The needs of every small business are unique and should be taken into consideration when choosing a website builder to create a digital presence for your small business. For instance, the needs of a boutique hotel will vastly differ from that of a one-person marketing agency.
The sooner you identify your business needs, you can better plan and begin building your website using a website builder. Website builders are drag-and-drop platforms that enable anyone, even those with limited-to-no-knowledge of web development to create a professional-looking website.
One of the most attractive features of website builders is, of course, the price, but not the most central. You pay a minimal monthly fee for the service, versus paying thousands up front for a developer plus a monthly management fees. The builder you select should also give you access to mobile-optimized templates for a better experience for mobile users.
Take the use of an easy-to-navigate editor, reliable hosting, and helpful support into account. This winning combination can make all the difference when it comes to ongoing site management and ensuring your site is easily accessible by everyone on the web.
A website builder that provides a sizable amount of mobile-optimized templates is a great idea, for one major reason. The first reason is that they help you better understand what the overall user experience is like for those accessing your site when you switch to mobile view.
There is a real need in today’s day and age to accommodate the nearly eighty percent of Americans and just over seventy-six percent of Europeans who access the web via a mobile device. A part of providing a stress-free user experience is understanding your audience and exactly what they are looking for.
If you can do this, you are on the way to choosing a website builder that will give a larger amount of the world population access to your site. This can improve your chances of increased business, appearing in organic search results and more.
A Simple to Navigate Editor
All website builders come with one very useful tool — an editor. Editors are the method in which you manage day-to-day updates to your website like photos, text, music, videos and arrange all of the elements into a beautiful website.
There are even tools available within editors to optimize on-site search engine optimization. Some editors are, however, more difficult to navigate than others.
Wix, for example, has an easily navigable editor and lets users make advanced customizations with few complications. While building your website, if you are a first-time user, some website builders provide popups with instructions on how to perform specific actions using the builder’s editor.
We spoke a bit earlier about drag-and-drop editors, but I want to dive deeper into what they are. When you build a website with a developer, you cannot manage day-to-day updates yourself.
For this, you’ll need to have coding knowledge.
Website builders have taken the functionality of a developer and made it into a digestible platform for those with zero experience in web development. This feature is likely one of the biggest advantages of website builders, and what help contribute to their overall ease-of-use.
Squarespace and Weebly also use drag-and-drop editors.
Just to put things into perspective, if you take the route of hiring a developer, your website can take several months to become a reality. Drag-and-drop editors allow you to build a website in as little as a few hours if you commit to it.
After making edits to your site using the drag-and-drop editor, think about hosting, which again goes back to the idea of providing an exceptional user experience for visitors. The website builder you pick will undoubtedly come with free or fairly inexpensive hosting.
The first thing I can recommend is not to settle for free hosting. Upgrade your hosting package (if possible) to access to features like site security, automatic hosting renewals, additional bandwidth and daily site backup.
Bandwidth can largely be accredited to fast and/or slow data loading times, depending on the amount offered. Unlimited bandwidth can help avoid this headache entirely.
Occasionally, you will have to phone support, especially if Google can’t tell you how to do something. This also depends on the builder’s number of detailed ‘how to guides.’ If they are lacking, calling or chatting with someone live is inevitable/should be an option.
All in all, a diverse set of support options is imperative. For instance, if you can’t find something in an FAQ article, it should be just as simple to find what you’re looking for with an email, live chat or community forum. Twenty-four-hour-seven-day-a-week support is also preferred because you can access support, no matter the time.
All of the above features are important to have in a website builder and will come in handy when you start to build a small business website. In the event that you need additional information on other features to look out for, there are tons of helpful resources on website building that can fill gaps on questions you may have.
You will have to overcome a slight learning curve before using a website builder if you are not tech-savvy. I do find though, that the best experience is practice itself. So, build a few sample websites and play with the builder’s features.
If you can accomplish choosing a builder that has mobile-optimized templates, a drag-and-drop-editor, reliable hosting and helpful support, I am confident you can build a beautiful website you and customers will love.
About the Author:
Marc Dane is the SEO & Content Manager at WebCreate.io – a knowledge hub for small business owners looking to build a presence online. The site offers website builder reviews and comparisons, guides for building a website and resources on related tools, platforms and more.