Ever since the concept of the internet came around, having a web presence became essential to every business, digital or not. Now, in the days of web 2.0 is not only any website expected to be well built but also eye-pleasing. Luckily, for businesses that are just starting out, an option of a DIY website is available and may seem like a good option. While it indeed might be, there a few things to consider before getting your hands elbow deep into templates, drag and drop menus, and code.
A few years back, to get the results you wanted, the go-to guy for such a project was a developer, however now, due to the rise and the demand of digital tools like website builders, open-source CMSs, free hosting, etc., for all the non-techies amongst us, it is easier than ever to build a decent looking website. There are plenty of website builders to choose from, however, not all are made equal and just because you’re digitally enabled to do it yourself, doesn’t mean that you should.
Website builders tend to have less capability than content management systems, like WordPress, however, they are much easier to use. They can also sometimes include paid hosting services or a top-level domain registration, but that’s only if you choose to upgrade. Overall, building a website with a website builder can be easier and sometimes turn out even more profitable, but to measure whether it is best to use a website builder to build your website or not, there are few artifacts to measure.
What’s your budget?
The main reason behind such a deep regard for website builders is that the most of them are free, therefore, if you have a low or even no budget, choosing to build your website with a website builder is your best option. As a completely free digital tool, website builder can undoubtedly bring value for the cost of nothing to your business. However, if you can invest a little money in your website, it probably is to the more significant benefit of your business to upgrade to a paid hosting service like Siteground, InMotion or Hostinger, which can even get you a free top-level domain out of it.
What kind of website do you need?
Before building your website, evaluate how complex do you want it and what type of website will it be? Are you looking to create your first online shop? A blog? Or is it going to be a simple brochure informational site? Once you have an idea of what is it that you want to create, you can clearly evaluate whether or not you can do it by yourself and whether or not a website builder will fulfill your needs. Website builders, as mentioned above are easy to use, but also, very limited, compared to CMSs like WordPress. With a website builder, you most likely will not be able to set up an ecommerce website, but it should be enough for a blog or an informational site with text, pictures, and video.
What’s your skill set?
Website builders are made for those of us not very technologically savvy with usually very easy to understand interface, tons of already made attractive templates, and straightforward content management structure. However, with the ease of use come restrictions. Depending on the needs for your website, you might not be able to execute the idea using just a website builder, therefore, if you know a little bit about code or web hosting, it’s probably best if you use something slightly apter.
PROS of Website builder
Easy to use.
The unique selling points of website builders are the price and the ease of use. Everyone who knows how to use powerpoint, also knows how to use a website builder.
Ready to use templates.
Every website builder regardless of the brand has tons of pre-built website templates. All you have to do is pick the design that you like and load it with your content.
Designed with beginners in mind, website builders with customer support are essential. All your queries, mishaps, and issues will be solved effortlessly if you choose a website builder that provides customer support. Some of them might not have any, however, community support or a knowledge base should be available.
Mobile responsiveness integrated
It’s 2017, and there’s no surprise that half of your visitors might be coming from a mobile or tablet environment and website’s mobile responsiveness is essential to any good site. Most of the well-known website builder brands provide this feature but be sure to check first.
Ability to upgrade
As said above, most of the free website builders offer an upgrade possibility and even a top-level domain registration. This choice is beneficial if your website is reaching a wider audience, getting more visitors and you have a need for more capabilities.
CONS of website builders
Ads on your interface and your website
Website builders are mostly free, but they have to make money somehow. Normally by placing adverts all over your user interface and a few of them on your website, website builder brands make a few bucks. Beware of this if you’re aiming to build something that’s more than just a blog as it might be intrusive and your visitors might not come back to your website.
Not enough for a complex website
Website builders are made for the beginners, those of us less tech savvy, therefore building more complex websites with website builders might be difficult. If you feel that your website audience might grow, require more resources or functionality, it’s worth considering different platforms to create your website on.
No free upgrade
Most of the website builder brands offer an upgrade option, which unfortunately most of the time is not free. You have a chance to upgrade to their paid hosting, which sometimes might even include a domain name, and expand the functionality of your website, however, be ready to pay some money.
With the ease of use of website builders, come limitations, not only in the functionality of it but also in the layout and design, integrations, extensions, and add-ons. There surely is a wide range to choose from regarding templates, plugins, and extensions, but you might find yourself limited if more complex operations were needed to be executed.