Website builders provide users without extensive development knowledge a basic platform for creating websites by utilizing templates with drag-and-drop capabilities to easily create and maintain a site. They often provide domain name offerings, search engine optimization, analytics, e-commerce plugins, and mobile web functionality. Website builders are used by businesses of all sizes and can range from promotional outlets for artists or personal websites to advanced e-commerce stores. Website builders are used in conjunction with hosting services to make the website accessible to others. Additionally, they can work side-by-side with solutions that provide video embedding, marketing and social media tools, web design, and content management tools to add depth and functionality to your website.
To qualify for inclusion in the Website Builder category, a product must:
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With a website builder, you can:
Website building software exists to get everyone on the grid. Small-business owners, photographers, and hopeful bloggers can use these tools to publish their content on the web with little to no help from a site designer. The platform usually offers hosting services and the option to purchase a domain name, making individuals and businesses look as official as they come.
A quality website builder works with you to make your website as authentically “you” as possible. It offers themes that appeal to your readership and align with your brand. For example, a blogger will want a template that optimizes and breaks up text for readers to digest easily, while a retail establishment will want the capacity to organize photos of apparel. Customization is key, as no two websites want to be exactly alike. A website builder will often allow users to change up pages with drag-and-drop features, or arrange the layout in a unique fashion.
Once the site has been created, it is imperative it has viewers—especially if an administrator hopes to use this website to increase or generate revenue. Website builders will often offer marketing tools that can help the site be more easily searchable. Additionally, it can offer readers and viewers the option to sign up for mailing lists or fill out surveys. This helps administrators build up their contact books, increasing their reach and potential customer base.
A retail website cannot function without e-commerce. Website builders can often provide features that turn a domain into a full-fledged online business. This can be done by integrating the site with payment gateways such as Paypal, WooCommerce, or Square. Some of these e-commerce systems can integrate with in-store point of sale products, helping store owners and management balance the various market sales in one place.
Website builders are a great place for people to go when they want their product or content open to the public, but aren’t sure how to develop a site from the ground up. The functions are ideally intuitive and can be figured out by even the most novice of users. However, it should be understood that website builders aren’t inherently collaborative environments. While running a website, an administrator might want to send a newsletter or homepage description over to a colleague for edits or suggestions. This function would be more easily accomplished by a content management system or file storage and sharing tool.
An important aspect of operating a website is having a safe space for content to live and breathe. While website builders are a great place to make content go live, it may not be the best method of storing, editing, or sharing web content. A blogger might want to also store content within a content management tool, whereas a photographer could want to connect their website to a digital asset management tool.
Website builder software can help administrators get into contact with their readership via pop-up contact forms, questionnaires, or subscriber lists. This aids site managers in forming relationships with their audiences. Although these site builders can integrate with email and newsletter software such as MailChimp, it won’t help track a customer from point of interest to final sale. For site administrators working with a sales team, a CRM tool might be additionally useful.
Website builders are great, simple tools that make a variety of businesses and individuals accessible via the world wide web. They open up a world of opportunity for fashion bloggers, shoe stores, and wedding photographers alike who might otherwise struggle to set up a digital presence.
Through website building software, almost anyone can reasonably afford and create their own domain. The following are ways a business could benefit from this specific type of software.
Website builders offer features that help guide administrators through the steps of site development. By providing a variety of themes that can be customized to fit a specific style, business owners have virtually no need for knowledge on building a site from the ground up. Drag-and-drop features mean homepages and tabs can be customized without literacy in HTML. Although a knowledge in HTML is a definite plus—some website builders will allow administrators to use HTML to further customize the site—it’s not a dealbreaker for those just starting out.
Additionally, website builders host the domains and typically come with support teams to ensure everything is working properly. If ever a site is down due to too much traffic or an unknown bug, support teams are in charge of addressing the issue and repairing it in a timely manner. This helps each site visitor have a positive experience that makes them want to return. Each website builder will have different levels of support, a factor worth researching in G2 Crowd user reviews or on the Website Builder Satisfaction Report.
Website builders will also sometimes come with resources for administrators and site builders to perform self-service. Knowledge bases and articles are great ways for site creators to solve problems while learning, as opposed to depending constantly on a support team. By reading through user forums or FAQs, site administrators can develop an understanding of how to maintain their website. This gives an administrator greater independence from support services, and allows them to dictate how quickly issues are resolved.
Websites succeed because they have visitors who feel like returning to that site is a valuable use of time. One way website builders affect this is by providing opportunities for site visitors to connect with administrators. Many builders give site creators the choice of collecting contact information through question submission forms or subscriber pop-ups. By integrating a website builder with email software—or finding a website builder that offers email capabilities—site administrators connect with potential customers with little to to no effort. This information can be applied to future email newsletters or promotional deals, or simply be used to bring visitors back to the site.
Visitors enjoy being a part of the conversation. Website builders that allow for forums or other discussion boards help site administrators include visitors on topics. Whether it’s reviewing a piece of apparel or commenting on a thought-provoking blog post, visitors who feel heard are likely to remain loyal to a brand or publication.
Almost anyone visiting a website nowadays has some sort of social media presence. When a website builder integrates with social media channels, it helps to ensure visitors are reminded of brands via the channels they already surf. Site builders can help automate posts that are distributed to each channel so as to reach users on their preferred application. They can also include social media icons on the site’s homepage or elsewhere to encourage additional followers or support.
Some of the other business problems solved with Website Builder Software include:
Website builders are especially helpful for small businesses, which typically have fewer expendable resources than their larger competitors. With a website builder, small-business owners can manufacture their web presence themselves as opposed to contracting a developer to do it for them. This saves money at the time of initial setup, as well as later on when site administrators might want to redesign or otherwise edit.
Small businesses also have limited marketing budgets and rely more on person-to-person communication to build customer relationships. Website builders are helpful in this regard because they can create bridges between digital audiences and small business owners. Through contact forms, surveys, and questionnaires, website builders are able to gather consumer information that can be used for newsletters or informing the public of future specials or savings.
Additionally, website builders can integrate with social media tools for simple social sharing. This helps align a small business's brand across multiple channels, and ensures every follower is receiving the same promotions or business information. While some businesses will still want to hire a social media manager who understands the logistics, others may decide this integration deems the role unnecessary in their business space.
It’s important for a small business to determine how much traffic its site receives so it can decide where to focus future energy. Website builders often come with features that provide insight into analytics such as visitor traffic, time on page, entrance into site, and popular content. This helps administrators evaluate things such as site visuals and content to determine what needs improvement.
Small businesses cannot survive without revenue. Luckily, website builders often offer integrations with e-commerce tools that allow websites to become online stores. This opens up a small business’s consumer base tenfold, taking it from a couple of store locations to nationwide or even international. Additionally, consumers who know they can buy or browse online might develop the opinion that a store is more accessible. This might increase their chances of returning later to peruse the new season’s products.
Small business owners have a lot to gain from website builder software, as it opens them up to a world of simplified communication with the customers they already aim to satisfy.