Looking for the best website builder for your needs? If you want a website that you can maintain yourself or pay someone else very little to do it for you, then a Content Management System (CMS) is the way to go. There are many CMS platforms out there and comparing them on a detailed level can melt your brain.
I know. I’ve been doing it for years.
So which website builder platform is best?
There is not one answer. I wish it was that easy, but everyone has different needs.
The best CMS for YOUR organization really depends on YOUR goals. After years of using different website builders, one thing is sure – there is no perfect answer for everyone. Each customer’s technical experience, needs, budget and goals have to be considered before choosing a system. Then you have to know your options. Really know them.
Here are a few examples… If you are looking for the cheapest option, WordPress may be a front runner because your only fee is hosting and possibly theme and plugin fees. BUT proceed with caution if you aren’t web savvy… WordPress requires more technical knowledge than other options. It also requires frequent system and plugin updates that may result in the site breaking, so it’s more time consuming than other closed-source options where a company includes hosting and keeps its tools updated for you.
If you are looking for the most user-friendly option, we might recommend Weebly or Wix. Weebly offers easy drag and drop technology, but most themes have limited color options (without needing to edit CSS code). Wix has no color or design boundaries, you can place and resize elements anywhere on a page without adding code. This is great if you have a professional designer on your team, but if someone without design experience is working on the site, it can be a jumbled mess. It also requires a lot of customizations on the mobile site.
So be careful. Sometimes simple-to-use website builders don’t have the robust tools you think they do once you dig deep.
For example, as of today, password protected pages are listed as a feature with Weebly, Wix and our other favorite CMS, Squarespace. But Weebly only offers one password per website. Squarespace offers one password per page. And Wix has a members login feature, so you can have unlimited unique passwords for different members plus a sign up link.
But if SEO is your most important consideration, Weebly & Squarespace take the lead over Wix. All have customizable page level and image title options, but Weebly & Squarespace have clean urls like http://www.eastridgenorfolk.com/about-us (no extra characters, just the url and page name for a link to a page). Wix uses AJAX programming, so they can offer cool page transitions, but their urls are a mess. Look at our “About” page url: https://newskywebsites.com/#!about/c1s0o Urgh. Google favors clean urls, so keep that in mind if search engine ranking is your highest priority.
Our advice is to first decide exactly what you want your website to do. Don’t get too emotional about the themes or designs. Make sure the website builder you choose really has the features you want. They might say they have a feature, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to use or even that it works wells.Dawn Krueger
The best example of this is eCommerce. Every reputable CMS will say they have it but they all offer different levels of intricacy. Will it meet your needs? Is it simply a link to Paypal or is it integrated into your site? Does it have other payment portal options? What are the transaction fees? Can you upload multiple images? Will it work on a mobile site? Is there a product limit? Will you get notified of orders? Can you manage inventory? Is there an automated link to accurate shipping calculations? Do they allow electronic sales? Is there social media sharing built in? There are so many options that may or may not be important to you.
So before you get too far, make sure you know exactly what you want your site to do. THEN explore options like WordPress, Squarespace, Weebly or Wix to see if they will really deliver the features you need – at the price you want to pay. Watch out for extra fees for 3rd party plugins or apps that might be needed to make your site work the way you need.
As mentioned earlier, if you want to save a ton of time, contact us for a link to our comprehensive CMS Comparison Chart. This is a constantly updated spreadsheet comparing what we consider to be the best CMS options after years of experience. It includes detailed features and pricing comparisons that are not available anywhere else on the internet (as far as we can tell).
We are not a reseller of any CMS, so you can trust our results to be unbiased and true to the best of our knowledge. And if you have any questions or if you would like help, leave a comment below! We would love to help get you on the right track!