There are advantages and disadvantages to all of the different website builders, and there are many of those to choose from as well. So, take your time and assess all of your options, and don’t get lured in by the flashy advertising and big promises. This guide will take a closer look at some of the most popular website builders and try to help you make a decision.
Perhaps the most well-known, and certainly the most used, of all the website builders available today is Wix. This particular service caters mostly to individuals, small businesses, musicians, photographers, and other groups that generally don’t need their websites to have a lot of bells and whistles or custom scripts. For example: a photographer may only need to focus on aesthetics and a place to show off their portfolio of previous work, as opposed to other more intensive websites.
In an attempt to bridge the gap between simplicity and the need to “do more things”, Wix has added the App Marketplace in which you can find extra addons for your website. Much like the Apple app store and the WordPress plugins directory, there is a mix of free and paid services to add functionality. These range from basic things such as a Facebook popup asking your visitors to like your page, to more advanced tools such as adding an online store or live chat to your website.
Wix is also perhaps the best choice for those who do not have any experience at all with graphic design or coding a website, because one of the main selling points of this service is the simplicity of it. The interface is well made, and fairly intuitive without too much of a learning curve, which allows you to get started sooner without having to read through entire textbooks. Obviously this kind of simple drag and drop interface will be a bonus to some, and could also be seen as a drawback to others in terms of its limitations.
This is by no means an attempt to downplay what Wix is all about. They are very good at what they do, and their popularity shows this. When you look through the sample websites that they show you on the Wix website, you are looking at realistic outcomes that you could achieve.
Another website builder service that prides itself on how easy it is to use, Weebly is right up there in terms of popularity when compared to the industry leading Wix. Here we see another attempt at stripping back the process of putting a website together, by using drag and drop technology again in an effort to make it easier for newcomers. In fact, with a service such as this, there are basically no barriers of entry that would stop anyone from owning their own little piece of the internet.
One of the things that Weebly has handled better than Wix and others over the last few years is the introduction of responsive themes. Weebly was ahead of the game in giving their users this ability, compared to their competitors, and that shows something that is very important in this business: foresight and the ability to adapt to new technology. If you are wondering what the big deal is, responsive themes are basically a way to make sure that your website will look good and display properly on mobile devices as well as desktop computers. It’s a very important part of the design process, to put it lightly.
Again, as with Wix, this particular builder is aimed at small businesses and others who don’t need anything too advanced out of their websites. You can run a small online store on it, and do just about anything else the other builders do, but for the most part it caters to small-time operations. It is a good starting point though, so even if you eventually outgrow it you will have gained valuable experience.
One of the newer and lesser-known services is PrestoWebsite. It offers a very clean drag and drop interface in which you will be designing your website, while also attempting to bring a few new tricks that the other builders don’t have. Some of these additions and fine-tunings may go unnoticed by a lot of users, such as the impressive amount of options given to you when customizing the Google Maps segment for your business. It’s the little things like this that can really help to avoid a website coming out looking old and stale, because it’s not going to look exactly like 100 other websites.
Another thing that sets PrestoWebsite apart from their older and more established competitors is the simple fact that it’s not hugely popular yet. Some of these other builders have tens of millions of websites made with them, so there is going to be some unavoidable crossover with a lot of websites looking similar. PrestoWebsite intends to capitalize on that individuality by offering you more pre-made elements for you to drag and drop in to your design, such as a choice from over 20 different styles just for your contact form.
One of the main complaints for this service is the lack of some non-design features that people have come to expect, such as apps to work from a mobile, and support for multi-lingual websites.
It is important to remember that you are never stuck just using one service for the life of your website. You can switch at any time to try new things, or ditch these builders altogether once you have acquired enough skills to operate alone. Having said all of that, it will probably be a hassle to switch around a lot so take your time and do plenty of research before making any decisions that could have long-lasting effects.