Do it yourself website builder
Modern online website builders follow the
key CMS principle
of maintaining strict separation between content and design. The advantage of this is that websites designed in this way aremore easily indexed by search engines.
It also means that making changes to the website’s design or templates is easy, and the content doesn’t need to be modified in the process.
Who are website builders for?
These systems are particularly suited to individuals, freelancers, photographers, small businesses and start-ups with or without a web store.
Different types of website builders – online vs. offline
Some website builders are entirely web-based and run on the provider’s server (e.g. Weebly or Jimdo). To work with these tools, all you need is a standard web browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer. Other website builders come as software packages that you download and install on your computer (e.g. Rapidweaver). Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of online site builders (e.g. web-based like Jimdo):
- No need to install anything on your computer.
- You can work on your website from anywhere (also great for team projects!).
- No need to worry about updating software or accessing FTP servers*.
- Website builder and web hosting are offered by the same provider.
- No need to purchase software.
- Many website builders offer packages that are completely free.
Advantages of offline site builders (e.g. locally installed like Rapidweaver):
- You can still work on your website even if you’re offline.
- FTP server access* offers greater flexibility.
- You are less dependent on your website builder service provider.
With internet access becoming increasingly fast and reliable, browser-based (i.e. web-based) website builders are becoming more and more popular.
* FTP means you can access the web folders where your website is hosted directly.
Which are the best providers?
The demand for easy-to-use website builders has increased with the explosion of Web 2.0 platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and other social communities. This has enabled content consumers to become content creators too.
Providers vary widely in the quality and functionality offered. Jimdo and Weebly are widely recognized as the best providers for beginners, while Squarespace is best suited to advanced users requiring more advanced features.
If I use a website builder to create my website, do I “own” the design and content?
You are the owner of your content: no website builder can claim any rights on things that you’ve created (copy, images, video etc.). You can also take it and move it to a different site builder or host anytime you want.
The website’s design is a different matter. If you are using a template from the library of your website builder, you basically only rent the rights to use it as long as you use their services. If you move your website to a different host, you cannot continue to use their template, strictly speaking. But we haven’t heard of a single case where a website builder company claimed this right.