You don’t have to be really nice with codes to earn the title of Website Builders. Gone are the days when getting a single site up meant spending a couple of sleepless nights working around crude codes. Nowadays, even the most inexperienced of the web developers you know can easily create a stunning website with little to no strain on their part, and it’s all thanks to the magic toolboxes that are Website Builders.
What was once limited to only professional web developers can now be accessed by anyone. In point of fact, there are loads of stuff that you can easily achieve with a simple web builder that even professional web designers can’t get their hands around were they to even try.
The only question is, which among the long list of web builders best guarantees you smooth web development results? Which one among the bunch you’re likely to find online offers the best web development solutions?
Well, these posts aims to get everything in the clear by helping you choose a fitting web builder for your website. It does this by focusing on the pros and cons of the best available builder options out there.
What to Look for While Choosing a Suitable Builder for Your Website?
If you’re looking for a simple website, with a substantial count of fancy features, then there’s no need to hire a web developer – what you need is a few hours of your time to work around a web builder and create your own site.
All a simple site needs is a gallery, a spot to include text and video content, as well as a smorgasbord of other simple features. This works for a restaurant website, law firm website, news portal, membership site, and any other similar website.
However, before we get down to comparing different website builders, it’s widely recommended that you come up with a list of things you wish to see on your website. It’s also important that you try to list down your goals and all the features you wish to see on your site.
For instance, consider writing down if by any chance you expect your site to feature a photo gallery, blog section, reservation system, online store, slider, and a contact form to name a few.
Another trick would be to check out the site belonging to your competitors and pilfer out some of their ideas or to draw some meaningful inspiration from.
A great majority of the web builders you’re likely to stumble across have a simple drag and drop user interface. This allows you to just move the different elements around to their ideal spot or until it matches the design you have in mind.
For some, you’re allowed to access some of the premium features on the trial version before you make the final decision to pay for it.
It’s also important that you reconsider your growth options. Are you planning on making regular features in the future? Will you be needing a blog section? If so, how do you want it to show on your home page? Or you could be planning on selling some of your products on the site. If so, how do you plan to go about it?
By answering these simple questions, you’ll be able to decide which builder best addresses your business needs.
That being said, let’s zone into a top list of web builders on the market today, together with their pros and cons. Read this bearing in mind that this list is meant to help you make an informed decision as to the builder to choose while working on your own site:
WordPress.org is a self-hosted Content Management System that’s has grown to be one of the leading and most popular website building platforms, powering an upward of 28% of the websites you know.
It’s worth noting that WordPress is served in two versions i.) WordPress.org and WordPress.com. This section of the post focus on WordPress.org.
WordPress.org is ranked atop in our list of web builders and it’s all for a list of good reasons. Core among them being its popularity, scalability, ease of use and a large number of powerful features it supports.
Also worth mentioning is that the CMS is offered gratis. It’s also an open source web builder that grants all the control to you. Meaning you have total power to work around it and customize it any way you see fit for an entirely new design and functionality.
To get started with self-hosted WordPress, there’re two things you can’t afford to miss: i) a hosting account and ii) a domain name for your site or blog.
Pros of Using a Self-hosted WordPress
With WordPress, there’s no limit as to what you can do with the content management program. In which case, you can literally pull any kind of website on the CMS – from running an ecommerce store and a social network to developing a community forum and membership site.
Even better, the platform is loaded up with thousands of different pre-made themes that you’ll only be installing and customizing a few of its features to get your site up and ready for use. Within it, there exists a number of page builder plugins such as Visual Composer, Elementor, Divi, and Beaver builder that you can use to customize your selected theme for an inimitable design, coming second to no other site out there.
To extend your site’s functionalities or add new features, all it takes is for you to install a relevant plugin and you’re good to go. Good thing is that the CMS offers more than 50, 000 plugins that you can use to incorporate new features and boost up the site functionalities.
WordPress is offered at absolutely zero cost. But that’s NOT to say you’ll be setting up your site without spending a penny.
First, with WordPress, you’ll be required to purchasing some hosting space and your site’s domain name – where domain name will cost you about $15 a year and a good hosting just about $80 a year. So in total, you’re expected to shell close to $100 every year to keep your site up.
Wix is a world renowned cloud based web builder, powering a good chunk of sites filling up the World Wide Web. Designed to offer ease of use, coupled with a broad range of powerful features, the platform strives to make web development simple enough even for those with zero coding skills.
Wix is a fully hosted platform. Meaning you won’t be paying up to host your site on the platform. You’ll also be granted access to hundreds of different template to choose from. Even more interesting is the fact that each template can be fully edited and customized using a simple drag and drop page builder.
Free and Paid Apps
Also offered are a long list of free and paid application that you can install with a single click of a button and get to add even more features and functionalities to your site. And while some of these apps are created by Wix, quite a good number of them are designed by third party developers.
