These days, choosing the best website builder is essential for successful web presence for any business or operation of any sort that needs even a little bit of exposure. Marketing through traditional means – through paper ads and posters and the like – is ridiculously expensive and complicated, even for the largest companies in the world, and the belief that a small operation could benefit in a big way from such approaches is mistaken. No, the fact of the matter is, you need a website. Plain and simple. You need a well-designed, well thought-out website if you want to catch people’s eyes and keep their attention.
But, as we all know, it’s not always easy to come up with something brilliantly designed and super well thought-out in the span of a few days, weeks, or even months. That’s why web-designers do so well: They have a set of skills that are essential. They are effectively engineers of the most important architecture of the modern day – the electronic architecture that under-girds everything we say and do these days. But web designers can be expensive, and you don’t get to tinker with designs on your own. That’s where website builders come in.
What Is a Website Builder?
A website builder is a program that allows you to quickly and easily play with a website’s layout, color palette, and design. Website builders essentially give you all the design tools for creating a stunning website, but without requiring you to have much, if any, working knowledge of HTML and CSS to accomplish wonderful things. As a matter of fact, a website builder will take the design you throw together, analyze it, and create the XHTML and CSS necessary to make it work. If that’s not possible for your design, it will still find a workaround, by creating and “slicing” an image file. The details of this are a bit complicated, but suffice to say – a website builder does the job of a web designer, but puts the creative capacity in your hands.
Characteristics of a Good Website Builder
There are literally hundreds of website building softwares and websites out there. So how do you choose from amongst them? Well, we have a set of criteria that should make the choice relatively easy. There are some things that stand out about good website builders. The first is simplicity of interface. A beautiful interface that is easy to navigate and self-explanatory is just about the most consistent feature of any good website builder. A good website builder will also feature a wide variety of plugins, or at least the capacity to be extended with them. This allows you to experiment with a lot of the features of websites that you really need rather cutting-edge web tech to build yourself.
Another characteristic of good website builders is that they produce websites compatible in any browser. This is important, because it’s near impossible to hand-code a website that’s compatible in all browsers on the fly, and it’s annoying to hae a website builder that does the job in everything except for, say, IE, and then have to fix it yourself by hand.
Best Website Builders
Not all website builders are created equal. Some, of course, are better than others, and others are not quite as nice as some. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the best website builders on the market. There are quite a few, so let’s start with some of the bigger-name builders and work our way throughthe lesser-known, more specialized ones.
Dreamweaver is probably the king of website builder sofware. It’s by Adobe, and it’s the original builder suite. Dreamweaver is insanely powerful – it can produce almost anything you ask it to, unless you purposely try to trick it. You can decide whether you want a website built with tables (a relatively old trick that is advisable in some circumstances but not in others), with image slicing, or with a variety of other techniques. Dreamweaver also supports all kinds of plugins and is integrated with the entire Adobe suite, so if you need to bring something you did in, say, Photoshop into Dreamweaver, it is literally as simple as dragging and dropping. The only real con to Dreamweaver is its price, but it’s still less than you’d spend on an excellent webdesign contract.
Weebly is a popular online website builder that has a lot of functionality. It allows you to produce a stunning HTML website. There are a ton of templates available, and the customization options kind of seem endless. It’s possible to create a startlingly unique site from a pretty generic template if you’re creative and have the right tools, and Weebly definitely provides you with the right tools. Check it out if you’re in need of a strong, HTML-oriented design software. Weebly also offers web hosting services, which makes for wonderful integration, and the builder is free.
IM Creator is a simple, drag and drop HTML website creator. Just choose a template, drag elements in, drag some others out, put your badge in the corner, your slogan in the bottom, and your logo on the splash page, and voila – a site that’s all your own, for free. It’s not as powerful as Dreamweaver, and there’s no web hosting option, but for simply creating a website, IM creator is a great place to start your playing.