What Is the Best Website Platform for Your Business?

What Is the Best Website Platform for Your Business

Whether you’re looking to refresh your website or launch a new business site, your chosen website platform is important. Website builder platforms have greatly improved. However, some key differences set them apart. Learn more about what to look for when choosing the best website platform for your business below.

What Is a Website Builder?

Website builders provide a convenient option for creating websites without the need for coding. User-friendly interfaces and pre-designed templates allow individuals to quickly and easily create professional-looking websites. This is particularly useful for small businesses, bloggers, and individuals wanting to showcase their work or talents online without the cost of web development services.

Website builders have built-in tools, including hosting, domain registration, drag-and-drop editors, and various themes and templates. Using a website builder saves time and money and doesn’t require technical know-how. However, there are often significant limitations to the SEO that web builders allow.

WordPress vs a Website Builder

WordPress and website builders are both great options for building a website, but they each have strengths and weaknesses. WordPress is a powerful content management system that offers a wide range of features and customization options. With thousands of themes and plugins, users can create a highly customized website that meets their needs. However, WordPress does have a learning curve, especially for novice users. The technical language and the occasional need to adjust code can be intimidating for those new to website creation.

Website builders are often more user-friendly and accessible for beginners. These platforms typically offer drag-and-drop interfaces, making designing a website without coding knowledge easy. While website builders may not be as customizable or feature-rich as WordPress, they provide a quick and simple way to get a basic site up and running. For less experienced users who may feel overwhelmed by the complexity of WordPress, a website builder may be the better choice for building a functional and professional-looking website without the steep learning curve. Ultimately, the best option will depend on the user’s level of technical expertise and specific website needs.

Website Platform Features You Need

Website builders typically offer a selection of pre-designed templates. These templates can be customized using a drag-and-drop editor to incorporate various types of content or custom coding. Features often include options for images, videos, maps, forms, and social media feeds. A reliable website builder allows users to create various websites, from basic personal pages to more intricate business sites or e-commerce stores. 

Media (Video, Photo, Audio, and Graphics)

In today’s digital age, websites utilize multimedia elements to capture users’ attention. Gone are the days when text-heavy websites were enough to keep visitors engaged. Users now expect a visually stimulating and interactive experience when browsing online. Incorporating videos, photos, audio, and graphics into a website breaks up long blocks of text and helps convey information more engagingly and digestibly. Visual aids can help highlight key points, evoke emotions, and create a more memorable experience for users.

High-quality multimedia content enhances the overall user experience and makes your website stand out from the competition. Resources such as stock photos, vector images, background images, video footage, and sound effects can help bring your website to life. By effectively leveraging multimedia elements on your website, you can create a more dynamic and interactive platform that attracts users and keeps them coming back for more.

Malware Scanning

When selecting a website platform for your online presence, security should be one of the top priorities on your checklist. Your website’s and visitors’ safety is crucial in today’s digital landscape, where cyber threats constantly evolve. Malware scanning is a crucial security feature in a website builder. Malware scanning capabilities allow you to detect and remove malicious software that can harm your website and compromise sensitive data. By including this feature in your website builder tool, you proactively protect your digital assets and maintain a secure online environment.

Automated malware scanning is particularly valuable as it allows you to avoid potential threats by regularly checking for suspicious activities or infected files on your website. With automated scans running in the background, you can address any issues quickly before they escalate into more significant problems that could damage your reputation or cause costly downtime. By incorporating malware scanning into your website building process, you demonstrate a commitment to safeguarding your site and ensuring a safe browsing experience for your users. Make sure to choose a website builder with this essential security feature so you can have peace of mind knowing that your online presence is protected from cyber threats.

Web Application Firewall (WAF)

A web application firewall (WAF) is an essential security feature that acts as a shield between your website and potential threats from the internet. By filtering, monitoring, and blocking malicious traffic, WAFs help protect your website from common attacks such as SQL injections and cross-site scripting. These attacks can compromise sensitive data and damage your website’s reputation, so having a WAF is crucial to maintaining a secure online presence.

With the rise of cyber threats targeting websites, having a WAF is not just nice but a necessity for any online business. By customizing your WAF to meet your specific needs, you can ensure that your website remains secure and resilient against potential threats, allowing you to focus on running your business without worrying about cyber attacks.

