These products help create and launch a website easily and quickly. They offer an ideal solution for business owners or professionals who want to get started quickly, with no knowledge of coding required. Key software features of easy website builders include drag-and-drop content widgets, the ability to monitor website traffic from a dashboard, the ability to add custom features, design templates and themes, background images and content management systems. Some products even allow you to build corporate sites, mobile applications, news websites, and government applications. Read the full software guide...
If you’re on the hunt for easy website builder software, this is your guide. So what are they and why should you use one?
Website builders are software solutions that enable you to craft websites without the need for extensive knowledge about coding stuff manually.
These software solutions are divided into two main groups, online builders and offline ones. Online website builders are digital tools offered by web hosting companies that are almost always geared towards users who want to make their own private site. Quite a number are simple to operate with a user-friendly GUI, while some allow for more complicated processes like allowing site owners to integrate third-party programs that are either open-source ones or proprietary software that you have to pay for. Some online builders are full-fledged content management systems (CMS’) but since these don’t belong under the term easy, they fall outside the scope of this guide.
Offline web builder software, on the other hand, operates on the builder’s computer, letting you craft pages that can be uploaded to any host. However, due to the fact that these do require you have a rudimentary amount of knowledge about coding, offline website builders—like content management systems—are generally outside the scope of this guide.
When choosing website builders, you need to keep in mind three crucial aspects that will make or break a software solution. These are:
It is a fact that even people who don’t want to build a website have to sign up for a website-based platform (Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, and Twitter come to mind) if they ever want to share content online. Websites simply are the go-to medium if you want to share content online, making content-related features the primary aspect you should be looking at if you’re thinking about using a website builder.
Another key consideration is whether a solution offers you the ability to have a custom domain. Having a custom domain is extremely critical when setting up a brand for your company. As such, it is important to consider if the library of design templates a website builder offers is extensive enough that you can choose the perfect look for what is essentially going to be the digital representation of your venture. Remember, colors, font, website component placement, spaces where you can plug in pictures, videos, and written content will all have to be considered as different content that will individually benefit more from certain templates that highlight their strengths. A visually-oriented business, like an online swimwear shop for example, will benefit more from a website that can display each product separately, whereas an online directory will be more effective with a homepage that has a clearly-defined taxonomy so users can zero in on the parent category in which the thing they’re looking for belongs to.
There is also the matter of the end-user license agreement. Do you get to retain ownership of the content pieces you upload to your website? Who has the final say about what you can or cannot upload to your website? These are factors that you need to consider as some platforms do have some strict stipulations.
Choosing a website builder that only makes you jump through various technical hoops trying to generate a website that can rivet your target market’s attention would be a self-defeating exercise. It is imperative to make sure the builder you’ll be picking has a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editor and GUI. Doing so will make your work so much easier as editing content with the aforementioned function would essentially be like working with a word processor.
There’s also the matter of what you want your website to be. Do you want it to have its own forums? A popular example of this would be Valve’s Steam online shop—each of its products has its own forums, enabling legions of consumers to build a community around the individual software listing they like most.
Another aspect that falls under user-friendliness is multimedia integration capability. With video content now starting to eclipse written pieces, a website builder that can support video and live streams like podcasts would very much give you an edge.
Flexibility is also a must. It doesn’t mean when you’re done creating your website it’s going to be cast in stone. If all the successful and reputable websites on the internet are any indication, you are going to feel the need to tweak your online estate sooner or later, making customizability a priority. Check whether the website builder you’re eyeing offers an array of features that will enable you to change your site’s layout, colors, and placement of various components (widgets, etc).
There’s also the matter of technical support. If the system ever grinds to a halt, does the builder have an available MIS team you can call on to solve your problems? If it comes down to it, will they help you with migrating if you ever get to the point where you need to move your website to another hosting service? Incidentally, does it even provide you with that option?
Lastly, see if you can afford it—all those bells and whistles are irrelevant if it’s outside your budget.
The third group of factors to consider fall under a category some entrepreneurs—particularly those who are new to e-commerce—are oblivious about. Despite this, SEO and your success in it will play a huge factor in making or breaking your website’s visibility and relevance to your target market. SEO itself is the process of managing the online visibility of a website in regards to its organic ranking on search engines. This is important because a higher ranking page will be more visible, therefore attracting more visitors to your website—and subsequently more potential customers. So, as you can see, SEO signals and factors do play a huge role. These things cannot be ignored when building an online presence.
The first thing to mull over on the SEO-side of things is SEO-friendliness.
Drag-and-drop-equipped builders are good and so are templates. They make your job in crafting a website significantly easier. However, be warned: some of these aren’t SEO-friendly. Most basic websites builders—particularly free ones—don’t have the capability to let you create robot.txt files, XML sitemaps, and URLs that send clear signals to search engines. Some—in an effort not be resource-intensive—don’t even let you insert meta descriptions titles, alt text, and headers. These are basic ingredients in making a website that search engines will like, making them a critical aspect.
Furthermore, there’s the matter of Google updating its algorithm with what is now referred to as the “Mobilegeddon” update. Back in mid-2015, Google rolled out an algorithm that made its engine greatly favor websites that display correctly and well on mobile devices. Sites that didn’t adjust plunged down the rankings. Since then, the term mobile-friendly has stuck as website designers and builders scrambled to conform to this new, envelope-pushing standard. As Google currently holds the most powerful search engine on the net, you’d do well to pick a website builder that allows you to make a mobile-friendly website.
Other factors you need to consider on the SEO side of things are analytics (allowing you to see your website's performance in critical metrics such as view count and bounce rate), performance (generally, search engines hate slow websites), and the ability to conduct lead generation processes such as forms.
By now, with all that has been discussed, you already know the benefits of using a website builder software solution. But just to put this all into a neat bundle to set all these into perspective, here are the key considerations again:
- Doesn’t require coding knowledge.
- Doesn’t require a standalone software client to download and install in your computer.
- Due to the preceding line, it also should be cheap.
- Comes with web hosting services so you won’t have to avail of another company’s help in setting it up.
- Almost zero requirements. All you need is a browser and as everything is done online, you can work on your pet project from anywhere around the globe. This is also great if you’re working as part of a team.
|A/B Testing||Run split tests for websites, emails, ads and more by serving different versions of the content to different users.|
|API||Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.|
|Data Export||Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.|
|Data Import||Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.|
|External Integrations||Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.|
|Landing Pages||Landing Page tools enable users to create specific, tailored landing pages that you direct your audience to with your marketing links.|
|Multi-User||Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.|
|Third-Party Plugins/Add-Ons||Offers additional features or integrations built by third-party developers in form of plugins or add-ons.|
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