With so many website builder options like Wix, Wordpress, Weebly, and Squarespace, how do you know which one to use to create your photography website? As someone who's tried all of them in the beginning of my career, I thought it would be helpful to break down my thoughts on each one. Though I'm bias towards the builder I ultimately ended up with, I still highly recommend trying out each platform to see which one you like.
P.S. I'm now realizing that having a screen shot of my website as the cover photo of this blog means that it will look like website Inception of a website within a website... anyways, let's get started!
Wordpress is one of the most used website builders. I've tried to use it because I heard it was the most optimized for SEO, and a great platform to use for having a real website vs the drag and drop builders like Wix and Weebly.
Prices as of today (1/25/2018)
Their pricing is pretty good with being only $4/month for personal use or free if you're ok with the Wordpress ads on your website.
They have pretty good free and paid templates that you can use to get started.
My main issues came when it was time to edit the content for my website. Their work space isn't as intuitive to use, so I had some trouble finding how to edit different pages. I also felt limited on customizing my website because I didn't know how to code, so it was hard for me to edit the themes as I wanted.
Ultimately, this led me to trying out a different website builder. However, in the future, I may come back when I can afford a web developer who can help me customize my website. Though I love the drag and drop builders since it lets me adjust the look of my website easily, Wordpress gives you more control for optimizing the speed, usage, and settings of your website if you know what you're doing.
Weebly was the first place where I really worked on creating a website. I wish I had a screen shot of what my website looked like at the time, but now it's just a redirect to this website.
When you use Weebly for free, it's pretty similar to Wordpress in that your url include the word Weebly so it will look something like tiffanywuphoto.weebly.com. There will also be Weebly ads on your website. The starter plan for personal use is double Wordpress' at $8/month. Since I was just getting started with photography at the time, I paid for their starter plan. (See their pricing on their website here)
What I loved about Weebly is that it is a really easy to use drag and drop platform. As you can see from the screen shot, all the elements you need are easily accessible from the builder section of the left side. You can also quickly access your pages, change the themes (they have pretty good themes too), etc from the top. Both Weebly and Wix have free and paid apps that you can add on from third party providers for additional website features.
When you edit on Weebly, all of the elements snap to a grid. Thanks to the grid, it's really easy to create a clean website. Unfortunately, the grid was also the reason I ended up leaving Weebly since I wanted even more customization in terms of the placement of my images and text. The other reason was that I really liked full strip options like the photo slide show on my home page, but Weebly did not have this feature at the time.
I saw that a ton of photographers were using Squarespace, and loved their websites so I decided to give it a try. Also, another platform that I've seen photographers use is Showit, but I haven't gotten the chance to try that one yet.
Their base pricing is higher than the other platforms at $12/month. You can also sign up for a free trial to test it out first.
While they have absolutely beautiful templates, I had a really hard time getting used to Squarespace after using Weebly. It was really hard for me to figure out how to change things to be the way that I wanted it to look. Note that on all of the website builders that I tried, I wanted to start from scratch instead of using a template. Starting from scratch on Squarespace may have been part of the problem, so maybe it would have been ok if I had started from one of their templates.
The website builder that I ultimately ended up with is Wix. While Wix is not perfect, it lets me get the look I want and is exactly what I need for my business right now.
I've been with Wix for over 2 years now, and just signed up to be one of their affiliates since I'm always recommending it as a great starting website. What this means is that I get a small commission if you click on my Wix referral link. There's no additional cost to you, but it would be greatly appreciated if you used this link if you decide to go with Wix!
Wix has a few pricing options when you sign up. There is a free plan, but your URL will look something like this: username.wixsite.com/sitename/page-url. I had used the $11/month personal use plan until recently when I switched to the eCommerce plan since I am planning on adding a few products to my website.
Before I start talking about why I love Wix, I want to put in a disclaimer that it can sometimes be a little buggy. There were a few things that I wish Wix had like the ability to transfer my old blogging system to their new one. Having a website that was coded on Wordpress could probably be resolved with the help of your web developer. However, for the most part, when I have a problem, their ticket resolution center usually helps me in 24-48 hours so I'm pretty happy with their response time!
Since I mainly wanted to use my website as a beautiful place to display my images, Wix was perfect for me. My favorite thing about Wix is their drag and drop system. They have so many different clean options that look great on my website! I built my website from scratch, so I was able to move things around as I liked. Wix also has free and paid apps that you can use for your website in case it didn't already have what you were looking for. I love how easy it is to add text, images, change colors, add pages, edit page descriptions, and more. If you would not like to build your website from scratch, Wix also has a lot of great templates for you to choose from that you can easily customize.
In terms of SEO, I have gotten a few inquiries from people who have come across my blog. I am also sure to link all of my social media platforms to my website. I've heard that Wix is not as optimized as Wordpress, but it makes it really easy for me to quickly blog so I'm not complaining.
My verdict is that Wix is perfect for me right now as an easy place to get started with a website that looks exactly like how I want it.
Click here to get started with Wix
What website builder are you currently using? How do you like it? Tell me in the comments!
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