Feeling stuck on what website builder to use?
If you’re early on in your web design journey, this is a big decision. Ideally you don’t want to build hundreds of websites over the years only to have to redesign them and migrate them to a different builder or platform.
That said, even if you’re more established, there may be a time to pivot from your current platform or builder in favor of something that suits your business needs better.
In this podcast episode, I’m sharing my top 3 tips for deciding on the right website builder for YOU, your business and the success of your clients.
I’ll also share a little bit about why I chose the tools I’m using now and what’s led me to stick with Divi, my preferred website builder since 2014, and why I’m not looking back!
Hope this helps you decide so you can get going building your biz!
In this episode:
00:00 – Introduction
02:00 – The builder
- Do you like the tool itself (even if you are a beginner)?
- Do you enjoy being in it, find it user friendly, like the UX, have fun and see yourself growing with it over the years.
- Does it suit your need for empowering clients (ie client access, etc)
06:27 – The community
- Does it have a supportive community?
- Is the community behind it large enough and helpful enough to help when you get stuck, want to partner up for scaling or hiring, have resources for training?
11:22 – The company
- Do you trust the company behind it?
- Is the company that built and runs the platform established, trusted and empowering to their customers?
- Do you trust that they’ll be there for the long haul?
16:55 – Recap
Featured links mentioned:
Only have a few minutes? Here’s the shorten YouTube video (great for sharing on socials) 👇
Episode #258 Full Transcription
[00:00:00] Josh: Great to have you here friend in this episode where it’s just me, with you in this one. This is a Shorty solo episode. And I wanna take some time to answer a question that I get a lot, that I’ve received a lot and I thought I answered a while back.
[00:00:14] Josh: And what I realized is when answering the question, what tool do you use or what builder do you use for your web design business? I realized that I’ve answered this in a lot of podcasts. Conversations, but I haven’t done a solo episode directly towards helping you decide on what platform to use for your web design business.
[00:00:33] Josh: Now, a while back, uh, quite some time ago actually, I did an episode on choosing the right tools for your web design business. That’s episode 64, if you want to go back and listen to that. But that episode really dives in. Further outside of just the web builder, like your platform, and it goes into CRMs and website administration tools and all, all sorts of tools that are in your business as a whole.
[00:00:57] Josh: So there are some really important touchpoints in that episode that I recommend you go back to and check out. Again, that was episode 64, but I wanted to take just a few minutes in this episode to cover the big three when it comes to choosing the right. Web design platform.
[00:01:11] Josh: And, uh, one of our new members and web designer pro Jennifer recently asked about this, and this is a question that is often talked about in there and that I see, uh, in a lot of places because there’s so many options now, not only with different platforms like Webflow, WordPress, Squarespace, whatever it is, but there’s, then there’s a ton of builder options and theme options.
[00:01:32] Josh: For example, for WordPress, you could do Divi, you could do elementary, you could do oxygen, you could do bricks. There’s all these sorts of options, so. What I’m gonna do in this episode is share the big three. We’re gonna dive into each one of these. I got a few subpoints for each one of the big three on helping you decide, and then I’m gonna share a little why I have chosen the tools that I’ve used and continue to use. But again, um, these are things that work for me and I want to help empower you to make the right decisions for you and your business.
[00:02:00] Josh: So let’s start with number one, which is the builder. The tool itself. My question to you and my challenge to you is to ask yourself, do you like this tool? Do you enjoy being inside the tool itself? Like do like when I log into Divi it just feels native to me. Obviously I’ve been using it since 2014 and even though I’ve shared before on the podcast that it did take a few months for me to really start enjoying Divi cuz it was very different from what I used to to use, which was just picking themes.
[00:02:33] Josh: On, uh, on like, uh, marketplaces for WordPress. Once I really started enjoying it and I felt comfortable with the builder, I never looked back because it’s so intuitive to me. I can just zip around it. I know I’ve done a shortcuts, like I just enjoy being in Divi. I find it fun. So that’s my question to you, is the builder that you choose, whether it’s the platform or whether it’s the the theme or the builder, do you enjoy it?
