The days of needing to pay a coder to build your website are long gone. There is now a wealth of platforms – or content management systems (CMS) – that you can use to build your site without needing to know a single line of code. Are you considering using a CMS to build or rebuild your site? In this article, Erika Brager talks you through four of the most popular options, including their strengths and their weaknesses.

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Which CMS has the best themes?

CMS Pros Cons
WordPress.org

 

Thousands of themes are available. Some designed specifically for the needs of hotels and tourism companies. Many nicer-looking themes are paid and start at $50 if you’re seeking something well-designed and professional.
SquareSpace

 

All themes come from SquareSpace. No outsiders can design and sell you a theme. Another brag is you can create a professional website without inserting a single line of code. This level of simplicity can be very restrictive if you want a specific look and feel for your page.
Weebly Weebly is the only place offering Weebly themes, leaving little margin for error. The drag and drop approach allows the user to move pieces and place them anywhere. Changing themes is also a breeze. Everything inputted into the previous theme seamlessly moves over. Reviewers complain that dragging and dropping isn’t all that user friendly. Changing anything beyond colors requires code. Code is not something a beginner should hassle with. One line of bad code can crash your site.
Wix Also offering drag and drop style website building, Wix is a giant time saver for those in a hurry to launch a feature-rich website. It’s very difficult to switch templates. If you switch templates, your information doesn’t transfer over. In the long run you lose time.

Verdict: Squarespace and Wix are the most user-friendly, and it’s possible to launch a good-looking website in a matter of hours. But the generous variety makes WordPress.org our favorite CMS for themes.

Which CMS is best for booking management?

     
CMS Pros Cons
WordPress.org WordPress.org offers a myriad of booking management and e-commerce tools to suit your needs. From reserving hotel rooms to purchasing souvenir mugs, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for, eventually… It’s not free, and it isn’t easy to use. WordPress itself is so customizable that you will pay a premium for a quality e-commerce or booking manager with reliable support.
SquareSpace

 

SquareSpace offers online-booking specific formats and tools for e-commerce. Managing all the incoming information is easy because SquareSpace is so organized. SquareSpace doesn’t offer e-commerce worldwide, only in select countries. In addition, they don’t display international date format, weeks start on Sunday and time notation is 24hours. Users complain it’s not the best platform for hotels and tourism.
Weebly

 

Weebly offers a lot of tools just for e-commerce and booking. It’s PayPal friendly, making it easy for customers to book directly from your site. It’s difficult to migrate any information from your Weebly site to another. Consider your projected growth for the next few years. If you suddenly need more from your online presence, you might be starting again from scratch.
Wix Wix boasts free booking platforms for their users. A giant saver for small hotels and businesses looking to spread their digital wings. The quality of support is poor to non-existent. Free offerings may seem great, but you need to be tech-savvy to navigate through Wix.

Verdict: Booking management will probably be one of the most important factors when deciding on a CMS for restaurants, tourism companies, and hotels in Vietnam. Although Wix and Squarespace are easy to use, the restrictions and lack of support can turn small booking issues into painful problems. Both WordPress.org and Weebly offer a lot of choice, but the former is difficult to use which is why we prefer Weebly.

Which CMS has the best additional features?

CMS Pros Cons
WordPress.org Offering thousands of enhancements, your site’s personalization possibilities are endless. Want your social media icons to have a certain look? Want to connect MailChimp or another email subscription service? Want a video playing on your homepage? Their add-ons can do all of that and more. WordPress allows outsiders to create enhancements. These enhancements have no guarantee, just reviews from other users. If something you add crashes your site, support is limited.
SquareSpace

 

No outsiders can create enhancements for SquareSpace, leaving the smallest margin for disaster possible. This quality control ensures their 99% uptime guarantee. This is restrictive for a tech-savvy web builder who wants to customize every aspect. On the flipside, a tech newbie should be wary that a very simple design is easy to duplicate.
Weebly Weebly offers a large selection of enhancements made by their developers. Since they are Weebly-made, there is a smaller chance of your site crashing from a faulty one. Marketing tools are limited on Weebly. If you’re trying to learn more about your customers, Weebly won’t make it easy. Tools like Google Analytics, Facebook retargeting and others are difficult to add to your site.
Wix Wix does not allow outsiders to develop enhancements for their sites. Only the people at Wix can do it. If something goes wrong, Wix solves it. Wix is cited as having the worst tech support of our roundup. If something goes wrong, you better be patient. Also, drag and drop isn’t as easy as they sell it. Reviewers complain that you need to know some coding basics to have the beautiful site of your dreams.

Verdict: This is a tough one as the more additional features available, the more likely it is that something will go wrong. For additional features, we like SquareSpace because there is enough variety without things getting complicated.

Which CMS is best for a multilingual site?

CMS Overall
WordPress.org

 

Install Polylang onto your site then manually input all the translations. It’s easy to use and works across all themes, which is a bonus. This is one of the reasons we use WordPress.org for our Dulichable and Clickable Vietnam websites.
SquareSpace As SquareSpace does not allow outsiders, their provided solution does not work on every template. Imagine building a breathtaking website and you can’t cross the multilingual finish line, what a pain.

The other option is you pay for multiple sites with a similar URL, language sub-domain in nerd speak. This is the most expensive option, and certainly not convenient.

Weebly Weebly requires a fair amount of coding. Menus are only displayed in one language. However, if you insert chunks of code into every single page of your site, you can redirect users to the multilingual pages and they can navigate through that way. This method leaves a gaping margin for error.
Wix Start by duplicating all of your pages. Next you’ll create all new menus before adding their multilingual tool. It is incredibly time-consuming. The translations are not human unless you duplicate the pages in the desired language.

Verdict: For multilingual sites, WordPress.org is definitely the best way to go.

Which CMS will make your website hardest to copy?

CMS Overall
WordPress.org The lowest cost platform, it’s easier for a jealous copycat to apply your theme and photos to their own page.
SquareSpace

 

The medium cost option. This one is harder to copy because it’s image rich. Meaning you need an armory of high-quality photos on your page
Weebly Since there is limited template customization available without knowing a little bit of coding, the chances of someone replicating your site are much higher. Don’t assume that a higher cost will price out someone trying to copycat.
Wix Wix boasts true drag and drop web building. Through every customization and adjustment, your site becomes less and less easy to copy. The medium price range would not discourage a jealous copycat. The premium plans include changeable templates.

Verdict: Copycats plague many of our clients, which is why we’ve included a section on how copy-able your website will be according the CMS you employ. SquareSpace and Wix are probably both the hardest to copy but for very different reasons. SquareSpace encourages image rich sites which are hard to replicate if you don’t have access to good photography. Wix is difficult to copy because the drag and drop web building function means that you can take your site far away from the original theme.

And finally, what are the costs?

CMS Annual Cost
WordPress.org Theme $35

Hosting $99

Booking Management License $40

SquareSpace Theme $0

Hosting $144

Booking Management $ 168

Weebly Theme $ 0

Hosting $ 300

Booking Management $ 144

Wix Theme $0

Hosting $ 192

Booking Management $240

We hope this article has been helpful, and if you’d like more great advice on building a website, download our free guide below.

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This content is also available in: Vietnamese