This blog post is about why I love WordPress from my own point of view. You love Wix or Squarespace? That is fine. But if you are looking for alternatives that your platform is not providing at the moment, it is worth reading the rest of this post.
I have to warn you from the beginning that self-hosted WordPress(.org) is more complicated than any other platforms but if you have the patience to learn it and get comfortable with it, you can have a beautiful website of your dreams. But why bother learning something difficult if you are comfortable with something simple right? That is why WordPress may not be for everyone.
I am not going to brag about WordPress but merely pointing out its features and benefits and why it has served as my go-to website platform as a website designer. I do not intend to put down any other platforms mentioned here for comparison. And I am writing this blog from a point of view of a designer. If you are a designer using a different platform and reading this article, you may have a different view and it’s okay. This blog may not apply to everyone but rather a guide for those people torn in between platforms or confused which is better for their needs. So let’s begin.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a free and open-source software and platform that you can use to build a website. It is also a content management system (CMS). A CMS is software application that are used to create and manage digital content. CMS core functions are indexing, search and retrieval, format management, revision control and publishing. The best part about WordPress is that it is free. Why? Because it is an open-source software. The beauty of WordPress is that you are able to choose from 11,000 different WordPress themes which are template layouts that determine the look and style of your website. You can also choose from over 55,000 plugins and widgets to help optimise the functionality of your website. Building a website on WordPress is all online and you just need an internet connection.
How does WordPress Work?
WordPress.com Vs. WordPress.org
WordPress.com and WordPress.org are actually two very different platforms. The main difference is who is hosting the website. Below is a more detailed comparison between the two.
WordPress Features I love:
1. Beautiful Design Templates. With WordPress, there are around 7,400 free and paid templates to choose from with virtually infinite customisation options. This means that the chances of having the same template with someone else is really low. Wix platforms only have 300+ theme options, and 110 template option on Squarespace.
2. Flexibility. With WordPress, you may also opt for customised website design using the drag-and-drop site builders like Elementor, Divi, Beaver Builder, WP Bakery, Thrive Architect, Brizy, and so on. These builders are plugins that allows more customisation and they can come free or paid on a yearly basis. Site builders are great for a custom website design so you don’t have to look like someone else’s website. They provide ready-made templates by section or by page so you can jumpstart your design without having to code. Some premium themes are also customisable with your choice of builder – Astra for Elementor and Beaver Builder, Elegant Themes for Divi, Zita for Brizy, Themeforest Template Kits for Elementor, and so on.
Your business may be a startup right now but eventually it will grow so starting with a premium theme built on Elementor or other builders that gives flexibility will pay off. A lot of website designers end up having to rebuild a website DIY-ed by clients because of features that are not available in their existing themes or platform. Using themes help with finishing your project within 5 days. But if want a flexible website that will accomodate changes as much as you need for later, then I really recommend using a template customisable with Elementor or any other page builders.
3. Free e-commerce plugin. If you need a shop for your website, you can just install WooCommerce which is the standard ecommerce solution for WordPress. It’s also open-source and offers even more functionality than a Squarespace online store. The free version allows you to setup a shop at no extra cost or upgrades necessary. Then you can just easily use Free plugins like Stripe and Paypal to handle the payments. How cool is that?
3. SEO Benefits. WordPress is powerful when it comes to SEO. Just upload a free plugin called Yoast SEO, which gives you advanced features such as real-time page analysis, image titles, optimization options, and XML sitemaps.
4. Optimisation Plugins – SG Optimiser is a plugin provided by a hosting company Siteground to optimise the speed of your website to make it load faster because google likes to rank websites that loads fast and performs well. Check how fast your website load using GTMetrix. Note this plugin only works if you use Siteground as your web host.
5. Infinite plugins to power your website’s functionality.
There’s always a plugin out there for any kind of functionality you require for your website. Need to change a font without coding? Install a plugin – Use Any Font. Need a slider? Install Soliloquy Need to integrate your instagram feed to your website? Just get Smash Balloon plugin. See how amazing WordPress is?
WordPress compared to Wix
Wix is really great for beginners, a lot of people find it really easy. Wix is great depends on the goal of your website. Just be mindful that if you use wix and later on decide to move somewhere else you won’t be able to export your content and it is sad if you have made a number of blogs. Your Wix site and all of its content is hosted exclusively on Wix’s servers, and cannot be exported elsewhere. If you start with hosted WordPress.com, you can at least export your content later on if you want to move to WordPress.org. For more in-depth comparison between WordPress and Wix read it here.
WordPress compared to Squarespace
Squarespace website templates are simply beautiful. But they are also somewhat limited in terms of customization options. Sure, they look really stylish when you pick them, but this is because they have been professionally designed with big beautiful pictures. If you don’t have access to the same quality for logos or background images, your gorgeous website could end up looking cheap and disoriented.
As a designer, I find Squarespace templates very conventional and look and feel the same to me – like the header being transparent in most templates. If you like a design that is simple, clean yet sophisticated but not so out of the ordinary then you can be on Squarespace. While Squarespace is easier to learn for beginners, it has limited customisation options. For more in-depth comparison between Squarespace and WordPress check it out here. With WordPress, because there are different developers out there, each theme or template is unique in its own.
So I hope you learned a lot about why I love WordPress and hope this blog will help you decide which platform to go to. Whatever you choose just make sure it suits your business and you needs. Happy choosing and good luck!