Welcome to the 54824th guide on the Internet telling you how to choose the best website builder.
Now, just like you ignored that number, ignore all the advice that you have heard till now. In the next 5 odd minutes, you’ll get the best (and the only) advice you need to find a website builder.
Get ready to build your own website.
A quick drive-through to the basics first. Before you find the best website builder for business or personal use, here’s what it actually is.
A website builder is a tech tool. It could be an offline tool (downloadable, requiring device resources). Or an online SaaS offering (cloud-based, needing only an active Internet connection.)
With a website builder, you can create a portfolio site, a blog, an information portal, a database, an online store, or anything else that you can think of.
Almost all website builders come with blogging and eCommerce functionalities. SEO, social media, email marketing, and mobile responsiveness are a plus that you’d find with most builders.
When we refer to a website builder, we talk about tools that have at least all these features and functionalities. That’s for starters. A tool without these basic offerings isn’t worthy of even a side glance.
A website builder is a lot of things, but definitely not –
Finding the right website builder is easy.
That’s a lie we aren’t going to tell you.
The truth is that it takes time and effort. But it doesn’t have to be a needlessly long-drawn, tiresome, and taxing process. Follow what we have listed below and see how you can waltz through the process and find a website builder that really works for you.
Disney movies are made of magic, mushy romance, and stuff like that. But one of the most cliched Disney movies, Cinderella, will teach you how to begin your search for the right website builder. Just like the Prince knew he was looking for the one whose feet fit into the glass shoe, you need to know what you are looking for.
Decide what kind of website you are building. Shopify is one of the leading eCommerce website builders but would be a disaster if you use it to build a dedicated blog. Similarly don’t expect Squarespace, the beautiful website builder, to help you create a website that sells a service and needs little to no imagery to do that.
Also, outline what features you absolutely need. If you are a professional service provider and want to create a website that would act as the first point of contact for your future clients, you’d definitely need a calendar and appointment scheduling widget. Photographers cannot do without the ability to add image carousels and a photo gallery. Travel and tour operators would need a booking system. A writer would be lost without blogging functionality in the website. And a business wouldn’t reach anywhere without effective CTA options on their site. Sellers, on the other hand, need a cart, a checkout page, and the ability to accept multiple modes of payment. Find what you absolutely need on your website. Then list the features your website builder should have.
Everyone wants a Limo. But not each one of us can afford it. That’s why some of us call Kia Seltos our ideal car. The same goes for your website builder.
You want the most feature-rich, easy-on-the-eye, user-friendly and magically working builder. But can you afford it?
Website builders charge a monthly fee. Hosting is mostly included and the domain name is free for a year. But you might have to pay for templates or plugins. And the free plan might not actually be what you need to meet your goals.
Chalk out a budget and understand how much you can pay each month.
Eight questions that’ll help you unearth the website builder you need.
The more the merrier. Themes and plugins are available for both free and paid. Find out how many themes, templates, and plugins are available for free and how many paid options can you choose from.
Don’t forget to see how unique, visually appealing, mobile-friendly, functional, and customizable these options are.
When on the web, you cannot operate alone. Check what third-party integrations are available. Can you connect your website to Amazon, YouTube, PayPal, ZohoBooks, MailChimp, Salesforce, etc., if you want to enhance functionality?
Will search engine crawlers accept and appreciate your website? Will you be able to make it rank #1 on the Google SERPs? Social media and SEO features would help you find that out.
Can you perform basic search engine optimization (adding meta titles and descriptions, alt tags, canonical tags, uploading sitemaps, etc.)? Will you be able to link your social media accounts to your website? Will you be able to use advanced SEO tactics like 301 redirects?
Will you be able to make your website look different from other websites on the web? How much customization is possible in terms of design, structure, style, and imagery?
Without customization, you will just be adding one more run-of-the-mill website to the already long list of websites that users don’t remember visiting.
For pro webmasters, the ability to access and edit the HTML and CSS code of the website is another factor worth looking for.
Will you have to get a design and coding degree to get started? Would you be left scratching your head about how to proceed further? You need your website builder to ensure none of it happens.
Good website builders have a quick getting started time, a navigable learning curve, and intuitive performance. You need to be able to start in a short span of time and proceed with ease.
Chatbots, live chat, 24/7/365 on-call support, support ticket mechanism, FAQs, detailed documentation, tutorial videos, email support, active online community, and third-party guides and tutorial – these are the different forms of support that you can find with website builders.
Know what website builder offers what combination of these support options. Ask yourself if you are comfortable or can make do with the available level and mode of support, based on your skills and needs?
Will your backend be safe? Is there a 2FA login system? What recovery methods are available if your site gets hacked? Will your and your end-users data be safe?
The best website builder will have ‘yes’ as an answer to all these questions.
The basic plan fits your budget. But does it also meet your needs? Do you get the option to scale your website in the future or are the pricing plans limiting in nature? Do you get a free trial? A money-back guarantee? A free plan for an extended test drive? Do you get hosting and an SSL certificate? Is backup and restore included in the plan price? How much would you have to pay for blogging and eCommerce functionalities? Will you get the desired level of support with the preferred payment plan? Ask these questions about the website builder you are considering.
That sounds like too many questions, right? Well, you need to ask all of them to be able to find a website builder that works for you.
If you are looking for a website builder for small business needs, your ideal product that ‘really works’ would be different from what’s ideal for bloggers.
However, the process remains the same (The one that we shared with you).
Follow the process honestly and find a personal or business website builder that works for you. Then get started and create a website that takes you forward to where you want to be.