Our Website Builder Buyer's Guide
How can you create a professional website that will increase business without spending a lot of time or money? The answer is to use a website builder service. Most of these services offer bundled packages that include hosting and website creation tools for one annual or monthly fee. Website builders make it easy for anyone to create and manage their own website by handling HTML formatting and template design for you. They give you all of the tools you need to build and customize your website easily and inexpensively.
How to Choose a Website Builder
Our inclusive comparison grid and website builder reviews will help you determine the website builder service for your needs. Here are four simple steps you should take to ensure you find a service that fits your business needs:
1. Analyze Your Website Needs
Determine if you want to buy a monthly based pricing plan or an annually based pricing plan. Most vendors offer both annually and monthly based plans. It’s up to you to determine which plan is right for you.
- Annually based pricing plans give cheaper per month rates and our site is geared to show you those savings. For example, Moonfruit’s annual pricing comes out to $4.50 per month while their monthly pricing comes out to $6 per month. This represents a savings of 16%.
- Monthly based pricing plans do not require the same long term commitment or upfront payment of an annual plan. While Moonfruit’s annual plan is effectively a dollar cheaper per month, they require you to pay for a full year, $60, all at once to access this savings. Certain users may be on a monthly budget and prefer to pay $6 periodically every month rather than an entire $60 all at once. Furthermore, monthly pricing is highly preferable if you do not need your site to be live for an entire year. For example, a website advertising an upcoming event such as a housewarming party or barbecue would only need to be hosted until the day of the event.
Determine where to buy your domain name. Securing your own domain name, usually the title of your site that goes in between www and .com as in “www.yoursite.com,” is one of the first steps you take to present a professional looking site. Almost all website builder vendors reviewed on ChooseWhat can provide you with a domain name and all of them will allow you to use a domain name bought from another service.
- Purchasing a domain name from your website builder vendor saves you time. Certain vendors include a yearly domain name registration in your base fee while others will sell you one for an additional fee. When purchased from your website builder service, you will register the domain name at the same time you sign up for your builder thus reducing the steps it takes to set up your site. This is the best option for someone without a previously registered domain name who wants to get their site online fast.
- Purchasing a domain name from a separate service can save you money. Many users will have already purchased their domain name from a service such as GoDaddy in anticipation of one day building a site for their business and will not need a website builder that provides them with a domain name. The super cost conscious user may also want to mix and match his website builder service with a domain registration from another service that provides registration for less. This will take a bit more steps to arrange as you will have to contact both services about having your domain name connect to your new website. Click here for more information on registering a domain name.
Determine how much hosting space your website will require. Plans reviewed on ChooseWhat offer anything from 25 MBs of hosting space to an unlimited amount of space. If you’re planning for your site to be primarily informational and text heavy, then a large amount of hosting space may not be a requirement for you. But, if you plan on creating a media heavy website with photos, video, music, etc., then purchasing an ample amount such as 5 GB will help ensure that you will be able to post all of the aforementioned content.
2. Compare Website Builders
Our website builder comparison chart gives a side-by-side assessment of the top services on important features such as price per month, whether a domain name registration is included with your monthly fee, the amount of hosting space provided and more. Additionally the chart shows composite star ratings for overall Customer Support and Ease of Use. If you click on a provider’s name, you will be taken to a review summaries page that presents an expanded features table as well as a list of pros and cons we found with the service and a short conclusion describing our evaluation of the service.
3. Read Website Builder Reviews
From the review summaries page, you may select to read an expanded review of the service by clicking on a provider’s name or selecting read full review. In addition to all the information provided on the review summaries page, the expanded review gives full paragraph explanations on each provider’s Ease of Use, Customer Support, Account Features, Pricing, and whether they provide any additional Upgrades so that you can more easily compare and select the best plan. As an example, click here to see Yola’s expanded review.
4. Sign Up for a Website Builder or Free Trial
After you’re done reading through our reviews, click the sign up now button for the website builder that best fits your needs to be taken to their site. You’ll be asked to enter your credit card information, an email address, a new user name, a new password, and if you’ve previously purchased a domain name you’ll need to provide them with that at this time as well. Many plans also offer a free trial so you can test out their service before you pay anything and those don’t even require your credit card information. Furthermore, some website builders like Moonfruit, Weebly,and Wix require you to sign up for a limited free account before you can upgrade to the plans reviewed on ChooseWhat. These free accounts are hosted on subdomains of the parent company’s domain (e.g. “www.yoursite.moonfruit.com”) and lack the full amount of features offered with their paid plans. These free accounts can be upgraded at any time to receive full service. If you become unhappy with a particular service, you can go back to our comparison chart and find a better option.