The Top 5 Reasons to Use WordPress vs Site Builders
Many years ago, when Oozle Media was still new, we were building client sites using a site builder – picture something similar to Squarespace. Like all site builders, the site builder we used advertised itself as being attractive, quick to set up, and easy to use. It also was a lot cheaper than paying a development team. Despite those promises, we switched pretty quickly to building sites for our clients using WordPress. Why did we make the switch? Here’s what we learned.
1. WordPress Means Freedom
WordPress is open source software. That means anyone can build plugins, themes and features for it. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but wait until you’re stuck on Weebly and realize that their only contact form option won’t even connect to your CRM. Meanwhile, WordPress plugins are constantly being developed to solve all these problems, and many companies (such as Hubspot) develop plugins specifically for WordPress.
Site builders like Squarespace, Wix and Weebly turn your web presence into a gilded cage. They’re comfortable and attractive, but heavily locked down. There’s very little flexibility for your individual needs. Plus, your site is specific to that site builder, so you’re stuck with them. You can’t switch hosting or go to a new platform easily. You can’t “export” a Wix site.
WordPress also allows you to truly own your content. You can import content from other services (such as Tumblr, Typepad, and Blogger), use your site code somewhere else, or switch hosting. You can export your content to be used elsewhere. WordPress allows access to nearly every aspect of the website, front to back.
2. WordPress is King of SEO
WordPress has earned a reputation for blowing site-builders out of the water with its SEO capabilities. WordPress is on top of best practices in search engine optimization, and there are several high-quality SEO plugins, such as the popular All-In-One SEO Pack, to choose from. Best practice in SEO is literally all these plugins care about, so you’ve basically got a dedicated team of people making sure that your site is benefiting from the latest in SEO standards. And make no mistake – that is a huge deal when Google can change how they index sites practically overnight.
Squarespace in particular is being pressured to step up their SEO game to compete with WordPress. The truth is that they’ll likely always lag behind WordPress in SEO trends. Big companies just can’t keep up with sudden changes (Google’s trademark!) as easily as smaller software companies. It’s not that you can’t optimize a Squarespace or Wix site. It’s just much more difficult, with fewer tools, and more restrictions.
If you care about your site’s ability to share rich snippets, update schema information, and keep up with current SEO trends, WordPress is the hands-down winner.
3. WordPress Sites are Fully Customizable
WordPress may have started as a blogging platform, but thanks to a huge community, it’s blossomed into a powerful, simple, and flexible CMS. There are thousands of existing themes, both free and premium, that you can download and install for your WordPress site right now. For every need, there’s a template. Squarespace has a pretty respectable number of themes, but it’s impossible for them to compete with the variety available right now for WordPress.
Beyond that, WordPress allows for nearly any type of customized site. And we mean truly customized, not just the illusion of customization provided by some site builders. WordPress powers about 30% of websites on the Internet today, many of which aren’t obviously WordPress. They have custom themes, custom functionality, and custom features. Yet they still get to reap all the benefits of using WordPress as their CMS. Even huge companies like Mercedes Benz use WordPress, not to mention thousands of content sites such as Tech Crunch or BBC America. (Check out this WordPress Showcase!)
4. WordPress Dominates Social Engagement
WordPress is the gold standard for social engagement and content sharing. When Facebook released their Instant Articles platform, they released it with a plugin and support specifically for WordPress. WordPress gives you more control over what’s displayed when someone shares your blog post or website on a social media platform, using open graph protocols.
There are hundreds of plugins for embedding Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook feeds, including Facebook comments, or inserting stylish YouTube or Vimeo video galleries. And they all often include features like slideshows, carousels, mosaics, and more. You’re simply less limited in what you can embed on your site when you use WordPress.
5. Pay Per Click is Better on WordPress
PPC campaigns rely on tracking your customers from the ad they click on through contacting you. We track that click-through process using scripts, forms, and landing pages. Site builders, even the ones dedicated specifically to helping PPC campaigns with landing pages, just plain fall short. Imagine paying for thousands more clicks in Facebook ads than the traffic you’re actually seeing. The problem is that all the tracking tools that your PPC provider uses don’t work as well on site builders, and your options for tracking leads through your form or your website start evaporating.
But even Instapage, one of the top site builders for PPC landing pages, created a robust WordPress plugin to integrate its landing pages into WordPress sites. Why? Because keeping your landing pages separate from your website actually reduces your click-through rate. Lower click-through numbers mean fewer people contacting your company. So the best thing you can do is find a solution that can handle both your website needs and your PPC needs. You’re not going to find that with Wix, but you can get it easily with WordPress.
It’s true that you can build a quick and dirty site on the cheap using a site builder. They’ve definitely got a place in the market. If you’re building a personal site, or if you don’t plan on ever advertising or growing your business, then a site builder will work just fine.
But if you ever plan on advertising, being found online, building your brand, or staying competitive, the advantage goes to WordPress. Find out more about your website options by contacting Oozle Media today.