A homepage building kit is a user-friendly drag-and-drop solution that enables even newcomers without programming knowledge to create a professional website with comparatively little time. With it, you bring content, such as text blocks, picture galleries and videos, with a few clicks to the desired place on the page. Many of these editors give the user a hint when placing these elements outside of a defined design frame and thus out of visibility. These measures ensure responsive presentation on a variety of devices. We took a closer look at the offers of six homepage kits and compared them. These include well-known providers like Jimdo, 1 & 1 and a few more. This is followed by a comprehensive guide that clarifies what Homepage Builders have to offer and what to look for when choosing a quote.
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What is a homepage building set?
Many private individuals and entrepreneurs want their own homepage, but have a certain respect for the complexity and the time they suspect behind the website creation. You may have already begun to read into the topic, but due to technical terms like templates, web typography, CSS or HTML resigned. But you can also make the entry into the creation of your own homepages without discouraging literature and much simpler: Website builders offer users the opportunity to start website creation without first installing any software on their computer or in cumbersome source code editors to have to program around. Instead, the operation is platform-independent via an Internet browser.
Users save on such a kit not only the installation, but also the updating of the software takes over the provider. The advantage for the customer: He always automatically uses the latest version with the latest features – a huge time advantage. In addition, interested parties can start building the website immediately, The insertion of the desired content goes unnoticed intuitively from the hand. In our text, we focus on these online home page builders. They can be described as a highly simplified form of a content management system (CMS). In the kits, all technical functions are grouped together in a graphical interface for beginner-friendly operation. The use is platform-independent via an Internet browser.
Own website has become indispensable
The way people inform themselves about companies and their products and services has changed a lot. If word-of-mouth tips were previously used locally or if the regional Yellow Pages were used for search purposes, Internet search engines like Google are playing an increasingly important role nowadays. With the growing mobility requirements, which are especially exposed to the younger generation, frequent changes of location and relocations are connected. Therefore, these individuals are more frequently informed online about offers in unknown surroundings. Retailers and service providers without an Internet presence are therefore simply not noticed, which has a negative effect on sales in the medium term.
German companies have a lot of catching up to do
Despite the actually clearly given need had to numbers of the industry association Bitkom in 2013, one in five small and medium-sized companies have no own homepage. For self-employed, this number should be even higher. Even very small companies and craft enterprises give away great potential in this regard. The range of their own company would be comparatively cheap to expand. A homepage kit helps users create a professional website. Site builders should pay attention to the quality of their work: Spelling and grammar of the content to be conveyed must be as error-free as possible in order to convey a serious impression.
Advantages of the homepage modular system
Just a few years ago, creating a website was a little science in itself. Those who did not dare to do their own programming usually resorted to an internet agency in the past to have a website programmed. However, these orders can be well paid by the web designers working there, which was quickly becoming unaffordable for small and medium-sized businesses. Moreover, not every project requires such a comparatively large effort. For all users who do not want to pay exorbitant prices for a project of moderate size, clever marketing strategists have come up with the concept of the homepage construction kit. In this system, the individual design elements, apps and widgets are captured in a browser-friendly interface.
Similar to a toy construction kit users connect the individual stones, so the different functions together and create a large whole: the finished homepage. Thanks to the predefined elements, users will, in any case, achieve a result of decent quality that conveys professionalism – a clear advantage over websites that are created without such a system. At the same time, the variance within a modular system ensures that more and more pages can emerge. In addition, in the home page kits – similar to the counterparts in the nursery – a certain fun factor included: It may be tinkered so long until a coherent overall result. The individual providers differ in terms of the creative freedom that they allow customers.
Biggest advantage: Just start right away
From the moment users choose one of the provider packages, they can begin to fill the pages with design elements and texts without any delays. Since the operation is directly via one of the common Internet browsers Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, eliminating the sometimes complex program installation. Since this is an online system, the operating system is irrelevant. Assuming an existing Internet connection, working anywhere in the world is possible, even in workgroups.
Another feature of the homepage modular system – in addition to the simple and user-friendly operation – is the high collectively agreed flexibility: Users book different packages depending on the given requirements and cancel or change them as soon as the need changes. The flexibility is fully maintained by usually one-month notice periods: If the project grows, customers have the opportunity at any time to expand the function package by adding new features such as a webshop, more storage space or analysis tools. On the other hand, if the user finds that he no longer needs the new functions or the measures taken do not contribute to his satisfaction, he can terminate individual packages at short notice or downgrade them to a smaller package.
