Wordpress, Wix or Squarespace? How to Decide Between a Website Builder or CMS
Building a new website takes a great deal of time and energy, so it's important to get it right from the get-go. Here's what you need to know before choosing between a website builder like Wix or Squarespace and a CMS like WordPress.
Key Differences Between a Website Builder and CMS
Before we begin a comparison between the three big players in website design, it’s important to understand the difference between a website builder and a content management system (CMS).
Website builders tend to focus on the front-end appearance of your website: how it looks to website visitors. Most website builders on the market today offer drag-and-drop functionality which allows you to customise the visual design of your website quickly and easily - hello Wix and Squarespace.
On the other hand, a CMS focuses on the way in which all aspects of your website are organised behind the scenes. CMS’ are usually more in-depth platforms that allow you to manage the appearance and content of your website along with the option to add more complex functionality and customisation - WordPress, we’re looking at you.
But perhaps the most important distinction to make between a website builder like Wix or Squarespace and a CMS like WordPress is that a website builder hosts your website for you, whereas a CMS can be hosted on whichever server you choose.
Why does controlling your domain and hosting matter? Well, having a Wix or Squarespace website is a bit like renting a property rather than owning one. If something happens to their server, or their business decides to shut its doors, your website may cease to exist. Whereas with a CMS, you’ll have to purchase a domain and hosting services for your website, keeping things securely in your name.
Wix and Squarespace
Now to compare the two major website builders - Wix and Squarespace. While these are two completely separate businesses, both offer comparable functionality. So for the purpose of simplicity, we’re going to assess them together.
These website builders offer customers a ‘drag-and-drop’ functionality that allows you to arrange the visual design of your website as if it were an InDesign document. So for people with little to no experience in website design or development, Wix and Squarespace offer the ability for anyone anywhere to get a website up and running within a matter of hours.
When it comes to making changes to a Wix or Squarespace site, all of the website’s content is there in the edit screen, ready to move around, expand or delete in an extremely user-friendly interface.
However, when it comes to adding customised functionality like an ecommerce store or an email subscription form that syncs with your existing database, things get a bit trickier. Wix and Squarespace both have plugins available at an extra cost, but if they don’t have plugins to match your requirements, there isn’t much you can do.
To put it plainly, website builders like Wix and Squarespace offer a super simple way of putting a website together. But because things are so simple from the beginning, it’ll be difficult for you to make changes down the track.
WordPress is a free content management system that can be installed on your server so you can manage and edit website content by yourself. The beauty of WordPress is that it's an open source platform, which means its codes are available for all web developers to use and tailor to a website’s requirements.
So, if you’re looking for a range of features, and the ability to change or add website functionality easily and often, WordPress is without a doubt the best option. Moreover, WordPress facilitates roughly one third of all websites in existence, so most web developers are familiar with working on a WordPress site.
But because WordPress is so easily customisable compared to Wix and Squarespace sites, it also leaves a great deal of room for error. But as long as you hire an experienced web developer proficient in WordPress, and a web designer to make sure everything looks great, WordPress is a great fit for almost all businesses.
Need Help Building a Website?
We hope this article has cleared up the differences between the three big players in web design and development. But if you have any questions, give us a yell! While our web designers and developers prefer working on WordPress websites, we have experience building websites on a number of platforms. Get in touch to find out more.