How to Choose the Right Site Builder to Create a Website in 2020
Know Your Context Before Creating a Website
Nowadays there are plenty of tools on the market to create a web site from scratch. Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy Website Builder, Weebly, Shopify, WordPress to name a few. However, in this article we will focus on three of the most popular tools at the moment this article was written: WordPress, Shopify, and Wix.
Wix Vs Shopify Vs WordPress
While these tools achieve the same purpose not all provide the same level of functionality and/or respond equally to the same needs. Also, whereas the aforementioned tools are very popular on the market, each one has its strengths and weaknesses.
In this article, we will analyze these tools as well as why and when to use them. We hope that after reading this article you’ll have a better idea about which tool to choose from to create your website.
You’ve probably heard that Shopify is the best E-commerce tool or that WordPress is great because it is easy to maintain. While those statements are partially true, it always depends on the context, the needs, the audience, as well as other factors. So let’s first start by asking you a few questions.
Are you technologically savvy enough to build a website on your own?
Again, you’ve probably heard that your nephew, who is only 14, built a website from scratch and so you think that you can also do so. It may be the case that you, like your nephew, can build a website but the question is would that be a professional-looking website? If you’re techie enough and have the time to spend checking out online tutorials and brushing up your skills then go for it. You may end up saving money and even developing a new skill and/or hobby.
However, learning a new skill and especially, being good at that skill takes practice, time as well as knowledge of the fundamentals of good design (e.g.: typography, colours, contrast) – not to mention UX/UI design. If you don’t have the time or the patience to develop such a skill, then the best option is to pay a professional to do it for you. The costs of web development have decreased considerably in the last few years because Web technologies are cheaper or free, and there is more competition. Before we talk about the right platform to build your website, let’s continue with the next question.
Who is Your Website Audience?
If you already know who your target audience or your customer persona is, then we must focus on finding the right platform for that group. If you are catering to a relatively informal audience or if the scope of your website is not professional (e.g.: a family sharing blog), then we can say that using Wix can be a good option. There are plenty of Wix tutorials online and if you’re techie enough, you’ll be able to pick up its functionality rather quickly. However, have in mind that even when Wix is relatively easy to get started with, it still has a learning curve (therefore, there are also Wix partners who can help you set it up).
Wix works with a range of subscription options for all budgets and functionalities (even eCommerce) and you can get started quickly. The caveat about Wix is that you won’t be able to export or embed your site to other platforms if you ever decide to do so. There may be some other methods to migrate a Wix site and convert it into a WordPress one but that is out of the scope of this article.
The next option in terms of ease-of-use is perhaps Shopify (although WordPress can be similar, though). Shopify is well known for specializing in e-commerce sites so if you want to quickly implement an e-shop and have reliable servers, good support, and a professional-looking website, Shopify is a great option. The e-commerce functionality of Shopify is excellent and it offers shipping, payment, and point-of-sale solutions, as well as other attractive features out of the bat – and some for upgraded memberships.
So far we have got two options and they both work on a subscription basis, so what is the main difference? To put it in simpler terms, Wix is like driving the Car2Go little jolty Smart car and Shopify would be the Mercedez Benz from the same car coop startup – it is quite a different user experience. Also, the cheapest Shopify subscription option is pricier than the most expensive Wix alternative. Both do the job and can be implemented quickly and with good support, but if you want to create an online shop, then Shopify is the way to go. The caveat of Shopify is that, just like Wix, you are renting the platform and if you think your project or business will last many years, costs will add up quickly and it will end up being the most expensive option. However, the migration out of Shopify to another platform is more flexible than Wix.
WordPress Versatility for All Kinds of Websites
The first thing to mention about WordPress is that it is the most popular CMS (Content Management System), but also it is free (WordPress.org), and open source. There are literally zillions of tutorials on how to implement it and create a website and thousands of free plugins (a.k.a. Apps to add functionality). You can create all kinds of websites ranging from simple blogs to powerful e-commerce sites. Some well-known platforms such as Airbnb started on a WordPress installation. Perhaps one of the best advantages of WordPress is that it was designed to create blogs, therefore it is great for SEO (search engine optimization). So, what is the caveat? It has a slightly steeper learning curve than the previous two alternatives. Also, there are way more options and you can customize a site to the most minute detail. If we bring back the analogy of cars, WordPress is not only about driving experience, but also like having the most customizable car possible – which by the way happens to be the classic Jeep – and be able to morph it in any possible way and for all kinds of terrain.
What is the Purpose of Your Website?
Is your website a mean to express yourself on a blog? Is it the ultimate virtual real estate to showcase your best art? Is it an online store where you can sell your goodies or dropship? How big is your budget? When is the completion deadline? What is the visual and user experience message you want to convey to your users or clientele? Are you planning to have this project for a long time or is it just a short-term thing, like a product launch page? The responses to these questions will give you a hint to which platform to use to create a website. As a general guideline, simpler websites could work just fine with Wix or WordPress. For more complex sites or e-shops consider using WordPress or Shopify. It’s also important to think out of the box and consider that you can always get started in one platform and after a few months switch to another one if needed – say your business start growing at a fast rate.
Wix, Shopify, and WordPress are all great platforms where you can create and host a website. Wix is cost-friendly but the backend experience (what you see when you log in) can be jerky and difficult to customize. Wix can be a good solution for smaller projects or even mid-size sites that don’t require full customization or lots of functionality. It does the job and can get you started if your budget is small and you don’t possess high technical skills. Shopify, on the other hand, can get pricey but has a seamless experience and great customer support. It can get you started quickly with a good-looking e-commerce with lots of functionality and a trustworthy server. WordPress is the most versatile option and the best option when you can spend some time to learn some of the intricacies it has. WordPress is free but some needed plugins or themes can be paid – just like Shopify – but the website is yours to keep it and you’re free to use whatever server you want. All these three platforms have a learning curve that you can always skip if you hire a web developer to get you started so that you can only focus on the easier aspects like adding images, creating blogs, changing product prices, etc. Again, what you need to keep in mind is who is your audience, the purpose of your website and if you are willing to invest time and effort to build websites from scratch. If not, we are always here to help you with either solution you choose for your business or project.