If you’re looking to develop a website, the two main options are to have an external contractor build one for you or to use one of many online platforms. If paying thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on the former doesn’t appeal to you, we’ve got several examples of the latter that can enhance your online presence without a huge time or financial commitment.
Discover the 3 best online platforms for website development:
We previously outlined the major reasons why you shouldn’t pay someone to develop your site in another blog post, so today we’re focusing on three alternatives that you or your staff can use to build a website from scratch or even revamp your existing online hub. Depending on the complexity of your concepts and/or design, you can go from start to finish on any of these platforms in a matter of hours.
Before we start, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
First, you have the issue of a domain name, which can either be bought through any of the options listed below or transferred there from an existing service provider. Both scenarios will require you to spend a small amount of money to get the web address you want.
Second, there is the issue of monthly plans. While all three platforms that we’ve listed have free plans or free trials available, they come with limited storage space, functionality and scope when it comes to templates. Premium plans vary depending on the service provider, so make sure you read all the details carefully before making a final decision.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the three best DIY solutions for developing a website:
Initially released in 2003, WordPress is now primarily known for their hosting website that runs on the open-source blogging software that currently powers nearly a third of all websites. With a growing number of sports and leisure organizations using the platform as well, there’s no doubt that its popularity only continues to rise.
You don’t need any knowledge of coding or technical expertise to get yourself started on WordPress. In fact, the flexibility it offers clients in terms of hosting setups and exporting a site’s content should put the less tech-savvy users at ease. It’s also a quality that makes collaboration with external developers simple, should you need any.
WordPress provides new users with an intuitive workflow that never feels overly complicated or intimidating. With a plethora of free templates to choose from, you won’t necessarily have to shell out a whole lot of extra cash to make your website look great. Their main focus continues to be the blogging side of the internet; however, you can also serve up a fully-functional e-commerce site depending on which template you go with.
Another positive for WordPress is their vast catalogue of plugins that help DIY website builders get the customized look and feel that they need. They also offer different technical plugins that can make tasks like SEO optimization and marketing to your customer base so much easier. All these factors combined with their in-depth support resources, make WordPress one of the internet’s best options when it comes to creating your main online hub.
If you’re searching for a DIY website development option that is geared more towards beginners, then Wix may be your best choice. Founded in 2006, the platform has quickly gained traction in a crowded marketplace, boasting over 110 million users as of 2017. The main reason for this seems to be how easy it is to use Wix from top to bottom.
When we say easy to use, we don’t just mean clear, concise directions and a navigation system that’s obvious. We’re literally talking about being able to drag and drop elements into place using the company’s Artificial Design Intelligence, making the implementation of visuals or different blocks of texts seamless and professional-looking. You also have access to personalized templates depending on what kind of website you’re looking to build, although some of them looked a little bit dated at the time of this writing, so choose wisely.
All those designs elements are adjustable to a point as well, which is just one part of Wix’s suite of functionality. Though not as robust as some of its competitors, this option will provide beginners or intermediate-level web creators with more than enough features to suit their needs. Also, like WordPress, Wix allows users to extend their building process with the use of plugins that can help with both design and traffic generation tasks.
The more stylish cousin of our previous two examples, Squarespace is making a push to become the go-to option for the next generation of DIY website builders. With a sleek, modern interface that gives users the chance to create stunning online storefronts or blogs that will captivate customers from a visual standpoint.
While I found Squarespace’s modules relatively easy to use, they’re admittedly at least a tad more complex than WordPress or Wix. Some of the buttons and menus are not as intuitive as their competitors and may take some time for those used to different workflows to adjust, but the platform more than makes up for it when it comes to template responsiveness and flexibility.
In my last blog post on the topic of website development, I talked about how important responsive, mobile-friendly templates are to your business’ website. Squarespace does very well in this regard, with responsiveness to smartphone or tablet views built into every template in their system. The only real downside for Squarespace is that it depends on third-party hosting, so make sure you’ve got all those details sorted before embarking on a project with their service.
All three of these website building apps listed above can help make your digital dreams a reality and take your organization’s online presence to the next level. Whether you’re at the initial stage of thinking about creating a new site or looking to improve upon your existing model, any of these platforms are great tools that can be assets to your business.
The best part? You won’t be breaking the bank by using one of those options either. Premium website hosting plans, along with additional expenses for registering a new domain name or transferring your current one to another service, pale in comparison to what you’d be spending on an external development team to make you something from scratch. By keeping this kind of project in-house, you’ll also have more control over the process and the ability to tweak small details along the way. Discover other reasons why you shouldn’t pay anyone to build your site on our blog.
Once you’ve created your website or finished with an extensive revamp, you’re going to want to drive traffic to your new digital hub. Our 10 Free Marketing Tools guide can help you increase engagement today – download it now!