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.
11 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Website Builder
By now, you already know the different types of website builders in the market. The next crucial step that you need to take is picking the right one from the list. As you realized when reading the descriptions, each website builder has its own pros and cons. It is important to consider them to end up with one that matches your business model and the goals that you have set.
Here are the 11 crucial factors that you should consider when selecting a website builder.
1. What is Your Purpose
Failing to plan when creating a new website is equivalent to planning to fail. Before you start creating the website, write down all the functions or purposes of the website. Will it function as a landing page for potential customers looking you up on the internet, or do you want to establish a fully-fledged online store.
The answer to this question will help you to know if you should go for the basic website builder or the sophisticated one. A simple website builder is perfect for a landing page and several other pages such as an about us page and support page.
Creating a website is an investment on your business and you need to make sure that you get it right from the onset. Different website builders are priced differently and one of the factors that determine the cost is the features. The high-end builders have additional features that may not be available in the basic websites.
Sure, it is OK to start off with a lowly priced website builder, but you should have a plan on how to transition to a better platform as the business grows. Keep in mind that cheap is expensive and thousands of other people could be using the same tool. So, chances of finding a unique design to help you stand out from the crowd could be a major hurdle.
As you evaluate the prices, budget for the cost of creating the content, images, videos, and other visuals that will be added to the pages. Most of the builders have free plans with limited features that you can experiment with to know if its worth purchasing the premium packages.
If you are low on cash, scour the internet for bundle plans that have at least 80% of the features you need. Use those features to kickstart your business then invest in a better plan later.
3. User- Friendly
Even though a website builder is meant to help you create a website on a fly, there are still some tasks that you have to do manually. For example, you will need to install plugins and page templates for various functions.
Based on this fact, it is important to ensure that you choose a website builder that is easy to use. That way, you won’t have to contact the support team regularly to fix things especially once your business is up and running.
That said, most of the companies that provide website builders have a support team that responds to queries. Premium members get round the clock access to the customer care and technical team. Consult other people who have in the past used your preferred builder to gauge how accessible the customer care team is before joining.
4. Additional Features
One of the reasons why most web developers discourage businesses from using website builders is because the same themes are used by millions of people from different parts of the world. As a result, it becomes challenging to provide unique user experience to customers if another company in the same niche is using the same design or template.
Luckily, by selecting a platform that has additional features that are not in other platforms, you can use your creativity to come up with better designs. A simple and open-source builder will only offer basic social media buttons to help you conduct social media marketing, but a premium platform will give you a plethora of plugins that you can use to make your website as unique as possible.
You will get features that allows you to add forms, subscriptions, maps, and even campaign pop-ups. All these additional features will give you an upper hand in the market. If they are user-friendly, rest assured that your online business journey will start on the right foot and customers will appreciate what you have to offer.
Search engines will also notice that your website is user-friendly and has low bounce rate. As a result, you will be rewarded with a high rank spot on the search engine results page that will give you more exposure. Some website creation platforms are so customer oriented that they allow clients to input their own code to the existing template to add specific features.
As you evaluate the features, consider what your site will need in the future to make the right decision. Otherwise, you may have to shift the whole website to a new platform if the current one is unable to support your website’s growth.
5. E-Commerce Support/Capabilities
Singapore takes pride in having one of the most vibrant and fast developing eCommerce industries in South East Asia. 90% of savvy Singaporeans research about a product or service online before they buy. 51% of the people polled use their mobile phones to shop at the various online stores.
Photo Credit: Data Reportal
As you select a website builder, it is of paramount importance to consider the eCommerce capabilities of the resulting website. Sure, you may not have an existing product at the moment since you are just getting started, but you need to consider the services that you will require in the near future and if the platform can offer it.
There are some platforms that allow entrepreneurs to sell a specific number of items. Steer clear of such platforms as they are not designed to help you scale up. And when you do get more customers and need to add more products, you will have no option but to close the entire website and create a new one from scratch. This will result in massive losses during the time when your website will not be available to the customers.
