Adobe Discount Banner

A Complete Guide to Choosing a Website Builder

A Complete Guide to Choosing a Website Builder

Website builders help you create and manage a website without coding. Most of these have a drag-and-drop interface that newbies will find very easy to use.

Your website is your business’s most important marketing tool. A poorly designed or built site can make all the difference between success and failure. Because they’re so easy to start with, website builders have quickly become one of the biggest platforms for creating your web presence.

With hundreds of website builders out there, it’s hard to choose just one. You probably feel like you’ve got a million options. Each service seems to be unique in its way. But where do you start? Which builder is the right fit for what you need?
This guide will show you how to choose a website builder to get you what you want. We’ll also teach you how to compare each platform and pick the right one for your business. You’ll learn about each platform’s most popular features, tips on choosing which will help your business grow faster, and things like e-commerce capabilities.

What is a Website Builder?

What Is A Website Builder

A website builder is an online service that allows users to create and build websites without coding knowledge or graphic design experience (unlike traditional web design applications such as Dreamweaver or Photoshop). These services usually come with graphics editors and drag-and-drop tools that allow users unfamiliar with HTML or CSS coding languages to move elements around their pages smoothly.

Are They Right For Me?

Website builders are an excellent option for many businesses because they save time and money correctly.

Small business owners don't always have the resources to hire someone who knows how to code; even if they do, those people can be expensive (especially when starting from scratch).

It also simplifies creation by taking out much of the technical stuff and instead handling everything through interactive buttons and clickable objects.

Since its inception in 2006, this technology has helped millions of people create and publish their ideas online with minimal effort while still looking professional.

There are a lot of different website builder platforms out there, each with its strengths and weaknesses. But if you just need something to get it done quickly (and free), the simplest form is a free WordPress account.

👉 Read More:  10 Cost-Effective Marketing Tips For Creative Freelancers

How Do Website Builders Work?

Website builders work by letting users create individual pages using software similar to Microsoft Word or other writing software. Each page will typically have space for text, images, links and other things you’d add to your site.

These pages are saved on a server somewhere in the world, which makes them accessible from anywhere. Once created, they can be viewed on any device, including phones and tablets.

Some website builders also come with basic SEO capabilities built into the platform. This means you can optimise your site without installing plugins or Micromanage code. Just simply follow the prompts provided by the platform during the set-up process.

Videos, slideshows, and multimedia can be added to your website once uploaded through a software program.

As time passes, you’ll likely need to update your site, adding new content and freshening up old content. Your website builder will track all these changes automatically so visitors always see what you want them to see (in real time).

Similarly, you’ll be able to change fonts, colours, and other design elements in real-time with no required coding knowledge.

You can trust website builders to help you keep your site and its contents in check. In addition, you won’t have to pay a web designer just to make any necessary changes.

There are plenty of options, such as Wix – which costs $17.00/month or $159.00 for the business package.

Weebly is another good option for a free or premium plan at $26.00/month.

WordPress.com has a free version.

Squarespace rounds out the list with a price point of $16/month for personal; $49/month for their top eCommerce package.

Why You Should Use a Website Builder

How To Choose A Website Builder

When you’re working with a website builder, adding content to your pages and editing the design of your site is much easier. If you’re making a new site for your business, you should begin with an easy-to-update, good-looking, functional site. A professional website builder can help you achieve this.

With it, you can make a responsive website that looks good on mobile devices and customise the look of your site specifically for what you need. Updating the content and features of your site without hiring a pro web developer is straightforward.

Here are some of the benefits you’ll get from using one:

Editing Design is Easy

The layout of the site is easy to edit. You don’t have to hire someone who already knows how to do it because it’s simple enough that a professional web designer should be able to learn it quickly. That means you also need to hire no expert web designer or developer. New pages can also be created in minutes, and updating your website becomes faster.

Pages Can Be Created in Minutes

You won’t need a website designer at all.

Custom pages can be made by anyone using a website builder, so there’s no need for an expert on your team if they’re too costly. Creating new content, such as blogs and galleries, has never been easier either; time will barely even pass by before they're up and running, thanks to this software's convenience.

