After launching the Ask for Advice form, I started receiving many emails (thank you guys, for all of your letters). I’m often asked about how to choose the right website builder or whether it’s better to hire an agency instead of building a site yourself, and many other questions.
In this article, I offer answers to the four questions I’m asked most often. Hope they’ll shed some light on that.
Should I hire a professional or build it myself?
Certain types of websites require professional expertise, and quite often – ongoing support. We’re talking about dating websites and other types of online communities, complex websites with sophisticated functionality, huge international webstores you name it. While these sites require hours of thorough planning, coding and testing, others can be set up overnight.
Simple online portfolios, five-page corporate websites, handmade e-shops and blogs are easier to create and maintain, and website builders can be just the right option to build them. Site builders are fast, cheap, intuitive and what’s more important – give you more control over your site. We’ve already discussed the pros and cons of site builders vs custom design here.
How to choose the right site builder?
Choosing a CMS/website builder is a crucial step. Your website’s overall performance will be directly tied with the chosen platform. Therefore, you should never skip the homework phase of researching the market for the optimal web service. My advice on choosing the right site builder are as follows:
- Know your needs. Before making any decisions, you should know what exactly you’re going to build.
- Explore feature sets of different site builders. Most platforms are either free or offer free trials. Take your time to see which platform suits your needs best.
- Read user testimonials, official forums etc to see the most common issues associated with the chosen site builder.
- Never sign up for a site builder just because your favorite blogger or friend uses it. Just because your friend is satisfied with it, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enjoy it, too. Look for what meets YOUR needs.
Are there any completely free website builders?
Technically, they exist. You can set up a free website with most site builders. However, you’ll face many limitations: you’ll have to use a subdomain, display an advert on your site (from a tiny link in the footer to a pretty noticeable banner in the header) and so on. You should take free plans as free trials which let you explore the system without financial risks.
To build a decent website with a custom domain, no ads and enough functionality you’ll HAVE TO PAY anyway. You’ll have to invest into your web presence, if you take it seriously.
Which is your favorite site builder?
When someone hires me to build a website, I set it up using uCoz. It isn’t as easy and fun as Wix, but it provides full control over the site’s design and functionality. uCoz is one of the rare site builders that open up the codes.
P. S.: There’s one more quite frequent question – ‘can you recommend a website builder like Wix?’. I think it deserves a separate article. So, my next post will be about Wix alternatives.