With so many options for website builders you can spend a lot of time deciding which one is the best fit for you. Through Artisan Kind I choose to design my site as well as all of my client’s sites through Showit. While I’m a bit biased when it comes to the Showit, I fully recognize that there is no one perfect platform for everyone out there. My philosophy for choosing a website builder is this:
There is no best platform, just the one that’s best for you, your needs, and your growth.
Today I’ll guide you through what to consider when selecting a website builder and walk you through each of the most popular platforms available: WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Kajabi, and Showit. This in-depth analysis will help you make an informed decision that will serve your business well for the long-run.
Disclaimer: Just a heads up, this post contains an affiliate link! If you choose to make a purchase through the link, Artisan Kind will receive a small commission. Thank you so much!
Have you ever landed a site where the buttons didn’t work, the text was squished, or the links took you to the wrong place? It’s incredibly frustrating and I bet you didn’t stay on that site for too long.
Today, almost 60% of all internet access is done through the phone. What does that mean for your business? It means your website must be fully responsive (meaning easy to use and well formatted) on mobile devices as well as desktops. This way, your visitors don’t experience that same frustration.
A lot of platforms will advertise the benefit of having all of your features available in one place. (Website, email newsletter, contracts, meeting scheduler, invoicing etc.) While this seems like a no-brainer to save you time, money, and simplify your business, you may be sacrificing quality for convenience.
In the restaurant world a too-large menu is seen as a bad sign. Why? Because a truly great restaurant will have a few specialties. With too many options they don’t have the opportunity to perfect all of them.
The same can apply to platforms that offer too many features. My advice is to choose a website builder that has a few key features they specialize in, then integrate other softwares (like Honeybook or Dubsado) that fill in the gaps with their specialties.
It’s important to consider your skillset and how much you’ll need to learn to use a particular website builder. If you aren’t comfortable with coding (HTML and CSS) then a drag and drop builder is likely your best fit!
Now should you choose to hire a website designer they can handle the heavy lifting for you whether you’re familiar with code or not. However, I find it important to go with a platform that will be easy for you to make small edits to after your work with a designer is complete.
Why is cost further down on this list? While understanding your budget is important I definitely don’t think your decision on a website builder should be based solely on cost.
Thinking long-term about the needs of your business, you’ll want to choose a platform that has the ability to support your goals and provide the best experience for your visitors.
We all want to save money of course. I’m not suggesting that you make an unwise financial decision if you truly can’t afford it. But know that your website is an investment and truly one of the most critical pieces of your business. When it’s done well it should make you more money than you spend on it.
To follow up on that last point, I want to reassure you that it is okay to switch your website builder down the road! Don’t feel pressured to make the perfect decision the first time around. Perhaps you’re already using a platform and are nervous about the hassle of switching to a new one. If switching your website builder or hosting seems to be the best option for your current needs, don’t feel locked into your original decision.
Working with a website designer can ease the overwhelm of making the switch, but even if you’re doing it on your own there are lots of tutorials and customer support services to help you with this process.
Now without further adieu, let’s look at the pros and cons of the most popular website builders.
WordPress is one of the most widely used website builders for business owners. With a self-hosted site (wordpress.org) users will need to set up and pay for hosting with a third party like Hostgator, GoDaddy, Bluehost etc. so they can have a custom domain name. Users will fully own their site and will also have access to robust blogging features, design customization, and an array of plugins that enhance the functionality of the site.
WordPress offers a few free templates for users, but there are hundreds of beautiful premium templates to choose from by WordPress and independent sellers.
Cyber Chip has a fantastic breakdown of the pros and cons for wordpress that you can check out for additional information, but here is the simplified version:
Squarespace has been marketed as the best option for small businesses and solo-entrepreneurs. With easy, user-friendly, no-coding-necessary customization and newly added features for Ecommerce it’s a great place to design a beautiful functional site without a huge time commitment.
Squarepsace runs on its own servers meaning user’s don’t have to worry about paying for hosting with a third-party. Pricing plans to use Squarespace range from $19-$65 a month and access to features will vary based on the plan selected.
See the 2022 complete review of Squarespace for more detailed pros and cons!
Wix is a popular website builder especially for users who are just starting out! The platform offers free and premium plans, for $5-$17 a month, with access to over 500 site templates. Wix has an incredibly easy to use drag and drop interface that uses design elements called “widgets.” Widgets for text, images, galleries, buttons, favorite blog posts, and more can be arranged in any order on the page.
For a more detailed look at the pro’s and con’s of wix be sure to read this review.
Kajabi is a website builder you may or may not have heard of, likely because it is built for a very specific kind of business owner: course creators and educators. While many use the platform solely to host their course, membership, training, workshop etc, others use Kajabi as their primary website.
Kajabi is advertised as an all-in-one platform where users can build a website from ready-made templates, access email marketing tools, build a client pipeline and more.
For a more detailed look at Kajabi’s features, check out this review from Minima Designs.
Showit was initially designed for photographers and creative business owners as it easily supports imagery without drastically impacting loading speeds. However, over the years the vast array of features appealed to businesses from all industries so it is not a “photographer’s-only” platform.
Showit is also a drag and drop website builder, very similar in feeling to the Adobe programs.
It’s a subscription based platform and includes hosting in the package (no need to find third party hosting), all you’ll need is a domain name to connect. Subscriptions cost between $19-$34 a month. With Showit’s new referral program you can also get a month free if you sign up using this code artisankind or this link!
This platform has an in-depth knowledge base as well as access to support via email and live chat. One of the most enticing features is the Showit’s partnership with WordPress. Users can have the customization freedom of Showit and the power of a WordPress blog.
For an in-depth analysis of Showit I recommend this post from the Flying Muse.
I specialize in custom website designs using the Showit platform. I’ve found that Showit gives me the most creative freedom to make a truly custom site for you-the design possibilities are endless! It is also easy for my clients to make small edits of their own (no coding necessary) once our project is completed.
Is Showit more expensive? On the surface, yes. Showit comes with a slightly higher price tag. Though it’s important to know what you’re getting for that cost: more features than other similarly priced website builders, easy customization, WordPress blogging for better SEO, and a fantastic support team.
As I said at the start, there is no one right platform for everyone. The best website builder for you will be the one that suits your business and your needs.
All important things to consider! Just remember to think long-term and know that your website is your ticket to connecting with your ideal clients.
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