We've had this conversation with our clients often and that's when we realized that it was finally time to write a blog post about it. If our web design clients are dealing with this issue, you may be struggling with web platform indecision, too.
The choices are overwhelming. Someone says Wordpress is better! Someone says Squarespace is better! Someone says blah, blah is better! What's the truth?
Here's our answer to the question: "Which web platform is best?"
No platform is the best platform.
Every platform has its positives and negatives. What might be a clear answer for one person may be the totally wrong answer for someone else's business.
The right platform is a question unique to your wants and needs.
There are many different platforms out there but for our clients the choice usually comes down to Wordpress or Squarespace.
What we think about Wordpress.
The Team Involved: You, a designer, and often a developer. Or a designer who's has some knowledge of code.
Usability: While Wordpress is fairly easy to use, it's not the easiest. The learning curve is a bit more difficult than Squarespace. You'll need to learn what plugins, themes, child themes and widgets are. You'll need to make regular updates in order to maintain the site and keep it as secure as possible. The platform has a tendency to get hacked because it is such a large network with so many access points. You may have to know some basic code to make updates or hire someone else to help you.
Flexibility: With Wordpress, you and your web team can dream up almost anything and make it come to life. The platform offers thousands of themes (the basic layout structure of your site) and plugins (features you can add to your site, like a scheduling calendar).
Support: Wordpress has been around for a long time as a trusted web platform. With the help of Google, you'll be able to find answers to many of your questions. However, you can't always find the exact answer to the exact problem. Searching out the right answer can always take quite a bit of time skimming.
Price: The final investment for Wordpress will depend on what you want for your site. You’ll need a domain which averages $12 a year. Next, you’ll need hosting which averages $10 to $30 a month depending on which service you go with. You’ll need a theme that can create the basic framework of the site which can have a wide range from $50-200+. And then you’ll need plugins to make certain functions you may want work, which average from $15-200+. This totals up to anywhere from $200-1000+.
To Sum it Up: Wordpress is for you if you value flexibility for your design and want a lot of special features for your site. It is definitely the most customizable platform we have worked with.
What we think about Squarespace.
The Team Involved: We believe anyone can create a Squarespace site all on their own. However, a designer can help make it stand out with their education of design principals and ability to create custom graphics that will bring your brand to the web.
Usability: Squarespace is one of the easiest platforms out there to learn. Any platform may feel a little foreign at first, but It has a drag and drop feature, so you never have to touch code. You just drag a photo or a text block into place.
Flexibility: You can create a fantastic site using Squarespace that is unique to your business, but it has many more limitations than Wordpress. Instead of thousands of themes to choose from, you have less than thirty. But because the Squarespace team have focused on their select variety of themes, they are coded amazingly and are constantly being updated. Although the capabilities are expanding, the features you can have on a squarespace site are limited. We recommend researching what Squarespace is capable of and ig it aligns with your goals now and into the future before investing.
Support: Not only can Google help you answer your problems, but Squarespace has a great support team that you can reach out to via chat or email. Their goal is to answer questions within an hour.
Price: Squarespace can cost $96-$288 per year, depending on the plan that's right for you. Learn more about the plans they offer here. Plans come with a free domain name, your pick of any of Squrespace's themes, and free support.
To Sum it Up: If you're not super tech savvy, you want to be able to maintain your website yourself, and like to keep things pretty simple, we'd recommend Squarespace. We use Squarespace for our own site and don't plan on going anywhere soon!
What we think about some of the others.
Wix and Weebly: Wix and Weebly are good options when you're starting out and may need to build a site all on your own because it's more important for finances to go elsewhere. It's cheaper in comparison to Squarespace, but not quite as dynamic or well built.
Shopify: You should think about Shopify if you run an online store. They offer great customer support and the platform is a little more secure than Wordpress's eCommerce platform, WooCommerce.
Joomla: Joomla is similar to Wordpress in almost every way, but not as well known. It's big benefit is the security they offer. Joomla users don't get hacked or run into many of the problems that Wordpress users do. You'll want a designer and developer to help you bring the site to life and train you on how to use the platform.
So, which one is right for you?
You'll have to answer that question.
But, I hope that with the help of this blog post, plus a little extra research help from everyone's trusty friend Google, you'll begin to get a sense of which is right for you.
Here's our tips on how to figure it out:
01 - Before you do anything, think and write out the goals you have for your site. You can download our web planning worksheet to help begin laying those thoughts out.
02 -Then, read as much as you can about your top picks for platforms. You can find many compare/contrasts posts all over the web. Watch out for silly bias. People can get passionate about their preferred web platform.
03 - Test them out as much as you can. Several of the platforms will give you a short trial so that you can get a feel for the usability of the site. We're not saying you should design a site on your own, but get a feel for what the behind the scenes looks like and if it's something you feel like you'll be able to learn to use.
04 - Ask others for their honest opinion. Find a few sites you love and reach out to ask what platform they built the site on and how they like using that service.
Still not sure?
Leave a comment with your questions, we'd love to help you get clear on which would be right for you and your business?
If you don't want to leave a comment, our inbox is always open to!