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wix vs. wordpress vs. weebley vs. squarespaceDo it yourself website builders have made giant leaps forward in the last few years.  It is now possible for anyone with a computer and an internet connection to build a professional looking small business website.

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Here is an overview of what we feel are the top 4 do-it-yourself website building softwares, so you can choose the best option for you.

Best Website Builder For Non Tech Savvy Small Business Owners: Weebly

Best Website Builder For Tech Savvy Small Business Owners: WordPress

 

Wix

Weebly

Squarespace

WordPress

Ease of Use

Easy

Moderate

Moderate

Difficult

Price For Basic Business Package

$15.95/Month

$8/Month

$16/Month

Free

Hosting Included?

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Support

Phone/Support Forum

Email/Live Chat

Email/Live Chat/ User Forums

User Forums

Free Templates

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Mobile Site

Yes

Yes

Yes

Depends

Search Engine Friendliness

Poor

Good

Good

Great

Business Email?

Yes ($4.95/Month)

Yes ($3.75/Month)

Yes

($5 a month)

No

Learn More

Learn More

Learn More

Learn More

Why We Chose Weebly for Non Tech Savvy Small Business Owners

If you want to get online but don’t want to spend a lot of time learning a new system, then Weebly  is the choice for you.

If you have been following my series of articles on rebuilding and marketing my father’s real estate site, this may come as a surprise. I chose Wix for that project over the other options, because I found it easier to use, and it offers the best diversity of free templates for small business owners.

After launching the site however, I started to have issues that I feel are going to prevent the site from ranking well in Google and other search engines.  As Google is a major source of traffic for most websites, this is a major problem.  I talk more about this in the SEO section below.

Weebly does not have these issues.  While it is a little harder to use than Wix, and I don’t like the templates as much, this is a small price to pay for better search engine rankings.  It is also the least expensive option by far.

Why We Chose WordPress For Tech Savvy Small Business Owners

If you are a tech savvy small business owner, or willing to spend some time learning a new system, then WordPress is the clear choice.

With WordPress you have full control over your website, there are tons of free and paid templates, and a large community of WordPress developers who can help you make customizations.

What you give up with WordPress is ease of use and time spent maintaining the site.  While you don’t need to know how to code to use WordPress, you do if you want to customize most of their themes.

We use WordPress here at FitSmallBusiness.com and I am going to be transferring my father’s site to WordPress in the near future.

Wix vs. Weebly vs. SquareSpace vs. WordPress In Depth Review

Ease of Use

Wix: A novice with zero technical expertise could easily use Wix to build a site from scratch.  They have a wide variety of templates for all types of businesses, and modifying them to suite your business is a breeze.

Weebly: You do not need any technical expertise to use Weebly, but it is not as intuitive as Wix.  However, Weebly does have a really nice feature.  They have a check the box, step by step process, walking you through the entire process of launching your site.

Squarespace: Like with Weebly, I do not find the Squarespace website editor as intuitive as the Wix Editor.  It is however also built for non technical users, and tons of people use it.  One exception is setting up an online store.  The process for doing that with Squarespace is very simple and straightforward.

WordPress: WordPress is the most difficult of the 4 options listed.  You need to be able to setup and install wordpress on your domain.  If you want to modify the layout of most wordpress themes, you also need to know how to write code.

Pricing

Wix, Weebly, and WordPress can be used for Free.  However, with Wix and Weebly, you have to pay a monthly fee if you want to use your own domain name with the service.  If you want to use your own domain with WordPress, you have to purchase hosting.  Squarespace does not offer a free option.

Wix, Weebly and Squarespace all have multiple packages.  The differences are the amount of storage and bandwidth you want  and whether or not you want to have an online store.  For the purposes of this comparison we reviewed their most popular plans.

Wix: $149.04 Per year.  This get’s you everything you need to run a small business website with the exception of a shopping cart.  If you want to sell products from your website you will need to upgrade to the $194.04 per year package.

Weebly: $79.56 per year.  Weebly is much cheaper than Wix and Squarespace for a basic site.  However the online store that is offered with this option, only allows 25 products.  There is also a 3% transaction fee that weebly charges for each product that is sold.  So, if you have an online store, you will likely need the next version up, which runs $234.48 per year.

Squarespace: $192 per year. This gives you all the features you need to run a small business website as well as an online store where you can sell up to 20 products.  If you want to sell more than 20 products, the price increases to $288 per year.

