Which Website Platform – WordPress v Free Hosted

With so many choices when it comes to building a website these days it can take a lot of research to make sure you choose the right option for you. The last thing you want to find yourself doing is having to create a whole new website because you discover that the platform you chose the first time no longer does what you need it to do.

We have heard so many horror stories from clients who have spend thousands of dollars on a website where the website designer uses a platform like Drupal or Joomla and then the owner of the website has no idea of how to make a simple edit and are tied to the website designer’s update package and schedule. We would certainly understand if you had no desire to design your own website, but make sure that whatever platform you choose you can make simple edits on your own when you need to – because they happen often.

So, for the purposes of this post, we look at the two most common options that you might choose as a business owner where you can easily make changes yourself if you need to. In a side-by-side comparison between the top free DIY website builders such as Wix, Squarespace, Weebly etc, Wix came out as the best of the free website platforms and, at the time the comparison was written (2017), had 109 million websites built using it [http://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/website-builders-comparison-chart/]

Although Wix and their ilk do have free versions, they have limited functionality and bandwidth usage. At what Wix calls the “Entrepreneur & Freelancer” level you are looking at $14 per month (with savings if you pay for 1 or 2 years upfront), and if you want eCommerce functionality then the price goes up to $17 per month.

WordPress is open source software, which means that the code is available to the public and coders can create additional functionality to the platform by making themes and plugins, some of which are offered for free usage, some for a fee. Whereas you can install the basic WordPress platform on your hosting space for free, finding the right theme and creating the functionality you need with extra plugins etc may cost additional money.

The fact that you have so many people contributing to WordPress (there are over 1.2 billion users and 40,000 plugins available for example), means that you have much more functionality than with something like Wix, for example. But you can’t always easily tell whether you are getting a quality product. Bad plugins can lead to easy access for hackers and WordPress is increasingly being targeted. Although WordPress and plugin makers are constantly updating their product it does mean that you have to keep monitoring your site and make sure it is up-to-date and secure – and some people find that a a pain to do.

Wix is not open source and only Wix’s developers can add functionality to their platform. This means it is much more secure in terms of hacking, but has far less functionality.

In terms of ease of use, Wix’s drag and drop website building technology is far easier to use than WordPress. WordPress can take a bit of learning and having some HTML knowledge is useful if you plan on doing the tweaking of themes etc yourself. WordPress developers can be expensive and there is all the hassle of finding someone good, which can all add up to making it a pain to make such changes.

If you want a detailed comparison between the two there is a great blog post here – http://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/wix-vs-wordpress/

We personally recommend WordPress to all our coaching clients, precisely because of that extended functionality. Most virtual assistants are also familiar with WordPress so don’t need additional training if you take someone on to help you.

However, if you are doing everything yourself and are not technology minded, and just need something fairly simple and straight forward in terms of functionality, then the Wix option may be a lot less hassle for you in the end. Even the $200 – $300 per year cost is not unreasonable if it provides all that you need. You can take all the advice from other people you can take, but in the end it has to be right for YOU.

Ultimately, based on the experience of the clients we have worked with, the added functionality is something most businesses will grow into eventually, and WordPress provides the right balance of functionality with most of the everyday tasks they need easy enough for them to do it themselves, and at a sensible cost. Being a member of a community like Time Traders Club can be very useful in finding out what plugins to use and which to avoid – and there are plenty of good free plugins available!

Not everyone’s needs are the same, obviously, and Wix certainly provides a way for people to get a web presence online quickly and easily. You just need to work out what you are going to need and which platform best fulfills those needs. But – make sure you understand what those needs might be long term – not just for the immediate future.

If you are looking to create a website for your business, or have a website and want to make sure it is a lead magnet for your business, not a lead loser, you might be interested in our upcoming Time Traders Club LAB Workshop on Thursday Sept 21 – check out the details here – http://timetradersclub.com/website-lead-magnet-or-lead-loser/

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