For those who can’t (or won’t) custom code their websites in HTML5, CSS and the like, there are website platforms to make site building easier. There are as many website platforms to choose from as there are website hosting services, but they’re not all created equal. Some platforms are ideal for e-commerce of digital goods and services, some are better for e-commerce of physical products, and others are just good all-around platforms. But before you lock yourself into an agreement, make sure you understand what you’re agreeing to.
We'll give you everything you need... for a cost
SquareSpace, Wix, Kajabi, and even Shopify all claim that their service- their platform- provides anything and everything you could every possibly need to create a website and a thriving business. Just a few keystrokes and clicks and no one would ever know you didn’t know a lick of code to get your store up and running, to send those marketing emails, to host that course.
And that’s true, but all that convenience and simplicity will cost you… dearly.
See, when those companies say they provide everything, they mean it. They are your website hosting service, they provide the website platform upon which all your content sits. They hold your subscriber emails and process those payments that come across your site. I know what you’re thinking… that’s great! They do everything for me in one place, what’s to complain about?
The true cost of convenience
What’s to complain about? The cost for one. Here are images (taken 10/09/2019) displaying pricing statistics from the leading all-in-one website platforms.
For new businesses, every penny counts. There is no room for waste when money isn’t rolling in. So, why waste (yes, waste) money on an all-in-one platform that can’t guarantee you anything other than a bill each month?
The only site listed above that has anything truly free is Wix, but your site will display Wix branding and once you want to do something beyond a blog or attaching your Etsy store to it, you’re precariously close to needing a premium site. In fact, while some of the apps in their “app market” are free, many require payment or for a user to be on a premium plan to use the app.
Just try to leave... we dare you.
So, what happens when you want something for your site that the fancy all-in-one platform can’t deliver? What happens when you simply can’t afford their fees anymore? You’ll want to move your site, of course. Good luck with that.
SquareSpace outright says it doesn’t play well with others, that you will basically have to redesign your website if you migrate to or from SquareSpace. You can export store data and import it if you are moving to Shopify, but not design data. You can export some content when migrating to or from WordPress (such as blog posts; images; basic pages), but css and other design elements will not transfer. This is part and parcel with any migration to or from any platform, there is just more headache when migrating away from an all-in-one platform.
Also remember that SquareSpace, Shopify, Kajabi, Wix, etc. also act as your website host that hosts only their own platform. So, you’ll need a new website host. There are many to choose from (SiteGround, Blue Host, Dream Host, etc.) and most of them offer new sign-ups a free domain, SSL certificate and site migration. (So, why were you paying that all-in-one platform to provide something others give for free?)
What's the alternative?
For individuals and companies that desire the ability to scale their website at will, to add features and functionality as needed, then keeping control of one’s website design and content is paramount.
To do that, keep website hosting separate from the platform. This prevents any service provider from locking you in. There are a wide range of website hosting service providers out there (as mentioned above) with plans costing a couple dollars a month for small sites that aren’t seeing much traffic yet, up to enterprise-level plans that still cost far less than any all-in-one platform does.
WordPress.org provides a free, open-source content management system for website content. There are millions of free and premium themes and plugins (third-party integrations) that mean the sky is the limit for providing functionality to websites. Your files are easily transferable between hosting services, so you can migrate with ease when necessary. Most website hosting service providers offer WordPress installation for free as well (either through self-service or their support team).
But… I hear you say, I don’t know WordPress. It’s such a pain to learn; I don’t understand it. JLT Creations installs (or migrates), and then builds upon WordPress to provide clients a truly customized website. When it’s complete, every client receives education and training on WordPress so they can update and maintain it without help.
But if you still don’t want to maintain it, JLT Creations will do it for you. Contact us today to learn more about how a WordPress website will add functionality and scalability to your business.