Every business needs a website, that’s a given these days. Today, website builders offer business owners a way to create their site on their own, quickly, and at a lower cost than creating a site from scratch. This is because they don’t have to hire a developer and designer, and can use built-in templates and easy interfaces to create great-looking websites without any previous experience. Sounds simple and easy enough, but there are bumps along the way that many people encounter with site builders. In most cases, these obstacles can be avoided if they are considered before moving forward.
Take a look at the following 8 things that most people forget when it comes to picking a website builder:
1. Required Skills
All site builders claim to be easy to use, but they are not all equal when it comes to the level of difficulty or the skills and previous experience required. Some sites are, as they claim to be, for everyone, and can be used successfully by users with zero experience in web design and development. Others may require some design skills in order to personalize a template, or web development skills to make changes to the layout or design “rules”.
It is important to understand what type of site builder is best suited to your abilities before starting.
2. Customer Support
Not every site builder offers the same level of support. Some only have email support, which means you fill out a form and wait for a response via email. Others have 24/7 chat or phone support, which is great if you know you’ll need help with the interface or specific features. There are even sites with no official support, and only an online knowledge base or forums, which could mean waiting a very long time to get your question answered.
If you know you’ll need support and quick answers, take this into consideration when choosing a site builder.
3. Specific Features
Each site builder is different, especially when it comes to the features they offer. Some sites are very simple, and have great-looking templates but limited features beyond just content and images. For example, a limited site builder would offer basic social media buttons, while a more comprehensive site builder will have a full plugin shop to add maps, subscription boxes and forms, popups, and more. In some cases, you can even add your own code if there is something very specific that you need.
It is important to consider the features you will need on your site in the short and long term to avoid any headaches down the road.
4. Requirements for Future Growth
Site builders usually offer packages that have it all, from domain to hosting. Many times, people simply choose a package based on the price and the most common features, such as emails, e-commerce shop, etc. Another thing to consider is the site’s capacity to handle a lot of traffic. You may start with a small package, but plan ahead to when your business grows and your traffic increases.
Make sure you can easily and quickly adapt your package to your needs.
5. Moving Your Site
This isn’t possible with all site builders, so it is an important thing to consider. In the future, you may want to move your site to another site builder or platform and you need to consider how this can be done before starting your site building journey. Some site builders provide support to help you move your site, others may not provide support but it can be done if you work with an experienced developer. There are also site builders that don’t have the option at all, and moving your site means creating it from scratch.
This can mean a lot of unnecessary work that you can avoid in the future by choosing the right site builder in the present.
When you build your site with a site builder, you usually purchase a package that includes a domain and hosting. This means that at the end of the day, your entire site and domain are hosted on the site builder’s servers. If anything happens to the servers or the site builder, your website could disappear with no way to restore it.
While there is no way to predict the future, and this type of thing can happen (though it’s rare), you can take certain precautions. First, find out how long the site builder you are interested in has been in business. If they were founded less than a year ago, they may be too “young”, but if they’ve been around for a decade, you know that they likely more reliable. Another thing to look at is their online reputation in search engines and social media. Just look up the site builder’s name on these platforms and see what people are saying about them. Another great place to look is the reviews section on their Facebook fan page.
7. Payments and Terms
Can you only pay with PayPal or a specific type of credit card? Check what payment terms are accepted by the site builder you want before spending time creating an account and looking for the best template. Another thing to look at is the company’s refund policy. In most cases, you buy packages that are subscription-based, so refunding isn’t always possible unless you request a refund immediately after purchase, or can provide proof that there has been a mistake. Still, it is best to check a company’s refund policy before making a decision. You may see a money-back guarantee, instead of a refund policy, which allows you to get a refund before a certain period of time is over.
8. Trial or Free Package
Many site builders offer a free version of their services, so don’t rush to buy the first package you see without seeing if it has everything you need. In most site builders, you can sign up for a time-limited trial, or feature-limited package that allows you to test all of the main site builder capabilities and features. Try different site builders, see what works best for you before you pay.
Next time you start to build a website, don’t sign up to the first site builder you see. Work on a clear and organized way of getting all of the information above so that you make an informed choice that is suited to your specific needs.
For more information on the top-rated website builders, check out our in-depth reviews, and leave any questions in the comments section below.