Ideal for beginners: website builders
These website builders are basically small content management systems (CMS). Unlike their big brothers Drupal and Joomla, users are completely spared from the technical side of things. You can set up a website and start tweaking the design and adding content within minutes.
This video shows you how to create a website using a website builder:
This video is using the website builders of Jimdo and Weebly but there are also plenty of other providers too.
What are the pros and cons of these web-based website builders?
Advantages of website builders
- You get everything from one provider: the hosting, domain, and editor to create your website. Some providers also include an email account.
- This is the only option that requires no technical knowledge at all - not even for the initial set up. It really is as simple as setting up a Facebook profile.
- Prices are quite reasonable at between $7 and $15, which usually includes the domain.
- You can also make use of third-party applications to add booking forms, PayPal buttons or forums to your website.
- Unlike traditional content management systems, your provider takes care of all security updates.
- You don’t need to worry that your server might crash if you score a link from a well-known website and experience a spike in visitors as a result.
- Providers of website builders offer plenty of support and help if you find yourself stuck on an issue. This is a very big advantage for beginners.
- Most providers automatically generate a mobile-optimized version of your website.
- Less flexible: it is not possible to do everyting with a website builder. If you have a very specific requirement for your website, you should first check with your provider of choice that it is technically possible.
- Suitability for large websites: it is relatively easy to create small and medium-sized web projects. But if you are planning a sophisticated online store or a membership-based community, for example, a website builder is generally not the best option.
- Reliance on one provider: You are generally bound to one website builder. It is not easy to switch providers as you usually have to create your website from scratch.
Which providers do you recommend?
Jimdo is a very popular website builder. Paid plans start from $7.50, and includes a domain (e.g. yourwebsite.com) and an email account. Jimdo also offers a completely free plan which is financed by advertising. Jimdo’s Business Plan includes an online store.
Weebly is very similar to Jimdo and also features a free plan that you can upgrade if you need more features or premium support.
For users with more demanding requirements, there are other providers such as Squarespace.com. This provider is known for its sophisticated blog feature. The New Yorker website builder also has good search-engine optimization and business features such as membership management. The tool is priced at $8 or $16.
WebsiteToolTester.com has carried out detailed reviews of all the website builders mentioned here, as well as some other providers.
Next: Learn about the content and structure of websites