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Optimizing for page speed is crucial for any website looking to attract and retain customers. In today’s fast-paced digital world, users expect instant gratification when browsing the web. If a website takes too long to load, users will likely become frustrated and leave, resulting in lost conversions and revenue. With the rise of mobile browsing, page speed is even more important as users on mobile devices often have slower internet connections. By implementing strategies like using a content delivery network (CDN), website owners can significantly improve their page speed and provide a seamless user experience.

A CDN effectively reduces latency by storing content on servers located closer to the user, reducing the distance data must travel to reach them. This speeds up content delivery and helps offload traffic from the origin server, improving overall site performance. By utilizing a CDN, websites can ensure that heavy and static content such as images, videos, and scripts are loaded quickly, regardless of where the user is located geographically. Ultimately, investing in optimizing page speed through solutions like CDNs can lead to higher conversion rates and increased customer satisfaction, making it a worthwhile investment for any business looking to succeed online.

Web Hosting

Website builders can be an excellent tool for creating a website quickly and easily. However, many of these platforms do not offer web hosting services, meaning that even a beautifully designed website may never see the light of day online. This is why it is important to have access to good web hosting. Without it, your website is essentially useless.

Some website builders only provide the tools necessary to build your site, leaving you to figure out how to get it online yourself. While this might work for some people with experience with web hosting, it can be a frustrating and confusing process for many others. The best website builders understand this and offer free web hosting as part of their platform, making it easy for users to get their websites up and running without any additional hassle or cost. For those who need more advanced features or options, upgrading to shared, dedicated, or managed hosting is always an option for an additional fee. Ultimately, having access to reliable web hosting is essential to ensure that your website is accessible to users worldwide.

Storage

Storage is a crucial factor to consider when hosting a website. Disk space, or storage, refers to the amount of data that a website can store on a server. This includes all the files, images, videos, and other content that make up a website. On the other hand, bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be transferred between the server and visitors’ browsers. Both are important services provided by web hosting providers.

Many free website builders offer a limited amount of storage for beginner sites. While this may be sufficient for small websites with minimal content, as your site grows or you add more features such as e-commerce capabilities or media-rich content, you may need additional storage space. At this point, you may need to upgrade to a paid plan or purchase extra storage from your provider. It’s essential to carefully consider your storage needs when choosing a web hosting plan to ensure your site can handle the amount of content you intend to have on it without running into any issues related to lack of storage space.

SEO Capabilities

Optimizing your website for search engines is important to increase traffic and visibility. Many website builders offer technical SEO features such as free SSL certificates, schema markup, and XML sitemaps. They also support on-page SEO by allowing customization of URLs, meta tags, and image alt attributes. Regardless, the limited options may make on-page SEO elements difficult to complete. 

WordPress customization options allow for easy implementation of a diverse SEO strategy. We cannot stress enough the importance of SEO in attracting customers to your website. In our experience, many websites that begin on platforms such as Wix or Squarespace end up switching to WordPress for this very reason.

Third-party Integrations

One key consideration when selecting a website builder is its ability to integrate with third-party tools and software. Without this capability, you may be limited in terms of what features and functions you can add to your website. Imagine wanting to incorporate live chat functionality, an email marketing platform, or an e-commerce system into your site, only to realize that your chosen website builder does not support these integrations. This could result in a frustrating and inefficient experience as you try to work around these limitations.

Analytics and Reporting

Access to web analytics and reporting tools is crucial for any website owner looking to understand their audience and improve their site’s performance. These tools allow you to track vital metrics such as page views, bounce rate, average time on site, conversion rates, and more. By analyzing this data, you can gain insights into how visitors interact with your site and make informed decisions on optimizing it for better results.

Furthermore, integrating your web analytics with other key funnel metrics on a dashboard provides a comprehensive view of your website’s performance. This allows all team members to easily access and interpret the data, leading to more collaborative efforts to improve the overall user experience and drive conversions. Whether you choose to use the analytics function within your website builder or opt for a separate analytics tool, having these insights at your disposal is essential for making informed decisions that ultimately benefit your online presence.

While many website builders provide analytics for website visits, they cannot show how users find your site. Unless you connect to GA4 and Search Console, you’re missing a huge opportunity to gather information about your digital presence.

3 Website Builders to Consider

Wix

Wix is a highly-rated website builder. It is known for its user-friendly interface and extensive range of features, making it suitable for all types of websites. Whether creating a personal blog, an online store, or a professional portfolio, Wix provides the tools and templates to help you bring your vision to life.

