One of the most common questions we get from gym owners looking to set up their first website is whether to use a platform like Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress.

In this article I’ll walk you through some of my thoughts about these platforms as it relates to martial arts gym owners specifically.

P.S. If at some point you realize all of this sounds like a lot of work… a. you’re right, and b. we’d love to help. Reach out here.

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Three of most popular options for setting up a website are Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress. Each has its advantages, but the choice ultimately depends on your specific needs. Here’s a quick overview:

Wix / Squarespace

Wix screenshot with text crossed out

Wix and Squarespace are popular generic website builder platforms that offer “templates” which you can use as a starting point for creating your own website. Both offer several advantages that make them attractive options for individuals and businesses looking to create websites without a lot of tech expertise.

Ideal For

  • Brand new gym owners with a good eye for design who need a quick, initial gym website just to establish basic credibility.
  • Gym owners who are not ready to focus on digital marketing

Pros

  • Ease of Use: Both platforms provide user-friendly, drag-and-drop website builders, making it easy for beginners to create and customize websites without coding skills. The intuitive interfaces streamline the website creation process.
  • Quick Setup: You can get a basic website up and running in a matter of hours or even minutes using these platforms. This is particularly useful for small businesses or individuals who need an online presence without the delays associated with custom development.
  • Hosting Included: Hosting is integrated into the platform, eliminating the need to find and set up hosting separately. This simplifies the technical aspects of website management.
  • Maintenance and Updates: The platforms handle server maintenance, security updates, and software updates. This allows users to focus on content and design rather than technical upkeep.
  • Cost-Effective: While they offer premium plans with additional features, both Wix and Squarespace provide free plans that are suitable for basic websites, making them cost-effective options for those on a budget.

Cons

  • Limited Customization: Wix and Squarespace provide templates and design options, but customization can be limited. If you have specific design or functionality requirements that go beyond what their templates offer, you may encounter limitations.
  • Less Control: Gym owners are reliant on the platform’s features and updates. If the platform doesn’t offer a particular feature, you may have to find workarounds or accept its absence.
  • Branding and Domain Restrictions: Free or lower-tier plans often include the platform’s branding in your domain or on your website. To remove this branding and use a custom domain, you typically need to upgrade to a paid plan.
  • SEO Limitations: While Wix and Squarespace have improved their SEO capabilities, some advanced SEO strategies may be challenging to implement compared to using a self-hosted WordPress website. Full control over meta tags, redirects, and other SEO elements may be limited.
  • Performance Concerns: Websites built on these platforms can sometimes suffer from slower loading times, especially if not optimized properly. Slow websites can negatively impact user experience and SEO rankings.
  • Data Portability: If you decide to move your website away from Wix or Squarespace in the future, it can be challenging to export your content and migrate it to a different platform. This lack of data portability can be a significant drawback.
  • Pricing and Subscription Costs: While these platforms offer free plans, they often come with limitations and branding. To unlock more features and customization options, you’ll need to subscribe to a paid plan, which can be costly over time.

Conclusion

Wix and Squarespace are good options for gyms who are looking for a straightforward and accessible way to create and maintain a professional website and are determined to go it along. Their ease of use, design templates, hosting, and ongoing support make them valuable tools for those without extensive technical expertise. However, it’s essential to consider your specific needs and long-term goals when choosing between these platforms and more advanced website solutions.