[00:02:58] Josh: Because the last thing you want to do is take somebody’s advice from somebody like myself who’s recommending certain tools and then you not enjoy it. And I say that to say like, if you just do not like Divi but you just love Elementor, then that is fine. Go with Elementor. And I know you’re like, whoa, Josh, you’re the Divi guy.
[00:03:15] Josh: Are you sure? Yes. I’m telling you, I want you to enjoy the builder that you’re in because you are gonna spend a lot of time in it. So the builder itself, do you enjoy it? Do you like it? Um, both as an advanced web designer, an established designer, and as a beginner, like, do you find it easy to learn? Do you like it?
[00:03:35] Josh: Is it user friendly? Do you enjoy the options and innovations that are going on? And again, do you just have fun with it. That’s, that’s the biggie. I want you to have fun. Another important question is, with this one is do you see growing with it over the years? Like is it, is, is it a tool that is scalable?
[00:03:52] Josh: Which kind of brings me to my last subpoint under this main point of the builder, which is does it suit your needs? Long term, like are, is the company innovating it, which we will get to shortly? Is it growing? Are there new modules and new features being added? Are there best practices with things like accessibility and speed, um, which is not all on the builder.
[00:04:13] Josh: Most of that’s on you, but are those things in place to help you grow and to scale your business that. Is a biggie. The other thing, when it comes to the actual builder itself, which this kind of comes into what the company behind it is doing, but is there documentation? Is it, um, is it easy to learn and easy for you to be able to subcontract out people when you’re scaling your business?
[00:04:33] Josh: That’s a biggie. We’ll come back to that. But the builder itself, do you like it? The last thing about the builder that I want you to really think about before you decide on one and. This is something where if you’re early on, then awesome. I’m glad you’re listening to this now, but even if you’re a little more established, you may get to a point where you’re reconsidering your builder, or maybe you’ve used Squarespace for a while and you’re considering WordPress.
[00:04:56] Josh: Or maybe you’ve your WordPress, but you used Elementor for a long time and then now you’re considering Divi. These are still things that you can pivot from and help, but. The earlier you do this before you’re managing like 50 sites with elementary that you need to switch over to Divi, the better.
[00:05:10] Josh: I would recommend just holding onto that. Um, but does it suit your need for empowering your clients as well? So inevitably, you’re gonna have clients who wanna manage their website. Now it’s up to you. With how far you want to allow that and how far you want to empower them. But you should make sure you have a tool that is somewhat user friendly for clients if and when they choose to do blog posts and basic site management and things like that.
[00:05:36] Josh: I found that Divi worked pretty darn well considering a lot of other WordPress themes. Um, And even like Squarespace and Wick and some of these other tools claimed to be very DIY, user friendly. But I had clients that used those and found them to be very tricky. And then when I empowered them with Divi and had some resources to them, they got it.
[00:05:54] Josh: So does it work for your clients as well? And again, some of you may be shuttering at the idea of giving your clients access to your site, which I totally understand and I do think you should limit. However, there is a time and a place for savvy clients who want to be able to do some stuff with their site, and my question to you is, does your builder allow you to do that?
[00:06:13] Josh: Because that is one way to separate yourself from a ton of other web designers out there. So let’s put a cap on. Number one, the builder. Do you like it? Do you enjoy it? Is it gonna grow with you? Are you having fun with it? Does it suit your needs? That’s the biggie.
[00:06:27] Josh: Number two, is the community, the community behind the tool? Does it have a community, number one, like some builders? I, I just don’t know what type of community a Squarespace has or a Webflow or a Wix, or even like the community behind Elementor. Um, From my experience, it doesn’t seem like there is near a robust community behind Elementor, like there is behind Divi, for example.
[00:06:53] Josh: It’s one reason, one of many reasons that I chose Divi is because the community was. Still is on fire. Like it is a probably the most engaged community for any WordPress theme for sure. And I would think any builder. Now I’m sure there are communities behind a lot of those platforms, and if you’re using something like Squarespace or, or Webflow and you would like to enlighten me on the, the community behind them and just share what it’s like, please do so.
[00:07:18] Josh: I would love to hear from you, uh, just to get a better feel for some of those other communities, because those aren’t the tools I use. You can do that. By leaving a comment for this email@example.com slash 2 58, I would love to hear from you, but ask yourself, does it have a supportive community? Because when it comes to community, there’s a lot of reasons why you need to make sure you have a community behind your tool.
