Something we get asked often is what Website platform will be be using and what the difference between them is. So we thought we would put together an overview of what the options are when building a new website and why we recommend certain platforms.
What are the best website builders in 2021?
When it comes to websites there are so many different options available for your business and depending on the outcome you are after, a variety of different cost structures as well. 10 years ago, building a website was a little bit more complex than it is now – web developers were tech wizards that built websites from the ground up through programming.
Nowadays, web development has morphed from a tech space to more of a user experience and user interface expedition that can be undertaken by business owners, by designers – by anyone! Easy online site builders let you make a well-designed, mobile-friendly site with minimal technical knowledge. They can even facilitate ecommerce transactions to help you scale and generate income.
The out-of-the-box scale
One thing that is important to note about website platforms, is that they aren’t like comparing apples with apples. When you are building a website there are so many different considerations, for example out-of-the-box website builders, such as Web.com, Wix, Weebly and Squarespace will provide you with hosting, website templates and often even domain names that give you everything you need to get your business up and running. Essentially you can do this yourself and there is very little time required for actual “website building”, it is mostly about copywriting, imagery and communication.
On the complete opposite end of the scale, you have complete customisation. Whereabouts a professional website tech wizard creates your entire website from scratch on a customised platform that is unique for your business. It is expensive but completely limitless in terms of options.
So when you are comparing website platforms, it is important to note that the scale is quite complex. Have a think about your specific requirements and outcomes and hopefully this category breakdown helps making the decision easier.
Customisation and design
When it comes to customisation, you have less options when using website building platforms such as Web.com, Wix, Weebly and Squarespace because you are limited first to themes and templates, and secondly to a small handful of styling elements. With open source platforms such as WordPress.org you are able to select complex themes and templates but completely customise it to your requirements. This means that if you have a more complex product or solution you can vary the way you communicate it to focus on conversions and user experience.
Ease of use
If you are planning on managing (or building) your own website, the ease of use that comes with out-of-the-box website builders such as Web.com, Wix, Weebly and Squarespace is second to none. You and your organisation can make adjustments and changes to content, images and add blogs easily and with very little risk.
Platforms like WordPress.org are a bit more of a middle ground. If your developer has used a drag and drop page builders like SeedProd, Beaver Builder and Divi which have a drag-and-drop editor, it is still easy for you to make adjustments yourself. And since WordPress.org is the biggest CMS system in the world, finding tutorials or instructions is relatively straightforward.
On the other end of the scale are less popular CMS systems such as Drupal, Magneto and Joomla which are a bit more complex to manage post-build but offer just as many customisation options as WordPress.org.
If your website developer has built the website from scratch, they will be required to make any updates and manage it going forward.
Which platform is going to help you reach your goals more? This is a tricky one to answer. If you are talking about conversion rates on your website, you may find that the ability to customise your website to employ the latest conversion techniques will only come from a more customisable platform CMS system like WordPress.org rather than an out-of-the-box website builder.
However if you are relying on SEO to generate your website traffic, performance may come from things like, speed of site, SEO inclusions, ability to write blog articles. Again, a customisable CMS system will allow you to add plugins and add to the site in a limitless fashion. But most out-of-the-box website builders will facilitate advanced SEO as well and the difference may be negligible.
If you want to use your website to drive sales, the out-of-the-box builder you should look for is Shopfy. It comes with pre-built themes and customisation options are still limited without advanced support, but it has an exceptional user-interface for admin and has a number of plugins that make selling things easy.
Most other CMS platforms will facilitate online sales as well. WordPress.org’s WooCommerce platform is very powerful and significantly customisable and will help you sell a lot of things online. It is more complex than Shopify’s platform to use but is more popular due to the nature of WordPress being the most popular platform online.
Most website builders out-of-the-box now have native mobile responsively built into all the themes, templates and layouts. So choosing one of these builders gives you peace of mind that this is taken care of. The closer you get to complete customisation the more effort it will be to build all these things into the site.
Cost to build
Out-of-the-box builders are usually the cheapest to build in the outset because you are pre-selecting themes, layouts and elements that have already been made and just filling in your text. This means time is only spent doing minor customisations and filling in text and other elements.
In the middle you have CMS platforms like WordPress.org and Joomla when using pre-built themes and templates that are customised to suit your requirements and design aesthetic. Time here is mostly spent customising and writing copy, building a layout etc.
On the higher end of the scale are your built from scratch websites where programmers have to write every line of code for how your website looks, behaves and interacts with different devices. CMS or not, building a site from scratch will always cost you more.
With out-of-the-box website builders, you will always have to pay to use their services so their monthly fees range from $19/month – $300/month. This includes hosting the site as well.
With open source CMS systems like WordPress.org there is no cost going forward with the exception of your hosting, which can be around $10 – $40 per month depending on the size of your website. You do not have to pay to use platforms such as WordPress.org, Joomla or Drupal.
What do we recommend?
You may have noticed a pattern above, but a really amazing middle ground for website platforms is WordPress.org. When used with pre-build themes and templates, WordPress can be customised to virtually anything you need without the added expense of complete code customisation from the outset. Most of these themes are mobile responsive already and when partnered with a drag-and-drop builder (our personal favourite is WPBakery) it is really easy to manage going forward.
This is why we recommend WordPress for our website builds.
This doesn’t mean that we can not build websites on other platforms. At Lumos Marketing, we build websites that convert, which means the majority of our time investment is in copywriting, conversion elements, user experience and intelligent design. If you want to harness an out-of-the-box builder like Shopify or Wix, we will always be happy to work closely with you to get the best outcome.
Contact us today for a website quote today and chat to our experienced team.