This is a question I have been getting a lot: How good are Drag & Drop website builders?
Services like Wix, Weebly and Behance Prosite are showing up in advertising all around the Internet. These alternatives to custom website design are certainly appealing because of their low prices and apparent ease of use but – are they appropriate for your website?
Drag & Drop
These services have a lot of nice features that could save you time and money. They offer hosting, a domain name, almost 100% percent uptime, and easy do-it-yourself tools to get your site up and running in no time. There is one drawback though, if there is any custom feature specific to your business that you would like to add, it will be quite difficult to get it done. It is for this reason I give a few simple tips to help you decide what to do with your website:
- Take note of how many sections you will want for your website [think: about us, products, services, contact us, etc].
- Think of how much information (text) each section will have – will it have images, videos, audio?
- Verify the cancellation policy of the services (most of them let you try them for 15 days for free).
- Look at the themes that each services has and try to find one that looks like it will fit all your content perfectly.
- Sign up for that particular service and try to at least setup your sections [Use dummy information if you don’t have the text ready yet]. If you dislike how it works, simply cancel and try another one.
- Once you are sure that the service works for your needs, continue to set up your content and publish your website.
Custom Website Design
If you have certain features in mind that you cannot find in any of these services, your best bet is to get a quote for custom website design. When a website is tailored to your specific needs, it is designed from the ground up with your content in mind. This means that any feature that you think of can – theoretically – be built.
A simple, high quality, informative website with the typical sections (Home, Products, Services, About, Contact) should run anywhere around US$1,000 to US$2,000 dollars depending on the features [image galleries, blogs, social integration, etc]. The difference in price compared to drag & drop website builders is compensated by the ability to grow your website as much as your business requires.
Of course there is the in-between way where you can choose to use a drag & drop website builder service and simply get support from an IT Advisor – such as myself – whenever you run into any kind of trouble. I can help you with setup, appearance tweaks, or any other issue that you face. Rates start from US$90 to US$120 dollars per hour – depending on the complexity – but for simple websites you should not require more than two hours of support.
The best thing about this is you won’t have to lose your precious time researching different platforms and cracking your head trying to fix things.
Give me a call, the first 15 minutes are on me!
Recommendations: which to choose
Behance offers a free portfolio service for creatives that can be turned into a “custom” website with its own domain name by using the “Prosite” feature – it is very simple to setup and use. What I like most about Behance is that you are instantly connected to their whole network where people can find you by subject or specialty area.
I recommend this if you are a(n):
Architect, Interior Designer, Sculptor, Painter, Graphic Designer, Photographer, 3D Artist, etc.
Shopify offers a great solution for quick and easy setup of an online store. They have great themes to handle your content and implement all the common payment and shipping processors.
I recommend this if you want to open an online front to sell your products.
I hope this information helps you decide on which route to take when building your website. I hope everyone has a great 2013, Happy New Year!
Anyone tried these or any other services? Leave a comment below!