Custom-Coded Website vs Website Built on a Platform
(Like Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, or Showit)
The building analogies continue (click here if you missed part 1 of the series)...
Today we're talking about completely-custom coded websites vs websites built using a platform.
(Now, before we get into it, please note that this post is not exhaustive. There's lots of different ways to get a website and we're just delving into a couple of the main ways. Furthermore, Wordpress specifically offers both self-hosted and hosted website options. For this post, I'm talking about their hosted option.)
If you register a domain name and purchase hosting, then you (if you know how to code) or a web developer can build a completely custom website using code and upload it to the host servers.
In other words, its kind of like you bought a piece of land, built a custom home on wheels, and rolled it onto your land.
1) It is a completely custom website. It can be whatever you want it to be! It can have a completely unique look different than any other website. There are SO many things your website can do!
2) You completely own your website and the design. If the hosting fees start to rise, you can move your website to a new host. Or, to continue the analogy, if property taxes get too high, you can pack up and roll your custom house onto a cheaper plot of land.
1) Unless you know how to code yourself, you need to hire a web developer. And if you want it to look nice and be user-friendly, you'll also want to hire a web designer or find a developer that is skilled in both coding and UI/UX Design. Developers aren't cheap-they charge anywhere from $40-$300+/hour.
2) Unless you know how to code (which can be like learning a new language), you need to hire a developer for any changes moving forward. Which goes back to #1 - it costs money.
3) These can take longer to build, since the developer has to write the code for literally each piece of the website.
WEBSITES BUILT ON A PLATFORM LIKE WORDPRESS, SQUARESPACE, WEEBLY, WIX, AND SHOW-IT
These platforms provide templates on which you add your content. They provide the web hosting and the basic structure (or code) for your website. All of these different platforms have different strengths and limitations.
I like to compare a website built on one of these platforms to renting an apartment.
They own the land and the building, you own the furniture, belongings and decorations inside.
1) They provide the basic code and code-free web-building software so you don't have to know how to code to build or make changes to your website.
2) Since you don't have to hire a web developer, they can be an affordable option.
1) While of course you own the content (text and pictures), the layout of the site is owned by the platform, so if they raise their prices or you're unhappy with their service and you want to move, you have to completely start over in terms of the layout and design.
2) They each have their own limitations in terms of customizability and function, depending on the platform and template option.
3) They can start to look generic or like a template if you don't know how to customize them.