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  • Updated Dec 2017 | Paige

So You Want to Be a Blogger: Pros & Cons of the 3 Most Popular Website Building Platforms


Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back for finally pushing ahead in your dream to become a blogger. Blogging isn't always easy and getting started is often the hardest part. You've already come a really long way though:

  • You've thought about all of your talents and passions and come up with an amazing niche topic.

  • You've decided on a really catchy and unique blog name that perfectly describes your blog.

  • You've told your friends and family about your blog ideas and already have a great support system in place.

  • You've come up with different ideas for blog posts and are super excited to get started.

  • You've created a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. and already have some followers.

  • You've done just about everything you can without making the next hard step: Creating a website for your blog.

How do I decide which website building platform to use to start designing my blog website?

I know a lot of people get overwhelmed by the amount of options for building a website and determining which is best for them. I'm going to break down the pros and cons of Wix, Squarespace and Wordpress.org (not wordpress.com). I realize there are tons of other blog building websites out there to create your own website, but these seem to be the 3 most popular website builders I hear clients trying to decide between. All three are excellent choices for building and designing your blog/website, but it will come down to personal preference and which one better suits your personal blog needs.

Wix

Pros

Easy to use

You don't need to have a website developer helping you with your website, as there actually is no access to the HTML coding with Wix, unless you add it in. Building your site is easy, although there can be some slight difficulty with certain plugins or figuring out how some elements work. It can take a decent amount of time if you have a lot of customizations and a specific look you want for your site, but you certainly can hire someone to create your website if you just don't have the time to dedicate.

Customizable

Wix websites are quite customizable. Any element you want, simply click the "add" button, click and drag it to where you want it on your site and then customize it. However, if there is an element you want to add and it isn't available from the Wix add list or plugins, then it is likely there is no way for you to add it to your site*.

*Update Dec 2017: Wix Code is now available to all users (another huge pro). It offers you the ability to add more customized data and pages to your website, without needing any technical or coding knowledge.

Ready to use themes

Wix has plenty of gorgeous themes to choose from and they are categorized by industries, so you can easily find one that will work for your blog. All themes are free to use on Wix.

Plugins

Wix has Wix-specific plugins available in their app market, so you know that when you are using them, they will work seamlessly with your website as they were built specifically for it. You will also have support for the plugins because they are developed through Wix. If there any updates on their plugins, these will happen automatically for your site without any issues.

Cost

Creating a Wix website is free, but you will want to buy a plan, which are $4USD - $30USD/month depending on your needs and if you go with a monthly or annual subscription. With a plan, you can have a custom domain name and no Wix advertisements throughout your site. If you purchase annually as opposed to just going monthly, you can save up to 45% on your plan. They also give you $300 in Ad Vouchers (Google & Bing ads) and a free domain name for the higher plans, and web hosting.

Cons

Switching between themes

Once you have chosen a theme, you cannot switch to different theme mid-way through designing it or down the road if you decide you don't like it anymore. You would need to create a new site and manually transfer all of the info over.

Transferring your site

If you want to transfer your website to a different web host, this is not something you can do with Wix. You would need to create an entirely new website, if you wish to go with someone else for your hosting, as it is all conveniently bundled together with Wix.

Squarespace

Pros

Easy to use

Similar to Wix, you don't need to have a website developer helping you with your website, as there is no access to the HTML coding with Squarespace. The hardest part will be selecting a theme you like best! If you do have questions, squarespace has a guarantee that they will respond to your inquiry within one hour, or again you can hire a web designer if you prefer to have the help or don't have the time to build it on your own.

Ready to use themes

There aren't as many themes available as on Wix, but the themes are stunning so you should be able to narrow it down to one that suits your blog best. Simply find a theme that you like, select it and then get started on editing each section with information related to your blog. All themes are free to use on Squarespace.

Switching between themes

Because each theme has specific areas where you can change the photos, text, etc, you can change themes mid-way through designing your website, if you decide you don't like the one you originally chose.

Plugins

Squarespace has Squarespace-specific plugins, so you know that when you are using them, they will work seamlessly with your website as they were built specifically for it. You will also have support for the plugins because they are developed through Squarespace and not some developer who has no obligation to you. If there any updates on their plugins, these will happen automatically for your site without any issues.

Cost

Your cost will be $12USD -$40USD/month depending on your needs, if you will have a store/e-commerce as part of your blog, and if you go with a monthly or annual subscription. If you purchase annually as opposed to just going monthly, you can save up to 30% on your plan. Web hosting is included in their plans but you do have to buy a domain name or transfer yours in, if you already have one.

Cons

Customizable

Once you have a theme, there are specific areas which you can add your photos, videos and text to or change the color and font. You can also add new elements, but the list is limited and there are specific areas where you can move them to on the page and the elements are very flexible.

Transferring your site

Although it is technically possible to transfer your site from Squarespace to another web host, it isn't always an easy process. You will need to transfer your domain from Squarespace and purchase web hosting elsewhere. Squarespace offers limited exporting functions for your site to WordPress, so you will likely need to copy and paste content to your new site, as well as change fonts, colors and images, and ensure the permalinks are all the same on your WordPress site as they were on Squarespace, which can be quite time consuming.

WordPress

Pros

Customizable

WordPress is by far the most customizable of the three. It is an open platform and you can use HTML code to add and customize any element you want and make your site look and do EXACTLY what you wish. If you don't have experience with HTML than you will likely want to hire a web developer either to build your entire website or at least for certain aspects you wish to include in your site that aren't easily done without knowledge of HTML, CSS or JavaScript (the elements of your website, how they look, and how they work).

Ready to use themes

WordPress has the highest number of themes available to choose from as it is an open platform so anyone can design a theme for WordPress sites. That being said, for a theme you actually enjoy with a more professional look, you will likely want to pay for a theme.

Switching between themes

You can change the theme of your website at anytime, if you decide you want to refresh the look of your site or you don't like it mid-way through the web design process.

Plugins

WordPress has more plugins available then Wix and Squarespace combined and this will also help with the customization of your website.

Cons

Easy to use

WordPress can be complicated for those without a technical background. That being said, WordPress support (and Google) can help you with almost any problem you may have. But it can be a time consuming process to create your website, if you have to constantly search how to add or change things on your site.

Cost

A WordPress website is free to create (unless you want to purchase a theme, plugins, etc.) but they don't offer hosting, so you will need to find your own web host, which generally starts around $5USD/month. You will also need to purchase your own domain name and transfer it to your WordPress site. If you aren't very technical, then there is a good chance you will also want to hire a web developer to help you with building your blog website. Once you start adding all of the costs together for unique themes, plugins, domain and hosting plus the time you will need to put in to integrate all of these, it can add up quickly.

Plugins

This is in both the pros and cons column because although there is a massive amount of plugins available, since any developer can make a plugin for WordPress, you have no idea of knowing whether or not it will be good or even work with your website. You also may not have any support, if the plugin doesn't work for you as no one is obligated to help you, especially with a free plugin. Updates may not happen automatically with your plugins so when an update does occur, it may not function properly within your site anymore and you need to stay up-to-date on any updates.

When it comes down to it, it is all about your personal preference and which website builder is going to suit you best.

One last note: I've heard a few people say that Wix is not mobile-friendly and not optimized for SEO. This is simply not true. Google does not discriminate between WordPress or Wix or whichever platform you are using, when it displays search results. All three of these web building platforms are built with both mobile and SEO in mind, only the way you access the content will be different for each.

Please share in the comments which website building platform you have decided to use and feel free to include a link to your blog if you'd like, so I can take a look at your hard work once it has all come together!

Happy blogging! :)

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