Website Builders For Bloggers: A Good Alternative to WordPress?
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We love WordPress, but the product has gotten complex over the years.
It still only takes five minutes to install, and it is powerful, feature-rich, and supported by a community of devoted users creating both free and premium add-ons and themes.
Even so — is there a more straightforward option if you want to write with less hassle or if you want to add a blog to an existing website or online store?
There is, indeed. Consider a website builder.
What is a Website Builder?
Website builder functionalities are similar to that of WordPress themes.
A website builder is an easy-to-use app (typically browser-based) that lets you design and build a website without writing code.
Many website builders ship with a set of templates that serve as the foundation of your website. They further determine how your site looks and where certain features go.
Some of the website builders we will look at on this page are:
|Non-technical bloggers||$5.99 to $29.99/mo||1 month|
|Resourceful bloggers||￡4.00 to ￡20.00/mo||Forever*|
|Beginners or e-commerce bloggers||$3.95 to $28.94/mo||Not available|
|Advanced bloggers||$5.00 to $25.00/mo||Forever*|
|Anyone who wants a website||$4.50 to $24.50/mo||14 days|
|Bloggers who love to customize||$12.00 to $40.00/mo||14 days|
|Beginner or e-commerce bloggers||€6.00 to €39.00/mo||30 days|
|Personal bloggers||$4.00 to $12.00/mo||14 days|
|E-commerce bloggers||$29.95 to $249.95/mo||15 days|
|E-commerce bloggers||$29.00 to $299.00/mo||14 days|
Do Website Builders Offer Tools?
WordPress is a content management system (CMS), which means that it comes with a lot of features that help you manage your blog posts, images, videos, and other files.
Website builders are simpler tools. Typically, the blogging tools offered by website builders are not as robust as those provided by WordPress, but the upside is that they are VERY simple to use.
If all you want is a professional-looking website with simple, functional support for blogging, a website builder might be the way to go.
What Can Bloggers Do With a Website Builder?
Here are some ideas of what can be done by bloggers using website builders:
You can use your website homepage to list your contact information and the photo packages you offer. Then, your blog posts can showcase pictures from events you worked.
You might use each post to highlight a recipe and include pictures with the recipe.
Set up a homepage with your career-related information (contact information, list of prior works).
Use the blog to provide snippets from upcoming works, peeks at the daily writing process, and announcements for upcoming book tours.
Use your homepage for a brief biography and a link to your GitHub profile.
Your blog can highlight projects you have done or showcase code snippets from work you have completed.
A blog is a great way to release content frequently!
Important Features for Website Builders
There are many website builders available, so when choosing the option that is the best for you, consider the following:
The template is the skeleton of your website, and you will want to make sure that the templates offered by the website builder are professional, aesthetically pleasing, and reflect you and your brand.
Ideally, the website builder offers a sufficient number of options, but not so many that you’re overwhelmed.
Make sure that your website provider lets you change templates with ease.
Because there might be functional differences between two templates (e.g., one offers a right-side search bar while the other doesn’t), you will likely need to make some manual tweaks to make sure that your new theme looks good.
Ensure you are prepared to re-structure content when changing to a site builder.
However, some website builders make you start over if you change themes — you cannot simply change the theme and expect your content to remain the same.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of making tweaks to your website so that search engines display your website first whenever someone searches for keywords that are relevant to your site.
What SEO Tools Can Should You Expect?
Many website builders come with built-in SEO tools, including:
- Automatic sitemaps, which helps search engine crawlers know what pages a website has
- Metadata fields, so you can set the title and description seen by users when they review the search engine results
- Creation of URLs so that they can be read by search engine crawlers
In addition, website builders can generate optimized code that results in faster-loading page times.
Faster, more performant web pages rank better than their slower counterparts.
When it comes to mobile blogging, consider:
- Your experience as the writer
- Your readers’ experiences
Website builders offering mobile composition functionality is helpful for those writing on the go. Otherwise, you will need to write using an editor that was designed for desktops and laptops — not be the best experience.
On the other side, many of your users will be reading using their mobile devices.
Many website builders offer responsive templates. By choosing one, you’re assured that your blog will look good to mobile users.
Support for E-Commerce
If one of your goals for your blog is to support your business, take a careful look at the e-commerce features offered by the website builders you are considering.
Things to look for include:
- HTTPS, which ensures that the data you transmit to and from your buyers occurs over an encrypted channel
- SSL certificates, which is a requirement for using HTTPS. SSL certificates also serve to reassure your customers that your website is legitimate and not a front for another organization
- Robust security tools
- DDoS protection (as well as protection from other types of malicious attacks)
- Automatic malware detection and removal
Managing Your Inventory With Website Builders
If you plan to sell goods from your blog, you’ll also want to look for inventory management features.
If you plan to handle credit card transactions, look for a website builder promising PCI compliance.
Support for shopping carts and check out along with payment processors and gateway integration (like PayPal, Stripe, or Square) should further take priority.
Social Media Tools
Social media tools are important so that you can publicize your posts. Regardless of which platforms you are using, built-in integration makes it easy for you to share your work and interact with your readers.
Managing your presence on multiple platforms can be difficult, so consider a website builder that offers features designed to make this process more accessible and more streamlined.
Cover All Angles To Make Social Sharing Smooth
For example, some website builders come with built-in social icons so that all you have to do is provide your username — the website builder will take care of the rest.
Or, you might be able to set up an integration where your new posts are automatically shared on your social profiles.
Custom Code Support
Using a website builder allows you to get a blog up and running without writing code, that doesn’t mean that having access to a code sandbox isn’t useful.
Website Builders: Our Recommendations
There are tons of website builders available, but the following are some of our favorites. Read on for the pros and cons of each option!
GoDaddy’s website builder is an easy-to-use website builder packed with features like:
- Robust SEO tools
- Free SSL certificate
- Mobile support
Though GoCentral comes with templates for a variety of uses, we think that many look very similar to each other. The customer support team is available 24/7, but it seems that the quality of help is hit-or-miss.
- SEO-friendly with tools
- Free SSL
- All-day live support
- Dozens of templates to choose from
- Questionable quality of support
- Limited customization
- Restrictive blogging functionality
Overall Verdict of GoDaddy GoCentral
GoDaddy is a good option if you are just getting started with a blog and you are interested in working with more than one product offered by the company.
The company is a one-stop website shop for domain names, email and other necessities of running a website.
WordPress.com is the hosted version of the WordPress CMS. If you like WordPress, but you don’t want to find and configure your hosting, WordPress.com is for you.
The Automattic team provides excellent support, and the company puts out excellent documentation if self-help resources are your cup of tea.