You can design a website without learning how to code using tools called site builders. They often offer a drag-and-drop user interface that makes it simple to add and configure various website elements. You can even use templates with some site builders to get started right away.
Small business owners who wish to design a website themselves without paying a developer choose to use a site builder. They enable you to build and update your website yourself and are frequently more economical than hiring a developer. Site builders, however, might not provide as much customization as a website that is designed from scratch. There may also be a significant learning curve if you are not very tech savvy.
WordPress vs. Other Site Builders
You have probably seen the ads for easy-to-use website builders like Wix or Squarespace. The website builder we highly recommend is WordPress. Before we dive into why, let's take a moment to talk about Wix and Squarespace.
Wix is a company that sells you access to their website hosting and site builder for a monthly or annual fee. If you want certain functionality on your website, you will have to pay extra fee per month for that. Their plans start at $45 a month, but increase depending on your needs. If you want to have an online store, you'll need to pay extra for that.
Squarespace is very similar to Wix, but their plans start at $23 a month. Shopify is another site builder, but specifically made for ecommerce stores. Shopify plans start at $29 a month.
While the cost of these plans are reasonable given that the cost for hiring a web developer is typically hundreds of dollars upfront, what they don't tell you is that if you ever need or want to change companies, you can't simply move your website to another website host.
Site builders are special software that generate the code that make up your website. Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify are all examples of proprietary software - private software - that belong to those companies. So if you built your website in Wix, you can't simply transfer it to Shopify, you would have to build a new website and it may not have the same look and style as it did before because the tools may simply not be available to recreate that. Transferring the records of the website may also not be possible or may be extremely difficult to do, due to the differences in how the data is stored.
When you create a website with one of those website builders, you are at the mercy of those companies to allow you access to certain functions that you may want or need. So for example, if you wanted to add a booking system to your website, you may have to upgrade to a higher plan, if they allow you to do that at all. Furthermore, if they increase their monthly rates, there's nothing you can do about it. You will be at their mercy for everything.
This is where WordPress comes to save the day.
WordPress is an open source website builder that was originally created to create blogging websites. Because it is open source virtually all Linux website hosting companies support it. There is also a massive community that works to maintain and expand the platform with themes and plugins, many of which have free versions.
The exception to this is WordPress.com - which is the private version of the WordPress platform. WordPress.com is similar to Wix, Squarespace, and other private site builders. A website that uses WordPress.com will have limitations that the open source version does not have.
With the open source version of WordPress, you get access to a massive library of plugins and themes that you can use on your website. This means that you can potentially add new functionality far cheaper than you can with the other site builders. You have far greater flexibility to customize and expand on your website than you ever could with Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, or other platforms.
Why Choose WordPress
WordPress powers over 43% of ALL websites on the internet! That statistic is according to W3Techs which was reported on HubSpot. There is no question about it. WordPress is popular and for good reason. With such a massive global community, you'll always be able to find help when you need it and you'll have far more control over your website costs. And that's something no other platform can ever claim.
The tradeoff with using WordPress is that it may be a bit more difficult to setup and use for those who have little or no technical experience. However, if you're willing to learn, it is by far the best platform to use for building your website.
The remainder of this tutorial will focus on WordPress. If you choose to go with a company like Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, or another platform, you will need to refer to their tutorials and documentation to learn how to use it. While we do work on websites that are built on those platforms, it is not something we provide training on.