Shortly after its arrival in 2003, Wordpress became synonymous as the go-to apparatus needed to launch a website or blog onto the world wide web. Quite importantly, the program democratized the internet by making it easier for anyone with a computer and a dream to build and launch a website.
It is currently estimated that WordPress powers over 74 million websites. As of April of 2016, WordPress.com hosts about half of these. These are astounding shares, but it begs the question: what other website builders are being used?
In addition to our WordPress website review, this article will discuss some other players in the website creation world: Wix, Weebly, and SquareSpace.
WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org - What's The Difference?
To alleviate confusion, WordPress.com is a place where a WordPress website can be built and hosted. This differs somewhat from WordPress.org, which is where one finds the WordPress software to be downloaded onto an independent host’s server. This article focuses on WordPress.com and a few of its website builder competitors. For a more in depth explanation of what WordPress.com is (and isn't), see the video below.
WordPress Website Review
The beauty of WordPress is that not only are there hundreds of free and paid templates, but that you can still customize even further. There are over 40,000 plugins available, each extending the features and functions of a website. So even after building a really enviable, loaded-to-the-seams-with-perks website, if you REALLY needed to extend the functionality of a website, WordPress can't be topped – it has far and away the most opportunities to customize. This is something you will see mentioned in many WordPress website reviews.
WordPress Website Ease of Use
Regarding WordPress’s ease of use, well, it does take a while to be comfortable with its builder interface. It is a WYSIWYG interface, but it does require changing between screens to see exactly what’s been done. Consequently, there’s a bit of jumping around between WordPress’s menus. There is also a rather heavy learning curve involved in seeing what the tools do and how tweaks appear on the site page.
WordPress.com Pricing Plans
The use of WordPress is free and WordPress.com hosting is available for free, with option plans that scale up to $24.92. The “Personal” plan, for example, is billed annually at $5.99 per month. Pretty cheap! With this, you get a custom domain name, hundreds of free themes, 3 GB of storage, and the removal of WordPress ads from the site. Be sure to look for a mobile responsive theme!
You should also note that the WordPress community is enormous. Since WordPress is an open-source content management system, or CMS, anyone can contribute to improving and advancing the product. This sort of creative involvement has established a vibrant community of WordPress experts.
While it can be a bit of a struggle for non-technical people to get used to WordPress’s menus and intricacies, it has traditionally been known as the easiest way to waltz into the website owner’s ball. Because the WordPress brand is so strong, it is hard for non-technical folks to realize that there are other, very powerful options in the website builder field.
Who Else Is Out There?
When considering WordPress website hosting reviews, it is essential that a brief discussion of similar players take place. The competition for do-it-yourself website builders and hosts continues to grow, and the tools to create beautiful websites have definitely gotten easier to use. No one, as of yet, has come close to matching WordPress’s extraordinary flexibility…but not everyone needs that flexibility. Some of the very innovative and appealing website builders on the market include Wix, SquareSpace and Weebly.
These drag and drop website builders allow the less technically savvy of us to get websites up and running very fast. Each company boasts gorgeous templates, and though not as numerous as WordPress’s, are certainly of such quality as to make their sites look professionally developed.
Founded in 2006, Wix is a cloud-based web development platform. It utilizes a drag-and-drop content builder and its themes are mobile responsive. Wix’s user interface is very easy and intuitive to use, allowing for speedy site development. One literally drags items from a menu board onto the page and the page is developed in real time in front of the user. No need to switch screens to see what has happened!
Wix has various feature packages ranging in price from $5 to $25. Moving up past the $5 and $10 Wix plans lands us at what it calls its most popular “Unlimited” plan for $14 per month. This plan removes Wix advertising from the site and includes several apps for forms and SEO boosting. It also includes unlimited bandwidth and 10 GB of storage. Wix has an active 3rd party app market that increases functions and allows for more flexibility.
SquareSpace, launched in 2004, is a software as a service (or SaaS-based) CMS and it, too, uses a brilliant drag-and-drop content builder, but does require a bit more time to get used to its many user options. The company has several price and feature tiers that range from $12.00 up to $46.
Its entry-level “Personal” plan offers 20 pages with unlimited bandwidth and storage. One can pay monthly for SquareSpace, or get a healthy discount for stepping up to a yearly subscription.
SquareSpace’s lush themes are mobile responsive and quite beautiful. There are opportunities for builders to tweak designs without knowing how to code.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Weebly also utilizes a drag-and-drop user interface, making it extremely easy for novice users to create a professional looking website.
Weebly’s feature bundles range in price from free up to $25.00. Its design tools are arguably the easiest to use, perfect for those with little time and technical know-how. Users can really do a lot with Weebly quite easily – creating viewer perception that a good bit of money was spent on site design. Since 2015, all of Weebly’s themes have been mobile responsive.
Stepping up from Weebly’s generous free offering is the Starter Level, where for $8 per month users can connect their own domain and remove Weebly’s advertising from the site. The package also includes unlimited pages and storage, as well as a Google advertising credit of $100.
Summing Up This WordPress Website Hosting Review
As the founder of “user-friendly” (that term being relative to one’s technical experience) website creation, it’s almost unfair that WordPress is still perceived as the go-to leader in this field. There are, after all, much easier interfaces to create and launch absolutely beautiful websites.
With this astonishing new ease of creation by competitors, there are sacrifices in flexibility. Users can only work with what they are allowed to work with by the developers behind Wix and Weebly and SquareSpace. The real developers of WordPress, “we the people,” have created a nearly limitless universe of options for website builders. If you are dreaming of a website feature that doesn't yet exist, chances are very good that a plugin can be developed to see the dream become reality.
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