Why should you use WordPress? Are you going to have any issues if you go with another platform such as Wix, Squarespace or Weebly?
This is a question I've been asked numerous times by people at the very early stages of this journey. It makes sense, too. After all, most people just don't know how to build a website.
For some, WordPress has a reputation of being complicated. A platform for nerds. Whereas some of these site builders like Wix or Squarespace are marketed as being so easy anybody can use them. They've also got investor funding so it allows them to advertise heavily on TV and that gives them a lot of mainstream exposure.
Some of the big companies like GoDaddy and Namecheap also have their own site builders. There are a lot of companies out there that have their own builder marketed toward people who want to build a beautiful website with no coding skills whatsoever.
And there I am recommending you use WordPress. And I'm not alone.
So, what gives?
Are you going to be screwed if you don't use WordPress?
Let me lay it out for you.
Table Of Contents
- The Primary Case For WordPress
- WordPress Versus Wix
- WordPress Versus SquareSpace
- WordPress Versus Weebly
- Making WordPress Easy For Beginners
The Primary Case For WordPress
Since you already know that I think WordPress is the smart choice, let me start by laying out why that is.
Important Note: Everything I'm saying here has to do with the self-hosted version of WordPress. In other words, WordPress that is installed to a web host that you pay for. I am NOT talking about hosted WordPress on WordPress.com. Do NOT use that to build your business.
#1 - WordPress is Free.
While you will need to pay for hosting, there is no charge for using WordPress itself. It is open source and free.
There are plugins and themes you may choose to pay for, however. But, there's no requirement that you do. You will need web hosting, but you can score some very solid web hosting very affordably.
#2 - Complete Flexibility
When you use WordPress on your own web host, you can do whatever you want with it. You are not limited in any way.
You can use any plugin. You can use any theme. You can talk about whatever you want. This is very different from a hosted option where you can use their tools and their tools only. They might be nice tools, but you're limited with what they choose to create for you.
#3 - Massive Community
WordPress powers 35% of the entire internet - and has about 60& market share among content management systems. Almost 15% of the top 100 sites in the entire world use WordPress. So, as you can imagine, there is a massive community of WordPress users.
That means a massive selection of themes. A massive selection of plugins. Massive amounts of tutorials and help all over the internet. There is pretty much nothing you can't find an answer for with a simple Google search. Because, seemingly everybody uses WordPress.
WordPress Versus Wix
Wix is a hosted site builder. They have created a nice platform, but what you see is what you get. If they don't build it for you or have a bolt-on app for it, you can't do it.
Now, the fact that it is hosted means that it comes with a price tag. While they do have a limited free plan available, you have to upgrade to a premium plan before you're going to get much of anything.
These plans are paid annually, so the cheapest plan right now will set you back $156 for the year. With that, you can remove the Wix ads, get your domain paid for, get 2GB of bandwidth and 30 "video minutes".
If you want to get business features (like processing payments), your basic plan will run $23/month (or $276 for the year).
As a comparison, you could pick up a much better web host like SiteGround for as little as $3.95/month to start ($47.40 for the year).
Obviously, Wix isn't just about the hosting. What you're paying for is the hand-holding and the ease of use. But, let's look at what Wix gives you:
- They have over 500 themes to choose from. WordPress has many thousands - and that's only the free ones. Plus, once you choose a template with Wix, you're stuck with it. You can customize things, but you cannot choose another one. With WordPress, you can switch themes all day long if you want.
- Wix has around 200 "apps" that you can add on to give you stuff like contact forms, social media buttons, email marketing, etc. In contrast, WordPress has over 55,000 plugins - and that's only the free ones.
- Wix has a visual editor that's easy to use. WordPress has had a reputation for being geeky to change the design. But, that's no longer true. By using a page builder such as Thrive Architect, building pages with WordPress is just as easy as Wix. Maybe even easier.
Truth is, there's pretty much nothing that Wix does better than WordPress when you consider all the options for customizing WordPress. It is true that WordPress is inherently more geeky to customize on the design side of things, but that's totally taken care of with the numerous designers, themes, and page builders that you can add to it.
So, I can all but guarantee that you will eventually feel limited by what you can do with Wix as you build your online business. Wix is primarily sold to people who want to create a pretty site without zero tech knowledge. In fact, so little tech knowledge that they won't even know what they can't do. Plus, a pretty site is not necessarily the same thing as what will actually convert. You don't want to be limited by only 500 template options - any of which once you choose them, you're stuck.
Can You Migrate From Wix To WordPress?
Unfortunately, moving your content out of Wix over to WordPress comes with headaches. You can export your blog posts in XML format and then import those into WordPress. Your pages, however, will be a much more manual process. Basically, you will need to re-build your pages.
Wix is a walled garden and they want you to stay right there, paying their fee. They don't make it easy to move. And this is yet another reason why you shouldn't use Wix.
WPBeginner has a nice article on how to switch from Wix over to WordPress.
WordPress Versus SquareSpace
Squarespace is another popular, mainstream page builder. Like Wix, they have investors and TV advertising and the works. That mainstream coverage leads many to SquareSpace for their website needs.
