One of my clients is fond of saying, “Things that ‘go without saying’ generally need to be said.”
She’s right, of course, and I was reminded of that today when I read a discussion of the merits of various blogging platforms.
Frankly, as a die-hard WordPress fan, I’m a little shocked that this subject is even seriously discussed anywhere, as if there are other options. But apparently, there are. And some people buy into the hype and actually use them.
Here’s why you should not.
Lie #1: Those other solutions are easier to use.
No, they are not. Out of the box, WordPress is as simple to use as your favorite word processor. If you can navigate Microsoft and all its crazy and still manage to create a readable Word document, you’re going to do fine with WordPress.
Now there are some techy bits that might give you pause if you’re the kind of person who faints at the mention of FTP, but overall, WordPress is the easiest platform of all of them. And if you get stuck, there are more than 800,000 YouTube videos about WordPress to help you.
Lie #2: Those other blogging platforms are safer.
Ok, this one is probably true at first glance. Squarespace is unlikely to be hacked because it’s a hosted service. The same is true for Wix. They have total control over your site, so they can do things such as:
- Lock down the servers so no one has access (including you)
- Prevent users (including you) from adding functionality with plugins or code edits
- Prevent users (including you) from making extensive theme or template changes
Are you seeing a pattern here? If hosted solutions are safer (and I don’t think they are) it’s only because they prevent you from doing the things you want and need to do on your site.
In fact, your WordPress site is equally unlikely to be hacked if you put some basic security in place. Use good passwords. Use plugins and themes from trusted sources. Choose a reputable hosting company. And above all else, keep your site, them and plugins up to date.
That’s it. 99% of hacking issues will be eliminated if you just do those four things.
Lie #3: Those other website builders are better for
No, they really aren’t. Squarespace might bill itself as a great eCommerce solution, but I would argue that WordPress is even better. Here’s why: WordPress is open source software, and that means that there is a huge community of developers who continually create new plugins (add ons) for WordPress websites.
If you need a shopping cart, membership site, photo gallery, recipe book, business directory or anything else built on a website, WordPress is the answer.
Yes, I am unshakable in this point. I will not be turned. Don’t bother to comment about how you blog on Wix or Postach.io or Tumblr and it works great for you. Just wait. You will learn (the hard way) why I feel so strongly about this.
Of course, even I have to admit there might be an exception. Maybe. If you need something so sophisticated that you’re willing to custom code an entire website, then I may concede that WordPress is not the best answer for you. For example, if you want to build a hotel booking site, or a patient portal for a doctor’s office, or you’re Amazon.
But even then, I’d check with some WordPress developers. You might just find a great solution for a lot less money.
One Last (Really, Really Big) Consideration
Just like wedding dresses and starter homes, websites may not fit forever. As your business grows, so will your hosting needs. You may want to add a shopping cart or an affiliate program. You may even decide that WordPress is a better choice after all.
The sad truth is, when you build your website on a platform such as Wix or Squarespace, moving is not an option.
I recently had a client ask about moving his 300+ page website into WordPress, so he could stop paying the crazy monthly fee SiteBuildIt is charging him. Unfortunately, since there is no export option available, it’s going to come down to copy & paste. Hours and hours and hours of copy & paste, just to move to a more flexible (and less expensive) platform that will grow with him.
If he’d started with WordPress in the first place, he wouldn’t be looking at a huge bill for the upgrade now. But, as they say, hindsight is 20/2o. Learn from his mistake, and choose WordPress first.