We’ll get more in-depth in upcoming training materials and reviews, but here’s the quick-and-dirty on the Top 5 Nonprofit Website solutions out there in 2015 (and a tutorial for each):
WordPress – The World’s Favorite Website Solution
More than 74 Million sites rely on the WordPress platform, which equals about 1/5 of the entire World Wide Web. Around 50% of these are served from the free WordPress.com hosting platform – as opposed to WordPress.org, which provides the tools for sites hosted by your favorite provider. One major reason for its popularity is that WordPress wisely built an open platform that encourages everyone and anyone to build compatible tools, plugins, etc. – so now there are hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic developers working to enhance its capabilities beyond anything the original WordPress team could have envisioned. WordPress is such a powerful platform & has so many features, that most web designers & developers love to use it.
In a nutshell, WordPress is the industry standard for a robust website building platform. Unfortunately, while anyone who can turn on a computer probably can learn to build a basic site with WordPress, the learning curve is steeper than the others. There are many great video tutorials online for learning WordPress, such as http://www.wp101.com/videos/
NOTE: If you are looking for a high-quality WordPress website for your nonprofit that will rival the best anywhere on the web (and have some budget to support that desire) you might want to check out the folks at: www.AreteImagine.com
Squarespace – Powerful and Visual solution (with a done-for-you option)
www.squarespace.com is with a beautiful graphic look and feel, which matters more all the time in this world of professional, graphically appealing websites in demand. Squarespace has a lot of great website templates for businesses, artists, bloggers and…NONPROFITS! Squarespace offers a 2 weeks free trial with no credit card required – BUT Squarespace also has a great community knowledge base where you can ask questions and get help on how to use their website builder.
NOTE: If you want to get a gorgeous website up fast and easily instead of learning how to do it yourself through any of these builders, we recommend an extremely affordable, Nonprofit-ONLY website company: www.BigShifter.com. BigShifter uses the Squarespace back-end, which means the sites are visually gorgeous and have all the functions one could want in an inexpensive done-for-you site: Check out BigShifter.com’s plans and portfolio here.
Wix – Get a Quick & Easy Website
www.wix.com – Wix is one of the largest website builders with over 63 million users world wide, and is one of the easiest website building systems in existence. Wix is limited to around has good quality designs with over 70 different categories to choose from. Their WYSIWYG (geek shorthand for “what-you-see-is-what-you-get”) site builder is intuitive and makes it easy to customize your website. Wix is great for beginners who want the fast path to their own website. You can start Wix for free, but will most likely need to upgrade to their paid plans which range from a little over $4 to almost $25/mo. For a quick tutorial, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRU83c06luM
Weebly – Professional Site Builder for eCommerce Stores
www.weebly.com – Weebly is another top-notch – and easy – website builders on the market. Customers can quickly make a professional looking website with their WYSIWYG site builder. Weebly offers eCommerce plans for businesses and is a popular choice for those who want an online store. Their business plan is pricey at $25/mo, but does offer everything you need to setup a professional online store. They also offer a large selection of of template designs (themes) and all the functions your website will need. Weebly.com offers a range of plans & pricing to fit your needs. For a quick video tutorial, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7PjTgpgqn8
Jimdo – Professional Site Builder for eCommerce Stores
Jimdo.com is an easy to use, e-commerce oriented website builder. Overall, Jimdo is a very good website builder for nonprofits who do not want to pay for a custom website. It’s easy to use, their customer service and community forum is solid, and their support comes in 8 languages. While it’s less popular than some others, Jimdo’s free platform (JimdoFree) provides you enough tools to build a very functional website. There is absolutely no pressure to upgrade to the paid platform (JimdoPro and JimdoBusiness) and you can remain a free user indefinitely. For a video tutorial, check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-Kra4lrr3U