These days, consumers search for services and goods differently, they whip out their smartphone and Google. Or they say “Hey Alexa” to find the best offers before making a purchase. Hello Digital Age! Having a professional website could set you apart from your competitors. The right website will create credibility and can showcase what you can do better than the other guy. To create a website, you’ll need to decide which platform to use, for instance WordPress is our favorite. Initially you might be overwhelmed by the selection of content management systems and have no idea where to start.
A content management system (CMS) is what helps you create, modify and manage the content of your website without any knowledge of coding, the building blocks of all websites.
Content Management Systems
The most popular CMS is WordPress! WordPress powers over 43.3% of all websites, the most out of all CMS options. We love WordPress, but there are several more CMS to choose from. We’re going to slim it down to just a few to highlight so it’s not overwhelming.
Wix, Squarespace, Joomla, and Drupal are used to power less than 2% of all websites. While we use WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix for clients, Joomla and Drupal are not our favorites. It’s important to make sure that your website is functional, something that WordPress provides. If you want to know more, just read DCA Virtual Business Support’s article about Website Trends & Functionality in 2021.
Why is WordPress popular? It can continuously grow with your business and be customized to your needs. WordPress is free, easy to use and set up. It offers thousands of free templates and plugins, and you can self-host. We’re big fans of WordPress at DCA Virtual Business Support. In fact, it’s our first choice in CMS for small businesses. How does WordPress compare to other CMS?
WordPress is Cost Effective
You’ll find that most content management systems are free to start up, but with any customization there are costs. When it comes to WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace you’ll need to purchase a domain name from a domain registrar such as GoDaddy, Namecheap or Google Domains. The price can vary greatly for a domain depending on the demand of the name.
Before you create your website you need a domain, an address to your website. Once your website is created, it will need to be hosted by a service. Hosting is like renting an office space, which in turn places your website on the internet for other people to find.
Most CMS options require you to pay separately for hosting, which can cost as little as $3 a month. The costs climb for services added such as an SSL certificate, which is greatly advised to secure your website and to rank in Google’s search engine. This is especially important if you are accepting customer information on your site to keep their information safe.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which creates an encryption between the host and the browser your website is being viewed on by the customer. This secures any information that passes from your website to the server and back, such as credit card information.
Wix is completely free if you are okay with using a web address that is cobranded for Wix. It may look something like this: sitename.wixsite.com/sitename. Wix also has mandatory branding on free accounts, but that’s not an ideal situation for businesses. Customizations like a custom domain and removing Wix branding will hike up the price. Overall, anything you pay extra for on Wix, you can get for free on WordPress.
WordPress is Easy
WordPress at an initial glance can seem like it could be complex to build a website compared to the Wix builder. However, there are several drag and drop building tools such as SeedProd, Divi, and Beaver Builder that allow you to create websites with ease. No coding expertise necessary. You would need to learn more than the basics of coding with Drupal and Joomla. For small business owners, we don’t recommend these options, mainly because we know how busy you are.
WordPress is a short installation process and many hosting sites offer easy installation. This helps you get your website off the ground in minutes. Installing Joomla is very similar to WordPress. However, the control panel of Joomla can be very confusing. Drupal requires a simple download and upload to install but changing the appearance of the website can be difficult and time consuming, and who has time for that?
It’s very easy to create a website with Wix, just pay for a premium package for the custom domain and hosting. You can build your website with a simple drag and drop interface in a matter of hours.
WordPress is Customizable
WordPress offers over 3,000 templates, all designed to help you customize your website to your needs. Drupal and Joomla have less options, and few are free. Not to say that all WordPress themes are free. Many themes have premium licenses with even more customizable options.
You can build your WordPress website to do just about anything you can think of. You’ll find more than 55,000 plugins for WordPress available in the official directory. Drupal is a close match with 48,000 modules in the official directory. Joomla follows in third place with only 6,000 extensions in the official directory, but each CMS has additional options that can be found on the web, outside official directories.
Staging and Development Sites
Having a staging or development site is an important part of building a website. This is a site you can access from a link and preview changes as well as provide feedback to your designer during the build. If you already having an existing website, you can preview these changes without affecting your live site.
WordPress allows you to have a development link to preview your website on any device without connecting it to your live domain. This is important because you will want to make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices before it goes live. We know that mobile use is a priority for Google, so not only do you need to confirm your site looks great, you want to verify it’s still mobile friendly and fast!
Platforms like Wix and Squarespace don’t offer staging areas for existing sites. Unfortunately, you can either unpublish your site or purchase a new site to add to your account. WordPress makes having a staging site easy and doesn’t create any extra costs.
WordPress is Expandable
As your business grows and you want to offer products, either physical or digital, you don’t have to start over with a new website. With WordPress you can just add the WooCommerce Plugin, or with Wix you can upgrade to their eCommerce plan for an additional cost. However, Wix can’t compete with other powerful CMSs. Squarespace and Shopify are fairly robust when int comes to creating eCommerce sites, however, they offer less options and customizations than WordPress.
In the end – Wix, WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, are all fantastic content management systems. Each are customizable, but at varying costs. Wix, Squarespace and Shopify are incredibly easy to use, but many plugins require purchase and lack customization options.
We consider WordPress our number one because of how affordable it is to create a professional website for our clients, how incredibly easy it is to manage, and how quickly we can set it up for clients. The huge directory of plugins allows us to customize exactly to our client’s needs, and the thousands of options of themes to use as a foundation to create the look of the website. It’s something that we do very well, we were even named top B2B firms in Virginia by Clutch! We have displayed excellence in web development and design, SEO, branding, and more. So, consider us for your website development needs and reach out today!