Wrestling fans, have we got a matchup for you tonight!
In the spirit of classic Roman bloodsport, we’ve assembled a legion of challengers, plucked from all points of the CMS world. We’ve whipped them into a frenzy, taunting them with usage figures, telling them they’ll never be as good as their older brother, and now we’re going to unleash this angry, jealous mob on a single combatant! In not just one, but three matches!
Let’s meet our contenders!
At the center of the ring, we have our gladiator. It’s the 800-pound gorilla of the content management world, single-handedly powering 34% of the websites on the planet. Will this massive bulk help it steamroll the competition, or has it become a bloated relic, too slow to keep up with the coming horde? It’s the CMS website builder you use because, well, doesn’t everyone? It’s WordPress!
And pacing around the ropes, hungry to dissect our defender, we have six of WordPress’s fiercest competitors. Most are modern rivals, but a few grew up on the same mean streets where WordPress cut its teeth.
Do any of them have what it takes to humble their foe, or will they have to continue settling for scraps from the table? They’re the crew you might, maybe, possibly use one-day if…wait; I have to pay for some of them? It’s Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, Joomla, Drupal, and Shopify!
Let’s get ready to rumble!
Match One: Functionality
WordPress blasts a defiant sneer as its rivals begin penetrating the ring. Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly are the first off the ropes, triple-teaming our defender. They’re confident in their premium website building platforms.
With all three, you can create a host of different types of pages, from blogs to portfolios, eCommerce sites to a full business presence. Their templates are designed to cater to the specific needs of each kind of website. Out of the box, WordPress struggles. It has no eCommerce support and struggles with more advanced functionality.
The triple threat begins toying with WordPress, flinging it around the ring like a ragdoll. Joomla, Drupal, and Shopify jump into the fray, emboldened by their cohorts’ success. Joomla and Drupal are contemporaries of WordPress and are both similar content management systems. Shopify, an eCommerce site builder, goes for the suplex, and WordPress seems powerless.
The crowd is on their feet! It seems like WordPress might be finished. Until it reveals its secret weapon.
WordPress is unimpressive on its own, but it supports a huge ecosystem of plugins that extend its functionality. This plugin universe allows WordPress an infinitely extendable skillset, and it grows every year.
Stunned, the challengers are ejected from the ring one at a time. Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly are the first to go, as their functionality is limited to what the services offer.
Drupal and Joomla hold on a bit longer, as they also support a body of plugins. But they can’t compete in terms of size or diversity. Shopify refuses to go down; certain WordPress can’t match its eCommerce chops.
But…what’s this? It can’t be! WordPress rushes Shopify and take it down with a massive combo powered by WooCommerce, the eCommerce plugin that turns WordPress into a fully-functional web shopping platform.
This first match is over, and WordPress takes it!
Match Two: Ease of Use
The second match starts with WordPress strutting around the ring, aping to the crowd after it’s round one win. Drupal climbs the top rope while the defender’s back is turned, and launches itself in a bid to crush its foe. But WordPress grabs Joomla and uses it as a shield, taking down two competitors in one shot.
Both Joomla and Drupal are more powerful than WordPress, but they have a higher learning curve and aren’t as user-friendly for first-time designers.
As WordPress throws the two defeated rivals out of the ring, Wix, with its simple drag and drop interface, sees an opportunity for a body slam, but WordPress pivots a reversal and sends Wix into the mat. This is because Wix’s 500+ themes can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to figure out where to start.
Then, out of nowhere, Weebly and Squarespace clothesline WordPress. They carry it to the top rope and fling it out of the ring. Both contenders offer well-calibrated user experiences and intuitive interfaces that make it easy to create professional-looking websites.
WordPress is simple to use right out of the box, but it becomes much harder to manage as plugins are added. It’s also harder to create more sophisticated, custom sites without some coding knowledge. Also, because WordPress is a free, open-source package, it’s more difficult to get help and support.
In the end, Squarespace introduces Weebly’s face to the mat and takes the match.
Match Three: Cost and Value
Match three begins with a humbled WordPress tentatively engaging with the competition while trying to stay safely out of the ring. But suddenly the balance of power is upset. WordPress teams up with Joomla and Drupal to try and take down the other three!
Because WordPress and its new teammates are open-source CMS packages, they’re provided to users for free! Designers can use them; however, they see fit without ever incurring a single charge.
This sets off a battle royale, as the three free services wrangle violently with their paid competition.
However, the match isn’t so simple. Free doesn’t automatically equate to value. For instance, Squarespace charges $18 a month for their most popular package or $26 for basic eCommerce support, but you get some of the most elegant, best-designed templates in the industry. They’re also extremely flexible, allowing for a variety of design choices without a lot of effort.
WordPress offers a far more extensive template choice, but many look very similar. To truly customize the look of a site, you need advanced coding skills, which defeats the purpose of a site builder for many people.
However, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal have the advantage of not being tied to a specific company. If Squarespace were to go out of business, your website might go with it. WordPress is free and supported by the community of people that use it, so it will always exist and always improve.
By the end of the match, chairs and tables have been broken, skulls have been cracked, and the ring is littered with the bruised and the bloodied. Weeding through the carnage, the ref is forced to call a draw.
After rating the three matches, the ref heads to the center of the ring and lifts the hands of two contenders for a tie victory.
WordPress and Squarespace!
WordPress has the advantage of being free and open-source. WordPress installations can be hosted with nearly any hosting provider. You get a massive number of template choices, plugins, and skillsets. If you’re willing to learn advanced editing techniques, you can create beautiful, highly-functional websites with WordPress.
Squarespace isn’t quite as extensible as WordPress, but its templates are beautiful, functional, and highly customizable right from the start. The site editor makes it easy for even beginning designers to create sophisticated-looking sites that are zippy and perform well.
But you pay for the convenience. And your website is locked into Squarespace’s ecosystem. In a sense, you’re a hostage. If they raise their prices, you can’t switch to a new host without potentially having to redesign your site. WordPress is far more future proof.
Both are good options, depending on your needs and your goals. And with that, we say thank you and good night!