Where Do You Build a Website?

by Brian James Rawson, Emily Dowd, Elana Gaines
November 12, 2021

We’re so excited to announce our new show, Conversations on Marketing and Design.We’ve partnered with the marketing and design agency Afternoon Creative to bring you these conversations about the in’s and out’s of today’s marketing and design.

In this episode, we talk about one of the cornerstones of today’s marketing, your website. Specifically, we talk about the very first step of your website, where to build it. Each of us share our thoughts and experiences with working on website builders ranging from Wix and Squarespace to Webflow and Wordpress. Learn the pro’s and con’s of the different site builders and learn which one could be the best fit for you and your business or nonprofit.

To learn more about Afternoon Creative, visit their website here: Afternoon Creative

Watch the episode above. Read the transcript below.

Episode Transcript
Our Favorite Website Builders

Emily: Okay, Brian, Elana, and I’m Emily. Here we are kicking off our first marketing chat with Afternoon Creative and Owl Street Studio.

Brian: Yeah.

Elana: So excited.

Brian: Me too.

Emily: Today, we're talking websites, website builders, all things website.

Emily: So does anyone want to kick us off with their maybe favorite website builder or least favorite website builder? I have many, but I'll save mine. Brian?

Webflow (and Tumblr)

Brian: Yeah, I know like, I don’t know if this shows how old I am but I used to use Tumblr all the time for making websites, and I don't think that's even on the lists anymore. It still, I mean, it still exists, and you can make some sites on there. I mean, if I scroll back a little while, I don't know if you did this but I used to make some sites on MySpace if I'm showing my cards, you know, but I don't think you can do that now.

But anyway, like, I mean, what I personally like to use is..WordPress works pretty well, but I like to use this site called Webflow. It's a little different. It does coding, and you can make all custom sites but it's totally visual design. So you don’t have to know code or HTML and you can export it all to Web, WordPress or Wix or other sites like that.

So my go to right now is Webflow, but I've worked on Wix and WordPress and all that stuff. Wixs, I did, I did not like that. But, what about you guys?


Elana: I’ve worked on a whole bunch of different builders. I think, I don't know if I have a favorite.

Yeah, I agree. I don't really like Wix. At least the last time I really used it, it. I was not able to make anything consistent or it's really difficult to make things consistent on and off pages. It was nice because you could really customize everything like it was a really great drag and drop builder and so if you have, you know, a single page, one single landing page that just go scrolls. Yeah, it might be okay. And it might work fine. And right, you're able to do a lot with their customization without doing any code. But I think for, yeah any like multi page site or large site, it becomes a lot more difficult to use.


Elana: Yeah, I like WordPress a lot. I mean, our website’s built on WordPress. You can do, I mean you can do a lot of really creative things. They have a ton of plugins.

I also use Squarespace for clients, who are more, I don't know, if they want like portfolios and things like that and they just want, you know, really beautiful layouts that are not super, super customized but they want an interface that's easy to use.

And then Shopify is always great for ecommerce and is the strongest player I think commerce website builder.


Brian: I have to admit I've not used Shopify. Can you? Is it a, is it just like WordPress just with some, like, shopping carts or what's Shopify, like?

Elana: It’s probably closer to...I would say it's closer to Squarespace in terms of, in terms of the user interface, and, you know, the backend and how you navigate.

Shopify has worked, works with templates and so you, I don't know if they call them templates or themes, but you choose, whichever one you want, and that's kind of what you have to stick with. But they also have plugins where you can, you know, add more customization to your website.

Emily: It's kind of, it’s kind of like beginner WordPress. I think like, it has themes, it's got templates, it’s got plugins, but like much less, if I remember correctly, and it's like, you can kind of almost do everything like you can in WordPress but not quite everything. But you don’t quite have full hands on, but, but more than, like you're saying, more or less like Squarespace.


Emily: I have one, one to add that we haven't mentioned, UCraft.

Brian: I haven’t heard of that one.

