Ah, the big website platform debate. When you’re just starting out as a business owner or blogger, you already know that the look of your online presence is a make-or-break decision. If you’re an online business owner, the visual presentation of your website is especially important since your website becomes your “home”.
If you’re non-tech like me, you probably hate the thought of website building by yourself. However, if you’re bootstrapping your endeavors and budget is tight, hiring a web developer to create a fully customized website might not be in the cards right now, but you still need to get your website up and running before you can even start your brand.
Here’s our first comparison between WordPress and Weebly, the two platforms that we currently use for different functions. Based on your needs, each platform operates different and has its pro’s and con’s. (scroll down for a review on Shopify)
Our TERIMIYAHIRA.COM website runs on WordPress (thanks to our Managing Editor who swayed me to go with WordPress). If you need a website that will be heavy with editorial content (such as blog posts and articles), then WordPress is definitely the way to go.
Pro’s of WordPress
-Weebly, SquareSpace, and other platforms are easier to setup, but far less customizable than WordPress (especially if you want to have various parent category/subcategory content hierarchies like we do).
-Highly customizable (templates, coding, and functions), plus many apps and plugins are built to run on WordPress that cannot work on other platforms.
-I tried setting up a blog feed on Weebly before, and it’s clunky-looking, clunky-functioning, and just didn’t operate how I wanted. If you’re looking to become a serious content creator, take the time to setup and learn WordPress so you don’t have to migrate your website over to WordPress later.
Con’s of WordPress
-It’s complicated. Not going to lie, the backend is very confusing to me. High functionality and customization also came with it an extremely confusing dashboard. Our Managing Editor and Creative Director are the ones who handle the backend at this point, I need to enroll in a WordPress course because the most I can do is edit posts in the backend!
We use Weebly for our sister website TERIMIYAHIRABEAUTY.COM (our cosmetics company). If you need a website that is a standalone site with static (non-changing) pages, and you don’t need a blog, then Weebly is definitely the way to go. I can set up a Weebly website in 2 hours flat, with multiple pages and a navigation bar since it’s interface is drag-and-drop, and no coding necessary.
Pro’s of Weebly
-Highly intuitive and easy to set up. I’m not a technical person and I was still able to figure out how to use Weebly by watching a few short YouTube videos.
-Great to use for static or standalone websites. If you are a business that doesn’t need blog content or an online store function, Weebly is the way to go.
Con’s of Weebly
-If you need a blog, go with WordPress, because the Weebly blog builder is very clunky (both in functionality and visual/style).
-If you need an online store where you will be selling products, definitely go with Shopify because it’s much more robust and many plugins are available on Shopify in order to maximize sales potential (see below for more info on Shopify).
Here’s another question to consider when setting up your website: Bluehost or GoDaddy for hosting. We’ll go through a quick walk-through of each.
If you plan to do blog or editorial content on your website, and you also plan to grow your traffic/page views over time, Bluehost is the way to go due to its speed. When we’re referring to speed, we are talking about both loading time of the site (so your visitors aren’t sitting there waiting for pages to load), as well as the speed of the backend dashboard (uploading content to the backend of your website). It seems like every major blogger talks about Bluehost, and I didn’t believe the hype at first, but it’s actually great for good reasons.
Pro’s of Bluehost
-If speed matters to you (and it should!), then Bluehost is the way to go. We were hosted on GoDaddy for TERIMIYAHIRA.COM, and due to having editorial articles and content on our website, GoDaddy was slow to load pages for our readers, and also slow to upload posts to the backend.
-Because of GoDaddy’s slowness, we migrated the entire website the week after we launched from GoDaddy to Bluehost. Thanks to our Managing Editor and her amazingly helpful husband, they migrated the entire website plus its contents within a weekend’s time. Bluehost also has great customer service to help with website migrations, and you can even pay Bluehost to do the migration for you if you have years of blog content to migrate over.
Con’s of Bluehost
-Comparing Bluehost and GoDaddy, I feel that both are the same degree of difficulty for set-up. Neither is easier to setup than the other, so because of this (and the fact that Bluehost speeds are much faster), I definitely recommend Bluehost for your website’s hosting.
If you click on this link, Bluehost is doing a special promotion right now of hosting for $3.45/month!
For Online Stores and E-Commerce Websites
If you are looking to sell physical products online, I fully recommend Shopify due to its highly customizable platform and customer service support. We use Shopify for our products shop on TERIMIYAHIRABEAUTY.COM.
Pro’s of Shopify
-Coming from a non-technical person, I taught myself how to set up a Shopify store in less than 2 hours with a couple of short YouTube videos (when in doubt, YouTube it!). They have great customer support with a Live Chat function as well.
-There are many other shopping carts and online store platforms to choose from, but I feel that Shopify is a one-stop platform. You don’t have to worry about tying multiple systems together, as Shopify handles collecting payments and credit card processing for you. They even do smaller services such as domain names, USPS shipping labels and other details that are often overlooked when setting up an e-commerce store.
-We use Shopify for individual products we offer for purchase, as well as our “free makeup brush” promotion that went viral. Our Shopify store was able to handle hundreds of orders that came in during a 3-day period without any site crashes or glitches.
Con’s of Shopify
–Shopify has so many customizable tidbits that it can get overwhelming if you don’t know what you want. I suggest setting up a basic store using one of Shopify’s pre-loaded templates, then aim to list only 5 products at first so you get the hang of creating product listings (including uploading product photos, descriptions, etc).
If you are a serious entrepreneur or blogger looking to build an honest and legitimate business from the start, with sleek design and the best possible viewer experience, your website is one of the key elements to get done right.
Our business and traffic are growing month over month due to our streamlined technical process using WordPress, Weebly, Bluehost, and Shopify, as well as ConvertKit for our email marketing (click here to read about ConvertKit and how we currently run 100% of our product sales revenue from ConvertKit).