SMOB – Website builders: WordPress vs Squarespace vs Weebly vs Wix vs Shopify

SMOB – Website builders: WordPress vs Squarespace vs Weebly vs Wix vs Shopify

In the last post, I talked about buying a domain and sort out hosting. This time, I am going to talk about the actual making of a website.

Unless you are a skilled programmer and you really want to make your website from scratch, you will probably end up using one of these website builders.

Website builders have completely changed the world of web design. Gone are the days you are obliged to hire a web designer or that you need to know how to code. These days, even without knowing a single piece of code, you can have your website up and running literally in minutes. (I don’t suggest you to get your website done in minutes, I have seen very bad results from people doing that,  I will explain below…)

Among all the most popular website builders, I have experience with these 5 and I will compare them so you have a better idea their pros vs cons and what to expect. I will also includes the websites I made using these options so that you can have a look around at them as examples.

As always, information here on SMOB (Start My Own Business) series is my personal experience and opinion, I am not a professional web developer, my comparison is not technical at all. I am just sharing with you a comparison of my experience as someone who is not technical, which I would imagine is the majority of people who want to start being self employed! is an open source software, you can make a website paying nothing at all. In principle, you don’t need a buy hosting when you use Even if you want to use your domain name, you can purchase an option to direct your website to your domain name, there is no need for hosting. WordPress is hosting for you. There is also which is also free but it’s a self hosting option, which I am going to talk about separately in a minute.


  • Truly free
  • Great with google SEO
  • Very versatile, you can change most of the stuff if you know a bit of coding and buy the CSS upgrades


  • Not as easy as other website builders because it’s not real time website building where you can just move the objects around on the screen
  • Limited options to personalise colours and font if you don’t buy any upgrade
  • No customer support if you don’t buy any upgrade, well it’s a FREE software, what do you expect?

My experience with this option includes this blog you are reading right now and the website for my doula service – Little Peanuts. is different than It’s the same free software but it’s a self hosting option. That means you will need to purchase hosting.


  • Truly free
  • Great with google SEO
  • Very versatile
  • Unlike, this time you can REALLY change EVERYTHING if you know the codes.


  • You need to know some codes
  • No customer support, this is free and you are expected to know what you are doing, there is some online peer support, but that’s all.

My experience with this option is The Warmest Spot Cat Memorial page that I make.


Squarespace is a real time drag and drop website builder, meaning you can move the objects around on your screen when you are making your website. It’s extremely user friendly and have lots of complex ready-to-go functionality.


  • Very easy, you can just move stuff around the screen, you will see in real time how it looks the finish website.
  • You can change almost everything on the page – colour, font, etc
  • 24/7 customer support, and I have very good experience with them helping me out immediately
  • Much more modern, clean and sleek look template
  • Lots of complex function ready to go, e.g. e-commerce store, Amazon affiliate link, gallery, testimonial page, etc.


  • Probably the most expensive option

My experience with them is my main business website for Maow Care. I need the complex functionality because of the big variety of services I provide. I also need the 24/7 customer service support because Maow Care is my livelihood and cat sitting is a 24/7 on call deal, I cannot afford to have service disruption if something happen to a piece of code on my website!


Weebly is another real time drag and drop website builder, it’s extremely user friendly and I find it gives even more personalisation option than Squarespace. However, they really pissed me off! I will tell you why now.


  • Might be even easier than Squarespace, you can just move stuff around the screen, you will see in real time how it looks the finish website.
  • You can change almost everything on the page ON SCREEN. With Squarespace you need to go into a separate page to set up these things for a website wide choice, but with Weebly you can just change where you are at, no need to go to another page to do so.
  • You can get your website done and ready to go very quickly


  • NOT HONEST PRICING! I originally use Weebly to make the Warmest Spot Cat Memorial page, since it’s a charity initiative, I would rather go with a free option. They advertise making a website is free so I spent about an hour to make a draft. When I try to put on live to see how it looks, here they told me I can’t use my own domain name (without at the end) unless I join one of the plan. And their pricing starts from 6 months contract!