Emily: The only reason I bring it up is because I’ve worked with a few clients who are very price conscious, like really looking for, like what, what can they get away with on the lowest budget? Yeah, YouCraft, I believe you can, I think, almost unlimited like media uploads. So like, a lot of storage, which that's usually one feature that's regulated, you know, or part of a price tier on a website builder. And then the other thing you could do with it is to connect your domain for free, which is another thing that you usually have to pay for. So it's another drag and drop builder. It's not the best. It's it's difficult to navigate sometimes. It, I think you have to pay if you want to connect anything else like Google Analytics or any sort of other plugin. But it does deserve a shout out for being kind of an affordable portfolio site that's accessible maybe to people who can't afford to pay for it, so I will give it kudos there.

Brian: Oh, that's cool. Yeah, no, yeah. That's why I did things on Tumblr to keep things on the cheap, you know, so I feel you.

The Unique Pro's of Each Website Builder

Brian: Like I said, I haven’t used Shopify, but like you guys were saying, it’s like WordPress but a little lighter. Do you have any, found any recommendations or kind of patterns with, “Hey Wix works great if you're this size firm. Squarespace works better if you're in the photography or portfolio kind of a service” or have you noticed patterns or trends for different web builders?


Elana: I think, you know, what I've, in working on different platforms, you know, as I mentioned, I think Shopify is great for Ecomm if you're going to do you know, if we're going to do e-commerce and that's your focus, so any like actual product based business I would recommend going with Shopify for that.


Elana: If you're more of a solopreneur or a you know, like a service based business or an artist, then maybe you know, Squarespace would be good because it, you can showcase beautiful portfolios or have really nice landing pages and they have a lot of built in templates that you can essentially you know, if you have like, certain hours that you're trying to book appointments or menus and things like that, like if you're a restaurant and you want to show your menu on your website, it's really easy to add that and make it really simple to navigate.

You know, I've got clients that I've worked with that I've used Squarespace they're usually pretty happy with it because, you know, something that we like to make sure we do at Afternoon Creative is make sure that clients can actually manage their own website after we're done.

And so I think using a builder like Squarespace for those types of businesses is really you know, it's really easy for them to make updates if their menu changes or you know, if they're out of, if their shop hours change or their, if their hair salon or something and those hours change and they need to book different appointments. Or if they have a portfolio and they're adding new work or new. Yeah, any new categories like that. Our clients seem to be happy to use Squarespace and you know, navigate themselves with the backend.


Elana: WordPress, I find when I, when I talk to clients and like um, “I think you should use WordPress for your website. I think that would be the best option” a lot of clients that I've recommended that to sort of balk at it there. Because they're intimidated, because they're, like, if you don't, if you're not familiar with WordPress, it is intimidating. It can be intimidating. But you know, as I think we've all said over and over again, it's probably the best and most flexible option

Words of Wisdom for Website Builders

Emily: Okay, wow, I feel like we went over a lot of different website builders, a lot of preferences. Learned a lot. Shared a lot. Um, any other, any final words of wisdom for website builders out there?

Brian: I, you know what, Tumbler’s still pretty cool even though it's not the hot thing anymore. I'm still kind of nerdy like that, so.

Emily: Anything to add, Elana?

The best one is the one that fits best for you

Elana: Um, I don't know. I think, just at the end of the day, you know, there are different website builders and just choose the one that works for your business and what you need to do because you know, not everyone is going to, it's going to be in your website managing things. You're the one that's going to be doing that. So at the end of the day it's important that you feel comfortable with whatever your, you know, you or your designer is using for you.

Website Templates and Themes vs. Totally Design Control

Emily: Yeah, I agree. I think my one tidbit would be there's kind of two schools, there's, there's an easy route, which I highly recommend for a lot of people and that might be Squarespace or Google Sites or something and if you want to do it on your own, that is very, very possible.

If you're like me, and you really, really care about something being exactly how you want it. I lean towards WordPress, and you probably want a professional to help you. That would be my two cents.

In Closing

Emily: All right. Well, this has been a great chat.

Brian: Yeah, definitely.

Emily: Super fun, Brian. Thanks for chatting with us.

Brian: Yeah, yeah thank you guys.

Emily: Alright, I think it’s time for bed. It’s time for a glass of wine and bed. Okay, well good night.

Elana: Goodnight....

Emily: ...Okay, cut! Haha.

Brian: (Laugh Out Load) Good. Cut. Got it. Landed the plane. Nice job.


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