Your business needs a professional website, but you’ve been overwhelmed trying to figure out where to start.
Web design looks really complicated and you find it easier to just not get started than to try to figure out everything you need to learn to build a new website.
We have good news. You don’t have to understand coding or learn complex web design principles to build a good business website anymore. You can use a website builder instead.
A good website builder is easy for even the newest of web design beginners to figure out and get started with. And website builders typically provide templates and features that are based on web design best practices, giving you a leg up on creating a website that gets results without having to spend as much time learning the ropes of website building.
For some businesses, using a website builder vs. hiring a website designer will be a better choice. And that’s definitely true of any business that’s putting off building a website due to not knowing where to start. Every day your business goes without a website, you’re losing sales.
Whether you are a large or small business owner, this article will help you choose the best website builder platform for your website.
7 Tips for Choosing Your Business Website Builder
If you’ve determined that a website builder is right for you, now you just have to figure out the best website builder. There are a few important steps to take in making the right decision for your business.
1. Determine Your Budget.
First things first, you have to figure out what you can afford. Start by considering the other costs involved in building your professional website. Every website budget has to account for domain registration and hosting. And you’ll likely need to invest in images and copy for your website as well.
Many website builders offer a free plan, but most charge somewhere between $5 to $40 a month for plans that provide the kind of features businesses are likely to need.
If your budget is limited, you can save money by looking for plans that bundle different website services you need. For example, GATOR, our website builder here at HostGator, includes hosting with the price of your builder. You’ll have to pay for hosting anyway, so a plan that includes both services for one price removes one line item from your budget, while still providing you with everything you need.
2. Consider Your Needs and Priorities.
Before you can decide on the best website builder platform, you need some idea of what you want your website to be and do. This will clarify your priorities so you know what to look for in your search.
A few good questions to consider include:
What level of experience do you have in design?
Most websites builders are made for people that don’t have much experience with design or website coding, but some will still be easier to figure out than others. If you’ll be learning from scratch as you go, look for a builder that offers website theme templates and drag-and-drop design options.
How particular are you about getting things just right?
If you want a lot of options and flexibility in designing your website, then the best website builder for you will include a lot of templates for you to choose from or more flexible editing options that allow you to make extensive changes to the design.
Do you need an online store?
An eCommerce website will need to include a shopping cart and check out functionality, and it will need a design that emphasizes getting people to take that next step of making a purchase. When choosing your website builder, consider if they offer the right templates and features to enable an online store.
What types of media will you include?
Will your eCommerce website include video? A photo gallery? A blog? A map that shows where your store is located? Make sure your website builder supports the types of content formats you plan to include.
And no matter what, you’ll need to learn how to make your website mobile friendly. Make sure any website builder you go with provides responsive website templates or other options that ensure you can easily make a website that works well on mobile.
3. Consider the Number of Themes.
When you use a website builder, your design process starts with the themes the builder provides. You select one of the available themes and it becomes the template you customize to turn it into your unique website.
You don’t want to invest in a website builder only to find that your customization options are far too limited and you don’t really like any of the themes they offer. Make sure the website builder you choose has enough themes that you’ll be able to find one that makes a good starting point for your website.
Everything else will be much easier if the theme you use is a good fit for what you have in mind.
4. See How Easy It Is to Use.
Any website builder you use will be much easier than building a website with coding and programming, but that doesn’t mean they’ll all be equally easy to figure out. As mentioned, a drag-and-drop functionality makes things easier. You also want to try to find a website builder that has an intuitive editor that makes each change easy to complete.
Research a website builder’s reputation for ease of use. Is it okay for someone who’s never built a website before?
Turn to user reviews for this. People who come to a website builder with a similar level of knowledge to yours will be your best source for the kinds of problems you’re likely to experience, if any.
5. Look for SEO Features.
Once you’re done building your website, you want people to actually find it, right? For that, you need to implement SEO best practices as you design your website. A good website builder should include SEO features that make doing on-site optimization simple.
Specifically, you want an easy way to update all the SEO meta elements on each page (such as the meta description and image alt tags) and to provide your sitemap to the search engines. While on-site optimization is just one part of SEO, it’s an important one and the right website builder will give you a head start in getting it done.
6. Check Out the Resources and Support.
Even an intuitive website builder will require a period of learning and the more features a website builder offers, the more you’ll have to learn. Before you make a choice, check that the website builder you’re considering has resources that will help you learn all the ins and outs of how it will work.
Ideally, your website builder will provide both tutorials on how to use all the different features and make the main changes you’ll need to in designing your website. If you learn better by video or text, check to see if the website builder provides resources in the format that works best for you as well.
The best website builder platform for you will necessarily be one you can actually figure out how to use.
7. Research the Company’s Reputation and Customer Service.
Learning how to use the website builder and making sure everything works as it should will also be a lot easier if you go with a company that has a good reputation for customer service. If something isn’t working for you, you should be able to quickly get in touch with support staff and get the help you need.
Look at the reviews of the website builders you consider to see what other business owners say about the customer service they provide (and how often they need to make use of it). Your overall experience with a website builder will be much better if you can get the help you need at the time you need it.
The Best Website Builder and Hosting Plan in One
We may be biased, but we can assure you that HostGator’s website builder checks all the boxes above as a reliable web hosting plan and builder for all business owners. The website builder:
- Is affordable
- Is extremely easy to use
- Provides ecommerce options
- Supports different content formats
- Offers over 100 responsive themes
- Has SEO features
- Comes with a wealth of helpful tutorials and resources
And HostGator has a great reputation for customer service. For anyone that chooses a HostGator web hosting plan, the website builder is an affordable option to help you get your website up and running faster, while being professional and functional at the same time.
If you have any more questions about our services here at HostGator, contact us today for more information!
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.