WordPress vs. Website Builders – Which Tool Should You Use?

WordPress is one of the most powerful tools for building a website for your small business — but it isn’t for everyone. WordPress is a content management system (CMS), whereas most website builders work by providing templates to quickly add elements to your website.

The difference between the two really comes down to what you’re looking for when building a website for your small business. Do you want a program that will allow for in-depth customizations and a wide array of integrations? Or are you looking for something simple to get the job done quickly?

In this article, we will compare and contrast WordPress with other website builders to help you decide which platform is right for your small business.

Need more guidance on finding a website builder for your small business? Check out our Best Website Builder review to learn more.


What Is WordPress?

As previously noted, WordPress is a CMS — software used to create and manage digital content. Although technically different from a website builder, WordPress still helps people build and publish websites. To learn more about WordPress and how it functions, read our What Is WordPress guide.

Skip Ahead:

  1. GoDaddy: Best WordPress Alternative Overall
  2. Web.com: Best Included Features
  3. Squarespace: Best For Easy Aesthetic
  4. Wix: Best For Simplicity
  5. Shopify: Best For Ecommere
  6. Bluehost: Best WordPress Website Builder
Best Website Builders
GoDaddy
4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7/5

Best Website Builder Overall

  • Affordable pricing and flexible features
  • Easy-to-use professional templates
  • Extensive marketing features

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Web.com
4 point 5 out of 5 stars
4.5/5
  • Intuitive editor for easy set-up
  • Access to professional photos
  • Positive customer reviews

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Squarespace
4 point 4 out of 5 stars
4.4/5
  • Versatile marketing features
  • Sleek and customizable templates
  • Functional ecommerce services

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Wix
4 point 4 out of 5 stars
4.4/5
  • Secure payment processing
  • Scalable storage space
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Excellent customer support

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Shopify
4 point 3 out of 5 stars
4.3/5

Best for Ecommerce

  • Excellent ecommerce capabilities
  • List unlimited products
  • Advanced and understandable analytics

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WordPress
4 point 1 out of 5 stars
4.1/5
  • Highly customizable
  • Cost effective
  • Wide range of integrations

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GoDaddy: Best WordPress Alternative Overall

GoDaddy was built with ease of use in mind. The platform is intentionally and proudly light on features. GoDaddy templates are designed to need very little modification so you can get your website up and running in as little as five minutes. While that may seem incredibly low, it isn’t an exaggeration, and service-based professionals or artists creating a portfolio for their content can have a website up and running in under an hour.

GoDaddy Pros

  • Fast: You can have a working website in fewer than five minutes.
  • Easy: It’s a great tool for those more concerned about the basics and less about endless customization.
  • Scalable: It gives you access to powerful search engine optimization (SEO) features, email marketing tools, and social media posting — even on the lower-end packages.

GoDaddy Cons

  • Limiting: Not the best fit for those concerned about finite design changes.
  • Menial Ecommerce: Its ecommerce functionality is a good start, but other tools may better suit your needs if you’re serious about creating an online store with lots of items.

We found GoDaddy to be more effective at matching templates and themes to specific industry categories, and GoDaddy templates are also generally easier to use than anything WordPress offers. Not only that, the prefilled content is so well-tailored to the needs of a variety of industries, the changes you’ll need to make are minimal.

While WordPress might offer endless customization, GoDaddy is generally easier to use and offers enough integrations to help you build and scale your business and website. 

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Read our full GoDaddy Website Builder Review to see all the amazing features GoDaddy has to offer small business owners, then get started with GoDaddy for free.

Web.com: Best Included Features

Web.com is a popular website builder that’s easy to use, with templates and a drag-and-drop functionality. Web.com is an excellent choice for any small business owner with no previous experience building a website.

Web.com Pros

  • User-Friendly: Web.com’s editor makes setting up your website a breeze.
  • Advanced Templates: Web.com boasts dozens of attractive and customizable templates to help add sleek functionality to your business website.
  • Premium Image Library: Access thousands of professional photos through Web.com’s Site Editor.

