If you ever meet someone that recommends a certain website builder or platform without them knowing what your business is, your goals and who you serve then, then they don’t know jack.
Just because a certain website platform works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you.
That’s because not all website builders were created equally. Some website platforms serve some businesses better than others. If you are just starting out on your journey to decide which is the right platform for you, you might be feeling overwhelmed at all the options.
Chances are you took an informal poll of some of your favorite Facebook groups to ask what everyone else uses and that left you feeling more confused because you had so many people swear by WordPress, or others tell you that Squarespace is the best, or someone said that they love Wix.
Besides researching all your options and trying them out yourself firsthand, it’s hard to know truly what platform is the best for you. However, there is a shortcut… you can lean on the expertise of a professional web designer who has tried nearly all the platforms and whose literal job it is to know this kind of thing. (That’s me, in case it wasn’t obvious enough).
I’ve spent the better part of my life designing and developing websites. At the ripe age of 12, I was hand-coding HTML sites for fun, just to see what was possible, before page builders like Squarespace or Wix even existed. At beginning of my professional career, I decided to ditch coding and explored other options. I dabbled in Squarespace. I tried (and was appalled by) Wix. I’ve used several different page builders on WordPress and designed custom WordPress websites, with and without e-commerce. I’ve explored Shopify and Webflow. I’ve become a pro in Showit.
All this experience equips me with some really valuable insight. The kind that helps me guide my clients to the right option for them, knowing where they want to take their business. And also, the kind that lets me help you make an informed decision for your website. That’s why I put together this quick website builder comparison for some of my top recommended platforms to take some of the load off and help you choose the right option for your business.
As far as I’m concerned, there are only 4 platforms out there that are worth your time or consideration based on my experience. Everything else is either too complicated, too limiting or just straight-up wrong. These 4 platforms have found the sweet spot of everything I’ve seen and used because they have a good mix of design capability, functionality, and ease of use.
Perfect for: Businesses with a bigger budget who can work with a designer & a developer for a custom website with all the bells and whistles or someone who doesn’t mind a learning curve to DIY their site using a pre-built theme
- Can connect and integrate with virtually any app through the use of plugins including e-commerce, scheduling apps and more
- Has thousands of available themes, templates and page builders available
*But you still have to pay for hosting and probably a template, unless you find a free one you like
- Available themes/templates can be limited in functionality and each one is designed differently so if you want to change themes or your website look, you will likely have to start from scratch and/or learn a different CMS or site structure each time
- Requires a developer or knowledge of coding if you want a custom website and/or is heavier on the tech and setup side when DIYing your own site
- Integrating certain plugins can cause site glitches or vulnerabilities that put your site out of commission
Related Post: Showit + WordPress: A Match Made in Heaven
Perfect for: Businesses with a smaller budget who want to get a website up and running quickly who don’t mind the look or limitations of a template
- Can easily integrate with popular apps like Mailchimp, Acuity and more
- Has stylish, clean, and modern templates that are stupid-simple to use, even if you are design-challenged
- E-commerce is built-in with their higher-tier monthly plans
- Their template library options and your availability to customize your template is limited unless you know how to code
- Can lack personality or depth if you aren’t creative or don’t know how to manipulate the template’s features
- No chat support if you get stuck and need help
Perfect for: Businesses who are e-commerce focused with physical products
- Payment, shipping, taxes and fulfillment for your products is made easy
- Over 70 professional Shopify templates that can be personalized for your brand
- If you want to customize your site extensively, you have to know Shopify’s specific liquid coding language or hire a Shopify-specific developer
- Adding additional functionality to your site can get costly. Many Shopify apps are paid $5-30+/mo. on top of their hosting costs and that can add up quickly
Perfect for: Businesses who want a unique website that they can manipulate themselves easily without limitations
- Simple, easy-to-use interface that is intuitive for visual learners and creative types
- Personalizations and customizations to any template require no coding knowledge or the need for a developer
- Hundred of templates available from independent designers in various niches
- Chat and emergency support available if you need help included in your hosting cost
- E-commerce isn’t built-in. Although it can be integrated through a third-party app, it’s not ideal for businesses with over 20 products
- Designing without limitations may feel scary or clumsy for individuals with strong left-brain tendencies
As I mentioned, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to website builders. You have to choose the option that’s right for you.
So, there you have it: A complete website builder comparison for some of the top platforms I think you should be considering. Have a question about one of these? Let me know which one you are considering in the comments.
I help female entrepreneurs and business owners create brands that command the spotlight. I love working with women to help them create beautiful, one-of-a-kind brands that give them the confidence to take their business to the next level and get them seriously noticed. I’ve worked with coaches, authors, influencers… you name it, and I bet I can help you too.
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Kristin Pruis • January 25, 2021