There are a lot of terms to pick up when you’re learning how to set up a website for your business or your blog. But what is a website builder?
Does that refer to a web designer that you hire, or to an app you use to tell your site specs to Alexa so she can build it for you?
The answers are ‘no’ and ‘sadly, no,’ but website builders are very useful, especially to first-time site owners and people who want to put together sites quickly.
What Are Website Builders?
In general terms, website builders are all-in-one software tools that let users build a site quickly, without needing to know any coding or site design skills. A website builder typically includes a drag-and-drop editor that allows you to build pages and create beautiful layouts without needing any coding expertise.
Although it sounds basic, a good website builder can deliver a professional looking site that uses mobile-friendly best practices, integrates with social media and e-commerce tools, and seamlessly updates to stay current and secure.
For most people, especially those who are setting up their first site, a website builder offers a low-stress, low-cost option for creating a good-quality site.
Who Are Website Builders For?
Anyone can use a website builder, but they’re an especially good option for people who:
- Need to launch a website quickly.
- Don’t have tech skills and don’t have time or interest in learning.
- Don’t want to decide on software or content management systems.
- Feel intimidated by the idea of putting together their first website.
- Would rather let someone else handle site updates.
- Have a small site-design budget.
Because a good website builder will include templates for all types of use cases, bloggers, small business owners, and online retailers can all get professional looking sites up and running fast. For example, the Gator Website Builder from HostGator includes more than 200 templates for businesses such as restaurants, professional photography, and fashion and beauty retail, plus blog templates.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Website Builders?
Using a website builder is fast, easy, and inexpensive. Those are some pretty impressive pros. But a website builder may not be the best choice if you need:
- highly customized site code and functions.
- a fully customized template and theme.
- dedicated servers to load your site at the highest possible speeds.
If your site needs any of these elements, you may be better off using a CMS like WordPress or hiring a site designer and getting a dedicated hosting plan. For most site owners, though, a website builder will get the job done well.
How Do Website Builders Work?
What can you expect when you use a website builder? Let’s walk through the basic steps.
First, you’ll need a domain name for your site. If you’ve already registered your domain name, you’re a step ahead. If not, the website builder should be able to help you get that done.
Some website builders come with a comprehensive package with a domain name included. For example, the Gator Website Builder comes with a free domain name for one year on all packages for one year or more.
Gator Website Builder also comes with web hosting included in the package price. The included web hosting has unlimited storage space and is backed by HostGator’s 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Now comes the fun part: putting together the elements you want from a menu of options.
- Templates. Go ahead and scroll through all your options a couple of times, and then narrow in on the designs that make the most sense for your type of website. If you run a business, you’ll want a template that displays product photos on the home page, and if you’re a blogger, you’ll probably want a layout that makes it easy for visitors to scroll through your posts.
- Pages and sections. Even the most minimalist website needs a few standard pages and sections: the homepage, an “about us” page or section, contact information, and your content—blog posts, products, or a portfolio of your services. Business sites usually also include customer testimonials and reviews. And an FAQ section or page can save everyone time.
- E-commerce tools. If your site is your shop, you’ll need to choose a shopping cart so customers can select your products, payment tools so they can checkout, and inventory management so you always know what’s in stock, what’s on backorder, and what’s flying off your digital shelves. Gator Website Builder has a fully-functional eCommerce plan built in. Simply choose the eCommerce package and you’ll have access to create an online store.
- Images and video. Your website builder should have a library of high-quality images you can use to create headers and backgrounds. You should also be able to select tools to embed HD video. That will allow you to feature tutorial, product, and customer review videos on your site instead of having your visitors click away to watch them on YouTube.
- Social media. Want to share your thoughts and drive traffic to your site? You’ll be able to quickly link your social media accounts to your website. Site builder social media tools also make sharing from your site to your Facebook and other accounts a snap for you and your fans.
- SEO and analytics. Getting found and learning more about your site visitors is easy with built-in tools for search-engine optimization and Google analytics integration.
Ready to get started?
HostGator’s website builder can help you set up your new site today. All packages come with the following:
- Easy to use drag-and-drop editor
- Mobile-friendly designs
- More than 200 professional website design templates free
- Robust stock photo library that is free to use
- Integrated analytics so you can keep a tab on your website
- eCommerce plan upgrade optional.