You need a website, but you do not want to learn how to code. And really, you’d prefer not to have to pay someone else, or spend weeks of hard work to create it.
In another time, your desires would have been completely unrealistic. But we are living in the now, and your average joe (or jolene) can now create a website relatively quickly, easily, and affordably.
To help you make an informed decision, we’ll cover what each option is, the main pros and cons, and who it works best for. By the end of the article, you should have a pretty good idea of how best to move forward with creating your website.
What is a Website Builder?
Website builders are software tools designed to help people create websites without having to use code. Website builders will provide you a basic web design to start from, either in the form of website templates you can choose from, or by automating the process of building a basic design based on information you provide (that’s what the Gator website builder does). Then they’ll offer an intuitive website editor that you can use to make your website your own from there.
4 Pros of Choosing a Website Builder
Here are four great things about using a website builder to create your website.
1. It’s easy.
For most people that choose a website builder, this is at the top of the list of benefits. You’re busy. If you want an option that doesn’t require much of a learning curve, that you can probably figure out how to use the first day you start trying, most website builders deliver that.
If easy’s your top priority, make sure you focus on website builders that are designed for beginners (many are), and check out some information on how they work to ensure it looks intuitive enough for you.
2. It’s fast.
A good website builder will ensure you’re starting with the basic design already in place, which cuts the amount of time it takes to create a website down considerably. If your website needs are fairly simple, you may even be able to get your website done within a matter of hours, rather than days.
A lot of people wanting to build a new website would really prefer that it be done yesterday. A website builder isn’t a time machine, so it can’t quite deliver that. But it can come pretty close.
3. It’s an affordable website option.
In so many areas of life, choosing the easy, fast option means forking over a lot more $$$ in exchange for the added convenience. You’ll be happy to learn, this is not one of them.
Most website builders cost in the range of $5-$20 a month, and sometimes that cost even includes necessary extras like website hosting. Choosing the easy option here doesn’t have to blow your budget.
4. Your site will look professional.
Ok, but can something really be easy, cheap, and still look professional enough for a business website? In this case, yes! Website builders incorporate known website best practices into the designs they provide, meaning you get the benefits of a professional designer’s expertise without having to hire one.
Unless you make some pretty wild changes to it during the customization process, the end result will make you look good.
3 Cons of Using a Website Builder
Website builders do come with some disadvantages. Here they are.
1. There are customization limits.
The tradeoff for all that ease of use is that website builders make you work within some basic limitations. For many websites, those limitations won’t be a problem. But if you have a really specific vision of what you want your website to look like or do, you may be frustrated with what you can’t do with a website builder.
2. You’re stuck with who you chose.
The website you build with a particular website builder will typically be tied to that product. If you decide in a year or five that you want to switch providers, you’ll have to start over with the new one.
3. Your site may look similar to others.
If you’re working from the same basic template or structure as other small businesses, then it makes sense that your website could end up looking similar to theirs. If other websites offering similar products or services resemble yours, it could be confusing for visitors and hurt your branding.
Who Should Go With a Website Builder?
Website builders often make sense for small businesses or people building personal websites. They’re a good choice for anyone with simple needs, who wants to get their website up fast without breaking the budget.
What Is WordPress?
WordPress is a popular content management system that powers a notable majority of the websites on the internet (when we say popular, we mean popular). It’s an open source tool you can use to create and manage websites, without needing to work with the source code. A lot of website functionality within WordPress comes from the use of plugins, and you can edit individual pages and posts using the Gutenberg editor.
4 Pros of WordPress
Here are four main reasons why people choose WordPress to build their website.
1. It’s free.
WordPress is free to use and get started with. Some website owners will end up spending money on extras like premium themes and plugins to get their website looking how they want, but it’s possible to use WordPress for free.
2. It’s powerful.
With the help of plugins, WordPress provides you the power to do just about anything you’d want with your website. You have way fewer limitations than with a website builder.
3. You get lots of themes and plugins.
4. You’ll have loads of resources to lean on.
That popularity is also why it’s easy to find lots of information on how to use WordPress. There are whole blogs devoted to nothing but WordPress information, along with tutorials, courses, you name it— a lot of it free (and plenty of it on this very website).
3 Cons of WordPress
Here are some of the drawbacks of using WordPress.
1. It’s harder to learn.
Website builders are designed to make it easy for beginners to start using them right away. WordPress is a little more complicated. Don’t get us wrong—it’s a lot easier than learning how to build a website through coding, but it still has a learning curve. And the more complex your desires for your website are, the more work it will take to make it happen.
2. Add-ons can add up.
It’s possible to create a website entirely for free with WordPress, but a lot of people will end up spending money on a premium theme and multiple plugins to get the website to do what they want. Or you may even end up needing to hire someone to get things working just how you like. At the end of the day, you could end up paying more than you would have with a website builder.
3. Updates can be a necessary evil.
Ok, this one’s part benefit, part downside. WordPress regularly releases updates to keep the CMS more secure and implement improvements. But those updates can sometimes cause compatibility issues with plugins and require a whole new learning curve for users. That can add up to more work and trouble than you may want to deal with if you prefer something simple.
Who is WordPress Best For?
WordPress is a good choice for anyone willing to do some extra work in exchange for more options. That can include small businesses and individuals on up to some of the biggest brands and media sites in the world.
If you don’t want to feel constrained by the limitations that come with a website builder, but still want something you can figure out on your own without learning to code, WordPress makes sense.
Whichever option you decide works for you, the sooner you get started the sooner your website will be up and ready. Don’t let concerns about coding slow you down. Just pick a website builder or go with WordPress, and you can put together a great looking website with the skills you already have.
Casey is the Senior Director of Marketing for Hosting and has been in the web hosting space for 7 years. He loves the slopes and hanging out with his kids.