3 Great WordPress Alternatives to Easily Create Your Own Website
Update: 30 May 2014
There are millions of WordPress fans out there. And little wonder: it boasts a great variety of themes and plugins, is flexible, and very easy to use.
However, the free Open Source platform WordPress.org is not for everyone as it also comes with some disadvantages. In this article I will take a look at situations where WordPress may not be the ideal solution, and suggest some alternative tools.
When shouldn’t you use WordPress?
Editing a website with WordPress is very straightforward, even for beginners. But what about the installation process? If you are not very technically minded, you may run into problems despite their famous 5-minute installation claim. Not everyone knows or even wants to know how an FTP client works or how to set one up.
Of course, a lot of hosting companies offer a one-click WordPress installation. But let’s face it, it’s going to get technical at some point – maybe when you install a theme or need to upgrade to a new version to keep hackers out of your site.
Screenshot of the WordPress editor:
So if you don’t want to deal with the technical aspects, are looking for an easy to use website tool rather than a fully-fledged blogging platform, and are keen on the idea of free hosting thrown in, then read on.
How do website builders work?
Web 2.0 or online website builders have many names. Whatever you want to call them, they have become pretty powerful in recent years. They are focused mainly around classic websites, with or without a blog.
To create a website with a site builder, you generally have to follow these steps:
- Sign up for either a free or a trial account
- Choose a design you like
- Customize the content on your site
In other words, there is no software to install on your computer and no FTP client to set up. You can also register your domain name through the provider of your website builder. Beginners in particular love the fact that website builders come with personal support, so there’s no need to browse web forums trying to figure out solutions to your technical problems on your own.
In addition to this, the editors are extremely intuitive. What you see is really what you get, as you basically work on the actual website and not on some abstract interface mask. Check this video to see how it actually works:
Which website builders measure up to WordPress?
While there are countless website builders on the market, I find that these three providers are the most viable WordPress alternatives:
A very popular website builder among creative folks is Squarespace. Not only do the designs look very classy, it gives you a lot of control over the setup of your website. It also lets you configure all your meta-tags, URLs and page titles so that you can be at the top of Google if you do it right. Another great feature is the online store that comes with the Business package.
The blog feature is top of class and can compete with WordPress. If you are currently a WordPress user you can even import your blog, which is very handy. Their email support is also excellent – you usually get an answer within a couple of hours.
Downsides are the limited depth of navigation (only two levels) and missing features for multlingual websites. Plans are available for $8, $16 or $24 per month. You can find our full Squarespace review here.
If you are looking for an all-round carefree package, you should take Jimdo into consideration. Eight million websites worldwide run on this platform and it offers a free basic version. The paid plan (Jimdo Pro) not only gives you a website and a domain name, but you also get an email address and a simple newsletter tool.
Jimdo is also great if you have something to sell: the online store is easier to use than any other e-commerce solution I know. What’s more, it’s optimized for smartphones without having to set up a thing.
What WordPress fans would miss: their templates can’t measure up to WordPress in terms of flexibility and the blog is not really suitable for serious blogging. It’s still nice to have, though. For a detailed review, click here.
Weebly offers a very intuitive website builder that powers some 12 million websites. Their user interface may even be convincing enough to convert even early WordPress adopters And if you are looking for a free option, Weebly is a fantastic choice. Their free plan features nothing more than a little grey Weebly button in your website’s footer. If you want to use your own domain name, you can sign up for their Starter plan (4$ per month).
The blog feature is nothing to get excited about, but with Weebly you can create contact or registration forms with ease. It also boasts an integrated video and audio player (Pro plan only). You can find our recent review here.
Even if technology is not your best friend, there is no excuse not to have a website of some kind. Website builders have a lot going for them, but do choose your provider wisely! Moving a website away from a website builder is no easy task as each provider uses its own system which is usually incompatible with other site building systems.
However, once you have found a provider you are comfortable with, you can fully focus on your design and content. All the technical headaches will be dealt with by your provider. And isn’t that how running a website is really supposed to be?