Why you should use WordPress for your Web Design
There are so many web design software and online tools including WordPress, it is becoming tough for a beginner to know what content management system to choose. Some see the WordPress website as the best due to the fact that there are so many themes and plugin that can give you the functionality you are looking for.
Sometimes you may not care to find out which CMS to choose and your web designer will just decide what to use. However, it is important that you know what will work for you most as well as knowing the pros and cons of each platform or content management system you choose because if you make the wrong choice, you may need to start over and have additional development costs.
Subscription-Based vs Non-Subscription Based
Let’s look at some of the most popular content management systems then we can compare and contrast. These include WordPress, Blogger, Squarespace, Wix, Shopify, Drupal, Joomla, Weebly, Adobe Dreamweaver, and Magento.
The above listed CMS falls into 2 categories, namely; Subscription Based and Non-Subscription Based. The subscription-based platform is those that you cannot run on your own server, you pay for it may be monthly or yearly as the case may be e.g. Shopify, Wix, etc. The Non-Subscription Based platforms are those that you would run on your own server and you are not leasing the platform. These include Magento, Dreamweaver, Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress.
Some of the non-subscription based platforms are free but may have additional fees for plugins, themes, and the paid version comes with additional functionality. For that of Dreamweaver, SAAS is the latest version with a monthly fee, though once you have built your website, you can cancel the subscription.
Before the Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Magento, Drupal and Joomla took over, Dreamweaver used to be one of the most widely used web design software.
In the early day’s website was designed by hand using HTML and then software like Dreamweaver and Microsoft Frontpage made it easier to code websites visually, which would then provide you with HTML code that you will upload into your server.
Presently, the popularity has faded in favor of the CMS platforms. The Non-subscription base allows you to code the website directly on the server and make changes on the fly. You can drag and drop without coding, you can even provide login info to your clients for them to make simple updates or content writers post blogs.
Dreamweaver offers a lot of customization and is still a pretty strong platform. If you are looking for a custom build website, that may require a lot of backend programming such as PHP coding, then Dreamweaver might be the platform for you. If you have an idea of the design you want, then you can hire a graphic designer to do a mockup in Photoshop first and then use Dreamweaver to cut up parts and create an HTML code of it.
The Subscription-Based platforms are Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, and Weebly. There are many more. For example, Godaddy also offers an online web builder. The Subscription-Based platforms usually charge you a monthly fee and in the case of Shopify which is an eCommerce platform, they also charge you a per-transaction fee.
WordPress is the most popular of the Non-Subscription Based platforms. WordPress was originally designed as a blogging platform, due to its ease of use, people started using it for Web Design, and the availability of so many 3rd party themes and plugins make it easier. One of its benefits is that it is an open-source and free platform which is one reason for its success. You build the most complex website with WordPress, all you need is to buy a theme, the price usually ranges between $20 to $60 range. If your template does not have certain functionality that you would like, you can also usually download a free plugin or buy a plugin that does what you want. For example, there are several SEO plugins that make SEO of your websites much easier, such as YOAST and All in One SEO Pack. This is why I prefer WordPress it is my most favorite web development tool.
Ecommerce Platforms: Woo Commerce, Magento, Shopify
If you want your website to have e-commerce functionality, all you need is to install the WooCommerce plugin, which is the most popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress. Woo Commerce would work well if you do not have too many items or inventory. In my opinion, it is great for less than 100 items or maybe even less than 1000 items. But if you are going to have thousands of items, then the Magento platform is more robust and it is also the preferred platform by most major retailers. Sites like Coca Cola, Nike and Christian Louboutin use Magento.
There are two (2) versions of Magento, Community Edition and Enterprise Edition. The Community Edition is free and comes with no support, while the Enterprise Edition version costs money and it comes with support and premium features. The paid version cost is around $20K to $125k a year. If you are not running a big enterprise such a high budget would be too much for you, hence is not the best option. Here is more detail about the different versions.
Shopify is the next most popular e-commerce platform choice to most people but it is not free to use, Shopify will charge a monthly fee, plus a per-transaction fee. Though other platforms do charge transaction fees because you would need a payment processor. When you use Shopify, it simply becomes your payment processor. If you decide to use a different or additional payment gateway with Shopify they will then charge you maybe 0.5% to 2% additional, depending on which version you choose. Shopify is easy to use the platform and most people can even build their own store by following online steps and tutorials. However, be advised that a professional web designer can usually create a much better-looking site than if you do it on your own. But if budget is an issue and you don’t mind spending some time to learn, then you may want to choose this platform or one of the other Subscription Based platforms like Wix and Weebly.
Subscription-Based Platforms and Online Web Builders: Wix, Weebly, Squarespace
So let’s talk about the other Subscription Based platforms like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace. Some like Weebly have free versions and other paid versions. These platforms are usually easy to work with and provide online website builders. They also offer e-commerce capabilities to sell items online. In general, I do not recommend any Subscription Based platforms, because you are stuck using that platform and if one day you decide to use a different platform, you need to start from scratch. You are also limited to the functionalities of these platforms and their 3rd party templates and plugins are not nearly as much as what WordPress has. In terms of SEO, they may be harder to work with as they may not have as many functionalities that WordPress plugins offer.
Other CMS Platforms Apart from WordPress: Joomla and Drupal
Finally, let’s talk about 2 other platforms that are Non-Subscription Based, which are Drupal and Joomla. Just like WordPress, they are both open-source CMS platforms. Personally, I am not too familiar with both of these CMS I only have little experience with them, but I have had that they are both powerful platforms and are pretty popular. However, because WordPress is more widely used and has the most 3rd party templates and plugins, I always recommend WordPress as the first choice to use to everyone.
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