What is the best Website Design platform?

So you are looking at starting a website, but have no idea which platform to use. There are many website building platforms available online so it can be difficult to ascertain which one is the best website design builder for you. To narrow down which platform will suit your business best, ask yourself a simple question: what do I need from my website?

No website should be built without a goal in mind.

What do I need from my website?

It’s a simple question, but a lot of people get stuck when it’s asked.

  • Will the website take appointments?
  • Do you want the website to sell products?
  • Will your website have registered users?
  • How many users or authors need access to your site?
  • What is the number of pages you require?
  • Do you want social media functionality/connectivity?
  • Will your website have a news/blog section

These are questions that you should be asking before you lock yourself into a website building platform. The worst possible thing you could do is sign up to a platform that can’t provide you with the functionality you were looking to use. Continue reading to get a breakdown of some of the internets most popular website building platforms.

 

Squarespace

The Squarespace interface is simple and easy to use. All Squarespace templates are mobile responsive, scaling up and down to perfectly match any device. While the mobile responsive capabilities of Squarespace are fantastic, the automated nature of the feature means you are limited in controlling how it scales and displays on different devices. This may not be a problem for those who just want the website to look pretty on all devices. For those that want a little more control over how their website displays across devices, Squarespace may not be the best platform to use.

The most significant issue I’ve found with Squarespace is its pricing. When compared to its direct competitors – Wix and Weebly – Squarespace is the most pricy platform. If you are trying to hold onto your pockets, comparing Squarespace to the more technical and affordable WordPress is not even a fair fight. Reality is, if you are on a tight budget, the 20 page limit, even on the cheapest plan might just turn you away.

Pros

  • +40 Designer created templates
  • DIY
  • Completely mobile responsive
  • Extensive website customisation
  • Simple Drag and Drop Editor
  • Flexible template editor
  • 24/7 Email Support
  • Blogs and Pages can be exported to WordPress

Cons

  • Limited scaling control
  • Lack of Mobile Editor
  • Pricing
  • Page limit on lower plans
  • Not suitable for businesses that need to blog

Who will this work for?

Squarespace is an excellent website builder for a creative who wants direct control over the design of their website and isn’t phased by the relatively high price point. It does lack a mobile editor, however, so keep this in mind if you wish to have full design control over your website.

Wix

Wix is one of the most well-known website building platforms on the internet at the moment. It offers a simple to use drag and drop system that can be picked up by almost anyone. For those that still might need help, it also offers built-in tutorials. It’s an easy option for those that have a limited budget, but have the time to DIY their own website.

You can use Wix for free, but you shouldn’t. Wix branding will appear on your website on the free package, and you won’t have your own URL which greatly impacts how Google finds your website.

There is a massive range of website templates available for users to choose from. The wide range of templates makes it easy to build a professional look. Take special consideration for the template you decide to choose however, if you do decide to make a change in template further down the track, you will essentially have to build your website from the ground up all over again.

Wix also offers a large library of free professional looking images and videos for you to add to your website. This helps shave off time in sourcing your own images.

One of the main drawbacks for Wix is the inability to edit HTML and CSS codes. This limits what a web developer could do with your site if you decide to bring one in for something technical.

Pros

  • +510 professional templates
  • DIY
  • Simple drag and drop design
  • Extensive website customisation
  • Support and knowledgebase
  • Secure & Fast hosting
  • Built-in Training
  • Business Customisation
  • Mobile Display Editor

Cons

  • Not mobile responsive
  • Expensive high-end plans
  • Poorly Optimised SEO options
  • No page or blog export option
  • Difficult to change templates
  • Ads still display on lowest plan
  • Lack of HTML / CSS editing.

Who will this work for?

Wix is a good website builder that offers a massive catalogue of templates to choose from. If you are working with a modest budget and have time to piece together a website yourself, this is a solid choice to go with. Keep in mind though that Wix sites have been known to have trouble being indexed by search engines other than Google and if you are working on a free plan you are probably not going to be found by Google at all.

