I’m going to be brave and go out on a limb by saying that many affiliates probably didn’t get into affiliate marketing so they could be web builders. Of course, now that you’ve given it a whirl maybe you're starting to enjoy it (cough, cough), no seriously it can actually be a lot of fun.But something that could be cramping your style and sucking your will to live is if you're using the wrong web building software. So if you want to know how to find the best web editing and building software for you, then read on.
Some time ago we reviewed some web building products and while we will briefly mention a few programs here, we will be focusing more on how you can avoid the mistake of struggling with ill-fitting web building software.
As much as I would love to review all the different web building software programs out there, that’s just not practical. It seems after some of the early success stories of the dotcom boom, such as Sausage Software’s HotDog web editor, every enterprising programmer locked themselves up for months on end to achieve similar fame and fortune. Go to a download site such as Tucows and you’ll see what I mean – there are approximately 80 products available in the WYSIWYG web designer category alone!
So instead of spending your precious time running around the internet trying every program until you find the right one, narrow your search down by first listing your specific requirements.
Tick off the checklist below and in no time you'll be looking for your perfect fit and setting yourself up with the best web building software for YOU!
But what about automated website builders?
Before we proceed with the checklist, we just need to cover off the automated website building packages that are available. These are great if you just want to get in and drive and can’t be bothered popping the hood and fiddling with HTML or the backend of a website. These all-in-one site builder programs (e.g. XSitePro) allow you to build an entire site from scratch using an interactive wizard. They do cost but they can also save a lot of time, especially if you're creating multiple sites.
Another option may be WordPress and while this requires a little more knowledge of website building it’s free and once setup is easy to maintain.
I really want to do my own website building!
If you really want to build your own website, then review the points below before settling on your website building weapon of choice. It could save you a lot of grief and time!
- What platform will you be running your software on? – This is becoming less of an issue with many Mac users able to run a Windows session, but still worth considering as some packages specifically designed to run on a given platform.
- Are you a professional web designer, web developer, small business owner or web newbie? When considering this question think more in terms of where you are now, not where you hope to be (unless you plan on investing some serious time up-skilling yourself!). Many affiliates would fall into the small business owner category as they don’t want to invest too much time in web development (elbow-deep in code at 3am every morning!) but at the same time only have themselves to rely on to get their site setup.
- Do you need WYSIWYG? Wizzy-what? WYSIWYG or ‘What You See Is What You Get’ is an option some programs provide that allow you to view and edit the page as it will look on your website. If you are still learning the ropes it’s recommended you choose this feature.
- CSS – CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, is what determines the aesthetics of your site and can prove to be a thorny issue for website builders trying to keep all the different browsers happy. It’s recommended you try to find a program that will validate the CSS you add or edit.
- Support – Does the program enjoy the backing of a large online community including support forums?
- International – If you have your sights set on a market outside of your own language group then check for international, or language, support.
- FTP – Most web developers will be uploading or editing files using an FTP connection. Check the software offers easy and effective FTP support. Komodo Edit lets you manage several different FTP accounts with ease.
- Cost – Possibly the most important consideration for many will be price. Professional editors like Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft Expression 2 will cost you a few hundred dollars but are generally feature-rich and intuitive.
So now that you’ve got your shopping list sorted it’s time to get out there and find the tool that ticks all the right boxes. You can use this interactive quiz to show you a list of website builders based on your criteria.
A quick word of warning - after the initial thrill of installing your new software has worn off you may need some perseverance as you go through the learning transition that all new software puts us through. Stick with it and you can enjoy the benefits of building websites with greater ease and more speed than ever before.
If you already use some website building software, tell us why it's your preferred program to use! I used FrontPage 2003 in a previous life but now use Komodo Edit 5 and it has two thumbs up from me (especially the price!).