What’s the best website builder? WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify

When you’re first setting up your small business, there are so many decisions to make. What services are you going to offer, how much are you going to charge, how are you going to brand your business, who are you going to work with? And you can’t forget all those decisions you’re going to have to make about your website. Who’s going to build it for you? What will it look like, and what does it need to do for you? Your website is going to be at the very heart of your business, so you need to make sure you get it right.

But where do you start? With so many choices open to you, it can feel overwhelming, but a helpful starting point is to take a moment to decide what platform you’ll use to build your website. Some of the best and most commonly used are WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify and in this article, I’ll walk you through the pros and cons of each so you can find the best website builder for your small business.

But first, what do you need your site to do?

I know I said the best first step was to choose the right website builder for your business, but actually, you need to do something even before that: decide what you want your website to be able to do. What is the purpose of your website?

Are you going to be selling physical products? If you are, you’ll need your website to be a shop on top of everything else. Or will you be teaching and sharing your knowledge? Then, you’ll need your website to have a good blogging function and perhaps a way to sell digital products. Or maybe you’ll be running a coaching business and need your website to take bookings and connect seamlessly with your calendar.

Another thing to think about are your plans for the future. Do you have grand plans to scale your business quickly, and do you need a website with the functionality to match, or are you happy to build your business a little more slowly and keep things simpler for a little longer?

Once you’ve worked through these questions and you know what you want your website to do for you, you’re ready to choose the best website builder. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each so you can get on with building your business.

Which website builder is best for you?

WordPress

As a website designer, I’ve chosen to specialise in working with WordPress sites as they are very flexible, easily customised and have all the functionality your business will ever need.

Pros of WordPress:

It’s easily customised: WordPress has a huge library of themes and plugins, making it great for businesses looking to add or change their service offerings. You’re never stuck with WordPress; you can always change things up to ensure your website reflects your business plans.

You can scale your website in line with your business: From a few daily visitors to maybe millions one day, WordPress scales with your business. It’s a great platform that supports your growth and can easily accommodate increased traffic and content without compromising performance.

There’s a great community: The WordPress community is one of the biggest online communities worldwide. There’s always an answer to your question, as well as tutorials and updates that keep your site secure and up to date with any system changes.

E-commerce capabilities: By integrating WooCommerce, you can turn your WordPress website into a really powerful e-commerce platform or, in English, a shop! It will easily compete with other e-commerce solutions like Shopify. On top of that, WordPress supports all the major payment gateways and you can add all sorts of extra shopping functionality with their plugins.

Content Management: WordPress started as a blogging platform, and with this legacy behind it, it’s great for content creation and content management. There are lots of tools you can build in to ensure your website has lots of great, easily accessible content that is all SEO-friendly. 

Cons of WordPress:

Technical Complexity: WordPress isn’t the most intuitive platform for beginners or DIYers. There is a bit of a learning curve when you first get started, especially if you are building your website yourself. This can be easily solved by working with a WordPress website designer who can do all that heavy lifting for you. Managing your plugins and keeping your themes updated can be a bit of a challenge, too, but having the right support in place to keep your website maintained by a WordPress expert is all that’s needed.

Performance Issues: WordPress websites can suffer from slow loading times if they’re not properly optimised. Slow loading times are not good for your customers or your SEO. This is usually because you’ve got too many plugins installed, or the code on your website is bloated and making your website too heavy. Again, this can be easily solved by working with someone who knows the best plugins for you to use and who can make sure your site is built and designed to be as light and as fast to load as possible in the first place.

Wix

Wix is great if you’re looking for a simple platform that’s easy to set up yourself. It has a very simple, user-friendly interface and is one of the best drag-and-drop website builders, which makes building your website easy if you’re a beginner. 

There is a lot less scope for customising your website compared to WordPress, and it’s not as flexible or scalable. Still, if you’re comparing Wix vs WordPress, it’s a good choice for very early-stage businesses looking to get set up online quickly.

Squarespace

Squarespace is known for its good-looking templates and fantastic designs, which make it great for creative businesses that want to showcase a portfolio or run very stylised businesses. Squarespace websites are beautiful, and there are lots of layouts you can use to create an amazing-looking website. 

Squarespace has an easy-to-use interface and lots of support and tutorials if you’re doing things yourself. Still, when you’re comparing Squarespace vs WordPress, it doesn’t have WordPress’s functionality, scalability, or SEO tools.

Shopify

Shopify is for you if you run a product-based business. It’s amazing for creating online stores and has all the payment and customer care functions you could possibly need. You can manage your inventory, tell people about various shipping options, and do everything you need to run a successful online product-based business.

When comparing Shopify vs. WordPress, Shopify is hands down the best choice for product-based businesses. However, it lacks the flexibility of WordPress as far as non-retail features go and isn’t as design-adaptable as Squarespace.

Still wondering what’s best for you?

Remember, the best website builder for you is the one that aligns most closely with your business needs. WordPress will give you the most functionality, flexibility, and scalability, making it perfect for businesses that want a website that will grow with them. Shopify might be best for you if you are setting up a pure e-commerce business, while Wix and Squarespace might be best if you are just at the very start of your business journey and want to build your own website. 

Take a look at this table to help you decide exactly what the best website builder is for you.

Builder FeatureWordPressWixSquarespaceShopify
Ease of UseModerate (technical skills and support helpful)Very Easy (drag-and-drop interface)Easy (intuitive, drag-and-drop)Easy (user-friendly e-commerce)
CustomisationHigh (extensive plugins and themes)Moderate (some design limitations)Moderate (stylish templates)Low (limited outside e-commerce)
ScalabilityHigh (can handle large scale sites)Moderate (suitable for smaller sites)Moderate (suitable for medium sites)High (designed for scaling stores)
SupportExtensive community supportStrong official supportGood official supportExcellent 24/7 support
SEO ToolsHigh (advanced plugins available)Moderate (basic SEO tools)Good (integrated SEO features)Good (integrated e-commerce SEO)
E-commerceExcellent with WooCommerceGood (built-in e-commerce features)Good (built-in e-commerce tools)Excellent (dedicated e-commerce)
Content ManagementExcellent (originally a blogging platform)Good (basic blogging tools)Good (integrated blogging tools)Moderate (focused on products)
PricingFlexible (free to premium plans)Range from free to premiumPremium plans onlyPremium (specialised for e-commerce)
Mobile ResponsivenessHigh (depends on theme)High (automatic mobile optimisation)High (automatic mobile optimisation)High (automatic mobile optimisation)

If you compare these features and think carefully about your business plans, the experience you want your customers to have, your tech confidence, and, of course, your budget, you’ll have the answer to deciding which website builder is right for you.

Feeling more confident now?

You’ll see from this article that each of the website builders we’ve explored has definite strengths, but I would come down squarely on the side of WordPress if you’re setting up any kind of online business other than a purely product-based one. WordPress gives you the best functionality and is easily customised so it will grow and adapt with you as your business does.

But if you’re still unsure about what platform would be best to get started with, or you’d like to explore how I might be able to help you get your WordPress site designed and built, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Need help with your small business website?

Let’s chat and see how I can help.