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WordPress Review

Thursday, July 18th

2024 Website Builder Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award WordPress Review 5 Star Rating

WordPress

5 Star Rating
  • From $0 to 45 per month (depending on hosting)
  • Dominance with 45% market share
  • Evolved, user-friendly CMS with extensive themes and plugins
  • Open-source flexibility and PHP developer community
  • Self-hosting, plugins, and content flexibility
  • SEO optimization and supportive user community
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

WordPress has been a prominent name in the web development scene for quite a while. Since its initial release in 2003, it has become the foundation for an impressive 38 million websites, accounting for approximately 45% of all websites on the internet and 64% that use content management systems (CMS). Moreover, WordPress is a major player in the world of top websites, making up a significant 38% of the top 10,000 websites worldwide. WordPress is not going away anytime soon.

Evolution from blogging tool to CMS

Originally conceived as a basic blogging tool, WordPress has evolved into a sophisticated and powerful CMS that is still easy to use. What sets it apart is its extensive library of themes and plugins, offering endless possibilities to customize your website according to your preferences. There's no end to what you can accomplish with WordPress if you take the time to learn it and apply the right themes and plugins.

The power of open source and PHP

One of the key advantages of WordPress is its open-source nature. This means it can be used and modified freely by anyone, provided that the modifications are also shared as open source. While most users may not need to make changes to the core WordPress itself (which is not recommended for anyone), its open-source flexibility is the driving force behind its popularity. Should the need for modifications arise, a variety of WordPress-specific designers, developers, and over 6 million PHP developers, globally, are available for assistance, as PHP is the language on which WordPress operates.

Usage methods: main site vs. self-hosting

WordPress offers two primary methods of use: the main WordPress site and self-hosting using open-source software. The easiest and quickest approach is to create an account on WordPress, choose a theme, and create your site's homepage. The built-in WordPress Block Editor is recommended for content creation, as it's supported by Automattic (the company that made WordPress) and the WordPress community. It's user-friendly, and numerous tutorials are available online for guidance.

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Variety of page and theme builders

There are, however, other page and theme builders available, such as Divi, Elementor, Oxygen, Breakdance, Bricks, Beaver Builder, and WP Bakery. Each of these has its pros and cons, so be sure to check individual reviews about each one to decide which one is best for you. Note that other builders are only available on certain WordPress plans or if you're doing self-hosting.

Improvements to WordPress hosting

We spoke with a representative about what has changed since our last review of WordPress hosting. Previously, there were a lot of limitations with main WordPress hosting compared to self-hosted WordPress, but Automattic has more recently invested in more flexible and capable offerings so they can better compete with established hosting providers. This includes Business and Commerce hosting tiers that are quite competitive in pricing and features. Also, their VIP Enterprise plan better positions them to host major brands with high hosting expectations.

Free version features with main WordPress site hosting

If you go only with the free version of hosting your site via the main WordPress site, you'll get a variety of pre-built themes to choose from, unlimited pages and users, the ability to rewind post edits, built-in newsletters, and a basic level of security protection. If you sell content or products, even on the free plan you can create an online store, send paid newsletters to subscribers, and release premium content. With the free hosting plan, you do pay 10% in payment fees for every completed sale. But when you upgrade to a paid hosting plan, the payment fees reduce with each tier.

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Upgrading options and additional features

Upgrading to a higher hosting plan on WordPress provides additional features and support, such as support via live chat and email, faster DNS with SSL, removal of ads, a custom domain free for a year, better performance and security, a staging site, optimization tools, analytics, marketing integrations, payment collection, and "WordAds" advertising opportunities. Hosted email is also available through their Professional Email service.

Self-hosting advantages and flexibility

If you opt for self-hosting, you'll continue to enjoy many great options. Your hosting provider will typically set up WordPress for you automatically or it will be made available with a single click. You can choose themes that work with the Block Editor or opt for full-fledged page-builder or theme-builder themes for alternative design flexibility. Unlike free, Personal, or Premium WordPress hosting plans, self-hosted WordPress allows you to add plugins to enhance your site's capabilities. Many plugins and themes are free, while others offer advanced features for a fee, giving you control over your site's design and functionality.

Content import and export plus SEO readiness

WordPress offers a free plugin for content import and export, making it easy to switch themes or enable eCommerce on your site, and even switch away from WordPress to another CMS or website builder. WordPress' long history of being optimized for search engines and its flexibility with mobile responsive, performant design means it is tailored to maximize search engine visibility, ensuring your content reaches a wider audience.

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User education and community support

Although WordPress may require a bit more user education than quick-start site builders, the investment in learning pays off with the flexibility, cost savings, and enhanced search engine performance it provides. A wealth of free online tutorials and a supportive community of developers and enthusiasts are available to help users navigate any challenges.

Reviews and customer sentiment

Reviews, in the case of this wildly popular WordPress CMS, are secondary to our rating. They are mostly positive on Trustpilot, though most of the negative reviews are older and aren't taking into account many of the enhancements that have been put in place over the past several years. A fundamental disconnect that people seem to be having with the main WordPress hosting service is falsely equating it with other website builders and hosts that are more entry-level, such as Wix and Squarespace. However, WordPress is not in the same category as the more rudimentary drag-and-drop builders in that it allows you to do more with your site once it's built without all the vendor lock-in downsides of the other providers.

