Most people still believe that designing a website requires advanced coding skills. This can lead to the idea that if you want a professional-looking website, you need to hire a developer. But what if you’re on a budget? Well, website builders are a great alternative to hiring a professional website developer. You can make a website on your own and have it live by lunchtime!
In this article, I will overview ten website builders and show you how easy, straightforward, and affordable building a website can be.
Website Builders or Custom Sites
But first, what is a website builder?
It is a software that allows you to create your site’s layout without having to know how to code. To modify the site you only need to click and drag elements and add widgets. What is more, you will have access to well-designed templates.
Commonly, you will have access to several website builders if you have already signed up to a hosting provider. And even if you decide to buy the plan directly from a particular website builder, it is not that pricey either.
However, if you want a custom website, this might not be the best option. Rather than using premade templates or designs, you need to create everything from scratch.
The designs of the menus, the theme, will be modified according to your will. The minus point, as you may expect, is it will take much longer and could be very expensive since you will have to hire developers.
Website Builders are Great if You Want a:
Now, even though website builders can turn your site into many forms, it will show its potential for these categories:
- Personal Blog
- Writing sites
As such websites can function well even if they are very simple, website builders can be the best option.
Top 10 Website Builders in 2019
Now that you have known what website builder is, how it works, and what it can do to your site, let’s see the top ten list.
- There is a free version! Though it is limited in some features, the good thing is it still has the standard functions of a website builder: picking out themes and adjusting their layout.
- Wix’s ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) will get your site ready in less than two minutes. ADI or Artificial Design Intelligence will give you questions about your preferences. You will have a base for a website ready, which you can edit later on.
- If you want to create a website from scratch, you can use WIX’s editor to do just that.
- The layouts and themes are very well-designed. Even the free version offers visually pleasing themes to choose from.
- The autosave feature saves the day. If you accidentally close your browser, you can go back to editing straight away.
- You can see what your website will look like on a mobile device.
- The editing site is a bit heavy. If your computer is on a slower side, there might be issues with the loading speed.
- You will not find the live chat feature for real-time problem solving, which is disappointing. You will have to contact customer support through emails or calls. However, for calls, you will have to request to have a call first, meaning that you cannot have the solution to your issue right away. Basically, everything is solved through tickets.
WIX comes highly recommended. I am quite impressed by how easy it was to design my website. The editing layout is very intuitive. What is more, it offers a free service with beautiful template designs.
Not to mention, WIX is ranked first according to PC Mag with a 4.5 out of 5 rating and powers more than 100 million customers.
- Squarespace’s focuses on beautiful templates, that are best suited for websites based on visual content.
- All templates are responsive, meaning your website will look great on all devices.
- Similarly to WIX, Squarespace has a questionnaire, based on which you will be given a predesigned template.
- Squarespace offers you unlimited storage and bandwidth even with the basic plan.
- Customer support is available via live chat 24/7.
- Photographers and videographers would love the templates. Each SquareSpace’s template has widgets to feature photos and videos.
- The customization page is very intuitive and light. You can switch from editing one widget to another without much lag.
- There is no free version. You will only be given a 14-day trial.
- No autosave during editing.
- The plans are quite expensive compared to other options on this list. The basic plan will cost you $16 per month while the commerce plan will cost you up to $46.
Squarespace is not that far behind WIX. It offers awesome features such as unlimited bandwidth and storage and an intuitive editing process.
In fact, the only downside is the plan pricing. $16 per month to me is quite expensive for a website builder. The same price can give you a mid-level plan with premium features if you go with other site builders.
- This website builder has a free version, which comes with great features, including ecommerce options.
- There are no additional charges if you decide to cancel the plan at any time, as what the company emphasizes their “no commitment” policy”
- All of the revisions are stored for months. So if you decide to switch back to the version you made weeks ago – you are free to do so.
- Even unpaid users will get a free SSL certificate to add another layer of protection to your site.
- Storage is unlimited for all the plans.
- You can sign up with a business Facebook account which makes the set up that much faster.
- There are a few questions you need to answer that will let the software design your site for you.
- The customization is intuitive and the site is light too. The editing features provide everything you might need for your website.
- The layout’s categories are more aimed at businesses. If you are looking to create a personal website, the offered site categories might not fit your needs.
- The live chat has high downtime.
- There is no phone support if you decide to go with the free plan.
With all the features ConstantContact offers to its users, you should be happy with the free plan if your site’s intent is to create a small online store. But, if you decide to go big with your site, consider the paid plans.
The price is worth it anyway. With the Business Plus plan, you can sell many products at once. There is also no transaction fee that will help your business grow.
- Creating the site is very simple. First, there are three categories you will have to choose from: a blog, a store, or a regular website. Then you will be asked to choose a subcategory and choose the layout of your site. With two more questions, your site will be automatically designed.
- The dashboard is highly intuitive: features are all clearly placed and not shadowed by pictures or designs.
- All the template designs are responsive, so you don’t have to worry about mobile device users.
- There is an SEO feature built in to boost your site’s visibility on SERPs. You can edit the SEO title, meta and alt tags. With paid plans, you will have even more control and insights.
- Jimdo has an app that will allow you to work anywhere using your smartphone. It is available for both Android and IOS.
- This website builder has only 40 templates as of this writing. Though each template comes with its variations, the changes are minimal.
- Quite expensive. While you can use it for free, unpaid users will have limited features. However, the paid plans start from $9 up to $39 while some of the builders on this list start below $5.
- The storage is very limited. The free plan only offers 500MB. JimdoPro – a paid plan – provides 5GB. And you can have unlimited storage only if you pay $20 per month.
