How to Choose a Website Builder
By Top 10 Staff
The days of splurging the big bucks on hiring website designers are a thing of the past. Most people looking to build a good looking functional portfolio site are looking at finding web builder tools to help them complete the job themselves.
With many programs to choose from, it is not always easy to pick a software package.
There are some features that come with just about every program. Templates to build your website are like the skeleton of your finished product. Don’t worry too much about getting something everyone has seen before, included are easy ways to make the page look unique. Users do not need to be coding wizards, as these types of software tools do almost everything on their own, and what they don’t is self-explanatory.
Do I really need web page templates?
The short answer is yes! Templates to help rookie web designers are a must in web design software. Some packages offer limited templates and some hundreds. Being able to plug in information in a pre-formatted design makes the entire experience much easier. Some templates even have directions written in the code or on the template page to guide the user. Of course, if you’re feeling up to the challenge, as with any software, there is also the option of creating the entire site from scratch if you have a working understanding of CSS or HTML.
Remember that you may need to consider more options if you are updating or remodelling an existing website. The new software has to be able to support all of the objects on the original website, or be willing to change key elements. For example, if there is a flash video on the main page, the software must be able to support flash. If there are photo galleries, that is a must have feature, but it is not included on all web design programs.
One of the most important aspects of any software is the cost. This does vary, sometimes quite dramatically from company to company. Do your research! It shouldn’t take long to narrow down your options to suit your needs and your budget.
If you do not have your own images to use for your design, some software builders come complete with artwork that can be edited and then added to the page. Having unique photos is always better, but to start, using stock photos can work just fine. The photos are professionally taken so they are crisp and clear, it is just a matter of finding appropriate art for the site.
What else can choosing the right web design builder help me with?
With much of the work done for the designer, you have the opportunity to learn as you use the software, taking advantage of the programs knowledge to build up your own skills. Excellent help menus and support make life a lot easier on the user if you have any questions or concerns. There is always some type of help available, but support varies. Design software may include live chat, phone and/or email support. Make sure you choose the right package for you.
Many companies that create web design software offer web hosting as well. You will need to purchase hosting from somewhere, and having your site hosted by the company where the software was purchased can have some advantages.
Every site takes up space, some more than others. If there are a lot of photos, videos or other big files, the price of the hosting may increase. The traffic to the site, the number of visitors can also quickly add up more memory and rates. In short, the bigger the website is, the higher the cost. A number of web design software packages include basic web hosting.
Unless you have a background in coding, there is little need to spend hours building a website from scratch nowadays. Take a look at our comprehensive list above, remember to think about the key features we have mentioned, and take your time choosing the right option for you.
For a quick overview of our favorite web builders, check out this handy feature comparison!