Choosing the right website builder can be difficult… there are so many options available, and each one has its own set of pros and cons. In this article, we’ll compare four of the most popular website builders on the market: WordPress, Squarespace, Webflow, and Wix. We will discuss the features of each platform and help you decide which one is the best fit for your needs.
What is a website builder and what are the benefits of using one?
A website builder is a tool that makes it easy to create and manage your website. The main benefit of using one is that you don’t have to know how to code.
You might hear a website builder referred to as a “Content Management System” (or, CMS). A CMS stores all of the information of your site, like blogs, pages, images, and more. All of the content.
Nowadays, building a website is easier than ever before. Most builders are fast, save you time, and are relatively easy to use.
What are the features offered by popular website builders?
There are some standard features offered by most popular website builders. You can typically expect to see a builder with:
- A design-friendly interface. Meaning, you can start designing right away without code.
- A simple dashboard. You’ll log in and see your pages, settings, and content in one place.
- Mobile optimization. While some builders allow more mobile customization options, most builders have some native mobile optimization built-in.
We’re exploring four major platforms in this post, but it’s certainly not an exhaustive list. That said, if you’re looking at a builder that doesn’t have all of these features, it might be smart to look elsewhere.
Pros and Cons of Popular Website Builders
Alright, let’s jump into what you came for. We’re going to explore four popular website builders based on their features, design flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and ease of use. We’re also going to make a recommendation against one of the builders.
WordPress is the most popular website builder on the market. It’s free-to-use, open-source, and it powers more than 32% of all websites on the web.
Full disclosure: this is the primary builder our team uses.
Pros of WordPress
Like I just mentioned, WordPress is free to use. Now, you will need a website host (we love Flywheel), but the builder itself is free.
WordPress is also open-source, which means anyone can contribute to its development. In practical terms, there are hundreds of thousands of themes, design templates, plugins for functionality, and more. These can be created by anyone and will help you build anything you want.
Cons of WordPress
Because it’s so flexible, it can be a bit overwhelming when you get started. Of any builder on this list, WordPress will require you to spend the most amount of time choosing your theme and finding plugins.
WordPress requires you to have a couple of other components to work. The other options on this list are more “all in one” options where you can create your account, pay the fee, and you’re good to go. WordPress can only exist with a website host, so you’ll have to set that up as well.
WordPress might be the best fit for you, if…
You’re a little tech-savvy and you’re preparing for the long-haul. You want lots of flexibility in your designs and development, and you want a solid foundation to scale your business.
Squarespace is a favorite among small businesses and designers. It is a good option for those who want something simple and easy to use, but it isn’t as flexible or robust as WordPress.
Pros of Squarespace
If you’re looking for a slightly more user-friendly experience, this might be a better fit. With Squarespace’s 100+ design templates, you can make a beautiful website in a matter of minutes. Squarespace is also an all-in-one platform so you have everything you need all at once.
Squarespace is a popular builder with a large support team and community. So whether you want to DIY or you want to hire a pro, you’ll be able to get what you need.
Cons of Squarespace
Squarespace’s lack of flexibility is its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. While it’s hard to mess up, that also means you’re limited in what you can create and the functionality of your website.
Squarespace might be the best fit for you, if…
You want to create a simple and easy-to-use website quickly. You don’t need many advanced features and you don’t need a lot of flexibility in your designs. You don’t want the hassle of dealing with WordPress’ complexity and you aren’t planning on any major changes or growth in the future.
Webflow is the new kid on the block. It’s a cloud-based platform that lets you design and code websites without actually writing any code. It has the steepest learning curve of any option on this list, but it’s capable of the most stunning and flexible designs.
Pros of Webflow
You don’t have to write any code to create your website on Webflow, which means you can design anything. However, if you are familiar with HTML and CSS, you can utilize those skills in Webflow.
You’re only limited by your imagination in Webflow. The box model used by Webflow is highly responsive and easy to build anything you want. It’s very intuitive… once you get through the learning curve.
Lastly, Webflow has a dedicated (and growing) community of users and designers. The Webflow team is constantly putting out new features and updates to make the platform better and better.
Cons of Webflow
The learning curve for Webflow is steep. You’ll need to spend some time going through Webflow University before you start building your site. The other options on this list take a much more “plug and play” approach to website building.
While it’s always adding new features, Webflow is not open-source so you’re limited to the functionality of the platform.
Webflow might be the best fit for you, if…
You have some design chops and are tech-savvy. You’re not afraid to try new things and you want to create a site that blows away the competition. You also understand the importance of responsive design and want a platform that does it easily.
Wix is the final popular website builder on our list. It’s fairly user-friendly and easy to use, making it a solid option for those who are brand new to website building. You can create a website in minutes, without any coding or design experience.
Pros of Wix
Wix uses a “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) builder that makes a favorite among novice website builders. If you have a small local business or you need to get a website up in a pinch and without a lot of money, Wix might be a solid option for you.
Wix is another all-in-one platform (like Squarespace) and covers the basics of website building that anyone can learn and use.
Cons of Wix
Wix doesn’t have the best design templates or capabilities, so it’s hard to create a website that looks stunning or has advanced functionality.
Wix also has pretty messy backend code and can have slow load times, which means your site can get penalized by Google.
Lastly, Wix has a poor mobile optimization experience, which means your site may look messy on mobile, even if it looks beautiful on desktop.
Wix might be the best fit for you, if…
You like WYSIWYG editing and you don’t need anything special on your website. You’re looking for a simple website that will get the job done at an affordable price.
A quick word of caution against Wix: We hardly ever recommend Wix because of the cons on this list. If you’re building a small site for a little hobby or local event, Wix is fine. If you’re building a serious brand that will grow and needs to look professional to your audience, please avoid Wix and check out another option on this list.
How to decide which platform is best for you
When it comes to choosing a website platform, you should always consider your own goals and needs. Here are a few questions to help get you started:
- Do you have a large budget for your website or are you just getting started?
- How important is out-of-the-box design?
- How important is it to you that your site load quickly?
- What kinds of features do you need?
- How important is mobile optimization?
- How important is it for the code behind your website to be clean and easy to read?
This is certainly not an exhaustive list but should help point you in the right direction.
Our preferred builder(s)
If you’ve made it this far, thanks! At Kyler Creative, we primarily build with WordPress. It allows us to build beautiful, custom websites for clients that can do whatever we need them to do. We’ve also built over 100 sites, so we’re not too phased by the drawbacks.
That said, we’ve started building more and more sites in Webflow and have been impressed with the outcome.
Choosing the right platform for your website can be a daunting task. In this article, we’ve compared four popular website builders: WordPress, Squarespace, Webflow, and Wix. We’ve outlined the pros and cons of each platform to help you decide which one is the best fit for your needs. If you’re still unsure which platform to choose, our team at Kyler Creative would be happy to help!