We’ve officially stepped into the era of AI website builders, where anyone can create a professional-looking website without having to write a single line of code. As the days go by, the number of these tools is only getting higher.
On the other hand, WordPress, the trusted CMS powering millions of websites, has been around for over 20 years and continues to be a popular choice for many website owners (it makes up about of all websites on the internet).
As a business owner, this puts you in a predicament — do you use an AI website builder or WordPress for your website? Each of them seems tempting enough for you to pick, but which one is really better?
While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, there’s a right answer for you. In this guide, we’ll give you the best use cases for each, so you can make a decision once and for all!
What Is an AI Website Builder?
An AI website builder is a tool that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to help users create websites without the need for coding. These builders allow anyone, regardless of their technical skills, to build a website from scratch using drag-and-drop elements or pre-designed templates that they can customize to fit their needs.
The idea is to empower users to create websites quickly and easily, without having to hire a web developer or possess advanced coding skills. Some popular AI website builders include Wix, GoDaddy’s Website Builder, Squarespace, and Weebly.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS) that helps users create and manage websites, blogs, and online stores. As such, it doesn’t require any coding knowledge, but it does offer more advanced customization and features than AI website builders. It’s open-source, which means its source code is available for anyone to use, modify, and distribute.
WordPress has a large community of users and developers who create themes, plugins, and extensions that add functionality to websites built on the platform. It also offers a vast library of templates for users to choose from, and it’s known for its extreme flexibility and versatility.
When Should You Use an AI Website Builder?
If you’re considering the AI website builder route, here’s your checklist to confirm whether it’s the right choice for you:
1. You Want to Build a Website Quickly and Easily
If you need your website done “yesterday” and don’t want to spend weeks learning how to build one, then an AI website builder is the way to go. These platforms offer drag-and-drop interfaces and pre-designed templates that can help you build a fully functional website in a matter of hours. You won’t need to learn any code — at all.
2. You’re Tight on Budget & Can’t Afford to Hire a Web Developer
If custom-built websites are out of your budget, then an AI website builder can be a more affordable option. Most AI website builders start at a low monthly cost and offer different pricing tiers, depending on your needs. This makes them accessible for small businesses and individuals with limited resources.
Plus, you won’t have to worry about additional costs like hosting and domain registration since they’re usually included in the package.
3. You Need a Simple, Straightforward Website With Basic Features
While AI website builders can provide you with a professional-looking website, they’re only best suited for simple websites with basic features. If your website requires complex functionality or extensive customization, then consider hiring a web developer instead.
For instance, if your website needs advanced e-commerce capabilities, a custom-built website would be a much better fit.
4. You Don’t Want to Handle Technical Maintenance and Updates
If you don’t have the time or expertise to handle technical maintenance and software updates for your website, then an AI website builder is a great option. These platforms take care of all the backend work, so you can focus on creating content and growing your business.
You won’t need to worry about things like security patches or server crashes, as these will be managed by the AI website builder. This can be a huge time and stress saver for individuals with limited technical knowledge.
5. You Want Customer Support
AI website builders typically offer customer support to help you with any issues or questions you may have about building and managing your website (live chat, email, phone).
This can be a huge benefit for individuals who aren’t tech-savvy and may need assistance with certain features or troubleshooting. It’s also helpful to have someone to turn to if you run into any technical difficulties or have questions about the platform’s capabilities.
When Should You Use WordPress?
Now, that was all about AI website builders. But what if you’re considering WordPress as an option? Here are some situations where you should use WordPress instead:
1. You’re Open to a Learning Curve/Have Some Technical Knowledge
Because of its advanced capabilities, WordPress can be more complex to use compared to AI website builders. You don’t have to be a “pro” in coding, but having basic technical knowledge and being open to learning how to use a Content Management System (CMS) can make the process smoother.
Once get the hang of it, you can create highly customized and feature-rich websites that aren’t limited by templates or drag-and-drop interfaces.
2. You Need Control & Flexibility
One of the biggest advantages of using WordPress is the level of control and flexibility it offers. As an open-source platform, you have access to the code, allowing for extensive customization options.
This also means that you’re not limited to a specific set of features or designs like with AI website builders, giving you more freedom in creating your website exactly how you want it. There’s no limit to the level of customization you can achieve with WordPress.
3. You Want a Scalable Website
If your website needs are constantly evolving and growing, then WordPress should be your go-to. It’s highly scalable, meaning it can handle large amounts of traffic and content without any issues.
As your business expands and your website needs change, you can easily add new features and functionality to your WordPress site without having to completely start from scratch.
4. You Want Access to Themes & Plugins
If you know that your website will need certain features or a specific design, WordPress is the way to go. With thousands of themes and plugins available, you can easily find and add the exact functionality or design elements that you need.
The official WordPress plugin directory is home to 60,000+ free plugins and 9,000+ free themes. Plus, with the option to purchase premium themes and plugins, you can take that customization to the next level.
5. You Care About SEO
While AI website builders offer basic SEO features, they often lack the advanced options that WordPress provides. With WordPress, you have full control over your website’s SEO and can easily optimize it for search engines using plugins and other tools. This can help improve your website’s search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your site.
When you combine your efforts with these tools, WordPress makes it easy to stay on top of your SEO game
6. You Want a Supportive Community
WordPress has a large and active community of users, developers, and experts who are always willing to help. Whether you have a question or need assistance with an issue, there’s a wealth of information available online through forums, blogs, and tutorials. This can be especially helpful if you’re new to website building and need some guidance along the way.
Generally, if you’re the kind to prefer finding answers on your own, then you’ll appreciate the extensive documentation and resources available for WordPress.
The Bottom Line
The final decision as to which website builder to use ultimately depends on your needs, preferences, and background. AI website builders are great for beginners and those looking for a quick and easy solution. However, if you want more control, flexibility, and customization options, then WordPress is the way to go. Yet, other factors such as budget and time constraints may also play a role in your decision-making process.
By now, you should have a better understanding of both AI website builders and WordPress, and their respective strengths and weaknesses. Whether you choose to go the AI route or opt for WordPress, remember that your website is an important representation of your brand or business online. So do your research, weigh your options, and make the best decision for your specific needs. At ShiftWeb, we build WordPress websites that last for the long haul. If you want to future-proof your online presence and have a website that grows with your business, contact us today to learn more about our services.