An Impartial Guide For Online Businesses
Choosing a platform for your business’ new website is one of the first and biggest decisions you’ll make as you setup your new website. In this article I’ll talk through the pros and cons of three of the biggest CMSs (Content Management systems) that you can use as the basis of your website.
A short disclaimer: at Clayman Projects we only build our websites using WordPress (and I’ll talk about some of the reasons why here) but I can also recognise that WordPress isn’t a perfect fit for everyone so I’ll be as impartial as I can as we explore these options together.
Your Website: Asset vs Liability
I believe the key guiding principle for any business making a decision about how to set up their website is simple: your business’ website should be an asset, not a liability Liabilities cost your business time and money; assets give time back to you as an operator and produce a return on your investment.
There’s a few key things to look for to ensure that your website is an asset and not a time/money pit:
- Customiseable design. Cookie cutter templates, stuffed full of stock images, is a recipe for a website that doesn’t convert.
- Automation tools. Your website should take tasks off your plate, not add to the pile. What can you website do to boost conversions and market itself without adding to your todo list as a business owner (because, let’s face it, your list is long enough).
- Complexity to setup. If you’re DIYing your website then whatever platform you decide to use there’s bound to be a learning curve (especially if you’ve never done anything like that before). It’s worth taking into consideration the amount of time you’ll need to spend learning before you can even start the project and then the amount of time later down the road that you’ll need to spend fixing the inevitable mistakes that come with your first try putting a site together.
If you’re working with a web designer you’ve got different problems. Does that designer understand the brand and unique needs of your business? Will they be able to do their own copywriting or will you need to do all the writing for the site? If you don’t like the result what guarantee does the developer offer and how much time will have been wasted?
Shopify: Customisation Options, Toolset and Complexity.
Simple But Limited Customisation
There’s a lot to love about Shopify. The platform boasts 138 themes (at time of writing) to choose from as a base for your store, which you can then customise with their drag and drop editor. The flexibility of these themes isn’t perfect but if you’re a beginner the simplicity of these tools, and the amount of tutorials and support around this platform, could make it a perfect fit for you. However, if you’re looking for a fully customised site then this might not be a perfect solution.
Best in Class Toolset
However, Shopify’s automation and analytics tools are really impressive. It manages to deliver really key insights to business owners while still walking users through their use and setup enough to make the platform hospitable to people with no coding skills or previous experience. However, some automation features and analytics are locked behind more expensive pricing plans, and this is definitley the priciest platform on this list.
Simple for Beginners and Well Supported
Lastly, setting up a shopify site is fairly simple. At the layout and design stage you’re going to have to bear your way through some more difficult to navigate tools but once you’re ready to start running the site you have some top of the line tools at your disposal and plenty of support to help you through the process. If you don’t mind the cost and you’re willing to learn then this platform could be a great fit for you.
Wix: Customisation Options, Toolset and Complexity
Customisation for the Masses
Wix is a popular website builder that offers a range of customisation options for businesses. When it comes to designing your website with Wix, you can choose from over 800 templates (dwarfing Shopify’s 138) and customize them to suit your brand. This level of customization offers a lot of flexibility to businesses that want their online presence to be unique and authentic to them. Wix’s customisation tools include a drag-and-drop editor, a mobile editor, and access to a library of third-party apps and integrations. These tools can help businesses create a visually appealing and functional website without the need for a developer.
A Steeper Learning Curve
However, the complexity of setting up a Wix website can be a drawback for some businesses. While the platform offers a lot of customisation options, it can be overwhelming for beginners to navigate. Additionally, Wix websites are known to load slowly, which can negatively impact user experience and search engine optimization. I’m also not a fan of the limits they have on storage and “video hours” for their users’ sites which can get restrictive really fast if you’re using your own media.
Plenty of Promising Features But Not Without Faults Either…
Overall, Wix is a great option for businesses that want a lot of customisation options and tools to create a visually appealing website. However, the complexity of setup and slow loading times can be a downside for some businesses. If you’re looking for a simpler setup process and faster loading times, Shopify or WordPress may be a better fit for your business.
WordPress: Customisation Options, Toolset and Complexity
Versatile And Free!
When it comes to building a website for your business, one of the most popular platforms out there is WordPress accounting for 65% of websites that use a CMS platform and 43% of all websites online as of 2022. This open source software (meaning that it’s free of charge!) has been around for a long time, and it has evolved into a powerful platform that allows you to create just about any type of website you can imagine. One of the biggest benefits of WordPress is the level of customization it offers. You can change just about anything on your website, from the design and layout to the functionality and features. This level of customization is what sets WordPress apart from other website builders like Shopify and Wix.
Advanced Tool Set
Another benefit of WordPress is the toolset it provides. With thousands of plugins and themes available, you can easily add new features and functionality to your website. Whether you need a contact form, a portfolio, an online store or something else entirely, there’s likely a plugin or theme available to help you achieve your goals. This flexibility is why WordPress is a popular choice for businesses of all sizes.
If you’re looking to push the envelope you might need some help…
However, it’s important to note that WordPress can be more complex than other website builders. While it’s relatively easy to get started with a basic WordPress site, customizing it or adding more advanced functionality can require some technical knowledge. This is why many businesses hire WordPress developers to help them create and maintain their website. Overall, if you’re looking for a website builder that offers customization, flexibility and a wide range of features, WordPress is definitely worth considering. Just be prepared to spend some time learning the platform or hiring a developer to help you get the most out of it.
So, Who’s The Winner?
Which platform is right for you depends on your needs and preferences. If you’re looking to grow an Ecommerce store quickly and you’re excited to dive into learning about analytics tools and setting up automations then Shopify might be the place for you. If you want a customised design but still want to DIY then Wix might be your cup of tea. WordPress on the other hand is a great fit if you are either:
a) Wanting to set up your first website cheaply and quickly with no frills. Or…
b) Want a powerful and fully customised site and are happy to work with a developer that can make your vision a reality.
I hope you found this guide helpful!
I hope this article helped you on your way to making an informed buying decision as you take another step towards setting up your business’ digital home. If you have any other questions as you sift through the various options for setting up your site feel free to drop a comment below or email us and we’ll add your question to our list of articles to write ASAP. Until next time…