In the age of cyber technology, having a website for your business is critical, but when there are so many platforms available… which do you choose? We interviewed users of three different website platforms to get their opinions.
Matt*, Julia*, and Molly* are all real people who set up and manage their own websites. They’ve shared their experience with us so that we can give you real-life examples of what you may encounter on each of these platforms.
* Names changed for privacy
Matt uses Wix to host an online portfolio of his graphic design and video projects.
What Matt Loves about Wix
Matt loves the user-friendliness of the site. He says that even though he is a computer-savvy millennial, the number of tabs is manageable, and the buttons are very clear. Uploading and inserting images, updating content, changing colors and adding hyperlinks are all very easy tasks.
When he first built the site, Matt felt that Wix gave him the major resources that he needed. Choosing a theme was a good experience for Matt since there were plenty of templates to choose from. In addition, the demo examples of sites helped him visualize how how he might layout his own.
The best parts of Wix, according to Matt, are the following:
- It’s FREE (paid users have access to more options in terms of customizability, like a personalized domain name).
- You can use Facebook to create your account, saving time every time you log in.
- The mobile version of the site is easy to manually edit, meaning your Wix website will look great no matter the surfing device.
What Matt Wishes Was Better
Layout and design were the most time-consuming aspects of the Wix platform, even for a graphic designer! “The process always takes longer than you expect,” Matt cautions; he estimates he spent at least 10 hours testing out layouts and colors, and organizing tabs and column formats. The new Wix editor (launched October 2015), however, promises “stunning” improvements to the site’s usability, and Matt admits he is eager to check out Wix’s updated functions.
Things that Wix could improve:
- A faster, more fluid service—sometimes the web host is sluggish.
- Free accounts are drowning in sidebar ads—if those blinking distractions bother you, shell out for the paid account or try Squarespace or WordPress.
Julia* owns a small business and a domain name on Squarespace. She chose the platform after hearing their name regularly advertised on podcasts and Hulu.
What Julia Loves about Squarespace
Squarespace’s clean, modern aesthetic appealed to the minimalist in her, and she was hooked after signing up for the site’s free 14-day trial.
The best parts of Squarespace, according to Julia, are the following:
- The site’s “gorgeous,” polished design.
- Ease of editing; the site can easily grow as the business grows, including the addition of commerce functionality.
- Tablet and mobile versions of the site automatically adjust to the viewing device, ensuring great readability across all mediums.
What She Wishes Was Better
Things Squarespace could improve:
- The large file sizes and rich designs can load slowly depending on internet service and site traffic.
- The blog function leaves much to be desired, with no SEO assistance and little customizability available to those who don’t know coding. That said, it is possible to embed a WordPress blog into the Squarespace platform, greatly increasing Squarespace’s blog functionality.
What else you should know about Squarespace
There are no free accounts on Squarespace, but there are discounts for new users. Depending on how many site administrators will need access, and how many products you wish to sell, the cost will vary between a personal and a professional account. Both account types have the same choice of beautifully-crafted templates, which are easy to customize for a first-timer to the web design game, but are also rather endlessly modifiable for those with coding experience. Julia reckons she spent 20 hours building her site, and hers is not set up for commerce; so add in more time for that tool.
Molly* is a graduate student who blogs about her research and world travels on WordPress.
What Molly Loves about WordPress
Unlike Squarespace, WordPress gives a much better experience for sites with blogs. In fact, WordPress started as a blogging platform, but has evolved over the years to become full content management system.
With WordPress, you have the options for free and paid site templates (called “Themes”) which offer a variety of layouts and functions. Because WordPress is open-source (meaning anyone can create themes and code for it), you have a seemingly unlimited number of theme options.
Some of the best parts of WordPress are the following:
- A lot of blogging features including enhancements (called “plug-ins”) for search engine optimization (SEO).
- An abundance of themes to choose from
- It’s free!
What We Wish Was Better
WordPress’s user interface is not as clean as Squarespace or Wix, so there is a slight learning curve. Some people can easy get overwhelmed with the abundance of options and settings. It’s extremely important to choose a theme from a trusted developer or theme site that’s easy to use.
What else you should know about WordPress
You can choose between two different formats when using WordPress: WordPress.com requires less set up and allows you to start up your blog or website within minutes. Unfortunately, WordPress.com gives you fewer options and less control over your site than its other version, WordPress.org. WordPress.org is an installable script that runs on your own server. If this paragraph confused you at all, or you’re looking to use WordPress.org and have never set it up before, consider enlisting the help of a developer to avoid hours of frustration.
The Bottom Line
Depending on your specific needs, the platform we recommend may be different. All are fantastic choices that offer good design and (relatively) easy updating. Also feel free to explore other platforms such as Shopify (great for e-Commerce), or Weebly (similar to Wix).
If you feel lost about choosing your platform, Craveity can help – Contact us to set up a 30 minute free consultation.