WordPress or HTML5 Website Builder—Pros, Cons & Hacks

Have you been told a WordPress or HTML5 website builder site is best for growing your business online? Find out for yourself in our comprehensive guide to the most popular website formats in the world.

Like any industry, there are businesses who will try and take you for a ride when you’re looking to build a website. Most will be using one website builder or building method of choice, jump up and down about how amazing it is and drag any other format through the mud. But what they’re not telling you is every platform has its place for the right business, which means you could waste time and money if you choose a one-format developer.

Our guide to WordPress or HTML5 website builder will take you through the pros and cons of both formats, who each is good for and how to repair the weaknesses each bring to the table. You’ll even discover maintenance hacks for keeping on top of the long-term upkeep for your website.

Directly underneath this intro, you’ll find a summarised pros and cons guide, with the complete list of advantages, disadvantages and tips below it.

Editor’s Note: If you want to learn more about what WordPress and HTML5 website builders are, then check back to our blog in the coming weeks, as we’ll be covering everything you need to know.

Website build glossary

Summary: Pros and Cons of WordPress vs. HTML5 Website Builder

WordPress Pros & Cons:

Pro: Easily build complex websites.

Pro: Add unique features with custom coding.

Pro: Most software can be integrated using an Application Program Interface (API) or plugin.

Con: Plugins and WordPress require version updates.

Con: Open source software can reduce security.

Con: A developer is recommended.

HTML5 Website Builder Pros & Cons:

Pro: No developer required.

Pro: Software updates and backups run automatically.

Pro: Adaptive web pages mean faster loading speeds.

Con: Some versions not compatible on Internet Explorer.

Con: Integrating external software and APIs is difficult.

Con: Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP) cannot be created.

Both WordPress & HTML5 Website Builder Pros:

Pro: Schema can be added to make your website easier for search engines to crawl.

Pro: Websites built on both platforms are search engine friendly, meaning they’re built to current search engine optimisation (SEO) best practices.

Pro: Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Google Tag Manager can be implemented to measure metrics and optimise the site for SEO.

HTML5 website code

Round 1: Functionality

WordPress functions are good for complex websites.

Pro: Complex websites are easy to build.

Pro: Most software can easily be integrated using plugins or an API.

Pro: Custom coding allows design and development freedom.

Con: A developer is recommended.

If you’re a business who wants a unique website with features to make your competition drool (and you don’t mind spending a little more to do it), a WordPress website is for you. There are plugins and APIs to do almost anything you want, and if there isn’t one, they can be made. Due to the number of APIs available, it’s incredibly easy to build incredible websites.

Plugins and APIs can be used to do a lot of cool things. For example, if you’re a tradie you can use a plugin to find out more information about a prospective job before providing a quote. Or, if you’re a hairdresser or restaurant with a popular Instagram, you may use the Instagram API to stream from your profile, like a gallery. Another idea is for real estate agencies who’d like display their sold and current listings from major real estate websites, which can be done with an API.

However, plugins and APIs do come with their disadvantages (see Round 2, 3 and 4). On the flip side, a trusted developer can ensure you don’t hit any of those disadvantages impacting your SEO or security, so the negatives aren’t set in stone.

HTML5 Website Builder functions are ideal for standard website designs.

Pro: No developer required.

Pro: Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager are easily integrated for metrics.

Con: Difficult to integrate outside software.

A HTML5 site created in a website builder may be difficult to integrate with outside software, but a lot of businesses won’t want to do this anyway. By not worrying about plugin and API integrations, a developer isn’t required and it cuts costs of the website.

Therefore….

Businesses who wants a simple website or are dictated by a tight budget should look at a HTML5 option (like our 10 and 15-page packages). If you want a spectacular website, want to set up an online store, stream data from other businesses or have something very particular in mind, WordPress is your go-to option (like our WordPress and Premium eCommerce packages)—don’t be put off by the cons as they can be prevented.

Do more with a WordPress website

Round 2: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

WordPress websites are SEO ready but do pose some disadvantages if you’re not careful.

Pro: Can be built to be responsive.

Pro: Plugins can be integrated to monitor and improve SEO functionalities.

Pro: Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) can be built to improve page speed on mobile.

Pro: Schema can be inserted in code to make the website easier for search engines to crawl.

Pro: Google Search Console, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager can be integrated for SEO tracking.

Con: Too many plugins can slow down page speed.

Con: Plugins may not interact well with each other.

Con: Custom code can impact SEO by being difficult to crawl.

Con: Reduced security can impact SEO (see Round 3).

Con: Updates not performed can lessen SEO strategies (see maintenance).

The whole point of a website is to be found online, right? While there’s a lot you can do for your website on WordPress, you do need to be careful as it’s very easy to do the exact opposite.

How long each of your web pages take to load has a massive impact on your SEO. You can reduce your page speed by ensuring website is responsive (which you can do with WordPress), add AMP pages for mobile searches and add schema so search engines can quickly find what they need.

A responsive website adjusts to mobile devices, ensuring there are no annoying popups, images, text running off the page and more. And then, AMP pages strip unnecessary code, branding, videos and the like from a page, making them very quick to load on mobile. With how impatient people are when searching online on their phones, this is a massive pro. And then there’s schema, which is added to the HTML to tell search engines what’s what on a page.  

But there are negatives. Using too many plugins and APIs can come at a risk. The more plugins and APIs, the longer the page takes to load. Many developers will often use plugins to give their client’s what they want, rather than writing custom code, which as you now know, slows down your site, hurting your SEO.

Speaking of custom code, this can also play a part in poor SEO performance. Search engines will crawl your website like the typical viewer would, left to right, looking for headings, notable information, etc. Structuring your code (and tagging with schema) can help search engines work around more easily. The easier it is for them, the better you’ll most likely find your SEO results.