👉 Read More:  WordPress Web Design: Crafting Stunning Websites with Ease

Multiple Pages Can Be Made Quickly

It simplifies managing multiple pages since creating them requires just two clicks. You might want to add a contact form or gallery; these allow those features (and more) to become part of your site quickly. Managing content has become less time-consuming than ever before.

A Responsive Website Will Be Created 

Diverse screen sizes aren't an issue – flexibility is this tool's strong suit! If you were wondering why this matters, if you’ve built a business over the years, you know a mobile-friendly site is an absolute must. We’ve all used a website that didn’t work on our phones before, and it’s the worst experience.

A One-Page Website Can Be Created

Do you have an excellent idea for a one-page site? You can add a contact page, product page, or blog to your one-pager.

Updating Your Website Is Easier Than Ever

It was tough to update websites in the past, but not anymore! No web designer or developer is needed when using this tool; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t hire them if you want to. Design and content edits can be made as many times as you wish.

Is There Any Drawback to Using a Website Builder?

There are several drawbacks to using one. Here are some of the drawbacks:

Some website builders can be expensive.

Like any tool, it’s bound to cost you. However, comparing prices is crucial to determining whether or not it’s worth your while.

You have to pay for the hosting.

Not all website-building tools include a web hosting feature. If you go with a self-hosted website, you must find separate hosting.

You have no control over your design.

While they’re great for creating sites that are easy to put together and edit, there’s no guarantee you’ll like how it turns out.

What to Look For in a Website Builder

Best Website Builder Features

Picking a website builder can be overwhelming. If you don’t know what you need, or if you don’t have the money to buy everything you didn’t know you needed, then it’s hard to know where even to start.

We’ll do our best to answer your questions below, but if you have a specific concern, please feel free to reach out. We’re here to help you find the right website builder for your business.

Which Platform Should I Choose?

There are many different website builders. Some are simple drag-and-drop site builders; others are full-featured platforms with social media integration, eCommerce stores, video editing, and more.

Your chosen platform(s) and service(s) will depend on your needs and budget. When deciding which one is right for your business goals (like how much time/effort/money you want to spend), consider these factors:

• How much time/expertise do I have?

•How much am I willing to spend?

•What kind of user experience do I want?

In general, platforms with more functions and options cost more, but they’re more substantial and robust. On the other hand, a simple drag-and-drop site builder may not cover everything a small business owner would need on their site — but it could save them hundreds of dollars.

It’s hard for us to give an exact recommendation without knowing your needs, so here are some general guidelines.

👉 Read More:  Mastering Website Redesigning: The Definitive Guide

Should I Go Simple or Complex?

Suppose you’re looking for an easy-to-use solution that doesn’t require technical skills. In that case, there are plenty of famous website builders like WordPress (the most popular), Joomla (the second-most popular) and Wix (the third most popular). These tools are easy enough for anyone to learn how to use them, even if they’ve never built a website before.

Very few small businesses need anything more complicated than this. They can be used to create everything from a simple blog to a multi-page, professional website. They’re also usually less expensive (sometimes even free), and most of them come with many templates, including pre-designed pages, backgrounds and layouts.

However, some people want more power and customisation than these tools offer. In this case, you might need something with tons of features and functions like drag-and-drop site-building, social media marketing, etc. These are good if you’re planning on building a long-term site that generates a lot of traffic because they have better caching and image optimisation than the more straightforward solutions.

Do I Need SEO or Social Media Integration?

Some small business owners just need their website to work, while others are interested in pretty advanced marketing opportunities like SEO (search engine optimisation), social media integration and email marketing. The complexity required to manage these tools is beyond the ability of most small business owners, so you might find that a simple tool with fewer but more focused capabilities is all you need.

What about time? How much time do I have to build the website?

If you don’t have the time or expertise to design your website, you should hire someone else to do it. The skills required to create a website are beyond the ability of most small business owners. But if you do have the time and talent, then investing in a website builder instead could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Most affordable website builders are designed for use by people who know nothing about HTML/CSS/Javascript/etc., which makes them easy enough for anyone to learn how to use — but it also means they don’t include many options. The more powerful options cost more money but give users complete control over every aspect of their site’s appearance, functionality and behaviour.

