It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway – a website can be an incredibly powerful tool for growing your business or advancing your cause.
The idea of designing a website for the first time always sounds exciting… until you actually have to do it. If you’re like most people, it doesn’t take long for you to be overwhelmed by all of the tools, options, and jargon you’ll encounter on your quest to create an online presence. Even deciding where to start can be challenging, and making informed decisions from the beginning certainly makes or breaks your experience.
Bluehost offers some excellent site building options. Let’s take a look at two of the most popular website builders to give you an idea of which option might be best for you.
WordPress is by far the most popular and most praised site builder. It’s used by millions of website owners, ranging from simple bloggers and small businesses to the New York Times.
While WordPress has earned its praise and popularity, it’s not without its flaws. Below I’ve outlined what I believe to be some of its major pros and cons:
- The core builder is free and easily installed in a few clicks within your control panel.
- It’s open source and has a huge community that offers support as you build your site.
- There are countless themes and plugins, both free and paid, to help you create a unique website that meets all of your needs.
- There are so many themes, plugins, and possibilities that deciding what you want can be overwhelming.
- It has a fairly steep learning curve. Configuring some themes and plugins can be rather difficult or time consuming.
- Although it’s easy to update WordPress and its plugins, failure to do so can leave you vulnerable to hackers and malware.
- Page load speeds begin to suffer as you pile on plugins, and if unaddressed, it can impact your traffic and conversion rate.
Weebly is another great option that allows novice users to create and publish beautiful websites within hours. Unlike WordPress, Weebly is more of a drag-and-drop builder. After choosing from a list of templates you can literally drag and drop certain pre-defined elements (images, titles, text boxes, etc.) into designated areas within the template.
There’s no doubt that Weebly is user-friendly, but simplicity comes with its own costs, which I’ve outlined in the pros and cons below:
- A drag-and-drop style builder that’s easy to learn and use.
- There’s a decent selection of themes to start from and they’re interchangeable without having to completely start over.
- Free to use unless you need any Pro or Ecommerce features, such as embedding video, password protecting pages, or selling products or services.
- There are greater limitations to the features and functionality you can add to your site, and limited customizability of the page layouts.
- There’s a monthly cost for the Pro and Ecommerce upgrades.
When to Hire a Professional
Knowing how to build a website is a great skill. But, like with any skill, you have to decide whether or not you really want to commit the time and effort to learn it. There will be hurdles and frustrations along the way, so if you’re not fully committed then you’ll likely give up before the task is done.
Hiring a professional to build your website is sometimes your best option. After years of experience in the design world, here are some common scenarios in which I strongly recommend hiring a professional.
If You’re Not Fully Committed
As I mentioned above, if you’re not fully committed to learning how to do it yourself then it’s worth paying a professional. I often seen clients waste hours of their own time, and even some of their money, before giving up entirely or hiring a professional anyway.
If You Have a Strict Deadline
If you hire a professional due to a strict deadline, be very clear and upfront about your time constraints and request a commitment in writing to confirm that he or she will have your website ready on time.
If You’re Building an E-commerce Website
An ecommerce site introduces additional hurdles that might cause you to stumble along your way, such as creating products with all of their attributes, setting up payment processing, adding shipping rules and sales tax, etc. Time is everything, and a true professional will have your site finished quickly and functioning correctly so you can pursue your online purpose. Bluehost employs several design professionals who are always excited to help a vision become reality through our website design service.