Episode 72’s panel featured:
- David Blackmon of Aspen Grove Studios, Divi Space and WP The Podcast
- Leslie Bernal of A Girl and Her Mac
- Sarah Oates of Endure Web Studios
- Cory Jenkins of Aspen Grove Studios and Divi Space
There are many, many ways to build a website. The decision to use a platform such as WordPress or a Do It Yourself website services such as Wix, Squarespace, Weebly or similar, will largely depend on the needs and wants of the business owner.
There are pros and cons to using a DIY website.
DIY websites such as Wix, Squarespace and Weebly can be limiting. Here, the business owner will have to conform to the creation process of the platform and may find themselves limited due to a lesser number of tools at their disposal. WordPress websites, on the other hand, can be stretched far and wide thanks to the myriad of plugins readily available on the repository. With thousands of plugins serving aesthetic and functional purposes, the business owner can change, enhance and upgrade their website in any way they see fit.
On the flip side of the spectrum, some people may prefer a more constrained approach to website creation and may be overwhelmed by too much choice and too many options. Where a WordPress website might offer freedom and flexibility, those seeking a simpler solution may find the DIY approach better suited to them. Even with less choice, less confusion and less problems in the short term, they’ll eventually have to contend with the limitations of the DIY route.
Over time, as the business grows and the website evolves, the business owner is able to see what does and does not work for the customer base. Where WordPress websites can easily be altered and enhanced to grow alongside the business, namely through the introduction of additional software, the DIY website services are far more rigid. With very little room to play, the DIY website platforms operate in a closed system of sorts, where the user is forced to make do with what they have been given within the context of the proprietary software.
Thanks to the large and constantly growing WordPress community, there are always plenty of new avenues to explore in web design due to the open source nature of the platform and its application. On the other hand, DIY websites such as Wix, Weebly and Squarespace are closed systems that do not have the same level of adaptability.
In the greater global WordPress community, there are scores of developers and designers that aim to add to the world of WordPress, taking full advantage of the freedom and flexibility of the ecosystem. Although seemingly great, with so many options and choices in the WordPress world, there is also the potential for mishandling, conflicts and frustration when developing a site. The benefits of platforms such as Squarespace and Shopify being a closed system is that the business owner will not have many conflicts and inconsistencies with various software.
As DIY websites may be simpler and cheaper to build than a full custom designed site, they could be a good option for a small business that either needs a simple display site, a small online store, or who are still in the early stages of business building and marketing. DIY website platforms also good options for people who do not want to hire a developer for a build or go through a middleman everytime they want to change something on their website. For business owners who’d like to have full control of their business, the DIY website route could be a better option.
From a design and management perspective, DIY Websites offer a good looking website with minimal effort. Even though they may be limited in aesthetic options and functionality, this limitation may, in fact, be a good thing for those with limited capabilities themselves. Both in the realms of form and function, less aesthetic options will lead to less confusion over design principles, and too, less functionality will lead to fewer opportunities to mishandle the website.
In terms of e-commerce, if you’re wanting to build an online store, and you have the budget for it, WordPress website might be your best bet. Even though there are additional costs involved and many things to consider, such as different shipping options, abandoned cart recovery and various payment options, the DIY website route will incur continuous payments over time, rather than one single payment for WordPress development costs.
While the startup costs of DIY websites are low, their fees begin to add up, and quickly. Garnishing a standard website with design additions and other functional elements will push up the costs of the website if going the DIY route. With this, the more design additions you want for your website, the higher the price becomes. The payment for these additions are billed through continuous monthly installments, and, in the long run, these can add up to be a huge expense for your business, unless you move from that site.
In summary, if you’re one who really wants to be involved in the process of building your own website, then WordPress is for you. With plenty of great software, tools and a massive global community at your disposal, you can build a great website, one that can evolve over time under your care. Also, if you’re starting your own company and your intention is to scale at regular intervals, then a self-hosted WordPress website will allow your business to expand and not limit you.
If you’re looking to start selling a handful of products, and you’re looking for a small and simple online store that you can make changes to now and then, then DIY website route may be for you.
In closing, it’s really important to have a plan in mind before jumping into processes. Be sure to consider all of the different functionalities that you would want on your website, and also, keep in mind the potential for future growth.
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