Publishing a website does not have to be expensive or difficult. For many small businesses who do not have IT experience the outcome is not about expensive or difficult, but about getting it right or wrong.
Most Website Builders are a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) tool and allowing you to drag and drop elements on a page without any coding knowledge. You can also resize anything in a few simple clicks.
WordPress is, without doubt, the most popular solution for websites, powering about a third of all global sites. Additionally, to all intents every web developer out there can support the platform, either directly or including freelance developers, web hosting companies, third-party themes, and plugins.
What is a Website Builder?
A website builder is typically a drag and drop website builder that lets you build a website without any coding experience. You simply drag and drop different website elements until your site is complete.
Most DIY builders are equipped with beautiful and functional themes that allow you to input your own content and images and end up with a site that looks like it was designed by a professional, except as soon as a business owner masks changes, the beauty is lost..
There are dozens of different tools available. You simply need to decide which one is best for you and your business or use the one that comes from your hosting environment.
What is WordPress?
WordPress began primarily as a blogging platform, but since its early days it has transitioned into a full-fledged website building tool. There are two versions, a hosted version with similar restrictions to the major website site host/builders and a downloadable version you can host on your own.
It’s grown into a much more than a simple CMS and allows you to build any kind of site with the likes of a Yoga instructor promoting their business, even taking bookings, e-commerce sites (some are large and complex) though to multinational businesses such as
- BBC America
- Bloomberg Professional
- Sony Music
- Microsoft News
- The Walt Disney Company
The learning curve is a little steeper, but the recently Guttenberg release offers “blocks” that sort of look like website builders or third-party themes that do offer WYSIWYG functionality, such as Themify. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be impressed at what it allows you to do and far more flexible.
When to Use a Drag-and-Drop Builder
Drag-and-drop website builders (including wordpress themes such as Themify) are the answer for people who want to get their first website online in the quickest manner possible. Typically iof the site is also very simple
Self build WordPress has a steeper learning curve, so it’s not the best if you want to get a site online this afternoon.
Most website builders bundle in their own hosting (either the hosting or the builder is free), so you don’t need to set up separate hosting and make sure all of the technical elements are setup properly. They will often come with a bundled domain name and free email. However the moral of the offer is beware the offer of free – if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.
When to Use WordPress
WordPress is a content-oriented site builder. With WordPress, you can build a simple blog or even a full-featured website. It takes a lot more technical and often design skill to create the site you desire, especially in the early stages, but the additional effort can be well worth it. Or you can pay for a developer. Usually this is well worth it as it will get built quickly and allows you to focus on content, often the least thought out part of a small business site.
The types of websites you can build with WordPress are virtually unlimited. With a nearly endless amount of themes and plugins available you can customize your site and add any feature you wish. Most themes come equipped with demo content you can import, so your theme’s layout and structure will match the demo theme you chose.
Using a Developer
Regardless of the self-build vs WordPress conundrum a key question is whether to use a developer. Generally SMEs who self-build will end up with a site that looks like a home built site – rarely what a business needs. Whilst a developer will cost money, they are often quick and will offer advice about how the site can work better for you. Bootnecks in Business members are offered a high quality low cost site on a monthly basis, (with Bootneck discounts) built by a Bootneck Business! Get in touch for details.