I recommend WordPress for building websites for most self employed professionals.
But when it comes to setting up your website there are a more than a decent handful of site builder solutions to choose from. Some of these platforms look so tempting with their drag and drop builders and bright designs. So why not use one of those?
Because even though WordPress requires more work and more time to learn, it is a better medium-long term solution.
WordPress has a mixture of strong technical settings and functions (which you will want to use later) as well as design capabilities which mean you can move into a shell you won’t need to move out from. Possibly ever.
The learning curve isn’t as difficult as it seems and in the end you will be happy you went with a more sustainable solution.
Let me share with you what I mean.
Web design is hard work
I’m not suggesting you aren’t a capable designer. Many people have great taste. You know what looks good and what doesn’t. That’s fair. But having taste wholly different from having enough design skill to map out and design an entire website.
Ever looked at a page and thought something was just not quite right?
It was 90% there but there was just something a little wrong with the layout, or sizes or positions of the buttons. If you’re not careful you can sink a truck load of time fiddling with your design on other builder platforms trying to get it to look right. I’ve been here.
With WordPress, you can buy a theme (pre-built website layouts you can buy) on marketplaces like Themeforest which have over 11,000 different themes on offer.
If you are looking for an even better design, you can hire help to customise one of these themes for your business. At least this way you will only be paying for the 20% of the work which builds on the 80% already provided by the theme.
SEO is better with WordPress
Google’s SEO handbook explains SEO involves making many small changes to your site. These add up incrementally to make your site easier for Google to understand and rank.
It follows that the ideal website platform would allow you to make as many of these changes as possible.
Unfortunately, many site building solutions focus on simplicity. They sacrifice a lot of the technical options you will want to use to properly optimise your site in order to make it easier to use. These can include simple functions like editing the meta-titles and descriptions of pages, choosing not to have some pages listed on Google, etc.
WordPress provides more options for those neat little tweaks that can make all the difference. Many things are editable, and if not then usually there will be a way to edit them through plugins.
While dated, here is a video quote from Matt Cutts (head of Google’s webspam team also known as the SEO department) on WordPress’s suitability for SEO.
WordPress is scalable
If you consider the medium and long term vision of your website, there are probably a few functions you will eventually want to add that are not currently provided for by your website builder.
For most people, the most common way to add extra functions to a site is through plugins. With website builders there usually aren’t any plugins available, or the selection is very limited.
WordPress has about 55,000 (as of July 2018). Many of these are great quality and can help you make important upgrades to your site such as security and backup plugins.
Tutorials and Community
Approximately 25% of the web is built on WordPress.
The offshoot of this is that if you have a problem with your website, someone amongst the 409 million website owners has probably encountered it before and found a way to solve it. Google almost any question and you are very likely to find an answer.
WordPress tutorial sites like WPBeginner have around 9,300 pages, many of them being extensive and detailed guides.
With resources like these, WordPress is a platform where you are not alone in trying to work out how to fix problems or improve your website. There are plenty of other users out there with detailed experience to guide you.
Think about using WordPress for your website.
You can use themes to cut your designing time. WordPress’s infrastructure will also allow you more control over the settings of your website so you can fully take advantage of SEO for your service.
Don’t forget that with that huge community of plugins and users, you won’t be alone in finding a solution to a problem or extension of your site.