[00:07:40] Josh: Number one. You need to have a support system so when you get stuck, which is inevitably gonna happen when you’re using a tool, is there a community that you can rely on and you can lean on? Whether it’s Facebook groups, whether it’s support forums, whether it is in any premium memberships you’re a part of, like in, I mentioned Web Designer Pro a little bit ago.
[00:07:59] Josh: We have a wide variety of web designers now using different tools, but by and large, the majority of the web designers are, are using Divvy. And that’s probably. Not a shocker because I am using divvy and come from the divvy community, but. Even a lot of other communities, there’s a high percentage that are still divvy users, or there’s WordPress users who are using Divi and Elementor and a few other builders.
[00:08:21] Josh: So even if somebody is using multiple themes, divvy being one of them, you can still get support from that. So I say that to say like, if you. If you decide to go with like a, a show it or something like that, my question would be is the community diverse enough and supportive enough to be able to help you when you get stuck, which is inevitably gonna happen.
[00:08:42] Josh: The other thing you need to consider too, when it comes to community, is that when you get to a place, and maybe you’re already at this place now where you’re scaling and you become the true business owner and you’re working on your business and not just building all the websites and doing the work. Is it gonna suit your needs for scaling and for hiring?
[00:08:59] Josh: Now, we talked a little bit about this just a minute ago with the actual builder and whether you’re able to scale with it and bring on team members and have them actually use the builder and be supported. But what about the community itself? Like where are you gonna find these people? Are there forums, Facebook groups, memberships?
[00:09:17] Josh: Um, are there enough resources to help you truly scale your business in a higher, effectively without people just saying like, oh yeah, I can build a show at site, but there’s a difference between like, I can build a show at site or a Wix site, or a Divi site versus I’m a Divi designer and Divi is one of the primary tools I use.
[00:09:35] Josh: That’s a completely different type of subcontractor that you could hire. Where it’s somebody who like uses Divi and they’re very proficient with it versus somebody who could figure it out. So in the Divi community, for example, there are thousands and thousands of designers all over the world who solely use Divi or it’s one of the main few themes that they use. So they’re very proficient with it. And that’s one reason I love the community behind Divi as well.
[00:09:59] Josh: So big parts to consider when it comes to the community side. The other thing, and this will come into the third point here, which shocker will be the company itself, but with the community itself, like are there meetups and do they go to, for the case of Divi, there’s usually always meetups at word camps and any official WordPress meetups, like do they have an active community of people you can meet?
[00:10:23] Josh: Actually in person if you have the opportunity for that. And do they do virtual events too? Like that’s one reason I still really love what Elegant Themes has done with Divi. The, the company behind Divi is they are really still very community centric and try to make it all about the community of customers versus just a tool that, you know, you, you have no idea who’s behind it and what they’re doing.
[00:10:44] Josh: And they’re not really fostering community. So that’s the biggie. The community itself, what, you know, what does that look like? Is it supportive? Do you enjoy the community too? Like, do you enjoy the, the type of people it’s attracting? Um, and then for hiring, scaling, are there enough resources for you to be able to hire and get quality people to help out your business and to partner with?
[00:11:05] Josh: Um, we touched on this a little bit ago, but like, is there training to help with that? There’s so many aspects of the community that are really important. I’m just touching on a few of the, the top important ones in my mind. That I’ve experienced. So really, really look at the community to make sure it’s a good fit for you as a whole.
[00:11:21] Josh: And that leads us to number three, the final tip here, which is the company. So like I just mentioned, one reason I have trusted Divvy as my primary tool is because Elegant themes, the tool, or excuse me, the company behind the tool. Now, as I just mentioned, elegant Themes has done a really good job over the year at being community first, which means they put their community.
[00:11:45] Josh: At the forefront of innovating their tool Divi. So they’ve done divvy meetups. The the actual, like Nick Roaches, the CEO is very active in the community. He’ll, he’ll show up in forums in the Facebook groups and he goes to Divi meetups and you can actually talk to him in person. Like it is very clear who is behind the company.
[00:12:04] Josh: That’s not the case with a lot of website builder companies, and I’m not gonna name names, but. Look at the company itself, like, do you know who the heck is behind this business? Because the reality is one thing you do need to consider when it comes to the company is you have to really ask yourself, do you trust this company for the long haul?
