You’ve just started your own business. You know you need a website. Tiny issue: You don’t have that much of a budget yet.
You are tempted to DIY, even though you are realistic about the limitations of doing so. Your friend Mary said she built her own website using Squarespace and it’s even ranking on Google’s first page. If she did it, so can you, right? But wait…the cool kids insist that WordPress is better. Except you don’t really understand why. WordPress starts sounding like the cool thing to do, and you want to be cool too. Things should start getting easier at this point, but they don’t. Others start chiming in; there’s someone who’s on Wix, someone else is using Weebly, and the debate goes on…
Wix Vs Squarespace? Wix Vs WordPress? Wix Vs Weebly?
You, my friend, have been officially hit by analysis paralysis.
And I can’t blame you. Nowadays many seem to make this decision based on a debate between platforms and often forget the main point: What is the solution that is most suitable for your business at this point.
Okay, considering the options above, I’ll be one of those that will end up recommending WordPress. But it’s not just because it’s WordPress.
What should you ask yourself first: Am I fine with being tied to a third party platform?
Before getting into the whole “Wix Vs Squarespace” dilemma, you need to be able to answer this simple question, even if you think it’s not important at this stage. Do you want something that can grow with you, or are you fine with something that will need to be upgraded in case you need more features? Are you creating a website for a hobby of yours (maybe a personal blog) or are you creating a website for a business that is primarily online and will most likely evolve?
Depending on your answer to the question above, it might be better for you to go down the “third party platform route” (Wix Vs Squarespace Vs Weebly) or the “self-hosting route”.
“Self-hosting? Is that WordPress?”
Well, if you’ve been reading about this topic long enough, you probably have come across the terms WordPress.org and WordPress.com. I guess that didn’t help at all, did it? It just made you more confused. Everyone told you to chose WordPress and now that you are almost convinced, there’s not ONE but TWO of them. And you’ve received so much information in such a short period of time, that you’re still focusing on the platform itself instead of seeing the bigger picture.
Let’s make this simple: Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly are paid third-party platforms. They’re fairly easy to setup, even though there are clear disadvantages in doing it all yourself, no matter what platform you use. If you want to set up a website quickly and aren’t too preoccupied about growth or conversion, then getting an online presence via one of these platforms is something you should consider.
The important is that you understand the basic idea before digging deeper.
So, what about that tiny issue called budget?
Many people think it’s easier to go for a third party platform in order to avoid hiring someone. They also think it’s cheaper.
But is it?
Well, if you truly want to handle it all yourself, with no further investment (neither in branding or custom design) you can certainly pick a Squarespace free theme or use Wix to easily craft your own custom solution (Wix Vs Squarespace). Some of these platforms already have a domain included as part of their plans, but in terms of hosting, you’re tied to them depending on which plan you chose. So let’s say, for a Wix personal website, with no ads and custom domain we’d be talking about around $10 per month. If at some point you’d want an Online Store then you’d need to upgrade to one of the highest plans, that’s at least $20. Squarespace plans would start at around $12 – $16 and you’d be limited to a maximum number of pages and other features. Meaning if at some point, you’d need more pages on your website, then this would involve a minimum monthly cost of $18 to benefit of those features. And that’s how it basically works.
What I’ve mentioned above is the basic concept of a third party platform. If you want to grow, you need to upgrade. If you want to move, you are back to square one. It’s not a concept that is difficult to understand. We could say it works the same way for WordPress.com, except that it’s easier to migrate to .org afterward. WordPress.com is, in fact, the premium hosting solution for WordPress (let’s call it ‘WordPress out of the box‘) so in this case, it is as easy to set up as any of the other solutions above and you can start playing with it for free, so it will give you a good idea of how the WP dashboard looks and works.
I won’t be giving you a list of features for each platform because you can just google one of the many “Wix Vs Squarespace Vs Weebly” material that is already out there. If you chose to go down this route, you definitely should have a look at which platform could best serve your needs at this point.
Now you can answer the main question: Am I fine with being tied to a third party platform?
Answer: Yes – Find the most appropriate platform for your current needs based on pricing and features. Wix Vs Squarespace Vs Weebly?
Answer: No – Keep reading.
‘No’ to third-party platforms? Then you want a self-hosted solution.
So now that you understand what a third party platform is, let’s see what self-hosting means.
When most people recommend you to use WordPress, what most of them really mean is: “You should be self-hosting, and it’s easier if you have a CMS (content management system) so you can easily manage and edit your content after.” So when I recommend WordPress, I do it not because it’s perfect, but because it’s a popular CMS that it’s easy for most people to understand and manage with some training. In this case, what I am recommending in fact is a self-hosted solution. Your web designer might as well use any other CMS, or it can be that your business needs are met with having a static website with no further editing capabilities.
Self-hosting is basically the act of having your website completely under your control. Today you need 10 pages, tomorrow you might need 100? No problem. You’re in absolute control now – your website, your TOS, your content. From a business point of view, it’s easy to see the advantage in choosing this route. In fact, it’s actually difficult to picture any other alternative.
Before you do anything else, supposing you’re doing it on your own, you need of course to chose a hosting provider. There are many different types of hosting but if you’re concerned about the budget, you can start from as cheap as $4 per month on shared hosting via a provider like SiteGround* which also has WordPress optimized hosting solutions. But better yet is WordPress managed hosting. In this case, your hosting provider will handle all the technical stuff for you. Flywheel*, for example, will ensure your website is secure and speedy, you can even manage your backups easily from your dashboard.
Again, the budget: Do you need a web designer if you want a WordPress website? Technically speaking, as much as you need a designer if you have a Squarespace or Wix website. If you have the budget, of course, you should hire a designer. Is it going to be cheaper to hire a designer to work on Squarespace rather than WordPress? Not necessarily. So you’re not saving money in choosing a third party platform if that’s the case.
Now, if you really want to DIY, you can perfectly start with a WordPress free theme and cheap hosting. It will end up being cheaper than any of the DIY solutions above. Even better, at a later stage when your business is ready to grow, your website will grow with you, so you can invest in a professional web designer without needing to upgrade to a more expensive plan like what would have happened if you were using a third-party service.
So, what do you think? Have you decided yet?
What is the purpose of your website? Is it a passion project, a personal space, or the core of your business?
What is next for you? Another Wix Vs Squarespace Vs Weebly debate? Or is it WordPress because you’re convinced to self-host and have full control of your website?
*Please note if you purchase through this link I may earn a small commission.