But, the story is pretty similar with Squarespace as it is with Wix. This tool is aimed at beginners. It doesn't provide very many options, but what it does provide is very easy to use. That's the point.
They seem to purposely make pricing hard to find, burying it way down in the footer menu. But, once you get there, here's the rates:
Unlike Wix, they at least give you the option to pay monthly rather than annually. But, their cheapest plan will run you $12/month (paid annually), so $144 total.
That's quite a bit more than good WordPress hosting.
Plus, that plan will limit you to 2 users (which seems stupid). You can't sell anything. While you have access to their library of templates and add-ons, it is inherently a much more limited library than WordPress.
Just like Wix, that's the theme with Squarespace. Limits. Lots of limits.
Can You Migrate From Squarespace To WordPress?
Just like with Wix, migrating out of Squarespace is going to be a real pain in the butt. Their system is proprietary and they don't want you to leave. So, they don't make it easy.
As with Wix, you can export some of your content to XML. But, there's quite a bit that won't be included. Since you're going to have to practically re-build your site, let's hope this is something you will do while your site is still small.
WordPress Versus Weebly
Another site builder that some people have gotten into is Weebly. This company has VC funding and that means they have a marketing budget. And the marketing hook for it specifically reaches out to people who are not geeky in any way and have no idea how to make a website.
Just as with Wix or Squarespace, however, Weebly is a self-contained software service that provides some flexibility, but you're stuck with the same kinds of limitations. Their App Center (for add-ons) has 355 options, compared with multiple thousands of options for WordPress. Plus, honestly, some of the "apps" from Weebly are just plain stupid. They even have one for adding an H1 tag. That's just embarrassing that it requires an app to do that.
Pricing for Weebly is cheaper on the front-end than Wix or Squarespace.
Of course, that $6 plan is going to have Square ads on it (Square it the name of the parent company behind Weebly). If you want to get rid of the ads, you'll need at least the $12/month plan. One nice thing is that all of their plans seem to come with ecommerce functionality whereas that costs extra with the competition.
If I were shopping for a dumbed down site builder with some basic functionality, I would probably go with Weebly over Squarespace or Wix. That said, let's be clear...
WordPress, once again, blows it away.
Can You Migrate From Weebly To WordPress?
The story of moving out of this platform will sound similar to the others. Sure, it can be done. It will involve some exporting then importing. And probably correcting some errors along the way and possibly even re-building some pages.
WPBeginner has a tutorial on how to move from Weebly to WordPress.
Making WordPress Easy For Beginners
Alright, I hope I've made the case for why you should use WordPress. Chances are, you already realized that was true otherwise you wouldn't be here. But...
The reason people often go with those other options comes down to one word: simplicity.
Some people may not even know about WordPress when they sign up for those things. But, I'm also sure many people were aware of WordPress. They had a look around, determined WordPress was too complicated, and decided to go with one of those other options because it made things easier.
And, I get it.
Truth is, right out the gate, WordPress is more complicated. And there are more things that you'll need to figure out or take responsibility for on your own. WordPress won't come with the hand-holding that you'll get from those other services.
But, unlike those other solutions, WordPress is not an island. It has a substantial community, tons of companies that build for it, and thousands upon thousands of available designs and add-on plugins.
With all that taken into account, you can certainly make building a WordPress site just as easy as you can with any of those other options. Here's how...
1. Use WordPress Hosting.
A self-hosted WordPress can be complicated. But, if you just sign up for a WordPress host, they make it easy as one-click. You literally just click a button, enter a few choices, and it installs WordPress automatically.
They will set up your domain for you. They will take care of the geeky stuff. It might feel more geeky, but honestly, it is incredibly easy.
I personally use and recommend WPX Hosting as my first choice for WordPress. I've never experienced faster customer support than WPX and I've been doing this for over 20 years.
If you're being more budget-sensitive, go to Siteground. Incredibly good company.
You can read my guide on choosing good hosting. Unlike Wix and the others, you have options with WordPress. And that can feel complicated. But, it really isn't. If you pick one of the companies I recommend, they'll treat you right.
2. Install A Page Builder.
A page builder is a plugin (or sometimes a theme) that will give you all the visual design capability that Wix or Weebly would give you.
In fact, the Weebly editor looks a lot like Thrive Architect - which is my top recommendation for you.
Many people like Elementor as well and that's also a good option (read my review). Divi is popular for some, although I can't say I would recommend it if you want simplicity. If you're the kind of person who was looking for the simplicity of Weebly, you'll be lost with Divi.
But, definitely... get a page builder. It makes editing with WordPress a totally different experience. And I personally recommend Thrive Architect.
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3. Google/Youtube Is Your Friend
WordPress is... everywhere. And there is no shortage of tutorials and Youtube videos that will show you how to do anything you want to do.
So, want to know how to do something? Just search for it! Want some basic beginner tutorials on the basics of how to use WordPress. Just search for it!
The training is free, too. I'm in the online training business. I'll be the first to tell you that paid online training definitely has it's place and can be a huge time saver. But, there's simply no need to pay for any WordPress training. There's just so much really good stuff out there - totally for free.
Trust me. It isn't complicated.