The best website builders can make creating websites a breeze. But with countless website builders to choose from, it isn’t always easy to know which one is right for you.
Making the right decision is important. Picking the wrong builder can limit business success and moving to a new builder can be a long and laborious process. Needless to say, taking some advice from the top minds in the industry is well worth your time.
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How to pick a website builder?
Luckily, we know a few industry-leading experts in the website builder space. So, we asked them for their honest thoughts on what businesses and entrepreneurs should look for when considering a website builder.
Read on to find advice from Auksė Žirgulė (Head of Website Builder at Hostinger), David Schwartz (VP of Product at Wix), Owain Williams (Website Builder Editor at TechRadar Pro), and Itai Sadan (CEO and Co-Founder of Duda)...
Auksė Žirgulė started her career in the IT field as a tester, developing her technical skills over 10 years, driven by leadership, curiosity, and a love for challenges. For the past 4 years, Auksė has been with Hostinger. Auksė's experience and dedication has shaped her into the Head of Website Builder.
Small businesses and first-time marketers often seek a cost-effective solution that delivers the best results and matches their skill set. However, it's crucial to understand that building and launching a website, especially for a business, is just the initial step toward online success.
Ease of use. Even if a website-building tool doesn't require programming knowledge, it doesn't necessarily mean it will be easy to use. While creating a website with templates can expedite the process, artificial intelligence takes it to the next level. To illustrate, advanced AI Builder solutions can generate unique websites with just a few clicks – all you need to do is describe your project or brand. Then, easily edit and customize your website through a drag-and-drop editor.
Tools. AI integrations will speed up website creation tasks, such as generating text and product descriptions, automatically selecting the right illustrations, or even creating a unique logo. Additionally, SEO tools and third-party integrations can enhance your website's online visibility, attract visitors, and help organize marketing campaigns.
Hosting service. Choosing a reliable hosting provider is crucial for maintaining a fast, available, and secure website. Opting for an all-in-one solution ensures technology compatibility since the same provider offers both a website builder and hosting services.
Support. When building your first website, having a shoulder to lean on is crucial. Find out if the website builder provider offers 24/7 support and its average response time. Ideally, you should also get support in your language. An added advantage is the knowledge base and video tutorials that can help you learn how to use the tool and discover solutions faster.
Value for money. Evaluate whether the website builder package includes a free domain, email, and SSL certificate and what security, speed, and reliability solutions are used. Determine if any of these features will incur additional costs.
David Schwartz is the VP of Product and a member of the management team at Wix. David leads Wix product organization and also provides executive-level leadership for Wix’s commerce and booking solutions. David led the development and implementation of numerous products in Wix including Stores, Bookings, Promote, Hotels, App Market, Answers, and many more. Prior to joining Wix, he was the founder of several start-ups including Jogli (DMG), a music search engine, and PeerApp Technologies, a provider of P2P caching systems to ISPs. David holds an LLB from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. David has guest lectured about product development, management, marketing, and innovation trends throughout the high-tech industry and at universities including NYU, Columbia University, the Hebrew University, and the Technion.
When choosing a website builder, there are many different factors that should be considered to ensure a seamless and efficient online presence. These considerations cater to the unique needs and complexities associated with not only SMBs, but also larger businesses including enterprises.
Whether a small business or larger enterprise, businesses often require a fast turnaround. The selected website builder should enable rapid deployment while still allowing for a high degree of customization. This ensures that the business can establish its online presence quickly, meeting crucial objectives in a competitive landscape. Efficient content management is equally vital. The ease and cost-effectiveness of uploading and managing content play a pivotal role when it comes to frequent marketing campaigns and dynamic content requirements. Opting for a platform that streamlines content updates and allows for marketing tasks to be executed quickly and efficiently is essential for maintaining a dynamic online presence.
Omnichannel capabilities are essential for businesses operating both online and offline. The website builder should seamlessly integrate with point-of-sale (POS) systems, offering a cohesive experience for customers across various touchpoints. This integration bridges the gap between the physical and digital realms, enhancing the overall customer experience.
