What is a Website Builder?

Best Website Builder is exactly what it sounds like – an online or offline app that helps you create a top-notch website. In the past, building websites involved quite a bit of coding, choosing the best web hosting provider, and then building something complex like an e-commerce portal.

Those days are long gone thanks to website builders, which are great for individuals and small businesses to create a website without hiring the services of a web developer.

Why use a website builder?

These days, even experienced web developers prefer to start with a website builder. Indeed, these web development tools can help build websites in a fraction of the time it takes to code one.

Even if you are well versed in the languages ​​of the web, i.e. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, using a website builder reduces the risk of error. You don’t have to worry about keeping track of HTML tags or ensuring that all elements on the page are properly aligned.

Besides helping you save time in coding a website, most website builders have an extensive portfolio of templates that help you select a visual look for your website. Instead of brainstorming and coding different looks, you can spend time customizing a template to suit your needs.

Plus, website builders are much cheaper than hiring a web developer and there are loads of free website builder providers and cheap website builder deals out there.

WordPress CMS on laptop, tablet and phone

(Image credit: WordPress)

Types of Website Builders

There are several website builders to choose from. Although each has its strengths and weaknesses, you can put them into two categories: offline and online website builders.

Offline website builders are desktop applications that you download and install on your computer, just like any other application. These give you the flexibility to work on your website whether or not you have internet access. When you’re done, all you need to do is upload all the files to a web hosting account and your website is live. The most popular offline website developers include Blocks, Rapidweaver, and Pinegrow Web Editor.

Then there are online website builders that are web-based and require no installation. All you need is a modern web browser and an internet connection. Thanks to this convenience, online website builders are very popular, especially since many of them offer as much flexibility and functionality as their offline counterparts. Popular examples of online website builders are WordPress.com, Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace, etc.

Wix logo on orange background with spotlight effect

(Image credit: Wix)

How do online website builders work?

Website builders, especially online ones, can help you create a complete website without writing any code. Although they all differ in terms of functionality, they all follow the same workflow and provide users with the ability to build websites simply by dragging and dropping elements as needed.

You’ll start by browsing through their list of templates and selecting the one that best suits your needs. Some website builders have a library of a dozen templates, while others offer hundreds of templates categorized by the type of website you want to create.

Templates will usually come with several built-in elements which you then need to modify to suit your needs. Apart from the visuals, the templates will also contain generic text which you will again need to replace with your own wording.

After modifying the template to suit your needs, most website builders will also allow you to rearrange the various elements, simply by dragging them from their original location and dropping them in the desired position.

As you get comfortable, you should also use the website builder’s ability to add new elements and widgets to the template. Most tools let you add images, videos, contact forms, social sharing buttons, and more. Usually, each of these add-on elements offers additional customization options once you add them to your website.

This can be especially important when it comes to website builders for photographers, portfolio website builders, and even website builders for musicians.

Things to Look for in a Website Builder

As we mentioned before, there is no shortage of website builders. Generally, you’ll want a tool that strikes the perfect balance between cost and functionality. Here are some of the things you need to consider when shopping for a website builder:

1. Ease of use: The whole point of using a website builder is its user-friendliness. However, not all tools are built equally and some will offer more amenities than others. Look for website builders that introduce themselves to beginners and advertise the use of drag-and-drop functionality for most common tasks.

2. Templates and customizations: Look for website builders that offer a wide selection of templates, as it will be easier to start with a pre-made base that you can then customize. Many users worry that websites built with templates look too similar, which is why you need a tool that allows you to customize many (if not all) elements of a template.

3. Easy to update: Although this one depends on the type of website you are building, most websites have some form of dynamic content that needs to be updated at regular intervals. That’s why it’s important to make sure your website builder allows you to easily add and edit content on your website.

4. Mobile compatibility: With an increasing number of users accessing the web from portable devices, it is imperative that your website displays well on their limited screen space. Keep your eyes peeled for website builders that make it easy for you to create a website that looks great on mobile devices.

5. Specialized tools: If you’re planning to start an e-commerce store, you’ll want your website builder to offer tools like a shopping cart and the ability to process payments.

6. SEO tools and analytics: All good website builders will incorporate both of these elements into the design and help you tinker with them when creating your website. From basic SEO tools like keyword generators to Google Analytics integration, the right website builders will help you improve your website’s search page rankings and also help you understand your visitors better. .

7. Affordability: There are website builders suitable for all types of budgets. From the free ones that offer limited functionality to the paid ones that cost between $3/month and up to $25/month. You will have to choose one based on your needs and budget. There are also a number of free website builders.

Once you’ve selected a website builder, spend some time browsing through their help and getting started documentation. Besides the illustrated texts, many website builders also offer easy-to-follow video tutorials to help you get familiar with their features and functionality. While it may be tempting to get started right away, we recommend spending some time and reviewing these resources to make the process of creating your site easier.

Virginia C. Taylor