You know you need a website.
You've probably heard lots of strong opinions about everyones "perfect" solution to creating a website. But the problem with the "perfect" solution is that there are no one size fits all solutions that everyone's needs perfectly. In the case of a website, the range of options from "full stack developers" to "content management systems" to "website builders" is downright dizzying. How are you, a busy small business owner, supposed to find the most cost-effective solution?
Firstly, a "cost-effective" solution has to be the one that won't break the bank. It simply must fit in the budget, or it won't work.
Secondly, the solution must meet the business objectives and be useful to you and your customers alike.
Finally, the solution must be sustainable.
Before you spend a dime on your site, you need to think about what the website will actually do. If you run a restaurant, for example, much of your website traffic will be customers accessing the site from their phones, and they'll be wanting to see the menu, get directions, and make reservations. Once you know what the site will do, you want to think about who will maintain your website. Whether simple content updates (like changing the menu) or keeping up with security updates to the code that makes the site happen, someone needs to maintain the site. Just like your delivery truck will break down without oil changes, your website will break down without maintenance.
Naturally, paying someone to "hard code" an entire website, debug it for multiple browsers / devices, and make updates is the most labor-intensive and expensive way to go about it. The up side is that you get the most truly custom solution possible.
A content management system is less expensive, and may allow you to do your own maintenance, but is still not the "most affordable" solution. The benefit is a balance between cost, customization, and ease of use.
The most affordable and easiest to use solution is a 'website builder". If you're working with a limited budget and/or are determined to create and maintain your own website, then the website builder may be for you because the benefits include
Custom Templates for Ease of Use
Channel Islands Hosting™ website builder included dozens of professionally designed website templates for you to choose from. These templates are tailored to a wide array of needs, and you can easily add and arrange your own content to really personalize your unique website. No coding required.
Reduced Time & Cost
When you create your own site with the website builder, you can make changes with a couple of clicks. You don't have to take the time going back and forth with a designer / developer.
Since the website builder includes an array of templates to choose from and is easy to use, you can avoid the expense of paying someone else to get you on line. While we would never try to say that there's no value in investing in the services of a professional designer, the fact is that not all businesses can afford the expense.
Many businesses that launch their site with a website builder will later upgrade to a CMS or a fully custom coded site as the business grows.
The website builder includes access to a library of stock photos. These stock images can further save you hundreds or thousands of dollars because you may not need to hire a professional photographer or buy stock photos.
With the website builder, if you want to move an element on your site, you simply drag it to its new location and drop it into place. You don't have to code anything, and you don't pay anyone else to, either.
Of course, the other side of these benefits when compared to custom code or content management systems is that the options can seem limited. This is because website builders are geared towards non-technical people and the system designers "lock down" the parts where system users would be most likely to break their website and become extremely frustrated and dissatisfied.
So in conclusion, the more technologically robust the solution you go to purchase, the more expensive and flexible they become. You want the website builder if you want the lowest cost, easiest to use solution to publishing your website.