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There are so many platforms out there, gauging which one suits you the best is sometimes not something you want to spend your time on.
WIX, Shopify, Squarespace and WordPress are some of the most popular ones, although there are many more. They all have pros and cons. Your choice should depend on your skills and time you want to spend.
Here you can read a clear outline of the aforementioned platforms, what they cost, how easy they are to work, and how much flexibility they provide right here.
You can start for free with a WIX domain (such as www.mysite.wix.com). Packages range from $4.50 to $24.50.
WIX is easy to use in the sense it doesn’t have a learning curve. Everything is drag and drop so you can get started without any prerequisites. This however also means that what seems easy at first soon can turn into a frustrating experience of getting each element to stay in its place and look nice. It’s a bit like doing graphic design in Word. Very easy to get started. Not so easy in the long run.
You can get really beautiful results with WIX but you don’t get as many options and themes as other platforms. You can get add-ons, similar to WordPress plugins, but they’re often paid or they don’t work very well. Shop integration is a nightmare.
You get a two week free trial, but there's no permanent free option. Packages range from $29 usd to $299 usd a month.
Shopify has its own logic that it takes a little while getting used to, but it's easy and fast to learn. They also have a great forum and learning tools. It is very easy to use once you get a grasp of it.
The beauty of Shopify is its smooth eCommerce system. If you want an online shop and you can afford the monthly fees, shopify is for you. Shopify provides an amazing service. Inventory, customised receipts, payment options, everything you could want.
One drawback is it lacks customisation options. They have add-ons, but they are usually paid and not always great. The free design options that come with the theme are great however, and most of the time you won't need to stray away from those anyway.
Shopify is written in Liquid, a language unique to Shopify that’s kinda hard to learn because of the limited tools and resources online. But the support team is amazing and will usually help you out.
You get a free trial. Packages range from $16 to $52 a month.
Square Space has a slick design and great looking templates. You can edit visually on the page you work on, a bit like WIX, which is great for ease-of-use. Some say it's a little difficult to learn at first, if you want the templates to look as amazing as they seemed at first.
Square Space is great for simple websites and also has (pricier) packages for eCommerce stores. You get a fair bit of flexibility, so it's worth the price if you're standing between Square Space and WIX - as long as you are willing to invest a little more time to learn the system.
Installing WordPress is free, so you only need to pay for your hosting and domain.
There are two ways to create a WordPress website: You can either sign up for one on wordpress.com, or you can download the software and install it yourself on your own hosting. Many hosting providers also come with free WordPress installations.
The first option is very easy to use, but is not so flexible. The second option gives you lot of freedom but also comes with a steep learning curve.
Working on a free WordPress installation gives you a completely different level of flexibility than the other platforms. It's harder to use, but if you have got the time to learn or have someone to help you, it's worth it. WordPress comes with a tonne of free themes and plugins, so you can do lots of stuff without paying extra. It's also easy to edit the source code, or create your own CSS customisations.
WIX is a great platform if you want a simple website, especially if you don’t have particular functionalities or design ideas you really want to be there. It's also quite cheap, ranging from $4.50 to $24.50 a month. But you don't get a lot of functionality and design options, so if you want a little more than a basic website, WIX isn't for you.
Shopify is a little expensive, but the best you get if you want an easily built web shop with inventory. It's the best eCommerce platform if you have the money to spend.
Square Space has some amazing templates and a great design. It's fairly easy to use, although it's a little pricey if you want more than a standard website.
WordPress is harder to learn than the other platforms, but provides much more flexibility for the money.
There a many more platforms out there - Magento, Joomla, Weebly, to just name a few - but the four we've mentioned here are probably some of the most popular and widely used.
If you are here, reading this blog post, it's probably because you are looking into building a website. Luckily you have got plenty of options. Especially if you have got the time to understand how to make the most of them.
But many new businesses feel it gets too time constraining to spend their own time fiddling with the nitty gritties of their website. If you feel the same way, we would be thrilled to help you out and find the best solution for you. Check out our templates
or shoot us a message here to get in touch