Building a website is the first step to building a brand, whether it is a personal or professional one. Developing a website used to require a knowledge of code and other technical aspects. With the advent of new design options, building a strong website is more user-friendly and streamlined than ever before.
With so many platforms for hosting websites, it is important to understand the uses of these hosts and why choosing the wrong one can be bad for business. Host sites are the home for online presence. It is very likely the internet will be the first interaction a potential customer might have with the businesses and, if not done well, possibly the last.
Why Good Hosting is Essential
A strong host site will be able to handle business growth and spikes in traffic without crashing. It will also operate at a competitive rate and have excellent customer service. The site needs to be able to grow with the business and be customized throughout the process as needs change.
The wrong host server can bring businesses success down. It is a financial investment, so revenue can be lost if not executed well. If the host site doesn’t have strong performance capability, it might cause frequent crashes – and that downtime is another loss of revenue. Frequent crashes will also push the site down the ranking in terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There is a major difference between the first Google page and the third.
Limitations of Squarespace
Squarespace is one of those platforms for managing web content. While there are benefits to using this platform, other drawbacks might require research into other host sites. Sometimes stopping at the brand name resource ultimately limits the site in the long run. It is important to know all the options – and the alternatives to Squarespace – before making a choice. There are options similar to Squarespace and even some with more features and add-ins. The Internet is virtually limitless, so research on Squarespace free alternatives is important for web success.
Choosing the wrong site can cause issues later on. For example, with Squarespace, the content can’t be moved to another host later on, limiting flexibility and control. It means absolute trust in the content host for the foreseeable future, or running the risk of starting over completely.
Additionally, it is important to find the right price for the budget in relation to the services offered. A basic plan should offer lower prices with more features available as the rate increases. Some sites start out as low as $1.90 a month while others kick-off around $30, possibly cheaper than Squarespace. Basic hosting services might be an alternative, and maybe free, with their own pros and cons.
Sifting through endless host options can be time consuming, which is why many turn to the well-known Squarespace. However, with higher prices, limited templates, and less flexibility, people are looking for the best alternative to Squarespace.
This cloud-based platform has become hugely popular in recent years, especially for small businesses. Wix has a solid eCommerce option which is undeniably a main point in its rise – but users should note that while expansion to higher sales might be difficult to accommodate, a few products at a time can be handled easily.
Wix is a favorite for a quick solution and any skill level. It is cost effective with even the VIP plan capping out at $24 a month. A Basic plan only runs at $5 month. It is certainly one of the most budget friendly host options. It grants a high level of creative control without the need to utilize code. As one can imagine, the simplicity of offerings available here ultimately means limited options in the long run.
|Storage||500 MB||3 GB||10 GB|
|Removing Wix Ads||No||Yes||Yes|
Wix design options are limited and the performance level of the server matches the budgetary limits. Websites from here tend to have simple aesthetic options and operates mostly with drag and drop functions. There are themed template options for specific businesses – making this a solid choice for small businesses. Covered industries include many niche markets, from dog walkers to Internet stars.
Some downsides include versatility in changes down the line. If there needs to be a template switch, content will need to be generated again from scratch. It is certainly frustrating to need a template change after hours of customization and have to start completely over. Wix does not allow for switching templates once the project is started.
Wix also operates on advertisements, so Wix branding will be on each page. This really comes down to personal preference about image and branding, but if the logo is an issue, it can be removed with an upgrade to the Wix Combo plan for $10 a month.
Verdict - wix
In the twelve years since its launch, Wix has grown to over 100 million users with 90 million websites hosted. The interface and features are designed in a way to accommodate any skill level, ultimately pulling in the less tech-savvy with website needs. It is a good option for a quick solution or those desiring a simple design with limited interaction needed on the actual site.
Shopify - pros & cos
With over 500,000 users, there has to be something unique about Shopify. This site focuses more on eCommerce and hosting shopping content. It also has an app option where developers can be paid for generating add-ons that enhance the site’s overall functionality.
It is a fairly straightforward platform, with the only catch being the high prices. Those costs make this a tough choice to maintain for small businesses. In terms of performance, Shopify focuses on maintaining speed on their end of things so it doesn’t interfere with the customer interaction on the other end. Similar to Wix, there is themed content for specific industries and business types.
It can hold content, payment options, and products, even incorporating inventory tracking and customer reports. A plus-side to Shopify comes through payment processing. The fee is 0%, saving money in transaction fees.
|Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify|
|Number of products||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
Shopify - verdict
It is hard to justify the cost of the platform for a small business with a single product focus or small level of inventory. If the business is offering multiple products and needs a site able to host that quantity, Shopify can be a good investment. Shopify is considered an all-in-on solution for online businesses and is certainly one of the best Squarespace alternatives for free.
Bluehost - pros & cons
Bluehost brings together different platforms at a cheap rate. First users build the site with WordPress and install WooCommerce for online sales, if needed. WordPress, an open-source platform, is a frequently used site for bloggers, but with Bluehost it can do a lot more.
Unlike sites like Squarespace and Wix, a site built with Bluehost focuses more on the host aspect. By pulling in outside software, Bluehost products are more versatile. The web host isn’t linked to content management systems like Squarespace sites are. Sites can be moved to another host, bringing all of the content and design elements with it. In the end, it grants more control over the site.
The onboarding process is created with users in mind, maintaining a clean, straightforward to approach. This is great for first time site builders looking to slowly learn the technical terms. With a large user population, there are also extensive forums addressing common questions and concerns. When the forum comes up short, Bluehost also brings strong customer service for those needing assistance. The main site has chat and social media support, eliminating the need to wait on hold for service.
Bluehost packages start at $2.95/month, an excellent option for any budget. That price brings 50 GB of website space, a domain name, and up to 5 email accounts. There are also plus and prime options coming in at $5.45 a month. These packages step up the options with unlimited websites, email accounts, and options to assist with spam.
|Website space||50 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Email storage||100 MB / account||Unlimited||Unlimited|
verdict - bluehost
Millions of users have found Bluehost to be home bases for their sites. It is quite adept at handling start-up businesses all the way up to growing mid-size businesses. Bluehost is typically a long-term solution with improving levels of performance and optimization. In the end, if the experience isn’t ideal, they do have a 30-day money back guarantee.