If you own a start-up company and are striving to a positive image and solid brand identity, especially on the Internet, then you know how important it is to build and maintain a professional website. You also know how important it is to make sure your website is well-crafted and properly maintained.
With the number of web building software and tools currently available, it can be quite difficult to choose just one. In fact, many businesses have gone through an arduous trial-and-error process just to find the right web building software. The good news is that so many businesses have gone before you, such that you are now in a good position to learn from their mistakes and go through an easier process of finding the right web building software and tools to use. Before you begin the process of choosing a web builder, there may be a few questions in your mind. Let us attempt to answers those questions.
Are web page templates really necessary?
If you’re still wondering whether you really need the templates offered by web building software, wonder no more. These templates are indeed very useful, especially to rookie web designers like you. The ability to input content into a pre-formatted design makes the entire web design process a lot easier. There are even templates that provide directions written in the code to further guide you through the process. Of course, if you’re already quite skilled in web design, you also have the option of doing away with the templates and designing the website from scratch instead.
Another huge advantage of using templates is that they typically offer images and other artwork that you can edit and then add to your web pages. These images can be very useful, especially if you don’t have original images to use or if you only have a limited number of images and artwork prepared for your site. It would, of course, be a lot better for you to use original images throughout your site, but stock photos aren’t all that bad to begin with. The key is to find the most appropriate photos and use them artfully within the site. Besides, you can always add your own photos as your site grows.
What other benefits does choosing the right web builder have to offer?
Aside from the obvious advantage of being able to create and develop your website without spending too much time, money, and effort, choosing the right web building software also gives you a wonderful opportunity to learn as you go. As you familiarize yourself with the various features of the software, you get to build your web design and development skills. Help is always available, along with various types of support. There are even those that also offer hosting in the basic design software you pay for, which is a bonus because it means you won’t have to pay separately for hosting services.
Now that we’ve provided answers to the top two questions that usually run in the mind of those who are thinking about using a web building software to create their own website, it’s time for you to ask yourself some questions. These questions (and the answers to them) are very important in determining whether a particular web builder is the right one for you.
1. Can you afford it?
Although price should never be deemed as the most important factor when choosing a web builder, it is quite often a top concern for most small business owners looking for the most cost-effective way to market their business online. After all, if a web building software costs just as much as the services of a professional web designer and developer, then what’s the point of going DIY?
There are web builders that offer basic services for free and then give you the option to upgrade for a fee. If you feel that the base services provided are enough for you to start running a professional website, then it may be a good idea to give such software a try. Note, however, that many of these builders charge monthly fees when you do decide to upgrade later on.
Another option would be for you to choose a web builder that charges a one-time payment when you register and then offers all future upgrades for free. This may involve a considerable sum at the outset, but in most cases, this one-time payment ends up being a lot less than the total amount you spend when you go for the upgrades paid on a monthly basis.
2. Does it suit your business goals?
What are your reasons for building a website? Will you be using it to provide information, to promote your brand, to attract customers, to transact business, or to accomplish a combination of these goals? Whatever your goals are for building the site, you have to make sure the web builder you choose can help you achieve those goals. Note as well that there are web builders that offer templates for all kinds of business and there are those that focus on specific industries. You’ll have to decide which type of builder can best help you achieve your goals.
3. Is it easy to use?
Almost all web builders claim to be easy to use, but that claim isn’t always true. Some builders are only easy to use for advanced users. As a beginner, you need to find one that’s user-friendly and highly intuitive. It should be straightforward and shouldn’t require advanced coding and programming skills. It’s also a good idea to choose a builder that shows you the design changes you make as you go. The availability of in-editor help is also a plus.
4. Is there a good choice of designs?
When you create a website using a web builder, you’d have to choose from pre-set designs. It is easy to understand why it is more advantageous to choose a builder that offers a wide variety of designs. Look for one that lets you choose not only from a wide range of templates, but also a huge palette of colors. The more it allows you to personalize the design, the better a builder generally is.
5. How varied are the technology choices and widgets?
Widgets may be small details, but they can be very significant in web design and development. They allow you to personalize your site more and make it as unique as you possibly can, even while using preset templates and designs. The more widgets a builder offers, the more flexibility you have in terms of site personalization.
6. What are the possibilities for customization?
Even if you create a site using a builder, it doesn’t have to look like many other sites created using the same software. In fact, you should do your best to make your website appear as unique as possible; visitors shouldn’t be able to tell that you used design software to build the site. This is why you need to choose a builder that doesn’t force you to use preset layouts. Rather, the builder should allow you to change column widths, split up page sections easily, use a variety of background and fonts, etc.
7. Is it possible to build a responsive website with the builder?
These days, those who browse the Internet on mobile devices are quickly outnumbering those who do so on desktop and laptop computers. This makes it important for you to make sure your website is easily accessible on a wide variety of devices. The best builders are those that allow you to build a responsive website.
8. Are there hosting options? What are they?
As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to host your site somewhere and it would be best if the software you use for building the site includes hosting. If the builder does offer hosting, don’t forget to determine how much space it offers and how much bandwidth you can get. It’s also a good idea to find out if the template will still work if you decide to choose another hosting platform.
9. Does it have enough SEO functionality?
You can’t just build and host a website and then expect it to achieve your goals on its own. You need to promote the site and attract web traffic. Before committing to a builder, make sure it offers plenty of options for you to fully optimize your website. At the very least, the builder should allow you to activate Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, add keywords, Meta descriptions, and Meta tags.
10. Is social media integration possible?
Social media now plays an increasingly important role in building online presence. It is widely considered as the modern word-of-mouth. This makes it important for you to make sure your website is completely social media integrated. Choose a builder that allows you to share content directly from your site to your social media pages and place social media buttons on your web pages.
Besides the basic features that are common to all, each web builder has its own special set of features and functionality. You don’t have to look for “the best” builder; you simply need to decide which one suits your needs and preferences best.