A regular question we get asked from potential clients is whether they should use CMS packages such as WordPress or if they should use Web Builder packages offered by myriads of hosting companies.
In most cases it all sounds simple financial calculation between upfront cost of setting up a website versus pay-as-you-go nature of Web Builder offers, however, there is more to this choice than just financial conerns.
To understand the pros and cons of the two systems we need to first understand what each option is and how they work.
CMS stands for Content Management System, which are all based on open platforms and can be hosted on any server supporting Linux operating system. The most commonly used systems are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal although there are more options available on market.
CMS’s are mostly freeware and are installed on the hosting servers by either “Single Click” action via your Web Hosting Control Panel, or most Web Hosting providers will supply and install it for free.
The core CMS will provide website owners the ability to update content such as images and text, as well as adding new pages (or blogs) and delete old ones with little or no technical knowledge.
In general CMS’s are made up of 3 basic elements:
For the purpose of this comparison we will be using WordPress as a representative of Open Source CMS as it is the most popular and widely used CMS on the Internet.
Themes and Templates provide basic design for a website which can then be customised further to make your website unique in presentation and design. However to achieve any sort of customisation you need understanding of CSS, PHP, and HTML. If you do not have these skills, then you should employ services of a specialists which is usually pretty reasonable but remember costs depend on the level of customisation you require.
Whilst there are thousands of Free Themes, you must remember free themes are generally limited in their capabilities and support can be wanting for some. Premium or Paid WordPress themes have more functionality and generally have better support. However, before you select any WordPress theme, you should read their respective Reviews and Support logs carefully so that you can learn from other user’s experiences. It is also worth asking a “Pre-Sales” question from the supplier of the WordPress theme, just to assess how quickly and comprehensively they respond. This could be a good indication of their Post-Sales support.
Plug-ins (WordPress), Extensions (Joomla) or Add-ons (Drupal) are additional software to complement your theme or template which enhance the capabilities of your original theme. These could be additional functionality such as Payment Gateway, Social Media Sharing Tools, Sliders, Drag-and-Drop editing tools, SEO, Contact Forms, etc.
Once again before you select any WordPress theme, you should read their respective Reviews and Support logs carefully so that you can learn from other user’s experiences. It is also worth asking a “Pre-Sales” question from the supplier of the theme or template, just to assess how quickly and comprehensively they respond. This could be a good indication of their Post-Sales support.
If you have any doubts about the plug-in (or the theme), you should remember that there are 1000s out there and many do the same things and achieve the same end. This means if you are not happy about the response or functionality, then just look for another one as there are no shortage of options for WordPress users in particular.
Web builders are proprietary software provided by web hosting companies that enable users to create, maintain, and manage the content of their website. There are numerous systems such as Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, as well as those uniquely supplied by Web Hosting companies such as GoDaddy.
In general these systems provide a drag-and-drop solutions enabling non-technical users to create a website quickly and without any coding knowledge.
Web Builder software are either supplied by hosting companies as an optional extra to their regular web hosting services (GoDaddy or our own hosting package!), or they are supplied as complete package that includes hosting as well as the system (Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, etc.).
Either way, your monthly fees include usage of the system as well as the hosting service which is more like a Pay-as-You-Go service instead of upfront cost of developing a website and then annual fees for web hosting.
The question you have to ask yourself is “Why you are setting up a website?”.
If you are just intending to have a online brochure that you can point your potential clients to via traditional marketing activities and non-Internet advertising, then Web Builders are as good as any product you could use.
If you want to generate revenue or leads from your website in a competitive keyword environment such as Hospitality, Insurance, E-Commerce, etc., then you need to use CMS based websites such as WordPress. You need the flexibility and SEO performance so that you can attract traffic to your site. You may have the best looking website and the cheapest (or in some cases free) website from a Web Builder vendor, but if nobody can find you via Google then your online business is dead. You have the best looking shop in Tumbleweed Town High Street, but nobody comes to visit as nobody will ever find Tumbleweed Town!
Your website is your most important tool if you hope to generate business on the web. If you do not invest time and money in it, then you are expecting to win F1 race by entering a production car in the race!
At Cognisant Hosting we offer Fully Managed Hosting services which includes updating WordPress or Joomla, Themes, and Plug-ins. Contact us for pricing for your website.
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