Early on in the website creation process, owners will need to decide between using a website builder or a Content Management System (CMS). Although the result is the same, with both types of software aiding in creating and managing a website, choosing wrong can lead to significant problems down the road.
The Difference Between a CMS and a Website Builder
Website Builders are essentially a one-stop website creation tool. They do not require website owners to add anything to their computer, nor do they need a user to find a separate host. For this reason, a Website Builder is often the preferred choice for someone who is just starting or has a very simplistic website. The limitation with this model is that a Website Builder will only run on the platform’s servers, therefore eliminating the possibility of a user ever transferring their website elsewhere.
To compare, a CMS is software that has the sole purpose of organizing and managing a content strategy. A CMS ensures the website owner fully owns any content they create. Furthermore, since the decision on CMS hosting is the website owner’s responsibility, there is no tie to a specific platform. In fact, with the extra flexibility, users can determine the exact amount of pages and content they want.
So, is the right call a Website Builder or a CMS?
Many new website owners choose a builder for the ease at which a Website Builder like Wix makes the creation process. However, as their website grows, many website owners decide they want to make more customizations, add new plugins or make adjustments for SEO. As a result, there comes the point where these same ones find themselves stuck since Website Builders aren’t as open-ended as a CMS. They also limit users’ ability to switch software platforms down the road since the content in a Website Builder doesn’t belong to the website owner.
What is Web Hosting?
In the previous section, we mentioned that a CMS offers flexibility regarding the web host that a user selects. For those unfamiliar, web hosting enables a website to be available to the public. Without the host, your website could only be viewed on your machine, defeating the entire purpose of having your own page.
To illustrate, consider that web hosting is like renting a room inside a house in many ways. While you have space to call your own, you also share spaces such as the living room, kitchen and maybe bathroom with your flatmates. A good flatmate might make the entire experience enjoyable, even fun. On the other hand, the wrong flatmate can leave you counting down the days until your lease is up.
Features to Consider In a Web Host
Choosing a CMS host is unavoidable. Therefore, website owners must carefully consider which provider offers the best combination of features, reputation, and quality. For guidance, users can use the list below to weigh available options.
One of the first considerations that website owners make is cost—as with any subscription, hosting services will offer basic services at an affordable price tier. Typically, users can expect to pay between $7-$12 a month for these services, which are likely to include the cost of their domain name. It is worth noting that hosting providers will often use low initial offers to attract new users, hiding increasing rates behind the fine print.
Alongside costs, users must consider performance. A good hosting platform will ensure that your website loads quickly, a factor crucial to your website’s rankability.
While website hosting is relatively simple, there will be times when help is needed. Therefore, before making your selection, it is essential to consider how you can contact help and how quickly they respond. Doing this due diligence will ensure that when you are in a pickle, you can receive help when you need it.
Website hosts will also sort plans by bandwidth since small businesses do not process as much data as large businesses. However, pinpointing the right plan for your website can prove to be challenging since too little bandwidth can cost you if you receive unexpected peaks of visitors.
Modern web hosts are easily accessible through a standard web browser and designed so that users can easily update their content and track visitor activity. For small businesses, ease of use can ensure that your team can step in to make updates, rather than relying on a technical expert that you may not have.