You will also have to spend time optimising the mobile appearance of your site manually through the mobile editor if you want visitors on smaller devices to have a good experience on your website.

Weebly

Weebly advertises itself as a one-stop shop DIY website builder with all the bits and pieces you would usually handle separately, being brought together and packaged in the one platform. Question is, does it succeed? Best answer: Depends on what you are after.

Weebly, like all good website building platforms offer pretty great speed and security through their hosting – which is also optimised for their platform.

The website builder for Weebly is seriously easy to use with very clear navigation and drag and drop tools that allow you to add new copy and content seamlessly. It also provides education and tips as you go along building the website to ensure the smoothest experience possible.

One of the biggest selling points to using Weebly is its competitive price point. Weebly offers extremely affordable starting plans that include a free domain and uncapped page and storage limits.

Unfortunately, that uncapped page limit comes around to bite those that take advantage of it. The content management system that Weebly uses is confusing and disorganized. Weebly’s layout makes it difficult to arrange your pages in a logical way once you start expanding the number of pages your website has.

An additional drawback is the platform lock-in. If you ever decide to move and grow your website on a more flexible platform like WordPress, you are going to learn that Weebly isn’t going to make it easy for you. While it is possible to export page content via a zip file, blogs will have to be manually copied over, which means time spent reformatting it yourself, or paying decent coin to get it done for you.

Pros

  • Good Pricing
  • DIY
  • Ease of Use
  • Simple drag and drop design
  • Secure & Fast hosting
  • Built-in Training
  • Free domain under Wix brand

Cons

  • Poor content management system
  • Limited Marketing Tools
  • Platform Lock-in
  • Limited export options
  • Charges apply if your website grows

Who will this work for?

Weebly will work great for sole traders on a tight budget looking to get a website up on the cheap. It will provide you with all the necessary features a website needs, but just not a lot of depth. If you are looking to just have a page on the internet, Weebly is a good choice.

WordPress

WordPress has far more advanced features than the other website builders I have reviewed so far.

It is used by 27.5% of the top 10 million websites on the internet. WordPress supports more than 60 million websites and is continually growing with theme and plugin support. This means that your website can easily be edited and built upon by almost any web developer you decide to work with.

WordPress can be managed into posts and portfolio pages through categories to help users navigate toward the type of content they are looking for. This helps massively with SEO and people who intend to blog.

You can also add as many collaborators to your WordPress site as you need, with no limitations, restrictions, or fees added.

WordPress websites are almost universally accepted by all website hosting services which means that the monthly cost of owning a WordPress website will be the most economical hosting service you can find.

Scaling your site and adding extra pages will not cost you an extra monthly fee like the other website platforms I’ve gone through, instead, you can get a web designer to do it for you for a one-off price. A WordPress website can grow and develop with your business over time. It has the ability to start off small and grow into a complex, multipage, multifunctional e-commerce store if you wish. There are very few limitations to its growth.

Pros

  • SEO Friendly
  • Blogger Friendly
  • Simple Google Analytics Integration
  • Theme Integration
  • Advanced Marketing Tool Integration
  • Massive Ecosystem
  • Easy to Scale
  • Stable Update Cycle

Cons

  • Large learning curve
  • Difficult for non-tech heads to get into.

Who will this work for?

WordPress will work for any business. If you’d rather focus on your business, contact a developer (like us) to build your website for you. When you work with a web developer, WordPress will allow you to build a more flexible and functional website. Also, WordPress doesn’t limit the number of pages you can create which means you can blog to your heart’s content and boost your website’s searchability on Google.

Shaun da Silva – Marketing Officer

Shaun is a trained Graphic Designer, and wordpress wiz, holding an Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design and freelance experience in the industry; with digital and print design skills, as well as work concerning illustration, conceptual and finished artwork.

If you are interested in WordPress Websites we have recently created some beautiful looking sites for our clients. Click below to see our portfolio.