Website Builders vs WordPress: An In-Depth Look
With the emergence of WordPress as the main authority in content management, a lot of people -- particularly small business owners -- have had to delve into rather complex matters of web development in an effort to create competitive websites.
For a person who isn’t building an online store or portfolio, though, is there a need to start learning the technical aspects of web development for your new website? Bear in mind that WordPress and other content management systems (CMS) are not the only viable option for building websites.
A CMS is a software app or a set of related programs that can be used to create and manage digital content. The value of content management systems is that they allow the user to control and manage the content on the website to a greater extent than is possible with website builders.
Some main examples of CMS are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. In this article, we’re going to focus on WordPress to see how it differs from regular website builders, and which one offers better options for the user.
Website Builders vs. WordPress: Which is Better for Building Your website?
Website builders are simple platforms that allow the user to build a website using the existing features such as the popular drag-and-drop editor. These tools can be used to select themes for the website and to add different add-ons and features from a menu.
Website builders are meant to simplify the entire process in order to allow for simple creation of websites without any prior technical expertise.
In order to achieve simplicity, website builders don’t offer much in terms of creative freedom or flexibility. All the elements exist within a single environment, making it a fool-proof platform that eliminates all need for outsourcing.
However, website builders do have a dedicated staff that is always available to answer questions and guide users through the creation process. The main website builder platforms are so simple that the website basically builds itself, with only some minor selections on your part.
Website builders, then, are by far the simplest option for the average user because they do not require a person to know code.
There are a variety of factors to look at before you determine which platform is better for building your website, whether WordPress (or any other CMS) or website builders. Take a look at the comparison of features so that end you’ll have a better understanding of both platforms before venturing off to create your website.
Ease of Use
A good website builder will have tools such as page editors that allow you to choose from existing options and then drag and drop these elements around your website. With this platform, you will be able to edit different sections of the website after only a few minutes of orienting yourself.
One such example is the Bookmark website builder. With Bookmark, you will have a professional-looking website within minutes, have more scalability, and can grow the website as your business grows.
It is also possible to include third party add-ons such as Paypal or Google Apps when using website builders; however, integration of third party add-ons is somewhat limited.
With WordPress, you do need a little bit of knowledge of HTML if you want to organize the page and move photos and tables around. This factor alone can cause users of CMS to be frustrated with simple things like aligning the content of a page to make the website look organized.
Users that have a specific sense of style may also find that WordPress is not the friendliest platform unless they have the necessary coding skills to operate it, or the money to hire a website designer.
Website builders, by comparison, offer a simpler experience to the user. You don’t need to have any knowledge of programming to select templates from their tools, and the themes are usually built to match specific industries. If you own a pet shop or a restaurant, you will find a variety of templates that matches your industry, therefore eliminating the need for coding or creative design.
Verdict: Website builders are easier to use than WordPress or any other CMS.
Advanced CMS platforms are designed to be flexible, which is why WordPress can be used to create anything from a personal blog to a content-rich corporate or institutional website.
Unfortunately for users, though, the more flexible the platform is, the more complex it’s bound to be. This is why WordPress appears more abstract than website builders. It is designed to do a whole lot more.
Website builders offer considerable flexibility, all things considered. However, they do not compare to the wide range of options available to WordPress users.
Verdict: WordPress offers more flexibility.
Themes and Design
The WordPress community has grown to become a programming and designing resource involving thousands of people from all over the world. This is what gives the platform such great diversity and wide selection of themes and plugins.
It should be noted, though, that not all plugins work consistently and users sometimes have to try many different themes before they find one that suits the version of WordPress they use.
Website builders, on the other hand, don’t offer the same number of options for themes and designs. Popular website builders like Wix and Weebly offer hundreds of different plugins for users, and in most cases, all of the plugins work.
Other website builders like Bookmark offer a unique approach: they use artificial intelligence to assist the user in selecting designs and images to match their template, which simplifies the entire process.
Verdict: Both WordPress and website builders have unique themes, but selection depends on your needs.
WordPress users have the option of paying third-party hosting companies to acquire domains. The cost of hosting can range from $2-$50 per month (much more for dedicated servers), and there are different services available with each plan.
Factors such as up-time and responsiveness must be considered when selecting a plan, as well as the nature of the website.
Website builders, on the other hand, offer free hosting services. You may also purchase private hosting for a small amount of money, but this depends entirely on your specific needs. Hosting is free for the duration of your website.
Users tend to purchase a domain once the website grows, and with some builders, you may be able to connect your existing domain to the website builder for free, depending on available plans.
Verdict: For someone looking to save money, website builders are the best option because they offer free hosting.
The payment structure for commercial WordPress sites may include things like plugins, certificates, developers, FTP, storage, site-research, membership, shipping and tax, among others. The price for running a WordPress site will increase based on the features needed to facilitate business. The added functionality comes at a price.
For most website builders, though, the pricing options are fair by comparison. The initial free hosting plan is available to all users, and it allows them to establish the website without the added cost. Once the user decides to step over into the paid plans, there are a variety of options to match the website, with most monthly plans ranging from $2-$15 per month.
Verdict: Website builders are cheaper by far.
WordPress, by design, isn’t ideal for e-commerce. It was initially designed as a blog management system, but as it grew and became a trusted CMS, scores of plugins were gradually added onto it.
Take for instance the shopping cart plugins; they do not offer the same functionality found on other systems like Shopify. These include advanced coupon options, tracking shipments, automated email communication with customers, and returns, among others.
WordPress also requires separate payment for the SSL certificate, plugins, and PCI hosting account in order for users to make purchases on your website.
Another issue worth mentioning is that earlier template designs didn’t have an auto-responsive theme to match different screen sizes. This makes them look clumsy on mobile devices because the amount of content isn’t adjusted to match your screen size.
Both WordPress and website builders offer users many options for design and features. With WordPress, users who want to establish large, complex websites have all the tools available for such a feat; however, it requires considerable knowledge of code to create such a website.
Individuals who prefer not to get involved in the technical aspects may hire a developer to create the website, however, this also means spending a lot more money on web maintenance.
Each time the user needs to make an adjustment on the website, they will have to pay the developer to perform the service. For a small-business owner, the time and effort needed to learn HTML and all the tricks of using WordPress can delay their efforts to run the business.
Website builders, on the other hand, have a narrower field of options for the user, but they do guide your efforts and allow you to focus on the business side of things.
While WordPress offers more tools, website builders are a lot more accessible for the average user, and can therefore be of value for business and for personal websites.
Are you building a large, unconventional website that needs thorough customization? If so, then WordPress is your best bet. If you are a typical user and only want a website that works and a system that guides you through the process, then website builders are perfect for you.
Our favorite website builders, ranked in terms of ease of use, design, and functionality, among other factors, are:
These platforms offer a great selection of tools and themes and can work for just about everybody. It only takes a few minutes to learn to navigate through a website builder, and they have a great support team that is available to answer questions and guide you through the process.