29 May 2013

Wix vs Weebly vs WordPress vs Godzilla vs King Kong vs Mothra...

Here are my personal experiences regarding various options for DIY website building/hosting. It is by no means an exhaustive reference, but it might help you with your decision-making or lead you to options you'd not considered.

  • Wix has lovely templates that allow one to create beautiful sites quickly (like this one I created for a client in a relatively short time: http://www.takefiveforfaith.com/). A basic Wix site is free, but you must upgrade to their $5.95 Connect Domain plan if you want to use your dedicated domain name in place of yourdomain.wix.com. Another disadvantage of Wix is that, if you want to reach mobile users, you need to create a second website on their mobile site builder. Wix is simpler to use than Weebly, so for the ultra-beginners, it's a better bet. For that reason, it's also less customizable, so it's not appropriate for a site that needs anything but basic features.
  • Weebly allows you to create a site and redirect it to yourdomain.com for free, but their templates aren't quite as hip and contemporary, imho. One benefit is that Weebly sites are mobile friendly from the get go, though not as pretty in the mobile format as the regular platform (they eliminate the pretty photos and headers and such, so it's mostly text-based....but it is easy to navigate on a cell phone). Weebly is a bit more complicated to use than Wix, but it also offers more access to the base code of a site to allow a person with CSS and HTML knowledge to make it do more tricks than a Wix site can do.
  • WordPress is, at base, a blogging platform, but it's been augmented by a zillion plug-ins over the years and can be manipulated to do almost anything, or so I'm told by a friend who specialized in WP development. I can't recommend it for anything beyond blogging because that's all I've ever created on it. WordPress is free for a basic site with various upgrade packages. As I recall you do have to upgrade if you want your own domain name rather than a WP domain name.
  • Blogger is a blog platform by Google which is free and is very easy to use for blogging. I don't think it would be appropriate for a regular website (but I could be wrong about that, as they do offer a large number of widgets to give the site extra features). We use it for our work blogs, one internal and this one you're reading now (DigoCoDigo.com), and I'm really happy with it. It's also free to redirect to your own domain name.
  • SquareSpace is a site building/hosting service that I've not personally used, but I've heard good things about from friends. From what I know of it, I would say it is like the Cadillac of DIY site builders and it seems just classy all around. They do not offer a free version -- their base plan is $8/month with a free 14-day trial.
  • Facebook. I'm not a fan of Facebook "websites," because they are so limited in format options and scope, but the fact is that many people find that they get more traffic through FB than they do to their standalone websites. FB has upped the ante by adding customization features to fan sites and business pages, and they're adding more features all the time. It's an option one must consider in 2013, as it may be the best (and cheapest) solution for you.


Unknown said...

I think that all of these platforms have both strong sides and significant drawbacks. It's impossible to agree on a Perfect Website Builder, since they're all perfect, but for different purposes :) While some of them are great for making great visual impression on your visitors, others offer excellent feature sets and others can boast the best prices.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I have tried two tools of the list - WiX and WordPress. I made my first steps of developing website with wix. I loved it very much. I totally agree there are a lot of lovely themes, it's super easy and flawlesss, however, soon, being honest, the website management became pretty boring and I have decided to switch to wordpress. I used online converter cms2cms - www.cms2cms.com - it moves all the wix pages to wordpress, or other self-hosted cms platforms. When I was starting descovering wordpress, I found lots of improvements for my website. there are a lot of themes. useful plugins...thus, i give my ppreference to wordpress over wix and recommend this tool everyone.

Curtis said...

Thanks for the lead to www.cms2cms.com, Marco. It looks like an interesting service.

I have to ask, what do you mean when you say, "the website management became boring"? Do you mean that you weren't able to so as much with the site as you wanted?

jayme said...

I started with Wix and loved the ease but then read about the mobile app and tried Weebly. Very frustrating for me. Called customer support and got a hard sell about upgrading to a service that would cost $100+ a month...without it I wouldn't have SEO and no one would see my site by searching with particular words. So now I am really confused. Any advice?

Curtis said...

I'm not sure what they were talking about, Jayme. The basic Weebly site offers SEO functions (here's their KB: http://kb.weebly.com/seo.html) for no additional cost.

As far a readers finding your site with certain keywords, it's hard to know the truth of that. SEO has so many variables, the first and most important being: how many competitors do you have? If you are doing something a million other people around the globe are doing and using your keywords, then it's not likely that keyword searches will be of much help. Then again, if you have truly unique product, keyword searches should find you quite easily without a huge investment in SEO.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
de said...

Hi Nicholas,

I want to present to you Pikock, the reliable way to build responsive websites without coding.
Websites looks always good no matter what you add or edit thanks to a guided building system. Pikock provides also true responsive and switchable templates and have a full drag and drop editor.

Try the difference now:


Curtis said...

Regarding Pikock, the pricing plan is rather odd: $2/mo. for a one-page website and $20/mo. for an unlimited page website. My question is: Who has a one-page website? Almost all websites have a menu with at least two or three interior pages for Contact and About Us, at a minimum.

The jump to the $20/mo. plan makes it not very competitive with the other services.