WillBy Will11 Minutes

What is the best website platform for your business?

With all the choices out there it’s easy to become overwhelmed and confused. Let’s dive into the most popular platforms currently on the market and explore the Pro’s and Con’s of each one. For this article, we will stick with the 4 big players in the market at the time of writing this article. Wix, Shopify, Squarespace and Wordpress.
See the comparison table below for the summary.


Wix

Wix is best known for its simple drag and drop user interface/ control panel. This platform is particularly popular for beginner website authors. If you’re not fussed about showing third party advertisements on your site you may choose to go with the Wix platform.

Wix overview

Wix does offer a good basic set of services when it comes to creating a website. But you will quickly find that its services are limited, particularly if you want to start selling products on your website.

Wix offers a great system when it comes to its templates. Finding a template to suit your new website is easy due to the fact that the Wix templates have names that accurately describe the genre of the template. So if you want to search for a dog grooming template all you need to do is search “dog grooming” and your needs will be met. This is opposed to the Wordpress system where the templates have cool names but the names mean absolutely nothing when it comes to describing the template style.

Wix Premium Plans
Wix Business Plans

Wix offers 3 pricing plans. A free plan that includes showing 3rd party advertising on your site. A premium website or “brochure” style plan.  And a business plan. Both the paid plans are reasonably priced compared to other competitors.

Pros

  • Is beginner level user friendly.
  • Is an all in one hosting and operating system package.
  • Easy to understand the interface.
  • Does not require coding knowledge.
  • Consistent upload times.
  • Good solution for basic eCommerce needs.
  • Offers a good selection of theme templates.
  • Can be used to launch a free website (with advertising).

Cons

  • Has been known not to sync well with Google. ie: Your website URL may not appear in a Google search.
  • Has very limited eCommerce functionality.
  • Limited to 100 pages so not ideal for people who like to write blogs or have a large website.
  • Has limited menu systems. Page linking is limited to 2 sub items max.

Shopify

Popular with the eCommerce community, Shopify is quickly becoming well known as an easy go-to solution for basic eCommerce stores. The good thing about Shopify is that you don’t need to organize your own hosting service. Shopify is an all in one platform that includes the website hosting costs as part of their subscription plans. Shopify offers multiple subscription plans depending on what your website needs are.

Shopify overview
Shopify pricing options

If you’re unsure of which plan you need you can easily set up a free 14 day trial account and upgrade later.

A good point to note with Shopify plans is that all plans allow for multiple staff logins. This means that even on the basic plan you can give login details to a staff member or a website support guru. This allows multiple people to work on your website at any one time.

Shopify app store

Shopify offers its extra options and system add ons in the form of their app store. This is similar to the Wordpress system where Wordpress users refer to these extra options as “plugins”.

Users who are not so fluent in working across multiple platforms will find the marketing apps a particularly helpful addition to the Shopify operating system.

Shopify plugins menu

Pros

  • Is an all in one hosting and operating system package.
  • Easy to understand the interface.
  • Does not require coding knowledge.
  • Consistent upload times.
  • Good solution for basic eCommerce needs.
  • Offers a good selection of theme templates.
  • Offers an excellent dropshipping app.

Cons

  • Does not offer more custom solutions to ecommerce needs. More complex Ecommerce systems will find this platform limiting.

Squarespace

Popular with the photography community Squarespace uses an easy to understand drag and drop interface. Squarespace is quickly gaining a foothold in the marketplace due largely to their aggressive sponsorship campaigns with bloggers, videographers and photographers.

Squarespace overview

Squarespace offers a good range of pricing options. Anyone serious about eCommerce will need the top-level plan in order to compete in the current eCommerce marketplace.

If you’d like a 10% off coupon simply watch any YouTube photographer channel with a high number of subscribers. Most likely that creator will be sponsored by Squarespace and will have a coupon code available in the YouTube description.

Squarespace pricing

Pros

  • Is an all in one hosting and operating system package.
  • Does not require coding knowledge.
  • Has a wide array of beautiful themes particularly strong in the photography genre.
  • Offers a decent amount of apps (plugins).

Cons

  • Limited to 100 pages.
  • Does not have as many apps as Squarespace or Wordpress.
  • Not the most intuitive editor.
  • Is not great for more complex websites with deep navigation systems.

Wordpress

Popular the world over with the largest market share, Wordpress is an ever-growing juggernaut that continues to improve year on year. This is largely due to the fact that the Wordpress core operating system is opensource software.

WordPress is the prefered platform of this author. I have made dozens of WordPress sites over the years. Some offering intricate solutions for businesses and some as simple brochure sites.

Wordpress overview

Wordpress has 2 platforms. The.com platform and the .org platform
The .com platform is where you can launch a free website but you cannot link your own domain name. So that means you will be limited by a website url like mywebsitename.wordpress.com whereas the .org system uses the same framework but is offered as a free download that you upload to your own server. This means you link your own domain name to the platform. Your own server can cost as little as a few dollars a month with something like Bluehost all the way up to hundreds per month with a more localised server like VPS blocks which is the one I use for my Melbourne website clients.

Note. we offer a WordPress hosting and support combined package for clients that we build websites for. See here.

Wordpress.com
Wordpress.org

Once you install Wordpress on your website host you will need to add a Wordpress theme. Themes are available for free but they aren’t the best looking. I use only 1 theme with all our builds as it can be stretched and pulled to look like anything the client asks for. The theme I recommend and use Uncode Theme.

Uncode Wordpress theme

Pros

  • Endless customisable through the wide array of free and paid plugins.
  • Easy to understand backend dashboard.
  • Does not require coding knowledge.
  • Can handle multiple intricate eCommerce systems like automated follow ups etc.

Cons

  • Requires basic knowledge of FTP and C Panel in order to upload and install the operating system on your website host.
  • Requires third-party plugins to achieve certain tasks and systems. These plugins can sometimes be buggy and cause the theme and other plugins to stop working properly.

Comparisons

 Pricing modelSkill levelMarket share
WixSubscriptionBeginnerUnknown
SquarespaceSubscriptionBeginner2.7% (Source: Google)
ShopifySubscriptionBeginner31% (Source: Google)
WordpressSelf hostedInt/Adv60.4% (Source: Google)

My 2 cents

My personal platform preference for all my websites is the Wordpress system. This is simply because it is the most flexible system. Over the years I have found that my business clients gradually and yet always come to me with requests for systems to be added to their website. The most recent one was a system that automatically emails every shop customer after a 2 week period and asks the customer for a review of the product. This is then rewarded with a second follow up email to thank the customer for the review and generates a discount coupon for their next purchase. This is one of the more than 57000 plugin systems that are available within the Wordpress platform.

Also when it comes to websites, support is everything. Unless you are constantly working in the digital space you will no doubt quickly run into support issues. If your chosen website platform doesn’t offer sufficient support you will find that your business will grind to a halt.

Your website platform provider will become like a team member in your business. Make sure you choose a provider that offers you the support you need.

If you need a custom WordPress website solution check out this service.