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What is a Website Builder? – Essential Guide 2017

A website builder is essentially a scaled-down version of a content management system. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about website creators, free website builders and the best website builders around.

What is a Website Builder?

Whilst people still use classic construction methods like HTML5 to build websites, this is generally for people who have the time, knowledge and money available to do so. A website creator is similar to a template in which you can drag, drop and you plug whatever you want into it, making it completely user-friendly. Using a website creator can help anyone make their own website without having to worry about complicated HTML5 coding.

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Functionalities of a Website Builder

Depending on the builder that you are looking at, you’ll quickly discover that many offer different benefits and different prices – however, the majority all offer similar sorts of things but with minor adjustments. The most popular website makers include companies like Wix, Web.com, Squarespace, Wordpress, Hibu and GoDaddy. All of these offer free website templates with optional pricing structures that allow custom domain names, free email addresses, increased storage and more.

You can expect to find the following common tools on most website builders:

A Dashboard

This useful and functional feature on website builders will show you your general statistics, analytics and traffic measurements. It’s your first port of call when accessing any pages you have created as well as the toolbox.

Navigation Ribbons

The ribbon is exactly what it sounds like – a thin strip, usually at the top of the page, that will have the necessary navigation and function buttons on it.

Formatting Toolbox

The toolbox allows you to add new things to your pages, as well as change the properties, design and style.

Tabs

Tabs help you to navigate between pages, improving ease of use to the user when navigating your site.

Dynamic Workspace

The workspace is the biggest part of the screen on the website creator and is where the actual design happens. It is generally a large blank area in the center of the screen that acts like a digital canvas.

Benefits of a Website Builder

There are several benefits to using website builders for “non-coders” or people who prefer user-friendly website builders:

No learning curve

You don't need to learn anything to operate a website creator as the interface will be intuitive and easy to use. You should also make use of any walk-throughs or guides available to you.

Time Consumption

Website builders can help you create and develop a website in as little as five minutes, whereas HTML would take several hours if not days.

Visual Appearance

With the drag and drop interface and a wide range of functionality, it doesn’t take long to make a great looking website with a website builder. A great idea to start is taking notice of the website creator’s site itself, as this can usually give an indication of how your site could potentially look.

Pricing

Hiring a website designer can prove to be quite expensive, especially if you want a larger, more functional website. Unless you opt for a paid package, you’ll find that many website builders are fairly inexpensive.

Stock Images

Many website creators have catalogues of images already copyrighted and saved, which gives you a wide choice of graphics for your website.

How to Make the Most of a Website Builder

You need to choose one that is best for you and your particular needs, so that you can make the most out of it. There’s little point in purchasing a website builder package aimed at large companies if you plan on making a family tree or ancestry website.

Using the tour on the builder to completely understand what features and functionalities are available to you will certainly go a long way in helping you to make the most of your website creator. Use every resource the company offers you for help.

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How to Choose the Best Website Builder

Choosing a website builder is never an easy decision. You are considering purchasing a website and will be paying money for it. You should determine your wants and needs first and then research website builders and pricing plans before settling on one. It is always a good idea to read customer reviews, as well, which can be found easily enough online. To ensure you get your money's worth, you should consider the following:

How much data transfer will I need?

This really depends on what you need your website for. Is it personal for your family or is it for business? Is it a small, at-home business or a large business with many employees? Data costs can quickly rack up so make sure you know how much bandwidth is allocated to your site and what sort of traffic it can cope with.

What benefits do I get?

Are you being offered custom domain names, free email addresses, extra storage, extra logins or accounts? The list is endless and of course the rule of thumb is generally to get as much for your money as possible. However, you should always be wary of smaller companies promising the world as although it may seem like a good deal, often it comes at the expense of flexibility, service and appearance. This is an instance when research will pay off.

How many pages will I need? How many can I have?

You can have as many pages as a website creator will allow, but this is important to consider as it can seriously hamper any future expansion plans you may have hoped for. The amount of pages available varies from builder to builder as well as by package to package. However, most offer up to ten pages in their basic package. Once again research can be your best friend on this subject.

Companies offering a Website Builder Service

There are many hundreds of companies offering website building services, but several of the more popular companies out there include:

  • Wix
  • Web.com
  • Squarespace
  • Wordpress
  • Hibu
  • GoDaddy

You should be aware that Hibu is a strictly 3rd party website builder, meaning you contact them through Hibu, they build you the template and then you fill it in how you want. The rest are website creators that offer a very user-friendly method of designing your own website in minutes.

Website Builder Prices & Rates

Many website builder companies have plans based on specific needs. As of January 2016, here is a list of the aforementioned website creators current rates:

Wix

  • VIP - £16.27/mo
  • Small Business - £10.56/mo
  • Entrepreneurs - £8.11/mo
  • Combo (Personal Use) £6.04/mo
  • Basic - £2.66/mo

Web.com

  • Premium Hosting - £6.50/mo
  • Professional Hosting - £5.19/mo
  • Essential Hosting - £3.89/mo

Squarespace

  • Commerce - £16.98/mo
  • Business - £11.75/mo
  • Personal - £5.22/mo

Wordpress

  • Business - £195.25/yr
  • Premium - £64.65/yr
  • Personal - £0 for life

Hibu

No data available

GoDaddy

  • Business Plus - £9.79/mo
  • Business - £6.52/mo
  • Personal - £3.91/mo

Next Steps

Why not find out more about one of the world’s best website builders, Wix?

You can work out just how much a website might cost you.

Or you familiarise yourself with some of the web experts who might be able to create a website for you.