There is a lot to think about when you are choosing a web builder to make your own website. This is because you will want to make sure that your website looks good, does what you need it to and that you will not be paying out tonnes of money for it. Therefore, you need to think hard before you commit to picking one. There is a useful step by step method that you can go through though, which will help you to be able to pick one that will suit you.
Assess What You Need
To start with it is a good idea to write down a list of what you want from your website. This about how many pages you are likely to have, whether you want a blog, forms, a newsletter, an online shop etc. Consider what you might want in the future as well as now, as it could be the case that you will need to expand it in the future and you will need to make sure that the site will allow you to do this. There is a risk that if you use a web builder suitable for one page sites and you decide you need more, that you will have to switch to a different one and rebuild the site again. Whether this is likely will depend on what your site is about. Be flexible with regards to your list because as you start to research web builders, you will find that you will discover all sorts of features that they offer that you may not have thought about and may decide that you are interested in having.
Consider Your Budget
It is worth spending some time thinking about your budget. Although some web builders are free, most of them will have a charge or the free trial will not last long or will not give you enough functionality to be worth staying on. You will need to consider the budget that you can afford as well as the value for money. It can sometimes be worth paying more money to get better features but it is really important to make sure that you do make use of everything that you are paying for. You also need to try to calculate the return that you will get for your money. Is it worth paying out for all sorts of things if you end up not making very much money from the website? It will always be a gamble but is something that you can do a bit of research on and give some thought to before you pay out anything.
Look At What Is Available
Your next step is to see what website builders are available. There are actually a lot of companies that offer this service but they do differ. You will need to find out more about each one and see what makes them different to the others. There are different ways that they might differ perhaps by having lots of themes, having multilanguage options, offering lots of pages, ecommerce facilities, mobile-friendly designs, analytics, the ability to add HTML and all sorts of other things. Also consider how experienced you are as some are aimed at novices and others at more experienced web designers. It is good to look at the pricing plans as well. You will find that they all have different levels and will offer you different things for the money. You will be able to see what each offers and calculate what you can afford with each.
Make a Match
Once you know what you need and want and how much you can afford then you have a good start. Then looking at what web builders have to offer will allow you to make the best match. You will need to look at which offers you the best value for money. So, which of them offers the features that you need at a price that you can afford. If you look at websites that review web builders, you will get information like this summarised and it will enable you to get a good idea of what is on offer. It can be a good idea though to visit the actual website of the web builder and use their free trial if they have one to find out more before you commit. This will take time and you might be impatient to get started. However, you do not want to make a mistake that you will regret in the future and so it is a good idea to take the time to do the research and planning so that you know that your choice is right for now and in the future.
Choosing the Right Website Builder for Ecommerce
If you want to sell good online then you will need a good ecommerce platform. Using a web builder to produce this can be a good way to go about it. It means that you will have some control over the design and will not need an expensive web designer, but you will still be able to use software that is easy and will guide you through the process as well as giving you a professional look. There are different factors that you should be considering though when you are choosing the web builder. This is just a few of the things that might be important to you.
Make Sure They Offer Ecommerce
It may sound obvious but it is important to note that there are some web builders that do not offer the option of ecommerce at all. Most will, but you will need to check this. Some may offer it but be very limited as well. It can be good to take a look at some reviews to get a better idea of whether they might be offering ecommerce and also whether what they are offering will be useful for what you have in mind. This is because some will have limits.
The cost of the ecommerce site is worth considering. You will find that will some web builders there will be ecommerce included in some of the plans and some will have an extra charge. It could be that you will need quite an expensive plan to include ecommerce as well, so that is something that it is worth looking in to as well. You need to think about what you can justify paying. Obviously, you need to make back at least enough to cover those costs so work out how much you will have to sell in order to make enough profit to cover the cost and that will help you to decide whether it is a risk that you want to take.
There will sometimes be transaction fees on top of the cost of the ecommerce. You will always have to pay fees to the credit card processing company you use whether that is Paypal, Stripe, Apple Pay or whoever, but sometime the web builder will also charge fees on top of these. This can really add up and so it is important to make sure that you look into this and see whether you feel that it is worthwhile.
There will be limits on which payment processors you will be able to use with the web builder. If you have a specific preference for one, then you will need to make sure that the web builder that you have chosen will include it. They will vary in which ones they accept and so you will need to be aware of this. If you have no preference then look at how much each charge as that could be an important factor.