If you want a website for your business, finding a web developer familiar with the builder platform and industry is essential. They’ll help you decide the best for your business and tailor everything to your needs.

What features do I need?

When considering what features are necessary on your website, remember what you’re trying to accomplish. This way, you won’t spend unnecessary money on products you don’t need.

Here’s a list of some standard features that most businesses will need.

Drag and drop design.

The software is simple to use, which allows you to build your website by dragging and dropping elements onto the page. It has several customisable templates with text, photos, and videos.

Your tools might have multiple layouts, including single pages or a series of pages displayed on one or more pages. You can also add navigation bars, headers, footers and many other features from their drag-and-drop options.

👉 Read More:  15 Common Mistakes in Web Design and How to Avoid Them

Content Management

The content management system (CMS) is essential for any website. These tools allow users to update or create new posts within the software. Some popular CMS platforms include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.

Social Media Integration

Most builders have a feature that allows you to link your social media accounts together. This will enable people to access them through your website instead of having to look them up separately. The most commonly used are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

The Pros And Cons Of Using a Website Builder

Building a website is essential in today’s tech-savvy world, especially when you have a business. Website builders are great because they give you the power to make a site yourself. They offer beautiful templates and let you manage your content. However, they also have some cons.

Free Trials Are Useful

Many companies will advertise their product by offering a free trial period for their services. You’ll be able to create your website without paying a monthly fee first, but once the trial runs out, you’re locked into a plan until the end.

Free Trials Can Be Limited

While you can use the software without getting your wallet out, it might limit how much you can do with it. You can change your site around, but you won't necessarily get full access to every feature on the platform.

No Extra Services

If you choose this route, there will be no other features like email marketing tools or analytics after using the website builder service. These will either be built-in or paid for somewhere else, depending on your service provider.

Locked Templates

Some website builders won’t let you change anything about them. They'll provide templates and designs made by someone else, and that’s it – end of story. You won’t be able to build something unique and original.

Rebuild Every Time

Once your website is finished and published online, all your content will replace what was there before. When editing time is over and done with them, if changes happen again, everything will have to be rebuilt from scratch — potentially losing everything already up there.

There are reasons people opt for this instead of hiring someone to do it for them or themselves, though, one being money-saving purposes. Not paying monthly subscriptions makes all the difference when starting your business venture.

Which Website Builder is Best?

Best Website Builders

You've heard us recommend Squarespace countless times, but we must admit: we’re obsessed with WordPress and think it’s the more straightforward to use of the two. So here are our tips for finding a website builder that works for you.

Of course, there are plenty of website builders out there. They’re software programs that make building a website less like coding an alien language and more like playing with blocks. Most work specifically with HTML code, so they won’t let you get too fancy or break things.

Most people find using site builders easier than learning to build a website from scratch. However, if this is your first time and you still feel intimidated by these computer-building-block systems, start with one of their free versions. Just get something simple up and running to get a feel for the process — then upgrade once you’re ready to customise your site.

👉 Read More:  Guide to Keyword Research for PPC Campaigns

Before choosing a site builder, take some time to answer these questions:

What do you want your future site to do? Use any old free site builder if you need a quick, friendly place to throw some content up online. But if you need something impressive enough, clients will be impressed when they see it in your email signature. You might have to pay up.

Do you want any special features? Like a blog or shopping cart? Some paid builders will automatically offer additions like these, so all the hard work is done for you.

How much are you willing/able to spend? You might not even have access to certain services, depending on what kind of budget we’re working with here.

Are you experienced in web design or development? In layperson's terms, Could you build a nice-looking website by yourself if I put all the tools on a table right now?

Conclusion

One. Two. Three. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Site Builder feels like a dream come true when you're just starting. It’s free to use and has many solid features that will immediately get your site up and running.

But don’t go too crazy now! Building anything too complex on this platform is like trying to fit your foot into Cinderella’s glass slipper — it doesn't happen unless you know how to code, baby!

Another thing: there is barely any support available for Site Builders. So if you run into any issues, well… I can already hear the crickets chirping.

To scale and grow, try WordPress or Wix instead. They have a wealth of information online on how to be better at website stuff and are more user-friendly regarding development.

Get our step-by-step guide to building a website by clicking here!

