Every crisis is an opportunity in disguise.
And there are several disguised opportunities that you might encounter. When struggling against tough times – financial, internal, external, local, national, or even global – having a digital presence can help. And a website is the starting point of your digital presence.
You can keep your clients and partners in the loop about what’s happening. Maintain trust by letting everyone know how your organization is tackling the situation. You can shift your business from ‘offline only’ to ‘online as well’. And accept online bookings and make online sales. A website can be your ultimate savior in tough times.
But when you are already facing a crisis, you won’t have time or resources to look for a web design agency. And you can definitely not build an internal team of web developers. Website builders are the quickest, most affordable, and simplest options to consider.
What Is A Website Builder?
A website builder is a software product that helps users develop a functional and visually appealing website without having to code.
It could be downloadable software that can be used offline. Such builders use your device resources and work without an active Internet connection.
Cloud-based website builders are another popularly used option. The online SaaS offerings let users work anytime and anywhere. (Given Internet access is available.)
Note: This guide talks about online website builders unless otherwise stated. Offline website builders are scarce and rarely used.
Most website builders come with an easy-to-use drag and drop builder. Hosting, SSL certificate, domain name for the first year are included in the fee. And you can choose from several themes, plugins, integrations, and widgets.
Website builders are available for use on a subscription basis. You don’t own the product, but for
an affordable monthly (or annual) payment, you can use the tool to create and maintain your website.
Why More Do You Need When There’s A Crisis At Hand?
Why do I need a separate guide to learn how to choose a business website builder in crisis time?
Won’t the regular process of choosing a website builder work if my business is in the middle of a crisis?
No, a regular guide won’t work. Unique situations require unique solutions. A website builder that would have been good enough normally might not even be worth consideration during a crisis.
Features that you would have been able to do without in ordinary situations might become crucial when a crisis strikes.
This guide aims to help you pick a website builder when you are hard-pressed for time, money, and resources.
Choosing a Website Builder in Times of Crisis
Six things to look for in a website builder – Time of Crisis Edition.
The best website builder for small business would be the one that offers speed. In every aspect. The website should be fast loading. [40% of website users wait no more than 3 seconds for the website to load. They abandon the site if it takes longer.]
And the process of creating that website shouldn’t take long either.
Most website builders are easy to get started with. But a few options (WordPress.org, for example) take some time to get used to. Once you get the hang of them, you can easily build, customize and maintain your website. Ordinarily, it is a fair deal. You spend some time navigating a builder’s learning curve. In return, you understand how to make the most of its functionalities.
But in tough times, you need to get started quickly. Pick a website builder with the least learning curve.
Ease Of Use
Look at any random website builder for small business. Their marketing campaign would very evidently state that it is easy to use.
But not every website builder is actually easy to use. Only a few actually have an intuitive interface, a clean dashboard, and simple, understandable controls.
Now picture this. You get started with a website builder to quickly get online. But for hours you keep struggling to understand the controls and settings.
You don’t want that, right? You just want to create a website without feeling like you are asked to maneuver a plane using the crazy cockpit controls that you don’t understand. You need a quick take-off.
Ease of use becomes much more important when things look gloomy doomy.
When you build your own website, you obviously want to save the dollar bills.
Even a couple of dollars each month might seem like a heavy price to pay. Free hosting, SSL, domain name for the first year, backup and restore – these become more important during a financial crunch.
Also, no-cost trials and free plans become more of a need than a ‘nice to have’ feature. When your business’ bank balance sits fat and proud, you won’t mind paying for even the website builder’s top plan.
After all, I’m getting what I’ve paid for!
But when your finances are on a quick downward spiral, parting with the cash becomes tough.
Look for the most loaded basic plans. Those are the ones that’d attract you. But don’t make decisions now that you’d regret later. The lowest-priced plan might be what you need right now. But pick a builder that offers other plans too for when things stabilize, and you are ready to scale.
SEO and Social Media Functionality
Search engine optimization and social media success are long-drawn processes. Your website won’t rank on #1 in Google search results overnight. But when you are struggling to keep your business from tanking, you need to be able to reach the top faster than it usually takes.
Of course, a website builder without SEO toggles and social media linking facilities is a colossal waste of your time and money – crisis or no crisis. But when you are in the middle of an unpleasant situation, you’d want to look for the most robust (but simple to use) SEO and social media functionality. Look for an assortment of basic and advanced tools that aid website optimization.
Skim through the feature list of the builders you are considering. Look for SEO wizards, the ability to edit and customize meta titles and descriptions, alt tags, canonical tags, mobile optimization, social media linking, email marketing, and 301 redirects.
Security and Support
The best small business website builder is the one that has crack-proof security. Your backend, your site user’s accounts, their data, and your database need to be safe.
You would also need quick backup and restore facilities, either from customer support or using a quick-install plugin.
When it comes to support, FAQ pages, video tutorials, and online community also work well. But that’s when you have the time and sanity to use those.
In situations that throw you off-guard, you need quick customer support with minimum turnaround times.
Email support with 24 to 48 hours turnaround time – Not useful.
24/7 on-call support and live chat – Exactly what you should be looking for.
Customization and Flexibility
When looking for the best website builder for business, you cannot forget its customization and flexibility. That’s too important a parameter to skip even when everything is alright, let alone when you are tackling the demons of stress and pressure.
During a crisis, you’d feel like all you need to do is get a website built quickly. Now, that sounds logical. But you still cannot get online with a website that looks like a carbon copy of a hundred other sites. That would just snowball the crisis you are facing.
You need a decent collection of free and paid templates, plugins, widgets, third-party integration options, customization controls, and the flexibility to tweak things as per your whims and wishes.
The website builder should help you create a unique website that can be modified in a jiffy.
Tackle Tough Times With The Right Website Builder
A website will help your business tackle tough times.
Use this guide to pick a problem-solving, crisis-resolving business website builder. Then create a website and get started towards damage control today. Survive, strive, and thrive.