There are a lot of options when it comes to building a website. You may have heard of Wix and Weebly and SquareSpace, just to name a few, but I chose WordPress. There are a lot of reasons why, but today I thought I’d highlight the top three:

1. Ownership

This is probably the most boring, but the most important reason I use WordPress.

“Hosted” website solutions, like Wix, Weebly, or SquareSpace, have proprietary website-building platforms and hosting in one package. This means that if I built my site using the proprietary platform and then decided I didn’t like their service or it was no longer meeting my needs, I would have to rebuild my entire site on a different platform somewhere else.

WordPress is a “self-hosted” website solution because once I’ve built my website on the WordPress platform, I can host it wherever I want. (I happen to host my sites on BlueHost.)

If you don’t understand what exactly this means, don’t worry. The important thing to understand is that if I don’t like the service I am getting from my web host, I can move my entire site to a new host and it will look exactly the same without having to rebuild anything. This is because the platform it’s built on (WordPress) is non-proprietary and moves with my site.

(I have been developing websites for music teachers and other small businesses since 2013 and have helped switch hosts many times for many reasons. Believe me when I say it’s good to have options!)

2. Design

Mobile-friendly (or “responsive”) design. Having a mobile-friendly website is a an absolute necessity these days. In 2016, we the-nerds-like-me-who-follow-web-development-trends started seeing reports that mobile traffic was surpassing desktop traffic. More importantly, in 2015 Google announced that it would use mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal for delivering mobile search results. A website doesn’t do you any good if no one can find it!

I’m still surprised when I hear about website platforms that aren’t mobile-friendly. Please, don’t bother with these platforms. Just don’t.

Design freedom. One of the things that frustrates me with proprietary website builders is that, in trying to make website building process fool-proof, they often limit design options. You end up with goofy things that can’t be adjusted. Menus that run off the page, text that is just a bit smaller than you’d like or so big that it overlaps the next line, fonts that don’t match the rest of your branding, and so on. Making these advanced customizations is just not possible.

With WordPress, I have complete freedom to design my site however I want. The basic customizations  can be done directly through WordPress (just like those on the proprietary platforms). But if the basic setup gives me something that doesn’t look right, I am not locked out of the code. I can go in (or hire a developer) to tweak whatever code is driving me up the wall.

3. Expandability

As of right now, I just have a simple website for my studio. If I decided tomorrow that I wanted a private student community on my site or a store to sell my compositions (That’s a joke. Composing is not my gift!), I could do that in WordPress without starting from scratch with a completely new website.

This is important to me because you just never know where your studio will take you! I want a website platform that will be flexible enough to grow with my business.

Want help building a WordPress site for your studio?

I want to talk to you! I’ve got a new project in the works and I’d love to hear your insights. Drop me a line here.

 

*I use WordPress.org, which is not to be confused with WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a “hosted” version of the WordPress platform. Leave a comment if you want to know more about the differences.

This post contains affiliate links.

4 Comments. Leave new

Hey Andrea!

I enjoy all of your stuff! I appreciate the benefits you list here. I’ve tried WordPress a few times before and I just CAN’T understand how it works. The last time was about three years ago. I got WordPress tutorial books (including something like “WordPress Sites for Dummies”) that were supposed to help, with guides for all this coding, and it was just the absolute worst for me. It’s really sad, because so many people tell me how great it is for them and I just don’t get it. 🙁

I do use Wix because it has a Graphic User Interface and is intuitive for me to use. I feel like I can easily manage and make changes to it by myself. I NEED to have something that I can adjust my content and layout and things on my own as I’m adding and improving.

I don’t know how Wix would do with a shop at all. My composing is going really well and I might get to a point where having those scores available would be really useful. Right now I do have some “Look and Listen” links set up on my composing page, but I think maybe it’s a little clunky.

My domain name is set up as a redirect (you can see): http://www.laurenspavelko.com

For the moment, my site is functional and helps me recruit and register new students and display my work, but I don’t know how it could or would grow.

What would you say to someone like me who just doesn’t get it?

Reply

    Fantastic question, Lauren!

    First of all, let me say that the best website platform is the one you will actually use. (An outdated website doesn’t do anyone any good!) You’ve done a great job getting something up and running even if you might “outgrow” it someday. Good for you!

    What I’ve noticed is that sometimes the initial WordPress setup can be daunting for new users, but once that’s out of the way, they don’t have trouble adding and changing content. Is this the stage where you got bogged down? I’ve got a project in the works that I think will help with that…

    If you like the drag and drop editing, there are plugins for WordPress (this is what I mean when I talk about expandability!) that might give you the a more familiar GUI interface that you like with Wix. Two that come to mind are Visual Composer (paid) https://vc.wpbakery.com/ and Site Origin’s Page Builder (free) https://siteorigin.com/page-builder/.

    There is a learning curve to any new platform so I would also encourage you to be patient with yourself as you learn a new system. 🙂 When you get to the point of setting up a shop for your compositions, you could set that up on WordPress and gradually migrate the rest of your content over as you get the hang of it.

    You could streamline things like the “Look and Listen” links by embedding the score pdfs in the page and having audio players right there so visitors don’t have to click away from your site.

    Don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to chat more! I could nerd out about this all day. 🙂

    Reply

[…] Your website platform is the tool that you’ll use to build your website. There are a number of platforms you can use, but I use WordPress and you can read more about why I made that decision here. […]

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[…] class specifically for music teachers. If you want to set up a studio website using WordPress’s infinitely expandable platform, you’ll definitely want to check it out. I walk and talk you through every mouse click and […]

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