Site Builder Part 2: Overview of Functions and Features
You’ve got your website builder account sorted, now let’s get straight into how the features and their functions work. As with any artistic expression, messes will happen, and mistakes will be made. Think of it all as part of the process.
Of course, anything you aren’t fond of you can replace or undo, so you won’t have to throw anything out completely. So, get your virtual paintbrush ready and unleash your inner artist.
Choosing your template
The first thing you’ll need to do when you enter your website builder is decide on a template that’s suitable to your style. For example, if you’re looking to create a website for your portfolio, then a landing page or personal template might be a good option.
If you’re not about to waste any time and want to get your product or service out there, a business template might suit you better.
One thing to note is that while each template will have different features, all of them can be edited to suit your needs. That means you can craft a business website from a blog template, or whatever other skeleton you’d like to use as your base.
Features and their functions
After you select your template, you’ll notice the feature navigation bar at the top of your screen. Everything you’ll want to add to your website can be accessed from there.
Depending on the package you chose, you’ll either have access to the Website Builder Starter plugins and templates, or a host of extra options with the Website Builder Pro. If you plan to run an ecommerce website, you’d do well to get the Website Builder Pro as it has the required ecommerce plugins like carts, stores, pay gates, and other related necessities.
Plugins that are unavailable with your package will be greyed until you upgrade. Although, the Starter package has everything you’ll need to get a basic website up and running.
Before you get to creating your website, however, you’ll want to become a bit more familiar with the interface and what it has to offer.
To the left of that, you’ll spot a button that enables you to navigate to the different pages of your website and edit those. Naturally, you’ll land on your home page, but feel free to start wherever you please.
Left of the page navigation you’ll see the Publish and Preview buttons. This group includes a complete makeover using the New/Reset button, or the Undo and Redo buttons for more minor changes.
Right below the navigation you’ll notice a thin bar that lights up as you move your mouse over it. This shows the screen width for different devices, namely, mobile, tablet, laptop, and desktop. You can use this to arrange the size of your website to accommodate your target market.
The Layout feature allows you to set a skeleton for your website. Two columns? Three rows? Explore a layout that’ll split up each section of the specific page you’re working on in a neat, uniform manner.
Unless your website will consist solely of pictures, you’re going to need to add some text to it to help people navigate. The Text button gives you a couple of good templates to get your message across.
As you’d expect, this allows you to add an image to your website. You’ll be able to adjust the frame of the picture you choose. You’ll also find some common pictures that you can use to signify basic buttons for your website, like social media icons, arrows, envelopes, etc.
If you’d like to showcase more than one picture, the Gallery button would suit you best. Any one of the templates parades a list of pictures that can highlight your products or services, accomplishments, or simply a set of customer reviews.
The Media button gives you the option of adding video or audio to your website. If you’ve got a short clip showing your expertise, the media button can come in handy to help sum it all up nicely. This’ll save you some space on that particular page as you won’t need to add as many pictures to get the same message across, or a massive wall of text.
You’ll need to share your location if you’ve got a brick-and-mortar business. Fortunately, the Map button makes this a breeze. Simply choose a map that you prefer and get the API key from Google then insert it to your element properties. This will enable maps on your website.
The Shape button allows you to insert a specific shape onto your website to match your aesthetic. So, if you have a picture or text box that you feel would be best contained in a circle, this is the button to use that’ll bring that idea to life.
The Button button (it’s not a stutter) presents you with a choice of some commonly used buttons or keys to help guide visitors. They’re not limited to pictures and include text as well. A website without buttons is like a shirt with nothing to tie the left and right section together. So, button up!
You’re going to want to ensure your visitors can keep in contact with you. This can be done by offering a form for them to send mails, or a field where they can insert their details to be registered to your mailing list. The Form button takes care of that. It’s usually a good idea to add it to your Contact Us page.
A good menu is among the first things your visitors will see, and also helps them navigate the rest of your website. You’ll want to make sure you have a menu that looks aesthetically pleasing and matches the style and layout of your website. One with too many options can be overwhelming so keep that in mind when designing your website.
This section applies specifically to how your visitors will experience your website. So, if your website has alternative language options, this is where you’ll add it. Remember, this is separate from the Language button that’s part of the interface, which changes the language of the Website Builder itself.
Inserting a block can get multiple jobs done. It serves the same purpose as the template feature where you choose a block for a specific purpose and can edit it as you see fit. So, if you need to add an About Us section but don’t want to assemble it manually, you can get an easy solution with the Block button.
If you’d like to bring attention to your website’s blog section on a page that isn’t the blog, for example on the Home page, the Blog button can serve as an excellent teaser. You’ll have a choice of linking to your blog in different formats so as not to overpower the rest of the page while making it visible that there are some words ready to be read.
That about sums up the Website Builder and its features. Keep in mind that your website might not be perfect in the beginning, so drawing inspiration from your favourite websites can serve as a nice guide for what you want and don’t want on your website.
While there are plenty of creative ways to express your website as a concept, simple and uncluttered often works best.