2017 Reviews

Best Website Builders - 2017 Reviews

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Expert Interviews

"A lot of organizational decisions start with the budget and then decide how to spend it. I would recommend stepping back start with planning. What does the business really look like, survey the landscape, survey the competition, do an overall assessment of where things stand, and also do some technical discovery. We can look at the software a business is currently using to manage their website. We can look at the software that you’ve integrated in your website. We can actually start to get a much clearer picture and answer a lot of questions that maybe the client hasn’t thought about, or we haven’t fully understood."
Marty Vernon
Co-Founder, EDUCO
"A paid platform today must have a heavily maintained and supported resource center, and a good service model for marketers, technologists, or developers to provide access to staff for troubleshooting or recommending workarounds to non-traditional requests. One of the most interesting things about open source options in lieu of paid platforms is that even though there’s usually not real-time customer support, solutions to development problems are essentially “crowdsourced” by a community of developers who share and collaborate. You’re not subject to product development cycles; there’s constant innovation and collaboration."
Lori Dunkin
Director of Operations, FINE
"A CMS is not for everyone. As these content management systems have gotten more complicated, expensive, and cumbersome to manage and build, even in the industry, we’ve seen a bit of a retro-trend toward going back to simplistic websites for specific things. A good example would be a microsite. Often, you need a microsite for a very specific campaign, initiative, feature, or event that does not need to be updated very often. If that’s the case, it’s actually a lot easier just to build a static site, at least for a developer, than to deal with the overhead that comes with a content management platform. Sometimes, we just try to get back to keeping it simple and building static sites."
Brent Lightner
Founder, Taoti Creative
"WordPress has come a long way in its 13 years. Its potential audience and kind of user is vast at this point. Single users, sole proprietors, small businesses, medium-size businesses, e-commerce, there are a lot of use cases. I don’t think there’s a particular best user case. WordPress can be used for all sorts of projects... The biggest things that we come back to for WordPress are the community and the amount of people using and contributing to it, whether that’s the core platform, or plugins, e-commerce and extensions. The number of things you can find out there, either free or paid, there are some amazing tools."
Max Elman
Founder, Razorfrog Web Design
"If you’re looking for flexibility around marketing, Magento offers the ability to do whatever you want. Shopify struggles in some of those ways. If you’re a company that is ranking highly in search results on Google or Bing, Shopify has a very specific way of doing their URL structure. The product and category structure are done in a very specific way (due to Shopify’s database and technology stack) and you cannot modify that URL structure. If you are preparing to migrate to Shopify from another platform and you’re not prepared to do 301 redirects, then you don’t want to move to Shopify."
Mike Cristancho
Senior Project Manager, Gauge Interactive
"Start with the reason for building the site, who will be using the site from an admin and visitor perspective, what the site will be doing, such as selling products, providing information, or publishing something. Really ask the core questions about the who, the what, and the how. Where is this going to be hosted? Who’s going to maintain it? How is going to be maintained? Get the answers to these questions before determining which CMS to use."
Garrett Goldman
Managing Partner, State Creative
"People should really think about what they’re trying to say, what kind of message they want to put across. Also, make sure you think outside the box. While it’s good to have a nice website, what makes it stand out is that it’s different. At the same time, don’t be different for the sake of being different. Make sure you have the insight and research to validate the direction you’re going as opposed to looking like everybody else. It’s really about taking those calculated risks and those chances to make your site stand out."
Dominick Terry
Digital Creative Director, Borenstein Group
"One of the areas that is still a little weak is this whole idea of a content syndication. There’s still a big push where the content editors build webpages, and they want to control the layout, pages, etc. They get measured by the number of visitors to the website and all that stuff. I’m not saying that’s not important; however, we’re trying to push an idea of a web service content syndication. So, how you use these CMS’s to do that, so your content gets syndicated worldwide. It doesn’t necessarily have to be measured by how many people hit your website. It should be measured by the number of impressions."
