Website Platforms Breakdown for Coffee Roasters & Cafes
Which top website builder is best for your coffee business?
“Great web design without functionality is like a sports car with no engine.” ― Paul Cookson
What good research project doesn’t start off with a good, relevant quote? But even more so than just a good beginning, consider this quote as our thesis for this post. We’re here to dive into what website builders do for your business and how well they can handle your e-commerce and online coffee sales.
When choosing your website builder, a number of viable options are available. Some questions you may want to consider include:
- How do the design elements help the user navigate the site?
- How well is the e-commerce integrated with its design, and is it easy to manage?
- How safe is the platform?
- Will my website crash?
- Will it look good on mobile?
- Can I do it myself, or should I hire someone to do it for me?
And these are great questions to consider when you’re first starting out. As your business grows and develops, you will gain more insight into what you need.
In a recent survey, we asked coffee shop owners which platform is their choice for an e-commerce site, and the results are as follows:
- WordPress / WooCommerce: 46%
- Shopify: 9%
- Squarespace: 18%
- Wix: 27%
- GoDaddy / GoCentral: 0%
This data didn’t entirely surprise us, but it reveals some interesting trends. Through the years, WordPress has earned a great deal of trust. Before the survey, we thought Squarespace would rate higher, but Wix has positioned its platform to attract the small business crowd. GoCentral is a relatively new rebrand of the GoDaddy website builder that’s still in its infant stages.
We have experience with all of these platforms. Our assessment of each website builder and a breakdown of their differences, pros and cons are as follows:
|Difficult. Hire a Pro||Easy||Moderate||Easy||Easy|
|Ease of Management||Easy||Easy||Moderate||Moderate||Easy|
WordPress / WooCommerce
Design Difficulty: Easy-to-Difficult
E-Commerce Grade: A
-Extensive Safety Features
-Comprehensive and Integrated E-Commerce
Setting It Up
WordPress with WooCommerce as your online store can be anything you need or want it to be. It’s a workhorse, which means it can be as easy or as complicated as you like. Skies the limit, but it can be hard to set up. Its biggest advantage is that the backend inventory management portion of the platform is powerful and customizable, with built-in subscriptions for your customers. WordPress with WooCommerce can create an awesome e-commerce website.
Design It or Template It
One of WordPress’s best attributes is that its open source and extremely customizable from top to bottom, including the design. If your knowledge of coding is minimal or nonexistent, you’ll appreciate that plenty of frameworks and templates are built in. However, that can also be risky. But it’s highly likely that someone else can design it for you and create an e-commerce site that not only looks good but functions as it should for your business.
Safety and Updates
One of WordPress’s most appealing aspects is that even though it’s open source and free, the makers continuously provide security updates that keep it one of the safest places on the internet for your digital store. However, you must install the updates manually ― but that’s not a bad trade-off for a free web platform. The key is to make sure you use trusted plugins with a reputation for not crashing. If you don’t hire a company to set it up for you, you will have to do some research.
Design Difficulty: Moderately Easy
E-Commerce Grade: B-
-Lots of Clean, Artsy Templates
-Does Some of the Thinking for You
Once You Get It, You Get It
Because of its accessibility and branded templates, out of all the top website builders, Squarespace has established itself as a one-stop shop. For some stores, those that need a website simply to display their address, hours and a menu, setting it up is fairly easy. If a band wants something a little flashier, but with a music player and tour dates, again, it’s pretty easy. Even though Squarespace contains a lot of templates, customizing them can seem a little sloppy. Additionally, understanding the limitations of each template can be rather cumbersome. But, after a couple hours of tinkering with a template you like, you should feel comfortable.
Get the Shop You Need
Squarespace also allows for a pretty flawless integration of e-commerce with your web platform. However, you may not be able to set up the store you want. It should contain everything you need for inventory, transactions, and orders, but lack the customization you may need. But this is also a factor with almost every other aspect of Squarespace. To set up a subscription, you have to pay for it as an add-on.
One of the most interesting phenomena that Squarespace has created is the familiarity that customers and website visitors will experience when navigating different websites. You could be checking out your local coffee shop’s website, and then shop on a totally different website, but feel right at home because they’re using the same template with the same set of features: different images, fonts, and colors, but the same template.
Design Difficulty: Easy
E-Commerce Grade: A
-Templates Optimized for E-Commerce
-Everything You Need for Inventory and Shipping
-The Right Bells and Whistles
E-Commerce Made Simple
Shopify is truly optimized for the ultimate online shopping experience. You can choose from a variety of themes, from simple to complex, all optimized for e-commerce. When setting it up, the backend feels more robust and laid out in a way that is easier to navigate than other website builders. Choosing a free or paid theme or setting up your subscription ― it’s all fairly straightforward, and, the more money you put into it, the more you will receive. Whether you’re setting up your shop’s inventory or your shipping and transactions processes, you’ll understand the planning and thinking that goes into this platform. A way to set up sales items, discounts and domain support is built in.
