The Rise of Free Website Builders: What is Their Strategy?

Given that a website is largely considered to be the minimum requirement, there has been a resulting increase in the demand for simple and inexpensive ways to build a website. 

Today, there are numerous options of web builders for companies that are looking for an easy way to build their own site without having to hire an independent web designer and select their own web hosting. The type of web builder you should use will very much depend on the kind of site you are trying to build and the needs of your company, and there are various different services offered by these web building sites. There are several key companies that compete within the website build and management space. WordPress is the biggest builder, with Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly who are smaller, but all offer similar web hosting capabilities. If your business requires an ecommerce site, Shopify and BigCommerce are designed specifically to cater to those needs.

Given that 32% of the entire Web and 59% of CMS (Content Management System) of software-built websites use the WordPress tool, WordPress is clearly the dominant player in the online web software industry. WordPress powered platforms offer users thousands of additional plugin options for their site as well as extensive scalability and flexibility to meet your company’s needs. You will have full autonomy over managing your site (you don’t need to hire a third party) and setting up and maintaining your site, although requiring more technical know-how, is incredibly easy to set up. Considering all of the additional services offered by WordPress, they are by far the cheapest site and are a good platform on which to start the process of building your website.

The newer sites such Wix and Squarespace, however, have enjoyed growing popularity in recent years and both have launched very successful marketing campaigns targeting YouTube, podcast marketing placement and utilizing other tech-based communication channels. There has also been a shift towards creating sites with more varied and customizable templates which require minimal technical skills in an attempt to take back some market share from WordPress. Another important distinction is that because Wix, Squarespace and even Weebly are all website builders and WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS,) there is a difference in the kind of technical knowledge required to manage the site and as a result, the respective level of customer support offered. Although WordPress provides scalability and flexibility, web building sites are able to offer much better customer support to businesses and are able to provide better technical support and will include technical maintenance as part of their packages and deal with any technical issues on your behalf quickly and effectively. Squarespace provides excellent quality features, but at a slight premium, while Wix offers more simple themes but more variety and support.

Many web builders offer packaged plans which will provide hosting alongside your web building. Gator is a web building site created by HostGator which is one of the larger web hosting providers in the world. Because the hosting site has created a web building tool, you are able to buy various packages that are tied into the HostGator product offering and you get an “all inclusive” hosting deal. They even throw in a free domain name when you purchase a package with them. Some companies, such as Constant Contact, offer free website builders that you will only pay for when you go live, while BigCommerce (a predominantly ecommerce-oriented site) will offer a 15-day free trial before you are required to pay anything.

Ultimately, the site that you use to build your website will largely depend on what your company needs, but there are a number of excellent sites that will allow you to both create and host your site in the easiest way possible.

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