Choosing the right builder is a crucial decision in the world of website creation. With numerous options available, such as WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Shopify, and Webflow, it can be overwhelming to determine which one suits your needs. While experts may offer advice, only you deeply understand your goals, target audience, and unique offerings. In this article, we’ll explore the factors you should consider when selecting a website builder and provide guidance to help you make an informed decision.
Identify Your Needs
Before diving into the selection process, you should assess your website’s goals, content, and desired functionality. If you don’t know where to start with that, check out my Website Planner at Website Success Academy. It will walk you through the entire website planning process and guide you through creating your requirements.
Once you have a clear picture of your requirements, you can start researching different builders to determine which one will meet all of your requirements. Consider using a spreadsheet or planner to track your research effectively to aid in this process. If you’re using my Website Planner, it includes a spreadsheet to help with that, or you can create your own.
Factors to Consider
There are several factors to consider when it comes to narrowing down the many choices you have for a website builder. Let’s go over the factors I usually walk clients through when I help them select a builder.
- Hosted or Installed: Determine whether you prefer a hosted builder, where the software is provided and installed on a web server, or an installed builder, which allows you more flexibility in hosting options. Hosted builders include Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and Shopify, while installed builders like WordPress offer more versatility in hosting choices.
- Cost: Consider the pricing models of various builders. Some offer free versions with limitations, while others have monthly, annual, or even lifetime subscription fees. Be sure to account for additional costs like add-ons, customizations, and domain names. Update your cost analysis based on the functionality you require.
- Design: Determine the level of control you desire over your website’s appearance. Builders range from those providing complete customization options to those limited to pre-designed templates. Ensure the templates align with your target audience’s preferences and requirements.
- Ease of Use: Evaluate your comfort level with coding and technical aspects. Some builders require coding knowledge, while others offer a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. Take advantage of free trials or software downloads to test the ease of use firsthand.
- Functionality: Assess the features and functionality offered by each builder. Consider things like e-commerce capabilities, blogging tools, search engine optimization support, and integration with third-party services. What exactly does your website need as far as features and functionality? Prioritize builders that excel in the specific functionality your website requires.
- Scalability: Consider not only your current needs but also future requirements. Choose a builder that allows for easy expansion, enabling you to start small and add features as your website grows. Ensure the platform can handle increased traffic if your website experiences a surge in popularity.
- Performance: Website loading speed is crucial in user experience and search engine optimization (SEO). Verify that the builder you choose prioritizes performance and offers tools to optimize your website’s speed. Keep in mind that some builders allow more performance adjustments than others. This might not be a super obvious thing in the sales pages for the builders, but generally, you will be able to tune the performance for an installed builder and might not be able to do much with hosted builders.
- Exportability: While it may not seem important initially, the ability to export your website becomes crucial if you decide to switch builders in the future. Ensure the builder you select allows for easy migration of content without requiring tedious manual copy-pasting. Imagine copying and pasting dozens of blog posts (or more) into a new builder!
Builders to Evaluate
Now that you know which factors to consider, it’s time to evaluate some builders. There are many choices out there, so where should you begin? I recommend starting with the following:
If e-commerce is an important requirement, you should also check out Shopify.
Choosing the right website builder requires careful consideration of your goals, target audience, and desired functionality. By assessing factors such as hosting options, cost, design flexibility, ease of use, functionality, scalability, performance, and exportability, you can make an informed decision. Remember, experts can offer advice, but ultimately, you possess the knowledge of your unique situation. Leverage research, planning tools, and your understanding of your business to select the builder that best aligns with your specific needs.
If you need help selecting a builder for your website, contact me and my team for a consult.