Furthermore, the platform's capability to handle both physical and digital offerings is paramount. For businesses with diverse revenue streams, such as a fitness trainer who sells products and manages class bookings, the chosen platform must accommodate these varied requirements seamlessly. Omnichannel also includes integrations with marketplaces and social channels which play a huge role in attracting, engaging, and maintaining customer relationships. A platform with integrations and ease of use between platforms is key.
A strong focus on SEO, performance, reliability, and accessibility is crucial for maximizing online visibility and usability. The website builder should provide these easily and effectively. Emphasis on these key infrastructure tentpoles contribute to the website's speed, reach, compliance, and inclusivity, aligning with the growth potential and objectives of larger businesses.
Lastly, great mobile support and responsiveness is a non-negotiable aspect of website design. Opting for a website builder that offers a responsive design ensures a consistent and user-friendly experience across devices.
These considerations collectively contribute to building and maintaining a powerful online presence that aligns with the unique needs and growth potential of businesses.
3. TechRadar Pro
Previously working as a freelance content writer and editor, Owain has been writing about website builders, marketing, and a range of other business topics since 2017. During this time he has worked with industry leaders, spoken at several events, and been published on top media sites including MarketingProfs, Website Builder Expert, Digital Doughnut, and NealSchaffer.com. Owain has gained hands-on experience with many leading website builders. This includes building his own ecommerce store on Shopify, creating several websites on WIX, and working with clients to grow their WordPress and Squarespace sites.
Which website builder is right for you will depend on your business and what you are trying to achieve. For example, if you are looking to build a highly profitable online store you are likely to look specifically for the best ecommerce website builders with advanced online selling tools. Similarly, the best small business website builders will offer different tools and features to the best website builders for agencies.
So, step one is to write down your goals. Then you can ask yourself what tools you will need to achieve them.
Do you need to be able to sell online? How will you manage stock? Will you publish a blog? How will you get your website/brand/products/services in front of potential customers?
Although a website builder may not be able to offer everything you need to achieve your goals, many of them do provide a wide range of business solutions that go beyond creating a simple website. In fact, the majority of market leaders offer everything from online payments and creating member areas to advanced marketing tools for SEO, social media, and email.
Arguably, functionality is the most important factor when choosing a website builder. This is especially true for small and start-up businesses that can save a significant amount and simplify their processes by getting several of their business tools from their website builder service.
However, how your website will look and function is also essential.
The majority of website builders come with lots of template options to choose from - although the quality of those templates can vary between providers.
Some providers allow you to make significant changes to their templates or use your own bespoke designs, whereas others are a bit more strict about the edits you can make. So make sure you will be happy with how your website will look and work once it's finished.
Next comes pricing. Luckily, the majority of top website builders offer highly competitive pricing and come with everything from website hosting to a domain name. When choosing your package, read carefully what you get for your money and consider any potential additional costs.
This is especially important for ecommerce websites as additional transaction fees can really add up. Many providers offer low/no transaction fees in their premium packages but charge a higher percentage in their more basic and free plans.
Finally, think about your potential to grow. Although your business may just be a fledgling now, with few demands on your website, consider what you may need as you get bigger. Check out the higher-tiered packages available from your website builder. A good sign is if they offer an ‘enterprise level’ plan with bespoke tools, support, and hosting - although you may need to contact them to find out if they offer this.
Itai Sadan is the CEO and Co-Founder of Duda, a professional website builder for agencies and SaaS Platforms. Under Itai's leadership, Duda rapidly expanded its professional website-building platform with an emphasis on empowering web professionals with cutting-edge tools to help them create beautiful, conversion-driving websites at scale. Duda hosts more than 1 million active websites built by over 20,000 customers globally.
Having a strong online presence is essential for the success of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). A well-designed, high-performing website serves as a virtual storefront, helping SMB owners and marketers reach their target audience and drive growth. Because of this, choosing the right website builder is a critical decision.
