In the modern age, having an active online presence is essential to a business’s success, no matter what sector they operate in. We’ve already explained just how important it is for tradesmen to set up a website, and if you’ve made the decision to set one up, rather than just relying on trade directories and social media, you’ll likely have some important questions in mind before you start.
With so many people looking to set up a website for all manner of reasons, the content management systems (CMS) which allow them to do this are becoming increasingly easy and intuitive to use. Furthermore, some site builders have been designed to help people looking to build a certain type of website, most notably for ecommerce. All this considered, we thought it would be useful to break down some of the most popular CMS platforms to help you figure out the best one for your tradesman website.
According to statistics from Kinsta, over 60% of all websites are designed using WordPress, and its popularity is easy to understand. WordPress caters to all levels of web design expertise, making it easy for beginners, and offering a wealth of customisable features for experts. In its most basic form, the platform is completely free, with only certain features and plug-ins costing you money, though hosting on a domain (such as .com or .co.uk) will set you back extra as well. All WordPress sites are also automatically optimised for mobile devices — which is critical in our mobile-first web landscape — and have multiple options for improving your SEO opportunities.
However, all of the choice available to would-be WordPress webmasters comes with a certain level of risk. Over reliance on plug-ins can cause your site to take longer to load, as each competes for a user’s bandwidth before the page itself appears on your screen. Meanwhile, thanks to its sheer popularity, it has also led to a greater number of hackers attempting to target the platform, and although WordPress security is pretty tight, generally speaking, there’s no guarantee that your website will be completely safe without putting extra measures in place.
Wix is most widely used by people who are completely new to creating a website, thanks to its drag-and-drop interface, broad range of add-ons, apps and plug-ins, and well-designed templates. If you’re looking for an easy way to get started, and don’t have the time to set up an all-singing all-dancing WordPress site, Wix has you covered. It does cost money to get started, but for your needs as a tradesman, there’s every chance that you’ll feel like you’ve got your money’s worth.
That being said, Wix does have its drawbacks, with one particular template issue being a constant bone of contention with its users. Unlike most other CMSes, Wix doesn’t allow you to easily change your website templates without having to completely reupload and redesign all of your content, and considering how quickly web design trends change, you might need to effectively recreate your site from scratch more often than you might expect.
Wix’s slightly more established older brother, Squarespace has long been held as a solid second favourite after WordPress, and its reputation for quality is well-deserved. As with the other CMSes we’ve mentioned so far, it’s easy to customise with a huge variety of templates and plug-ins to choose from. You can set up a blog quickly and easily, and offers not only SEO back-up, but a full analytics dashboard, allowing you to see just how well your website is doing, and make adjustments accordingly.
Sparespace does have its drawbacks, though. For starters, it’s extremely design-focused, but doesn’t allow you to drag and drop elements of a page into a layout you’re happy with. This means that it will take you a little longer to get your head around before you can use it intuitively. You also have to pay to use it, and it offers webmasters a lower number of pricing options, so you’ve got to be sure that it’s the CMS for you before pulling the trigger.
Shopify is the most popular CMS with ecommerce businesses, and the platform was designed to offer people an easier way to sell their products. Again, the range of customisable features and design templates make it intuitive for any user, and all Shopify sites are mobile friendly and SEO-ready, as well as being easily integrated with your existing social media.
The biggest downside with Shopify for tradesmen, however, is that it probably won’t be all that useful for your business unless you’re selling materials or tools. No two tradesmen jobs are the same, so creating a product listing at a set price for your services simply won’t work. Furthermore, it’s one of the most expensive CMSes out there, with their most comprehensive subscription setting you back around £220 each month.