use Wix then decide you need WordPress in order to grow.
Whilst you need to find a hosting platform for a WordPress site you’ll have 100% control over every aspect of your site. If you want to move host you can do so, a WordPress site can be moved whereas with closed website builder platforms they lock you in and make it harder to switch. In other words, Squarespace websites can only be hosted by Squarespace.
Want a WordPress site but are afraid you can’t manage it?
We offer affordable website maintenance and support plans which take care of everything from security and webpage speed to software and content updates.