What is a website builder?
Website builders are all-in-one, comprehensive tools that allow users to build a site quickly without having any previous coding or design skills. A good website builder will help you create a professional-looking website using customized templates, and offer a variety of useful features, including mobile optimization, SEO and e-commerce tools, as well as necessary functions to keep your website running smoothly and securely.
Who should look into using a website builder?
Anyone who needs to build a website can benefit from a website builder, and it is very good for individuals who:
• Do not have the necessary coding skills to build a website from scratch
• Need their website to be launched quickly
• Do not have a large budget to spend on website creation
• Are intimidated by having to create a website on their own
• Want the comfort in knowing a platform is responsible for their website’s updates, backup, and safety
What features should I look for when comparing website builders?
The features that are most important to you will depend on what type of website you’re building, but some key elements of a quality website builder generally include the following:
• Easy design tools and process
• Lots of customizable templates
• Optimization for mobile devices
• E-commerce options (e.g., shopping cart apps, payment options, etc.)
• SEO tools
• 24×7 customer support
Does the website builder I choose impact my SEO ranking?
Your Google ranking is primarily dependent upon the type of content published on your website as well as the backlinks you get from other websites. That being said, yes, the website builder platform you select can impact your SEO ranking. A majority of website builders will provide the necessary tools you need in order to optimize your webpages, including:
• editing title tags, alt image attributes, and meta descriptions
• Google-friendly URLs (mysite.com/news vs mysite.com/793765)
• Automated sitemaps (HTML and XML)
• Conversion and keyword density tools
However, it is important to keep this in mind – if you choose a free option, most likely, your URL will include the name of that website builder, which will impact your Google ranking. If you upgrade to a paid plan, you can usually use your own custom domain, increasing the probability of reaching page 1 in Google SERPs.
Should I buy a domain name through my website builder?
There are two primary schools of thought when it comes to purchasing a domain name via your website builder:
School of thought #1: Buying a domain name from the website builder makes the website building process much simpler as your name and website will be connected in a few short clicks. However, you need to keep in mind that while most plans offer a domain name free for the first year, you WILL have to pay for it once the year is over, and sometimes costs even more than if you register your domain name separately. This leads us to…
School of thought #2: No matter how tempting it might be, do not go with buying a domain name from the website builder. You will have to pay no matter what, and, as mentioned before, you will end up paying more at the end of the day if you go through your website builder versus a separate website. While the process of buying and then adding your domain to your website might be a bit more difficult at first, you will save money. Plus, if you choose to switch website builder platforms, it will be a lot easier to take your domain name with you.
Should I pay for a website builder?
Many website builders offer a free option, and it is a good idea if this is your first website and you want to “try before you buy” a paid version. They are also good if you have limited resources and budget. However, the free version is often not as feature-rich as the paid versions and often times your website will be full of pesky ads from that website builder. While paying for your website builder is an investment, you will have a great ROI as you receive access to more tools as well as additional bandwidth and storage.