If you want to succeed in the modern world, you need to have a website — whether that’s for your business, your blog or your professional portfolio. Thankfully, there are many free or inexpensive web builders available to help you make your website a reality.
For most entrepreneurs and aspiring bloggers, the question then becomes: What’s the best all-around website builder? Which platform is the most cost-efficient, offering the best and greatest number of features for the lowest possible cost? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is: there’s no such thing as a singular “best” website builder. Instead, each platform has distinct advantages and disadvantages, which make them better in some cases and worse in others.
But why is this the case, and if there is no objective “best,” how can you choose which website builder to use?
Specialization vs. Generalization
The main problem here is one of specialization vs. generalization. Some of the best website builders available are ones that generalize, attempting to offer the most well-rounded set of features for the widest potential range of customers. These are platforms like WordPress, which have risen to prominence, in part, because of how approachable they are for people who aren’t sure what they need in a website.
This is perfectly fine, and if you don’t have any special requirements or needs, these types of platforms will serve you well. However, for specific functions, they will always be out-competed by platforms that specialize in one particular area. For example, there are website builders designed for people who want to sell things online, and they outperform many of their competitors in that specific area. The more you learn about website builders, the more you’ll come to understand and recognize how many subtypes there are.
Specialist platforms will always be out-competed in some areas by generalist platforms, and generalist platforms will always be out-competed in some areas by specialist platforms. Depending on your needs, one of these areas will likely be more important than the others — but for you alone. There can’t be a best platform for everybody, because every individual building a website will be working with different criteria.
Practical Tips for Choosing the Best Website Builder for Your Small Business
So how should you go about making your decision?
- Area of specialty. First and foremost, you need to consider what your most important needs are. Are you going to focus exclusively on selling things online? Or is your main goal to produce the best content you can and build a readership that attracts advertisers? There are many worthwhile goals here, and there’s at least one platform that caters to each subset of goals. Use these platforms to initially narrow your search; though you may want to compare your specialist platforms to generalist ones to gain a better understanding of the overall environment.
- Usability. You’ll also need a platform that offers usability that matches your skill set. For example, if you don’t know anything about websites and have never built one before, you’ll want a platform that caters to newcomers, with intuitive controls, and preferable, a WYSIWYG editor. If you’re more technically minded, or if you have developers on staff, you might want to go with a platform that allows for more in-depth coding and customization.
- Adaptability. You might need a platform that offers some specific points of integration, or allows for customizable plugins that cater to different needs. If you anticipate your web needs changing in the future, an adaptable platform is a must.
- Cost. Obviously, you’ll also need to consider the cost of the platform. If you’re bootstrapping, and investing as little as possible into your new venture, you’ll want a platform with only the minimum features. Not all premium features are worth the cost to upgrade, so pay attention to each pricing structure and decide what’s best for you, specifically.
- Support. Finally, reach out to some representatives from each of your final candidate platforms. How easy is it to get a hold of them? Are they helpful and easy to understand? Do they seem to want your business? The level of support you receive should speak volumes about the type of company you’re dealing with, and may help guide your decision.
You can create almost any type of website you can imagine using a website builder. The question is, which platform is best to use in doing it? Unfortunately, there’s no single platform that can offer you ultimate flexibility or ultimate efficiency, but if you’re willing to put in the effort to research and evaluate your options, eventually, a clear “best fit” will arise.