After much talk of having your own website, the time has finally come for you to put your words into action! You start by doing some research to discover what’s out there. From user friendliness to finding the right design, you’ve come to realize that finding the ideal website platform for your business is pretty overwhelming! As a lead creative designer for Performance Marketers, I’ve had my fair share of experience playing around with several website builders and can understand your frustration of finding the right one for your business. Which is why I’ve compiled a list of pros/cons of website builders I’ve had the opportunity to work with.
Before we get into the list, the first thing you need to consider is: flexibility!
Your website builder should be a harmonious place not only shared by the designer and developer but by the marketing team and other colleagues as well. If anyone on your team is experiencing a case of technical frenzy, avoid it. You want something that abides by the K.I.S.S mantra. (Keep it Simple Stupid). With intuitive features, plug /play options and modern designs, many website builders/CMS (Content Management System) platforms seem to have it all. Don’t be fooled, not all of them can offer all the services you need to scale your online business.
With their beautiful professional templates and intuitive features, Squarespace ranks supreme in the aesthetics department. However, what they gain in beauty, they lack in technical features. Advanced marketing tools like lead collections, A/B testing software, custom analytical packages, are just some of the many features that’ll get your business soaring. Unfortunately, these features along with Search Engine Optimization options are fairly limited on SquareSpace. If you're considering to grow your business for the long term, SEO and advanced marketing tools are extremely vital for your website. Lastly, as your content starts to populate on your website, the load time on Squarespace can get a bit sluggish.
If you’re looking to build a clean and simple website without the frills, Wix is your entry level friend. However, if you’re looking to step up your website game, Wix may not be the best choice. As intuitive and easy it is to use, the platform limits the look and feel of your website to the way you want. For instance: the drag and drop builder is quite limited. Not having complete control over the manipulation of your design and functionalities can be frustrating and disappointing. With the rise of mobile devices, your website needs to be adaptable for different screens. Wix, however, limits your control for a responsive website. This results in a poor user experience which means a higher bounce rate and results to fewer conversions.
Also, similarly to Squarespace, their marketing integrations are somewhat scarce and need quite a bit of improvement.
Weebly has recently gained a lot of popularity. Like WIX, it follows a similar formula to help you get a great looking website up and running quickly. However, there are limitations to taking the easy road. As your business grows, so does your website. With more content, comes more pages and media that populate your website. In the end, the growth of your website affects your site speed. Without 100% control, it can be difficult to optimize your website for faster load speed. This can cost you potential leads and and most importantly, potential clients who evidently won't wait around for your website to load.
Like Wix, you don’t have the freedom to move site elements around and build a customized design to your liking. As much as their interface is easy to use, it limits your ability to add custom functionalities such as custom client forms, widgets and external plug-ins.
Wordpress has been widely popular for quite some time. From evolving from a simple blog builder, it’s become one of today’s leading CMS platforms for both small and big businesses. Its huge array of user friendly plugins has become one of its signature features to date. From e-commerce applications to marketing analytics and custom page design elements, there is almost a plugin for everything. The only downside is that you need to constantly update your plugins for maximum efficiency.
As much as Wordpress allows you to implement your own CSS styling, designing and putting together element blocks does require a bit of an adjustment period. Once you get the hang of it, you have complete flexibility to build layouts and designs as you intend. Don't have the time for design? No problem! You can find an endless amount of free beautifully crafted templates or purchased ones from countless online sources that are responsive and adapt to all devices.
When it comes to user functionality, Wordpress’s swift access to updating and maintaining content on your website can be easily accessed and edited by anyone on your team (hassle free). The full freedom of easy customization makes Wordpress a favorite among web designers and developers alike. The best part? The platform is completely scalable! Whether you want to have a simple blog or a full on e-commerce website, the option is always available.
Webflow hasn't been around for very long, but has had a strong start . Thanks to its versatile features and flexibility in manipulating code, its become one of my personal favourites. I’m currently using it for a majority of our clients and loving the total freedom it gives me. Webflow is geared towards more technical web designers and developers, but results in a flexible platform.
For those who don’t have coding knowledge, there is a bit of a learning curve at first. With some practice, you can easily manipulate designs and customize quality responsive websites which meet clients specific needs. HTML/CSS editing gives developers and web designers the freedom to add custom functionalities to the website, such as : lead collection widgets, custom forms, payment gateways and more. This can very useful when third-party solutions are necessary on the website.
Additionally, Webflow is SEO friendly, making it easy to add and configure alt tags, meta tags and more when needed.
Webflow offers an intuitive visual content management system (CMS) in which websites can be updated and maintained without any code experience. Simply select the editable elements as you see them on your website and update them on the fly! This is ideal for marketers and non-technical users alike to easily make quick changes when needed.
Now that you have a better idea of the pros/cons of some of the most popular website builders out there , you’re well on your way to finding the right website builder! Before you take the leap, you should first assess your short and long terms goals and choose a platform that adapts to your business’s needs. For instance, if you plan on scaling your business and having members from your team contributing content on it, you’re better off selecting one that’s user friendly and easy to use (we’re looking at you, Wordpress!). If you’re flying solo and need something simple and aesthetically pleasing, builders like Wix and Squarespace are great entry level options to use! Otherwise more advanced builders like Webflow can be a better choice for experienced web designers who want more customized features to work with.
In the end, you want to avoid the mistake of merging from one platform to the next. After all, we both know time is money and it’s better to get it right the first time than having to change afterwards!
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