Choosing the right website option for your small business (WordPress vs self-hosted Website Builders)

As a small business owner, establishing an online presence is crucial in today’s digital age. Your website serves as the digital storefront for your business, and it’s often the first impression potential customers have of your brand. Navigating the world of website creation can be overwhelming, especially with the range of options available.

As a professional web designer, I believe that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for small business owners. And even though I only design CMS-based websites and don’t use self-hosted platforms for my clients, I still think that they can be a great tool and even a better option for some businesses. 

But let’s get some clarity first and explore the most popular choices for small business websites: CMS-based (WordPress) and self-hosted platforms such as Squarespace, Showit, and Wix.  

WordPress Websites

WordPress is one of the most widely used content management systems (CMS) globally, powering around 40% of all websites on the internet. It offers flexibility, scalability, and an extensive library of themes and plugins, making it an attractive option for small businesses.

 

PROS:

  1. Flexibility: With thousands of themes and plugins available, you can customize your website to fit your brand and business needs.
  2. Scalability: WordPress can grow with your business. Whether you’re starting small or aiming for expansion, WordPress can accommodate your requirements.
  3. SEO-Friendly: WordPress provides robust SEO features, helping your website rank higher in search engine results and driving organic traffic.
  4. Community Support: Being an open-source platform, WordPress has a vast community of developers and users who contribute to its improvement and offer support.

CONS:

  1. Learning Curve: While WordPress is user-friendly, there’s still a learning curve, especially for beginners who are unfamiliar with website development.
  2. Maintenance: You’re responsible for keeping your WordPress site updated, which includes themes, plugins, and security patches. This can be time-consuming if you’re not tech-savvy.

Self-hosted website builders

Self-hosted website builders like Squarespace, Showit, and Wix offer an all-in-one solution for creating and managing your website without the need for technical expertise. They provide intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces, making website creation accessible to everyone.

 

PROS:

  1. Ease of Use: Self-hosted platforms are designed with simplicity in mind. You can easily create and customize your website using intuitive drag-and-drop editors, no coding required.
  2. All-in-One Solution: These platforms typically include hosting, domain registration, and built-in features like e-commerce functionality, making it convenient for small business owners.
  3. Professional Templates: They offer professionally designed templates that are visually appealing and mobile-responsive, ensuring your website looks great on any device.
  4. Customer Support: Most self-hosted platforms provide excellent customer support, including tutorials, forums, and live chat assistance.

CONS:

  1. Limited Customization: While self-hosted platforms offer templates and customization options, they may not provide the same level of flexibility as WordPress. You’re often restricted to the features and design elements offered by the platform.
  2. Cost: While some platforms offer free plans, unlocking advanced features and removing branding usually requires a paid subscription. Over time, these costs can add up, especially as your business grows.
  3. Dependency: Since you’re building your website on a proprietary platform, you’re dependent on the platform’s continued existence and updates. If the platform were to shut down or change its policies, it could impact your website.
  4. Limited scalability: Building your business’s website on a self-hosted platform means you are restricted to the functionality this platform offers, whereas with an open-source platform, there is a plugin for absolutely everything your business might need in the future. 

 

Which one is right for you?

When choosing the right website option for your small business, consider your specific needs, technical expertise, and long-term goals. WordPress offers unparalleled flexibility and scalability but requires some technical know-how and maintenance. On the other hand, self-hosted platforms provide simplicity and convenience but come with limitations and ongoing costs.

Whichever option you choose, investing in a professional-looking website is essential for attracting customers and growing your business online.

Meet Carina

I’m a Sydney-based Web Designer who loves helping small business owners build a beautiful, functional, and consistent online presence that will attract new customers.

What I do

I work best in collaborative relationships with passionate small business owners. Communication and transparency are my biggest priorities. 

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A Sydney-based web designer helping small business owners craft a beautiful, functional and consistent online presence.

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