Last Updated October 16 2020
These days there are so many website builders tools in competition. It’s become a crowded space.
Has all these new options led to the death of Wordpress? Not at all. Wordpress still powers a huge portion of the web and will for a long time. But there are new and exciting alternatives to Wordpress out there.
I’m going to walk you through five of them in this article— each with their own unique differences that could be a perfect fit for the right user.
Don’t confuse Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org. Wordpress.com is a hosted service and Wordpress.org is an open source CMS. Wordpress.org powers almost a quarter of the internet and is what most people mean when they talk about Wordpress.
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Squarespace is a visual, drag-and-drop website builder. Everything is included out of the box: themes, plugins, hosting and more. You’ll never have to touch code with Squarespace.
It’s like the Apple of website builders. Editing pages is intuitive and thoughtful…
… And they have great taste. Squarespace is known for excellent templates. They often have a recognizable look and feel: bold typography, white space and plenty of room to showcase photography.
They also have best in-class features: outstanding blogging, photo galleries, podcast hosting, ecommerce and more.
If I was still a freelance web designer I would move from Wordpress to Webflow.
Here’s why: the Webflow Designer tool. It gives you the flexibility of front-end coding without requiring you to actually code.
Then you can also integrate a full CMS (and ecommerce) into the Webflow Designer. The CMS let’s you create content types made up of fields— for example: plain text, images, dates, colors and a WYSIWYG editor.
Webflow can also be white-labeled and let’s can manage multiple client projects within one dashboard. Plus you can bill clients through Webflow and even upcharge.
There’s also an Editor interface for teams and clients— so no more asking clients to navigate the messy Wordpress backend.
I highly recommend Shopify for ecommerce websites. It’s intuitive and flexible.
One key to Shopify is the Shopify App Store. While Shopify’s core covers typical ecommerce features (example: products, discounts, analytics, marketing etc.), the App Store covers everything that is more unusual (example: gift wrap upsells, back in stock notifications).
So many other ecommerce builders are confusing and overwhleming. Just look at Volusion:
Not Shopify. Because Shopify has an App Store, they keep their core editor clear and intuitive— notice how simple and clean it is by comparison?:
There’s a lot more to Shopify than just the App Store though. They’ve consistently pushed the ecommerce industry forward with innovative features. Shopify Capital for small business loans, Shopify Payments for payment processing, Shopify Fulfillment Network for shipping and much more. You can read more in my Shopify Review.
Ghost is open source like Wordpress but unlike Wordpress, Ghost is explicilty focused on doing one thing really well: publishing.
Wordpress started as a platform for blogs— but it took on more and more over the years and eventually became a huge CMS. That’s not what Ghost wants to become. Ghost wants to just focus on publishing.
I haven’t built any live sites with Ghost yet but I keep returning to it because it’s got a lot to like for publishers like myself:
But more than anything I just like that Ghost is intuitive. Try Ghost if you’re sick of wading through menus and complex options in Wordpress.
The Jamstack isn’t a tool. It’s a whole category of tools. And this is more for developers— the Jamstack requires coding.
Basically the Jamstack is a new way of building websites that doesn’t use server-side rendering. This leads to better performance, security and developer experience.
That sounds really abstract but in practice it’s actually really exciting. For example, I recently rewrote this website with the Jamstack and my Google Pagespeed score went from the 30s to the 90s. Plus I was easily able to integrate with a great CMS (Netlify CMS).
And there is an explosion of new tools within the Jamstack that you can fit together.
For example, there are tons of static site generators:
These static site generators can be combined with all kinds of new CMS’s:
According to Wes Bros, there are like 16,000+ combinations— so too many for me to cover here— but you should recognize the Jamstack as a legitimate alternative to Wordpress!