If you have a business, you need a website.
But choosing where and how to build your site can be a challenge. It’s kind of like choosing a contractor to build your house – you want someone who is reliable, flexible, and creative to create a cozy home that’s perfect for your needs.
It might be tempting to create your website on a builder site, like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace, which offer you a drag-and-drop template to fill out with text and images, to create a site of simple, static pages. But it’s best practice to choose a full-featured content management system like WordPress from the get-go – otherwise, you may find yourself having to move to a new house sooner rather than later.
Let’s look at all the reasons why WordPress is a great foundation for your home on the web.
Ownership – You need to own your website
The number one reason builder sites are dangerous places for a business to host their website is that you don’t actually own your platform.
What does ownership mean? It means that you have full control over the framework and content of your website. It means you don’t have to adhere to a mysterious set of rules and regulations for your website – you are free to build the structure, content, and features you want with no restrictions. It means no one can put ads on your site without your say-so, no one can decide you are getting too much traffic and close down your site, and no one can use part of your content or a screenshot of your site in their own advertising.
When it comes to your brand, trust between you and your customer is everything, and that means you need to own your own assets and have full control of your site’s status and content at all times. You need to know your site is safe and secure, and not have to fret about someone else having the ultimate say as to how your site works.
When you build your site using WordPress on a third-party hosting service, you’re the boss. Your site is your own, you set the rules, and you’ll know your website says exactly what you want it to say, nothing more.
Search Engine Optimization – Google Loves WordPress
WordPress is known for its amazing built-in SEO. Google loves a WordPress site as its information is standardized and easy to read by their indexing software – meaning that your pages are easy for Google to navigate and list. Any time you add new information to your site, such a new blog post, search engines can pick it up quickly and list your new content with meaningful context and descriptions.
You can boost your SEO beyond the basic functionality, too, with a free SEO add-on to your website, and a few best practices when it comes to structuring your content. Together, these approaches can really bump a website up in online search rankings, leading to more visibility and more sales.
Sites built on Wix and Weebly have poor SEO. It’s not uncommon to search for a business by its actual name – let alone other keyword phrases – and not be able to find a builder-created website listed on Google. When it comes to your business, you can’t ignore the importance of getting a running start with built-in SEO.
Features – Get your Website to Work for you
Want to add some cool features to your website, to support your client base and automate your own business processes?
Maybe you’d like to:
- Add a mailing list sign-up form
- Add an online shop
- Allow your clients to book a meeting with you online
- Gather client information via a complex form
- Integrate your content with your social media accounts
- Offer website membership for paid content
- Build galleries of images or libraries of files
Extended features like these are hard to build, if not impossible, on template sites like Wix and Weebly. They aren’t set up to allow for more complicated functionality; trying to add these to a template site can become both complex and expensive.
If you dream about having a full-featured website with lots of goodies for your customers, then choose WordPress from day one. It can easily support all these features and more – if you can imagine it, then it can be done.
Design Flexibility – Go Beyond the Basics
Template sites like Wix and Weebly are exactly that – templates. You can create a pretty site if you’re willing to stick with their layouts and designs.
But if you want anything beyond the basics, you need the flexibility that WordPress can offer. Advanced, modern, and mobile-friendly designs are easy to create using WordPress. Placing text and photos, as well as more advanced components like embedded blog posts, pop-ups, and buttons, can all be done with precision control.
If you’ve seen another website that looks gorgeous and wish yours could look the same – it absolutely can, if you choose the freedom of a powerful design tool like WordPress.
Community – Support when you Need it
WordPress is open source software. That means that developers worldwide are invited to contribute to its functionality and to add on to the core software, extending it with new features.
What does that mean to you? Two big things:
- If you want your website to do something unusual or fancy, chances are someone else has already done it – and has generously shared the code and instructions required to implement their solution.
- If you run into trouble, there’s literally millions of people world-wide who are engaged and actively working in the heart of the WordPress application to come to your aid when you post your question online.
If you’d like the power to maintain your own website yourself going forward, but like the idea of a massive community of developers with freely shared knowledge behind you, then WordPress is the way to go.
Portability – Think Long-term Goals for Growth
If you’re launching a new business, you might have some hazy goals for the future. Perhaps a year or two from now, you will want to re-brand, or pivot to new offerings, or even rename your company. Or perhaps you decide your website hosting company isn’t working out, and you’d like to move your most valuable asset – your website – to a new host under a new contract.
A WordPress site is ready and able to adapt to your needs. Whatever changes you need to make – be they design, content, or physically moving your website files – it’s easy to turn in a new direction. Your content, your audience, and your website can be moved and changed at will.
Template sites, on the other hand, use proprietary data structures that are hard to move, and proprietary designs that are hard to modify on the fly. If you’re thinking that starting out with Wix or Weebly is fine for now, and maybe you’ll move to WordPress sometime in the future, know that moving your builder site isn’t going to be easy – or inexpensive. Your best option is to start on the WordPress platform right away.
Cost – What is the actual cost of your website?
The biggest reason new businesses choose a builder site is that it seems cost effective.
But that’s an illusion. Although builder sites do offer free or near-free packages, those packages come with caveats – like having to display their brand on your site, or allowing them to put ads on your site. Plus, the cheapest packages have the least functionality, and are limited to simple pages only.
Everything else costs extra. You’ll soon be adding up costs for things like:
- Custom layouts and designs
- Removing branding and ads
- Adding bonus features like contact forms or online storefronts
- Security features
- Additional storage and bandwidth
And that’s not all – there’s an unmeasurable cost involved in the lost business you’ll experience due to poor SEO, mobile-unfriendly designs, and lack of valuable features for your clients.
WordPress requires a hosting package, which will cost you an annual fee, plus you’ll likely need some help building your site framework up front. But overall, the costs of your WordPress site even out – and even pay off over time. Done right, it will make you money.
Still not sold?
If you’re still confused about what platform to choose for your new website, let us help! We’d be happy to talk about your needs and which technical solution is best for you.