Worried about how much you need to invest in hiring a web developer? In 2020, you don’t need to. Not even if you have no technical skills in website building. A simpler solution is available in the form of drag-and-drop website builders.
You’ll find lots of user-friendly DIY website builders. Some of them are free, also. The fun is, that is where the problem lies. How do you decide which one will be best for you? What are the criteria that you can use to decide which will best fit your particular needs?
We have used our experience and expertise and enriched it further with rigorous research to identify the six main criteria that you need to consider. If you keep these in focus, you’re unlikely to make the wrong choice.
- User-Friendly Editing
Every drag-and-drop website builder offers a WYSIWYG editor. What You See Is What You Get: that’s what it means. Not all of them are the same, however. Some of the platforms have visual editors that are particularly convenient for beginners.
The other tools in such platforms are also easy enough to use. A complete beginner can get a grip on them by experimenting with them for a while. That will increase your options for exploring different design options.
Some website builders are not so easy to use. You may need to have some degree of technical knowledge to make your way around them. So, choose a platform based on your technical skills.
- Readymade Templates
All of these drag-and-drop website builders offer design templates that you can use. These will save you the trouble of designing it yourself. However, customization options are also available, though they vary across platforms.
Some website builders offer templates for free, while others charge a price. To access most of the Shopify templates, for example, you need to have a paid plan. Wix, on the other hand, offers its templates free of cost.
Whether paid or free, the templates are designed by professionals. Free templates don’t imply any compromise in quality. However, the number and types of templates vary across platforms. So do customization options.
- Technical Support
Basic support is always available by default. If you need to escalate a complaint or need immediate support, you’ll need to opt for a paid plan. If you’re a beginner, you might be in need of immediate and ongoing support.
Some website builders offer prioritized support if you have a premium account with them. If you think your business will suffer unless you can quickly address any website issue, paying that extra cash could be beneficial.
The mode of support varies across platforms. The usual routes are:
- Online chat
- Email support
- Feedback form
- Telephone calls
Some website builders offer online chat and telephone call options only to paid users. Some of the more popular platforms also offer strong community support. Some platforms also offer excellent tutorials. You may not even need any support after that.
One thing to bear in mind is that not all platforms offer multilingual options. Most of them are in English. If you need website builders with instructions and other functions in a language other than English.
If you need it in Russian, for example, you’ll have to be careful in your choice. Otherwise, you’ll have to depend on online translation, unless you can solve the problem yourself.
You’ll find these website building platforms offer several tariff plans. Most of them have a free plan as well. The basic functions you get with the free plan may not be sufficient, however. To get more functions, you need to pay.
The higher the price, the more are the functions you can access.
Let’s explain with an example. Suppose you want to use a free platform to build your company’s website. The platform offers up to 500 MB of storage space, up to 1 GB bandwidth, and access to plenty of templates free of cost.
This may well be sufficient for you to begin with. However, remember that you cannot get your own domain name. Your website will be hosted on the builder’s domain. So, your website will bear the builder’s name.
Also, every page will have the website builder’s ad. If you want a domain name of your choice free of the platform’s name, you’ll have to buy domain space. Some platforms charge higher to remove their ads. When you need more storage space and bandwidth, the tariff is likely to be even higher.
Different website building platforms offer different tariff plans. However, what you need to consider is not just the price, but what all the plan includes. A cheaper plan may end up being more costly as you may need to pay separately for additional functions or storage, etc.
An “all-inclusive” plan at a higher price may be a more profitable option in the long run.
- Possibilities For Business
If you want to run an online store, you need to be particularly careful. An attractive website with SEO tools inserted may be enough for a freelancer or a sole proprietor to sell their service/s more effectively. A self-introduction and a feedback form may be all that they need.
If you want to run an online store, that is not going to be enough for you. You’ll need to integrate payment options. Sales analytics, reports, and similar other things are also essential for a business to function efficiently.
To run an online store, you must choose your platform carefully. Make sure that the website builder you choose offer all of the above facilities. Else, you’ll face problems later as your business grows and you need to add more functions to your website.
- Integration Possibilities
To successfully run an online business through your website, you need to integrate different services. Payment and delivery options, social network linkage, a CRM system, etc. are some of the typical needs.
Most website builders supporting business sites offer these facilities. However, they hardly ever come free of cost. Be ready to pay extra for integrating these services with your website.
So, when you choose a website builder, check for the integration options. For instance, some foreign platforms are not responsive to CIS clients. These platforms may not allow integration with local delivery services.
How To Make A Decision After All?
Each of the criteria described here is important. But the final call is: Prioritize your needs over the price and keep business growth in focus.
It is critical to match your needs with the options a platform offers.
If it is an online store that you have in mind, however, the type of your business should drive your choice. For some kinds of businesses, just the basic functions of an inexpensive website might be sufficient.
A different business may find just the basic functions inadequate. The nature of the business may demand more capacity and functions.
The stage of your business is also a key factor. It may make good business sense for a startup with a limited budget to go for a simple website that does not cost much. For an established company with a stable market position, however, a more expensive website may be crucial.
Also, don’t fall into the trap of comparing contemporary website builders with those that existed 10 years back. These modern platforms offer a range of powerful functions to suit varying needs.
Go by your needs. You are the best judge of which platform offers you the best solution.