10 things to know before choosing a website builder

Website builder written with black marker
(Image credit: Shutterstock/TierneyMJ)

At one point or another, creating an online presence is something that should have crossed almost everyone’s mind. Why? Because everything we do in this day and age revolves around the web. 

Higher growth potential and a wider pool of consumers for businesses can all be attained if the right website is made. When it comes to creating a solid online presence,the best  website builder services and web hosting providers are key ingredients to making that happen.

Finding the right tools is imperative to your online success, but you need to know what you’re looking for. So if you are starting up a website and are scouring through website builders, here’s 10 things you need to know and look out for before you lock in and purchase.

1. Pricing and renewal cost 

It is important to have a rough budget of what you are willing to spend on a website builder in order for things not to get out of hand, say if a renewal cost varies from the original price you paid to purchase the service.

For example, Bluehost Website Builder has a Pro plan that is priced at $9.95 per month, for a 12-month subscription that renews at $14.99 per month. Its Online Store will similarly cost you $24.99 per month for the same duration, and renews at $39.95 per month.

So if you plan to stick it out with the website builder you’ve chosen, it’s important to check the renewal cost so it doesn’t come as a surprise when the bill comes. Several providers offer free website builder services, but charge anywhere between $5-$25 per month for packages that provide features most websites or businesses may not need.

2. Ease of use 

If you aren't a professional web developer or have no coding experience, you’ll most likely want to pick a website builder that is extremely simple to use and navigate. 

One of the easiest ways to build a website is to use a provider that offers a drag-and-drop system, allowing you to simply pick a template before dragging all the features and elements you need..

For example, Wix has over 800 designer-made templates that cover all types of websites, from a recipe blog to a wedding event site, and from a car mechanic business to a consultancy. 

Such services mean beginners can still get professional quality websites made without needing to pay for a web developer or a website design service.

3. Customer service support 

Many of the best website builders on the market offer quality 24/7 customer support, but not all offer the same level of assistance.

Some offer live chat support, while others offer phone or email options - and some website builders offer all three.

If you have a query that can be answered by looking on the provider’s FAQ page, you will certainly need an option available to help whenever you need it.

4. Mobile friendly 

In an age where smartphones have become the miniature computers we all carry around in our pockets, having a mobile-friendly online presence is imperative. 

Most website builders give you the option to edit your site on a desktop, tablet or mobile setting to help you see what your users will see when they visit your site. Using a mobile website builder with device preview gives you peace of mind that your website will always perform at its best. 

Zyro offers a builder with a mobile-first approach that has responsive templates to fit the dimensions of a phone, tablet or desktop screen. The last thing you want is a great looking website that works perfectly on a desktop, but is hardly legible on a smartphone. 

5. Domain 

Every website builder differs when it comes to the specific features it offers. Some website builders such as Gator offer free domain name registration for a year.

If you have already purchased a domain using a domain registrar, this feature will not necessarily be an important one for you.

Every website needs a domain name that is catchy and unique to your brand or business, so it’s important to think about this before you choose a website builder and start creating your site. 

6. Reviews 

The best way to gauge which website builders can be as simple as reading reviews. Getting some information on the website builders you have in mind before you test for yourself could save a lot of time and could eliminate the process of testing out multiple builders.

We’ve tested and reviewed over 160 website builder and web hosting providers, and have honed in on the most important elements each service offers.  

7. Storage 

When it comes to the amount of storage you need for your website, it will always vary based on the type of site you want to build.

For the average advanced user, 30 GB is usually plenty, and is the standard offered by  many of the top website builder services around.

For more sophisticated websites that require more space, most builders offer unlimited storage when you pick packages on the higher price scale of its offerings. Weebly, for example, offers 500 MB storage for its free plan, but unlimited storage if you purchase its pro plan.

Once you know the type of website you want to create, you can very quickly determine just how much storage you are likely going to need.

8. SEO capabilities 

Building a website is one thing, having a site that ranks highly on Google is another. You always want your website to be visible for potential users, and that’s where SEO tools come in. 

Check for a website builder that offers SEO tools, which will give you the ability to add keyword tags to your site. Some builders even allow you to add SEO data for your entire website. SEO tools make it simpler and easier to ensure that your website is optimized for performance, as well as being able to manage and monitor your search engine rankings.

9. Ecommerce capabilities 

Although only applicable to those who want to build an online store and sell products or services, picking a website builder that has ecommerce capabilities will provide you with the best place to showcase your merchandise, help with online transactions and track your financial progress in the easiest way.

Most website builders offer ecommerce plans, therefore knowing how many products you plan to sell, how you want to promote those products and the types of payments you are willing to accept should all be key factors in your choice.

When you look at an ecommerce website builder such as Shopify, it offers users complete control over a store’s design, and no matter what plan you choose.

10. Web hosting 

 Last but by far not the least is web hosting. To host your site, you will need to pick a top quality web hosting provider that offers the most appropriate solution that you can afford.

From shared hosting to VPS hosting, there are hosting services that cater to all types of websites online. The type of website you want to create will determine the type of hosting service you choose, as many web hosting services are user friendly and come with 24/7 customer support.

Before you go 

Remember, these tips are only a guideline to help you along your journey to building a successful website and expanding your online presence.

Website builder services are the perfect solution for those looking to build a professional website on a budget. The do-it-yourself approach these services promote saves you time and money, and can help you bring your online vision to life.

Abigail Opiah
B2B Editor - Web hosting & Website builders

Abigail is a B2B Editor that specializes in web hosting and website builder news, features and reviews at TechRadar Pro. She has been a B2B journalist for more than five years covering a wide range of topics in the technology sector from colocation and cloud to data centers and telecommunications. As a B2B web hosting and website builder editor, Abigail also writes how-to guides and deals for the sector, keeping up to date with the latest trends in the hosting industry. Abigail is also extremely keen on commissioning contributed content from experts in the web hosting and website builder field.