Clients don’t want to be annoying you to make small changes either. They would rather make them themselves, but they cannot handle code, which was why they employed you in the first place.
You might think that using a website-builder is a compromise too far, but if you offer user-editable website design as an option when you quote for a job, you might be surprised at how many clients jump at it.
Website Builder Pros and Cons
Clearly you need to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of using a website builder at all and to find the best one for your business. The big advantage of client usability is offset by a few disadvantages that you need to be aware of: You will need to either work around these issues or explain their consequences to your clients.
This could be your unique selling proposition. All website-building programs are user-friendly to a large degree; the interfaces are unique to each program and users will have their own preferences. You cannot allow users to choose however. This is an area where you need to use your expertise to decide which program to use.
Most website builders offer a sub-domain on their main site as the default option. Clearly this is never something you can accept. The work-around is a simple one. Using the client’s own domain will usually cost around $8 per month, an amount that you can easily cover in an annual service contract or in your original price.
You must have a white-label interface for the client to use. You do not want your client to see a logo for the software you use to build a site. The only logo you want on a user dashboard is your own one. This is not something you will need to explain, but it is something you should insist on in any website builder you are considering.
HostingThe Hosting market is undergoing an evolution. Dynamic as it is, most website builders use proprietary software that they insist on hosting on their own sites. This means that your clients will not be able to move hosts without rebuilding their websites from scratch.
Website Builders to Consider
WebydoWebydo is a new website design software aimed at professional web designers. With Webydo, web designers can build stunning websites from pre-designed responsive templates built and designed by other professional web designers as a base for their clients.
Being that Webydo is a B2B solution for web designers, you can potentially manage dozens or hundreds of clients within your dashboard.
Client usability is very high with the simplest interface out there that has a very easy learning curve and the websites are hosted on a reliable cloud infrastructure.
There are various plans, ranging from $17per month that allows you manage 10 projects with unlimited email accounts and support all the way to $85per month for 250 projects, DIY Wizard, dedicated account manager, White label solutions and more.
WeeblyWeebly has been around for a long time. The company has a wide user-base with designers because of the features it offers.
Clients like the drag and drop user-interface and it is one that is very simple for a client to learn. Plans that include your client’s domain start at $4 per month, but only the $25 per month plan includes the SSL your client will need for e-commerce. Lower-cost plans use a Weebly checkout page for e-commerce, but these plans do not include tax/shipping calculators. Nor do they allow the sale of digital items.
When you sign up for the Designer platform Weebly offers you a white-label dashboard for your clients to update their sites. Prices to you are $8-$25 per site, though you can charge your clients more.
Weebly sites are hosted on the company’s own cloud servers, so there are data security issues that some clients will find unacceptable.
WiXWiX is a popular website builder because it is seen as low-cost and simple. Customers tend to stay with the company for years, so they must be reasonably satisfied.
The drag and drop interface is simple for clients to use and you will get few complaints.
Own-domain price plans range from $4 - $25 per month, though the $4 plan displays WiX ads and the $8 plan is very limited. The lowest price plan you should consider for your clients is the $18.40 (Unlimited) one. There is an extensive App Market where you can find add-ons such as email marketing and live-chat applications at an extra cost.
There is no white-label dashboard, so this program is less than ideal for a designer. Sites are hosted on WiX’s cloud servers and there is no possibility of exporting a site and moving it to another hosting provider.
If you are happy to compromise on your design tools then there are options that will allow you to build a great-looking site where your client will be able to make changes in the months and years to come.
The biggest drawback with all of these programs is the inability to move the site to a different web-hosting service. If the client does decide to move then a new website will be needed. That said though, most businesses redesign their sites every few years in any case, so this need not be a deal-breaker.
How important is it that clients be able to make minor edits without sending you an email? Is providing this ability important enough to compromise the software you use to design the site? Please share your thinking using the comment box below.
Daniel is a freelance writer who happens to be an internet marketing, web development and web design aficionado. When he's not writing he probably researches the latest trends in the web design and development scene to keep up to date for his various projects.