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What are the best website platforms for dummies to develop a simple site?

Which popular platforms would you recommend to create a simple website? It would be great if you could share the pros and cons of each platform. 

Top voted answer
Keith Rowley

Keith Rowley, Joint Owner and Customer Strategist at

Top 10% Web Development

OK so where to begin?! 
I'm going to assume that you're serious about development and tell you what I use and why.
Firstly, I use Wordpress (WP) which accounts for some +30% of all websites as the basic platform.  It's superbly supported and updated and it's free. There are thousands and thousands of free software plugins to go with it. You could build a good solid professional site on WP and not pay a cent for the software.

BUT you must think of WP as a skeleton - it needs flesh and that flesh is provided by themes, which used to be known as 'skins'. Themes provide a host of appearence options and technical facilities on top of WP. Many are free, but even thr specialized ones for real-estate sites etc are a very reasonable price - around $675 max and usually less.

Do you need code for this? No - but I'll tell you what - knowing a little CSS to get around some finicky parts of any theme can save you a lot of time and heartache. So learn some css - take your time and do it gradually as you build your sites.

Next, you need other WP plugins for payments processors, and a host of othr functions - mostly free.

Finally and very importantly, you need a good editor that dorsn't produce bloated code. the Wp editor is basic - even the new one. A good visual editor will work together with your theme to make beautiful pages that load fast without writing code. Again though, a little CS capability can save your life!

I recommend Thrive Architect and Elmentor as editors. you will have a learning curve but nothing like wiring code!
Sites buut ith these technologies can be easily maintained by their owners.

Finally and formest! If you're going to do this, you need to learn about the back-end at the host - CPanel usually. this is where you install WP, set up emails check problems. This si where you actally begin.

You asked about alternatives. I am aware of Wix but the sites i've seen so far have not impressed me. there are probably others. usuallly they claim to be free, but as soon as you need to do serious things, charged-addons become needed.

Good luck and hope tgat helps you a bit.

Terry Chadban

Terry Chadban, Founder/Manager at Port Macquarie Online Marketing

Just following up Keith's excellent answer, some alternatives to Wordpress are Wix, Weebly, Shopify, Squarespace, which as Keith mention are mostly free to start with but quickly start costing you big money as soon as you need something more than the standard website which looks just like thousands of others. Others more similar to Wordpress are Joomla and Drupal, but they are too technical for beginners to use, so stick with Wordpress, use a free theme like Astra or Hello, and the free version of Elementor page builder to get you started. Now here is the 'secret sauce' -- if you go with Astra theme and Elementor, there is a free plugin called 'Astra Starter Sites' which currently has around 100 website template pages for all sorts of businesses, from home pages to Contact Us pages to About Us pages, so it really is [1] install Wordpress from your Cpanel, [2] Log in to your Wordpress dashboard, [3] install Elementor and Astra Starter Sites plugins, [4] install Astra theme, [5] go to Astra Starter Sites link in your dashboard and select the pages you need. DONE! And all free, except for your website hosting, which you need to pay anyway, and no coding, just clicking on buttons which are all pretty self-explanatory. Go for it, you won't be sorry.

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Becky Downey

Becky Downey at

Top 30% Web Development

I have used a few but probably the market leader, WordPress. There are so many videos and so much help available. Plus you can purchase themes like Divi which make editing very easy. WYSIWYG style - click in page, and a whole library of ready-made layouts.
 

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David Bobis

David Bobis at

If you have no technical background whatsoever, I would definitely recommend Squarespace. It's completely drag and drop and there are clear, well communicated tutorials out there. However, you have to be aware that there is a monthly cost to maintaining a Squarespace site - however, you can argue that whatever platform you choose, there will be long term associated costs anyway.

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Jessica Osborn

Jessica Osborn, Marketing Coach & CEO at

Wordpress. It's the only one flexible enough to do whatever you want! I find with the other platforms you end up having to compromise or pay a lot for features you want.

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Waheed Qadir

Waheed Qadir, Business Growth Officer at

Well, you can consider the following platform and their pro and cons. 

