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How to Choose a Website Builder That's a Good Fit for Your Business

Don't know a stitch of code but need to get a site up in 40 minutes or less? The current wave of website builders has you covered. What's a website builder? It's an online software platform that allows users to build websites without any kind of HTML or CSS knowledge.

Most online website builders come with an interface that is easy to navigate and build with. Menus, options, drag-and-drop functions, and pre-made templates and suggestions for great color palettes.

You're almost convinced, but then the options come pouring in... How do you choose what will be the best fit for you or your business? Here are some questions that can help you see what you're looking for and perhaps narrow the choices down for you.

What's Your Budget?

How much can you fork out each month, or each year? Even if a website builder claims that it can build you a site for free, most need you to sign up for a monthly plan to make use of their services. Comparing fees month per month might not give you an accurate view of your price. Some builders' monthly fees are contingent on an annual lump-sum payment. An average monthly payment seems to be $9.99 per month, with payment levels depending on services chosen. Of course, when you consider these monthly fees, keep in mind that websites designed by website designers go from $5,000 to $40,000.

What do You Want on Your Website?

Most website builders cover the common range of popular website features. Blogs, e-commerce shops, and social media integration, etc. But if you have a particular request, you will want to look into that. Do you need to process credit card payments? Do you want built-in SEO help? Make a list, and then see which website builders can offer what you are looking for. Be ready to forego some things on your list. Remember, you're paying a lower price for a set list of options. And you may need to give up that one option you were hoping for in exchange for affordability.

What Kind of Mobile Responsiveness do You Need?

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What you shouldn't relegate to the backburner is whether the website you create will look good on a mobile device. One estimate states that Americans look at their phones 8 billion times a day. Your site should be mobile responsive. Not all website builders are equal when it comes to responsive design. A few do not allow customization to your site's mobile presence. It predetermines it based on your website settings. In some cases, this is enough, but when your mobile site needs a little more tweaking, you might want to choose a builder that gives you more control.

What are the Options for Exporting?

This is less of a question and more of a point of fact. You will not be able to export your site to have it hosted somewhere else. Why? Because you are building your website on a website builder's proprietary system. For example, say a year down the line you realize that you need some option that isn't handled by your current builder. Outside of Squarespace and Weebly, most website builders have no method for exporting your website so that you can host it elsewhere.

What Kind of Support do They Offer?

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The great thing about website builders is, of course, their low-cost. But that doesn't mean a total loss of customer support. In fact, most online website builders do provide some measure of support by means of forums and tickets. What level of support are you hoping for? Do you prefer over-the-phone help? Or are you fine with submitting tickets or posting questions to a forum? Check out each company's policy for customer support to help you determine what you want.

Online website builders can make your life a whole lot easier. Finding one that is a good fit may take some time. But as you ask questions and research answers, you'll soon have a better idea of what you are looking for in your website and your website builder.

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