This month Keiran Reid from Freeparking (a New Zealand web host) has been good enough to create a guest post on his view of Weebly versus Wordpress for us. 543 creates all our websites in Weebly, so it's great to have this impartial view - and we add our extra thoughts at the end of this blog.
The Guest Post on Weebly v WordPress
At their core, Weebly and WordPress are both Content Management Systems or CMS’s which let non-technical users edit websites. Both exist in the same basic niche, in that they allow you to create or edit a website, blog or e-commerce store. They both present a range of features to users and have various strengths and weaknesses that we will explore in this article.
Ease of use:
As a cloud hosted service through Weebly Inc, getting started entails getting access to an account by either signing in with your username & password, or signing up with a Weebly Cloud provider like 543 Design. The drag and drop interface makes it extremely easy for non-technical website owners to add or edit content, the idea is that you shouldn’t need to touch any code for most changes.
Provided as open-source (free) software, WordPress can be installed into any standard web host service. It has been around longer than Weebly and it is known for being the tool of choice when it comes to blogging and eCommerce.
Plugins and integrations:
When you make a website in Weebly, there is an admin backend area. It includes a long list of built-in tools and functionality like an online store, contact form, blogs, maps, images etc. You don’t have to install any Plugins to get a good level of functionality. Weebly manages the entire platform for you, so day-to-day plugin security management and the website unexpectedly breaking are less of a concern.
WordPress is an open source website builder, as an open system, there is a lot more freedom for third parties to contribute and extend the system, when they have been doing for years by providing both free and paid “Plugins”. Using the right plugin can add a useful your website’s functionality, but a poorly built plugin can have negative implications for your website’s performance and security.
The Weebly Ecommerce platform is designed to make it quick and easy to setup an online shop. It is a great Ecommerce solution for small businesses that need to build a simple online store with a few handy features.
WordPress, by way of the WooCommerce plugin, is a popular choice for building an Ecommerce website. It is used by many organizations from small one person shops all the way up to large enterprises.
Weebly is a perfect solution for making small websites quickly, whereas WordPress excels at blogging and eCommerce. With a simplified page editor, and tech support on-call when needed Weebly is a great choice for small businesses who need a great website. In comparison, WordPress can be a good choice if you have a larger project that needs advanced customization.
Both Weebly and WordPress are able to have custom themes developed by a professional web developer. There can also be several other complexities involved in actually getting a website live which may mean you need to seek assistance or get a professional web developer.
543's Thoughts on Weebly v WordPress
From day one, 543 Design made the conscious decision to design in Weebly rather than WordPress. That has given us a unique perspective, and we definitely think that for most small businesses, Weebly is the way to go. In a nutshell:
Weebly really is a fantastic platform and we love working in it. For a really complex build, sometimes we do suggest other platforms, but for 95% of clients out there, it's the ideal fit.
Get in touch with us if you'd like to get us to build your site, or try giving it a crack yourself direct with Weebly. And if you really want to get fancy, try one of our Weebly Themes (Weebly Templates) - they are really easy to add to your site and give it a whole new level of professionalism.
If you do decide to use WordPress, please get in touch with us and we can recommend a WordPress designer we trust. A big thanks to Keiran from Freeparking (a sister company to our domain provider Discount Domains) - if you have a WordPress site and are looking for a New Zealand web host - either of those companies would be a great place to start looking.
The difference between a $1,200 website and $12,000 website will largely fall into one of those categories. If you've got a highly complex development that needs lots of smart software developer hours, then that will bump the price up. But if you're just looking at a reasonably standard informational website, then you really shouldn't be paying an absolute arm and a leg. Just as an example, let's have a look at how 543 gets to our 'cheap' website design prices:
Personally, we always try to steer clear of that phrase 'cheap web design'. Why? Because the quality of our websites isn't cheap, the result doesn't look cheap, and our clients certainly aren't cheap. Rather, we'd like to think we are the smarter choice. Affordable, friendly, New Zealand web design that gives your company the internet presence it deserves.
Hotjar - visualising website data
Because we spend every day reading tech articles to keep ahead of the curve, Facebook will often give us 'suggested' posts or pages for tools to help out on websites. We'll tend to give them a test and every now and then one will impress us enough with it's functionality and pricing to start using regularly and recommend to our clients - HotJar seems to fall into that category.
What is HotJar?
In a nutshell, HotJar creates 'heat maps' on your website - showing you exactly where people are clicking, scrolling and moving on different pages on your site. It gives you the ability to quickly understand how people are using your site - which in turn can help you make changes to the site to make it more effective. Below we've given a very brief overview of some of the features and what they do.
The aspect of HotJar that most people will immediately be drawn to are the heatmaps generated for the site. It shows you how users are interacting with your website design on a computer, mobile and tablet - showing you where they move their mouse, click, and how far down the page they navigate. It can be really intriguing information and if used correctly, should give you an understanding of why your site may or may not be converting into sales. Below are a couple of the heatmaps we generated for our homepage over a few days. What we learned pretty quickly is that twice as many people viewed the site on a computer as a mobile, and next to no-one did on a tablet. That's good info for us - and that stat will no doubt change from industry to industry...but it shows how important the mobile version of a site is. Other than that, what you'll see in the graphics is the attrition rate from the top to the bottom of our single scrolling website. Only about 30% of users make it all the way down to our contact form - which is real food for thought and something we'll put our mind to in tweaking our site in the future.
The other features
HotJar comes with a whole stack of other features that some users will really love. You can choose to have each user's journey on your site recorded. This is a fantastic little piece of insight as you can literally sit and watch where the user's mouse tracks on your page. It's an excellent way to see what parts of the site people may be moving away from, where they are trying to click or move on the page, and just in general get an understanding for whether your site is getting used as you want it to be.
Another feature that the HotJar team suggest you use is the 'poll' and 'survey' pop ups - which appear on your site and askusers a question about what they think about the site. We can see the benefit of asking questions of your users (whether there is anything that they want to see on the site, or if they had any issues), but with our site already having a 'sales' point pop up, we didn't want to be too intrusive to people on it so didn't test these particular features.
The final feature that we think alot of clients will get a kick out of is the contact form monitoring tool. By creating a form with HotJar, you will be able to identify exactly where on the form you are possibly losing customers. For websites that utilise a big contact form, that could be extremely useful - helping you refine your forms so that you make sure you hear from everyone who starts to get in touch. Again, with a contact form of only three fields on our site, we didn't give this feature a run, but will do so further down the track.
All in all we found HotJar very useful. It's easy to set up (you just need to drop a little snippet of code onto the pages on your site you want to monitor - something easily done by your web team), and the data is pretty instant and understandable. Cost wise, there is a free version for sites with smaller amounts of traffic - which will probably suit most small businesses in New Zealand. We've already had a couple of clients look to start using it, and if you take the time to analyse the data and actually make changes based on that feedback it could be an incredibly powerful tool.
Find out more at HotJar:
What domain name
We continually find ourselves trying to explain why it is so important to give your website a refresh. Technology moves at a rate of knots these days and even if you had an amazing website design a few years ago, chances are it will start to look dated FAST if you don't keep on trend and up to date.
Sometimes though, a picture is worth a thousand words and you just need to see change in action. Below are a few of the biggest websites globally, and looking at them you can get a real impression of why change is so important.
Drop us a line to talk about our super hosting package that includes a yearly website update in it to make sure you stay on trend. Keeping a constant improvement ends up being cheaper in the long run and ensures you'll always be at the forefront of the web.
Our Tech Blog
The founder of 543 Design & Online gives his thoughts on everything web and branding.
We're always happy to have a chat about anything you read on here - just get in touch!