WordPress, though a robust and reliable web development platform, is not everyone’s cup of tea. Most first-time users find the website builder very confounding, not because there aren’t many features on WordPress but because there’s too much of everything. There are way too many themes and plugins and extensions and other customization tools here that put on in a dilemma. Also, most users don’t have the expertise to work with the self-hosted version where you have to do everything yourself. What we need is a simpler, hassle-free alternative to WordPress that is equally powerful but a lot less complicated. Here are a few options you can try out if WordPress has you bamboozled.
Wix Free Website Builder
Wix is one of the best website builders in the market today, suitable for both professionals and amateurs alike. It currently powers hundreds of domains online and has more than a million subscribers worldwide. This drag and drop builder comes with a unique ADI or artificial digital intelligence editor. Just answer a few questions about how you would want your website and Wix does the rest for you. The standard editor gives you more flexibility. You have to manually drag and drop the elements on the WYSIWYG interface, customize it using the tools in the editor, and publish it.
There are over 500 templates and themes to choose from, each customizable, and compatible with mobile devices. Other than that, there are one-page parallax designs, videos, images, fonts and colors for creating attractive backgrounds for your website. Wix also supports e-commerce, you can build product catalogs, shopping carts, integrate various payment gateways and send out newsletters in a matter of minutes. What’s more, Wix is cost-effective – the free version gives you a lot of perks like free hosting, SEO tools, and CMS solutions. Even the paid packages are well within your budget and come with a lot of perks.
Weebly Free Web Builder
Weebly is one of the most user-friendly options on our list and requires no coding skills whatsoever. This again is a drag and drop website builder that comes with a loaded dashboard and an intuitive interface. The WYSIWYG framework gives you a glimpse of the website as it would appear in the user-end browser. This saves you a lot of trouble having to edit and re-edit the content. And in case you still somehow manage to screw things up, the on-site editor allows you to make real-time changes in the content even after you’ve published it.
Weebly is the perfect platform for users who want a quick and hassle-free web development solution. Once you have registered and created an account, you’ll be redirected to the collection of free templates and themes to choose from. These themes support all kinds of Android, IOS, and Windows devices. Pick a theme, drag the elements you need on it, customize the content, preview and publish – it’s that simple! Weebly is great for building blogs, websites, online stores, portfolios, and loads of other platforms. You can integrate your e-store with WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads to get free access to plugins, extensions, analytical tools, and graphics.
Shopify eCommerce Website Builder
Shopify is by far the most lucrative web building tool that can be pitted against WordPress. The platform supports over 500,000 stores till date and is growing to be quite a force in the market. It is the best one-stop shop e-commerce builder that caters to both large-scale enterprises and growing start-ups. You don’t need exceptional coding skills or be tech-savvy to work on Shopify, a basic knowledge of web designing is enough to get you started. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be redirected to the collection of store-front themes which can apply to both desktop-based websites and mobile applications. Other advanced tools include SEO solutions, CMS support, an App Store where you can get the latest extensions and Google Analytics tools.
With Shopify, you can add various stores in one account, host them for free, get your own domain name, integrate shopping carts, generate product catalogs and add payment modes with a few simple clicks. It makes e-commerce and email marketing a lot easier than any other platform we’ve discussed here. Shopify comes with a free trial version that gives you a chance to test the waters before you jump right into the platform. Even the paid plans are pretty affordable.
Squarespace Website Creator for Portfolio
Squarespace is an great online website builder more suitable for experienced users and coders. For unlike Wix, Squarespace has a steeper learning curve and comes with some complex functionalities that might confuse an amateur user. However, the platform is a lot easier than WordPress, and hence a popular choice among developers.
Choose from a wide collection of templates and themes, divided into separate categories according to the type of business/website you want to make. The interactive interface has all the necessary tools required to build a professional website. The customization elements are organized in the sidebar, leaving the editor minimalistic and clutter-free. You can literally drag and drop the elements you want on the interface and edit them to your liking.
Squarespace is very design focused, it has some of the best layouts and templates in the market, each mobile-responsive and customizable. It gives you some amazing e-commerce options for integrating stores, building catalogs and adding payment gateways to enhance the reach of your site. It even automatically creates a mobile-friendly app as soon as you publish the website, any changes made to the website are reflected in the app. Squarespace offers both free and payable packages along with a solid customer support system (i.e. live chat and email), something that WordPress lacks.
BigCommerce Online Store Builder
BigCommerce, as the name suggests, is a platform suitable for large-scale businesses. It currently supports over 90,000 active stores online and is a tough competitor to WordPress. You don’t get a lot of flexibility here when compared to its counterpart, but things are a lot simpler. The interface is not cluttered with tool and editing options. Instead, everything is arranged in the sidebar, leaving the editor clear and clutter-free. You can drag and drop the elements you need on the interface and then edit it accordingly.
BigCommerce is known for its out of the box solutions and robust e-commerce ideas. You get access to a number of professionally designed themes that add on to the aesthetic appeal and functionality of the store. The builder also has an App Store like Shopify where you can download third-party plugins and extensions. BigCommerce is also compatible with mobile devices, you can access your account anytime, anywhere. It even creates a mobile-friendly version of your store automatically, boosting the reach of your store exponentially. Other options like SEO support, CMS, live chat, email marketing solutions make BigCommerce a smart choice for budding businessmen and professional developers alike.
The Bottom Line
Not everyone has the kind of resources or time to learn the ropes of WordPress. The amateur developer or budding businessman would have a hard time adjusting to its features. The DIY alternatives mentioned above are a lot easier and quicker for beginners who don’t have the technical expertise or money to hire professionals to build their website.