As more and more people are getting online, the demand for websites be it personal homepages, blogs or even corporate enterprises is increasing. In order to get a web presence, you have 3 options. The first is to not bother with a website at all and just have a Facebook page or similar. Lots of us do this but it’s a little unprofessional and doesn’t suffice. The second option is to hire someone to build something for you. This is probably the best option, if you’ve got a budget – paying a professional is always a better option but not many people have budget and you don’t want to be dropping a small fortune just to have somewhere to blog or post pictures of your pets or new born baby. That leaves only one real option, you’ll need to do it yourself and if that’s the route you want to go down, there is no better option than a quick and easy website builder!
Choosing A Package
Whilst there are quite frankly an abundance of website builders, both premium and free, one thing that is common is the price points. You’ll go from £0 if you’re looking to produce a quick, small, low traffic website that you’ll keep on a sub domain of the provider right through to professional e-commerce solutions and mobile responsive builds. Some providers such as PrestoWebsite will let you choose a mobile responsive theme for use on all their packages which is fantastic considering that most other providers will charge you a premium if you want anything mobile based. You can expect to pay more if you want to develop a shop or ecommerce solution but if you just want a simple site then the free or starter packages across all providers will suffice. If you want to use your own domain you may have to pay a little extra also but some providers offer free domain names when you sign up for ANY paid package.
Creating Your Website
Once you’re ready to get started with the build itself then you’ll need to choose a design or template to base your build on. Most of the providers out there have literally hundreds to choose from but like with everything the choices you have at your disposal will be defined by your package or plan. The lower the package, the less you’ll have to choose from although some providers such as the one I mentioned above, PrestoWebsite have opened their full portfolio of themes for you to choose from.
The system itself is extremely easy to use. It’s all drag and drop. If you want a text area, you drag the text area element onto your page, choose your fonts and type out your text. It’s that simple. The same goes for images, videos or whatever else you want to add into your website. The choices and elements are endless but don’t overcook it as too many things on your page may end up looking a bit amateur.
Choosing A Domain
Most providers will allow a free sub domain. So if you’re using Wix.com you will be allowed to use youraddress.wix.com for free and will be able to give that as your web address. This is fine for some people but most, especially professionals will want their own domain. Luckily ALL website builders allow you to use your own domain in some way or another and some even offer it for free based on the package you choose. You’re not going to get a free domain with a free package but something you’re paying a few £ a month for will most definitely come with a free TLD domain.
Setting up E-Mail
E-mail configuration is entirely dependent on the provider you choose. If you’re using a free service you will get an account such as email@example.com and if you have your own domain you’ll be able to setup firstname.lastname@example.org easy enough. Some of the providers offer a web based e-mail service where you can login and check your mail or some simply allow a forwarder where you’ll choose an address and have it forward elsewhere. If you’re using your own domain you really want to have your own e-mail address to match.
Ecommerce such as online shops/stores or basic pay to buy elements will only be available on the most premium package. Fortunately almost all providers offer ecommerce options on their high end packages or if nothing else you’ll get the option to add a PayPal checkout button or something similar to at least allow a single payment process.
So all things considered, whatever you need from your website, an online website builder will suffice for your needs. You just need to weigh up if it’s worth it or if it’s worth hiring a professional. The costs might not seen much but when you add them up over a year or ten it can become quite expensive. Consider the options and make use of any free trials before taking out a paid plan. The providers will do all they can to get you to sign up so make sure you actually have a website to publish before you start paying.