You just started your online business. You know you need a website. Tiny issue? You don’t have a budget yet.
You are tempted to DIY, even though you are realistic about the limitations of doing so. Some of your friends told you they built their own website using Squarespace and they’re ranking on Google’s first page. If they did it, so can you, right?
Then you come across yet another thread where all the cool kids insist that WordPress is the best option — except you don’t really understand why. WordPress does sound like the right 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…
You, my friend, have been officially hit by analysis paralysis.
I can’t blame you. If you’re getting started, you’re most likely to focus on the platform and its features. It just seems the logical thing to do.
But is it?
What is the solution that’s most suitable for your business at this point?
Many will say 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 “WordPress Vs Squarespace” dilemma, you want to be able to answer this question first.
To help you, here are a few reflection points:
- Are you okay with a website that is tied to a plan that will need to be upgraded in case you need more features?
- Are you creating a website as a hobby (maybe a personal blog) or do you need a website for your business?
- Is your business primarily online?
- Is your business most likely to evolve and grow?
- Is “freedom” important for you?
- Do you prefer something that it’s easier to update and setup at this point?
These answers will guide you towards your ultimate final decision:
“Third party platform” (Wix, Squarespace,Weebly) or “self-hosting” (via WordPress, for example).
“Self-hosting? Is that WordPress?”
Yes, you can self-host your own WordPress website. It’s what people refer to WordPress.org.
You need to be careful because there’s also something called WordPress.com. Confused? WordPress.com is a premium hosting option based on WordPress (let’s skip this for now because if you want WordPress you want to self-host and you want freedom, remember?)
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.
If you want to set up a website quickly and aren’t too concerned about growth or conversion, then getting an online presence via one of these platforms is something that can be done rather quickly. Again, let’s not forget that you need a website strategy regardless of the platform you’re using!
WordPress allows you to self-host your own website easily.
So, what about that tiny issue called budget?
Many new entrepreneurs and startups think it’s easier to opt for a third-party platform in order to avoid hiring someone. They think WordPress means you need to hire someone to be there monitoring your website all the time. They also think it’s overall cheaper to use a platform with the right tools.
But is it?
Well, if you want to handle it all yourself without investing in branding, design or strategy, you can certainly pick a Squarespace free theme or use Wix to easily craft your own custom solution. But then again, you can also pick a WordPress free theme.
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 see, for a Wix personal website, with no ads and custom domain we’d be talking about a certain price per month. If at some point you’d want an Online Store then you’d need to upgrade to one of the highest plans. This means you’d start paying more, every month.
Squarespace is the same. The lowest tier will limit the 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 higher monthly cost.
What I’ve mentioned above is the 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. That’s it.
That’s why you don’t need yet another debate and a list of features for each platform. Because in the end, this is the first decision you need to make: Third-party platform or self-hosting? And why?
Am I okay with being tied to a third-party platform?
Answer: Yes – Find the most appropriate platform for your current needs based on pricing and features. The most popular ones are Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, and Weebly.
Answer: No – Keep reading. Let’s talk about WordPress.
‘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.
Why do most people suggest WordPress?
Because it’s a simple way to self-host.
If you have a CMS (content management system) like WordPress, you can easily manage and edit your content without much tech or coding expertise.
WordPress is far from perfect, but it’s still one of the easiest ways for anyone to self-host their own dynamic website. Self-hosting means having your website completely under your control. How cool does that sound?
If today you need 10 pages, but tomorrow you need 100, no problem. You’re in control – your website, your TOS, your content. From a business point of view, it’s a great advantage. That’s why so many love WordPress.
How to get started?
Let me tell you a secret: It’s easier than it sounds!
The first thing you need to do is choosing a hosting provider. There are many different types of hosting providers but if you’re a beginner, you’ll love the concept of WordPress Managed Hosting Providers. These providers do everything for you when it comes to WordPress! They make WordPress so easy to install and update, it’s basically the same as using a third-party platform with the advantages of self-hosting.
I highly recommend Flywheel* as a WordPress Managed Hosting Provider. They’ll ensure your website is secure and speedy, you can even manage your backups easily from your dashboard, and there’s support 24/7! How awesome is that?
Do I need to hire someone to design my WordPress website?
Do you need to hire a web designer to build you a WordPress website? As much as you need to hire a designer if you’re using any other platform. Yes, of course, hiring an expert is always a good idea. We can’t possibly master everything! But if you’re keen on doing it yourself, you can DIY on WordPress too! There’s no excuse to not DIY with so many visual editor plugins for WordPress nowadays (check my resources for my top recommendations).
You can start with as little as a WordPress free theme and a cheap hosting package. It can actually be much cheaper than a third-party platform and the great thing is that your WordPress website will be able to grow with you when you’re ready.
Now it’s time to decide.
What is the purpose of your website? Is it a passion project, a personal space, or the core of your business?
Does WordPress solve a problem for you, or does it still intimidate you?
Need help with website strategy? Download my free website strategy guide.
*Please note if you purchase through this link I may earn a small commission.