Can I Create a Business Website with a Website Builder?
It doesn’t matter what social media experts try to tell you—there isn’t a network out there that entirely replaces a company website. Sites have customization options, features, and analytics that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and others can’t match. That’s not to say you should ditch social media for a website, but the two work best together in harmony for your business.
The website is still a powerful way to engage with your audience in any industry. We use sites to post everything from restaurant menus to testimonials, with limitless options in between. And while anyone with the necessary skills of HTML or WordPress can build his or her site from scratch, business owners heavily rely on builders that cater to the business community.
What is a Website Builder?
A website builder is a middle ground between designing your own site from scratch (which can take many hours) and hiring a professional to build it for you (which can be very costly). These services usually charge a flat rate and use web-based software to put the tools in your hands so virtually anyone can build a company website that looks clean and professional.
While the best website builders leave room for code and other expertise that lets users go beyond the scope of the pre-made templates, you don’t need any particular web skills to build a great looking website. Builders come packed with tutorials and guides that walk you through every step of the way.
What Can I Make With a Website Builder?
Almost any small business website you’ve ever seen was built with some sort of template, even if it’s a professionally built site from WordPress—it still follows a set structure programmed by someone else. But within that structure, you can create a website for virtually any purpose:
- An online retail store where the website builder takes care of all the internal tools for eCommerce (such as checkout, payment, shipping, etc.)
- A creative portfolio showcasing copywriting, graphic design, or video
- A blog or daily publication with tools for SEO, RSS feeds, and email subscriptions
- A simple landing page to neatly display the essential info for your company
Most businesses will fall into one of the above categories, so website builders do an excellent job of catering to those needs. If you sell shirts online, run a small cafe, or are a freelance artist trying to showcase your work, website builders are almost guaranteed to provide everything you need for your site.
Website builders give users the front-end pieces to build beautiful, functional sites, but it’s also what’s going on behind the scenes that can make these services a great value. When you break down the technical building blocks of a website, the value adds up:
- Domain name
- Nameservers (connects domain name with your hosting)
- Hosting service
- WordPress account
- Email server
- SSL and other security
- Merchant account (for eCommerce)
Break it down further and the list keeps getting longer. Building a website from scratch can force you into running errands across different sites and services and leave you assembling the pieces all by yourself. Most website builders house all of this under one roof and even eliminate the need for you ever to know what a nameserver or SSL even is.
How Much Does It Cost?
A website builder is marginally more expensive than paying for hosting and uploading your own WordPress, but given the hours you save using a builder—it’s a steal. The bigger your website and the more traffic you anticipate, the more it will cost, but most website builders can get you started for less than $20 per month (a single landing page is often less than $10). Some of those offers even include a free custom domain.
Is a Website Builder Right for Me And My Business?
Does your business fall into one of the four categories listed? Then a website builder is most definitely for you. Even if your company is a little more unusual, your site will probably function similarly to one of those four listed.
But if the necessities of your business website are out there, such as running a web-based software platform directly on your site, then a website builder might not have what you need. It’s an excellent tool for startups and even dives into advanced settings, but it’s still a platform for DIY’ers who want to take on the company website all on their own.