Choosing a Web Site Builder or Web template
Website Building Help
By Erich -
Planning a new website involves many choices: What type of hosting to use, how to target both mobile and desktop clients, and what type of editing program you will use for the initial site development and later updates. Because of the time you will invest, these can be important points to consider up front.

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Website Builder vs. Web Templates

Choosing to use either a site builder program or a downloaded HTML web template.

Website Builder
Web Template
What is it?
A website builder is a proprietary on-line editing program that allows you to choose a design and enter your information through a web browser interface to build a website. Details

Website builder programs are offered by sites like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and Godaddy.
Web templates are stand alone or self contained websites that are zip file downloads edited on your computer hard drive. Details

This is the type of websites we offer, however we will try to remain as neutral as possible in our viewpoint in this article. For some other website setup options see Six ways to build a website.
Mobile compliance
Site builders have been updating their programs to be responsive and mobile friendly. Care should be taken when selecting the company you use. See links below for some helpful websites.
If you select either a responsive design, or a full site that includes a mobile version, your site will be fully compliant and pass the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.

You can better target mobile devices by using a full site that includes a dedicated mobile sub-site.
Allows for search engine optimization, depending on the site builder you choose, however if you read some on-line articles many users have found it difficult to do in-depth SEO and many SEO firms will not work with this type of system.

Down the road this can be problematic if you are trying to get good rankings in search engines, however site builder programs do regular updates and realize that this is a main concern of their clients.
Allows for full freedom of search engine optimization and you can hire any SEO firm to review and work on your website.
Ease of use
Because you do not have to deal with any HTML code this is generally an easier system to work with. Additionally, with the better programs you can change to an entirely new design at any time.

Keep in mind that although this sounds like an easier system you still need to enter your website info and images, much like if you are using an HTML editing program.

You do need to learn the proprietary editing program. If you switch companies you will then need to learn a new system.

Advantage: You can change to a totally new design easily. Little or no code editing required.
Webpages can be edited using any wysiwyg editing program. In essence HTML editing software works like a website builder. Once you learn your software you do not need to re-learn it if you switch hosts.

Webpages need to be FTP uploaded or published. Depending on your editing software this may be an extra step you'll need to do when updating.

If you plan any layout changes you'll need to learn how HTML and CSS code works. Major design changes may require redoing your website. Minor changes can be done by editing the global css style file.

Advantage: You can use the same editing program with any company. Font and color changes are global.
The inner workings
What most people do not consider is that this type of system still requires work. Most of the time spent in web development is writing your page copy, creating images and updating for SEO.

As an example, if you want to add you own images to the webpages each image is selected and uploaded one at a time. If you want bold text, you still have to select it and make it bold.
You will need to learn some aspects of how css and html code work, particularly if you plan any layout changes.

Webpages are updated off line and then uploaded in a group. Optionally you can use any web hosting control panel editor or CMS and update directly on the live website. Some HTML software also allows for this.
Editing time
Since builder programs are accessed on-line through a web browser this means that for each page you edit you must load it into the interface, edit with your update, then do a preview of your work.

As a general rule, when updating websites, people tend to go back and forth between pages, updating and tweaking the text and other areas. You'll spend considerable time switching back and forth between pages to use the different editing and preview functions and waiting for these areas to load.

As a website expands in size, this system will become more cumbersome to do updates across multiple pages.
Working on your computer hard drive allows for better multi-tasking and affords you the luxury of having multiple software and folder windows open. You can have your website folder open, viewing the entire contents at a glance. At the same time you can have your editing software and a preview browser open and drag and drop your webpages into each application.

Working directly on a computer is considerably faster than clicking around in a proprietary interface and it's why most developers use this method for setting up websites.
Setup time
In reality setup time is dictated by the type and size of the website project.

It is a common myth that you can setup your website in minutes using this type of program. You still need to plan and write copy for your website, learn the website builder system, then enter your info, links, images and seo into your website though the site builder interface.
I believe using downloaded web templates is faster, but will usually involve some extra learning. If you plan to setup a number of websites, or have a large web project, this route is faster.

