One of the most frequent questions I get from people in need of a website or a website makeover is:
“Why WordPress, I’ve heard ______ is so much better?”
You can fill the blank with Wix, Squarespace, Adobe Muse or any of the latest website builder tools that might be available and highly visible at the moment. Perhaps the best way for me to answer that question is to explain what some of the others are and compare them to what WordPress is.
Squarespace is a website builder. Which means unless you’re going the Developer route, you’ll be creating your website from a template. I’ve discussed template websites before. To get truly unique looks from one of the templates CSS coding will be required. Your choice of features are also limited to those that Squarespace offers. Payment is required for Squarespace, anywhere from $8 to $30 monthly. Your domain name is hosted through Squarespace and thus they have the ultimate control of your website.
Wix is another page builder format. This means there are limits to the customization that can be done. Like other page builder platforms, it’s built so that non-developers can create a somewhat appealing website. The tradeoff is that it doesn’t have the flexibility and ability to customize extensively. Extent of design options is controlled by what Wix does and does not offer. Again, Wix hosts your domain name and has the ultimate control over the directories and files associated with your website. Some people have also complained about the Wix link structure for pages and blog posts. Wix website page/post links add letters and numbers to the end of your URL which can scare people off. Even if it doesn’t, it looks different from normal site links and can seem unprofessional. It should be noted that although Wix has integrated blog tools, they themselves use WordPress for the Wix blog, which probably speaks volumes for the Wix blog tools functionality.
Muse is Adobe’s answer for designers who are not coders. Its strength lies in allowing designers to create their own design elements within Muse and then let them choose from lists of widgets for functionality. Muse is part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud and must be purchased or subscribed to. It has no built in option for a blog, as it’s a static website.* Designers who do a lot of work in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop are often drawn to the ability to create a complete website without the need for a developer. People who aren’t familiar with Adobe products may find Muse complicated. Since you can upload the files created with Muse to your own hosting for your domain name, you retain control of your website. You will however need to know how to upload files to your own host via FTP.
Now let’s talk about WordPress
Let me clarify that we are talking about the WordPress.org version not the WordPress.com version. WordPress.org is actually where you’ll find the download of the platform to be installed on your own hosting package for your domain name. This gives you complete control of your website. And no worries about downloading and uploading WordPress because in most cases you’ll find that your web hosting service will have an easy installer for WordPress due to its popularity.
WordPress is a totally different type of platform from any of the above website page builders. First it is an open-source platform, meaning that the community of developers, designers, artists and other web experts have enhanced its capabilities along the way via creation of installable plugins and themes. This means the features and functionality of WordPress is pretty limitless. Plugins allow you to add functionality to your website whereas themes allow you to alter your design. If you want even more design control purchasing a premium theme framework like Headway allows you to create unique layouts to get the exact look you want.
Many people complain that WordPress is too flexible and powerful for beginners. In reality, it is as simple or as complex as you need it to be. The Page/Post creation editor has a familiar word processor feel to it and individuals who aren’t too concerned with complete customization have over 15,000 theme choices out there. With over 36,000 plugins that add functionality without coding it gives even beginners the ability to add function to form. Learning curve? Anything has a learning curve. But there are plenty of places you can turn to for help.
For those designers out there who think Muse is their only option to get solid design with no coding, the Headway theme for WordPress allows you to design in a familiar wireframe grid, adding and moving sections around to suit your design needs. The latest version is so incredibly flexible that I’ve yet to find a design that’s not achievable with Headway. Oh, and did I mention that amazing results can be had without coding? It’s the only theme I use to create websites with. That’s right, I have no need to find and work with other WordPress themes because I can easily create any design I wish.
If you aren’t interested in adding a blog to your website, you don’t have to. WordPress gives you the option of a static website but unlike the others, should you decide down the road to add one it’s as simple as adding a page. Even with no blog, the ability to change content and add images remains as easy as working in your favorite word processor.
In case you haven’t guessed yet, in my opinion WordPress is the best choice no matter what you’re looking for in a website. Why invest in a page builder or static page that you may find doesn’t fit your needs and can’t expand to do what you want it to when WordPress is capable of doing it all?