As a small business owner, you may have asked, “What is the difference between WordPress and template type website platforms”? It’s a really good question, but it comes with a complex answer. It also may be good to ask when you should use one platform over the other. To help with these answers, I’m just going to address websites and not ecommerce platforms and would also like to steer away from professional designers versus do it yourselfers at this time. It should be noted that there can be some confusion with the platform terms, as both platforms can both use templates, builders and drag and drop technology. For the sake of keeping it simple, I’ll refer to these two template types as “WordPress” and “standard” websites.

What’s the difference in the platforms?

WordPress websites are an open source type of platform which means they’re a free software installation that uses themes and plugins to customize the look. Additionally, they require self-hosting and marketing tools. In contrast, standard websites like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and Godaddy are all-in-one platforms with drag and drop builders that require no coding and are primarily designed for do-it-yourselfers. They include hosting and marketing tools. Not to confuse things, but there are exceptions. However, for the most part, these are the general differences.

Why WordPress over a standard website?

Each platform has its place for small businesses and neither one is right or wrong. Affordability is usually the first consideration. WordPress design, maintenance and hosting are more costly for setup and ongoing costs as well as having a longer build time. However, these end up looking better and offer a more customized website with more flexibility for expansion down the road. Conversely, template websites designed by experts offer a more affordable design and marketing solution along with a faster set up time especially for new or startup companies trying to create an online presence.

What are the pros and cons?

Designs – WordPress is clearly superior and far more customizable. However, the new standard sites can be very acceptable and usually better than older websites of any type. Almost anything can be added to WordPress, but standard websites are restrained by the platform selected.

Timelines – if your want a website up and running quickly, standard websites can be done in a week or two, whereas WordPress usually takes 6-8 weeks for design completion. Adding additional features, SEO services and marketing integrations can increase product timelines.

Affordability – standard websites are a clear winner here for website design, secure hosting, ongoing costs and essential marketing designed for smaller businesses or startups. However, for more established businesses and those wanting a better online presence, the value of using WordPress becomes apparent.

Expandability – WordPress is the clear winner in this regard; there is almost no end to the amount of plugins, themes, ecommerce and marketing integrations. Having said that, standard website platforms today have many upgrades, add-ons, themes and marketing, but you’re at the mercy of your provider and have little or no option to export your work to another provider.

Marketing Tools – Both have the ability to incorporate tools such as SEO, email marketing, social media marketing and digital advertising. The difference is that standard all-in-one website platforms have those items built in at various levels, whereas WordPress you choose your required or preferred plugin or API connections.

Changes and Maintenance – WordPress websites usually require assistance for content changes for text, media and new pages. Because of a more complex self-hosted platform, maintenance is required for updates, breaks and fixes. Standard websites usually offer simple user changers that be made on mobiles and laptops as well as no maintenance services as the all-in-one platform looks after these issues.

Conclusion

If you have a small business, are starting a new business or your funds are tight for design and ongoing costs, then a standard website is a great option to get online quickly and to stay within your budget. Should you have an established business, you need a highly professional image online or need more advanced features and marketing, then WordPress is clearly the right solution for your business. You just have to decide which platform you’d like your business to stand on.