Now more than ever, the internet is the go-to place for sales, information, and global communication. It’s long since stopped being feasible for businesses to set up a brick-and-mortar shop and then wait for customers to find them. Big or small, if you want to have a successful business then you need to have a website of some kind.
Creating your own website means that you’ll have your own space on the internet where you can display your products, sell your business services, or enlighten others with interesting knowledge and facts. But there's still the question of how do you build a website to begin with?
How to build a website
When it comes to deciding how to build a website, there are three main methods you can use to bring your online vision to life:
- Employing someone to build a website for you
- Building a website yourself
- Using a website builder
Both employing someone to build your website for you and building a website yourself from scratch using a website designer are considered the traditional methods of building a site. Website builders, on the other hand, are a more modern and innovative way of looking at website building.
While fully capable of producing exceptional and exquisite websites, it’s fair to say that building a website from scratch is a monumental challenge for most people. Not only does it require you to have a comprehensive understanding of how coding works, but you’ll need to put in the time and money required to make the website functional.
These are often the main reasons why many businesses, particularly small businesses, choose not to invest in a website. But this is exactly where website builders like the one we provide at Fasthosts can help.
Why should you choose a website builder?
Compared to traditional website building methods, website builders do away with all the necessary coding knowledge and allow you to construct a professional website through the use of premade templates and add-ons.
Using WYSIWYG methodology (what you see is what you get), users are presented with a GUI (graphical user interface) that allows you to drag and drop your desired features and elements onto your chosen template. You don’t need to know all the acronyms, you can just jump in and get started. This lets you organise your website pages however you want and add in any content you need without issue.
Compare this to website designers that require you to code your site line by line and the ease of use advantages that website builders provide is obvious!
With a website builder, all the complicated behind the scenes coding work is taken care of for you. All you have to do is decide how your website will look and feel, making building your website effortless.
How much does it cost to build a website?
The cost of building a website is the main area where website builders outdo more traditional website construction methods.
In terms of price, the most expensive way to build a website is to hire a designer to build one for you. There is no real average cost for this but you could expect to pay anywhere between a couple of hundred pounds to several thousand. It all depends on how big you want your website to be and the quality of work. Of course, this doesn’t include the cost of your domain name and web hosting.
Even if you choose to build a website yourself, it will still cost you several hundred pounds to invest in the website designer software required to begin constructing your website.
But when you build a website with a website builder, these costs are dramatically reduced to as little as £5 a month. That means it could take years before your website builder-constructed site reaches the same cost as a traditionally made website. And that's before you consider the free trials that many website builders offer.
The cost of a website builder per month will vary but in most cases they are leagues cheaper than website design software packages.
How long does it take to build a website?
When deciding how to build a website, the time it takes to build is important. The last thing you want to do is invest in something only for it to lose you money because it takes months to build.
Traditionally made websites can take a long time to build, particularly if you have a very specific vision in mind. With a designer, they might have other projects happening at the same time. You could ask for yours to take priority, but this will likely increase the cost. And if you’re building a website yourself, you’ll likely have to set aside adequate time to build the site or even learn to code – time that you’ll have to take out of your daily schedule or free time.
When you choose to build a website with a website builder, you can have a professional-looking website ready to go in under an hour. This innate practicality makes website builders the best way to build a website if you need to set one up sharpish.
Are there any drawbacks to using website builders?
Despite their many advantages over traditional website designers, website builders do come with one drawback that you might want to bear in mind.
In general, website builders are considered to be overall less flexible when compared to a website built from scratch. Using a website designer, you can get the look, feel and content of your website constructed exactly how you want it, rather than being limited to the available templates.
Basically, if you have a very specific vision for your website that you want to capture, or any bespoke functionality that you need, a website built from scratch might be a better option for you.
Website construction and web hosting
A big thing you'll need to think about, regardless of whether you choose a website builder or website design software, is how your website will be hosted.
Having a website and hosting a website are not the same thing. Your site is your virtual presence on the internet, but the data that makes up its construction actually needs to be stored in a physical or virtual location. This is why servers are used to host websites.
When you build a website, you don't immediately have access to any form of web hosting. This is something that typically has to be paid for, which is usually the case with website designers and website builders. The good news is that some website builders might include web hosting as part of the package – with Fasthosts, you’ll also get a free domain for a year, a free SSL certificate and free professional email.
How to choose a web builder
By now it should be clear just how useful a website builder can be for small businesses and independent users alike who want to build a website. But that doesn’t mean that every website builder is right for you.
If you choose to go with a website builder, you'll want to think about the following things:
- What do you need your website for? Some web builders are better suited for ecommerce while others work well for blogging.
- What features do they offer and what ones do you actually need?
- How easy is it to use?
- What is their user support like?
- How will it look on a mobile platform?
- How scalable is the builder?
- Do they provide any web hosting options?
- How good is their value for money?
By going through all of these, you’ll be able to pick the best website builder to suit your needs.
The best website builder for small businesses
There are plenty of web builders out there for you to choose from, which can make choosing the best website builder for you a bit overwhelming. To help narrow down your options we’ve taken two of the most popular website builders and compared them with our own website builder here at Fasthosts.
If you’ve been on the internet long enough, you’ve no doubt at least heard of Wix and Squarespace. Both are considered amongst the best website builders currently available. Wix in particular is considered relatively beginner-friendly, while Squarespace tends to be favoured by creatives and businesses. Both offer a range of features, free trials, and on average cost between £10-15 per month.
With the Fasthosts Website Builder 'Complete' package, not only will you get a suite of features capable of rivalling Wix and Squarespace, but you can also try it all for free for the first two months!
Our complete package is just £10 per month and includes 350 separate webpages, unlimited storage, website optimisation tools, analytics, a free domain name, free SSL certificate, free stock images and much more. Ease-of-use is at the forefront of our website builder, allowing you to edit your website on-the-go. And we’ve even made sure your site is optimised for mobile so it'll look great on any device. Plus if you need the room to scale, you can easily add an online store to your site if you decide to set up shop.
If you're thinking of selling online from the get-go, we do offer a separate Ecommerce Website Builder package that has more space, more power and even more advanced tools.
To top it all off, we include web hosting features with our builder, meaning you don’t have to set aside time to find someone to host your site. We also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so if you're not feeling it, you can cancel within the first 30 days without paying a penny.
If you want to learn how to use our website builder, we have a range of supportive guides available on the Fasthosts website. We can also help you with any email hosting and cloud server needs you might have as well as web and domain hosting.
For even more ideas and tips for helping you navigate the internet, why not browse the rest of our blog for more in-depth articles.