wordpress platform vs website builder

Why to Use WordPress vs Website Builders (for Nonprofits & Social Impact Organizations)

 

If you’re tech savvy, learning how to create a website has never been easier. New tools enable users to build off of templates and use drag & drop editing, making website design possible without knowing a single line of code. These tools, AKA “website builders” such as Wix or Squarespace, are great news for bloggers, musicians, and others that want to quickly learn how to make a website. However, it’s important to understand the web design limitations of these tools,  and why many organizations choose to build their website on WordPress.

WordPress is a content management system (CMS). Compared to website builders, a CMS is generally more powerful with the tradeoff of having a steeper learning curve. That being said, WordPress is widely considered to be the most user-friendly CMS option (over Joomla & Drupal). Whether or not you need the greater flexibility and functionality of a CMS is entirely dependent on your goals.

For most nonprofits and social impact organizations, building a WordPress website is the smartest choice, even if you’re starting small!

Scalability

Investing in a new website is investing in your organization’s growth. Why wouldn’t you build a website capable of growing to meet tomorrow’s needs?

The simplest of blogs on WordPress share the same DNA as the websites of massive publications and universities. Website builders might limit your growth by not having the flexibility to meet your changing needs.

Instead of having to completely rebuild your website a few years from now because your website builder lacks a certain function, building a simple site on WordPress lays the groundwork to build a high-caliber site down the line. Check out a showcase of WordPress websites here.

wordpress website showcs

Reliability

You want to be sure that whatever website service you use, you can depend on it around the clock. The numbers don’t lie in this category.  29% of all websites use WordPress.

Do you trust that the New York Times website will be up and running every morning? Then you trust WordPress.

Community

You also want to be sure that you won’t be left high and dry when you need help with your website. With more than 60 million active users worldwide, the buzz around WordPress outranks all of the top website builders (as shown by Google search term comparison below).

wordpress vs website builders google search trends

This large community of users is one of WordPress’ greatest strengths. There are extensive forums for support on virtually all aspects of WordPress. Further, hundreds of thousands of developers, content creators, and site owners gather at monthly WordPress meetups in over 400  cities worldwide.

The WordPress community also has thousands of themes and plugins available to all users. “Themes” help organize the design of a website while “plugins” extend its functionality. Plugins are especially helpful in adding advanced capabilities to your website as you need it, without extra cost. They can be anything from contact forms to image optimizers to Google Analytics installers.

Search Engine Optimization

WordPress is the best choice for SEO among all CMS and website builder options. Using plugins, you can optimize your site and increase your website’s rank in Google Searches to bring in more traffic. Other website builders make this a complex process.

Plugins enable users to edit permalink (URL) structure, page titles, and meta descriptions to be SEO-friendly. You can also easily create XML Sitemaps, which index your entire website with search engines.

On top of all that, WordPress even makes it easy to optimize your images. This is a crucial aspect of SEO. Compressing images, changing titles,  and adding alt text can be done quickly with the help of plugins.

Mobile Responsiveness

Today, more web traffic occurs on mobile devices than on desktop computers. happens on mobile devices. It is absolutely necessary to build mobile-friendly websites if you want to reach the broadest audience possible.

mobile web traffic wordpress

This visualization from a 2017 comScore report on Mobile’s Hierarchy of Needs shows that in most countries, multiplatform ownership dominates. Most people switch between mobile and desktop, particularly when selecting products and services.

To this point, all WordPress sites have mobile-responsive capabilities. Without exception, designing a website suitable for all devices improves both user experiences and search engine ranking.

Arguments for Website Builders: Ease of Use & Cost

The two main arguments on behalf of website builders are that the user will have an easier time editing their website, and that that website will cost them less in the long run. In some cases, both can be true. However, this scenario severely limits your ability to grow and scale.

If you’re a small outfit and you don’t have the time to learn WordPress or the funding to hire someone, using a website builder will most likely be the easiest way to create & manage a website. Templates and drag & drop editing tools also exist on WordPress, but the WordPress dashboard can be more confusing due to the sheer number of options as an administrator. These options may seem daunting at first, but they’re the reason you’ll never outgrow a WordPress site. So if you’re goal is to avoid hassle, make sure to consider the potential need for a website rebuild down the line.

When it comes to cost, both WordPress and website builders require a substantial upfront investment of time and/or money. WordPress also requires that you pay for a hosting plan and domain name before you can start building. There is no fee to use WordPress, so once the site is built you’re only paying the monthly hosting fee and the annual domain registration fee. These two fees vary by service provider, but in most cases the combined cost won’t exceed $200/year.

Similarly, website builders have a monthly fee in addition to the annual domain registration cost. The monthly fee includes a bundle of services such as hosting and customer support, and usually runs around $20/month.

So which is cheaper? It depends. Every website project is unique, and the smartest building choice is entirely dependent on your current and future goals. If you’re having trouble deciding which option is best for you, we’re happy to help you figure it out.

Why Choose WordPress

At the end of the day, building a website on WordPress is the best option for almost every organization, nonprofit, and company.

With its high degree of customizability, a huge developer community, and significant SEO advantages, using WordPress sets you up for success on any level.  When you’re ready to build, let’s talk.