If you want a good website, you have to use a good website builder. There are countless sites that offer stylish templates and custom domains—Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and Jimdo are among the most popular (and the cheapest). But do they have everything you need for your strategic marketing plan? Here’s what to look for when building a website.
Ease of use. Do you have to know how to code to use the site and build your own? That’s no problem if you are hip to the coding game, but if you don’t have someone knowledgeable you’ll find it difficult to get started. Find a site with an HTML editor and simple navigation. The easier you can build your site, the easier people will be able to use it.
Visual appeal. People won’t use your website if it looks like it’s from the early ‘90s. If you have a graphic designer (recommended), you’re in good shape. If not, find a website builder that lets you pick from many polished and responsive themes. Text should be legible, images should be relevant, and the layout should be understandable and navigable.
SEO. Search Engine Optimization is a big deal. When people type search criteria into a search engine, your SEO determines whether or not your site is what they’re looking for. Use a website builder that allows you to name page titles, provide meta descriptions, and have a custom URL.
Design flexibility. HTML editors let you drag and drop content (buttons, text, photos, social tools, apps, and more) where you want. They’re simple and don’t require coding knowledge. CSS, on the other hand, does. Know your abilities and match them to the website builder you choose.
Mobile editor. Some website builders allow you to hide certain content on mobile devices while keeping it visible for desktop displays. This helps streamline your mobile experience and gives you the flexibility to tailor your site.
Blogging. If you want a blog, choose a builder that allows you to integrate one into your site. Otherwise, you can add a link to an outside blog on Tumblr or WordPress. You can also use Facebook and Twitter plugins to keep your social media game fresh.
E-commerce platforms. These are especially handy for online stores. Shopify and Ecwid are two of the most popular platforms. If you are exclusively building a commerce site, check out this store builder comparison chart.
Membership creator. Ever been asked if you want to become a member or sign up for a newsletter? Certain site builders allow you to create this kind of membership login function to gain loyal visitors. You can even create exclusive pages for members.
As few ads as possible. These days, ads are all but inevitable. Some website builders automatically advertise on your pages—the price of a free site. However, if you’re willing to shell out a few extra bucks on a regular basis, you can have a site dedicated solely to your business (or whatever).
To compare the top website builders out there, check out this chart from Website Builder Expert. Choose which of the above attributes you value most, and decide which builder is best for you. As always, keep these tips in mind when designing your website. Happy creating!