SSL is important for an ecommerce site. It will provide a level of security which means that you will be able to keep your customers safe when they are making transactions. Even if they are making their financial transactions through a third-party site, such as Paypal, they will still be sending you personal details such as their name and address and they might open an account with you as well. It is therefore important to protect them and they will trust you more as well if you have an SSL certificate. Even people with little understanding of the Internet tend to know to look out for the padlock of HTTPS when they are giving personal details to a website and so you need to bear this in mind. You need them to trust you or else they will not sign up or buy from you.
Number of Items You Can Sell
Some web builders will limit the number of items that you can sell through their ecommerce section. This may change depending on which payment plan you are on but there may even be restrictions for the highest payers. It is important to think about, not only how many items you want to sell now but if that is likely to increase in the future. You do not want to find that you have to change web builders because they do not allow you to sell enough items.
Selling Digital Content
If you are selling digital content such as courses, music, ebooks etc then you will need to make sure that the ecommerce site you are using will support that. Some will do and some will not and so you need to make sure that you check this out if it is something that you need.
Why You Should Always Compare Website Builders
It can take time to do research when you are looking to make your own website. It is easy to lose patience and just want to get on with it. When you are looking for a web builder, you may feel a sense of urgency to get the website started. You may have bought a domain name that you want to make use of or just want to get started and give people the opportunity to find you online. However, there are some good reasons why it is wise to compare the different website builders before you use one.
The cost is likely to be something that most people will be concerned with. It is likely that you will have a budget and so it will be important to make sure that you stick to this and get good value for money. You will tend to find that most web builders do have a free plan, but it will normally be very limited and they will have different levels of pricing which will unlock different features. You will need to be careful though and make sure that you are not likely to find any hidden charges. You may find things like domain names, for example, will only be free for a year. You may have to pay extra for SSL. Some web builders will charge for their ecommerce packages and you may pay transaction fees on sales as well. Whether these costs will impact you will depend on the type of website that you are making and so you will need to think about what you need and then carefully check the cost of that and compare the different website builders to see which looks best cost-wise to you. Of course, it may be worth paying more if the site offers more features.
You will find that website builders differ in the things that they do well. Some provide really simple to follow builders which are great for beginners and others might be slightly more complex but provide more facilities for those people that want to add some of their own unique code. Some might have lots of templates or themes so you have lots of choice and others may just have a few. You may like lots of choices or you may find it easier if there is not a lot of choice and you can quickly pick one and move on. You will also need to look out for other features that they may or may not include. Things like blogs, newsletters, ecommerce etc are sometimes included and sometimes not. You will therefore need to check and see whether it will offer what you need. Sometimes you may need to use a higher price plan to get certain features and so this is worth bearing in mind as well.
Ease of Use
It is really important to realise that there will be some web builders that you find easier to use than others. This is because they are all built different and we also find different things easy and hard. If you are new to website building then it is particularly important to make sure that you are aware of whether it will be easy to use or not. It will make it much easier for you to build your website and much quicker if you find the builder easy. You will be able to test it out using the free trial and most will have one. You could also read reviews, but bear in mind that just because a reviewer says it is easy, it does not mean that you will. It is therefore always wise to try before you buy!
Add-ons and Extras
You will find that there are some website builders that offer add-ons. They may have an app store whether you can purchase or download for free, different add-ons that will improve your website. Not all of them will be useful for you but some could be. It is worth thinking about how complex your site might be and whether you might want anything extra added on to it before you sign up to one. You should be able to look at details of the add-ons that are available and whether there are a lot as well as whether there are any free ones or if you have to pay for them. This will help you to know whether it will be suitable for you.
So, you can see that there are a lot of things to think about when choosing a website builder and it is, therefore, important to compare the website builders to make sure that you are getting what you need.
Our Top Website Builder Platforms for 2021
There are many website builder platforms and this is a list of our top five with the reasons why we feel that they are good choices.
Squarespace produces websites which look really good. There are lots of different templates to choose from and they can be adapted to give a really unique look to any website. The templates all adjust to work on mobile devices as well. The blogging tool is outstanding and better than most others included in web builders. It is optimised for search engines which is really important for your business. It has live chat support which means that you can get help when you need it. There is a free domain name offered for the first year and all of the plans are ad free. It is also possible to monetise any site that you make with it. There is also an ecommerce option where you can accept credit card payments through Stripe and you will be able to sell both physical and digital goods such as subscriptions as well.