My experience is I was pissed off by Weebly. I think it’s a very good web builder for people who want to have a website up and running real quick. But the fact that they advertise it as FREE is very dishonest. It’s FREE only if you use THEIR domain. And what’s up with 6 months contract? This day and age, lots of things can happen in 6 months on the internet!


Weebly is another real time drag and drop website builder, it’s extremely user friendly, they have 501 ready-made template for all sort of different businesses, e.g. restaurant, spa, etc. I actually haven’t a real experience with Wix, and I will tell you why in a minute.


  • From what I heard, they are the easiest to use among all of these website builders
  • 501 ready made templates for all different industries, you can literally be up and running in minutes
  • You can change almost everything on the page ON SCREEN.


  • You can change almost everything! Sometimes that’s a very bad idea. I married to someone who used to be a graphic designer and he is very pissed off at people who THINKS they know graphic design. There is a reason why the default colours are there because they are the colours that WILL go together. Primary colours are usually bad idea, for example, but since my husband that he sees amateurs doing that, I now see it everywhere…
  • The standard template for your industry, e.g. spa, restaurant, health care, etc. can easily look like everyone else. I am not sure it’s very good idea to have a website “off the shelf” so to speak. Please at least change things up a bit and don’t take “making a website in minutes” literally.
  • This is the deal breaker for me and that’s why I will never consider using Wix – you cannot change the template unless you redo the whole website! 
  • Another deal breaker for me is – you cannot export the website in case you want to move to somewhere else in the future!
  • Not really free if you want to use your domain name without at the end

I don’t have an example to show you on Wix because the two deal breakers stop me using them before I even start.


Some of you might have already known, I have started a business recently with a friend. Since the business needs an e-Commerce store, we decide to go with Shopify. Shopify is probably the most popular e-Commerce option out there at the moment.


  • Very easy to use
  • Very sleek design
  • Have all the function you need for an e-Commerce store
  • Lots of app that can be added on (with a fee) to use different sophisticated functions, e.g. discount code, pop-up, etc.


  • Expensive, no free option
  • None of the app is free and the apps are very expensive! We used a discount app once during Black Friday, you know those little stickers you see that say “SALES”? Yes, those! The app costs 18 Euro A MONTH! That’s a bit mental. It does look really good and professional though. If you have a huge sales volume then it’s a small cost to pay but if you are a small e-Commerce store starting off, it’s quite expensive.

My experience with Shopify has been positive so far and LOVA Sling is the website built by Shopify.


I hope this post and the last post will be helpful and have clarify the mystery around making a website. As I said, they are not technical advice, it’s just my experience as someone who don’t know code but have a few businesses to run.

Do you have any experience using any website builders? Share your stories below! I would love to hear from you! 




SMOB – Register a domain name and get hosting

SMOB – Register a domain name and get hosting

When I am hanging out on SMEs forums or talk to anyone who wants to start a business, I can’t believe there are still people asking such a question…

‘hey, do I need a website?’

If you are still wondering if you need a website, you might have a very wrong idea what running a business entails these days. Check my post again to see if you are cut out for it.

Because honestly, how were you going to promote your business?

Especially for pet sitting business, and I dare say most self employed kind of one person gig, your business will most likely come from online. Because you can’t really afford to buy billboard now, can you?

In fact, I am seriously considering to stop printing flyers! 90% of my customers come from online and the 10% people that read my flyers usually end up to be the wrong kind of people. (I will do a separate post on this subject for a pet sitter specific discussion.)

Ok, now we have settled the fact that you need a website, let me explain what having a website involves. Over the years, a lot of people ask me questions on this subject and seem to get very confused. So basically, it involves:

  1. Domain name
  2. Hosting
  3. The actual website building

Today, we are going to talk about the domain name and hosting, follow my blog so not to miss my future post on website building!

