Hi dears! I hope you’re having a great week! I wanted to pop in to talk about something that we get LOTS of questions about over here at 86th and Trend: the best platform to build your website on. It can be so overwhelming figuring out where to start when it comes to building a new website and we want to do everything we can to make that decision easier for you.
To help alleviate some of that stress, I’ve put together a website platform comparison for you!
And to make it even easier to navigate? I’ve broken it down into three different sections based on the type of website that you want to build: Creative + Blog, Education, and eCommerce. Each section takes a look at the 3-4 most recognizable platforms out there, complete with the top features, a few pros and cons, and who the platform is best suited for.
Here’s a quick overview of the platforms we will be chatting about:
WordPress is one of the most well known website platforms out there. It’s used on websites world wide, and can be used for everything from a simple blog or portfolio website to more comprehensive business or entertainment website. If SEO and ultimate customization is what you’re looking for WordPress is the right platform for your website.
Investment: WordPress is free, but there are additional themes and plugins that can be purchased separately. Hosting has to be purchased separately.
Squarespace is another really well known website platform that can be used for anything from creative services and restaurants, to showcasing portfolios and hosting blogs. Essentially, if you want to DIY a website on your own, no matter the content or type, you can do it on Squarespace.
Investment: Squarespace is a subscription based platform with multiple investment options. You can start with a 14 day free trial, and choose your plan from there. Their most popular plan is their Business plan ($18/month paid annually) but you can switch your plan at any time.
Top Features included in all plans
ShowIt lets you design a beautiful, completely custom theme for WordPress in its own Showit software. This makes it incredibly user friendly for both the website builder and website visitor. With hosting provided by WordPress Engine, Showit websites are incredibly powerful and robust. This platform is best suited for creative service providers (coaches, photographers, planners), influencers, and educators that want to show off their brand or blog.
Investment: Showit is a monthly subscription based platform. Their most popular plan is the Showit + Basic Blog ($24/month billed yearly).
Top Features included in all plans
Wix is another commonly known website platform that at first looks like a great option to build a website on. Although there are lots of pros and great features, there are also lots of big cons. Wix is the best platform for someone that wants to easily and quickly build a website for their business that isn’t interested in a lot of customization features and just wants to have a website done.
Investment: Wix Creation is a monthly subscription based platform. There is a free plan available for a basic website, but you have to upgrade to get rid of Wix branding and ads, or to use a custom domain. Their Unlimited Plan is recommended for entrepreneurs and freelancers at starts at $18/month.
Top Features included in all plans
Shopify is a popular eCommerce platform that works best for businesses that want to sell physical products to their customers (think boutiques, candles, jewelry, etc.). It can also be used to manage a brick and mortar store, and can help business owners manage both their online and brick and mortar store at the same time.
Investment: Shopify is a monthly subscription based platform. The Basic Shopify plan starts at $29/month. Domain names can be purchased additionally through Shopify or you can use one that you already own.
There is also a Shopify Lite option for $9/month that we use with all our ShowIt sites if clients want to sell products from their ShowIt site. This option allows us to easily integrate Shopify buy buttons to a pre-existing website.
Thrivecart is an eCommerce shopping cart specific platform that is perfect for businesses with a pre-existing website that want to promote and take payments for physical or digital products, as well as subscriptions or services.
Investment: They’re currently offering a limited one-time payment, lifetime account investment for $495.
Top Features included in the Lifetime License
SamCart is an online platform that is built specifically for anyone that is trying to market and sell their own products online using themed product pages. SamCart is great for course creators, authors, Amazon and Etsy sellers, and product inventors.
Investment: SamCart is a monthly subscription based platform that includes a 14 Day Free Trial. Subscriptions start at $49/month, and their most popular plan is $99/month.
Top Features in introductory plan
Wix Business is an eCommerce platform that is essentially built for anyone who wants to sell something online. Websites can be built and customized for running an online store, selling a service or online course, for event management and ticket sales, to take online orders, create custom menus or take reservations, and for hotel reservation management.
Investment: Wix Business is a monthly subscription based platform with multiple plans to choose from. The Basic Plan starts at $23/month. Because users have to pay for a Wix Business plan all Wix ads are automatically removed from websites.
Kajabi is one of the most well known online education platforms. It’s built specifically for users that want to not only build, but also market and sell online courses, membership sites, or coaching programs.
Investment: Kajabi is a monthly subscription based platform; the basic plan starts at $119/month paid annually.
Teachable is an online education platform that is built specifically for users that want to create and sell online courses, services, or coaching services.
Investment: Teachable is a monthly subscription based platform with plans ranging from $29/month to $249/month when billed annually.
Membervault is an online platform that is built specifically for users that already have an existing email list that want to grow their list, engage their audience, and create a buying experience through their email list solely, without the use of a website or online store.
Investment: Membervault has multiple monthly subscription plans available ranging from their Forever Free to their Lifetime Pro. They recommend their Start plan for bloggers and entrepreneurs ($19/month).
Top Features of their Forever Free plan
Mighty Networks is an online platform where users can bring online courses, membership sites, and community creation together to serve their clients and community in one space online with the ability to host discussions, courses, and contests.
Investment: Mighty Networks has three monthly subscription plans available ranging from their Free Plan to their Community Plan. They recommend their Business Plan ($81 per month when paid annually) for users that want to start a community, or potentially charge for courses now or in the future.
Top Features of The Business Plan
Mighty Networks Pros
Mighty Networks Cons
I hope this round up of the most common website platforms help you when making your decision as to what will work best for you! If you have more questions or would like to chat about your specific needs you can book a Web Audit with me where we will dive into your current setup and strategize the best path forward for you complete with all the platform recommendations and a roadmap for next steps! Book your Web Audit HERE.