No technical requirements for grooming
Previous homepage creators used to use rather complicated content management systems to fill in the contents or even load the files manually by means of an FTP program onto a web server, these steps are no longer necessary with the modular model. The homepage builders rely completely on user-friendliness: the surfaces are therefore often reminiscent of familiar office applications. The user sets the content easily drag and drop to the location on the page, to where they actually appear later, Also, the subsequent revision or moving content is greatly simplified in this way. Above all, this plays into the hands of technically less experienced newcomers: If they had to familiarize themselves with the programming of the site and the transfer of content before, they now have time to focus on the essentials – filling their own website project with relevant content, Many vendors provide guides to unify text blocks, images, and other apps.
Despite monthly fees in the long term cheaper
If the user faces the monthly costs of a homepage construction kit compared to the one-off fees charged by a web designer, one would think that the latter option would be cheaper due to the invoice fee which is only due once. A website designer quickly calculates over € 1,000 for the mere creation of a homepage. These costs do not include maintenance and update services. With assumed monthly fees of between 5 and 25 euros depending on the tariff, users can subscribe to a homepage modular tariff for several years and be supported by customer service in the event of uncertainties. In addition, users have to include in this calculation that they can change the template or adapt the design of many homepage builders for free.
Such a conversion can pay a web designer in an Internet agency again expensive. Therefore, using a home builder kit and paying the monthly fee is by no means more expensive in any case. In addition, the meanwhile, for the most part, very high quality of the websites created in this way indicates that the self-made homepages are no longer inferior to those professionally created by Internet agencies. The success of a website is largely supported by regular updates. A self-designed page regularly populated with new content is likely to be more successful than a purchased, rarely or never updated purchased website.
Later change possible with changed wishes
If the homepage operators should not be happy with the self-created homepage at a later date, it is possible to have them recreated by a web designer. The further use of certain templates, however, is not possible in all cases, as these were partly designed for exclusive use in the kit suppliers and therefore users can not port them to a new provider. The various modular variants are therefore perfect as an entry into the Internet age. Both private individuals and small and medium-sized businesses can easily and quickly access the World Wide Web in this way.
Basic functions and extras
With the aid of a homepage construction kit, small and medium-sized companies, freelancers and private individuals can bring their homepage to the World Wide Web cost-effectively and quickly. A distinction must be made between the basic functions that are included in just about every package and extra features that users receive by booking a larger tariff package.
In addition to the extra features, which are a nice addition to customize the website even more individual, there are a number of essential basic functions that are no alternative: without them can not create a professional page.
Creation and implementation of content
One of the main functions of a home-kit is the possibility of content such as text, images and video user-friendly drag-and-drop to where you want it on the website place. The WYSIWYG function guarantees that the element will later appear exactly where users insert it.
Responsivity: More friends on mobile devices
In addition, a responsive website is very important even for small website projects. This guarantees that it automatically adapts to the optimal resolution of the retrieving device. This is of increasing importance because user behaviour has changed: more and more people are also calling websites via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. If the service is uncomfortable due to a non-compliant website, potential prospects leave it ahead of time.
Freedom in the design design
An important factor in whether a website can graphically be a unique selling point depends on the question of how many templates the provider makes available and which creative individualization options the design templates offer. The larger these are, the less likely it is that the finished product will resemble other websites. Thus, the creators create a theme page with high identification and recognition value. Templates that tailor vendors to specific industries are also very helpful: they encourage users to insert important elements such as an imprint or a route sketch. For homepages that have an online shop, for example, offers an overview of the delivery conditions.
For beginners to design a web page falls generally easier if they have the opportunity, drag-and-drop to insert the individual contents, reposition or delete. A good tip is always to use your own images as a page background. In this way, users achieve a stylistically individual overall picture. The templates allow a very high degree of flexibility: You can have text blocks appear as one, two or three columns and feed them with pictures, media elements or videos. This has a relaxing effect on the flow of reading and encourages compared to a text in block-type far more likely to continue reading. Long text blocks, on the other hand, are tedious; the likelihood that page visitors finish reading a text is lower here.
