Week Three of of Building an On-line Business

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Compare and contrast your top three website building tools. Also tell why you chose these three.

Site Builders

There are a number of great tools to build a great looking website.  Many of them provide development services for free but do not provide host and domain options.  Others provide free development services, and domain registration with a host account.  The competition is steep and depending on what your coding experience will depend on what type of development software you will need.

Development software is relatively easy to use.  They have many drag-and-drop features that make designing easy.  The e-commerce capabilities are generally sufficient and the blogging ability is standard. There are form templates available and there is some capability to customize.  Most provide protocol to be used with any hosting company.  This makes it easy to design and import to your host.

Content manager software is general less drag-and-drop and the learning curve is higher but they are generally more customizable.  These generally have a greater ability to capitalize on e-commerce.

I chose to compare Squarespace, Wix, Weebly and Jimdo.  I chose these four because in all of the comparison sites these were the top four performers. All of these development software tolls have drag-and-drop options that are easy to use and do not have a very high learning curb.  They have a number of templates that are inclusive in whatever you could think of.  Support is available from each provider and they all have blogging and e-commerce capabilities.

One thing that I found to be a great feature was the membership creator that Wix and Weebly provide.  This feature has great potential and I find that in many cases this could be a determining factor when choosing a provider.

Squarespace has the best looking templates and has a wow factor that is not apparent with the other providers.  This can become an issue if you depend on the wow factor to drive business.  If you have other attractions that will bring in the business you may not need to have a such a flashy site.

Of the four tools, Wix is the only one that does not support mobile apps.  This is a critical issue in today’s market. You have to provide the mobility because we are a populace on the move.

Jimdo did not have any features that made it stand out above the others.  It was basic and functional but not filled with bells and whistles that the other providers had.

Weebly does not provide a free custom domain, and it is pricy.  This is odd since every other site provides a free domain with a paid account.

Tell which of the three tools you chose and why.

Of the four site builders I compared I found that Weebly would be my first choice because of the mobile app and membership creator feature.  The cost for the domain name is a drawback but can be overlooked because of the other features that are so attractive like the design flexibility and responsive themes.  The ease of use was also a very attractive feature and was in second place for the number of websites it powers.  Blogging and e-commerce were rated high

If you had to choose a host now which would you choose and why? You should be prepared to answer the following questions

  • Monthly cost.
  • Minimum number of months required for the price stated above.
  • Is the domain name included?
  • AdWords Credit amount.
  • Type of support.
  • Will the host easily support your chosen site builder?

Hosts

Hosts come in all sizes and shapes.  Your host company can make or break any on-line endeavor and so it is very important to do your homework and decide which one would be best for you.

The limitation on web space can be a critical issue if you are planning on having a lot of pictures, audio and video clips.  These monopolize space.  Most sites use less than 5MB; however, this can change depending on usage.    There are sometimes limitations on file type to HTML and GIF/JPG. Although these are the most common if you have a need for other file types you are sunk.

Reliability and speed of access can be very influential to the clientele you are attracting.  If you have a slow speed this will send you customers to other sites because we are an impatient market.  Another problem is if your site is down due to maintenance or other reasons regularly. Restriction on data transfer (traffic/bandwidth) is a problem as well.  This limits how many users can be on your site at one time.

One of the biggest issues however is customer support.  Is the customer support available 24 hours and how is it available.  When there is a problem with your site you need it fixed immediately.  Will you be on hold, either on the phone or waiting to a chat, or are they immediately responsive and available.

The second biggest issue is access to your site.  Do you have direct access and editing capabilities to your site so you can manage it or does it require technical support each time a change is necessary?  This can make a simple task very daunting and time consuming.

I compared iPage, bluehost, hub, and justhost.  Most of the features were very standard among the four.  I had to dig a little deeper to see what features the specifically advertised.  After carful comparison I have chosen justhost.  They have great pricing, money back guarantee, email and site builder options.  When comparing all four hosting companies these traits made the difference between the companies.

How could this lesson be improved to help you learn more or to make it more motivating for you to study and learn?

I think that there is some concern about putting together a web page.  This is an intimidating task for me and from comments on the discussion boards, I am not alone.  Committing to a Host and Domain, for me, require a great deal of thought.  This is partly because of the cost and partly because of the pressure to succeed.  I am not sure that the course curriculum could incorporate mental health assistance – lol

What was the most important thing you learned in this lesson?

I really appreciated the matrix.  There are some columns that I did not understand what to insert on the inputs sheet like Impressions and Avg. Pos. The process was very effective for me to determine what was involved in evaluating good ideas.  Some ideas scored great that did not look very promising, while others that I thought would be very impressive did not score well at all.

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