As an example I setup the homepage on, using one of our templates in under one hour. This is because it involved no extra time learning an interface or how to use the template. Not a totally fair real world test, but it gives you the idea of how fast self contained HTML templates can be.
Future considerations
This system updates your code for you keeping pace with changes in web development.

Because it is proprietary, you'll need to redo your website if you, for example, change to another company because you are dissatisfied, or if they were to go out of business. You will lose all your work.
A website is dynamic. Although templates include global css style files for design layout, in some cases updating to new code as the web evolves may require using a new template and re-doing your website.

Your entire website is backed up on your computer so you can move it to any web hosting service at any time.
Visitor experience
Website builder programs include a library of user applications and widgets you can easily add to the pages. Most do allow for Youtube video (and many others). In some cases adding 3rd party applications can be very difficult or may not be possible.
Your site can include any 3rd party user applications you choose. How easily they can be added depends on the script creator, their instructions and your html skills and editing software.

As an example, adding a Youtube video to a template requires pasting one line of code into the webpage.
Stock photos are included but it is usually a small library to choose from, or extra fees will be involved or you may need to search stock photo sites for them.
Stock photos are included with our templates and we allow free swapping with other templates, however you may still require other types of photos. Both free and paid stock photo websites are available.
Often overlooked
When you start a new website it will be small and simple, but in most cases, as the website evolves, webmasters usually want to make changes, add elements and more widgets and apps. The site begins to expand in size. Great care should be taken when choosing the site builder company you go with. This type of system is much more limiting as to what can be added to a website.

Some of the more advanced site builders do allow you to add and edit the html code for more customization, however, if you go this route then you can not easily change to a different design at a later date.

Advantage: Website builders error check and test your webpages automatically.
Using a web browser off-line on your computer allows you to quickly review all your webpages and files. It is much easier to understand and maintain large websites.

It can be easy to mess up a webpage if you add the code incorrectly, or even miss one simple code closing tag. Testing and error checking should be done with every update.

A content management system (CMS), through the web host control panel, can be used to edit a stand alone web template.

Advantage: Easier to review your files and website structure.
Best choice when...
You want all aspects of web development in one system and do not want to deal with many different software programs.

You do not plan to do a lot of SEO.

Do not require 3rd party applications.

You want your site to update automatically when web standards change.

Best For: Small websites that will have few updates.
You want total creative freedom.

Want to learn about web design.

Need a very professional website you can totally control.

Plan a lot of SEO and want full control over how your site is ranked in search engines.

Best For: Larger websites that will include a lot of content and regular updates.
In most cases the support will be from people who are "staffed out" and trained to cover normal support issues. You will usually be directed to a video for help.

If you do some searches for any website builder company you will most likely find customer reviews both positive and negative. Some users saying it is absolutely the best experience they've ever had and others saying the "worst customer service ever".
Highly trained, we cover all aspects of web template setup and you deal directly with the programmers who build our templates. We are a small company and do not staff out our support. We are experienced in providing plain English answers to technical questions.

We offer one of the very best support sites in the industry.
Your site is backed up in their system. This is a proprietary backup and only works though the host company.
Since this is a stand alone downloaded website, then is uploaded, you will always have a backup on your hard drive and can copy that to a thumb drive or another computer.
Site builders are more limiting in the design. For example, if you want to add a small icon image in a specific spot it may not be possible.
Allows more creative freedom, however for example, if you want to add a small icon image in a specific spot you will have to learn how.
Consider what your business is and where it will be in 5-10 years. Are links from searches important or will most users visit your site from an ad or business card? Is it just a showcase for your company or a way to generate revenue and leads. High search ranking will not be as easy with this choice.
Do you plan a large elaborate website with all the bells and whistles? Do you go nuts if you can not have this one plant in this exact spot? More difficult to work with, this choice allows much more creative freedom.