Wix has a free plan, which comes with limited storage and bandwidth. This plan works best if you’re looking to test drive the builder before you can go ahead and shell out your hard-earned cash for their premium version.
The free plan doesn’t however include a domain name. Meaning in case you settle for their free plan, your site will come out as a sub domain of wix (in other words, with wix.com as an extension of your site). So just in case you decide to call your site xxxxx, then the free plan url for your site will be xxxxxx.wix.com.
Both their free and domain connect plans will display WIX ads on your site. Which is to say you’ll be required to upgrade to their unlimited or combo plan to get rid of the ads.
Migrating your site from WIX to any other CMS is a bit complicated — not as easy as WordPress or Joomla.
Compared to WordPress, their price plans tend to be a bit costly. For instance, they’ll be charging you $9.16 per month just to let you connect your site to a custom domain. Mind you, you’ll still be required to purchase the domain separately, which comes as an added cost.
The platform offers a free plan, which allows you to use a WIX branded sub domain. And just in case you want to change it to your own domain, you’ll be required to purchase the domain name elsewhere, and afterwards charged an extra of 9.16 per month to link the domain name to your site.
The combo plans charges you $14.95 per month, whereas their ecommerce plan charges you $26.25 per month. Either of these two plans will arrive with a free domain name for your site.
From this, given the option to choose between WordPress and WIX, then WordPress is by far the better option.
Squarespace is another popular self-hosted web builder well known for its ease of use and great designs.
The platform features an enterprise grade infrastructure for site hosting. It’s also ranked among the most secure and robust platforms. You can therefore focus on your site entirely as you the platform handles hosting and security issues for you.
Getting started on Squarespace is a no-brainer or self-explanatory to put it a little different. All you have to do is visit the Squarespace site and sign up. After which you’ll be presented with tons of designs to choose from. With this you can pick one and proceed to tweak it any way you see fit.
Everything on the builder is pretty much editable. You’re even allowed to run multiple themes at a go on the same site.
Nothing is complicated when it comes to adding content to your Squarespace site. All you have to do is point your cursor where you want the content to show and click on it. Next paste or type your content therein and you’re good to go.
Worth mentioning is the simple drag and drop feature stacked in the builder. With this feature, you can drag the various element around and drop them where you want them to appear. This allows you to set up your layouts in a matter of minutes with little strain on your part.
They have an ecommerce plan that you can use to incorporate an online store to your site. With this feature, you can manage your products, orders, inventory, sales, and discount coupons with so much ease.
Limited integration with third party platform, which could hinder the growth of your company or business as a whole.
Their ecommerce plans only work with stripe, PayPal, and Apple Pay as the payment gateways. You have no option to integrate any other payment gateway apart from the three.
Running your site on Squarespace tend to cost anywhere between $12 and $18 a month, with $26 to $40 a month for an online store.
It’s the platform you settle for if you’re looking for an easy and superfast way to set up an online portal for your business.
Again, given the option to choose between WordPress and Squarespace, then you might want to choose WordPress for scalability and Squarespace if your concern is mainly with your site’s security.
BoldGrid is a recently introduced website builder that runs on WordPress. The builder can be found as a standalone plugin for WordPress or a full-suite fully hosted website builder.
BoldGrid runs on WordPress, which allows you to take advantage of WordPress features. Meaning you have the option to customize your website just like you do on WordPress. It also stacks a number of professionally designed themes for you to choose from and use for your site.
Also featured is a drag and drop customizer that allows you to play around with your selected choice of theme for an off-the-wall design. This feature happens to be designed such that you can preview your changes in the middle of editing through the theme. In which case, you’re allowed to change the theme colour, fonts, navigation menus, layouts and the widgets with little effort and strain.
If you need a staging site, BoldGrid will create one for you with just a single click of a button. With the site you can test out the various elements associated with the builder. For instance you can check out the new designs, layouts, themes and plugins before deciding on what to use or discard.
Also included in the theme is the WYSIWYG page editor. Which is to say you don’t have to carry out your edits on a humble as there will be an editor window displaying everything on the page as they appear.
BoldGrid themes also work perfect with WooCommerce. Using the builder you can easily develop your storefront by simply dragging and dropping the various builder elements that come stacked with the theme.
Since the builder runs on WordPress, you’ll be required to purchase hosting and a domain name for your site before you can go ahead and take advantage of it.
The basic BoldGrid plugin is offered for free. So save for the hosting and domain name charges, there are absolutely no other charges to incur to use the builder.
It’s a Wrap
If someone was to stack up all the builders on the list against each other and pick the best, then it’s safe to point out that WordPress beats them all in terms of scalability, performance and ease of use. There’s no limit as to what you can do with the CMS cum website builder.
This post should help you decide on a suitable builder for your business website, but just in case you need help or further clarification on anything, kindly consider reaching out to MediaOne today for a free consultation on builders and web development.