Choose the right platform for your skillset
Start by evaluating your (or your team’s) technical skills. If you are more technically savvy, you might opt for a powerful tool that gives you a lot of flexibility and the ability to customize, but may require coding skills and a deeper knowledge of how to use these digital tools effectively.
If you have less technical expertise, you might benefit from a tool that is simpler and easier to use but might be more constrained in terms of design flexibility. Most website builders will state who their platform is best suited for–SMBs vs. marketers vs. designers–which can help you make an informed decision about the right platform for your use case.
Consider ongoing maintenance requirements
You’ll also want to consider the level of maintenance that will be needed to keep your site running smoothly–alongside your own technical knowledge. For example, web platforms that use open-source plugins are often more vulnerable to security breaches, and they require regular maintenance and plugin updates to keep them secure and functional.
On the other hand, closed-source platforms are maintained as a unified system where all components work harmoniously together, meaning there is a very low risk of conflicting plugins or outdated elements. As such, these platforms often have low or no maintenance requirements, allowing your team to spend more time focusing on other aspects of your digital strategy like creating compelling content and optimizing your site for conversions.
An advantage of open-source web builders is that they will have a lot more available plugins, and the website will be more portable between hosting companies. However, you will be expected to have more technical experience to evaluate plugins and decide on the best hosting options. In contrast, many closed-source platforms handle the complexities of hosting under the hood, so you don't need to worry about it.
Effective search engine optimization (SEO) is the cornerstone of online visibility. To ensure potential customers can find your website, you’ll want to choose a website builder that provides robust SEO capabilities out-of-the-box. For example, look for a website builder with high scores for Core Web Vitals and PageSpeed, and that automatically incorporates SEO best practices like sitemaps, SSL, mobile-responsive design, and more. Prioritizing SEO features will help your website rank higher in search engine results, driving more organic traffic.
Don’t forget about eCommerce and transactions - even if you’re not in retail
eCommerce is no longer just for retail. In fact, I’m seeing more and more service-based SMBs turning their websites into revenue-generating assets. They’re doing this by incorporating transactional elements into their websites. Some examples of transactional websites include sites that allow visitors to purchase services, gift cards, tickets, digital products, memberships, and more. So, even if you’re not in the business of selling products, it’s important to choose a website builder that makes it easy to capture transactions on your website and drive revenue for your business.
Look for innovation
Finally, website builders that embrace innovation, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), can offer significant advantages. Look for a web-building platform that incorporates cutting-edge features like AI-powered content generation and SEO. These tools speed up the most time-consuming aspects of building and optimizing your website and can help you stay competitive, adapt to changing market conditions, and deliver a more tailored online experience to your audiences. Take a look at the blog and recent updates pages of website builders to ensure they are innovating, and consistently rolling out new features.
Website Builder Expert Advice: Summary
There is a lot to consider when picking a website builder. Our experts have made it clear that taking some time to consider your wants, needs, and future plans will help you align with what each individual website builder offers. Ease of use is another key theme, after all, it doesn’t matter how great a website builder's tools are if you can’t work out how to use them.
This guide is a great starting point for working out what to look for when picking a website builder. Now, you can find out more about what each one offers with our list of the best website builders on the market.
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Previously working as a freelance content writer and editor, Owain has been writing about website builders, marketing, and a range of other business topics since 2017. During this time he has worked with industry leaders, spoken at several events, and been published on top media sites including MarketingProfs, Website Builder Expert, Digital Doughnut, and NealSchaffer.com.
Owain has gained hands-on experience with many leading website builders. This includes building his own ecommerce store on Shopify, creating several websites on WIX, and working with clients to grow their WordPress and Squarespace sites.
During his career, Owain has gained a breadth of marketing experience across industries ranging from complex engineering and international events to brand design and even brewing. Undertaking a 4 year apprenticeship in business, Owain has achieved a HNC, HND, and BA(Hons) in Business, Management, and Marketing alongside several professional qualifications from institutes including the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and the Institute of Data and Marketing (IDM).
When he isn’t thinking, talking, and writing about website builders, Owain is a keen practitioner and competitor in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, enjoys walking his dog, and spending time with his family.