Your website matters. It’s a reflection of you, whether you’re an individual, business or brand. So if you’re looking to use a website builder to create yours, there’s no point in choosing one on a whim.
When deciding on a printer, for example, you don’t just opt for the biggest, shiniest one on the market. You identify what your needs are, set a budget aside, and read some reviews – or at least talk to someone who knows a bit about printers.
It’s the same with website builders, and unlike many of our competitors, we conduct real life research. This means we can tell you about the key differences between products, and help you identify the best website builder for your specific needs.
But what is it that we do?
Well for starters, we’re not some mad professors in white lab coats standing over a concoction of chemicals – we’ll leave that to the proper scientists!
We’re real people, just like you. We asked what you wanted to know, then put these website builders through their paces to unearth accurate, reliable answers.
Through a combination of your queries and our expert knowledge, we identified six key areas of investigation:
Within each of these areas, we ran a series of tests which, when added together, gave us a total score for that area. Once all six areas had a score, they were then added together themselves, giving us an overall score for each website builder. This score is reflected through each builder’s star rating.
Still with us? Great. Below, we’ll break down exactly what we looked at in each area.
Everyone is different. What’s easy for us may not be easy for you, and vice versa. That’s why we devised a test to capture information on people of all computer skills.
We assembled a group of everyday people with varying levels of skill on a computer, and asked them to create their own website using an assigned website builder.
Each person created the same website by working off a task sheet that we designed. They were asked to score how easy – or hard – they found each task, and from there we were able to calculate an ‘ease of use score’ for each individual website builder.
A feature can be described as anything a website builder is capable of doing. For example, if you can set up an online store as part of your website, that platform has an ecommerce feature.
Alongside testing what each website builder was and wasn’t capable of, we also assessed the quality of its features. We did this by seeing precisely what options were available (e.g. if you can link social media to your website, how many types of social media are supported, if you can embed live feeds, etc.).
We also established what features were built-in to the website builder and what features were available through its app market. If a feature was only available as an app, it scored lower, as this means it is not readily available for you to use.
Other examples of features we tested were:
- Blogging – Does the builder support a blogging function? If so, we looked to see if this included the ability to archive, segment categories, and add comments sections, and whether it included a search bar, an RSS feed, social bookmarking, and blog-specific analytics.
- SEO – How good was each platform at helping you rank highly on search engines like Google? Could you edit meta titles/descriptions, customize URLs, get keyword support, access SEO-specific apps and so on?
Finding the right balance between cost and quality is important. That’s why we took our ‘quality of features’ score and combined it with the average cost of each website builder’s premium pricing plans.
This gave us an immediate indication as to whether you, the potential user, would be getting your money’s worth.
We also looked into whether each platform offered a free plan (and what that contained), and if not, if there was a free trial (and how long that lasted).
To the naked eye, web design is a lot like art – one person’s genius is another person’s garbage. In order to gain a comprehensive insight into web design, we spoke to leading experts in the field.
They helped us better understand what constitutes good design, and what helps users engage with a website effectively. From this, we drew up a list of criteria which each website builders’ templates were judged against.
This list includes things like whether templates are optimized for mobile/tablet devices, if they are appropriate for a range of popular industries, and whether the template’s layout meets industry standards.
As you’ve probably guessed from its title, we chose to break this area down into the help you receive and the support provided.
For help, we looked at the services on offer. Could you get help via email, phone, live chat, social media, forums, or all of the above? We also tested each platform’s help center by inputting common queries and judging the quality of response.
For support, we focused mainly on security. Things like having built-in SSL certificates, restore options, and an autosave feature were all investigated.
The final area is what you, the public, care most about. Having spoken to you guys at length, we included categories you saw as important, as well as some direct information from our ease of use testing.
We used our ‘value for money’ score, and also interviewed people after their ease of tests. As part of the interview, one question we asked was ‘on a scale of one to five, how likely would you be to recommend the website builder you’ve just used to a friend who’s looking to get online?’
All of this helped to formulate a score, which then went towards an overall star rating for this area.
Meet the Researchers
Having come from a research background, I know what to look for when it comes to product testing. My role is to speak to people just like you and test products to get the comprehensive and accurate answers you deserve.
It’s my job to research website builders and find out which ones really are best for your specific needs. Having tested numerous builders, I’m in a great position to help you guys not only get online, but enjoy great success once there.