[00:12:24] Josh: And even for the short, short term, like, Some companies are self-funded and self-started, like elegant themes. Nick Roach started elegant themes in college and grew. It became a WordPress theme builder and, uh, developer. And the next thing you know, they, they created Divi. And the team is huge now, and they’re, I still think Divi is, if not the top two, then still the number one builder for WordPress.
[00:12:45] Josh: So that is very different than a company that has been funded. And has like an investment company that invested a hundred million in their business, that is likely going to change ownership at some point or gonna be sold. And that is the danger with some of the companies that do get funded is, is like, that’s really cool.
[00:13:02] Josh: You’ll get a lot of features, but is it going to be sold one day and is it gonna change drastically? Hopefully not, but that’s something to ask yourself. Um, my side note, we’ll get to this shortly, but my two favorite tools as far as what I’m using day-to-day in my business is Divi and Circle. Both of them are different in the way that Circle is what I run web designer pro on.
[00:13:23] Josh: It’s for courses, community and coaching, and I love circle. But one thing that does, uh, I’m kind of keeping an eye on is they are a funded company. So the back of my mind, I’m like, what did they get sold one day? I hope it doesn’t go down. Uh, downhill like that often happens when somebody changes, uh, changes, ownership and gets new keys to the door.
[00:13:44] Josh: Now, that’s not always the case, but I’ve just seen that happen with plugins. I’ve seen that happen with other builders, so, That is a, a concern when it comes to companies behind the tool, if they are funded and if their goal is to be sold or to scale at a huge level. So again, there’s not a right or wrong in that way.
[00:14:02] Josh: And, and the, the flip side of that is that a self-funded company, a do-it-yourself company, can take longer to innovate because they may not have the type of funding they need to scale quickly and grow quickly. So, You know, that that could be said about divvy, like, uh, as, as much as they innovate and, and grow things up quickly, I’ve seen a lot more progress with a tool like Circle than elegant themes and divvy, for example.
[00:14:27] Josh: However, um, that’s may not be fair to say because Divi is so different in the way of all the different moving aspects of what is involved with the website builder on WordPress that people have customized versus Circle, which is a self-hosted platform. But, uh, I’ll just say that Circle has a ton of funding and they’ve been able to expedite their innovations very quickly.
[00:14:49] Josh: So again, the company itself, you have to ask yourself, do you trust them? Are they gonna be there for the long haul for your business? Like, you know, in 10 years, do you think the the company behind your builder is gonna be there? Because you want your business to be there in 10 years, no matter what it looks like, what your goal is, you want to them to be there for the long haul because there is a company. Behind the tool.
[00:15:11] Josh: So that’s a biggie. Do you trust that company? The last thing I’ll say about the company is do you feel like they are empowering for their customers? And we just talked about the community, but let me just circle back around on this point and the, the company category of this, these three tips.
[00:15:28] Josh: Do you feel like they’re truly customer focused? Like, are they doing meetups? Do they have support groups? Are they giving ownership to their community? Are they really empowering them to build a tool out, make it their own? And do you feel like they are like the, the best person in mind for their business is their customer?
[00:15:48] Josh: That’s the biggie because you, you can kind of tell what the company I’ve found when they’re running particularly a SaaS product, Or any sort of builder or anything like that, you can tell whether it is all about the company or all about the user. And my challenge for you when it comes to looking at the company is just, this could be basic research.
[00:16:07] Josh: And by basic research I mean just like look at some reviews, look at the community. If you can join a couple groups just to get a feel for the type of members, like do they feel like they are in the best interest of the company? That is the biggie because the last thing you want is finding a tool. That is by a company who’s purely in it for profit margin and they’re just looking to scale and sell. That is not going to end well. I can tell you right now for the management of dozens of websites for your website business, so.
[00:16:38] Josh: Things to consider the big three. A quick recap and then I’ll just briefly explain a couple of reasons why I’ve stuck with the tools that I have. Number one, the builder. Do you like the builder? Number two, the community, and number three, the company. Do you trust that company behind the tool?
