Limitations vs Maintenance
What are the differences in website builders, AKA SaaS – Software as a Service (e.g. Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, Shopify…) – and WordPress – my platform of choice?
Along with not owning your own website (which is a big deal as discussed in Part 1), the other differences are the limitations that SaaS web builders have and that SaaS requires no maintenance unlike WordPress that has no limitations but does require maintenance.
SaaS platforms are proprietary and combine the home and neighborhood. Using SaaS services can be compared to renting a home.
When you are renting a home you can’t usually paint or move walls. So it is with a website builder. When you rent your website, you are much more limited in customizing the design, SEO, performance and accessibility.
SaaS services usually have some tools to tweak these things, but you are limited to how much. In WordPress you are only limited by your imagination. And if you can’t get it to work or find the plugin to add what you want, the code is accessible to change and add things. Whereas SaaS are proprietary platforms so the code is inaccessible. If SaaS doesn’t offer something to allow adjustments you are stuck with what they have.
Because the marketing is so good for web builders, most overlook the fact that people who are not experienced at design or marketing are the usually the ones DIYing their websites. So they tend to look DIY.
On a WordPress website, someone like me who does custom web design, is the architect, the interior designer and the general contractor.
SaaS can be easier to work in and maintain because the architect isn’t needed at all and building and design options are limited.
When you rent you are not responsible for fixing your HVAC or repairing the roof. When you need things repaired you call the landlord. Like rental homes SaaS websites do not need maintenance. They typically just work.
WordPress however needs maintenance to stay running well, just like you have to maintain your home so that your roof doesn’t leak, and change your air filter so the HVAC is efficient. This can be an extra cost when hiring someone, or extra effort for the business owner.
Because over 40% of the internet uses WordPress there is no shortage to finding someone to work on it. Over 500 websites are built a day using WordPress compared to around 70 a day on web builders like SquareSpace and Shopify. So it can be much harder to find someone to work in SaaS proprietary platforms when you need them.
SaaS can do a lot of things, but as a business grows it will hit those proverbial walls with what is possible.
We’ll wrap up the differences next week and discuss cost of each in Part 3 Wordpress vs SaaS services.