There are many website companies whispering in your ear, “Buy me. We’re the best. Grow your business with us.” You’re probably hearing most often about WordPress, Squarespace and Wix.
I’ve used all three of these companies. I had a WordPress blog eight or nine years ago. Then I used Squarespace for an author site, moved to Wix, then back to the WordPress I used years earlier. A WordPress website ended up being best.
Why all the moves? Believe me, it wasn’t because building websites is my hobby.
I wanted a functional, attractive website. That should be easy, right?
I built my first website almost 30 years ago. A lot has changed since then, but a lot has stayed the same.
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Why not Squarespace?
I used Squarespace for just over a year. I should say that I struggled with Squarespace for just over a year. It seemed that everything I wanted to do became a monumental chore. I fought with it every step of the way. I had to have a long support ticket to resolve things I could do in an instant elsewhere.
About the time I decided to move, I realized that part of my problem seemed to be the browser I used at the time, Internet Explorer. Squarespace wasn’t working well in that browser, but I didn’t know that in months of trying to sort it out. I was also having trouble making it look as I wanted it.
The company is successful, so others must enjoy the experience. I didn’t and happily moved on to Wix.
Why not Wix?
I loved my Wix website! I started with one their templates and made it my own.
Easy to use.
I could make it any color I wanted. Yes, I’m into how a website looks because that’s what the viewer notices first. Then they read the content you spent hours creating.
Comments – Being able to have a reader comment on a blog post should be easy. It isn’t with Wix. Comments are only available through a 3rd party app. Each has different rules. One option allows you to accept comments for free. But you can’t moderate/approve them on a free plan. Another app has a free plan, but that one comes with ads.
HTML – I’d been using MailChimp for email subscribers, and Wix had an app that connected to them. Easy. Then they deleted it, and I needed to add HTML code to my Wix site to get a MailChimp box so people could sign up for my website.
When the box wouldn’t work right, Wix’s support told me that HTML code worked sometimes. And sometimes it didn’t. (If you’re new to building a website, working with code may sound complicated, but it’s just a string of letters and numbers that you copy and paste.)
I wanted a website that could grow with whatever changes I needed. So, that was the moment when I knew I had to leave Wix and move back to WordPress.
Why is WordPress better than the rest?
A little housekeeping first. We’re talking about WordPress.org here, not WordPress.com. (I’ve often wished they’d given them different names.)
A WordPress.com site is the less flexible of the two and will have ads on it — unless you upgrade to premium, a paid version. Without upgrading, WordPress.com is free, but your website will have their domain after yours — homeplusbiz.wordpress.com.
WordPress.org is different. Your URL will be the name you’ve chosen and bought like homeplusbiz.com.
To use your own domain on WordPress.com, you can upgrade and pay a monthly fee. At the time of this post, the price is either $8 or $25 per month, depending on the options you want.
If you break one of the WordPress.com rules, your site can be shut down. With this said, if you’re just having fun with a blog and don’t plan to make money from it, this free service may be for you.
I’m going to assume though that you’re here because you do want to have a successful business.
A WordPress.org site can do anything you want it to do. You buy hosting, that’s the place that makes your website live. My favorite company for this is SiteGround. (I found them in the middle of a website mess. Read more about that story here — and it does have a happy ending.)
You can choose from a seemingly infinite number of themes, that’s the decorative and some of the functional part of your website.
You can add plugins to your site. These little bits of code are premade to do specific tasks.
Plugins are amazing tools, and there are thousands to choose from. One I love is Yoast SEO. I’d be happy to have WordPress.org just for this plugin. It leads me through SEO on a blog post, making sure everything in good shape before I hit publish.
Will you instantly love WordPress?
Here are the cons. To be honest, I didn’t like WordPress. I didn’t want a WordPress website. It had a learning curve I didn’t want to experience. I eventually created a functional, but ugly website that I didn’t want to share to with anyone.
I knew I needed to use WordPress, but I wasn’t happy with the results. I Googled “easy WordPress” hoping for a video. The drag-and-drop Total theme popped up, and I knew I’d found what I needed. I’ve built two websites with it. Learn more about this theme here. Siteground and Total have made my business work better.
If you’re not into the tech, you could pay someone to build a site for you, give you the login information, and you can make updates. A non-techy friend creates blog posts and posts them. It’s totally do-able.
That login info is key. I’ve known more than one business that had a website built, the designer skipped out on them, and they couldn’t access it to update it. They had to start over.
Who are you using for your website now? Are you searching for info for your first website?