When it comes down to it, you’ve ultimately got two real options for creating a site without spending a lot of money or learning how to code. You could either go directly to any of the top website building platforms, or you could choose to pay for a web hosting account and take advantage of your provider’s free, built-in site creation tools.
Which one’s better? That depends on a number of factors, and there are pros and cons for both.
Choosing a website builder
With a website building site like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace or any of the countless others on the market, you can create an account and start building your new site in minutes. A few hours of customising later, and your website is live on the Internet.
The advantage here is that you get only what you pay for, and in most cases can launch a site without handing over a single penny. Sure, services such as Wix place pesky ads on sites created with their free accounts, but if you just want to get something up there and aren’t worried about an ad or two, this might be a good option to go for.
Another advantage here is that they’re so simple to use and designed with absolute novices in mind. Creating the site of your dreams takes no more effort than dragging and dropping things into place then clicking a few things to add your content. Easy, right?
On the downside, you may find that at some point you come up stuck when you decide to change the look of your website or add new features.
Again, going to Wix as one of the best website builders out there, changing your template or design isn’t an option once you’ve launched your site, so you’d better be pretty happy with it right from the start.
Find your site growing rapidly and want to add lots of new content? Maybe you’re thinking about moving to a Content Management System to make that easy for you. As above, this isn’t an option when you use a website building platform. You’ve got the tools they offer to build a site and nothing more.
Choosing hosting with a free website builder
Many of the top hosting companies bundle website creation tools into their packages. Bluehost for example, went all out recently to promote the fact that customers could access the full range of Weebly site builder tools when they signed up for a hosting plan.
The main advantage here is that you have a lot more freedom and flexibility. Decide you want to switch from a site you’ve built yourself to one hosted on WordPress? Go for it. Want to create something offline and then upload it later? Not a problem.
It’s your hosting account, you can do exactly what you like with it, and you’re not tied down to only one option for building your site.
One disadvantage however, is that you may ultimately end up paying for more than you need, especially if you have no intention of ever doing anything beyond using the in-built site creator.
Things also get a little trickier when you have to navigate through all those extra features just to get to your website, though you may find a lot of useful stuff en route. Along with your site builder, you’ll also find helpful things like website analytics, Google advertising credits and even Search Engine Optimisation tools to help you really make the most of your site.
So, which one’s better? That depends. If all you want is to get a great looking website online quickly and easily, without ever doing anything else, you might be best served by heading directly to one of the top online website builders.
If you’d like the freedom to do more with your site by having lots of extra tools at your disposal, building a website with your hosting provider may well prove the best option for you.