Template builder services like Wix and SquareSpace are becoming more and more popular, and I often get questions along the lines of “why is building a custom WordPress website better than using Wix or SquareSpace?”. I thought I’d answer these questions and explain some of the differences between these template builder platforms and a full content management system(CMS) such as WordPress.
But first, let’s discuss the differences between WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace
Wix and SquareSpace are services that offer all-in-one solutions to creating and launching a website. They use pre-built templates and themes with drag and drop interfaces which enable you to create pages, add and move content, and make certain design alterations.
WordPress is an open source content management system(CMS) that allows designers and developers to create fully customized websites on top of the platform, thus removing the need for us(the designers and developers) to build an administrative interface for our users, and allows us to focus on the design and functionality of the website itself. Because WordPress is open source, there is an almost unlimited amount of customization that can be done while using the platform. Additionally, WordPress also supports pre-built themes, just the same as Wix and SquareSpace.
Both WordPress and these template builder services allow you to easily extend the functionality of your website with third party plugins. The main difference here is that since WordPress provides the designers and developers with tools to create their own functionality, these template builder services do not. They are very locked in, and what you get is what you get.
So, why is should I choose a custom WordPress website?
Put simply, WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace all provide a platform for easy content management. The difference here is that Wix, SquareSpace, and other template builders are exactly that… Template builders. They are limited by the templates that they provide. The goal is simplicity over individuality. Furthermore, the functionality that they provide is also limited, while WordPress can be customized to function in whatever way is necessary for your website.
Functionality is important as well when it comes to your website platform of choice. Template builder platforms and WordPress both use varying forms of plugins to add features such as forms, social media, eCommerce, third party service integration, and much more. The difference here is that WordPress has over 54,000 plugins in it’s official directory alone, with the ability for anyone to create their own plugin. Because of this, WordPress is almost infinitely customizable. While Wix and SquareSpace offer their own plugins, they do not have nearly the amount of choice and you cannot create your own if something you need does not exist.
Price is often another big reason people often look at template builder services. Since they are built around pre-built themes, it is often perceived that they will be a cheaper or faster option. With that in mind, WordPress has access to over 7,400 pre-built themes just in the WordPress theme directory, with thousands upon thousands more accessible across the internet. That being said, you do not have to use someone else’s theme in order to maintain your budget. So if price and simplicity of setup is the goal, that can be accomplished with WordPress as well. We here at Your Tech Therapist build our own themes for WordPress, thus making every website unique. Building a website on WordPress does not need to break the bank.
Optimization is another big reason that you might want to choose a custom WordPress website over Wix or SquareSpace. With WordPress your designer/developer can be in complete control of the performance and Search Engine Optimization process. Making your site run blazing fast is very important for your viewers, your search engine ranking, and the overall impression you provide to your audience. Wix and SquareSpace attempt to automatically optimize the websites they provide, and they do an OK job with this. However, because it is automated it often falls short, or sometimes, completely falls flat.
Ongoing support is also very important for the longevity of your website. As your business evolves you want your site to grow with you. Having that flexibility to expand, change, or add almost anything to your website in the future ensures your website will stay relevant. Additionally, working with a website designer to build your website on WordPress will give you access to someone who can support your business going forward.
How do you decide what platform to use?
I encourage you to consult with a website designer prior to choosing a path for your business’ brand and website. Most website designers, Your Tech Therapist included, offer free consultations. I think I can speak for all of us in the industry and say that we want you to feel confident in your online presence.