WordPress's high rating and versatility

In summary, WordPress earns our highest rating due to its long-standing presence, extensibility, search engine visibility, and popularity. Its versatility in many hosting options offers the freedom to create a top-tier website with high traffic potential, making it an attractive choice for web development. WordPress should be the first place you turn when considering website builders.

Which Website Builder is the Best?

Selecting the right website builder can significantly influence your site's success in attracting and retaining visitors. It's not just about building a website; it's about building one that's user-friendly, loads quickly, functions well on mobile devices, and is accessible to all users.

Website builders are designed to simplify the process of creating your website, and eliminate technical barriers that come with more advanced web development methods. With a website builder, you can become a "drag and drop" designer, making it easy to create your homepage and supporting pages. However, whether this is a blessing or a burden depends on the quality of the website builder, the time you can invest, and your tolerance for learning curves.

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Website Builder FAQ

Yes, but free website builders should generally be avoided because they fall short of many features that paid website builders include. There are exceptions, such as WordPress, which is free (if you download and self-host your own copy) and is a very powerful and flexible website builder.
It all depends on how comfortable you are with the features of a particular website builder. Some are easier to use than others. For example, some will build your website for you after you fill in a form with your business details, resulting in a new website in just a few minutes. Others will require you to have a basic understanding of the common parts and pages of a typical website, which can take up hours of work on your part.
It depends on the website builder you choose. There are several that offer a full package, including the ability to register your domain, build your site, and host it on your domain right within the same service. Others split up domain registration and hosting into separate concerns.
Anyone who is approaching the task of creating a website for the very first time, especially with little knowledge of how to make successful websites, should consider hiring someone who has that expertise. In spite of the ease of use promised by many website builder companies, websites can be quite complicated when it comes to things like user experience, proper calls to action, image rights, color coordination, search engine optimization, and accessibility for people with disabilities.
Generally, professionals prefer to have creative input prior to any work being done on your website. If you've already done some design or content placement, you'll find it more difficult to find someone who is willing to finish what you've started. If you want a professional to do it, but still want to use a website builder for easy content maintenance, engage their services before you sign up for a website builder plan. Your professional may have some ideas of which one to use and how to make it easier to use your website builder.
Using a website builder can definitely harm your search ranking if you are not careful. Be sure to follow all the guidance the builder may give you on search engine optimization. If the builder doesn't provide that information, or the capabilities necessary for better SEO, you should not choose that builder. Do your research into which builders provide better SEO than others.
The number one reason to use WordPress is content portability. Many website builders want to lock you into their services, so while they may make it easy to import your content from another builder, they sometimes make it difficult or impossible to export your content for importing to another service. If you start with WordPress, you'll have the most content portability.
WordPress is very popular. It currently runs 35% of the websites across the entire Internet. Even though it's very easy to get a new website up and running with a default theme, free theme, or paid theme, it can sometimes become more complicated and frustrating as your content grows or your needs become more advanced.
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Continued from above...

In recent years, online website builders have witnessed an unprecedented surge in popularity. They have transformed the landscape of web development and empowered individuals and businesses to easily create an online presence. This movement can be attributed to a number of factors that have redefined the way websites are designed, developed, and maintained.

First and foremost, online website builders eliminate the need for extensive coding knowledge, making them accessible to a broader audience. Traditionally, creating a website required proficiency in languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, putting up a barrier to those without a technical background. However, with user-friendly interfaces and intuitive drag-and-drop functionalities, individuals without a technical background can now build sophisticated websites without writing a single line of code.

Online website builders can also simplify tasks such as domain registration, hosting setup, and security implementation. This all-in-one approach streamlines the development process from conceptualization to publication. This lets you focus on content and design rather than navigating technical intricacies.

Website builders have also made website development much more cost-effective. In the past, hiring professional web developers could be expensive and time consuming. The easy accessibility of website builders, often available at affordable or even free subscription levels, allows individuals and small businesses to create and maintain their websites within budget constraints.

Many people don't know that their choice of a website builder can have a long-lasting impact on their website functionality and availability. It's crucial to think about the long-term and consider future needs, not just in the coming months, but also in the years ahead.

When you're ready to jump in and get your new website up and running, you could feel a little overwhelmed as you look at all of the options available to help you build it out. Don't worry! We've done a deep dive into today's most popular website building services.

As you decide which website builder suits you best among the options on our list, there are several key factors to consider:

  • Flexibility. Think about how the website builder will adapt to your changing site needs over time.
  • Usability. Evaluate how user-friendly the tool is and whether it aligns with your skills and experience.
  • Search Engine Optimization. Determine whether the service allows you to manage SEO effectively, as this is crucial for website visibility.
  • Stability. Investigate whether the builder functions without errors or glitches, ensuring your site's reliability.
  • Accessibility. Whether your site is accessible to people with visual impairments and other disabilities matters more now than ever before. You don't want to find yourself facing a lawsuit down the line.
  • Cost. Calculate the expenses associated with using the builder and obtaining the features you require for your site.
  • Reputation. Research what other users have to say about their experiences with the website builder to gauge its quality and reliability.

Top Consumer Reviews has conducted thorough reviews and rankings of the best website builders available today. We hope that this information will assist you in creating the ideal website for your business, non-profit organization, or personal projects, ultimately helping you achieve your online goals.

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