Whether you are just launching your business on the Internet or building a site for your already established business, you will need either a CMS or a site builder to get your job done properly. To take the decision, you must first understand what your business goals are. Depending on this, you can access resources which are available to you, like, skills, time and funds, for building and running a site.

What are website builders and CMS?

The website builder is usually offered by web hosting service providers to small business owners so that they can make their sites available for customers in the shortest possible time. The site builder helps in creating an online presence for a business. You do not have to possess technical know-how for using these online tools. As a user, you can easily design the web pages through an easy-to-use interface that will publish the pages once finished.

A Website Builder or a Content Management System?

The CMS, on the other hand, is a kind of software platform which will allow users to build, edit, manage, and post data which can be retrieved later on. There is a built-in search function which will help users to identify information and the platform comes with an editor tool which lets users type in and change data as digital text and media. The CMS runs on web servers which are hosted by the web host. Any designated user like a webmaster has the permission to access the CMS through an Internet browser. When he has logged into the CMS, he can then utilize its interface to add and edit site content.

Which is more useful for small businesses: site builder or CMS?

  • Faster Deployment: When you use a site builder, the learning curve is very less whereas for the CMS, you will have to give some time to learn how to use it to your advantage.  The website builder is essentially for companies which do not need technical skills. There are convenient drag-and-drop interfaces which will help you build attractive web pages with ample functions. So, small business owners who do not have a lot of time or money on their hands can use the site builder tools to publish their content fast. On the other hand, people lacking in technical expertise may find it difficult to use the CMS. There are some web hosts which offer CMS installations which in turn can simplify maintenance tasks making it easy for users to administer the website. Moreover, businesses usually do not have skilled IT staff that can customize these CMS-based websites. Therefore, it becomes necessary to retain professional designing staff.
     
  • Flexibility of Use: Website builders have limited flexibility which is why they cannot be scaled up for complex purposes. The sites which can benefit from such site builder tools are usually those which are meant for non-profit organizations or businesses run by creative people. On the other hand, the CMS will help you to create websites which can be customized for all kinds of businesses, small and large. It can also be used for building sites which may be suitably adapted to specialized needs and niche markets.
     
  • Hosting Advantages: Site builders are easy to deploy and their hands-on configuration makes them appealing to users. As business owners you can very well select a domain and start publishing your web pages. Small businesses usually do not have the expertise and the means to operate in-house servers. This is why they will have to sign up for CMS hosting from hosting services. Many web hosts provide free installations for CMS and businesses can easily create an online presence. What is more advantageous is that when you choose CMS hosting, you can save the data and switch to another host if needed; but changing services is not possible when you use a site builder.
     
  • Ease of Maintenance: The website builder is easy to run and needs no maintenance. As a user, you are free to change the pages whenever new features are available to you. The provider will be responsible for installing security updates and backing up data. But, the CMS need regular maintenance. When the hosting service does not carry out routine updates according to contractual terms, the site owner is expected to do this job. Either he can do this by himself or hire a person having enough expertise.
     
  • Prices: Businesses which select a website builder tool will have to pay fixed monthly rates depending on the features included in it. When the needs change, the business owner can decide if he wishes to move to another plan.

Businesses that choose a site builder pay a fixed monthly rate based on their selected service features. If requirements change, business owners can opt to move to a different service plan. But, on the other hand, like every other open source software, the CMS will not cost anything. As a business owner, you can pay more for some extra features or services to improve site functionalities. Most hosting providers will give CMS for free along with hosting contracts. There will be annual domain charges as well as some other costs which make CMS sites costlier than those built with site-builders.

To sum up, both the site builder and CMS achieve the same purpose, to establish online presence for your business. You have to review your funds, technical know-how, and feature needs before choosing one over the other. Those with limited skills and design expertise find the site builder easier and faster to use. Those which need a flexible and customizable site should settle for a CMS.

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