The minimum average cost of a website built by a designer is $2,000, but every time you change your mind, your bill can get larger. You also have to wait until your designer is available to make the changes you requested. And in the end, there's a risk that you'll end up agreeing to a website that you're not actually happy with, just because you don't feel that you can afford to ask them to try something else.
Using a website builder is much less expensive. The best website builders offer plenty of choices. You can switch out the fonts, color schemes, and templates as many times as you'd like, without paying anything extra. Making changes to your website using a website builder is also much faster. With a website builder, you are in control of everything, from the placement of the call-to-action button to the font on your homepage.
What to Consider When Choosing a Website Builder Platform
The best website builder is the one that best fits your needs. Ask yourself some of these questions about your new website:
- What type of site will it be?
- What key features do you need?
- Are you running an online store? If so, how big will it be? Some website builders have Ecommerce plans that limit the number of items you can sell per month.
- What is the vibe of your business?
Ease of Use
The most important feature of a website builder is its usability. Try out the user interface on the 5 best website builders listed above by using their trial site builder. This will give you an idea of which one you find the most intuitive and easiest to use. If you do have some knowledge of coding, check that the website builders give you access to the CSS code, too.
Hopefully, your business will expand. In this case, you need to ask yourself if you need a website builder that can process more online bookings, reservations, sales, or sales inquiries. Similarly, if you decide to transfer your site to a different hosting option in the future, can you easily download the full site?
You should also check which templates are available. Take the time to check that they aren't all just slight variations of the same template. You'll need templates for your business' specific category, so a builder with hundreds of blog templates, but none for restaurants won't be much help if you're promoting your corner cafe.
All the best website builders offer a number of extra features to make building your website easier and better. Here are some features to look out for:
- Setup wizards which guide you through the building process
- Drag-and-drop, intuitive interface to design your site
- SEO tools such as editing meta tags
- Marketing tools including email marketing
- Built-in analytics to track visitors' demographics, location, interests, and more
- Ecommerce tools such as multiple payment processor options, inventory tracking tools, product descriptions, etc.
- Integrated social media buttons to connect your social media networks with your new site
- Mobile-responsive sites that update at the same time as your main site
- Mobile-editing tools which permit you to continue tweaking your new website from your mobile phone
Site Speed and Tech Support
Your website loading speed is also important. You don't want to lose visitors just because your site takes a long time to load. Twenty-four-hour technical support is vital if you're creating a website yourself and need help when you get stuck, even if that's the middle of the night. Finally, although pricing shouldn't be the main yardstick you use to measure a good website builder, you don't want to pay too much for a mediocre website builder, so compare prices as well.
Is a Free Builder Worth It?
If you just want to build a basic site without an online store, then free website builders are excellent ways to get started. Usually, the free website builder plans come with much less storage, slower load time, and fewer SEO and marketing tools, if any. Critically, websites built on free plans don’t have their own unique URLs, but rather they have the website builder’s name in the URL, for example: yourname.wixsite.com.
Paid plans provide much better technical support and give you an ad-free website that doesn’t have any branding from the website builder. So, if you know that you need Ecommerce facilities, lots of storage space (for high-resolution images, videos, etc.), extra customer support, and/or a lot of webpages, free site builders are unlikely to work for you.
On the other hand, to just test the waters and begin establishing an online presence, a free website builder could give you just what you need to get started. This way, you'll have a professional-looking website that unites your social media networks and gives you a platform to present your business without a lot of bells and whistles. You can then upgrade to a paid plan when you need it. This could be when you outgrow your existing storage limit, need more Ecommerce options, or want particular features such as analytics or email marketing that are only available for paid users.