You know you need a website, but you don’t know the first thing about how to build one. Without any coding or design skills, you’re not really sure where to start. But these days, you don’t need a complex set of skills to design a website, you just need a good website builder.
Website builders make creating and customizing a website easy enough for anybody to do it—no coding required.
When you start looking into which website builder to use for your new website, you’ll notice that there are a lot of options to choose from. Trying to figure out which one to go with can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know enough to even know what to look for.
Top 10 Features to Look for in a Website Builder
When choosing the right website builder for you, there are ten main factors you should consider.
1. Ease of use
A website builder is supposed to make the process of building a website easy (that’s kind of the whole point). When you’re considering what website builder to go with, make sure you find one that has an intuitive editing tool so you can easily shape your website to look and feel how you want it to.
Drag-and-drop functionality is a good feature to look for, since it means you can move components of the page around with your mouse—something anyone can do, regardless of their level of web design experience. And the editing tool should have features that enable you to change out colors, add new elements to the page, and upload any media you want to add without having to learn any new skills.
2. Lots of templates
The first step to creating a website with a website builder is choosing your template. The template provides a design and structure for you to start with, so you’re not having to build your site from scratch. From there, it’s easy to make changes to the template to make your website better represent your unique brand.
Building your website will be easier if you’re able to select a template that comes close to what you have in mind for your site. So make sure the website builder you go with supplies a good number of templates for you to choose from.
3. Responsive options
People now browse the web on their mobile devices more than their computers. For your website to work well for the majority of visitors, it needs to be mobile friendly. The best way to do that is to build a website that’s responsive.
Responsive websites have all the same elements and content no matter what device you visit them on, but they’re automatically arranged in the way that makes them look good on whatever screen size a visitor views them on.
The website builder you go with should offer an easy way for you to make your website responsive. Offering responsive templates is a good option, since you won’t have to do anything extra to make your website mobile friendly—you’ll start out with it that way.
4. Customization options
Templates are great for making the website creation process easier, but you want to be sure you can turn that template into something unique. A good website builder should provide plenty of options for customizing your website. You should be able to change out colors, add new pages, load your own images, and add icons and buttons in the shapes and sizes you desire.
You don’t want a website that looks just like everybody else’s, the whole point is to create something that represents your specific brand. Go with a website builder that gives you plenty of room to customize the template you choose to turn it into something wholly yours.
5. SEO features
With so many websites already out there, getting people to find yours will be a challenge. A website builder that has SEO features can give you a little head start by helping you optimize your website’s pages for visibility in the search engines.
Adding relevant keywords to each web page’s URL, meta description, and image tags communicates to Google what your website is about so they’re more likely to include you in searches for that term. A good website builder will make that easy to do.
6. Social share features
Once your website’s up, you want to promote it! And ideally, you want visitors that like your site to promote it too.
Social share features can help on both fronts. You can easily push out new content to your social networks to let your followers know about it, and you can make it easy for visitors to share your web pages with their followers with one click as well.
You probably don’t have a ton of money to spend on your website. And website builders generally bill on a subscription model, so you have to consider the long-term costs as well as what you can afford at this moment. Choose a website builder that falls within your ongoing budget for your website.
Most website builders cost somewhere in the range of $4-$40 a month. In some cases, the cost includes features or services you would otherwise have to spend more for, so make sure you consider everything that’s included in the price instead of just going with the cheapest option.
8. Image library
All websites need images, they’re a key part of how people will experience the site. Unless you’re a photographer or illustrator, finding good images to populate your site with can be difficult and time consuming.
A website builder that includes an image library can save you a lot of trouble, make your website look great, and help you get your website up and running faster,
9. Educational resources
While ideally, the website builder you use will be easy to figure out, you still want access to helpful resources that lay out what all the features are and how to use them.
Check if the website builder you consider offers tutorials on how to use it. You’ll get more out of your website builder if you’re able to get a full understanding of everything it can do for you and how to make use of it all.
10. Good customer support
If you face any issues while creating your website, or worse, once it’s up, you want to trust you can get ahold of someone to help fast. Look for a website builder that offers 24/7 support and has a reputation for being helpful when customers need it. Hopefully you won’t ever need customer support, but it’s important to know it’s there and reliable if you ever do.
A website builder should make your life easier and enable you to put together a website that does everything you want it to. But it’s important to find one that offers everything you need.
Meet the HostGator Website Builder
HostGator offers a website builder that does everything on the list and comes with web hosting included. You can save a little money by investing in both things at once, and get started creating the website you’ve been wanting.
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.