In this day and age it's imperative to have a website for your company so that you can be found online by current and potential customers, and make it easy for them to communicate digitally with you.

However, for many business owners and managers with no background in the area of IT, creating that first site can be incredibly daunting. That's where some of the top website building software options on the market can come in handy. Rather than having to learn how to code or use graphic design skills, you can take advantage of free or low-cost software that will build your new website at the touch of some buttons. If you're keen to give this type of service a go, read on for some tips you can follow to choose a website builder that will help you get the results you need.

Examine the Range of Templates Available

One of the first things you should look at when deciding on a website builder is the number of templates on offer, and whether or not these templates can be customized. After all, there's no point going through the effort and spending the time and money on a site that looks like thousands of other ones that are out there.

When examining the builders on the market, look at whether they offer the type of templates that suit your business industry. For example, you may need a very visual site that helps you to display photography, a blogging-based structure that makes it easy to organize large numbers of posts, or one that is primarily created to help you sell products online.

Apart from having a variety of templates available in different layouts and color schemes, it also helps to choose a website builder that allows you to tweak the templates as required. You should be able to personalize the design to suit your branding and business, with the ability to resize and edit things, as well as move them around.

Analyze Usability

The point of using a website builder is to create a website easily and economically, without having to have previous coding or other tech experience. This also means that when you analyze products, you should look for those that can be easily used by anyone who isn't tech savvy. Generally you'll find that the "drag and drop" type options are the simplest to use and can be picked up by someone with even the most rudimentary computer knowledge.

If possible, see if you can gain access to a trial period before you pay money for a builder, or alternatively check out a demo version, so that you can see if the software is easy enough to use. The best programs will also have tutorials available that you can watch/read to learn how to add things to or edit your site.

Look for a Builder That Creates Mobile-Friendly and SEO-Friendly Sites

In this day and age it's incredibly important to have a website that is both mobile-friendly and search engine optimization friendly. Statistics show that huge numbers of people now use their smartphones and tablets to browse, research, and shop online, which means that your website should cater to these types of devices as well as desktop computers.

If you want to be found online, you also need your site rank on search engines such as Google and Bing. For this to happen, the best way to start is to build a website that is SEO-friendly. Website-building software that caters to this will help your site rankings to be boosted through allowing you to add and edit title tags, meta tags, and meta descriptions, at a bare minimum.

Choose a Product With Plenty of Scope

It's also vital to look for a website builder that allows you to integrate plug-ins and other functionality when needed. For example, you may want to incorporate a shopping cart into your site; integrate social media links; add a newsletter, blog, or forum function; use photo galleries; upload videos and slideshows; incorporate a Google Maps listing; or make use of dozens of other potential widgets. Don't bother using a website builder that doesn't allow for this type of scope either immediately or later.

Make Sure Support Is Available

Lastly, you should also choose a website builder that offers customer support to its clients. Even though you hope that everything runs smoothly over the time that you use the software, invariably it's likely that you'll have some type of issue at some point along the way and will want to speak to a customer service representative who can help you deal with it. While many website builders do offer support, it's not guaranteed, so make sure you do your research before you sign up. It's best to choose a package that provides 24/7 support, through email, live chat, and phone calls.

Published on: Mar 9, 2016