Millions of users swear by the open source WordPress platform. No wonder, this flexible content management system (CMS) offers a wide range of design templates (called themes ) and plugins.
It is also relatively easy to use. This is why it has an impressive number of sites to its credit ( 38% of all websites in September 2020). Since version 5.0 of WordPress, the integrated Gutenberg editor makes it easy to structure content and embellish it with videos and images.
However, WordPress.org is not necessarily the right solution for everyone and has some weak points. In this post, we’ll take a look at what situations WordPress might not be the ideal solution for and what alternatives are adequate.
When not to use WordPress?
Editing a site with WordPress is relatively easy, even for beginners. But what about the installation? If you’re not relatively well- versed in the art , you might have some difficulty – despite the famous promise of installing in five minutes. Not everyone knows (or wants to know) how an FTP client works or how to configure it, for example.
Of course, many hosting services offer a one-click WordPress installation. But over time, things get technical, especially when making an update that conflicts with your plug-ins or your theme.
Example: the Gutenberg update, which we talked about above. With this complete overhaul of the editing environment, the update posed a lot of compatibility issues with WordPress themes. Difficult to resolve these difficulties without calling in an expert.
Ignoring updates, as many WP users do, is dangerous: the risk of hacking increases. Indeed, WordPress is very popular with criminals because of its popularity. At WebsiteToolTester, we made the switch to WordPress after using a website builder for years. But we now employ a WP developer who takes care of all the technical side.
Here is a screenshot of the WordPress editing interface:
Of course, I won’t hide from you that in some cases WordPress is the only adequate solution; for a website that needs a searchable database (real estate listings) or a well-designed member’s area, for example. For advice on these application areas, see our WordPress guide for beginners.
But if you are not interested in these technical aspects, and if you are looking for a tool to easily create a site rather than a full blogging platform, you will find some alternatives on this page.
Fundamental Difference Between WordPress and a Website Builder
Imagine not touching your site for a year. Your version of WordPress has probably become outdated and vulnerable to computer attacks. In contrast, most website editors update regularly in the background. As long as you use a strong password, you don’t have much to worry about.
Which website builders are up to WordPress?
From the myriad of online site editors, we’ve picked nine serious alternatives to WordPress. These systems are subject to automatic and regular security updates and are very easy to use.
Wix: top designs and total flexibility
WordPress offers an incredible number of designs, but unfortunately we find that adapting them to your own needs takes a lot of effort. At Wix, the operation is very different. You move the elements with the mouse to position them where you want. You also have the choice between 300 free professional templates .
Video backgrounds and animations are no problem. When it comes to SEO, this website builder does it right. We can say that portfolios are particularly easy to achieve.
Small e-commerce sites are done with Wix eCommerce . Physical shipping items or simple e-books, Wix can handle. The set-up is simple and the store works with any model.
Jimdo: a solid alternative to WordPress, with an online store
If you are looking for a complete “worry free” package, Jimdo is a good choice. This platform has more than 20 million websites to its credit. A free basic version is available. The paid version (Jimdo Pro) includes not only a website editor, but also a blog and an online store with basic functions.
Jimdo is also a perfect solution for online sales: the online store is easier to use than most other e-commerce solutions. In addition, everything is already optimized for smartphones, you do not have to configure anything else.
Besides the classic Jimdo Creator editor, there is the Jimdo Dolphin version . With this tool, you answer a few questions and the design is created automatically. Unfortunately, we’ve found that Jimdo Dolphin is more limited than the classic Jimdo editor.
What WordPress fans may be missing: When it comes to template flexibility, Jimdo falls short of WordPress. Additionally, the blog is designed more for beginners than professional bloggers. But it’s not bad, because it integrates well with the rest of the site.
Weebly: when simplicity is essential
Weebly is a very intuitive American website builder with around 40 million websites to its name. Weebly is a perfect choice for people who are primarily looking for a free solution. With the free version, a small gray Weebly banner is displayed in the site footer. You can use a personal domain name from the Pro plan ($ 12 per month).
The blog has a lot of features and you can very easily create contact or registration forms without any additional plugins. The Pro version even contains an integrated audio and video player. The only downside is that the domain name and email accounts are not included by default. You have to buy them additionally.
Webnode: the language pro
Website editors that make it easy to create a site in multiple languages can be counted on the fingers of one hand, so Webnode earns points here.
By default, WordPress is designed to support only one language. To make a multilingual site, you need plugins such as WPML . Since not all of its competitors are good in this area, Webnode is an excellent candidate for international sites.
However, we have to admit that Webnode’s blog does not come close to the ankle of WordPress. Cannot create categories and tags, and there is no comment add function.
Joomla! : complex but powerful
If you find that WordPress is already too complicated, go your way! Joomla! is a CMS that offers excellent built-in features, especially when it comes to managing multilingual web pages, but it’s a complicated tool. Where WordPress sometimes almost gives the impression of a beginner’s website builder, Joomla! will give you more trouble. The screenshots below give you an overview.
On a more positive note, Joomla! is generally a much more secure platform than WordPress. Hackers tend to target the most popular platform, a position WordPress occupies today. Joomla! Also offers a built-in two-step verification function, which makes it difficult for unauthorized visitors to hack your website.
Squarespace: the trendy New York publisher
Squarespace is a popular website builder for creatives. The designs are very elegant and already “responsive”: they adapt dynamically to the size of the screen or the browser. Still, we think Wix is superior because of its wider choice of models.
Very practical function: the import of WordPress blog. However, we recommend that you use Squarespace for blogging only if SEO is not important to you. Indeed, it is not possible to modify the title and the meta description of each post, although this is of extreme importance for SEO.
The lowest rate is $ 12 per month – unfortunately the price / performance ratio is not great .
Medium.com, Facebook (and other platforms where you can’t use a personal domain name)
Every two or three years, a new platform arrives and generates enormous enthusiasm. Medium is a good example. It makes creating beautiful items with incredible ease.
Many companies have therefore put themselves on Medium, or even moved their blog there. A few lucky winners were able to keep their blog on a personalized subdomain. But everything changed overnight. Medium suddenly decided that all articles would be published on Medium.com. A very bad idea for natural referencing in particular.
Imagine if Medium ever goes out of business, as did Posterous, a similar service. If things go wrong, your content is ruined, and so is your search engine rankings.
To prevent this scenario from occurring, we recommend that you always publish your content on your own blog, ideally in a subdirectory like www.mysiteweb.com/blog. In general, subdomains like blog.monsiteweb.com rank lower in Google.
With Facebook, you will encounter the same SEO issues as with Medium.
How exactly does an online website builder work?
In recent years, website builders have become powerful alternatives to WordPress. They mainly target classic websites. Most of the time, a blog and an online store are also integrated. The big advantage is that everything is managed in the same place: the hosting, the domain name and the site editor.
To create a website with a website editor, we usually follow the following steps:
- Sign up for a free or trial account
- Design template selection
- Content design
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- One-click website launch
In other words: you don’t have any software to install on your computer (let alone a web server) or an FTP client to configure. You can register your domain name with your website publisher.
For novices in particular, a great asset is the one-on-one assistance offered by website editors. This means that in the event of a technical problem, you don’t have to scour the internet looking for a solution.
In addition, the tools are very intuitive. You see the result almost immediately, as you are working on the actual site. Instead of an abstract input interface like on WordPress, you still see how your site actually looks.