Pros & Cons
- A lot of widgets to choose from
- Templates for almost every business type
- Responsive customer support
- Granular control of desktop and mobile versions
- Easy to configure eCommerce store
- Basic SEO features
- Impossible to switch between templates unless you delete your current website
- Limited apps and no plugins to extend functionality
HostGator was founded in 2002 and has grown into a well-known hosting company that countless websites depend on. They have many product classes but are recognized for their affordable and reliable shared hosting. They recently introduced the Gator Website Builder which is designed to give individuals and businesses the core features to create a beautiful personal or small business website
Features & Functionality
HostGator Website Builder comes with the most important features you need to create a good looking website. All of them are built into the platform. One drawback is that what you get is what you get. You’re able to extend the functionality with a limited number of apps.
Drag and Drop Editor
It has what I like to refer to as a true drag and drop editor. Many website builders have a drag and drop interface that forces you to snap elements into place when dropped on a page. This makes it difficult to achieve a complicated layout.
You won’t find that limitation here. Instead, elements can be dropped anywhere and it’s possible to control the layering to create a unique design. You can choose from buttons, images, text, contact forms, image embeds, etc.
All websites made through Gator Website Builder look great on mobile right out of the box. If they stopped here it would be acceptable. They took it a step further. When your desktop version looks perfect, you can switch over to mobile-only editing.
Add, remove, or edit elements. The changes you make through the mobile editor won’t affect the desktop version. This is especially ideal if you want to remove heavier elements that may slow down pages for mobile users.
Social media tools
The Gator Website Builder comes with a few social media tools to make it easier to connect with your audience and encourage sharing. You can choose social sharing buttons, a Facebook page like button, Facebook comments, Twitter feed embed, and many more options.
It’s possible to activate eCommerce functionality with a few clicks. After the preliminary setup, it’s possible to add products, manage your inventory, collect payments, and calculate shipping or tax.
It doesn’t take a developer or hours of your time to build a beautiful store your customers will be happy shopping at.
The website builder has a good selection of widgets to help you get your design right. They have the normal ones you’d expect like buttons and contact forms. They also have a few I’ve not seen in many other places like shapes, flash files, and speech bubbles.
Design & Templates
The Gator Website Builder comes with a searchable collection of 220 templates. You can search by keyword or category. The templates are well designed and use the right mix of imagery, white space, and visual hierarchy to focus attention.
This is ideal if you don’t have design skills and don’t want to hire a designer. Lastly, every element of the template is fully customizable.
It’s interesting to note that you can reset templates to their default but it’s impossible to switch between templates once you’ve chosen one for your website.
Template categories include:
- Architecture & Real Estate
- Beauty and Fashion
- Business and Consultant
- Computers & Technology
- Construction and Trade
- Design & Creative
- Hotels & Travel
- Music & Entertainment
- Night Life
- One Pagers
- Online Store
- Pets & Animals
- Professional services
- Restaurant & Eateries
- Sport & Leisure
As you can see, there’s something here for every business.
Ease of Use
The HostGator Website Builder follows a similar layout as most website builders. Most of the options are on the left and divided into categories such as section, elements, and design.
If you’re experienced with website builders and have all your assets ready to go (text, imagery, calls to action) then you can build a 5 – 10-page website in an afternoon.
If you’ve never worked with a website builder you’ll be able to learn the ropes quickly. The only issue is you may get side-tracked by all the available options.
For example, I was playing around with a button. It started simply enough but I decided to click on “Advanced.” That gave me the option of editing the colors, fonts, borders, hover states, animations, styles, positions, etc.
The same level of customization is available for almost every element and I couldn’t find any way to lock in global settings. The good thing is that you can copy elements to speed up customization.
There are many support options from HostGator so you’re able to choose the one that works best for you. As soon as you sign up, there’s a short tutorial that shows you the major features. While working with the builder, you can access both the support center and live chat from within the interface.
HostGator offers 24/7 technical support for the Gator Website Builder via multiple channels.
Phone support is available 24/7 to all HostGator customers. Make sure you have your login information on hand so they can assist you faster.
Live chat support
Live chat support is available 24/7 for all customers. Though HostGator only officially offers support in English, they’ll use translation tools via live chat if necessary.
Video tutorials are available through the official support portal and YouTube.
HostGator has a knowledge base that doubles as a FAQ for the Gator Website Builder. You’ll be able to find the answers to most of your questions here.
There is a community forum for HostGator customers which include a section dedicated to their website builder.
The blog focuses on topics related to their products, general digital marketing, and web hosting news.
24/7 Help & SupportYes, 24/7 support is available
Phone SupportYes, phone support is available 24/7
Live Online ChatYes, live chat is available 24/7
Video TutorialsVideo tutorials are on the official support website as well as on YouTube
FAQA FAQ section is available
Community ForumA community forum is available
BlogYes, HostGator has a blog.
The Gator Website Builder is a simple solution that’ll help you get a small website up and running within a few hours. It’s ideal for beginners that don’t mind getting their hands dirty when trying to understand the customization options.
If you feel even a little overwhelmed live support is just a few clicks away.
There are hundreds of templates to choose from for your main website and dozens of templates for individual pages and your blog. This can dramatically cut down your time to launch. Even though you can produce a beautiful website and shop, it’s not possible to extend the functionality. If you require a lot of customization then this tool isn’t for you.
If you want something that works well, is easy to edit, and doesn’t need advanced features then you’ve found the perfect website builder.