Let’s cut to the chase – you need a CMS (content management system) for your new website, and there are plenty of great ones out there. Even if you’re an experienced developer, building your own website CMS from scratch is time-consuming, expensive and most of the time useless – there are only very niche and specific reasons why you’d want to tailor build your thing. But for any run-of-the-mill website project, re-inventing the wheel is not worth the while.
That being said, the market offers a variety of options for building your own website, and here goes a brief comparison between website building software as a service versus a vanilla CMS hosted…
SqaureSpace and WIX – Website building Solution as Service
We’ve seen plenty of adverts of SquareSpace and WIX, promising you to build a great website out of nothing! And, truth be told, they do a decent job! Both offer a web based platform with a user-friendly tool and templates to build and host your website creation. You cannot have your ‘custom hosting’ but in principle you are paying a regular subscription fee to make use of their hosting and web-creation service. You can connect your custom domain, and in essence your viewers will just see your good looking website. Services like WIX and SquareSpace are ideal for very low-budget startups who have someone a bit techy on board.
Although these tools are very easy to use, they still require some techy knowledge to have a polished product, unless you make use of the templates provided with very minimal editing. The only downside of such products is that you are essentially bound with what the platform offers in terms of features and hosting performance. There are limited code intervention possibilities, and therefore if your website requires a tailor made connectivity feature with others systems (for example), you may meet a show stopper.
Once again, for the price you are paying, the platforms offer enough to setup decent looking product pages and basic informative sites in very little time.
WordPress – Open-source Content Management System
Although WordPress does offer a service similar to Squarespace and WIX, most of the time WordPress websites are built independently on other hosting providers. This means that the website is no longer built bound to a specific platform, but can be hosted on a web server that has the basic requirements needed to run WordPress. WordPress is an open-source project (meaning that its core code is freely available and anyone can improve and contribute for updates). While wordpress is also an easy to use tool to build a website, most of the time requires a bit more technical knowledge to setup than other platforms discussed earlier. The market offers ready made themes/templates to help start off a project, but most of the time they require extensive technical intervention or professional design to setup.
So why bother going for WordPress? If you know that your website is growing and there possibilities of some custom features or integration, it’s defintely a very good option to go for. WordPress is structured to allow extensive custom plugin development which makes it easier to build upon. WordPress is used heavily in the web industry due to its flexibility and marketplaces which offer huge variety of off-the-shelf plugins that are ready made. Building a website using WordPress gives the peace of mind that flexibility and scalability is there ready for you, even if you start off with a very small basic website, you can eventually let it grow to an e-commerce platform for your clients. You have also full control and ownership of the website system, and you can actually move the entire website to other hosting providers of your choice.
I’m still not sure if I should go for one or the other!
The safest bet is to go for WordPress from day one, but if budget does not permit it or your know well that your website is simply informative, you can do a great deal with SquareSpace or WIX. If you find yourself in a bottle neck after some years, you can still re-build your website using WordPress at later stage! The most important thing right now is that you have your online presence, nicely set, and your audience can reach you easily. Changing from one system to another is not the end of the world after all! 🙂