As a small business owner or independent entrepreneur, you’re all about making the most of your time, money, and other resources.
How would it feel to have your own 24/7 sales & marketing rep that consistently shared your brand with others, helped bring in new customers, keep current customers happy, and ultimately improved your bottom line WITHOUT ever calling in sick nor asking for a raise?
Does this sound too good to be true? I got some news for you …
A well designed website can help increase lead generation, sales, and revenue.
You might be wondering …
“What if I don’t have at least $1,000 to invest in a good web developer?”
– or –
“If I wanted to build my own website, would I have to learn how to code or deal with all that techie stuff?”
It is easier than ever to create your own website. Many tools exist to make the job easier (some free, some low cost). However, not all tools are created equal.
The most common tools for helping you establish your online presence include:
There are many more, and new platforms tend to come and go.
However, after working with many platforms (for both personal and client projects), I recommend WordPress the most.
What is WordPress?
In case you have never heard of WordPress, it is open source (free) software that you install onto your website and lets you build or update your website without touching HTML or other code. It is considered the top content management system or CMS (source). You can learn more at wordpress.org.
Why should I consider WordPress?
- At least 35% of all websites are powered by WordPress (source)
- It is open source (instead of having access to only a few developers , you have access to an online community of over 10,000 developers who are constantly working to make the product better and better)
- You don’t need to know HTML, CSS, or any other programming languages to build a professional website with WordPress
- Most of the time if you need an extra feature for your website (such as having an online form, a forum, the ability accept payments online, etc.) instead of hiring someone to write code you could search for an available plugin (plugins are like the apps on your smartphone; you can check out some of the many WordPress plugins here)
- Many successful and “big name” companies – such as CNN, Disney, and Sony Music just to name a few – are powered by WordPress (source)
Bottom line: whether you’re a million dollar company or a lean entrepreneur, anyone can establish a professional website with WordPress.
Now that we have established what’s so good about WordPress, how does it compare to some of the common website builders out there? Why would someone choose WordPress over Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace?
Wix vs WordPress
Although Wix gives you the ability to create a free website, keep in mind that Wix will put their branding on your website. Their free plan also does not give you the ability to use a custom domain. When you invest in one of Wix’s fixed monthly plans, you have to play by their rules such as how much video you’re allowed to upload (source).
On the contrary, it is often more cost effective to purchase your own domain, set up your own hosting account, and then install the open source WordPress software onto your domain. WordPress also offers many more design layouts and plugins than Wix does. Furthermore, it’s easier to customize your website and switch between design layouts on WordPress than Wix.
Weebly vs WordPress
Much like Wix, Weebly gives you the ability to create a free website if you don’t mind displaying their branding (and coming across as unprofessional). They do offer a good amount of flexibility when it comes to customizing your website BUT you would need to know some HTML and CSS coding. Whereas WordPress is an open source platform, Weebly is a closed source platform since there are only a few aspects of the website you would have control over.
Weebly also offers fixed monthly plans. Although these plans don’t impose as many restrictions as Wix’s, you are still subject to Weebly’s rules (source). In the long run you would save more money if you went the direction of investing in your domain, setting up your own hosting account, and then installing the open source WordPress software onto your domain.
Although Weebly provides support and live chat, they don’t have the number of blogs, forums, and videos that WordPress has available. Plus you would have more design layouts and plugins to choose from with WordPress compared to Weebly.
Squarespace vs WordPress
Squarespace is a website builder that offers a drag-and-drop interface with WYSISYG (What You See Is What You Get). But just like any other website builder we have compared against WordPress, it does not offer complete control over the website. So, you are dependent on just the built-in features.
Furthermore, the search engine optimization (SEO) tools are less powerful than the plugins available for WordPress making the former not so user-friendly. Also keep in mind if you are looking to create an e-commerce site, Squarespace has limited options for payment and support – something that WordPress offers in plenty.
What’s the verdict?
If you’re looking to establish an online presence where you have complete control over the look and layout of your website, access to numerous resources whenever you have an issue, and the ability to customize your website without coding or other techie knowledge, then a self-hosted WordPress website is the way to go.
However, if you don’t mind being subject to someone’s rules & restrictions, having limited support, or having limited options in customizing your website, then you could give one of these website builders a try.
If you’re a small business owner or independent entrepreneur (big or small), and you’re serious about the long term success of your business, then building a self hosted WordPress website is the way to go.
- you get full control over the look, layout, and customization of your website
- this includes displaying your branding and nobody else’s
- you can run any advertisements you want
- you’ll also have many tools available for SEO and getting discovered
- no HTML, CSS, or other coding skills needed
- whenever you have an issue, you have access to a huge community of WordPress developers
The online community of WordPress developers is a blessing.
As long as you can do a few basic computer tasks like sending an email or typing a document in MS Word (or other similar platform), then you can build your own WordPress website. There is no need to hire a web developer unless you need something that requires extensive custom coding.
Are you ready to begin your website creation journey? Scroll down to take your very first step …