WordPress: WordPress is open source and free to use.  However, if you want to use your own domain, you have to buy a hosting package.  This is going to run you between $50 and $100 per year.

Support

Wix: Offers support via phone, support forum where Wix employees respond to your questions and issues, and email.

Weebly: Offers support via email and live chat.

Squarespace: Offers support via user forums, email, and live chat.

WordPress: Offers support via user forums.

Free Templates

A template is basically a ready to go layout and website design.  The idea is you just plug in your text, the design work is already done for you.

Wix: Offers a wide variety of free templates.  They also categorize their templates based on the type of business. This makes finding a nice template quick and easy.

Weebly:  Offers a lot of free templates.  However, they are not categorized by business type, and the quality of the designs is not as good as Wix or Squarespace.

Squarespace: Has the lowest number of free templates.  However, for business related to design, art, and fashion they have the best designed templates.  Most are too flashy, in my opinion, for firms in other industries.

WordPress: Offers the widest variety of free templates.  You can choose from literally thousands.  However the quality of many of the free wordpress templates is not very good.  Because of this many people opt for paid templates.  Paid WordPress templates generally cost somewhere between $50 and $100 as a one time fee.

Mobile Site

Wix, Weebly and Squarespace all automatically convert your site into a mobile version.  With WordPress, it depends on the template you choose.

Many wordpress templates are “responsive” meaning that they automatically adjust the theme for visitors on mobile devices.  For those that are not responsive, wordpress has many plugins that can convert your desktop site into a mobile version.

Search Engine Friendliness

In order for your site to rank well in Google and other search engines, it has to meet certain technical specifications.  This is the foundation of what is known as search engine optimization or SEO for short.

Wix: Although they spend a lot of time defending the search engine friendliness of their product, there are too many open questions about Wix for me to feel comfortable recommending them.  Here are the two major problems I ran into with Wix:

1. There are no 301 redirects.  If you have an old site that you want to move to Wix, then you will have to rebuild your search engine rankings from scratch.  The reason why is that there is no way to redirect the pages of your old site to the new pages on Wix.  This is basic SEO that should be included and the fact that it is not makes me wonder what else it is missing that I am not seeing.

2. The link structure sucks.  Here is what a site url looks like:

http://www.lcrlakegaston.com/#!lake-gaston-rentals/c7tk

And here is what a blog url looks like:

http://www.lcrlakegaston.com/#!Lake-Gaston-Activities/c1yk9/6D61E1EA-C616-4370-8B39-7AFB91554812

Wix defends this link structure vigorously.  However, I have never seen a link structure like this, and even if the search engines don’t mind the junk included at the beginning and end of the above links, it is terrible user experience.  If someone wants to link to one of my blog posts (one of the major factors that would help it rank in the search engines) then they are likely to be scared off by the monstrosity above.

Weebly: The two issues above to not exist with Wix and you have full control over the important SEO elements with Weebly.

Squarespace: The two issues above to not exist with Squarespace and you have full control over the important SEO elements with Weebly.

WordPress: WordPress is by far the best from an SEO standpoint.  You can customize it as much as you want and there are lots of free plugins like the YOAST SEO plugin that make SEO a breeze.

Hosting

Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace all provide free hosting as part of their packages.  Wordpress does not offer hosting.  If you choose to go with WordPress, we recommend GoDaddy for hosting.

Business Email

Wix, Weebly and Squarespace all allow you to easily hook up your business email using Google Apps.  Google apps is Gmail’s paid service, which allows you to manage multiple business emails from one dashboard.  If you are a larger company, then the extra cost of using Google Apps for email is probably worth it.  Via the Google Apps dashboard you can easily setup, delete and administer your employee’s emails.

Although it is not part of their service to help you hook it up, you can also use Google Apps with wordpress.

If you are a 1 or two person business, you can save a lot of money by registering your domain with GoDaddy, and using their free forwarding email addresses.  Follow the instructions found here, and you can send and receive email for free using your business domain and a gmail account.

The Bottom Line

If you are in the design, fashion, or art industry then you may want to choose Squarespace for their flashier designs.  For all other types of small business websites, we recommend Weebly as the best do it yourself website builder for non tech savvy small business owners.  It is affordable, simple to use, and offers best variety of templates.

If you are tech savvy or don’t mind spending time learning a new system, then WordPress is by far the most flexible option.

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