There’s also the security issues and maintenance added by updates, but we’ll talk about them below.

SEO on a website

HTML5 Website Builder sites are SEO ready but do lack some features.

Pro: Can be built to be adaptive.

Pro: Page speeds tend to be faster.

Pro: Closed system software means less of a security risk (see below).

Pro: Schema can be added to make the website easier for search engines to crawl.

Pro: Google Search Console, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager can be integrated for SEO tracking.

Con: Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) can’t be created.

While WordPress websites are responsive, HTML5 websites can be built to be adaptive. Adaptive websites have pages built specifically for each type of mobile device. Again, this ensures there’s nothing that can frustrate the user on mobile, such as images that fit on a desktop but not a smaller screen, text running out of view, etc. Schema can also be added to help search engines crawl faster and more efficiently.

The biggest downfall of a HTML5 website is that you can’t build AMP pages. However, when you think about reducing your page-load speed by making them adaptive, it’s not too much of a loss in most cases.

Therefore….

When it comes to weighing up the pros and cons of a WordPress or HTML5 website for SEO, it shouldn’t impact your decision too much. A good developer will know how to ensure a WordPress site is optimised for search engines, ensuring a website only uses quality plugins you actually need, is responsive and has the right schema in place.

Again, it should come down to how much you want to do with your website and if your budget can allow for the fun features you want.

Round 3: Security

WordPress websites can have reduced security if not careful.

Pro: An up-to-date SSL certificate can improve website security.

Con: Open Source Software can reduce security.

Security on a website has many implications. It’s one of the reasons people tend to be wary of WordPress. Although, if you’re savvy with your plugins and ensure you have a current SSL Certificate, you shouldn’t have too much cause for concern.

But why do WordPress websites have reduced security in some cases? In order for WordPress to offer all those amazing plugins and allow API integration, they use what is called Open Source Software (OSS). OSS are plugins and APIs created by developers to allow people to transmit data from one source to another. For example, if we go back to the hairdresser and restaurant with the amazing Instagram, an API feeds data from Instagram to the website.

Now, this is a risk because the developer has control of the data. They can store and sell the data, your information, and if their security isn’t top notch, they could be hacked, potentially meaning you could be hacked. So, how do you stop it? The only way to stop this is only use the plugins and APIs you need and trust. Ensure your developer has a trusted set of plugins they rely on and heavily research any new plugins you want on your site.

What is an SSL Certificate? Learn here!

SSL certificate for website security

HTML5 websites are quite secure as long as they have a current SSL certificate in place.

Pro: A current SSL certificate can increase SEO efforts.

Pro: Closed System Software provides more security than Open Source Software.

The reason it’s so hard to integrate external software to HTML5 websites created on a builder platform is due to the level of security. While you’re limited to what you can do, the software is controlled and is harder to breach that those created by who knows who.

Regardless of this, every website should have a current SSL Certificate. In the most basic explanation of an SSL Certificate, it locks the information being sent to and from a website when someone is using a browser, so it’s harder for someone to intercept along the way. For a more in-depth explanation, visit this article.

Therefore….

Security is a big deal because one, it’s security and two, it plays a big part in your SEO strategy. Google, Bing and other search engines don’t want to be known for putting unsecure websites with potential security risks above another. If they don’t see an SSL Certificate (again, the most basic explanation ever), you’ll be penalised. But the answer is simple—get an SSL Certificate.

You may be a little concerned about using a WordPress website due to the above, but this may help; of websites using a Content Management System (CMS), W3Tech suggests WordPress makes up 60.7% of them, making up 33.9% of all websites. There are some of the biggest, most well-known websites in the world using WordPress, and if it’s good enough for them…. But again, weigh up what you need your website to do and your budget and go from there.

Round 4: Maintenance

WordPress websites require regular maintenance, but there is an easy solution.

Sticking with the honesty, WordPress websites are not the easiest to maintain. All of those plugins, even the WordPress Content Management System (CMS), require version updates. Like updating your phone, you don’t want to rush in and do them straight away. Again, like phones, there can be bugs in a release, which can cause havoc on your website. You’ll want to wait, observe the updates and then perform when required.

You automatically switched to wanting a HTML5 website didn’t you? Wait a second. When we put together both our WordPress and HTML5 website packages, we knew there was maintenance involved, and despite the massive pros of a WordPress website, some people would be put off by it and end up switching to a website that doesn’t suit their needs or blowing their budget getting it done, just because of maintenance.

For as little as $59 a month (+ GST) or $99 a month (+ GST) for an eCommerce WordPress build, you can get us to look after you hosting, plugin updates, backups, security checks, performance checks and more. Check out our Australian website packages here.

HTML5 site maintenance is quite low and easy to have managed.

Pro: HTML5 website software updates automatically.

Pro: Backups are automatic.

HTML5 websites also need hosting. The benefit of Localsearch hosting is that it includes website management services AND you get Australian-based hosting, meaning faster response time than those suspiciously cheap foreign hosting providers. Localsearch HTML5 management solutions are only $39 a month (+ GST) and include automated website software solutions, that superfast hosting we mentioned and real time backups. Learn more here.

WordPress on desktop

Therefore….

Yes, WordPress websites do require maintenance and if not done, it can impact your security and SEO. But, like we’ve mentioned several times in this article, your top priority should be getting the most out of your 24/7 salesman—your website. If you don’t want a fancy website, then a HTML5 website will suit you fine.

The Verdict

The website format you choose will allow you to do a lot or do a little, but still get the job done. What makes the difference is who builds your website.

At Localsearch, we offer both WordPress and HTML5 websites to suit all budgets, requirements and goals. You can add on our website management services to make it all that easier.  

Feature image source: Jeroen den Otter on Unsplash

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