There can be a lot of confusion when trying to choose a website builder. Builders like Wix, Joomla, Weebly, Squarespace and WordPress are some of the most popular builders. How do you choose? It can be a difficult decision. So is WordPress a good website builder? WordPress is one of the original website builders that’s been around for many years. It is by far one of the most common website builders because of how easy it is to set up. Many beginner bloggers choose WordPress for that reason alone. WordPress is the choice of professional developers as well. This article focuses on the key decisions you need to make before you choose your website builder and if WordPress is the right option for you.
First off, you may not know that there’s two different WordPress options–WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Once you know the difference, you’ll know which WordPress option to choose based on the goals you have for your website.
Before you choose a website builder, you should make a list of what you want to achieve with your website. Here’s a list of some considerations:
- What do you want your visitors to do when they land on your site?
- Do you want them to read content, look at pictures, buy products?
- Will you want to expand your site in the future?
Answers to these questions will help you decide which WordPress option is right for you.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is an open source website builder used to create websites. The software is extremely flexible and easy to use making it the perfect choice for beginners as well as experienced web designers.
Both WordPress.com and WordPress.org have a few similarities. Both are:
- 100% free
- Include free themes that allow you to create custom layouts with columns and a variety of styles
- Include free plugins
- Browser based
Now let’s talk about the differences between the two WordPress options.
WordPress.com includes the WordPress builder and also a hosting service. Here are the benefits and drawbacks.
- Plenty of free space to hold your site (up to 3GB)
- You’ll never have to remember to update or backup your site. WordPress.com takes care of that for you.
- If your site is larger than 3GB, you’ll need to purchase a hosting plan.
- Because your site is free, WordPress ads are placed on your site. This could be distracting to visitors.
- If you are interested in selling products on your site, that function is not available through WordPress.com.
- There’s only a limited number of free themes available so you may end up with a site that looks similar to other WordPress.com sites.
- Developers don’t always keep free themes up to date. This could leave your site exposed to security holes.
For site owners on a limited budget who do not plan to have a large site, WordPress.com may be the answer. While it has its limitations, WordPress.com takes a lot of the hassle out of owning a website. It is best suited to novices who are not really interested in managing a website.
At WordPress.org, you download the software and install it yourself on a web server. This is not a difficult task but it can be intimidating to people who do not consider themselves ‘tech savvy.’ Using this option requires that you have hosting established with a hosting company. Below are the benefits and drawbacks.
- You have full control over the site
- There are thousands of themes to choose from. Both free and paid options are available
- Make your site stand out from the crowd with unlimited customization options
- Separate cost for domain name and hosting
- You have to manage the site yourself
If you’re not familiar with web hosting, here’s how I like to describe it. The domain name represents the house address and the house represents the hosting–where the website lives.
The main difference between the two is the hosting and support. WordPress.com includes free hosting and support. With WordPress.org, you pay for your hosting and support. If you’d rather be more hands on with your website, WordPress.org is the answer.
WordPress.com has its limitations. WordPress.org has hundreds of themes to choose from and plugins that make it very easy to customize your site. The newest version of WordPress now includes the Gutenberg update. This update makes it very easy to add images, buttons, and lists with just a few clicks.
WordPress themes have an easy user interface to customize colors, fonts, menus and more. By clicking the Customization button you can make changes to your site and see the changes in real time before saving. If you don’t like the way the changes look, simply reload the page without saving.
Is WordPress A Good Website Builder?
WordPress is a great option for building a website. I’ve been using WordPress for years now and prefer it to other builders I’ve used.
If you just want to share pictures with your family, let’s say, or have a small site dedicated to your pets, WordPress.com may be a good fit for you. It’s easy to build a site quickly and you won’t have to manage it.
But if you’d rather be in more control by owning your theme and domain name, making your own backups, and managing your hosting, WordPress.org is the way to go.
Personally, I prefer to manage my own sites. It’s not difficult at all to do.
How about you? Have you decided if you want to build a site with WordPress? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment below.