How to decide which website builder to use
So you have decided to create a website. Now what? You have some ideas about what you want it to look like. Maybe you even have some ideas about branding and imagery. But now it’s time to think and decide what platform or website builder you are going to use.
Nowadays there are a few choices out there. Some of the most popular ones are
Before you start looking around at the different options, I suggest looking at what your needs are. Below I give the same guidance I would to an online business friend.
First step, list it out
The first thing I advise them to do is list out everything they are currently thinking when it comes to having a website. And I mean everything. There are a few of reasons I get them to do this. One it gets it out of their head. This may sound obvious, but when your brain is trying to keep hold of information (so it doesn’t forget it), there is no space for new ideas or thinking. So, by getting it out of your head and on to a piece of paper or a document, your mind knows it doesn’t have to keep remembering it. It knows where to find that info.
The other reason to do this, is to see if items on your list can be put into similar buckets. When you look at the list you can see if you are excited by the visuals of the site, but more worried about the tech side. By putting items into categories, you can also see what gaps of knowledge you may have.
What DO you want?
So the answer to this question is usually (but not always) one of two answers. I want a site just like (insert name of website crush). Or, I don’t know. So let’s move forward from that. For some people, I suggest journaling out their thoughts, while for others mediation or visualisation can work better. For some, it is creating a vision board.
The key here to let your inner ‘wants’ do the magic. Rather than your head of I should’s.
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You can’t avoid the function
If you are building a website, then tech is gonna have to be a part of it. Either if you get someone else to build your site, it’s a good idea to know what elements you do and don’t want.
So by now, you have a clearer idea of what you do want for your site. Create a list of what functionality you want or need in a site. It’s ok if you don’t know the techie name for it, you can always just reference a site where you have seen it. Then share that with a website designer.
Now, I’m going to be honest, as I am with my friends. This takes some thinking. So give yourself plenty of time to do this step. You will thank me in the long run.
And by thinking, I mean deeper thinking. For example, do you want a built-in contact form? But take it a stage further. What information do you need? Can you use it in a way to pre-qualify potential clients? Can you use it to help you give a better quote? Can you use it to help guide and educate your potential clients? How can you help them, after they have completed the contact form?
Think about the customer journey. Think about how you can stand out from the competition. As a starter for ten, I have created a list of common topline functions many of my clients ask for. Then dive deeper, and see how you want to apply it, to your business.
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Be honest and realistic
The next step I suggest is to be very honest and realistic with yourself. How is the site going to get done? Do you have the time and energy to learn and build it yourself? Or do you want a website designer to build it for you? There is no judgment here. By being honest at this stage will save you frustration down the road. If you don’t have the money to pay for a web designer, then know there will be a learning curve as you translate your ideas into reality. And that may take some time and energy. It may be that you get someone to help you with different parts of the build, aka branding, images, copywriting. Think about what elements you will struggle with the most and do some research to see what your options are.
So why do I suggest doing this before looking at the different website builders? From dealing with clients over the years I know that most people are confused, overwhelmed and unsure of what they want. By having a clearer idea of what you want and need, means you can judge the slick sales pages of the different website builders, with a better eye. When people look at the options and they don’t know what they want, shiny object syndrome takes over. Oh, I want that. No, I want this now.
Once you have done your research. Make a decision and move ahead. I see so many people procrastinate at this stage. Know that you don’t have to stay with your initial choice forever. You can change your website builder later.
Of course do feel free to send me a message to see how I can support and help you.
Clare owns a digital and web design studio at ThePistachioClub.com. She loves making the internet more pretty (and functional) one website at a time. However, she has some other hidden talents and has been in a Hollywood movie and was a dance performer in the 2012 Olympics. She loves to explore the local coastline in Dorset, and at weekends you’ll often find her hiking.
I’d love to hear your thoughts? Comment below.
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