The WordPress question comes up often. It’s has been debated between website designers for years and as more CMS (content management system) options are developed, the question remains, which CMS reigns supreme leader. You can’t escape wix and squarespace commercials. These builders work well for some people. And I say “people” because after years of building squarespace sites, I don’t think they accomplish all the needs of someone running a growing business. Many of our clients are coming from the famous DIY builders and demanding that they need their website to do more. We’ve worked on everything from Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and webflow and I think we understand it.
We find that there just isn’t enough flexibility with these page builders. The architecture is closed, meaning it’s difficult to add your own features to it.
On the flip side, building a site from scratch is a nice way to create something completely unique for your business, but it takes a long time and it time costs a lot of money. If you’re like me, (design oriented) you are going to run into development issues and come across things that you don’t know how to do.
Why I switched to WordPress.
My first experience in WordPress was in 2011. I built a website for my band. It was simple. I had a bandcamp widget for music, a gallery plugin, and a tour blog. But I got frustrated with wordpress. I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how to make the blog page look cool or how to customize the navigation bar.
For the next few years I switched to squarespace and built more than a dozen sites. This experience got me comfortable with design and layouts, UX, responsive designs, on page SEO, photo editing, and a bit of CSS and HTML. If you can visualize structure and colors, then web design is easy. Design is simply a solution to a problem. Think of an engineer and architect designing a bridge. They are looking for the best way for cars to get across the water. That’s what you are doing here, but instead of cars, you are getting messages, services or a product across to an audience.
After building a lot of squarespace sites I realized I was pigeon holed. I was essentially just building online brochures for clients. They looked nice and worked on all devices. I could throw analytics on there and see how many people went to it. I could add shopify or a blog. But more and more I had clients coming to me and saying, “no one sees my site!” or “It’s not generating any business!” My ability to build a website that would become a useful tool for a business was limited. And there was a strong demand for something better.
I could go on more about how I felt like I was outgrowing the commercial builders, but essentially the biggest issues are that squarespace and wix are controlled. WordPress is open source and the possibilities are endless. You can add woocommerce instead of shopify and save 2% per transaction. You can add extensive SEO tools and you aren’t limited by the amount of pageviews or the amount of content you upload on a monthly plan. You aren’t stuck behind a monthly payment of $20 a month. WordPress is free. (hosting, plugins, and blood sweat and tears not included)