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Website Builder Tools for a Hosting Company

title:Website Builder Tools for a Hosting Company

author:Rodney Ringler

source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/web_design_and_development/article_956.shtml

date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:20

category:web_design_and_development

article:

In today's very competitive world of web hosting it is hard for a hosting company to set itself apart from the competition. Prices, storage and bandwidth have become such a commodity that adding additional features is about the only way. One feature that is becoming popular is offering your customers a Website Builder tool. These tools allow a user to build a professional looking website in minutes without writing any code or having to be a technical person. They are great packages to attract the novice or beginner to your hosting company. Many find their web hosting company through the website designers they use. Now a hosting company can offer a website builder tool that bypasses the website designer and allows the web host to provide it all.

These packages vary in functionality and costs but they all provide the same basics. A user selects from a set of pre-built templates. The template is the graphic design or "look" of the website. The user then enters company information like name, logo, address, and email. Next you select which subpages you want and enter text and images for them. And finally, for the advanced packages, you select additional pre-built functionality to include such as a photo album, blog, forum, of shopping cart. That's it and you have a professional looking website. The user then has a control panel to log into to make changes, add pages, etc.

Some people love these packages and some people hate them. It really depends on your programming ability and goals. If you want a website that's easy to build and you doesn't need a lot of customization then these packages are great. If you are a programmer and want specific functionality or design then you will find these products very confining.

For this article we researched 4 products, SwSoft's SiteBuilder, SiteGalore, SiteReptile, and RV StieBuilder. In general, by size, costs, and features, SiteGalore is the largest, then SiteBuilder, followed by SiteReptile and RV SiteBuilder. We were disappointed with the response and website from SiteGalore. They did not offer prices or a demo on their website. They require a form to be filled out to request each of these, which we did, and have still not heard back after 3 days. All of the other sites have prices and demos right on their website. So, even though, SiteGalore is the largest we do not recommend them. We have found that value propostion means a lot in a business relationship. If you are one small customer to a large company then what kind of attention will they give you? If a site cannot be responsive when they are trying to sell you their product don't expect it when you need support.

Below is a table we have built comparing the costs and functionality of the 4 products. We recommend Swsoft's SiteBuilder first for it's overall features and low cost. If you need cPanel integration then SiteReptile is your best choice. RV sitebuilder is a new product and is still lacking some key functionality.

SwSoft's SiteBuilder

Price - $19.90/month($199 onetime fee) 100 websites

Control Panel - Plesk

Templates - 300+ templates

Pre-Built Functionality - photo gallery, e-shop, PayPal, blogs, voting

SiteGalore

Prices - Not online. No reply after 2 days

Control Panel - None

Templates - 900+ designs, 15,000+ templates, flash intros

Pre-Built Functionailty - photo album, blog, online shop, customized forms

SiteReptile

Price - $9.95/month($159 onetime fee) 100 websites, your brand

Control Panel - cPanel, Plesk, Ensim, DirectAdmin

Templates - 100+ templates

Pre-Built Functionality - news, polling, photo album

RV SiteBuilder

Price - $6/month unlimited, your brand

Control Panel - cPanel

Templates - 50+ templates

Pre-Built Functionality - page effects, guestbook

There are many more products on the market and this just 4 of them. We tried to pick 2 large ones, a medium one, and a small startup. All of these products will add functionality to attract the beginner website builder to your hosting plans. This will be well worth the monthly or one time license fee that they charge. The fees are relatively low compared to the functionality added to your company. We recommend all personal web hosting and budget web hosting companies add a website builder tool to their business.

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