Building a website requires a software program that helps you create your website. There are several different types of website builders available. The two most common types are stand alone and software that comes with a web hosting account from a web host. Which one is best for you depends on several factors – how much money do you want to spend, how much coding do you know or want to learn, how much time do you want to spend setting up your site and how much trouble you want to go to in order to construct a website.
If you aren’t technical and don’t want to learn a lot of coding then I recommend you go with a web host’s website builder. This will be MUCH easier for you and your website will look much better than if you do it on your own.
Some people think that website builders produce ‘cookie-cutter’ type websites that look bad. That used to be the case a couple of years ago but nowadays it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between a turnkey website built with a web host’s web builder software and a hand designed website.
Pros and Cons of Using a Web Hosts Web Builder
I strongly recommend that beginners use a web host’s web builder program because it’s easier, cheaper and the website you create will look a whole lot better than if you try to hand build it on your own or use a html editor software program.
It’s affordable. You can get a web hosting account that includes web building software for less than $10/month.
It’s easy. You can usually construct a nice website in minutes or hours, and the program often walks you through the process step-by-step. These programs are often stress-free, simple, and user-friendly, eliminating much of the hair-yanking frustration that can accompany building a website from scratch. You just click on where you want to put your text and type just like you do when writing an email. It’s really easy and intuitive.
You can make changes any time you like. You can change any part of your website at any time as many times as you want. You are never locked into having your website look a certain way. You can change the color, design, images, text and anything else you want at any time.
Help is just a phone call or email away. Unless you choose a bad web host your web hosting company’s support team will usually help you if you are having questions or issues with building your site. If you build a site using a stand alone web program you are on your own and have to spend time searching the internet for the answers you are looking for.
You can access your web builder from any computer. In most cases the web host’s software will be internet based. This means that you are able to access it from any computer not just one. There is no software to download and it’s just a simple matter of logging in to your account to work on it – anywhere or anytime.
You may not be able to do everything you want. The website builders offered by web hosts these days are pretty advanced and will be great for about 98% of people who are setting up websites. For example, you can easily and quickly put your own images, videos, and music on your site using a web host’s builder. You can also link to other websites, add your own html, create forms, have forums, add widgets like maps, clocks, and more and password protect some of your pages. Basically you can do almost anything you want to do; however, really advanced users who want extraordinarily advanced items may find the functionality of this type of website maker constraining.
You can’t take it with you. If for some reason you end up with a bad web host or decide to go elsewhere since the creator software is on their web servers you won’t be able to take the look and style of your website with you when you leave. You can of course take your own content. This is why it’s important to choose a good web host because if you get a bad one it can be a real pain.
Click here to see reviews of web host web builders.
Pros and Cons of Using a Stand Alone Web Editor
Just like a web host’s website maker there are pros and cons to using a stand alone web editor program:
You can create the exact website you want. With this type of program you can entirely make your website from scratch so you can create it exactly like you want it.
More functionality. A web editor program will give you all the bells and whistles so if you want to do really complex coding to your website you will be able to do so.
If you aren’t a techie these are a nightmare to learn. Unless you want to spend hours learning how to code your own website and learn all the things you need to know about building one from the ground up such as how to install the software, how to install templates and/or how to create, design and build a template from scratch, how to FTP your website to your web host and how to how to what you need to know about creating a template, installing templates, figuring out how to FTP your website to your web host, and basically learning everything there is to know about how to work the stand alone software without anyone to help if you run into trouble.
You are tied to your computer. Stand alone software only works on one computer so if you are at work or out of town and there is an issue with your website or you want to make a change to it you won’t be able to. Since your software will only be accessible from your computer you can only work on it from your computer. Tip: if you do go the stand alone route make sure to back up your software program so that if your computer crashes you will be able to access it.
Good Web Hosts
Whether you decide to go with a web host’s web building program or stand alone web editor you will need a web host to host your website so it’s visible on the internet when someone types in your domain name.
To see a list of the best web hosting companies and web hosts I recommend please click here.
A Word of Warning about Free or Cheap Web Hosts
Yes, we all want something free or super cheap. While that may be good in some cases we all know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Beware of supposedly free web hosts or web hosts that are super cheap. They may claim that their services are free and they usually provide a free web builder or say they do, but in most cases they end up sticking it to you in several ways – usually through the domain name purchase, lousy customer service and/or by overloading their servers which means your website often goes down.
Also, most of these hosts register the domain name in their name so that means legally you don’t own it and if you want to leave the host you either a) can’t take your domain name with you or b) have to pay a BIG fee to do so. Basically, it’s just not worth it. A good average price to pay for a website account is around $8-$10/month. Be very skeptical of web hosts that are free or super cheap. They need to make their money somewhere and if you don’t see where upfront you can usually bet that you will end up paying for it somewhere.
So, to sum all of this up, if you want fast, easy and affordable go with a web host’s website builder. If you want totally original and complex bells and whistles use a stand alone web editor. Whatever web creation software you choose, remember that you can always make changes to your website whenever you like. You are never locked into anything. This is your website and you can make it look however you want it to and have anything you want on it.
Good luck with your new website!