Bluehost, a highly recommended web host by WordPress, offered an excellent quality website builder, so much so that I made this review post and associated video (see below). This website builder was a stand-alone offer and not built on WordPress.
It worked because it’s a structured page-building experience where you choose layouts for your header, footer, and body sections. For the body, you had many different “sections,” as they are called, at the click of a button.
It was a similar experience to what Squarespace offers and was an overall cost-effective, easy way to set up a business website or a simple online store. You can check what it was like in my tutorial video below:
“Bluehost builder” replaced by the “Bluehost Website Builder”
This is not just semantics; the “Bluehost builder” has been replaced by the “Bluehost website builder,” and the two offerings differ.
The original was an independent website builder, while the new “Bluehost website builder” is Bluehost’s onboarding process for creating a new website within your WordPress account.
It’s built on WordPress and the Wonder theme, a free theme that takes full advantage of the block builder WordPress provides as part of its CMS. If you did happen to build your business website or store with the old Bluehost builder, it is still supported:
Bluehost Builder came out first and is a stand-alone site builder (so it isn’t connected to WordPress). It’s still fully supported for anyone who used it to build their site; however, it’s no longer available to customers for new websites. As of the beginning of 2021, new customers will only have the option to use the new Bluehost Website Builder.Bluehost
The old an new website builders are excellent
I was surprised by how good the old Bluehost builder was for creating an effective, high-converting online store or business website. The current Bluehost website builder is equally suitable for a beginner who wants to set up a website without having to dive deep into the technical nature of WordPress.
There’s a reason the team behind WordPress recommends Bluehost. They make creating a website powered by WordPress accessible to everyone, particularly beginners with no tech or design skills.
The #1 recommended web host by the team behind WordPress. Now with an excellent WordPress website builder.
To have gotten started with their old website builder you’ll needed to purchase both a shared hosting account and a domain name.
Launching the Bluehost Builder
Bluehost offered a “go to builder” option when launching a new website. I suspect they removed this website builder because people were getting confused as many people who sign up to Bluehost, do so because they want to build a WordPress blog.
Anyways, this is what the “my sites” section used to look like:
When you navigated to adding a new website to your Bluehost account you used to be given two options: WordPress or to use the Bluehost builder.
To have launched the old Bluehost builder all you had to do was click on “use Bluehost builder.” It took a few minutes to install. As part of the setup process where you could choose your topic. This was important because the builder chose relevant stock images based on your chosen topic.
Design your website with ease
Bluehost’s website builder was easy and intuitive to use. But for a complete beginner there were few things to be aware of.
First, let’s explain the dashboard:
On the left, you had your main menu. Here, you could choose different sections to add to your edited page and select other pages to edit. Once you add a blog or a store to your website, you can also easily access those areas of your website from here.
Last, the “theme” option allows you to change the color scheme of your website, and the “stats” function is your analytics.
On the right is a sub-menu for the specific section you’re editing. Your website is divided into the header, body, and footer. You can choose different layouts for the header and footer. The body is where you add in “sections.”
Bluehost builder sections
“Sections” as they were called with the Bluehost builder, are what other website builders would refer to as blocks. You have over 20 different sections you can add to the body of whatever page you’re editing.
Each section had it’s own sub menu (which you will see on the left of the page) and different layouts to choose from. Simply add in whatever sections you want, choose a style you like, edit specific details of each section using their specific sub menu and move sections around by simply dragging the section up or down.
Bluehost builder settings
One last thing to cover is the settings tab. Under the settings tab is where you could easily edit the name of your website, upload a logo and a favicon and access the required on-page SEO meta description for your website.
The Bluehost builder came with a helpful feature to enable “accessibility” on your website for visually impaired readers.
Add a blog with Bluehost Builder
Adding a blog to your website could be more challenging with the Bluehost builder. Under the “sections” tab, you would have seen “blog” as a recommended choice. Click to add this section to your website.
You’ll now have “blog” added to your menu, and you can enable the blogging function with Bluehost’s builder. You’ll see an option to navigate to your blog in the left-hand sidebar.
Within the blogging dashboard, you’ll have a blue button to click on to add new posts or publish the post you’re currently editing.
With the blogging dashboard you can edit the title, meta description, feature image as well as easily add multi-media like pictures and video. The only thing missing from my testing is the lack of header tags.
Header tags (H2, H3 etc) help break up a blog post to make it more readable for the end visitor and help to search engine better understand what a page is about.
Adding a simple store with Bluehost Builder
Adding a store worked exactly the same way as adding a blog. Under your section option, store and blog would be “recommended” sections. Simply click “store” and the installation of the online store for your website will begin.
The store function was basic with Bluehost builder, but it’s enough if you’re someone who creates custom, unique products. Follow the step-by-step on-screen instructions. You’ll have to set a payment method shipping fee, add various products you want to sell, and create your storefront.
For payment, Bluehost pushes you towards using PayPal. PayPal is great for low-volume operations, but you’ll want to move to Stripe in the long term.
Sell digital or physical products
Once you complete the initial steps of setting up your online store, including payment and your address. You can then upload products to sell which can be digital products. The limit for uploads is 1 GB so you plan on selling video based material, you’re better off using a service like Gumroad or Payhip.
Altogether the store function built into Bluehost builder was simple and easy to navigate. If you sell physical products you’ll need to be manually shipping products yourself. For digital downloads, buyers can get access immediately.
All in all, the combination of a store that can sell digital products along with a blog make it a unique choice for bloggers.
Bluehost builder conclusion
The Bluehost builder was surprisingly good. Better than a lot of other website builders on the market. With it’s easy to use, structured interface and various section you can add with ease in addition to the ability to add a blog or a store, it’s a complete and comprehensive experience.
The only glaring downsides of the builder were the following:
- No header tags for the blog post editor.
- The SSL was not working, I had to contact support for them to enable it.
- The store is quite simple and more ideal for digital products.
Now, it’s been replaced by the Bluehost website builder that is built on top of WordPress. While I liked the old website builder, it does make a lot more business sense for Bluehost to offer an easy to use, WordPress website setup process for new customers.
I make their hosting more streamlined and focused without overwhelming new customers with a lot of options.