Additionally, if you choose a full site with a separate mobile version to better target mobile, it will be even more work.
Investigate each company before you choose. Each one works differently and has different options available. Do some searches and read some reviews.

With any site builder program it involves starting over if you decide you don't like the company you started with.
Just use our templates because they're the best anyway.
Often available for free, however advertisements are usually included on the webpages. Basic plans are cheap but if you are building a serious website then you will need the business or VIP or ultimate or "whatever" plan. This will be around $25.00 per month or $288.00 per year.
By contrast, our templates range in price from $20.00 to $150.00. That works out to $12.50 per month if you choose the top (or, uh.. ultimate) template we offer (will then be $0 the second year). Factor in that now you do not need the web host template interface with the website builder program and this works out to about the same price.
The real question here is how important is my website? Site builder programs do allow for an easier setup, but with anything in life easier is not always better.

So you setup a quick website, but now do you understand how your website works? It may be worth your while to learn the nuts & bolts and choosing this option skims over it. Learning a proprietary website builder interface may just be a waste of time since it does not delve into the deeper aspects of website development.
Is it worth my time to learn some HTML, CSS, SEO and generally how to promote my website?

You can optionally hire a professional developer, but do they really care about your website in the end, or are they just trying to make a living?

Stand alone web templates will help you learn exactly how a website works without the expense of hiring a custom web designer. Do you want to play with the big boys, or just have "some" website?
Our clever analogy
It's like buying a car and having all repairs done by the car sales service department. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and is a good choice for many people.
It's like building your own racecar. You'll want to win every race so a little extra work is going to help you get there.
There really is no "right or wrong" decision it depends very much on your specific website goals, the size of your website project, and what type of computer user you are.

Better for code updates.

Less likely that errors will slip through.

Can change to a new design more easily.

Updates take more time.

More limiting in the design and SEO.

If you plan a small site and don't need to attend to every detail in the design, then this is the best choice. This also is a good choice if you do not want to learn at least a little about html and css code.
This choice allows for more creative freedom, but at a price. If you like everything exactly in this or that spot you'll need to learn how the template code works.

More creative freedom.

You can view the site plan better.

More comprehensive SEO.

Allows better multi-tasking while editing.

More learning involved.

Choose this if you want the best search engine rankings, if you do not mind learning new things and if you like to have your website on your computer hard drive.
Web Template


Builder vs HTML Web Templates Jnana Budget Responsive Lighthouse Website Layout Opaline Mega Menu Minisite Designs Bizzy-DM Business Website Layouts
Site Builder
Web Template

What is a Website Builder?
Website builders allow for website creation using a proprietary browser interface (or off-line editing software). The program allows for "drag and drop" to add new site elements and includes a set of web template designs for you to choose from. Examples of elements you can add may include text paragraphs, pictures, titles, videos, contact forms, maps, and more. The site is built and hosted on the site builder website so it can not be moved to another host. There is a monthly fee for the service. The fee amount depends on what features you want to have included on your website.

What is a Web Template?
Web templates, like the ones offered by Allwebco Design Corporation, are self contained, free standing, downloadable designs. They are downloaded in zip file format with all source code and files used in development included in the download. They use HTML and CSS code to render the webpages in browser software. They will work with any web hosting company on any server type. The price is a one time charge and there are no monthly fees. There are no linked files or page links that require our website being on-line for your website to function. We do include a credit link in the footer that you can remove or edit with your link and text.

See also what are web templates and self contained websites.

Custom Web Development
Another option you can consider if you are starting a new website is to hire a custom developer. This can be an expensive solution but offers you the peace of mind that a professional will be working on your website. We have many developers that use our templates, and most let the client know up front that a pre-made website is being used to save money on the design layout. Because of the importance of your website you will want to select a developer that you can trust. Our recommendation is that you find a local developer so you can meet with them and get a feel for how attentive they'll be to your website needs.

See also Developer grade web templates