Creating a website has become easier than ever with all the different website builders available. Gone are the days where only a coder could build you a website, although that is still a viable choice. There seem to be limitless options available from these website providers, each with different advantages and disadvantages. Today, I’ll be breaking down five of the biggest providers, and explain which one may best suit your business.
Shopify is a favourite among e-commerce shops. This powerful platform is very user-friendly, with the option of further personalising your website through coding, as opposed to just the regular drag-and-drop options. Their support team is also very highly regarded, with several ways to contact them available. The biggest downfall to Shopify is the price. The basic plan starts at $26 monthly, which can be a lot for a business that is just starting out and doesn’t have many customers.
Wix is my personal favourite to use for a non-eCommerce website (eg. services). It’s the easiest to use of all of these options, with a personalised SEO plan that will coach you through the basics step-by-step. It’s really mobile-friendly, just a click of a button will allow you to edit the mobile version without changing the desktop view. I have found that many people struggle with website design/maintenance, and Wix takes away that problem. There are also heaps of Youtube videos and guides available for if you get stuck.
Squarespace is definitely the posh, single Aunt of website builders. The sleek, modern, and simplistic design is what attracts most of it’s customers. In an age of clutter and information overload, more people are turning to minimalism and monochromatic concepts. This is where Squarespace really shines. In my opinion, they are the most aesthetically pleasing of all of the different builders. However, the actual set-up, maintenance and SEO capability is where Squarespace is lacking.
WordPress is a favourite among coders. While the other builders are great options, there are definitely times when WordPress can do things the others can’t. Wordpress dominates much of the website world, and is almost equal with Shopify for the number of users. The main selling point of WordPress is the coding capability, which means that every single thing can be customised, and you can go a lot deeper into the layout. WordPress is great for things like having a searchable database, or a platinum membership area with online payments. There are plug-in available (such as Elementor) that don't require coding, and these can be an easier option for people that are DIY-ing it.
RocketSpark has seen a rise in popularity as people are now looking to support New Zealand businesses instead of huge overseas corporations. I wasn’t originally going to include this builder, but I had seen it recommended a lot and therefore wanted to show it as an option.
Now that you’ve read through each provider, and their advantages and disadvantages, its time to choose one. Although I have done extensive research for this article, it is all my own opinion. I have used many of these website builders, but what worked for me might not work for you. I would also recommend doing some extra research yourself so that you can find the right fit for your business.
Shopify is the tried and true for e-commerce sites, and its what I would recommend. the templates and customer support mean that you can build it yourself pretty easily, which saves money. Their plans also mean you can start small and move up plans when your business is bigger.
For a service-based website or a portfolio, I would definitely recommend Wix. It’s my favourite, and the SEO personalised plan combined with easy editing means you often won’t need to hire a builder.
Squarespace would probably be best for a blog, but I personally wouldn’t use it for anything else.
I would also not recommend using RocketSpark. I understand wanting to support local, but it’s expensive and has limited customisability. I think it is definitely a better idea to support a more established, and flexible provider if you are inexperienced in website design.
And now we come to WordPress. I see it recommended all the time, and I just do not recommend it for a small business. Firstly, you often may be spending thousands of dollars to set it up, and every time you want something changed or added this will be extra. A coder is normally needed, whereas with other builders you can do it yourself. The exception with this is if you get a non-coding plug-in, which can be fiddly. The lack of support is also a problem. If there is an issue, you’re on your own. This often means you need to resort to spending money on a WordPress specialist, which is just another charge. The exception for this would be if you were wanting a database done, like yellow-pages as this often needs extensive coding.
I hope that this article has helped to shed some light on all the different options, and what works best for you.