So you've decided the next step to grow your business is to create a killer website. You've got a ton of ideas for how it will look, what colors you'll incorporate, what head shot you will use. And then you start doing your research on how to build a website and its already feeling overwhelming.
You know you don't want to spend a ton of money on a fancy custom website, but there are still a ton of website building platforms to choose from. And they all look pretty good? The same? Who knows?
Well you're in the right place. Establishing your digital presence is an important part of growing your small business. Whether your'e planning to see clients in-person, develop online health programs, create a food blog, or just about anything in between, one of the first steps is to create a website that will bring ideal clients to you.
As you can see from the title of this post, we've narrowed it down to our two absolute favorite options for small business owners, Squarespace and Wordpress. Chances are, if you're reading this post, you've heard about them, too. These are super popular, affordable website building platforms. Both have their pros and cons, which we discuss below.
So what's the best website building platform for you? It completely depends on your goals. Don't worry, we'll help you think through this. To determine which website platform you should choose for your business, you first need to decide HOW you plan to use your website.
For many wellness entrepreneurs,their website serves as a digital business card where potential clients can learn about them and their practice, how to contact them, etc. Some business owners take this a step further and choose to monetize their websites by creating passive income streams such as a blog, digital course, e-book, online program, and more.
So what about you? Before you keep reading, take a moment to reflect on how will use your website. Do you mostly just need a place where clients can learn about your services and contact you? Do you plan to monetize a blog at some point? What is the primary purpose of your website? Have a general idea? Okay great, let's get into the specifics.
Squarespace is our go-to recommendation for most small business owners who want to get a beautiful website up and running quickly. We love that it's very beginner-friendly and includes a variety of modern, fully responsive (works on mobile devices) templates. No web development skills? No problem.
Once you have chosen a template, it is super easy to update the content, add new widgets, and customize the styling to your fit your brand. The hosting, domain, and email can all be handled through Squarespace. Trust us, that makes everything SO much easier.
Our biggest critique of Squarespace, especially if you are creating a blog, is limited SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If a blog or digital product will become a primary means of income for you, then Wordpress is probably the better fit. If you are looking to get a basic website up that is easy to maintain, go with Squarespace.
For small business owners, we're fans of their Business Plan which starts at $26/month ($18/month billed annually).
Wordpress is a much more flexible platform.
Wordpress has many bells and whistles to enable tons of customization and is the standard platform for blogging because of its SEO capabilities. Its e-commerce features are also quite robust, and it offers plugins for just about anything you would want to do. You can even start free. Well, kinda. While it is typically cheaper than Squarespace, you might end up spending some money on themes & plug-ins.
Wordpress also requires some tech-savvy. Remember, it's self hosted, so it comes with more responsibility. To maintain a Wordpress site, you'll need to install updates, make backups, and handle security. You’ll also need to sign up for your own web hosting and purchase a domain. And if you get started and decide you want a developer's help to configure your website, that'll add to your costs as well.
Side note: we're talking about the "real" Wordpress, wordpress.org, not wordpress.com which is a seprate entity. If you're confused about the difference, check out this video.
So to sum up, with Wordpress, you're basically trading beginner-friendliness and simplicity for greater customization and functionality. If you ultimately want to have a scalable and custom-designed website built, Wordpress is a solid option. If you are hoping to build and monetize a blog of any sort, Wordpress will serve you better in the long run. Just be sure to account for the extra costs and support you may need to get your Wordpress site up to par.
Here's a little graphic we created as you think through the pros and cons. Let us know which platform you choose and why! Once you've launched your site, we recommend taking advantage of our "Fast Feedback" series, offered exculsively to members of our health-professionals-only Facebook group. In this series, we review your website and give you expert design and marketing recommendations, all free.
Danielle Reynolds-Flatt is a nutritionist, entrepreneur, marketing nerd, and cat lady.
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