Editing via mobile devices
In the fast-paced digital age, it can happen that changes to the website are necessary at short notice and also on the move when on the move. Although it is more difficult to operate on smartphones and tablets because of the lower resolution than on a desktop PC or laptop, the possibility of making small corrections quickly is very important to many users. A separate app for such changes offer four out of six vendors in our review, namely WIX, Jimdo, 1 & 1 and Weebly. Here, users also see detailed visitor statistics. A mobile editing on the website is uncomfortable in the vast majority of systems or simply not possible.
Basic functions are usually not sufficient
Customers should expect from cheap or free packages no wonder in terms of space and available traffic. Once the included storage space is exhausted, users can no longer place new content on the page. An unexpectedly high number of visitors on the homepage can be responsible for the fact that visitors navigate only very slowly through the individual homepage areas. In some cases, it is even possible that the website is temporarily unavailable. At the latest then it is time for the operators to look for another tariff package. Some providers have models with unlimited storage space and unthrottled bandwidth in the portfolio.
Extra functions: Crucial little things
In addition to the basic functions that each homepage building set has to have, providers place different emphasis on the additional functions that can motivate visitors to stay longer on the page or to visit them more regularly. This may be due to increased ease of use, additional information or a regularly updated blog. A standard website contains the most important information, such as the range of services, contact information or directions. In addition, there are many ways beyond that to make homepage multimedia and to increase the popularity of a page and build brand loyalty. Also, additional service functions are conceivable. The possibilities for website operators are incredibly diverse.
A contact is a modern communication, the person in charge or on the Web site users reach businesses, without having to worry about opening times or employee capacity. Even a message written in the middle of the night or a message submitted at peak time reaches the recipient and is processed as soon as capacity is available. A big advantage, as compared to a telephone hotline, which is simply not reachable in such cases. Unlike an e-mail, users do not need to open a separate program such as Outlook, but simply type their request into a provided form.
Another up-to-date contact opportunity exists via social networks, such as Twitter, Google+ or Facebook. Followers and friends also ensure a higher perception of the company or project within the network. To this end, website creators insert appropriate buttons on their website.
Map or route planner
First of all, it is of interest to potential customers where companies or clubs represented on the Web are based. It will be even more pleasant for customers if an additional sketch is attached. The royal road is the integration of a route planner, for example through Google Maps. In this way, visitors have the opportunity to view the exact location or directly create a route.
Online shop enlarges customer base
An online shop ensures that the products of the provider can be perceived and purchased by a much larger clientele.
Blog? Loyal readership!
A blog is the ideal tool to inform customers about news and encourage them to, to visit the website again soon. Another very important point: A blog helps with search engine optimization. If they are regularly filled with new, high-quality content, search engines rate that positively. This sorts the page higher in the Google Ranking, which in turn results in higher visibility and more crowded traffic.
SEO tools show potential for improvement
Website owners can use visitor analytics tools to measure data such as the source of the link, the time visitors spend on each subpage, and potential online store activity. Based on this data, the owners turn on the set screws of the page, so that the range and sales continue to increase. In addition, there are a variety of app and widgets at the various providers, which can integrate the creators on their pages. These are small graphics elements that serve either for additional information or for operation via mouse, keyboard or touch display. Examples of such applications are:
- Photo, video or document area
- Newsletter subscription box
- Login boxes for logging into a closed area
- Inventory display
- Calendar with reservation function
- Customer assessment tool
- Banner with advertisements
Which tariffs are suitable for the respective users?
Depending on the type of project, technical requirements and the number of expected website visitors, different packages can be considered. The providers not only have a model on offer but offer various packages that contain other services in a graduated form such as more storage space, bandwidth or extra features. In general, the more functions the user wants, the deeper he has to get into his pocket. Therefore, the comparison is worthwhile.
Free Package: Rather to try
Many suppliers of the homepage kits offer free packages. However, these are subject to a number of disadvantages and are therefore actually only for trying out the services. Above all, the free variants offer only a fraction of the storage space and the range of paid rates. As a result, it can quickly happen that there is no room for new content or that the website is overloaded due to too much concurrent access and is no longer accessible to visitors. An even worse disadvantage: All providers turn in the free rates advertising.
This can be in the form of banners that contain ads for your own or external products. Another problem is that users have the option not usually, your own domain to connect. In this case, you must be content with a subdomain that contains vendor advertising (such as themen-homepage.example.com). Such an address not only looks unprofessional and is difficult for customers to remember, it can not be taken to a new provider due to the name addition. After a satisfactory test of such free versions, however, an increase in one of the higher packages is always possible and should be considered. The free packages are only for sniffing but are not suitable due to their limitations for commercial purposes.
