WordPress or a website builder?
That’s a fork in the road that many small business owners have had to navigate.
One of the options is a little bit easier, the other offers slightly more design flexibility, but both paths can lead to a great looking, highly functional website.
In this article, we’ll examine what a website builder is, what WordPress is, and compare them. We’ll wrap up with a look at four things you should consider when you find yourself at this critical juncture in website ownership.
What is a Website Builder?
A long time ago, designing and maintaining a website required a deep understanding of computers and coding. It’s gotten progressively easier over the years. Thanks to full-featured website builders and the site design help they provide, anyone can now create and maintain a website with little or no technical expertise.
Website builders are designed to help less technically apt people by giving them a graphical user interface (GUI) for the code that runs a website. Instead of manually writing lines of code, a website builder allows you to choose the components you want or use a template.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system (CMS), meaning it provides a robust infrastructure for designing and maintaining your site, composing your content, and editing your pages. It gives you access to site design and implementation tools, similar to a website builder, but adds more sophisticated and centralized control over your site’s content.
What Do WordPress and Website Builders Have in Common?
WordPress can be used instead of a website builder, so in one sense, it is a website builder. When deciding between the two, that fact should never leave your mind.
While there are reasons to choose one over the other, the similarities between a website builder and WordPress outnumber the differences—we’ll explore some of those similarities below.
Ease of Use
A key trait shared by website builders and WordPress is that they’re both intended to be extremely easy to use.
Creating and managing a website is a complex process, and keeping up with current designs and technology is hard. In many cases, it is unrealistic for a small business owner to design a professional website from scratch and maintain it. Website builders and WordPress solve that problem by making the process easy.
Website builders allow anyone to have a functioning website quickly. They deliver a streamlined experience, whether you’re laying out your initial site design or doing a minor weekly update—you can define and position text, menus, images, and links with just a few clicks. In the same way, WordPress can be easy to use right from the start, offering almost unlimited options in terms of design, layout, and functionality.
There is a reason why over 35% of websites are WordPress sites and that plenty of people opt for using a website builder—both options are very easy to use!
You Can Manage Your Site from Anywhere
One shared advantage of WordPress and website builders is the ability to manage your website from anywhere. Traditionally, a website would be hosted and designed on a local machine, and if you couldn’t physically access that computer, you were not able to manage your site.
Luckily, both WordPress and website builders are cloud-based. Anywhere you have an internet connection, you can edit or create content for your site. Given the fast-paced nature of content generation, this is a key benefit.
There’s No HTML Editing Required
Neither WordPress nor a website builder requires any HTML coding experience. In that way, both are very welcoming solutions for even novice computer users. Some users of both solutions find that a basic knowledge of HTML can improve their workflow by allowing them to quickly input code while writing content, but it’s not required when using a website builder or WordPress.
Things to Consider Before Choosing
It is common to be on the fence about which solution is best, especially for first-time site owners. Some may anticipate needing a higher level of control over site design and functionality than WordPress can provide. Others may be drawn to WordPress because of its simplicity and the helpful support available to
Below are four factors that should help you decide between WordPress and a website builder.
WordPress makes it easy to scale a website to meet the needs of a growing small business. Although a website builder provides a simple means of getting a website up and running quickly, the resulting site may not meet your needs in the future. Website builder templates can be limiting, and you may run into issues as you expand your site.
In contrast, WordPress is almost infinitely scalable. If your business moves in a new direction and your website needs new functionality to support that, WordPress is much more likely to provide a scalable solution.
If you’re the type of person who’s creating a new business or website, chances are you’re detail-oriented and have precise goals. WordPress is a great choice for this mindset as it allows about the same level of customizability as a website builder, while being incredibly easy to use.
With WordPress, you can design and modify any element, and WordPress themes are 100% customizable. This is not just an aesthetic concern. In terms of functionality and utility, WordPress offers a wide range of options for tools and features, thanks to the numerous plugins allowing for enhanced functionality without custom programming.
WordPress’ popularity resulted in an explosion of support from the developer community, which has created thousands of useful extensions for the already feature-rich platform.
Security is another WordPress advantage, but it requires frequent updates to the backend. The platform’s security is robust because it’s regularly updated to address the most current security concerns. As with the security for a site created with a website builder, WordPress security updates can easily be automated.
Your Expertise Level
Another consideration when choosing between WordPress and a website builder is your level of expertise. Even for those who are intimidated by technology, both approaches offer an easy path to get started. However, managing a WordPress site remains easy even as the site becomes more complex.
When using a website builder, as you add features, you could get out of your depth.
If you’re willing to take the time and effort to read tutorials and learn by experimentation, WordPress and a website builder are both valid choices.
Two Great Options for Small Businesses
If you want to get a website up and running fast, both WordPress and website builders are good choices. While either can serve your needs as the site evolves, one of the options makes that part much easier than the other.
WordPress ensures that, without having to become a website development expert, you’ll be able to keep up with design and feature trends—your site can always be on the cutting edge.
Achieving that with a website builder is doable, and you could even squeeze out a little more flexibility than you would have with a WordPress site, but be prepared to take a more active role in keeping your site’s features and design fresh.
Whichever option you decide to go with, be sure to take advantage of bundled services and support often available from good hosting companies. When you know you’re getting a great deal on a full-featured hosting plan, and a team of experts ready to help when you need it, pulling the trigger on a website builder or a WordPress site may become a little easier!