WordPress vs Drag-and-Drop Builders – Which is Best?
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When considering building a new website, you’ve got a tonne of choices when choosing a platform.
Usually, the question people ask is, “Do I go with WordPress, or do I go with a drag-and-drop website builder?”
While WordPress and other website builders like Wix, GoDaddy, and Squarespace have pros and cons, there are key differences that you should be aware of before investing in a platform and dedicating time and resources to your website development.
Having a load of experience with WordPress and the other platforms listed above, I wanted to make things easier for you.
So, I’ve broken down the advantages and disadvantages of WordPress and standard drag-and-drop builders so you can make an informed decision!
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) that is widely known for its array of features for building and hosting websites.
WordPress started in 2003 and has become the world’s most popular website hosting platform over the last two decades, with over 43% of all websites being hosted on the WordPress platform.
The platform allows everyone to create and share content, regardless of their experience. Novice website developers and small business owners can easily use it ‘out of the box’ to build websites and blogs.
On the other hand, experienced web developers can customise the platform and build great websites and experiences thanks to WordPress being open-source.
What are Drag-and-Drop Builders?
Drag-and-drop website builders make building a simple website or blog as simple as possible.
You don’t need to know a thing about website coding; as the name suggests, you drag and drop elements onto the page and use a WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get) to tweak the design.
There are a load of drag-and-drop CMSs to choose from, some of the most popular being:
- 1&1 IONOS
These platforms typically work on a monthly or annual subscription basis, and most offer a free website domain with their plans.
What are the advantages of WordPress?
Simple to set up
To start with, WordPress is straightforward to install and set up.
All you need to do to get started is go to wordpress.org, click the ‘Get WordPress’ button and then follow the installation guide to download the latest version.
Functionality and flexibility
One of the biggest things that makes WordPress so attractive is the level of functionality it gives you and how flexible the platform is.
WordPress allows you to build almost any website, whether just something simple like a standard business website or blog, or something more intricate like an eCommerce website or membership-based website with a login portal.
If you know your way around coding languages like HTML and CSS, you can delve deeper into the code and create something unique that fits your needs.
Thousands of useful Plugins
Expanding on the functionality side of things, Plugins are a way to add new features and tools to your website.
Plugins can range from simple design/structural elements and SEO tools to eCommerce integrations and membership subscription functions.
With over 58,000 WordPress Plugins available for free, the functional possibilities of a WordPress website are almost endless.
You have a range of hosting options
Hosting your website on WordPress is simple.
There are many WordPress hosts out there, many offering super-fast website hosting, strong website security, and easy site management.
Some of the biggest WordPress hosts include:
But you don’t have to use a dedicated WordPress host. Most, if not all, all website hosts will facilitate WordPress, so if you’re happy with your current website host, you’ll likely be able to stick with it.
Strong SEO capabilities
With built-in SEO features, flexible code, fast website hosting options, and a load of Plugins and tools available, WordPress makes optimising your website for search engines simpler than other platforms.
36.28% of the top 1 million sites on the web (in order of traffic) are built on WordPress. This includes brands like Mercedes Benz, Nike, The New York Times, Vogue, and the BBC.
Responsive website themes
WordPress offers a range of website themes, including a load of responsive themes.
With 59.6% of all web traffic coming from mobile devices, ensuring your website looks great on mobile devices, desktop computers, and laptops is essential for usability.
WordPress’ customisable responsive themes allow you to optimise your website for mobile devices without sacrificing your freedom of design or development.
You can also install a range of mobile Plugins that help with mobile optimisation and testing.
Easy to update
The WordPress platform and Plugins are regularly updated with security patches, bug fixes, and new features for users.
Updating your version of WordPress is simple. Open up the WordPress dashboard, and click ‘WordPress 6.1.1 is available! Please update now.’ and follow the update instructions to update to the latest version!
You can also create a backup of your website so that you can roll back to a previous version if anything goes wrong during the update process.
Despite being a more technical platform than your typical drag-and-drop builder, Plugins like Elementor can give you drag-and-drop functionality to build and edit your website easily.
That gives you all the benefits and flexibility of WordPress and the bonus of drag-and-drop simplicity.
With all of the features and flexibility you get with WordPress, and their plans ranging from just £3 per month up to £36 per month, it’s one of, if not the most cost-effective platform for website development.
This helps small businesses get their business online without spending a fortune and allows them to grow and expand on the platform. There’s nothing more annoying than having to migrate your entire website to another platform!
What are the disadvantages of WordPress?
Too many Plugins can slow pages down
While WordPress Plugins can provide a load of useful features and tools, having too many installed on your website can drastically affect your site speed.
One of Google’s core factors for ranking websites is how quickly pages load.
If your web pages are suffering from bloated code (unnecessarily long code) due to too many Plugins, it’ll make your website slower and will likely affect your SEO too.