Base Rates: Convenient and with all basic features
In contrast, the low-priced payment tariffs are free of advertising in almost all cases. In addition, there is usually the opportunity to book a new, ad-free domain or take an existing domain to the new provider. As a rule, these are offers that
- depict the cheapest price level,
- completely refrain from advertising and
- enable the use of a separate domain.
These tariffs are therefore usually suitable for small and medium-sized projects and companies that have no special requirements for their website. This solution is suitable for smaller craft businesses, the self-employed, bloggers and small to medium-sized companies who want to introduce their company and the business.
Larger rates for special requests or large customer flow
Medium and large companies, which expect a large number of website visitors and in which several employees look after the homepage at the same time, it is recommended to book one of the larger packages. For this, customers receive a great deal or even unlimited storage space and bandwidth in order to be prepared for an onslaught on the homepage. For some providers, the more expensive tariffs also offer preferential support, for example by switching to separate telephone hotlines or by providing additional service times.
For technical problems, this service can pay off. In addition, tools for SEO optimization are often included. These are programs that help to improve the ranking in search engines like Google be shown. Because: The “higher” the website appears in a search list, the greater the reach and the more customers potentially hire a service or buy goods from the online store. These users are therefore largely concerned that there is enough storage space for all content and products in the webshop and the server can withstand even heavy user loads.
Outlook: Building Kit, Content Management Software or Web Designer
Characteristics of homepage building set systems (about Jimdo, Wix, Weebly)
- No installation necessary, use cross-platform via a browser
- Simple, graphics-based user interface
- Simple usability: drag-and-drop capabilities and WYSIWYG editor
- Moving to another provider in most cases not possible
- Expert settings, about caching not readily usable
- Mostly program interface and hosting as well as domain from one source
- Customizable to a degree
- Program and security updates automatically entered by the operator
CMS – Differences to a homepage building set
A content management system (CMS) is very popular, because enormously diversified and suitable for any website solution. With such a system, users with the appropriate expertise realize every imaginable type of online presence. Although there are various ways to simplify the operation graphically, but it requires in comparison to the home page kit a lot of getting used to in the program to find their way and limit the wealth of possibilities so that the selection is suitable for the particular project , In addition, such software allows content to be shared with other users on websites, modified and accordingly easier to organize.
One of the main differences of a CMS compared to a homepage building set: The customers can customize the appearance, the menu structure and the layout of the page completely contrary to the templates of the homepage building sets completely unrestrictedly. There are no limits to creativity in the CMS solution. However, CMS also has a number of disadvantages: Unlike the kit, a content management system usually needs to be installed on a software compatible operating system.
This is usually a server that hosts this software and needs to run before any content can be set. Sometimes programming skills are required to install such a system, This form of website design also requires a greater amount of time and maintenance: the users themselves have to take care of the correct installation and regular program updates. In the case of home page kits, on the other hand, the provider takes over this step. Users automatically use the current program version. So while the homepage kits all services come from a single source, users have to ask for other factors, such as
- a compatible database and
- desired templates
take care of yourself. On the other hand, the user also has immense advantages: While users of a homepage building block can not easily port content to another provider due to various restrictions, such as the available templates, this is when using a content management system in the Usually possible. With the CMS, users transfer the administrator interface (the backend), the design structure and all content in their entirety to the new provider in the event of a move. Afterwards, all the usual homepage functions are available to you at the new hosting provider. In addition, with this technique expert settings, for example with regard to the “caching” possible. This is usually not possible with the modular models.
A third possibility: commissioning of an internet agency
Users wishing to have their own internet presence, but who do not trust either the creation of content management software or the homepage building set, have the option of commissioning a web designer with the programming. This also takes into account special customer requests regarding a professional website. Although the variant means the least amount of work for the clients, it is also associated with the highest costs. Compared to the other creative options, it is the most time-consuming, but at the same time, the easiest solution for the user as it completely leaves responsibility for the project out of hand.
All variants have this in common
The solutions do not differ in two ways: Via the frontend, ie the finished page visible to the visitor, visitors can not recognize with which of the variants a homepage was created. Also on the visibility of a Google search has the choice in accordance with professionally executed search engine optimization measures have no effect.