How to Choose a Website Builder
You don’t need to be able to code to build your website. Using a website builder is likely to be quicker, easier, and more convenient than doing it yourself.
Selecting the best website builder for your business requires some careful thought. It will not always be the cheapest website builder. Read on to find out how a website builder works and how you can find the online website builder that meets your needs.
How to choose a website builder
- What is a website builder?
- Why would I use a website builder?
- No technical skills
- Save time
- Spread the cost
- What makes website builders different
- Choosing the best website builders
- Desktop or web-based
- Type of website
- Community site
- Landing page site
- Databased driven website
- Professionally designed templates
- Speed to launch
- Site features
- Free trial
- Plugins and apps
- Other services offered
To start, write down what you want to do with your website? What are your goals, and what does that mean for your website. Consider the website functions you would like now and in the future. Do you need:
- Photo galleries
- Appointment planners
- Product reviews
- Social media connections
- SEO features
What is a website builder?
A website builder is a tool to help you build your website from scratch.
The best website builders are intuitive and easy to use, even for beginners. They deliver website platforms that are in line with best practices and Australian regulations. Top website builders deliver great looking websites with features that work.
Why would I use a website builder?
Most businesses use website building platforms for the following reasons:
No Technical Skills
Using website building platforms requires no programming knowledge. All builders use intuitive drag-and-drop editors. Start with a template and make changes as you go. Some editors allow precise changes to every section of the page. Others offer more restricted changes, but this helps ensure that the page displays correctly.
Even if you know how to develop your website, most businesses do not have the time. You can still create a highly branded website that looks custom made and save a lot of time.
If you develop the website yourself – then you cannot rely on others for its operation. The best online website builder will offer subscriptions providing different levels of ongoing technical support.
Spread The Cost
What makes website builders different
There are many different reasons that businesses rely on website building platforms. Nearly always saving money and time is at the top of the list.
There is no single best website platform. Many website builders are well regarded. There are website builders designed for a small business selling just a few products and those intended for bloggers. Some are storefront builders that can provide sophisticated eCommerce functions. Some offer free software, free trials of paid software, and apps as part of their subscription.
Choosing The Best Website Builder
You have spoken to everyone you know about what website builder to use. Now it’s time to consider your web builder shortlist. Following is a list of features you should consider:
Desktop or web-based
There are two basic options when choosing a type of website builder: desktop or web-based.
Most are web-based applications, where you pay a subscription and have ongoing access to the software. Desktop applications are installed on your computer. They tend to be advanced and provide more control over your website design.
Most small to medium businesses are likely to find everything they need with a web-based building platform.
Type of website
It’s important to know what type of site you need. Here are a few broad website categories:
If you want to sell products or services online, you will need an eCommerce website. These allow you to upload and display products with photos or videos. They also provide a shopping cart and payment gateway features. The website builder hosting should also offer secure SSL certificates to provide security for customers.
A blog is regularly updated and usually consists of a combination of text and media files. These sites must be well categorized. They should include a simple editor to allow new blog posts to be easily created.
Community sites can include forums, boards, and even social media platforms. They should offer subscriptions and accounts to users and enable website members to post to the site. They change frequently and usually require a specialist website builder.
Portfolio sites are used by artists, graphic designers, videographers, writers, and other creative professionals. These sites tend to be simple designs that focus on showcasing creative content.
Landing page site
A landing page is a single page that attracts visitors and generates leads. A landing page should be quick to create, easy to deploy.
Database driven website
Many websites are database driven. In this case, we are talking about a site where the database itself generates the content. A job board listing, for example, would list different content upon the basis of an enquiry. These types of sites usually are too complex for a website builder.
Professionally designed templates
Regardless of the type of website you are building, it needs to look the part. It’s essential to check out the quality of the website builder’s templates. If you want to have more control over your website's look, look for a builder that features essentially blank page templates.
Find web platforms that offer more template choices. Chances are you will find one that meets your needs.
Even though there are free website building accounts available, they tend to provide a minimal offer.
Expect to pay anywhere from $5 per month to $500 a month. It all depends on the level of service provided and features. Before making a decision, revisit your website wish list. If you need a particular website function, don’t limit your ability to include it for the sake of a few dollars. It will be more expensive and time-consuming to rebuild your site later.
Speed to launch
You are using a website builder because it’s cheaper and faster. Don’t choose an account that is so complex that it takes weeks to master. A basic site should be up and running in an hour or so. More complex and involved sites may take several hours to a day. It shouldn’t take any longer than this.
Be guided by your website wish list. Think about the tools and features you need. Remember to think forward to the features you will need when your business is booming. Make sure they are available now or can be found in the site builder’s app store.
Some platforms offer a free 7-day or 15-day trial. These trials will give you enough time to test the platform fully to see if it is right for you.
Consider the level of support you need and find an account that offers it. It often helps to read online reviews to find out how responsive the customer support team is.
Plugins and apps
Some website builders offer access to additional apps. They usually cost extra but can enhance and expand the functionality of your site.
Other services offered
Some companies bundle together groups of products and services with their website building platforms. Look for products like domain name registration, SSL certificates, storage and bandwidth. While these “sweeteners” may make an offer more attractive, do not lose sight of the main game. You want to launch a website that will present your best self to the world and will grow with your business.
Websites can make or break your business
Selecting how you want your website to look is so important when building a website. Knowing what features to include may determine whether your website can build your business for more than the next 12 months.
There are many website builders available. It’s impossible to say which is the best online website builder for your business. Every business is unique and has different needs. Choosing the best one depends on your ability to identify what you need now and what you will need to support your future business success.
If you are unsure about what you want, chat with us about our website building options, starting from as little as $9.95 a month. We also have some helpful tips in our free website launch checklist. Have a read.