Wordpress
Pros
Great content management system
Free Plugins
Low Cost

Cons 
Custom Layouts Are Hard To Use
Lots of Updates
Planning Is Needed

Wix 
Pros 
You receive upgraded design templates
The interface is intuitive and useful
Wix takes care of your site security without compromising speed
Cons 
The starter plan doesn’t remove ads from your site
There are no unlimited plans
Drag and drop designs can limit your creativity

If e-commerce then you can consider :

Shopify

Pro 

  • Selling products on multiple channels
  • Make money with Shopify “Buy Button”
  • Excellent site performance
  • Sell both digital and physical products

Cons 

  • Customize theme using – Liquid
  • Advanced features at a higher price
  • Apps come with pricing
  • No email hosting



*All these platforms have their own pro and cons. But as everyone is suggesting I would also vote for Wordpress as it's an open-source platform
and can provide high functionalities in the future. The best page builder is Elementor which makes it very user friendly. 

Stepwise process:

Go to Evanto or Code Canyon 
choose the theme you want 
Go to Site Ground WordPress hosting buy the shared hosting plan 
Upload theme ( easy to do easy guides are available online)
Make a change in your theme and get them published.  

If you need any further help you can consult Consult 2 Manage. We provide professional website building and hosting solutions.  Further, I can offer you a 15 min free consultation over starting a new website.

Best of luck on your Endeavor.  

Regards 
Waheed Qadir 

 

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Simon Biar

Simon Biar, IT at

Top 20% Selling Online

One of the big negatives for Wordpress for beginners is the need for the user to keep the Wordpress core & plugins up to date themselves & deal with other technical issues like website performance. Core & plugin updates oftentimes provide security & performance updates so are important.
And then, there is the forever present issue with plugin incompatibilities which surprisingly often rears its ugly head. Who is going to fix those?
Platforms like Shopify, Wix & Squarespace, where the providers maintain the platform, is in my view, much better for beginners for that reason alone. But also, they provide help via chat etc. which is a much better option, particularly for beginners, than is available for the open source Wordpress solution which has no 'owner'.
But ... the reality is that, just like with anything really, if you want to do a "professional job" ... then use a professional. Sure, a beginner can get a web site up, but the likelihood of it actually doing any good in terms of driving traffic & business, in my 20+ years of experience, is zero.
Remember the line ... "a person who represents himself in court has a fool for a lawyer"? Then why would a businesss owner think they could compete sucessfully online against sites developed by professionals. It makes no sense to me.

Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

Thanks @Simon Biar ! Lots of people often think they can do everything

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Keith Rowley

Keith Rowley, Joint Owner and Customer Strategist at

Top 10% Web Development

Sorry - that 675 is a typo - it should read 50-70! Apologies.

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Jennifer Lancaster

Jennifer Lancaster, Director at

I have set up three websites on Wordpress, which I think is the most flexible and easier to do activities to rank better in search. However, if your timeline for learning is shorter, I managed to learn SquareSpace and set up a new website on it for an accountant in the space of a month (1 short day a week). Because it came self-hosted (also great value) there was no hassles with setting up a hosting solution.  The con of SquareSpace as I saw it, was sometimes it seemed nigh on impossible to get the gaps and photo galleries how you like it. If you don't drop the photo in the exact right place, it also goes to hell in a handbasket. Video tutorials and speedy support got me out of the pickle. 

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Mark Reisinger

Mark Reisinger, Owner at

Top 20% Online Business Get quote

This question is actually one that's close to my heart, as I have experimented with many, many website platforms over the years in search for a platform that was not only fully featured, but also allowed my clients to easily maintain their own sites.

Web Developers typically lean toward WordPress! Why? It has all the tech features at their fingertips, and plenty of additional enhancements via plugins, plus all of the other great points the others have mentioned.

So would I recommend it for beginners? Not usually. The fine print that goes with using Open Source software such as WordPress is that you have to keep it updated and all the other plugins you use, yourself. This is fine for people that are familiar with that but it's a steeper learning curve for novices.

For that reason I tend to point people starting out toward what is known as a hosted solution.  A hosted website means that the host company looks after all the security updates for you. The likes of WIX,  Weebly, SquareSpace, Duda and Shopify are examples of hosted sites. It's just one less thing to have to worry about when you're starting out in business.

The downside to hosted sites is that they generally do not include email hosting, so you have to pay separately for that. The world is now moving towards hosted emails such as Microsoft 365 or GSuite, so that's now no longer a major factor, but it does add to the cost. 

I've certainly got my own preferences based on familiarity and experience, but every platform is only as good as the support that is behind it, so make sure you've got the human side to tap into as well as the technology.
       

Hatty Bell

Hatty Bell, Community Manager at

Thanks for the great answer @Mark Reisinger - interesting to hear your insight behind Wordpress vs. Wix or Spotify! I've always found Wordpress so confusing so great to hear there are other options.

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