Recently we took a really long time to absolutely break down every possible angle on these so-called online site builders. These browser-based WYSIWYG editors enable mere freelance designer mortals with no coding experience to create whole sites from scratch. We had a lot of fun detailing the technology, as well as providing whole reviews of some of the larger offerings out there, and now that we’re done on that front, we thought we’d share some of that knowledge with you.

What is an Online Site Builder?

If you’re unfamiliar with the technology, the basic idea behind an online site builder goes something like this: You log-in to a service provided by the online site building company, and then you are immediately presented with some kind of HTML-based dashboard. This dashboard allows you to start instantly laying out design elements, creating a site directly from within your browser. The format of these layouts and the elements that you are allowed to edit range greatly from developer to developer, but on the whole, you can expect some sort of drag-and-drop interface to get you on your way. The idea behind this is relatively simple:

With a basic online site builder at the wheel of your website design, you need not have any coding knowledge whatsoever. Absolutely none. You need only know how to drag a design element into place, customize its text and appearance as allowed, and then publish the whole kit and caboodle onto the Web. This option isn’t for everyone (more on that in a little while) but if you’re looking for such an option, it can be a really powerful tool for site creation.

Immediate Hosting

Another important aspect to understand about online site builders is their potential for immediate hosting. If you choose to create a site with a site building service, they will more often than not host the whole thing for you right out of the box. This can not only save time, but in a lot of cases, and also save you quite a bit of money.