Paid or Free Themes
Because a drastic difference exists between the paid and free themes available, pay attention to the demos when you’re choosing one. With a free theme, you’ll get basic design and basic setup. You won’t have a chance to push your brand, but if you just need a homepage, shop page and, possibly, a blog or FAQ section, you’ll get those with a free theme. The paid themes, however, are worth the money if you know how you want your store to feel and function. Templates are set up for all kinds of stores, from online shopping (much like Amazon’s online store) to children’s store themes. The key is to do your research into each template to ensure it contains the functionality you need.
Good, but Not Quite Great
Please don’t misunderstand: If e-commerce is the ultimate goal for your online website, then we highly recommend Shopify for its simple DIY platform and you don’t have a full web buildout in the budget. You’ll find plenty to love with Shopify, from built-in analytics to gift card functionality. You’ll also have the ability to pay for ad space on Google’s shopping service and Facebook’s marketplace. You can extensively organize your inventory. It even contains a section to ensure your titles are set up correctly for SEO for each product. But, at the end of the day, it’s just an online website. So, if you want to go for heavy SEO rankings or get the web design of your dreams, you should keep looking.
Difficulty to Design: Easy
E-Commerce Grade: C-
-Templates, Drag and Drop Options
-E-commerce, Email Plans
-Easy to Get Right or Mess Up
It Feels Easy
Wix is the best example of a drag-and-drop website builder interface; in fact, Wix will even build a website template for you. Little-to-no coding experience is required to use it. Tons of templates and tools are available to set up your website the way you want it to feel and function. Obtaining a domain is easy. For e-commerce, packages and different add-ons are available that you can use on the website ― from email management tools to Google analytics. It’s all right there. Additionally, you’ll find many budget-friendly packages for websites or e-Commerce sites.
You Won’t Need Anything Else
With its ability to support a variety of business and e-commerce functions, you won’t necessarily need much more than Wix, depending on the size of your e-commerce needs. First, you’ll need to open an e-commerce Wix subscription. You can set up coupons and make sure your site is optimized for mobile. However, with Wix, once you begin to sell more than 10 different items ― which is a good number, to begin with ― you’ll need to look for a heavier-duty e-commerce site.
Left Wanting More
The biggest issue with Wix is that just as many examples of bad Wix websites exist as good websites. If you’re unsure as to how to set up the functionality of your website for your needs, you can really screw it up. If you don’t have an eye for design, it could look really bad. Even if you are willing to put in the work to make your website look spiffy, it will never have a truly professional feel because of Wix’s design restrictions. And to make it appear almost professional, it’s gonna take time, time that may be better spent paying someone else to design it for you. While they do have 24/7 support, you’d be better off paying for Shopify (maybe) or a web agency to make sure you have a website that will drive sales. Having a scalable business with a Wix website simply isn’t doable. If you need something quick, a simple launching point, then go for it. But don’t count on Wix to grow with your business.
GoDaddy Web Builder: GoCentral
Design Difficulty: Easy
E-Commerce Grade: B
-Easy to Set Up
-E-Commerce, Email Plans
Everything Is Easy
With GoDaddy’s website builder, just about every element of the process is easy, easier than even with Wix. They make it easy by supplying “dummy” proofing. It’s always gonna look good on mobile, for example. Although this might be a good thing for those who don’t understand coding or web design, it could prove problematic if you want to add more personality, branding and functionality to your website.
A Couple of Nice Perks
One very nice characteristic about GoCentral is no limits exist on storage. Unlike all the other name-brand web builders in the same price range, your storage increases when you upgrade your plan. Before you launch your page, GoCentral will also take you through a small audit to ensure your website is set up correctly for SEO and appearance. You can send out email blasts when someone sign-ups on your website. And if you haven’t already, you can create your business listing on Google My Business and Yelp through GoCentral if you pay for the business package, which is extremely important for SEO.
You Get What You Get
With GoCentral, you won’t have a lot of templates, apps add-ons or shop integration options. However, you do receive good, well-trusted options. Its e-commerce functionality provides only a few options for payments or shipping. While GoCentral is fairly new, you can expect GoDaddy to continue to expand and make the experience more integrated. If you have little-to-no experience in web design and you need a simple landing page, this might be your best option as there is very little to mess up. But much like Wix and Squarespace, you can’t count on this format to grow with your business and give your website a truly professional design and function.