Choosing a website builder also known as a website platform is akin to selecting the foundation when building your home. Everything that follows, the look, functionality, user experience, maintenance, adding on, and more will all be determined by this choice. The most important question when choosing the correct platform to build your website is what you plan to accomplish with your website. Some platforms are better suited for e-commerce, others for security. All the following website platforms have their unique strengths and weaknesses, the idea is to choose a platform that not only works for your today but can grow at the same speed as your business.
It’s generally recommended to select a website builder with a CMS- content management system as that can allow you more convenience in the control of your site. A CMS allows you to house your images, videos, PDFs, and more. This generally makes it much easier to edit and expand your website. It is also easier to organize and control 1 database with all necessary information.
Commonly Used Website Builders
WordPress is the world’s leading CMS platform. Roughly, 40% of all websites are powered by WordPress and within the CMS market, WordPress holds a staggering market share of 60.8%.
There are many reasons WordPress is considered the standard-bearer for CMS website platforms. WordPress is the quintessential can do everything well platform. The interface is user-friendly and there are a vast number of plugins, over 55,000 from the WordPress plugin directory, to help you easily add functionality to your website. The WooCommerce plugin, which works to change a WordPress site into an ecommerce site, is used for 22% out of the worldwide top 1 million ecommerce websites. Here’s a glimpse at a few wildly popular WordPress plugins:
- Yoast – for search engine optimization
- NextGEN – for image galleries
- Gravity Forms – adds lead capture to your website
- Jet Pack – to help increase website traffic, website load time, all while adding a layer of protection from website hackers.
WordPress is widely known for its ease of use. You can add pages, images, blog posts, and much more without hard coding them in. It is challenging to find a function that is not able to be done with a WordPress plugin. That doesn’t mean that WordPress is only for simple websites. With a qualified developer and experienced WordPress SEO team, this platform can stand toe to toe with any website builder.
Maybe the most important reason to choose WordPress is that it’s not going anywhere. It’s the one website platform that has the most manpower behind it. Significant amounts of people are currently writing new plugins and improving the plugins already available. There may be other platforms that may outperform WordPress in specific areas but none offer complete functionality and ease of use WordPress does. In most cases, WordPress is the best choice.
Drupal is a large-scale website platform. It is somewhat similar to WordPress in the sense that they are both content management systems (CMS) allowing users to manage the content of their website while displaying it in a clear, logical manner.
One advantage that Drupal has over other CMS platforms, like WordPress, is its multilingual functionality. If you are looking for a website that has content in multiple languages, Drupal may be for you. WordPress does offer plugins that can accomplish this, but Drupal has it baked into its core.
One of the things that Drupal is praised for is its security. Many large-scale operations requiring high levels of security are managed through Drupal. The most famous of these would have to be nasa.gov. Drupal, can be quite difficult for non-experienced website builders to use.
If you choose Drupal, you will need to at least be somewhat comfortable working with HTML and PHP, as this platform is more developer-centered.
Magento is a high performance and scalable e-Commerce website solution or large-scale online businesses. Magento offers versatility, advanced search engine optimization features, real-time product and sales tracking paired with the ability to connect with 3rd party vendors to maintain relationships and increase sales. Magento is mobile-friendly to the tablet and smartphone user and full of helpful features to the e-merchant and online customers such as digital coupons and promotions.
If you are looking to have a large-scale ecommerce specific business, Magento may be the platform for you. The other platforms on this list all offer ecommerce functionality, but Magento is dedicated their development efforts to ecommerce.
Joomla is another CMS website platform. Launched in 2005, Joomla is reviewed as more difficult to use than WordPress though easier than Drupal. You will still need to have an understanding of HTML and PHP, but the dashboard is more user-friendly than Drupal. The main use for Joomla is e-commerce as well as social networking sites. Joomla is also preferred to WordPress for larger-scale operations. Some of the more famous sites to be built using Joomla include the website of The Hill.
One advantage Joomla has over the other CMS platforms is the ability to use multiple templates or themes on different pieces of content. It allows more flexibility than WordPress, for example.
Weebly offers a more beginner approach to website development. With a drag-and-drop builder that is very user-friendly and doesn’t require any coding experience. What you gain in ease you give up in customizability. Weebly was purchased by Square and is building out its ecommerce offerings, but they are not yet to the level of the other platforms.
If you are looking to get a website up quickly without much hassle or need to work with a developer, Weebly might be right for you. If you are looking to scale your business and/or want to create a customized website presence, it may not be.