WordPress

Wordpress Homepage Screenshot

WordPress is a highly popular and versatile content management system (CMS) that powers a significant portion of websites on the internet. It offers a wide range of benefits and advantages, making it a preferred choice for various users, from bloggers to large enterprises:

Ideal For

  • Gym owners who want a truly customized website
  • Gym owners who plan to grow their gym via digital marketing strategies (paid ads, email newsletters, etc)

Pros

  • Highly customizable and versatile: Perfect for those who want complete control over their website’s design and functionality. There are thousands of free and premium themes and plugins available to tailor your site to your exact specifications.
  • Large Community and Support: WordPress has a vast and active community of users, developers, and contributors. This means you can find extensive documentation, support forums, and tutorials to help you troubleshoot issues and learn how to use the platform effectively
  • SEO-Friendly: WordPress is designed with SEO in mind (this means you’re page is more likely to show higher when someone searches for nearby gyms in google). It offers plugins like Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack that simplify the process of optimizing your website for search engines.
  • Content Management: The built-in content editor is user-friendly and allows you to easily create, edit, and organize your content. You can schedule posts, create drafts, and manage media files effortlessly.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: WordPress themes are typically designed to be mobile-responsive, ensuring that your website looks and functions well on various devices.
  • E-commerce: With plugins like WooCommerce, you can turn your WordPress website into a fully functional e-commerce shop where you can sell to your members.
  • Ownership and Portability: You have complete ownership of your website’s content and data, making it easier to move your site to a different host or platform if needed.
  • Integration: WordPress can easily integrate with various third-party services and tools, allowing you to expand your website’s functionality as your needs change.

Cons

While WordPress is a highly popular and versatile content management system (CMS), it does come with some downsides and challenges that gym owners should be aware of:

  1. Learning Curve: For beginners, especially those without prior website-building experience, WordPress can have a steep learning curve. Managing themes, plugins, and settings may require time and effort to grasp.
  2. Security Concerns: WordPress is a common target for hackers due to its popularity. While WordPress itself is secure, security breaches can occur if users don’t follow best practices. Regular updates, strong passwords, and security plugins are essential for protection.
  3. Maintenance Required: WordPress websites require ongoing maintenance. This includes keeping themes, plugins, and the core software up to date to ensure security and compatibility. Failing to do so can lead to vulnerabilities.
  4. Plugin Reliability: While plugins extend WordPress’s functionality, not all plugins are well-coded or regularly updated. Using too many or unreliable plugins can lead to conflicts, performance issues, or security risks.
  5. Compatibility Issues: Updates to themes, plugins, or the WordPress core can sometimes lead to compatibility issues. This may require troubleshooting and potential modifications to your website.
  6. Costs Can Add Up: While WordPress itself is free, additional costs can accumulate. Premium themes, plugins, hosting, domain registration, and ongoing maintenance expenses can make it a more costly option than anticipated.
  7. Version Updates: While updates are crucial for security and functionality, they can sometimes introduce unexpected issues. It’s important to test updates on a staging site before applying them to your live website.
  8. Backup and Recovery: While there are many backup solutions available, it’s essential to have a reliable backup strategy in place. In the event of a website issue or data loss, restoring from a backup can be challenging for inexperienced users.
  9. Dependency on Themes and Plugins: Some users may become overly dependent on themes and plugins for essential website functionality. Relying heavily on third-party products can lead to issues if those products become unsupported or incompatible.

Overall Thoughts

Both Wix and Squarespace are good options for very small gyms with no budget for their website – I give a slight edge to Squarespace because I personally like the designs better, but either one works fine.

Getting a website up with these tools is super easy and gives you a once and done solution that’s not a bad option when you’re going from something to nothing.

WordPress is a lot of fun for the more tech savvy and gives you a lot more room to customize things and be yourself, but there’s a learning curve that comes with that.

The bravegymmarketing.com Website Platform is built on WordPress for the following reasons:

  1. Our gyms get better visibility in search engines
  2. We’re able to create a truly custom web design that reflects our gym’s brand and values
  3. We’re able to set up marketing funnels that help our gyms get more leads from their website
  4. Our gym owners get all the benefits of WordPress without the drawbacks
  5. And on and on…

If you’re looking to go past the “zero to one” and are ready to turn your website into a “lead generation machine”, we’d love to chat. Learn more about our martial arts website design services here.

Published On: September 9th, 2023 / Categories: Website Design /