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When websites first started being built in the early 1990s, there was no way anyone could build a website without knowing how to write code, never mind getting a simple website up and running in a couple of minutes. Each page had to be hard-coded by a website development specialist. Until Content Management Systems (CMS) appeared in the early 2000s, you would need a professional to make any changes.
CMSs like Joomla!, WordPress, and Drupal made things much easier. Computer users with above-average computer literacy could build themselves a website if they had the time and inclination to tackle the relatively steep learning curve. More often than not, web development professionals would build a website and the owner of the website would then be able to make fundamental changes.
With the launch of Smart Phones in 2010, the need for responsive fast-loading sites became essential and online Website Builders were developed to enable ordinary computer users to build their own websites. These user-friendly tools with their drag-and-drop functionality have made it possible for anyone to create their own website without knowing how to code.
Website builders are online tools initially developed by website hosting companies, which allow any computer user to quickly and easily build a website by dragging and dropping various elements onto a page. This can also be done offline using website building software that allows you to drag and drop, but these programs aren’t as straightforward as their online counterparts, they are not as intuitive, and the changes are not immediate.
Online website builders have made it possible for anyone to create a professional website quickly and efficiently, even when more sophisticated features like an online shop are required. The developers of these phenomenal tools have recently been going all out and are constantly making it easier and more accessible for people to build their websites.
Even website builders are incorporating content management and social sharing features into their tools, which enable users to schedule and disseminate their content across various social media platforms as soon as it has been created. Building a website is as easy as choosing a template (with hundreds of options), customizing it with your branding and content, and saving it.
Website builders aren’t just easy to use; they solve a range of problems experienced by small to medium businesses with a click of a button.
There are four other ways of building a website other than using a Website Builder: Learning to code, using a Content Management System (CMS), or hiring a web developer. Here is some information on what these options entail:
Many affordable, even free, online courses will teach you how to code from scratch. The courses don’t take long to complete, but you will have to put in a lot of hours practicing before you can build a website that looks professional, is technically sound, and is user-friendly.
A few offline website building software packages are easier to use than a CMS but not as easy as an online website builder. The main advantage of website building software over an online website builder is that it creates websites that can be moved between hosting providers and servers without relying on scripts and online functions tied to a particular company like an online website builder. Creating a simple website can also be more accessible than a CMS because it is easier to use, but this method is not recommended for beginners.
Dreamweaver has been around for many years and is still used by many people, particularly professional developers. Then there are other programs like NicePage, Mobirise, and Template Toaster. There are no recurring costs with website building software, but you will have to organize and pay for your website to be hosted somewhere. Online website builders often include domain registration and hosting in their fees.
Most people think that CMSs are web builders, but they aren’t. A CMS is a complete software system that provides a platform to create a website. They are similar to website builders in that you don’t need to be able to code but are more complicated to use because they offer more functionality, flexibility, and customization than web builders.
A CMS is also different from a Website Builder because it has a robust database as its foundation, which organizes and stores content, information, and resources exceptionally efficiently. This content can then be called from the database to be displayed on one or more pages in various ways. With a 60% market share, WordPress is the most popular content management system.
Joomla, Drupal, and Magento are other popular CMSs. After WordPress, Joomla is probably the easiest to use, and Drupal and Magento are better suited to professional developers. You can build just about any website using CMS and most website hosting companies offer simple one-click installation for you.
The easiest way of developing a website is to outsource it and hire a professional web developer or web development agency to build it for you. This is the best option if you need a highly customized website and requires functionality tailor-made for your company. It is also the most expensive option because you are hiring an expert.
You will need to do your research to find a reputable web designer that you will work well with and who can bring your vision to life. You can save costs by asking for your website to be built in a CMS system to take over the reins and update the site yourself once it is made. The cost will depend on how much customization you require, whether you will supply content or need the developer to create the content for you, and how large your website is.
Many website builders are available, so it is worthwhile to look at the different features they offer, the fees, the design options, available integrations, and the hosting options offered to find the one that best suits your needs.
Unless you need a massive eCommerce site with hundreds of products, many bells and whistles when it comes to functionality, or a complex animated design executed; the chances are that a website builder is just what you need. Anyone who can use a computer can create a website that looks like it has been designed by a professional quickly and easily without knowing a dot about coding. The cherry on the top is the inclusion of domain registration and hosting in most website builder packages making it easy to manage and administer your website, not to mention cost-effective.