Having a digital presence is pretty much an unavoidable fact of life today for almost all businesses. After all, there are so many benefits of having one that they far outweigh the cost. In fact, if you look at the lowest end of the spectrum, do-it-yourself (DIY) websites can cost next to nothing except what you pay for hosting.
Unfortunately, the DIY concept can also be a little intimidating, especially for those who have no technical background at all, or perhaps little experience. This article aims to run you through some of the things you can look forward to as well as what can be expected when using a website builder.
This way, you can have a rough idea of what to expect in order not to get a culture shock, or feel lost when you decide to dive right in.
Why Use a Website Builder?
No Technical Expertise Needed
If you are drawing a blank and need some ideas, most website builders will offer a large range of templates that you can choose to either use ‘as is’ or modify for your own needs. This means that you don’t have to design or look for most graphics for your site.
Work on it anytime, Anywhere
The DIY concept means that you control the process from start to finish. Everything is done online, meaning that you can work on it by yourself at your convenience – even from different computers at various locations.
I have done some very basic websites using several website builders before that took as little as an hour or two. Yes, they were simple and using prebuilt templates, but you can easily expand on your work at any time later. Drag and drop editors make this process easier than you would believe.
I recommend that you look at a few reviews of website builders to get an idea of how good they are. One of the top names in the website building business, for example, is Weebly and there are many excellent Weebly reviews available online which you can refer to.
What to Expect in a Website Builder
The basic concept of a website builder is that it allows people who have little to no technical skills to build websites cheaply and quickly. They condense the entire website building experience into step-by-step procedures and reduce the need for technical knowledge by making simple tools available to users.
The first thing to note is that all of this is an online process, meaning that you will need an Internet connection to sign up for and use a website builder. Signing up for a website builder account is as easy as signing up for any online service such as email, just s short registration form plus email confirmation and you’ll be good to go.
The next thing to expect will depend largely on which website builder you go with. Most of the top website builders like Weebly and Wix have very good onboarding procedures which will guide you through the steps to build your website.
Choose a Template
One of the first of these is that you will be asked to choose a template to work with. Weebly helps you make this decision by asking a short series of questions that help it make suggestions to you. I would recommend that you browse through the entire template database though as I find many of them can look nicer if re-purposed.
Once you’ve chosen the template, you will then move on to the exciting part – editing it. Now, if you have ever used Microsoft Word, for example, the concept, in theory, is similar. The application gives you the tools to do something you want.
The editor will show you the template you have chosen and on some part of it there will be components such as text boxes, image elements and such. To edit the template is just like using a program such as Microsoft Word. You add or remove things from the template, then edit them to suit your needs.
Caption: On the left of the editor screen in most website builders are the elements you can drag and drop onto the template
Deleting something is as easy as selecting the item and hitting the delete key, which creating something like an image is as easy as moving an image box, dropping it where you want it to go and then uploading an image to fill in the box.
Aside from these core elements, many site builders will also have advanced components that you can use to build a site like a pro. For example, some offer plugins that do specific tasks without you having to know any coding, such as integrating social media accounts into your site.
Market Your Website
Once you’ve got the site looking how you like it to be, all you need to do is publish it and it will be available online. However, that isn’t the end of the story. Now that you have a website, it’s time to let people know it exists and most sitebuilders can help with that too.
Look towards elements in your sitebuilder account that mention marketing and explore them. You will find that there are many options there, ranging from social media sharing to email marketing. Connect them to your website to boost the full potential of your site.
There are many website builders available today that offer non-technical users the chance to build, market and maintain their own websites easily. This is an invaluable opportunity for small businesses to compete on a larger scale.
Don’t allow technology to hobble your business but use it as a crutch to grow your business into the next generation. It isn’t all that difficult and the rewards are certainly worth it.