6. Is the Website Design Mobile Responsive
As mentioned in the previous factor, a majority of Singaporeans access online stores and make purchases using their smartphones. As an enthusiastic online business owner who want to rival the existing online stores and website, you need to make sure that the website design is mobile responsive.
Prospects should be able to access the website using their smartphone, view all the pages, contact you, and even place orders securely using mobile phones. So, make sure that the platform you opt for has templates that are user-friendly. Otherwise, you will miss out on a huge number of customers who prefer browsing through websites and placing orders using their smartphones.
7. Credibility of the Website Builder
When developing a site using a website builder, often times you will be prompted to purchase the selected packages alongside the domain and hosting service. Most of the platforms have their own servers that they use to offer hosting services to their clients.
This means that all assets of your website will be in the hands of the platform. If any unforeseen thing happens on the server, you should be able to get back your website. Customers data should also not be lost or shared with third parties without your consent.
The platform should also provide a backup to help you recover the website in such events. Even though such incidents are rare, there needs to a level of surety that you will not lose everything if the servers are hacked or breakdown.
Bearing this in mind, only use a website builder that is credible and capable of cushion you from such incidents. Consult widely and read reviews posted by other users before making your final decision. Website builders that have been around for several years are more reliable and have a track record that you can evaluate before you spend money on the package.
The level of customer support varies from one website builder to another. Just like pricing, you should compare and contrast the quality and reliability of the support before making any move. Does the platform have a technical team that can resolve an issue even during the wee hours of the night? How long does the platform take to respond to emails or return calls?
The answers to such questions will help you make an informed decision. You should also be able to chat with them support team in real-time either through the website or mobile app. When doing research on the website builders we discussed earlier on in this article, I realized some of them have forums and no support teams.
The best has a support team and a forum that you can join to interact with other users. While engaging with the other users, you will learn a few quarks and tricks that you can use to make your website more functional and useful to the target audience. You may also find quick answers to questions that you intend to ask the support team thereby saving valuable time.
9. Compatible Integration Options
The mantra no man is an island also applies to website builders. There is no platform that has all the features that any user wants. Choose one that allows you to add third-party plugins and features to enhance the functionality of the website.
For example, if you intend to establish an online store, choose a builder that allows you to incorporate various payment plugins to securely receive payments. Concisely, the best website creation platforms offer a broad range of integration options to customers.
10. Payment Options and Terms
It would be unfortunate to spend the whole day or even an entire week creating a website only to realize that the payment options supported don’t match your target audience. Avoid such scenarios by making sure that the website builder offers payment options that your customers use to shop online.
With that important aspect out of the way, proceed to look at the payment plants. Will you be charged per monthly or yearly? This information will help you to budget and prevent disputes down the road. You should also take a closer look at the refund policy.
Photo Credit: Squarespace.com
If the website builder, does not have a refund policy, you will not get your money back if the service rendered is poor. Look for another platform to be on the safe side. Remember creating a website is an investment and you need to get a return on investment (ROI).
The best platforms have a money-back guarantee policy. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of using the platform and its features to be sure that it meets your needs and preferences. On the same point, check if there is a free demo or trial that you can leverage before paying to test the themes and features.
Credible builders have no problem offering custom packages and free trials to their customers because they know the themes are worth the money clients spend on them.
11. Ability to Move the Website to Another Platform
Not many website builders allow their clients to move their websites to another platform. As your brand scales up, you may find it necessary to transition to another platform so as to accommodate the high traffic.
The ideal website builder will delegate the task to a team of IT experts to help you move the website to the new platform. Others won’t offer any support and so it is imperative to request for additional information from the support team on how they handle such needs.
Creating a new website from scratch is not easy but we are happy to help you choose the best website builder and add all the content and features to make it fully functional. We have a team of highly trained and talented website developers and SEO experts who will work together to ensure that your website is up and running within the shortest time possible. Get in touch with us for a free and non-obligatory quote.
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