June 11, 2021

What's the best platform to build my website?

What's the best platform to build my website?

A question which I see almost everyday, for a developer such as myself it's quite easy to tell you exactly which platform is going to be the best for your needs; but that's the issue, the perfect solution for you relies on my expertise and judgement.

So, in this post I'm going to try and make it easy for you to understand the best platform for you, and do so in a not so cluttered and straight to the point way.

First things first, you have to answer the following questions for yourself:

What's your goal?

Simple enough, you're building a website, we know that much. But why are you building it? What is the purpose of this website? Typically people build websites for one of 3 reasons:

  1. You've got a business and you're looking to promote/grow it.
  2. You've got a store and you're looking to take your products online for better reach.
  3. You've got a project or idea that you're looking to get started.

There's going to be some more bespoke reasons as well, but typically those are the key ones.

What's your Experience?

What type of skills do you have, what type of person are you? Most of the website builder platforms offer the ability to create websites obviously but each platform provides those tools to a different level of expertise in each person, those are as follows:

  • WordPress: You have a decent technical knowledge, ability to problem solve and research issues and generally find their own solutions.
  • WebFlow: You don't really know much about websites or tech at all.
  • Wix: You generally have a good eye for design, but ultimately don't have much experience in tech.
  • SquareSpace: You've got a good eye for design but don't really know much about tech.

What's your time commitment?

Some website builders require more time to use than others, for example; this gorgeous website you're looking at now was chucked together on WebFlow in about 1 hour. Crazy right.

It's important to understand how much time you can dedicate to the project, more time doesn't necessarily result in better looking products but it does determine the builder which is best for you.

  • WordPress: You need a decent amount of time.
  • Webflow, Wix, SquareSpace: Websites can be put together really quickly.

Theme driven development

Just something to note, all of the platforms above use a thing called theme driven development, it essentially means that some developer designs and builds a theme on the platform for you; you then select a theme and manage the content to make it more personal to you.

These themes come in all shapes and sizes, developed by all kinds of levels of experience.

The theme marketplace will change dramatically depending on the paltform you use, for example; WordPress has the most themes available (so you'll find more rubbish there), the others have a more difficult process to get your themes on the platform so typically they're well formed and designed amazingly.

This doesn't mean WordPress is all bad!

This is normally how you'll start your process of doing your website, you find a nice theme.

Does your website need to scale?

The typically drag and drop builders (webflow, wix & squarespace) do a really good job at making it super simple for you to make basic, clean websites; but that's about it.

WordPress provides you with a huge array of tools (created by developers) that allows for far more flexibility when it comes to the scalability of your website.

For example; if you want to make a website that has a custom booking system integrated with a calendar and send a meme to your phone by text every hour...

Webflow, Wix & Squarespace probably wouldn't be able to help you. But WordPress on the other hand, you'd be able to do exactly that and more. Providing you had the skills to do so.

Point being, WordPress is scalable and you can do anything. But that's not always required.

What's the process i should follow?

Start by checking out each platform (use the section below to help you out).

Once you've done that, have a look at the themes each of those platforms are offering, this will be the main design for your website. It's perfectly fine if you want to hop between different platforms just for the themes. Typically speaking; Wix, Squarespace and Webflow (and sometimes WordPress) all provide similar functionality it's entirely sensible to make your decision on platform purely based on a cool theme you like.

Just tell me the platform to use...

Ok, so we know roughly what each platform does. So what's best for you...

You know nothing - something about tech
  • Use SquareSpace, Wix or Webflow (use the costs as your deciding factor)
I know lots and need to scale
  • Use WordPress or Webflow
Design is really important to me
  • Use WebFlow.
I'm making an e-commerce store
  • WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace and Webflow (use experience to decide).
I just want a website live now
  • WebFlow, Wix or Squarespace (use the costs or theme designs as your deciding factor)
I would like a developer to build a business website
  • Find a WordPress developer, they'll do it right and give plenty of option to scale! (make sure they're good).
I want that website you mentioned with the booking system and memes...
  • Use WordPress and find a theme with that functionality.
I want something custom and awesome!
  • Well, then you should get in touch with me!

Could you summarise each platform for me?

  • WordPress: Huge amounts of functionality and theme library. Considerably more options and functionality, best suited for people that know what they're doing.
  • Webflow: More for visual users with breathtaking designs and animations.
  • Wix: More for businesses and traditional websites.
  • Squarespace: More for creatives that like the personal touch on their website.
  • Webflow, Wix, Squarespace: Standard drag and drop builders that all provide a simple experience that allows users to select a theme and get a website off the ground relatively quickly with little knowledge.
Thanks for reading!