woman typing on laptop working on graphic design poster for client

Let’s test drive some web building sites.

You don’t have to be a website designer to create a great website. There are a lot of services out there that show us slick commercials saying that you can build a website in just a few hours. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small brick and mortar business in Saranac Lake, or an online shop in Malone-you’ll want to have a website. A well-built website is almost like having an extra employee that works 24 hours a day. With the sea of options out there, many are left wondering what site builder is the best, and how to get started.

Let's talk about our website building options

As a website designer, I would build every website on WordPress.org, you can start small, pick a template, add information about your business, and the site can grow with your company. You can add custom HTML or CSS and tailor it to your specific need. However- many people are overwhelmed with the backend of WordPress.org and tend to abandon their site before completion. For that reason, I will not recommend this for your average busy do-it-yourself small business owner.

Once we take WordPress.org off the table, there are still plenty of options to consider. Often I receive messages on Facebook or Instagram asking which website is better, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, or WordPress.com.  Honestly, a lot of it depends on the person building the site, and what they value. 

Let a website designer test drive each site

For the next month, to best answer your questions, I will take each site builder for a test drive with a few basic rules:

  • Each week I will build a site on either Weebly, Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress.com
  • I must use the free version
  • I only 3 hours to make the site (including registration)
  • I need to create three pages-homepage, service page, contact us page
  • I cannot use Heyimkim.com content & design as a template (that would be cheating!)

Each week I will provide a review of the web builder I used. I’ll share insights about the set-up process,  features offered in the free version, and how easy it is to build a clean and organized site. 

wix x avatar logo yellow white and black
squarespace logo in black two s's overlapping

Before you get started: Write your content in a word document first, and rework it until you get it right. It is inefficient and a pain in the ass to develop and edit content directly on your website.

Weebly written in bubble letters with a blue 5px stroke outlining the letters.
Wordpress logo with serif w in black circle with the text wordpress written below

Adding a little something extra to each blog

At the end of each blog, I will give you a search engine optimization tip. Search engine optimization or SEO is a strategy to rank highly for specific keywords or phrases on search engines like Google or Bing. While you may not be worrying about SEO now, it is good to build your site with it in mind. As your business grows, you may want to invest more into your website and SEO strategy. I’ll throw in this free tip now, so you can start writing your content with SEO in mind.

SEO Tip #1:

Use words and phrases people are likely to use while searching for your product or service on a search engine. For example, I want to use words like “website designer” “webmaster” “freelance website design.” If you feel confused on which words are phrases are likely to yield the best results, use Google Trends. If you are a woodworker, you can research how many searchers use “custom cabinets” vs. “local cabinet builder” and use the phrase that searchers use most often. 

That’s all for this week. Come back next wednesday to see what I can do with a Wix site within 3 hours.