As a company that offers website design, development and digital marketing services – we often get asked by clients which platform is the best. Unfortunately, this is like asking us how long a piece of string is, or how many pages there are in a book.
If you’re a business owner, an entrepreneur, or just an interested individual – you’ll probably have these questions floating in your head:
- Which platform is the best?
- Which platform is the easiest to use?
- Which platform is the most flexible?
- Which platform is the cheapest?
The aim of this article is to highlight the differences between each of the platforms – how they may work to your advantages, or cause disadvantages – then you can decide just how long that piece of string actually is.
Note: This article is not intended to give you a detailed analysis of all features involved in each of the platforms – simply a top down analysis to give you a general idea of the kind of platform you’re looking for
Which platform is the best?
Don’t be silly – if there was a ‘best’ then everyone would choose that platform (and really not much of a point in the rest of this article).
For the same reason there is competition in the world – each platform has its own set of things that it does well, and some that it doesn’t do so well.
Let’s go through the other questions to find out.
Which platform is the easiest to use?
Let’s keep things simple without diving in too far into every nook and cranny of each platform – like what font type one platform may offer as compared to another.
WYSIWYG – a term perhaps you’re familiar with, or perhaps you’re not – but is the basis of this question’s discussion.
WIX and Squarespace both are considered AIO (all-in-one) platforms that help you manage your hosting, domain, and mail (optional for Wix). It is targeted towards the DIY-warriors or the hands-on entrepreneur. They both offer fantastic WYSIWYG editors that literally allow you to drag and drop elements onto a visual editor and make changes live right in front of your eyes.
WordPress’ default editor is slightly more lackluster. Just think of a Word document. It works like that. Nothing to write home about, I know.
HOWEVER the wonderful thing about WordPress being open-source software is the ability to install ‘plugins’ that extend the core functionality of WordPress. You can install a plugin that allows you to create pages with a WYSIWYG editor just like Wix and Squarespace! Regardless – if it boils down to the big question, which platform is the easiest to use?, then you probably want to choose one of the two above.
Verdict: If you’re looking for a no-mess, no-headache solution. Go with Wix and Squarespace and you can’t go wrong. There may be a learning curve with the templates and the WYSIWYG editor – but like most things in life you gotta crawl before you can run.
Which platform is the most flexible?
As with all AIO platforms – you’re generally locked to it unless you want to start from scratch. The idea behind WIX and Squarespace was to provide the ability to create a website to the masses through their easy to understand plans that include hosting and domain management – to their easy to use WYSIWYG editor. The drawback to this is the limitations on the flexibility of what you can achieve on the platform in terms of custom styling.
Finding developers that specifically work with WIX and Squarespace may also be a little challenging given the constraints of the platform – even their options are limited.
On the other hand, as mentioned above – as WordPress is an open-source software the customisations options are seemingly limitless. The benefits of being open-source mean that developers from all around the world have the ability to edit and customise the core code that runs WordPress as well as create what are called plugins that can extend WordPress’ base functionality.
In addition to this – finding developers that work with WordPress platforms is easier than finding a blade of grass on a patch of grass. Communities, and professional developers on platforms such as Codeable.io can be hired to carry out freelance style work if you require a specific customisation that you cannot do yourself.
Verdict: Similar to the Android and iOS analogy – iOS will lock you in and limit your options, whereas Android will give you the keys to the city and let you customise to your hearts content (as long as you have the know-how). WordPress takes this one.
Which platform is the cheapest?
Depending on what your end goal is – all platforms will still require you to take out your wallet and present your shiny credit card some way or another.
WIX and Squarespace* are free to use for the most part:
- WIX will add some blindingly obvious branding to your site letting the public know that you’ve created your brand new website on the WIX platform. You’ll have to sign up to one of their premium plans to remove the WIX branding.
- Squarespace will let you play around with their platform and create websites – however the public will not be able to access your snazzy creations unless you sign up for a paid plan.
WordPress offers a managed hosting solution similar to WIX and Squarespace @ WordPress.com – you can get hosting, and domain management if you sign up for a plan.
If you want to run WordPress yourself then you’ll have to whip out a credit card for website hosting, and a domain.
Verdict: Play around with each until you can make a decision as to which platform you like best before you put any dents into your credit card statement.
In the long run however – it’s always cheaper if you get your hands a little dirty. Go with the hosting WordPress on your own website host with your own domain. It works out to be half the price over about a year if you find some good deals for website hosting (a topic to cover at another stage!).
Let’s keep it short and sweet – while there is no best, there definitely is a better option given your circumstances and what you’re aiming to achieve.
If you’re an entrepreneur, sole-trader or a DIY-warrior – go with WIX or Squarespace to build up a website and get your business online with minimal assistance and experience in designing and developing websites. Perfect for one-page websites, portfolios, or simply an online presence for your business.
If you’re looking for a more powerful platform with more customisation and functional flexibility (as would be needed in say a member site, or an online learning course platform, or an online community) then WordPress would be your go to.
As usual – if you have any questions regarding which platform may be best for your needs, don’t hesitate drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) or fill out or contact form and we’ll get back to you!