One unique aspect of Wix is its freemium pricing model. While users can start building their websites for free on the platform, they will have to display ads on their site unless they upgrade to one of Wix’s paid plans. Despite this limitation, many users find the value and usability offered by Wix to be worth the investment. With its strong reputation in the industry, it’s no surprise that Wix remains a popular choice among individuals and businesses looking to establish a strong online presence.

One major downside of the service is that its automatically generated mobile version may not always be perfect and require manual tweaks to ensure optimal performance and design. This could be frustrating for users who are not experienced in web design or coding and may struggle to make necessary changes. Additionally, without a strong understanding of these technical aspects, users may find it challenging to fully utilize all the features and customization options available.

Another drawback of this service is the lack of an option for unlimited storage, even in the top-tier plans. This limitation could be a hindrance for users with a large amount of content or media to store on their website. Furthermore, the free plan does not integrate Google Analytics, so users will miss out on valuable insights into their website’s performance and audience engagement unless they upgrade to a paid plan. These limitations may deter potential users looking for comprehensive features and flexibility in managing their online presence.

Squarespace

One of Squarespace’s standout features is its Fluid Engine, which allows users to easily resize and reposition content blocks on their websites. This feature provides greater flexibility in designing pages and ensures the website looks clean and professional. Additionally, Squarespace’s range of modern templates makes it easy for users to create visually appealing websites without extensive coding knowledge. Overall, Squarespace is a great option for anyone looking to monetize their website while maintaining a polished and stylish appearance online.

While Squarespace offers a range of templates that can be customized to some extent, users may find they have less design flexibility than other website builders. This can be frustrating for those who want to create a website with a unique and bespoke design. The limitations in customization options can make achieving the desired look and feel difficult, potentially resulting in a less polished final product.

Another drawback of Squarespace is its editor interface, which may not be as intuitive as other site builders. This could lead to confusion and frustration for users accustomed to more user-friendly platforms. Additionally, the lack of an auto-save option in the editor means that users must remember to save their work manually. Forgetting to do so could result in lost progress and wasted time, making this feature a significant inconvenience for many users.

WordPress

WordPress is an open-source content management system licensed under GPLv2, allowing users to freely use and modify the software. It simplifies website management by providing tools to handle content without requiring programming knowledge. This platform is especially well-suited for business owners with little technical knowledge or experience in website design. With its user-friendly interface and simple drag-and-drop functionality, WordPress allows users to easily create and edit their websites without coding skills.

One of WordPress’s standout features is the extensive collection of themes and plugins available to users. These themes allow users to customize their websites with unique designs and layouts, while plugins offer additional functionality such as e-commerce capabilities, SEO optimization, and social media integration. With the freemium pricing model, users can start with a free basic plan and upgrade to premium plans to access more advanced features and customization options. 

When launching your business website, it’s important to consider the cost. However, a long-term investment in a website with the flexibility offered by WordPress is often the best option for businesses seeking to implement SEO. Are you considering a website refresh? Learn about our 10-Step Checklist for Website Redesigns.

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FAQs About Website Builders

Website builder vs web design software?

Site builders and web design software have their strengths and weaknesses when building websites. Site builders, such as Wix or Squarespace, are great for individuals or businesses looking to quickly create a functional website with minimal technical skills required. These platforms typically offer pre-designed templates and a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface, making it easy for users to customize their site without any coding knowledge. While site builders may lack the flexibility of custom coding, they excel in providing accessibility and convenience for those looking to get their websites up and running quickly.

Free vs paid website builders: Which is better?

While free website builders can be a great starting point for those on a budget or just looking to create a simple website, paid website builders offer some advantages. Paid website builders often offer more advanced features, customer support, and a wider selection of templates. A business website needs a paid website platform.

Website builder vs web hosting: What’s the difference?

In essence, web hosting provides the foundation for a website, while a website builder provides the necessary tools for users to build and maintain their sites. Individuals and businesses looking to establish an online presence should understand the difference between web hosting and website builders to make informed decisions about how they want their websites to function. Ultimately, both components are necessary for creating and maintaining a successful website in today’s digital landscape.

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Beth hhhWalker is a Content Manager who is passionate about storytelling. She leads our In-House writing team and works closely with clients and CSMs to ensure all the content SMA creates meets SEO best practices and tells each client's unique story.

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