When it comes to building websites, understanding what is a website builder software and how to pick one for you will help you move forward in building your own website.
Here’s Wikipedia’s definition:
Website builders are tools that allow the construction of websites without manual code editing.
There is a lot of website builder software in the market nowadays to help you create your own website, even if you don’t have any technical knowledge.
For sure, if you have a bit of coding knowledge, you can take your website design and functionality a lot further – but this is not an absolute necessity when it comes to building websites.
It’s not that long ago that if you wanted to create a website, you will either have to go through a painful process to learn how to code, or you have to spend thousands of dollars to hire someone to code one up for you.
Not any more.
WYSIWYG Website Builders
To make website building possible for all levels and ages, the website builders we mentioned above created what the industry calls “WYSIWYG” (What You See Is What You Get) builders.
Basically, you get to drag and drop content directly on to a blank canvas for you to build a website.
No longer must you code in any content such as paragraphs, pictures, slideshows, dividers, and so on and so forth. WYSIWYG website builders give you the tools so you just have to drag a picture (for example) from their tool bar directly into the website content area to start constructing your site. You can add pages, subpages, blog posts, pretty much most of the critical components of a website are within your reach.
Once you have populated your website with content , you just have to save your additions and publish your site. What you see on your screen when you are editing, will show up exactly the same way when you publish your website (that’s why they call it What You See Is What You Get!)
This makes website creation very simple, straight forward and powerful. Almost anyone can drag content, upload pictures or text, and publish without having to write one line of code.
Making Your Website Look Good
One other benefit of using website builder software is that they give you a selection of templates or themes. These are basically “clothes” to give your website more style and personality. You can pick from a broad selection of themes to make your website more professional and pretty.
Website builders are continually adding more themes to their selection to attract users to pick their builder to create websites. This is a really important consideration for you as most website builders have similar tools for you to use, but what can really set your website apart from others is how your website looks.
In our view, Squarespace and Wix provide you with the best looking themes amongst most WYSIWYG website builders.
Even though Weebly currently falls behind Squarespace and Wix in terms of theme designs, there are independent themes creators in the market that produces premium themes that you can purchase and upload into Weebly. DivTag Templates is one of these premium theme creators and they have a broad range of modern, updated templates to combine with Weebly’s drag and drop web builder (Disclosure: We operate DivTag Templates).
Which Website Builder Software is Best for You?
There really isn’t a “best” website builder software as each has their own pros and cons. Some are more design oriented and can help you build a more attractive website, some are easier to use, some have better e-commerce tools, and some come with 24/7 support.
What is more important is that you find one that fits your unique needs. Here is a summary of our thoughts and recommendations:
Best Designs – Squarespace and Wix
Easiest to Use – Weebly and Wix
Best e-Commerce Tools – Squarespace and Jimdo
24/7 Support – Squarespace
What’s Bad About WYSIWYG Website Builder Software?
WYSIWYG website builders are often criticized as the “poor man’s” way of building websites. It’s not as sophisticated or flexible as other more powerful website creators such as WordPress.
However, the traditional or more “advanced” way of building websites can really hinder most non-technical people from creating their own websites. So from our view, drag and drop website builders definitely breakdown this invisible barrier and opening up the possibility of publishing websites to pretty much every single person.
This is not to say that there are no drawbacks when it comes to using WYSIWYG builders. Some of the more popular points against using drag and drop builders include:
Customization Limitations – since these website builders are “closed source” software, they only allow you to customize your website to a certain extent, but a lot less flexible than other more advanced website builders.
Shared Hosting – as your website will be hosted on these website builders’ servers, you don’t have full control over your own content, and if you violate the website builders’ terms & conditions, they can terminate your account. This is extremely rare, and you really have to be doing something really bad for this to happen.
No Backup – most of the builders (except for Weebly) do not allow you to fully backup your websites. So if you want to take your entire website elsewhere, this is going to be a challenge.
Slower Loading Speed – as your website will be hosted on shared hosting, you will be sharing servers and bandwidth with other websites. This will result in slower website loading speed, especially if you have very large image files on your website.
So there are definitely trade offs if you choose to use a WYSIWYG website builder.
The benefits include you not having to know any code to be able to publish a website (nor hire developers), the ease of use (dragging and dropping content), and customer support from the builders.
These benefits are offset with less flexibility, slower loading speed, and you won’t have full control of where your website is hosted.
In our view, these trade offs are definitely worth it if you want to publish a website and don’t have the skills or financial resources to hire someone to build one for you.
Conclusion – Website Builder Software
Using a drag and drop WYSIWYG website builder to create your website is a quick and effective solution. Instead of investing months to learn codes, you can create a decent website within a day and showcase it to the world.
Not everybody has the time or financial resources to create a custom built website or to learn to use to use a more advanced builder such as WordPress or Joomla.
If you are building a business related website, and have a smaller budget, using builders such as Wix, Weebly, Squarespace or Jimdo can definitely help you maintain financial discipline, and also allow you to create and update your own website in a very short period of time – no need to call / email your website developer and wait for small updates as you can now make them yourself. Additionally, with the time you save, you can focus on other more important aspects of running your business.
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