WordPress (or WooCommerce) are definitely good platforms and will be the exact right choice for many users: Scalability is excellent and the number of extensions is impressive. On the other hand, beginners will have a hard time getting everything set up without running into problems – unless, of course, they get outside help to setup this popular CMS.
Hi Donny, I think there are some drag and drop user interfaces for WordPress, but I haven't used them myself so I have no idea if they're good. But as far as I know, most WordPress users I know don't use these interfaces - maybe that's an indication that people rather bite the bullet to learn how to code or hire someone who does, rather than using these interfaces? I can't be completely sure, though. Using a hosted service really isn't terrible at all. If you are running an ecommerce store (sounds like you are since you are selling products?), platforms like Shopify is excellent. They're very scalable, and tons of tools for you to use. They have dedicated support teams so you can always reach out for dedicated help and they manage all the technical back end matters for you. Of course, if you prefer to have 100% control over everything including hosting and security, then something like WordPress will allow you to do that. Jeremy
The one thing you didn’t discuss much in your article is how easy for the client it is, using the CMS *after* the developer walks away. One reason I love WP is I can show you how to add a new blogpost in 10m flat, regardless of your tech ability – and barring that, set up an email drop so it’s even simpler. October fits the mold of Joomla, Drupal, and a few others with a learning curve that’ll be quite a bit steeper for some clients.
Now I don’t want to pretend as if there weren’t any cases where WordPress is the only real option – there definitely are. If, for example, you want to run a website with a searchable database for real estate offerings. It’s also a great choice if you need a complex member area. You can find some tips on WordPress solutions in our Beginner’s Guide to WordPress.
Since being acquired by Square in early 2018, Weebly has shifted its focus to e-commerce. Unlike Shopify, Weebly is a website builder with e-commerce capabilities. This makes it much easier to build and design a website without requiring any code. Weebly’s designer is slightly more flexible than Squarespace but definitely less than PageCloud and Wix. Weebly is much more affordable than Shopify, but doesn’t have the same number of features. So, if you’re looking for an easy way to sell a few simple product online, Weebly may be for you.
If you’re knowledgeable about site building and e-commerce, you’ll find solutions on this list that give you better extension possibilities, more overall features, and the freedom to potentially do anything you want with your online store (since you’d be hosting it on your own server). That said, if you’re just getting into selling things online and want to do everything yourself, Shopify can often be a great place to start for new businesses and less technically-savvy folk!
The blog feature is the most flexible we’ve seen. You can create all sort of layouts and use all the available elements (e.g. galleries, contact forms, video integration, etc) and have blogging features (e.g. tags, categories, comments, etc), excellent for publishing posts. It also boasts an integrated video and audio player (Pro plan only). Check out our direct comparison: Weebly vs WordPress.
I use ExpressionEngine for most of the professional sites I’ve developed over the past 10+ years or so (I think Craft is based off EE, or developed by one of the EE programmers — I forget the details). Started out with that one because it’s easy to create templates and you know exactly what’s going on under the hood. WP was not an option earlier because it was an easily hackable mess. I finally took another look at WP because 1) I’d seen so many complex, well-crafted sites and 2) ExpressionEngine got too pricy for many of my non-profit organization clients. I just wish WP code wasn’t so convoluted — it’s not elegant code, but any means, and there is way too much stuff loaded that doesn’t serve any purpose. I guess I just have to get used to it.
I don’t think you are being fair. The average small blogger on a shared host isn’t going to be an expert in PHP. Like the poster I have seen 4 wordpress sites hacked and have just switched hosts following 2 in a year. One of these did use an outdated commercial template, the other 3 used standard templates with no plugins supposedly automatically updated at every new release.. There are plenty of simple things that could be done to make WordPress more secure including the most simple one of notifying any changes to configuration files via basic checksum. PHP as a product may be very secure but the way it is implemented by shared hosts allows for multiple infections. Security and ease of maintenance should be number one on the list when looking for a blog if you don’t want to be monitoring round the clock. I’m looking for a simple occasional blog that I can configure without a computer science degree and hopefully tweak by looking through the code. Ghost seems interesting but my host doesn’t support NodeJS
Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.
Why You Shouldn't Use WordPress! And Why WordPress is Bad