Web.com Cons

  • Slow Load Times: Web.com’s servers aren’t as fast as others, and this can lead to your webpage taking longer to load. 
  • No Free Trial: Even though Web.com offers a discounted 30 day trial period, and a no-risk money-back guarantee, it does not technically offer a free plan.

Web.com also has plenty of unique and responsive templates to help your website shine, no matter what device it’s being viewed on. Plus, Web.com boasts some of the best customer service reviews.

Web.com does not offer a free trial, but plans start at $1.95 for the first 30 days, making it possible to try this website builder without a huge initial investment. Plans can be canceled at any time if you are unsatisfied with the service.

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Find out if Web.com is the right fit for your business website by reading our full Web.com Review. Then, get started building your professional site with Web.com.

Squarespace: Best For Easy Aesthetic

The latest version of Squarespace makes it even easier for beginners to create a beautiful website. If you own or manage a small, local business and want to create a gorgeous website, Squarespace might be the best fit for you.

Squarespace Pros

  • Ecommerce: Squarespace allows for you to offer memberships, digital products, physical items, and appointments.
  • Marketing Features: Get versatile email marketing campaigns, cross-platform social media features, SEO tools, and access to dynamic analytics.
  • Customizable: Squarespace offers hundreds of templates, has a handy “undo” button, and even has designers you can hire to create your website exactly how you want it.

Squarespace Cons

  • Multiple Versions: With both Squarespace 7.0 as well as the new and improved Squarespace 7.1 operating at the same time, things can get confusing.
  • Overwhelming Options: Despite streamlining its customization options, Squarespace still manages to throw so much at you that building your site can seem like a never-ending process.

Squarespace does a great job of putting the simplest options right up front to better help those who are beginners at building websites. For the more advanced designers, Squarespace has detailed customization options in the background so you don’t lose out on great features. 

Even if you aren’t a designer, you can create a modern-looking website for your business by following one of Squarespace’s templates. The Squarespace website builder does just about everything. There’s little we can think of that it can’t do when you include the various tools, integrations, and extensions Squarespace offers.

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Make sure Squarespace is the best fit for your business needs by reading our complete Squarespace Review. Then, get started building your professional website with Squarespace for free.

Wix: Best For Simplicity

WordPress and Wix have both been around for a while, and both platforms have done a relatively good job of staying current. Wix offers a popular, versatile web builder that can meet the needs of just about any LLC or small business. With an easy editor and hundreds of unique themes, Wix streamlines how to create a website that showcases your talents, services, and products. Even better, Wix is one of our top choices for best free website builder.

Wix Pros

  • Storage: Every Wix plan comes with enough storage to house plenty of images and media, allowing for gorgeous sites.
  • Security: All Wix plans come with a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate, ensuring your site and the data of your visitors are kept safe.
  • Support: Wix’s support staff are well-trained and you have access to priority support with an upgraded plan. 
  • Free Plan: Wix has one of the best free plans around, use it to get comfortable with the builder and upgrade whenever you're ready.

Wix Cons

  • Slow Loading Speeds: Unfortunately, the sophisticated templates offered by Wix end up slowing most of its sites down. 
  • Difficult Migration: Wix notoriously makes it challenging to migrate any Wix site to a separate web hosting provider.
  • Overly Basic Metrics: Even at higher plans and price points, Wix’s analytics aren’t very robust. For those needing more detailed metrics, you’ll have to install and connect Google Analytics to your Wix website.

With Wix, you can create a website without charge by choosing the free plan at signup. You also can add basic features and customize your site before you start the building process. This includes incorporating chat capabilities, appointment-booking tools for service and hospitality businesses, and much more.

Should you be entertaining the idea of adding some limited ecommerce features, Wix offers plans for websites with and without online stores. It also provides an intuitive website-building interface and lots of customization options.

