The following is a great guest blog post, written by Michael Grunseth, Head of Content at AddThis, the web’s leader. AddThis helps individuals & organizations become better marketers through on-page sharing, following & targeting tools. Michael has a passion for storytelling & helping his users foster communities around the content.
When it comes to growing your email list & converting your email prospects into consumers, your website is a powerful asset. Websites play a huge role in almost every aspect of digital marketing.
Considering this, here is a surprising stat: approximately 60 percent of businesses with one to 5 employees do not have a website. ?
However, this is not so surprising when you consider the resources many people consider are required to build a website: time, money & engineering skills. If you do not have a website yet, these are probably a few of the barriers holding you back.
I have good news for you. Building a website does not need to be stressful, expensive/time consuming. With the right website platform, you can quickly & inexpensively publish your content online, and often, you do not need any coding skills to do it.
Not sure what platform is right for you? Do not sweat it. Here are 3 easy-to-use website platforms that can help you build a beautiful & functional website in less than a day.
Level of sophistication: beginner
Wix is a website builder, which means that you could ‘drag & drop’ content practically anywhere on the screen, without using HTML/another coding language. It is simple to use and the vast library of beautiful page templates makes it easy to get started. You could start building a single-page website in the next few minutes & publish it in less than 20 minutes.
Although Wix is easy to use, it is a non-open source platform, which limits your ability to customize your site & add advanced functionality.
As far as cost, you could build a Wix website for free. However, with the free plan, you do not get a custom domain name, and Wix displays advertisements on your site. To get rid of the ads & get your own domain name, you will need to pay for a planned upgrade.
Here is why Wix is a great option for building your website:
- It is easy to use.
- It is inexpensive.
- You do not need to know HTML or other coding languages to build your site.
- You could create a site in a day.
- They offer hundreds of beautiful website templates from which you can choose.
- You could connect 3rd-party apps to your site.
Here’re the downsides of using Wix:
- You do not have complete control over the appearance & functionality of your site.
- If you have thousands of website users on your site at once, your site load time may be slow.
- Wix does not scale very well. Once your business reaches a certain size, you will most likely need to change your website platform.
- Once you choose a website template, you cannot change it.
My conclusion: Wix is a great beginner website. If you are just starting your business & want to publish a site quickly and inexpensively, Wix is for you. If you would like complete control over the design & functionality of your site, Wix is a bad choice.
Level of sophistication: beginner
Weebly is an easy-to-use website builder. Just like Wix, Weebly includes a drag-&-drop builder, which makes it easy to select the layout & design of your site without writing a line of code. Weebly offers a variety of modern and stylish page templates that are mobile responsive.
The free version of Weeblylets you create a website with very basic features &Weebly branding. With an upgrade, you could remove the Weebly branding and get access to additional features.
You should build your website with Weebly if:
- You do not know how to code.
- You are looking for an easy-to-use, drag-&-drop website builder.
- You want more design flexibility than Wix offers.
- You are building an ecommerce site
Avoid Weebly if:
- You would like access to the source code to customize your site on the backend.
- You want complete control of how your site looks & operates.
- You plan to switch website platforms sometime soon – it is difficult to migrate your content.
My conclusion: Weebly is easy to use & great for quickly building your first website. It has more drag-&-drop customization options than Wix, but Wix has more templates.
Level of sophistication: intermediate – advanced
WordPress is the most commonly used website platforms out there today; over 60 million people use it to power the websites. It is a content management system, making it more powerful than Wix&Weebly, but potentially more difficult to use. It’s open source – which means anyone can download it for free & edit the source code.
WordPress’ large user base & open source format translate to big benefits for you. Since millions of WordPress users could create templates and plugins and share them publicly, you could use these templates and plugins on your own site (and they are often free!).
WordPress is known for having one of the most helpful online communities, making it ideal for newbies. If you are unsure how to do something, you could search the WordPress community to find an answer.
While WordPress is free to download and use, you will need WordPress hosting in order to use WordPress. View all of WordPress’ features here.
With a WordPress site, you could:
- Build any kind of site – an ecommerce/membership site, a blog, a personal portfolio and more.
- Use a website platform for the life of your business – if you see massive business development, your WordPress site can handle it.
- Customize your site however you want.
- Easily find answers to the questions in WordPress’ online community.
Do not choose WordPress if:
- You need to customize your site extensively but you cannot code and cannot afford to hire a coder to help you out.
- You should commit to spending a few hours learning the basics of WordPress. There is definitely a small learning curve.
My conclusion: WordPress is a website platform that will increaseyour business. The customization possibilities are almost limitless. While there is a slight learning curve, the time investment is worth it. If you are not technically savvy and do not have a programmer, stick with Wix/Weebly.