Updated: Feb 26
We get asked about building website on all kinds of platforms, and often it's hard to put across the benefits of different site building applications without going into too much detail. To help clear the air about how we feel about using each of the main builders we get approached to try out, we've compiled a list to help you decide which one suits your business best.
(This list isn't definitive, by the way, it just ranks the different platforms which we've been asked to use so far. We'll add to it as we go, but for now it's very far from complete.)
Oh, and we've ranked the list, too.
1 - Wix
This isn't a biased choice - we've been using Wix for years and it's the one builder we keep returning to. The best thing about Wix is that it offers everything in one place, allowing you to manage your site, sales, payments, subscriptions, blogs, designs, social media, client communication and more all from the same dashboard.
Don't mistake this for being perfect though; Wix is sometimes limited by bugs and can be a bit awkward to try and get fully connected to everything it needs to work with, but ultimately it provides a very streamlined and efficient platform once it's all up and running.
Hosting costs and other fees are all handled by the same people when you use Wix too, so when everything is in motion, you don't have to worry about checking a series of different accounts to see where your management costs are going; they all appear in one place. However, you might have to keep an eye out when renewal time comes, because it does tend to sneak up, and sale prices aren't factored into subsequent package years when your initial period runs out!
Two of our current sites use Wix - check them out!
2 - Wordpress
The other big one. In much of our experience, people want to use Wordpress to get their sites developed, and the general consensus on which platform is best normally comes down to a debate that sees people either siding with this one or with Wix.
We do love Wordpress, but something about it takes the ease out of getting things developed. More often than not, Wordpress sites require a template in order to get up and running, and if you want to make any edits, you'll find yourself needing to learn some code or hire someone who does. It also relies very heavily on integrated apps, which often drive up management costs by a significant degree if you don't stay on top of them.
One big benefit of Wordpress sites is how they're viewed by big brand names. If you have a Wordpress site, it's more likely that you'll be able to land whatever pitch it is that you're trying to make. Designs with Wordpress, while heavily reliant on templates, are almost always seamless and stand out effectively to those you're trying to show off to, often with limited effort.
We've worked on two Wordpress sites:
3 - Shopify
We've only recently started using Shopify, but as far as builders go, we're struggling to get into the swing of using it. Logging into Shopify is a complicated process at the best of times, potentially leaving you confused about what you have to do before you even get started.
Like Wordpress, Shopify is very strongly based on templates. Most of the apps in their store revolve around the template theme you've employed, and in our experience, the themes are very solid in their design, not allowing for a lot of customisation.
Again, like Wordpress, Shopify relies very heavily on the use of integrated apps, the majority of which require a subscription payment - this means you could run up quite a bill if you're not careful.
This isn't to say Shopify is bad - it's a brilliant tool for building a worldwide sales platform and its themes do look fantastic when they're set up correctly. It's great if you're looking to design your own site with little knowledge of design, because the themes do a lot of the work for you. However, for those with more knowledge, their code editor is limited to the point of being discouraged by their own staff in favour of apps.
At the minute, we're working with one Shopify site:
4 - GoDaddy
This is one of the only platforms we'd try and deter clients from using if they need our input. GoDaddy is great for getting your hosting and domain subscription all in once place while developing your own site, but in our opinion, that's about as far as it goes.
We're not being mean, but GoDaddy's very restrictive editing system means that you're almost always confined to the limits of whichever theme you choose, meaning that you have to change your entire site if one or two small elements don't meet your liking.
If you want most of the design work taken care of for you without hiring someone, GoDaddy is a good option, but know that you won't have much wiggle room!
We should also note that as a developed, accessing a client site on GoDaddy is one of the most complicated processes we've ever encountered.
We've worked on one site with GoDaddy:
5 - Google
If you're not really concerned about people needing to use your site as part of your business operations, go with Google. It's quick and easy to set up, but it doesn't allow for much outside that.
As we mentioned before, this isn't a definitive list, it's just our opinion on what we've worked with before. As well as that, note that platforms like Wix do use apps for some things, but you can build a powerful site without needing to use even one of them, unlike many other available platforms.
We'll add to the list as we're approached to use more platforms.
If you're in the market for getting a site developed, get in touch! Don't forget to comment with your own feeligns on the list as well.