There are actually many ways to get a domain name. You can either get a domain name through a registrar company or through a website builder, e.g. WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, etc. (In my next post, I will talk about website builders and the comparison between them).

So what are the differences?



  • More control, your domain is not attached to any website building company, you can switch company whenever you want.
  • You are usually allowed to have as many email addresses as you want, depending on your hosting package.


  • One more thing to manage (not much to manage to be honest, just direct debit every month!)

Website builder


  • If you are using one of the website builder, it’s one stop shop. (That’s honestly the only advantage, I can’t think of anything else!)


  • You are somehow tie down by the website builder, I am not sure how easy it is to take the domain with you to move to another platform if you decide to stop using WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, etc. Please do your research and ask people who have used them and leave them with their domains. I have no experience on that.
  • You might be able to have an email address with your domain name. That is a bit mental in my opinion to run a business without an email address with your domain name, but I see SMEs doing that all the time. It looks insanely unprofessional and amateur. It screams – I am not doing this full time.
  • Limited options, you can’t get an .ie domain for example.

Disclaimer: I do use website builders, but I don’t buy domains from them, I supply my own domain because I don’t want to be tie down by their package. It costs a few Euro more per month to pay for hosting separately, but I am happy to have my own email address and I can change website builder whenever I want. So it’s possible to take advantage of both options.

If you are in Ireland and you want to get an .ie domain, you can get them through these Accredited Registrars. To get an .ie domain, you are required to send in proof that you need an .ie address. Your business has to be somehow related to Ireland.

If you are to get a .com address, you can get them in many more places. If you google ‘buy a domain’, you will find lots of companies. So how do you know who to choose?

That takes us to the second part of the equation – hosting.

You will probably be hosting your website with whoever you buy the domain name from. You need to check if their hosting packages is suitable to you. Check the price, check what is involved, etc, and there is one very very important thing…

How are their customer support?

I can’t emphasize how important it is because down the line your website is in their hands! If there is something wrong with the server, you need to be able to speak to someone. Do they provide 24/7 support? Do they do phone support? Or just email? Are they on a different time zone?

So what did I do?

I am using Blacknight. I have been doing so for the past 7 years and have been really happy with them. I learnt about them from another SME and really grateful for her recommendation. If you are not in Ireland, you might want to ask around, word of mouth is gold.

They are very easy to deal with. You can get your domain name and hosting within 5 minutes! The process is very simple and their customer service is excellent. Whenever there is a technical problem, they keep people posted, and server has never been down for more than half a day in the past 7 years. Really can’t fault them at all. Even with the cheapest hosting package, you can host up to 30 domains and I create as many email address as I want. I even create an email address for each of my cats! What’s more can I ask for?

So how do you buy a domain name on Blacklight then? Here is a step by step guide:

Step 1. First you can enter your whatever domain name you have in mind to the search bar to see if they are available…


Step 2. Then you can see a full listing of what domain extension is available for you. You can see .ie is available for this example…


Step 3. Then you “add to cart”.


Step 4. And yes, due to Irish regulation, you must submit supporting information if you want an .ie domain, but you can email the documents after checkout. Answer the few questions they ask you here then you click “continue”.


Step 5. They will try to “up-sell” you if you want to buy other domains as well.


Step 6. Choose your hosting package. Personally, I think for most SMEs the Linux Minimus is plenty enough, it costs 4.95 Euro plus VAT, the best 4.95 Euro I have ever spent.


Step 7. “Up selling” you again with other trimmings, choose whatever you think you need.


Step 8. Pay! That’s all.


Step 9. Then you are the owner of your domain! Login to your account to create passwords then you can go ahead and create your email. Once you have an email, you can use that for your website builder. And that brings us to the next post…

Coming up next: Website builders comparison – WordPress vs Squarespace vs Weebly vs Wix vs Shopify.