[00:16:55] Josh: Again, that is why I like WordPress. WordPress is owned by automatic, which. WordPress, I, last I looked, I believe is 45% of the internet. Um, every, I feel like different sites always have different stats, but it’s nearly half the internet.
[00:17:09] Josh: So that’s one reason I choose WordPress. I love WordPress too because it’s open source, which means that it is yours. Like it’s, you can host it anywhere. When you get WordPress, you can literally do anything you want to it. Um, it’s one reason, it’s a builder that I trust. It’s not. It’s not something that’s captive or rented.
[00:17:27] Josh: It is. It is yours and you can do anything you want. And then for those who are new, you put a builder like Divvy or Elementor on top of it, and that’s what you actually build your websites out on. But WordPress is the engine of your website car, if you will It. That’s why love WordPress. Now, WordPress is free, so it’s not that big of a deal, although free stuff, you need to be careful about what you’re using.
[00:17:48] Josh: For sure. Uh, but the other big tool on that is Divi, and I’ve been using Divi since 2014. For all of the reasons that we just went over, I, like, I ended up really liking the builder once I got past those first couple months and got used to it. Uh, I really just enjoyed it and had fun with it, and grew with it and started getting really efficient and liked all the innovations they were doing.
[00:18:08] Josh: The community, the Divi community was key for starting this trajectory, or excuse me, trajectory in my career now because I joined a Facebook group, went into some meetups, and then started blogging for elegant themes. And the next thing I knew, Um, I was a Divi guy and I was creating tutorials on Divi and, and found some authority in that side of things, and I still love the community despite there being a lot of drop off and people using different tools now as well.
[00:18:33] Josh: The community of Divi is still in my mind, it still ranks the best, like it still tends to attract such amazing business minded people, but also DIYs and just great people. It seems like Divi often has just great people behind it. And then elegant themes. Like I just said, I’ve been able to meet Nick a couple times and I’ve known the team.
[00:18:50] Josh: I’ve had some of the team members on this podcast before. Um, they are the real deal. They really, truly care about the customer and they have a very, uh, chill approach to business. They, they’ve proven over the years that, uh, elegant themes, the folks behind divvy, that they have not tried to just scale and.
[00:19:06] Josh: I don’t know what the intent is if I, I don’t know if they wanna sell one day or, or what the intent is. I, I really don’t know, and I don’t even know if they know. I haven’t talked to Nick about that. But, um, it doesn’t really matter when it comes to, they’re just refining and innovating their product to work as best as it could for us, the user. So that’s the biggie.
[00:19:23] Josh: So I’ve always appreciated their transparency and how empowering they are to the community behind Divi. So that’s why I use Divi. And then Circle the last big tool that I use. Again, it’s a different situation than Divvy, but one thing I learned about Circle early on is it is in my mind, the best platform for.
[00:19:42] Josh: Three, the three big Cs, uh, that I talk about in web designer pro coaching courses and community, and that is really the platform that house us all of those so well, and talked about innovation. No one has innovated a tool. Better than the folks from Circle. I mean, it’s only been a few short years, not even three years since they came out with Circle, and it’s already like the number one talked about, if not already, one of the number one platforms for community and memberships online.
[00:20:10] Josh: So that’s why if you’re curious, I have stuck with Divi as my tool for website design. And a lot, I mean a lot of aspects like community and courses you can include in there. And I’m still using Learn Dash for my standalone courses that are on josh hall.co. But I do have all of those now inside of Circle, inside of Web Designer Pro, uh, because recently they launched their courses feature and that’s why I really enjoy Circle as well.
[00:20:36] Josh: So two very different tools, different hosted platforms, but working very well for my business. I just wanted to take some time at the end here to share with you why. I have chosen to stick with WordPress and Divvy as my website side of things in circle as my community coaching and course side of things.
[00:20:52] Josh: All of the three things we just covered, builder, community and company are all factored into my decisions, and I hope you’re able to factor in those for your decisions too as you continue to build your business. And if you ever have to pivot, if you’re far along and you’re looking at maybe pivoting from a, a platform or a tool, look at the builder. Number one, look at the community, number two and number three, look at that company baby. Make sure you trust them.
[00:21:15] Josh: All right. I hope you enjoyed this episode and I hope it helps you choose the right web design platform for your business. I’ll catch you on the next episode.