FAQs

What is a website builder, and why should I use one?

Website builder. What? Why? How does it work? Don’t fret, my friend. I've got you covered.

Okay, so think of a website builder as an all-in-one toolkit that lets you build your website from scratch without needing to know — or even look at — lines of code. User-friendly and easy on the wallet, this magical online platform has templates and tools galore to get you up and running quickly.

What are some key features to look for?

You’re an artist now. A virtual architect of the web! So we need to make sure you’ve got all the bells and whistles for your masterpiece:

– Easy-to-use interface
– Mobile-friendly designs
– Diverse template library
– “Drag-and-drop” editing (cue “Oh Yeah!” by Yello)
– E-commerce add-ons (if applicable)
– SEO analyser tool
– Data Analytics
– Reliable hosting and security

How much do website builders cost?

As with anything in life, prices vary depending on what kind of jazz you're looking for in a website builder. Most companies offer basic plans for free, while more advanced premium plans can set you back anywhere between $5 to $30 per month. And if you want your very own custom domain name, slap an extra one-time fee onto that cart.

Can I use a website builder for e-commerce?

Yup! Many builders make it easy-peasy lemon squeezy for small businesses like yours to create online stores alongside leading websites. With just a few clicks — heck, maybe even just one click — these platforms will let you manage inventory, ship products off into the world's vast web abyss (read: send them with love), accept payments from customers across the globe/galaxy/universe… wherever they may be… AND handle taxes automatically, so Uncle Sam leaves you alone.

👉 Read More:  Tips for Seizing Small Business Opportunities

The catch? Not every builder is created equal. Some might have less-than-ideal e-commerce functionality, so research before committing to one.

How easy is it to switch builders/transfer platforms?

Remember that scene in “Indiana Jones” where he swaps the idol with a bag of sand, and all hell breaks loose? Yeah, switching website builders or moving to another platform can feel like that sometimes (minus the giant rolling boulder trying to turn you into a pancake).

Transferring your site's content and design from Builder A to Builder B is a nightmare. It's doable but still a nightmare. Some builders let you export data quickly, while others will make you rebuild everything from scratch — so choose wisely when forging this digital path.

Can I make my creations look unique?

Of course! A little bit of sparkle never hurt anyone. Most website builders provide some degree of design customisation beyond their pre-built templates. This could be changing colours, fonts, layouts, adding custom code… the list goes on!

But here’s the thing: flexibility varies depending on the builder. You’re not going to get as much range at your typical gym as you would if you were working out with The Rock himself, right? Same idea here.

So pay attention to what each builder offers before falling head over heels for its vast library of ready-made templates.

Why should I care if people are visiting my site on mobile?

In case you haven’t heard, we live in a world where almost everyone does everything from their pockets — shopping included. So when it comes to building a website for your brand or business (and making money off it), making sure it looks good and functions smoothly on phones is pretty freaking important.

A solid website builder should offer responsive design templates and tools so your site shines no matter how small someone's screen is.

What SEO features should I be looking for?

Ah, SEO. The unsung hero of digital marketing.

Does your site exist if it doesn’t appear on the first search engine results page (SERP) or even on the first five pages? #deepthoughts

Here are some features to keep an eye out for when choosing a website builder:

– Customisable meta titles, descriptions, URLs
– Alt tags for images that help search engines “read” them
– Built-in SEO tools (like creating an XML sitemap or robots.txt file)
– Blogging capabilities
– Integration with third-party SEO plugins or services

Can a website builder be used for those large websites that are super complicated?

They’re typically used to create simple sites, but some have options that can handle larger ones. The issue is that these solutions are often limited by the ability to customise them. If you don’t want your site to be unique, then this tool will work, but if you do, consider looking into a CMS or making a custom one.

Photo of author

Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

Need help Building your Brand?

Let’s talk about your logo, branding or web development project today! Get in touch for a free quote.

Leave a Comment

Trusted by Businesses Worldwide to Create Impactful and Memorable Brands

At Inkbot Design, we understand the importance of brand identity in today's competitive marketplace. With our team of experienced designers and marketing professionals, we are dedicated to creating custom solutions that elevate your brand and leave a lasting impression on your target audience.