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See what Wix can do for your business by reading our full Wix Review. Then, when you're ready to get started building your professional website, begin with Wix for free.

Shopify: Best For Ecommerce

Shopify is one of the best ecommerce platforms available, especially for small businesses. Shopify plans cover several tiers of service so you can choose one that fits your business and your budget. With hundreds of professional themes, intuitive analytics, room for tons of unique customizations, and a reliable SSL-protected online storefront, Shopify makes it easy for anyone to build their own online store.

Shopify Pros

  • Unlimited Storage: With Shopify, you’ll never face any restrictions on how many items you can sell in your online store.
  • Intuitive Controls: The Shopify dashboard makes navigating your business’s metrics a breeze. It’s also easy to use Shopify’s customization menus for building your website.
  • Integrated Features: Shopify enables you to connect and manage your business’s social media accounts as well as any other alternate sales channels.

Shopify Cons

  • No Autosave: Users must regularly save their work to avoid losing their changes.
  • App Costs: Shopify has an app store with thousands of plugins to help you create your ideal website, but some come at quite the recurring cost.
  • Transaction Fees: Unless you use Shopify Payments, you’ll be charged a transaction fee every time you accept money for your products.

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial with no pressure to choose a plan beforehand. All you need to do is answer a few questions about your business, enter basic contact information, and then begin building your professional online store.

Adding and listing products is easy with the Shopify dashboard. This feature has menus, forms, and customizable options to help you grow and maintain your website and business. There are even ways to add themes or connect your personal domain if you already have one.

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Learn more about all the included features of Shopify by checking out our complete Shopify Review. Then, begin building your online store with a Shopify free trial.

Bluehost: Best WordPress Website Builder

Bluehost has long been a tried-and-true web hosting company, one that many WordPress users relied upon to host their websites. However, the company recently launched its own website builder that combines some of the power of WordPress’ CMS software with the simplicity and ease of use of website builders.

There’s no question that website builders are easier to use than CMS software, but with Bluehost, you get a little bit of both. The main editing dashboard is set up much like GoDaddy or any other ultra-simple website building tool. However, you’re only ever a click away from your WordPress administrator control panel. Here, you can add some of the additional features associated with WordPress software, such as integrations with ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce.

Bluehost Pros

  • Easy to use: The Bluehost website builder offers useful guides and streamlines the process of setting up a WordPress website.
  • Affordable: It’s a great tool for those wanting an inexpensive option that is easy to work with.
  • Best of both worlds: The Bluehost website builder automatically connects to WordPress, allowing you to further edit and customize your site with plugins that work on both platforms.

Bluehost Cons

  • Limitations: Not all WordPress plugins are compatible with the Bluehost website builder. You can still add these functionalities to your site, they just won’t be accessible in your Bluehost website builder when editing.
  • Complicated: While it’ll help you create a site quickly and with minimal effort, your business website may require more effort and knowledge to further customize down the road.
  • Frustrating: Some tools are slow to load and there’s a general clunkiness to the builder.

If you’re looking for a website builder that incorporates some of the power of WordPress’ CMS software, Bluehost is one of the only platforms of its kind in the industry. If you need some of the advanced customizations that WordPress allows, you can download the original software and host your website using Bluehost. The difference will really come down to your skill level — if you’re an experienced web designer, the latter option may not intimidate you. If you’re a novice, better to stick with the former.

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Be sure to read our full Bluehost Website Builder Review to learn more about the pros and cons of using Bluehost. Then, when you're ready, get started building and hosting your website with Bluehost.

Final Thoughts

No matter what, you shouldn’t be made to feel trapped by WordPress. And just because WordPress isn’t the right fit for you, that doesn’t mean that your perfect match isn’t out there. There are tons of website builders, and we’ve picked out the top WordPress alternatives for you to consider. 

In most cases, we’d expect GoDaddy to be the ideal WordPress alternative for you. It’s easy to use and it’s very affordable.

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Get Started With the Best WordPress Alternative

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