Ken Fang
President, Mobomo
"If the goal of the company is to take over in-house website maintenance, then ExpressionEngine is probably not the best choice unless they have a tech-savvy team that can do the work. It’s a little more hands-on than WordPress as far as updating. On the other hand, I will say that the security in ExpressionEngine is a lot tighter. WordPress sites get hacked a lot, often through the third-party add-ons. Because they’re so popular, and because WordPress is so ubiquitous, hackers sort of start to see patterns they can exploit."
Chris Simental
Co-Founder, Ripe Media
"From a security standpoint, just baseline, every company should have some kind of update schedule built into their process. Of course, Squarespace does that on their own. We recommend to every company that they purchase an SSL certificate to install on their host server for their domain, to ensure their site is secure. Even if they’re not transacting on the site, from an e-commerce standpoint, it’s good to have something like that setup. Not only does it help security, but it also helps SEO now. Beyond that, specifics on security really depend on the organization and what kind of information they’re trying to protect."
Jason O'Mara
Founder, Roja Interactive
"The biggest feature on WordPress that is impressive, but can also be a detriment too, is how easily WordPress can be updated. You can go in and click a couple buttons, and then you’re on the latest version. It’s quick and easy to update, but you can also break the site pretty easily, especially if there are conflicts, the theme isn’t built properly, or you have a lot of plugins. Updates can cause problems sometimes. It’s a pretty cool feature that’s unique to WordPress in a lot of ways, but it can also break sites."
Brian Dainis
CEO, Curotec
"Anytime you’re using a WYSIWYG editor, like Wix offers, your site is not going to have the cleanest code. So, it’s probably a short-term solution for most of our clients, to get something up and running and then transition from later... I’d say that Wix is simpler than Squarespace. It’s very quick and easy to get something up and running. You can create a site and customize it for yourself in a few minutes, and get something live on the internet. Squarespace is also simple and approachable, but there’s a little more power and complexity versus Wix."
Scott Weisman
Co-Founder, LaunchPad Lab
"I think 30% of all websites are WordPress based. That’s why I love it. It is the most popular CMS by far, and it’s open-source. To me, that is a perfect recipe for innovation to occur and be shared with others. When a company has needs that go outside of what WordPress offers when you install it and set it up, we find ourselves more and more being able to offer solutions to client needs at less cost because of how open the community is with sharing information and available functionalities."
Hans Skillrud
Founder, StickOutSocial
"Shopify and BigCommerce are built differently, but they are both cloud-based SaaS services. In all cases, you are limited in what you can do to change the workflow of how a standard e-commerce website works – the process from the homepage to the checkout page. You are limited in how you can modify the core functions of the system. You can use apps, and you can do some sort of customization, but you are limited."
Denis Dyli
Founder, Pivofy
"When we look at something that’s more on the SaaS side, like Shopify or BigCommerce, we often make decisions between the two based on the available applications. The differentiation is in a bit of the app market, and there are certain pieces of their system that one focuses on more than the other. So, there are some nuances there. I think we recommend one a bit more than the other, but I think they both have their place."
Adam Morris
CEO, Restage
"I like to look at Magento as the Cadillac, Shopify as a Corolla, and BigCommerce as a Civic. Not everybody needs a Cadillac with 500 horsepower, and not everybody needs something fully customizable. So, if your needs are very simple, you’re doing self-fulfillment, you’re only selling from one warehouse to one or two countries, you have a small team, and your product is simple, you probably don’t need Magento. It will cost a lot more, even in a simpler configuration, because it’s a higher-end system. In some cases, the Corolla or the Honda are going better for your business."
David Ward
President, Meticulosity
"It's important to know, for anyone thinking of building a new website, changing their CMS or relaunching an existing page, that the site is never 100% complete. People shouldn't worry about ironing out all the wrinkles before the launch, since they can continue to edit the page as they go. No website is set in stone, and it should remain flexible to changes. Many of our clients get hung-up on making the site absolutely perfect before the launch, but that just delays the process. There will always be something to change or to update, and that's the great thing about websites."
Tanya Wigmore
VP Marketing, Meticulosity