Outdated Plugins can cause security risks
If you’re not staying up to date on Plugin updates, or you’re using Plugins that no longer receive any support, you could be opening yourself up to potential security risks.
Hackers and viruses are getting smarter, and if they can exploit a weakness on your website, it’s not just your website and reputation that could be at risk, but your customer’s data too.
Websites can be tricky to customise
Although WordPress makes creating and launching a website relatively simple, if you’re not familiar with coding languages and web development, you’ll likely be confined to the design of your chosen template.
This can be frustrating if you want to create something different or customise the design to your liking.
However, this can be easily remedied by working with a WordPress Web Design Agency.
The platform itself can be slow
Because the WordPress CMS needs more server resources than your standard web page, the platform can be pretty slow.
Also, with the capabilities of creating new web pages, managing themes, uploading content to media libraries, and installing and integrating a load of tools and Plugins, it results in a tonne of extra code, which doesn’t exactly give you the best site speed.
Because of this, it’s essential to know how to optimise your code and SEO – which isn’t something the average small business owner will be an expert in.
However, you can reach out to a Technical SEO Agency for help, and they’ll work with you to make your website lightning-fast.
What are the advantages of Drag-and-Drop Builders?
Simple and intuitive
One of the key benefits of a drag-and-drop builder is its easy use.
Even for someone who has never used a website builder before, you can get a good grasp of how everything works after a few minutes of playing around.
This makes it very easy for small business owners to set up websites or blogs themselves.
Most drag-and-drop platforms, like Wix and Weebly, will offer free domain registration as part of their website plans.
If you are building a website for the first time or need a new domain, choosing, registering and connecting a domain to your website is simple.
Or, if you’ve already got a domain hosted with another provider, you can transfer it to your new platform or connect it via the DNS records.
You can get online in minutes
If you only want a short, one-page website to act as a digital flyer for your business, you can get your website up and running in minutes.
Once you’ve paid for your website plan, registered and connected your domain, and chosen a template, all you need to do is swap out a few images and logos, write up some content for the page, and change the colour palette to match your branding and then hit ‘Publish’.
For small, basic websites, drag-and-drop builders are extremely handy.
Zero coding knowledge required
Because the entire design and development interface is built as a WYSIWYG editor, you don’t need to know a single line of code to get your website up and running.
For small business owners who don’t have much time or budget, drag-and-drop editors give you a simple DIY way of getting your business online.
What are the disadvantages of Drag-and-Drop Builders?
They’re hard to customise
Because the platform uses a WYSIWYG editor, you’re very restricted with what you can do.
It can be challenging to customise the code of your website manually, and even adding HTML elements won’t allow you to add complex custom code to your website.
All of this makes it very hard to customise the look and feel of your website, which can be very frustrating if you’re unable to implement the features and functionality that your website needs.
The themes are all very similar
A big issue with the free templates that drag-and-drop builders offer is that the design doesn’t differ much.
With millions of websites using drag-and-drop builders, these same themes and templates are extremely common and make many websites look similar.
This means it’s hard to make your website stand out because you’re using the same basic theme as millions of other websites.
They have poor loading speeds
Thanks to the unbelievably bloated code that comes from their editors, most drag-and-drop builders have pretty poor loading speeds.
The worst part is that because these websites need all this code to function and because customisation of code is minimal, there’s not much you can do about the site speed issue.
They’re not great for SEO
Many drag-and-drop platforms don’t give you all the features you need to optimise your website for search engines.
You get the basics like heading tags, customisable metadata, 301 redirects, image alt-text, and auto-generated sitemaps; Still, there are few options for more technical SEO tactics like schema markup, customisable URL structures, canonical tags, or structured data.
Coupled with the site speed issues, you’ll find ranking higher on Google even more challenging on these platforms.
They’re rarely updated
From my experience with using different drag-and-drop platforms (Weebly and Wix), they often lack some of the most basic and necessary design, structure, or SEO features.
With community forums and suggestion threads all begging for different features to be added, they often leave these suggestions marked as ‘We’re considering it’ or ‘We’re working on it’.
But it’s a rare occurrence for new features to be added quickly; they can often take years to materialise, by which point you’ve given up and moved to a different platform with more functionality (until the same happens there).
Speaking from experience, building a strong website without all of the tools and features you need is very frustrating. After bouncing around a few different drag-and-drop platforms, you’ll often find that every platform has something missing.
Verdict: Which one is better?
Drag-and-drop builders can be a great way to create small and simple websites or blogs for your business. But, due to the limited functionality and customisation options, you can often quickly outgrow websites built on these platforms, especially if you’re looking to take your website experience and features to the next level.
WordPress, however, gives you far more flexibility and features to build a website that suits your needs. Its easy customisation with Plugins and integrations means you have room to grow and adapt your website to achieve your goals.
Additionally, WordPress gives you far more options and Plugins for SEO, allowing you to make in-depth technical and internal optimisations that improve your site quality and user experience while also helping to improve your ranking on search engines.