How to Choose the Best Website Builder
Whatever line of business you are in, establishing a user-friendly website to highlight your store or services is crucial to your success. Research shows that at least 90% of consumer activity begins online and with many searches being conducted through smartphones mobile compatibility is fast becoming a priority. Bespoke website design from a freelancer can cost up to around $13,000 and is simply not a practical option for the majority of sole traders or small businesses. However, there are several affordable or free website builder packages that could provide your business with the perfect solution.
Do-it-yourself website builders use a simple drag and drop format that only requires the most basic computer skills. These are commonly free to use and offer a good entry point for start up businesses. Many will include photograph editing and simplified shopping carts with a limited space for stock. Some website builders include a range of apps you can add over time for further customization as your business grows. There are usually packages you can upgrade to that include a monthly fee. An alternative is an Artificial Design Intelligence package offering an automated bespoke service that creates a stylized website based on your responses to an online questionnaire. 24/7 customer support is usually available from all website builders.
Choosing a Template
Website builders usually start with an extensive choice of templates. They'll cover a diverse range of themes such as accountancy services, travel or vehicle repairs. You'll usually find a choice of colors and customizable settings to help you create a unique identity for your business. It is important to spend time on your choice of template as it is often the first part of your website that your customers will see. It needs to make a memorable impact and convey an instant image of what your business is about. Choose an appropriate theme that includes only what you need. For instance, a shopping cart may be unnecessary. Generally, the more direct your opening message is, the longer potential customers will remain on your website
Alternative Design Services
There are some website design packages that offer varying levels of a bespoke design service known as DIFM or Do It For Me. You'll have the services of an in-house website designer who will create a customized site based on your instructions. Other benefits include varying levels of website maintenance for each month and a certain amount of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that helps potential customers find your business website during online searches. DIFM websites can be more expensive but many small businesses often view them as a cost-effective investment. A streamlined, efficient website can be a powerful weapon to have in your armory when faced with fierce competition from local business rivals.
Using Website Builders for e-Commerce sites
Retail is proving to be particularly suitable for online transactions with the number of e-commerce websites continuing to grow at a rapid rate. Even when making purchases from a local store, up to 81% of consumers check online first for stock availability before making a visit. And retail businesses that decide to include an e-commerce store find their turnover increases by an average of 45%. With an e-commerce site there is a dedicated check out cart and facilities for displaying stock to its best advantage through easy to use photo editing tools. A tiered payment structure offers varying levels of service with facilities such a delivery tracking, order management system and a live online chat to help you provide improved customer services.
Choosing a Free or Paid Website
If you only need a straightforward website to explain your services a free version could prove adequate. However, the website provider generally places adverts on your pages to balance the cost of the free service. You don't usually have your own domain and appear on your web address as an addition to the provider's name. You are also responsible for maintaining your website. When searching for a free website builder remember to check if it is free indefinitely as many that are advertized as free can often turn out to be only a month's free trial. Paid websites usually offer tiered payment plans with additional services at each level. For instance, the lowest priced service might include hosting, customizable templates and customer services. A higher tier could include additions such as limited SEO and your own domain name. Premium packages often include unlimited stock storage, hosting, domain name, SEO services and monthly maintenance. A good strategy is to begin with a free website that allows you to upgrade to superior packages of services when you and your business are ready to do so.
The Benefits of SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to the use of keywords and meta descriptions that help a website to reach a wider audience by improving its ranking with search engines such as Google or Bing. Less expensive website building packages frequently don't include any provision for SEO but some provide the flexibility of adding apps at a later stage that can be integrated into your site. Acquiring a first page listing is an important part of building a successful business. An estimated 95% of searches never go beyond the first page of the rankings. It can take a great deal of time and energy to carry out an effective SEO strategy but choosing a website builder package that includes it can help your business reach its targets at a faster rate.
Combined Hosting and Domain Packages
Every website needs its own domain name to create a unique identity and hosting which refers to the space where your site is stored and published. Some website builders such as Weebly.com, Wix.com and Hibu.com provide convenient all in one packages that include both domain and hosting to save you time and effort.