Choosing The Right Website Builder For Your Project

Your company’s web presence begins and ends with a website. Websites act as business cards, sales tools and help centers all working together. In the past, small businesses spent thousands of dollars to get a basic corporate website online. Fortunately, website builders came to change things.

With so many code-free site construction kits available today, anyone who has a rudimentary knowledge of Internet applications can design and publish a full-featured website for a small monthly fee ($3-$20) from the comfort of his/her favorite browser. Website builders don’t require direct manipulation of HTML/CSS – everything is handled by automatic code generators wrapped up in drag-and-drop/What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get interfaces. But how to choose the right website builder?

Hopefully, this article will shed some light on this topic :). The following is my personal classification of site builders based on years of experience in this domain:

Group 1: Offline and Online

As their name suggests, offline website builders can work without an Internet connection. They operate as downloadable pieces of software that you need to install on your computer. Benefits: Offline site makers allow users to create sites while offline. Disadvantages: You won’t be able to work on your website from another device. You’ll have to manually update your software (while online site builders are updated automatically).

Online website builders require an Internet connection. Once you have created an account, you’ll be able to access it from any computer. Benefits: Online site builders can be reached from various devices by multiple contributors. They are updated automatically. 99% of online site builders are ‘all-in-one’ platforms: they include hosting and allow to purchase and register domain names through the system. Disadvantages: You can’t use them while offline. With most site builders, you can’t move your site to another web host.

Examples: uCoz (online), 90SecondWebsiteBuilder (offline).

Group 2: Versatile and Specialized

Versatile website builders are suitable for creating various website types, from 5-page corporate ‘business cards’ to blogs, forums and web stores. Benefits: Universal site makers allow users to modify their websites as their business grows. They come equipped with various modules, widgets and other ready-to-use extensions. Disadvantages: Certain features of versatile site builders are often not as good as those offered in their narrowly specialized counterparts. E-commerce capabilities of versatile platforms for instance are more often than not poorer than in e-?ommerce site builders.

Specialized website builders focus on certain website capabilities: there are Forum builders, Clan website builders for gamers, e-Commerce platforms, single-page builders etc. They offer advanced feature sets geared towards the needs of their target audience only (clan builders don’t have included shopping carts, while the latter aren’t suitable for creating forums). Benefits: They are super productive because they focus on certain features instead of trying to be all things to all people. You may want to read my comparison article Volusion vs Shopify (http://superbwebsitebuilders.com/volusion-vs-shopify/) to see how feature-rich specialized site makers can be. Disadvantages: The flipside of all the perks of these platforms is that they’re lacking in terms of other capabilities. Many e-Commerce platforms don’t have inbuilt blogs for example.

Examples: Wix (versatile), Shopify (specialized).

Group 3: For Newbies and for Pros

DIY site builders for newbies have dead simple user interfaces and don’t open up codes. With such platforms you’ll be doing a lot of dragging, dropping, pointing and clicking without touching your site’s source code. Benefits: Simplicity and speed, many ready solutions. Disadvantages: Limited control. No way to add custom features.

As a rule, website builders for professionals have both ‘light’ and ‘advanced’ versions of the system. The latter are intended for professional designers and developers looking for a ‘publishing partner’. They let users tweak CSS/HTML, add multiple contributors and even re-brand the entire platform. Benefits: These platforms remove much of technical burden, as they offer advanced site creation tools, domain registration and web hosting under the same roof thus helping experts to produce more websites per unit of time. Disadvantages: Your clients may guess you’re using a website builder (if you don’t use the ‘rebranding’ feature).

Examples: MadeFreshly (for newbies), Berta (for professionals).

To Wrap It Up

Website builders vary in complexity, pricing and feature sets. It’s vital to choose the right one for your online project. Hopefully, this article has shed some light on how to choose the optimal software for your future website.

Featured images:
  • License: Image author owned
  • License: Image author owned
  • License: Image author owned
  • License: Image author owned

Howard Steele believes that blogging is a great profession. He mostly spends his time testing website creation apps and writing articles for his personal website SuperbWebsiteBuilders.com.

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