Choosing a hosting platform is a big decision. There are quite a few available platforms that allow you to have a website without understanding code, with some only requiring a drag and paste. Depending on your computer literacy and goals of your website, the amount of functionality of who you are hosting with can be different.
Here are our opinion of a few commonly chosen hosting platforms and who we think benefits most from being on each. (These are solely our thoughts and based on our experience utilizing the platforms as well as developing client websites on them. We are not receiving any payment from these platforms to write about them. This is solely an opinion piece.)
Squarespace is a template-based platform. There are a variety of templates that you can choose from and replace the photos/ content with your own. There are readily matched colour palettes that you can use to ensure the entire website is consistent. It is possible to create a blog to e-commerce store. However, there is a limit to the merchants you can connect to. Additionally, despite the multitude of templates, there is a limit to how creative / unique your site can become. We suggest Squarespace for those who want simple websites. Limited page count and after a simple design. We suggest this for those looking to start a blog / personal website and not looking to scale.
Wix is the “second tier” website we suggest to those looking for a more complex design than Squarespace can offer. There is an increase in the freedom you have for creating and managing your site. From more basic designs (readily designed templates) to the ability to create your own from scratch, there is an increased ability to scale. Functionality can be done in code or with editors. Like Squarespace, there is a variety of website types that Wix supports. After launch, there is more you can do to promote your site; from search engine optimization to analysis and marketing integrations. We suggest this platform for those looking to start a business and who have goals of selling and scaling.
Wordpress offers more customization and functionality capabilities than the others, but is also the hardest to operate. So if you don’t feel comfortable nor have the time to work out all the functionality, it can be the hardest to manage. However, the customization of this platform can’t be understated. Additionally, there are more choices in merchants you can connect to when building an e-commerce site. Due to the difficulty in building and managing, we reserve offering this platform to our clients for those with large-scale websites (many pages/ information and linking) as well as need the extra capability to customize.
This is a more specific platform that we have created websites on. The platform is designed for creatives; photographers, painters, designers, etc. They offer their services cheaper than some of the other platforms, including registering a domain. As they are designed for artists, they offer rather creative templates as well as can create a portfolio that reflects the artist originality. This is a great option for creatives who want to demonstrate and sell their work. There’s the ability to watermark images, password protect items, and sell. We recommend this for artists who are looking for a portfolio-style website.
We hope this helps you when deciding what platform to start with, or perhaps switch over to. If you need help, we are here! Contact a LiveFive designer today.