Website Builder Program Alternative
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Six Different Ways To Build a Website

Authored by Erich - April 20, 2016 5:05 AM
Website builder, website schmilder. Planning to start a new website and don't want to use a web builder program for setup and editing? Are you looking to create something more professional for your business? Or perhaps you've had a bad experience in the past with companies like Wix, Squarespace, Web.com, Weebly, Webs, Jimdo, Homestead or GoDaddy. Regardless of your reasons to not use a website building program, the following page offers some alternatives and solutions to create a website without having to use a proprietary HTML editor browser interface, as well as when a DIY site builder might be the best choice.


Website builder programs work using a proprietary site editing program accessed through a web browser interface. This method of web development is not for everyone. Many users prefer the more traditional way to develop websites, which is done by creating HTML pages on a desktop computer, and then uploading using FTP software. In this case a website builder program is not required, and you can still integrate programs and applications into your website that may be available through your web hosting control panel or cPanel. Traditional download / upload templates also allow for 3rd party scripts, plugins, widgets and gadgets from any vendor to be added to the webpages.


There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these methods of web development, including having site backups, web hosting portability, ease of editing, professionalism, flexibility as well as optimization and other SEO concerns. Most professional developers and designers do not use website builder programs because in the end it actually takes longer to setup a website. The majority of designers and web developers prefer to edit the website files and images on a desktop computer and then FTP upload them (sometimes referred to as publishing the webpages). See website builder vs downloadable templates.



Alternative 1.) Downloadable Web Templates

For a professional type of website, much like large corporations use, stand alone website templates as zip file downloads are the best choice and are the type of website Allwebco offers. Our websites are developer grade, meaning they are complete HTML websites with built-in features and a set of pre-formatted webpages. Our web templates are used by designers and developers world-wide to setup custom client websites. Built to W3C standards, all colors are editable using the global css style file. All images are standard web format jpg, png and gif that you can edit or replace.

The templates are ad-free zip file downloads that include all source code and files used for the build. Once downloaded, users edit the html pages and images on their local computer hard drive using any html, wysiwyg or plain text editing software, then "publish", or upload the files to their web hosting account using FTP software (many free HTML editors and FTP programs are available). This type of website allows for more flexibility and control than traditional website builder programs offer, particularly if you're doing comprehensive SEO or are planning a large website project.

Downloadable HTML Web Templates Option
Guggenheim-RD Downloadable HTML Guggenheim-RD TechCor Downloadable HTML TechCor Bizzy One Webpage Bizzy Single Page Downloadable HTML Bizzy-DM Downloadable HTML Executive-DM Downloadable HTML mobi-Red Downloadable HTML Wildwood

Alternative 2.) Software

If you don't like our templates (we have heard of a case or two like this), another option is to use the pre-built templates included with an HTML software package. Software like CoffeeCup and Dreamweaver include pre-built websites you can use as a starting point for your project. Using the web templates included with a software package has the benefit that the webpages are specifically tailored to work with the editor. In most cases you can work in wysiwyg mode and will rarely need to edit, or even view, the source code. One disadvantage is that the included templates are usually pretty ugly and include some very basic stock photographs and clip art.

Advanced HTML editing software works similar to a web builder, the difference being that the editor program is on your computer hard drive rather than being an on-line browser interface.

Software Option, Dreamweaver, CoffeeCup, Expression Web, Frontpage, Pagespinner, Adobe Brackets




Alternative 3.) Wordpress

One very popular way to build websites, Wordpress, isn't a website builder. Instead, Wordpress is a content management system (CMS). This makes it sort of a hybrid between a builder and using HTML software as far as the editing goes (the editor works through a web browser). The editing interface works more like HTML software and you'll use some drag and drop to add what are called plug-ins for interactive and dynamic webpage elements. Some time is required to learn the interface even if you're creating a small or simple website.

Wordpress users are very loyal to the program (often referred to as a community) indicating that this is a powerful website solution. Because of the control this program affords, using Wordpress over a site builder allows you to create a more professional website and this program is used by many developers. There will be a steep learning curve if you decide to go this route.

Wordpress Option




Alternative 4.) Build From Scratch

If you're a more adventurous webmaster you can create your webpages from scratch. Webpages are simply plain text files you can edit using software included with your computer like Notepad on Windows and TextEdit on Mac. There are many thousands of HTML web building sites available with copy and paste code samples and tutorials for creating webpages. Many include downloads of basic web templates you can use as a starting point. This is a good learning experience, however it can take considerable time to learn how HTML, CSS, Javascript and jQuery (a library of Javascript functions) work together for website building.

Notepad in Windows and TextEdit on Mac




Alternative 5.) Hire a Professional Developer

Hiring a developer can be more costly than the above options, however setting up a website yourself can take vast amounts of time, particularly for first time webmasters. A professional designer is trained in website building and will make more effective use of the time required to build the site. Your time may be better spent on improving other aspects of your business.

To save time, when hiring a custom web designer, you'll want to create an outline of your website in software you're familiar with like Microsoft Word. Additionally, writing all the page copy and gathering all your images before you contact a developer is also a good idea (the page you're reading now took more than five hours to write). Check out your competitor's websites for some ideas on how your site should function. The more precisely you outline your website needs to the developer the more hours (and money) you'll save.