If you are looking for a web builder that is easy to use, then Wix could be the answer for you. It is suitable for those people that have not built a website before. There are lots of templates to choose from and they can be customised a lot which means that it is easy to get a unique look to your site. It has a lot of SEO features which mean that your site can be easily marketed. The ecommerce is very good and you will be able to offer free shipping, limited time offers, coupon codes and things like this. he support centre is good as well, so if you have any queries you can be confident that they will be well dealt with. They add new features a lot as well, which means that you will have new options to choose from, should you wish to.
A big advantage to Weebly is that there are lots of themes that you can choose from and so it is very likely that you will find one that will suit you. It has a template system that is easy to use and you can adapt it so that you can come up with a unique design. There are also lots of apps that you can add on so that you can add features that may not be offered as standard. Ecommerce is included in all plans so if you want an online shop you will be able to easily incorporate one. There is the option of membership areas so people can be restricted to only reaching certain areas of your site. There is a blog function as well as newsletter which means that you can easily incorporate these into your website. You will be able to do all this with no knowledge of coding.
If you have no web building experience and want a web builder that is simple to use, then this could be advantageous for you. It so easy to use and you will be able to put together a website using the templates. This does mean that it will not look that unique, s you will be using standard templates, but this could be okay, depending on what you are trying to achieve. You will end up with a professional-looking website at the end. If you have a small site then it will be idea and there is one level of navigation available so you can keep the design nice and simple. There is an SEO advisor tool as well which will help you to make sure that the site is fully optimised for search engines. This is important as it means that your site will be more visible and it will mean that you will be able to attract more visitors.
Strikingly is highly rated because of its customer support. It is very fast as well as efficient and if you are new to building websites, then this will be really important to you. The web builder is simple to use though and so hopefully, you will not have too many problems with it anyway. The editor is drag and drop and you will not need to know any HTML to design the website. It is focused on single page websites and so if this is the design that you are looking for, it will be ideal for you. Some of the pricing plans include several websites which make those plans good value for money as long as you take advantage of that. Some paid packages allow you to add HTML code of your own which means that you can customise the website and you can also add things like Google Analytics which can be helpful.
Website Builder FAQ
When you are choosing a website builder, you may have some big questions about them. It is worth considering these and it should help you to be able to make sure that you are making the right choice. Here are five things that are likely to be important to you.
Will a web builder make my website look too much like other sites?
Web builders will come with templates that you can use and this will mean that you will have a site that could potentially look like another. However, there is often not only a big choice of templates but you can also customise them. This means that you can move things around to change the layout, change the font and colours and things like this. You will then be able to make it your own and once you add text and photos or pictures, it will look unique. You will also find that most sites are built using some sort of template to start with and so you will not be alone. There are lots of different templates in lots of different web builders and so it is unlikely that you will look too similar to another site, particularly a close competitor.
Will a web builder be too expensive?
Costs can always be a concern and it is important to make sure that you are not paying out more than necessary. However, you will find that web builders have lots of different pricing plans. There will be some that are free and others that have a free plan or free trial. You will be more limited in the free plans as there will not be so many options, but if you are on a very tight budget and only want a simple website, you could find that it will be enough for you. However, you will need to compare the different web builders as they all offer different things in their free or cheapest packages and you will need to make sure that these will be enough to do everything that you need.
Will the web builder be easy to use?
Most web builders are designed so that those people that are not used to using this sort of system will be able to easily use them. However, they will differ and there are some that are well known for being easy to use and some that might be a little more complex. It is therefore worth reading reviews to find out what other people think. You should also have a look yourself too as what one person considers to be easy to use, may not agree with how you feel. Most will have a free version or free trial and it can be a good idea to try these out first and then you will be able to see for yourself whether you think that you will find it easy to use or whether it will be tricky.
will it provide me with everything i want such as blog newsletter, forms etc
If you want lots of extras to your website, such as blog pages, newsletter, forms etc, then you will need to find a web builder that will incorporate these. Most of them will, but you will need to check. You also need to be aware that you may have to opt for a more expensive plan if you want to include all of these features with some web builders. It is wise to make sure that you compare them and see what you do and do not have to pay extra for with different providers and you will then be able to decide which you feel will be the best.
Will i be able to put an online shop on my site?
Many websites have online shops and this might be something that you want to incorporate into yours. If you do want to, then you will obviously want to find a web builder that will allow you to do this. Most will do but you will have to be careful of costs. Some will only allow it in more expensive monthly plans or they may charge extra. There is also the chance of them charging transaction fees. This means that you will need to look into things really carefully to see what you will be able to do with the shop and how much it will cost you. It is well worth investigating this very carefully first as once you start using a web builder you will have to use their ecommerce solution if you need one that links in seamlessly with your website.