Guest blogger: Kim Bruce
After researching, comparing and gathering information on what you need to know to make a choice between WordPress, Squarespace, Wix or Weebly, I have come to the conclusion that there is no conclusion.
Each of these services has something to offer depending on your needs.
For example, if you're a hobby artist, a free Weebly site, which includes their paid ads, may suffice.
An artist with little or no computer skills may want a simple drag-and-drop interface, which is available with all services (drag-and-drop themes are available for WordPress).
A professional artist may, and probably should, prefer the power that the WordPress platform offers.
In all honesty, I find it very difficult to compare Squarespace, Wix or Weebly with WordPress the self-hosted version (WordPress.org).
WordPress is different. It's a robust, scalable, open source (free) application that can be whatever you need it to be.
Comparing WordPress to these other platforms is like comparing Michelangelo's studio with all his apprentices to an artist that works alone in solitude. I use this analogy because WordPress and other open source content management systems (CMS) not only build community, but they also create small businesses.
There's an entire cottage industry that has evolved because of WordPress. Entrepreneurs that design themes, developers that create free (by donation) plugins, so you can do whatever you want, and the worldwide phenomenon WordCamps, where you can learn from other WordPress users developers and exchange ideas.
You'll see how hard it is to compare WordPress with the others in the table below. But first I think it's important to understand how the other services work.
Backups and Accessing Data
Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and similar website platforms are proprietary, which means you don't own your website. They own it. These companies can shut down tomorrow and your site goes with it.
All of those years creating content and attracting followers can go Poof!
SquareSpace is the only one of these services that will let you export a XML backup of your content that could be imported into WordPress, but you don't get everything. It's not an easy import either as you have to save the export as Livejournal or Typepad, which may or may not work when brought into WordPress.
Wix allows you to duplicate your site but it stays on the Wix server, as that is the only place it will work.
Weebly allows you to download a zip backup of your site but has a disclaimer that your blog posts are not part of it because they are in the database, which can not be accessed. They go on to say that your site probably won't work as expected unless it's on the Weebly server.
If you're an avid blogger or just have lots of content and don't want to go through the hassle of recreating all that content elsewhere, you're better off using WordPress.com (the hosted version) or Blogger. When you have outgrown these platforms or need extensibility you can easily import into the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org).
What about WordPress backups?, I hear you asking. No worries! You can export, migrate, save in the Cloud, or download a complete backup of your WordPress site. You can use this to migrate to another host provider should you ever need to do so.
A Fact-Based Comparison
Just conduct a simple Google search if you want opinions on how easy each platform is to use. These types of comparisons are subjective depending on the authors, their skill levels, and their biases.
You've probably figured out by now that I am pro WordPress (see my bio below), but even I have to say that all the proprietary services mentioned in this article are fairly easy to use. This makes them particularly seductive for artists who aren't thinking about their future usefulness.
So just the facts based on the basic entry package of each. All these services provide upgrades such as more space and e-commerce options.
|Yearly Plan||$8.25||$8.25||$8.00||Varies $3.95 and up, depending on the hosting company|
|Number of Websites||1||10||1||Varies|
|Number of Pages||Unlimited||Unlimited||20||Unlimited|
|Email Service||Google Apps||Google Apps||Google Apps, Zoho Email||Varies|
|Max UploadFile Size||15MB (audio)10MB (images)||100MB||120MB (audio)20MB (images)||Varies|
|Hosting||Grid Hosting||Cloud Hosting||Cloud Hosting||Grid, Cloud, Shared, VPS, Dedicated|
|Domain Name||FREE (1 Year Plan)||Not Included||FREE (1 Year Plan)||Depends on provider. I recommend to keep them separate.|
|Drag n' Drop||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, depends on theme|
|Free Themes||100+||100+||25||1945 + premium|
|Support||Phone – 24/7 Email – 24/7 Forums
|Email – 24/7 Chat – 11am – 9pm Forums
|Email – 24/7 Chat – 11am – 7pm Forums
|Community Forums, WordCamps, free & paid resourcesaround the world|
|Analytics||Google Analytics||Weebly Analytics Google Analytics||Squarespace Analytics Google Analytics||Google Analytics plus many other plugins to chose from|
|Mobile Website||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, depends on theme|
|Social Sharing||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, plugin or theme supported|
|Form Builder||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes – plugin|
|Custom HTML/CSS||HTML Only||HTML and CSS||HTML and CSS||Open source so all code is accessible|
As you can see it is very difficult to compare WordPress with the other services. All these services can provide you with a basic portfolio site, a blog or e-commerce, including WordPress.
But only one is unlimited in its functions and can be as small or as BIG as required.
Design is Kim Bruce’s background; art, her passion; digital technologies, her tools. Kim is a visual problem solver who helps fellow artists with their online presence using WordPress.
Kim has presented WordPress for fine art at WordCamp, as well as professional development seminars for artists on setting up functional websites and blogs.
When Kim isn't at the computer, you'll find her in the studio creating art with her own unique visual voice. View her sculpture at KimBruce.ca.
Find Kim on Facebook at Kim Bruce at Artbiz and Twitter @ArtbizKimBruce.