When it comes to having a good website for your business or organization, it can be hard to decide which platform or system to go with. There are lots of options out there, and they can vary considerably. Here we take a look at two major systems that each offer a different type of website presence: WordPress and website builders like GoDaddy or 1&1.
WordPress is a content management system that got its start when blogging was big. It allowed people to easily create and update blogs, but it’s moved far beyond that now. Unlike website builders, WordPress is powerful and very customizable, but has a learning curve. Website builders are low-cost online tools that help you build a professional-looking website without having to have programming knowledge. They offer much less flexibility, but are also much easier to use.
Deciding on which is a better fit for you and your business largely depends on you and your comfort level with code and programming, the amount of time you want to put into building a site, and the amount of customization you’d like.
Website builders typically make it very easy to fill in elements of your website. Some, like Weebly, have visual page editors that let you drag and drop features like text blocks around the site.
WordPress doesn’t give you the same visual interface. It has what’s called a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. It’s not as intuitive as a drag and drop editor, and it will take some exploring to master, but WordPress’s interface gives you more options – although you may have to do some tweaking to get them to work.
WordPress may feel abstract sometimes, but it is very flexible and scalable. From a personal blog to a huge corporation, it can handle just about any type of website. While you certainly don’t have to know how to code to use WordPress, if you do have some familiarity with coding you can completely customize a website.
Website builders, on the other hand, are much more limited in the types of websites they can handle, even though they’re easier to use. A website builder is better suited to small business, nonprofits, or artist websites. It comes with a set number of templates that look nice and work well, but are also somewhat limited.
This is an area in which website builders are much easier to use than WordPress – hosting is included with every website builder, so you don’t need to worry about configuration. One you buy a domain name, you simply connect it to the website builder, and that’s that.
WordPress does require you to find a web host on which you can install it. This can be intimidating; you may need to get comfortable with different methods of uploading files to a host. The tradeoff is much greater flexibility. You can move it to another web host, for instance.
WordPress has a huge community of programmers, who have written many, many themes and plugins for it. Plugins basically add to what your site can do; they may add extra security features or improve your SEO.
Website builders have themes and plugins, too, just not as many as are available for WordPress. And WordPress plugins do not always work as advertised. So, again, it’s about how much work you’re willing and able to put into the site, and how much control and customization you want.
Which system is best for you depends on your goals. If you want a simple, no-fuss website, or have a smaller business, a website builder is a great option. If you want to really take control of a website and make it your own, or have a larger business that will demand a lot from its website, then WordPress is probably the way to go.
image via Creative Commons