Hiring a Website Developer


Developers and Templates: If you find a pre-built website template design you like you can have the site designer use this as the starting point for your web project and save considerable development and setup time. Allwebco templates are used by professionals worldwide for all types of website setup projects. For one developer familiar with our web templates go to suburbanwebdesign.com.




Alternative 6.) When a Website Builder Works

Because of the limitations of proprietary DIY site builder programs, if you're planning a large website, or plan to expand over time, then the above options are a better choice. If you have a large corporation or highly successful business now, you should not be using a website builder.

When to Use...

  • Small websites, five to six pages (restaurants, local business).
  • Small short term websites (single home sale, wedding website).
  • When search engine ranking (SEO) is not a chief concern (announcement or family sites).
  • For new business startups if you're testing out the Internet for the first time.
  • Do not mind using shared hosting (do not anticipate a large number of "hits").
  • Custom built interactive scripts and dynamic elements are not required.
  • Do not mind being locked into one hosting company (builder made sites are not portable).
  • Do not plan unlimited functionality (builders generally have extra monthly fees for shopping carts & merchant gateways, unique domains and other add-ons)

Using builder programs is a quick easy way to setup a small website and is not recommended if you want a professional looking and functioning website. They sound like an easy solution, but keep in mind you'll still need to learn the proprietary editing interface, create all the page text copy and do the SEO by hand. Another little known fact is that a browser interface is slower to edit in. How slow depends on your Internet connection and computer speed (as well as the web services company you choose).

The larger your website becomes, the harder it will be to use the builder editing interface.

Time Considerations

How editing and updating a large website works: Let's say for example you've had your website on-line for a few months and have a large amount of webpages. You decide to do some updates. With a website builder program you'll need to browse to each webpage, load the page, do your edits, and then preview it. It may not sound like this will take time, but web browsers load at a relatively slow rate compared to how fast a hard drive opens files. With a downloadable web template you can have your site folder open and drag and drop the pages into your editor and preview browser. As a general rule during the update process, you'll be going back and forth between pages and re-editing or tweaking pages as you go. All those seconds clicking back and forth to different editing functions, and waiting for pages to load adds up. Working on a computer hard drive is considerably faster for the initial setup on a large website, as well as for the updates.



Resources


Web Templates




Real Business / Real Website

Using a website builder program is tempting, all TV ads point to *easy*, but in reality, if you want a professional looking website it will involve work, whether you use a proprietary site builder, an HTML downloaded template, Wordpress, or a professional web developer. If you're looking for a professional looking design that allows for comprehensive SEO and the ability to integrate any type of application into your websites, then using downloadable templates is the best solution. Web builders are very popular, but creating the exact website look and feel you want for your business can be a more involved and cumbersome affair than learning instead about HTML and CSS code and how real websites work. Builders are really a shortcut to creating a website. Do you want to be as big as Apple, Adobe, Microsoft or even Mrs. Fields? Do they use proprietary site builders?

The Site Plan: What a lot of first time webmasters are not aware of is that the initial setup is only the start. If you want to stay on top of the competition you'll need to keep your website up to date with fresh content. While web builders may appear to have a quicker first build, over a period of time, the more professional downloaded and then uploaded type of website is faster, allows for better SEO and more control, keeps constant backups, gives you better insight into the website plan, and allows you to view all files used on your website at a glance. For these reasons, most professional developers will not use a site builder for their client websites.

The Control Factor: Another factor that is not often considered is that sites created using web builders are not really configurable. You can drag and drop web elements (images and apps) into the webpages but you'll have little control over the actual code that is used on the website. You may (believe it or not) spend an hour just trying to change the margin under an image. Additionally site builders are prone to creating very bloaty code that loads more slowly, is less user friendly and can harm SEO listings.

Allwebco Web Templates are designed with a small footprint and the leanest code possible for fast page load times. We concentrate on using the smallest scripts, web optimized images, the least external resources and above the fold content to allow for the best ratings at Google PageSpeed Insights. Our sites are built this way to allow for an easy understanding of the HTML code as well as fast browser load times. Notes are included directly in the HTML code to show new users what the specific code function is on the page. Real professional websites are complicated so we try to make the editing as easy and intuitive as possible.

Builder End Costs: Companies that offer site builders usually have either a free or very low cost promo to reel you in. These free promos usually do not allow for a unique domain, include ads on your website and offer no support. To get these *extras* you'll need to pay additional monthly fees. In the end, to have something closer to a real website you'll be paying from $20 to $30 per month for a yearly total of $240 to $360. Our downloadable websites are a one time fee and range in price from $20 to $135. Combine that with a more reasonable hosting fee and in the end the HTML web template choice is a lower price option.

In all the reviews I've read (and you can search out your own) site builders have four main drawbacks: too many hidden and upgrade fees, difficult for SEO, buggy editors, and poor support. Allwebco downloadable websites have none of these drawbacks and we offer the best support in the industry.


Building For Mobile

With any of the web building options listed above on this page, visitors to your website from mobile devices should be an important consideration. You'll want to have a website that either is a responsive web design (RWD), or you'll want to add a separate section and/or dedicated mobile version website on your site that allows for smartphone viewability. Mobile users comprise over half of all web users, so you will want to be compliant for desktop computers, tablets & surface as well as smartphones in your design. If you do decide to go with one of the web builder programs, be sure to ask about mobile or any other question up front before you commit.




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