The vast majority of sites built by Magnetic Vector run on WordPress. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan. But why use WordPress instead of Wix or Squarespace or any other website builder?
Over the years, I’ve spent a great deal of time evaluating various website platforms. Some are great. Some are horrible. Time and time again, I keep coming back to WordPress.
I was recently asked via Facebook why I prefer to use WordPress instead of another CMS or website builder like Wix. The answer to that is multifaceted.
Whether you’re interested in building a site or are just checking out your options, hopefully this will help you understand why WordPress is – in my personal opinion – your best choice.
Now, lest I be misunderstood, I’m not saying Wix, et al are bad or that they have no place. However, I believe they are the wrong choice for 90% of people.
WordPress is Available Free of Charge
Unlike Wix, Squarespace, etc, WordPress is available at absolutely no cost. Anyone can download the software to install from WordPress.org – even for commercial purposes.
No paywalls. No upsells. No nickel and diming.
This makes WordPress a great option for those who don’t have a ton of extra cash on hand. Sure, there are other costs – like hosting and a domain name – but the software itself is free, and there are no monthly fees.
Now, WordPress does offer premium packages for those who wish to use their hosting services in lieu of their own. For those, you will pay monthly or annually.
But for the rest of us who prefer to use our own hosting and domain registrars, there is no fee for WordPress.
WordPress is Open Source Software
Open Source Software is software whose code isn’t hidden from the end user. The opposite of open source is “closed source.” Closed source software would be software which hides its underlying programming from the end user.
Microsoft Windows, for example, is closed source. While I can see and modify certain system files and behaviors, I do not have the ability to completely decompile the OS and see precisely what makes it tick.
Fortunately, WordPress is open source. I, as the user, can look “under the hood” so to speak and see what makes it tick.
This has a couple of sweet benefits.
- I can make sure nothing nefarious is going on behind the scenes. With the right expertise, I can look at the code of WordPress and verify that everything is safe and in order.
- I can change how the software works without having to wait on developers to do it for me.
These benefits are two reasons some people prefer to use a Linux-based operating system over one built with proprietary code.
Wix and Squarespace – as nice as they are – don’t afford me these benefits. As proprietary systems, I have no ability to see the code that makes them tick and modify it to my satisfaction.
Now, I don’t mean the CSS and HTML markup of my site. Of course I can see and modify those. No, I want to be able to see the underbelly of the system upon which my markup sits.
WordPress is Easily Extendable
Due in no small part to its open source nature, WordPress has no shortage of both free and paid plugins. For nearly anything I want to build, there’s a plugin to help me do just that – if indeed the functionality I need isn’t baked into the core of WordPress already.
Whether I want to design a slick looking lead capture page or a full-fledged eCommerce site, there are add-ons to help me do just that.
And if I don’t find a plugin to accomplish what I want, with the right tools and know-how, I can create my own plugin – and even sell it if it works well.
“But,” you say, “the other platform has all that baked in without needing plugins.”
And that may sound like a good thing on the surface, but it may not be as good as you assume.
Because of WordPress’s modular, plug-in based extensibility, I can load only the plugins I need to make my site do what I want and no more.
This is very important for those who care about maintaining a slim, fast-loading website. Every image, video, file, and line of code your site has to load weighs it down a tiny bit. And while one or two excess bits of code typically won’t make a huge difference, that excess weight adds up and can easily mean your site loads more slowly and feels more sluggish than it needs to.
Remember, website speed matters greatly for SEO. If your site loads slowly, you may see your search engine rank slip.
WordPress is Portable
If you’re in business long enough, you learn that things change. Services go down. Products lose support. And companies get sold. If you put your eggs in one basket, you’re just asking to lose your eggs – and maybe the basket too.
Again, don’t get me wrong. I like some things about Wix and Squarespace, but I don’t want to be tied to them. If I build my site with either of the aforementioned services, I can’t decide one day to back up my site and take it to another host. I’m stuck.
WordPress, however, doesn’t depend on any one service. I host some of my sites through SiteGround, for example. If tomorrow I decided that SiteGround is awful and I want to move to someone else, I could do that. I could easily back up my sites and those of my clients and go anywhere – Bluehost, Hostgator, Hostmonster… it doesn’t matter.
Don’t get me wrong. Wix and Squarespace provide great services, and I hope they always will. But you may wake up one day and decide you don’t like the support you’re getting. Maybe your site doesn’t load correctly. Maybe the price increases, and you’re not too thrilled. What can you do?
There’s another scenario to consider as well. What if one day you wake up to a message from Wix or Squarespace saying that your account has been terminated due to a violation of the terms of service. You’re confused. You’re angry. You haven’t broken any rules, but it doesn’t matter. They say you have. What are you to do?
But if your site is built with WordPress (or another similar CMS), you can quickly back up your content and jump ship. This, honestly, is one of the biggest reasons why I use WordPress instead of Wix or Squarespace.
WordPress Has a Huge User Base
Love it or hate it, WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems around. That’s great news for those of us who use WordPress full time.
Why? If we ever need help or have a problem, help is only a forum post or Google search away. Chances are someone else has had the same question.
Over the past several years, the number of active WordPress sites has continued to go up. Clearly, it works.
WordPress is Easy to Use
Whether you’re a power user or a novice, WordPress is a friendly, easy-to-use tool meant for everyone. With a customizable dashboard and intuitive navigation, it’s an excellent option no matter what you want to build.
As a power user, I love the flexibility the system affords me, but I also love how easy it is for my clients to maintain.
See, when I turn over the keys to a shiny new site, my client doesn’t want to spend weeks learning intricate dashboards and toggles. He just wants to know what he needs to know to keep his site operational and add content.
I don’t need to spend hours teaching people how to use the system – and that’s a win for everyone involved.
WordPress is Professional
Many seasoned web developers and amateurs alike prefer working with WordPress over another CMS. Even newbies can create something that looks good and works well without much fuss.
But professionals and agencies also have lots to love. Our favorite tools and resources integrate very nicely, and we can finely tune sites to our customers’ specifications.
Why Use WordPress?
Clearly there is no shortage of web design tools on the market. Wix and Squarespace are good products, and they may be the right choice for some.
However, in my professional opinion, WordPress is simply the best tool for the job in the vast majority of cases.
The price and licensing of WordPress make it ideal for those on a tight budget.
It’s power and extensibility appeal to developers and advanced users.
The fact that it’s supported just about anywhere and can be quickly migrated without having to rely on a single service provides peace of mind.
But even with all that said, it’s simply an easy-to-use platform that can produce professional results in record time.