Choosing which website builder technology and service to use to create your Internet presence is a difficult task. There are literally hundreds of options, some are free, some cost you, some pretend to be free but as soon as you want to do something slightly different you need to pay. Others are free as long as their name and branding appears on your website.
Below are 10 things to look for in your hosted website builder.
1. What exactly is the deal?
Your first step to find out about your website builder service is how much it is going to cost you. This can be difficult to determine because of the various different options. Some pricing is done based on the services you activate and in addition the amount of pages or images or menus you have. Does the cost include hosting of the site or is this an additional cost?
Determine what you need and work out how much it will cost for all of the options and different website builders you are looking at.
2. How easy is it to get human support?
As with any new software or service that you choose to use, it is in many cases very difficult to understand how to create and build a site using your chosen website builder. Often one just needs someone to point out a few things and then every thing clicks into place. Be sure to find out if this is possible with the website builder software you have chosen.
Can you contact someone for support by telephone or email? Do they have interactive chat on their website? Does the service appear professional and are the people willing to go the extra mile and help?
3. Can the website be built for me?
Let's face it, you are a busy person and sometimes not the best person to be sitting for hours trying to get your website built. Can it be done for me at a reasonable cost and have all the features I need to run a professional website?
As a business person I would rather spend time building my business than hassling to try and use a website builder to create my site. It can be done a lot better and faster by outsourcing it.
Ensure that if you hit snags and cannot carry on the website builder software company will be able to (for a fee) create your site.
4. Can the website builder software grow with me as my business grows?
Is the website builder software appropriate for my business? Obviously if I am just starting the business and want a simple site some of the very, very basic website builders provide me with the basics I need right now. But, everyone intends to grow their business, ensure the software can grow with you.
5. What else does the software offer apart from building a website?
Website building is one thing, but your website is an ongoing affair your business is having with the Internet. You need to be able to not just publish a website to the Internet but also to actively engage with your existing and potential customers.
Does the website builder you choose have:
- Unlimited forms
- Integrated maps of all your offices and branches with the ability to get directions
- The ability to easily set up your technical SEO titles and tags
- Have an unlimited number of articles which can be managed in one location and used on many different pages, as well as in your email campaigns
- Allows you to easily add or change content, re-arrange menus
- Allows you to embed youtube videos
- Enables the easy upload of images and allows you to build an image gallery in seconds
- Allows you to send and manage email and mobile marketing automation campaigns from the website
- Has integrated newsletter subscription
- Enables you to transition to full ecommerce integrated into leading cloud and other accounting products
6. Is it hosted for me?
Does the website builder enable you to have the site hosted WITHOUT any advertising on their servers? Do you have to publish the site and then find a hosting company to host it for you, thereby making it difficult to change the site content easily.
7. Does it have the capability to integrate technical SEO (search engine optimisation)?
It is important that your website builder allows you to set certain properties for SEO, but to us it is even more important that the website builder does the technical SEO automatically.
So you will notice if you look at the page code of this blog that:
- We use html 5 code
- We use H1 and H2 tags
- The URL of this site includes the name of the article
- The site is responsive i.e. adapts depending on the screen size
These are all things that are important to Google when determining how to rank your page.
Website builder technology should make this as easy as possible.
Where things cannot be done automatically like setting page titles and page description the website builder must make this easy to do.
8. Can I extend the site to include e-commerce that is integrated into my accounting software?
If your company sells products, whether they be physical or virtual, then at some point you will want to sell products online. Ideally you want one fully integrated website builder solution which enables you to integrate products form your accounting software, merchandise them for online display, and then allow customers to purchase online.
9. Is the site responsive and does it work well on all types of devices?
More and more people access the Internet via a mobile device, either a smart phone or a tablet. Often, especially in Africa, this is the only connected device available to the person. It is absolutely essential that the website builder you use allows you to create one site which will automatically display your site correctly sized for the device it is being run on. This is called responsiveness.
10. Is the software being worked on and expanded, with additional features being added on an ongoing basis?
In many cases where free site building software is offered this software is pretty static and not being developed and expanded. Make sure the website builder software you choose is being actively developed and changing to meet the needs of our changing environment.