WordPress for small business websites delivers unmatched customizability, extensive online support, and easy-to-navigate content management. But does that mean it’s the best website builder? Not necessarily.
Let’s weigh your options.
Is WordPress right for your SMB?
No ‘best website platforms’ list would be complete without WordPress. WordPress powers 43 percent of all websites, and thanks to its ease of use and near unmatched customizability, its market share is increasing.
Here are the pros and cons of using WordPress to build your SMB’s website.
Pros of WordPress
It can be easy to get started
You don’t need any coding experience to create a sleek, professional, and highly functional site, as long as you don’t get caught up in the dizzying ecosystem of plugins, themes, and other add-ons. Start-up can be as simple as following the installation guide and selecting a theme.
What is a WordPress theme? A theme controls the look and, to some extent, the capability of your website. Your theme can dictate things like the layout, navigation system, colors, and fonts. Often, you can customize these features within a theme.
Customizability is almost unlimited
In addition to theme customizability, WordPress empowers you to do almost anything with your website with its extensive library of free and paid plugins.
What is a WordPress plugin? A plugin is software that ‘plugs into’ your website. It might add new functionality or extend an existing one.
Updating content is straightforward
With WordPress, updating your terms and conditions, adding a new team member to your About page, or publishing a blog post are all straightforward undertakings that almost anyone can manage — even those with little experience.
Updating content has become even easier in recent years following the launch of visual builders.
What is a visual builder in WordPress? Visual builders allow you to create and edit the content on your website intuitively and without code. You can see exactly how your site will look live on the editing page. In addition, you can drag and drop pre-made elements — think buttons, paragraphs, headings, and image galleries.
Custom fields are another useful content management tool.
What are custom fields in WordPress? Custom fields allow you to add extra information to your posts in the form of metadata. This enables you to quickly update data or adjust your posts and pages.
Cons of WordPress
Small issues can be time-consuming to fix
WordPress is easy to use, but there is a learning curve for the platform itself and the theme you’ve chosen. Running into a frustrating, albeit minor, issue with the look or functionality of your site is almost guaranteed. Even something as simple as widening a margin, changing the color of your footer, or adjusting the size of your logo in the header can demand an hour’s worth of scrolling through community forums.
Hosting is up to you
Unlike other small business website builders, WordPress doesn’t bundle hosting into its service. Hosting your own site isn’t difficult or expensive, and it gives you more control over security and performance. However, it is an extra step, and if you are looking for the fastest route to a live website, WordPress might not be the answer.
So-called WordPress experts can leave you disappointed
If you decide to hire a professional, you’ll need to navigate the sometimes treacherous world of so-called WordPress ‘experts.’ These experts are a dime a dozen, and many deliver subpar work backed by near non-existent customer care. In short, they take your money and underdeliver.
How can you avoid this all-too-common pitfall?
- Ask your professional network for recommendations.
- Take note of the customer service and communication from the first contact.
- Ensure they have a thorough knowledge of SEO best practices.
- Assess past work — have they worked with companies similar to yours?
How does that compare to DIY website builders?
Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, Weebly, Shopify, the list goes on. There is no shortage of DIY builders for small businesses. The tricky part is deciding which to use. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons.
Pros of DIY website builders
Access niche functionalities
If you own a brick-and-mortar store and want to expand into eCommerce, a DIY builder like Shopify may be the best choice. This niche builder is specifically for eCommerce — all the features you need to create, publish, and operate an online store are ready for use. And that means no wading through hundreds of pages of plugins.
Take advantage of low- to no-code solutions
While you can get most of the way with no programming experience using WordPress, if you run into a frustrating issue, it can be difficult to solve it without turning to code. However, DIY builders like Wix use drag-and-drop systems that are genuinely no-code.
Cons of DIY website builders
Some features may leave a lot to be desired
Where WordPress can be all things to all people with the right add-ons, DIY builders often excel at a few things and a few things only. Take GoDaddy as an example. It might seem like a worthy candidate with a basic and intuitive interface and practical SEO tools. However, if you run an eCommerce business, you’ll find it far too clunky for long-term use. Plus, although GoDaddy offers over 300 themes, you can’t change themes at a later date without losing all your content.
Finding answers can be difficult
WordPress is widely used, and if you are face-to-face with a challenge, chances are someone has experienced the same thing. Often, you can find answers to your WordPress questions in less than an hour — however specific, unusual, or niche. The same can’t be said for all other DIY builders.
What about other content management systems (CMS)?
WordPress may be the most popular CMS, but there are many other powerful, practical, and easy-to-use website builders for small businesses. HubSpot’s CMS Hub is one example that could be a better fit for your organization — especially if you already use and are familiar with HubSpot’s products.
Here are the pros and cons of using a non-WordPress CMS to build your SMB’s website.
Pros of other content management systems
All-in-one bundles make your life easy
WordPress gives you choice, but sometimes the sheer number of options can be overwhelming. Many CMS, including CMS Hub, come with flexible themes, visual builders, SEO tools, and other features built in. You don’t have to find and install the plugins yourself, which saves time and softens the learning curve.
Hosting is often included
If you are not comfortable hosting your website yourself, it’s worth investigating other options besides WordPress.
Hosting your WordPress site requires you to research hosting providers, select a plan, and re-route your domain’s name servers to the new host. With some other CMS products, those steps are taken care of by the provider.
You can integrate the services you already use with ease
If you already use HubSpot to power your marketing, opting to build your website with that same company might be the most convenient route. You already know and trust their products, and you’ve experienced the level of service firsthand. Sometimes, easier is just better.
Cons of other content management systems
You miss out on customization options
If flexibility and customization are some of your top priorities, very few website builders beat WordPress. Other CMS products fail to match the quality and quantity of WordPress’s customizable functionalities.
Levels of support and customer care vary
Some CMSs deliver exceptional, round-the-clock support. Others don’t. If you don’t have experience with a CMS provider, you risk unreliable helpdesk support. So, do your research and read reviews before you commit.
The bottom line
Finding the best website builders for small businesses is not a cut-and-dry endeavor. The answer depends on your specific needs and what matters most to you, your team, and your ongoing success. While WordPress is almost always a reliable choice, other CMSs win out in some cases.
If you want guidance on your website-building journey, let’s talk. We can help you leverage your website and inbound marketing tactics to attract, engage, and delight your customers.