Forget WordPress! Three Other Website Providers That Do It Better
Despite the hype surrounding WordPress, the reality is very different.
When I first started out as a freelancer in early 2017, I did a lot of web research and asking around concerning website providers. I wanted something user-friendly, cost-effective and highly customisable for my freelancing website.
So I did the due diligence and Googled options, read other freelancing blogs and asked other freelancers what they were using at the time. The answer that kept coming back to me was: WordPress (paid version), with Bluehost as the web hosting provider.
Thinking I had found a solution, I signed up for both. At the time, it cost me something to the tune of RM600 (including the WordPress theme and some plugins I purchased separately). If I remember correctly, the yearly subscription at the time for the WordPress and Bluehost package was around RM460.
Six months into my usage of WordPress, my expenses climbed. The theme and plugins were slowing down my website loading time, and the theme was NOT user-friendly and kept crashing. So I hired a web designer with HTML/CSS knowledge to fix the theme. That set me back around RM1200. She managed to fix the theme and my website begin to load properly again.
A few weeks later, my WordPress website started slowing down again and this time I figured out it was a plugin that was giving me trouble. So I hired a web programmer via Fiverr (this cost me around US$70) to fix the problem. It worked for about a week, and then the plugin kept crashing. So I uninstalled the plugin. But my website was still loading too slowly.
By this time, I had given up so I started asking around. This time, I spoke to other freelancers using non-WordPress websites. Names such as Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly came up and these are the ones I am going to focus on today. A big shout out to my fellow blogger Elizabeth Tai for her advice on Squarespace and Weebly: thank you, Liz!
I ended up going with Wix for my freelancing website, but the other two options seemed pretty good as well. Here’s how I ended up deciding on Wix:
1. User Friendliness
From asking around, I learned that Wix and Weebly are the most user-friendly website providers. They are both drag-and-drop website providers: simply choose a theme and drag and drop photos, widgets and text within the theme and you’ll be good to go in a couple of hours (if you have all the content ready already) or a few days if you’re not quite done with your website content.
Squarespace is also user-friendly, but I’ve heard it is less so compared to Wix and Weebly. Apparently, it does have excellent customer support (as do Wix and Weebly) so you can get help quite easily.
Most User-friendly option: Wix
My second consideration for choosing a website provider was cost since I run a small business and funds are limited. I believe that every business owner should invest in a custom domain and website, hence I wanted to get a yearly plan from the very beginning.
Here’s a price comparison of basic business plans from the three providers (as of January 27, 2019):
At first, I was tempted to choose Weebly, but at double the price (and the features that I really needed), it was out of the question. I was sold on Wix’s reputation (it has been in business since 2006) and lower cost, so choosing Wix didn’t involve much thinking.
Most cost-effective option: Wix
3. Customer Support
This one was a tough choice. All three providers offer premium support for their paid plans. So I went online and checked forums and the providers’ respective Facebook pages for feedback. The best support seems to be from Wix, as well as Squarespace. And while Wix doesn’t offer chat support, I will tell you that they are extremely responsive via their Facebook page.
When my website went down for a couple of hours in August 2017, I messaged them on Facebook. They solved the problem within an hour and my website hasn’t had problems since.
Best customer support: Wix
In the end, I ended up choosing Wix as my preferred website provider and have had no regrets since. My advice? Do your research and ask around before choosing ANY website provider, don’t get sucked into the WordPress hype, or any other for the matter. Choice and control over your website are ultimately your rights.
Disclaimer: I am a member of the Wix affiliate programme, so I will get a small referral fee if you sign up via this link: http://wixstats.com/?a=26175&c=124&s1=