Jimdo is easy to use, intuitive and lightweight. Perfect for those who do not need excessive features.
While the small number of templates sound like a minus point for a site builder, this could also be a plus for users who want to minimize the customization process.
However, if you’re making a large website, Jimdo’s free plan is clearly not an option for you. You are limited in the matter of bandwidth, storage as well as some other features.
- Site123 has three steps for the initial set up. First, you will get to choose the type of site you want to make, then pick your site’s name and sign up with your email. The page will direct you to the website editor.
- The editing page is very intuitive. What is more, the first time you use the builder, you’ll get a video tutorial explaining what each function does and how to use it.
- It is SEO optimized. In the editor page, you will find the option to customize the title, description, and meta tags.
- The live chat feature in the Support Center page is quite useful. The response is fast enough. – from my experience, my question was answered in less than four minutes.
- No unlimited storage. You will get 500MB storage for the free plan while the most expensive plan provides you with 270GB of storage.
- You cannot change the template of your site after it is already designed. You will have to recreate the site which is a waste of time.
- The company’s subscription email sends you too many promotional emails. In one week alone, you receive up to 11 emails.
If you are looking for affordable pricing, this website builder might be a great option. Besides offering the free plan, the paid plans start at only $6.48 while the recommended one costs only $13.68 with great included features.
However, if you plan to create a large site, you will have to pass on Site123. Especially if you want to create a big ecommerce site, then the limited storage of all the plans might not be the best option.
- Weebly is a great option for those who want to design an ecommerce site. This website builder has plenty of amazing features for online stores such as a number of payment options, shipping fee calculator, automatic tax calculator and many more.
- The website templates are well-designed and suitable for a vast number of niches.
- The editor page is very intuitive and has plenty of tutorials.
- The setting up process is straightforward. You only need to select what kind of website you want to build, pick out the theme and start customizing it.
- There is a free plan available for you to try. What is best about Weebly is that most of the editing features can be accessed with no charge.
- Weebly provides a mobile app that is available in both the Apps Store and Google Play Store.
- Your site will get extra protection with an SSL certificate even if you sign up for the free plan.
- Phone support is available for all ecommerce plans.
- Not many theme options. Despite its pretty layouts, there are only 35 theme variations that you can choose from.
- Because most of the themes use high-quality pictures, the load time can be affected.
- Though it is said to be mobile-friendly, during the editing section, you are not able to add widgets or other information into your site unless you change it back into the desktop version. It limits your chance to customize your site from a mobile device point of view.
Consider Weebly if you plan on creating an ecommerce site. It offers great features and well-designed themes.
However, if you wish to have a light website for easy blogging, this might not be the best option. The site is filled with pictures that may take a while to load.
- A very intuitive homepage It tells you where to go and what you can do with your site. The Start button is clearly noticeable. You will find previews of templates and categories even before registering.
- Godaddy’s support center is top-notch. Its Global Support feature supports 51 different countries’ local numbers that work 24/7.
- The site supports 56 different languages with different customization. It means that the layout of the site and the currency used will adjust to your location.
- Each of the website builder plans has an SSL certificate.
- The real-time preview is very helpful. For example, when you choose the site’s category, a preview will appear on the right side of the screen.
- The pricing is affordable enough. For personal use, you can sign up for a website builder for $5.99 per month.
- The live chat support takes too long to load and respond.
- There is no free version. Yes, there is a trial version, but it only lasts for one month. After that, you still have to pay according to the plans.
- Not much access to customize your site. You cannot drag and drop like other site builders on this list. You can only choose the type of font, add images, and other simple elements.
Pick GoDaddy if you want a good package of website builder, hosting and a domain name.
However, if you want a free site builder and full access to customization, this is not the best choice. GoDaddy only offers a one month trial.
- The Website Traffic Stats reports back to you regarding your site’s performance. You’ll get useful insights regarding traffic, current visitors, bounce rate and so on.
- The free plan offers you all the needed features for a basic website. You will get a website hosting, photo galleries, free templates, and more – all for free.
- A built-in SEO feature is available for the paid plans.
- Doodlekit’s paid plan also offers you a custom domain name, unlimited bandwidth, and extra business features such as a shopping cart and a forum feature.
- The editing process is very simple. The dashboard is very easy to master due to the provided tutorials.
- Huge knowledge base and various tutorials, to help you out with any issues.
- The free version only offers you 100MB of storage which is very little even for a basic site.
- There is no SSL certificate with the free version. You can have it only if you go with the paid plans.
- The number of templates is very limited. Besides, the designs are also old fashioned compared to Wix and Squarespace.
- The maintenance is quite bad. When I visited the site on Monday 4th June 2019, the SSL certificate of DoodleKit’s official site was expired. This is a concern for those who care about your site’s maintenance and problem-solving.
For newbies out there, Doodlekit might be the best option for you. Though its interface looks outdated, it is actually very easy to navigate. The intuitive bars will guide users on what to edit next.
However, if you want to create a massive modern site for commerce or blogging, this might not be the best choice. The old fashioned templates might not suit your liking.
- There is a free version that offers you a subdomain, 1GB of bandwidth and 1GB of storage.
- The paid plans are quite affordable. You can get the basic paid one for less than $5 and the most expensive plan costs less than $20. All the paid plans offer custom domains and premium support.
- Stunning templates that will look good on any website.
- Even the free plan doesn’t run ads on your site.
- You can edit the templates to your liking with no fuss, no muss.
- The editor page is handy and friendly to new users.
- Yola operates on a cloud-based hosting meaning that your site’s traffic will flow smoothly without interruption. Secondly, conventional servers are available for backups. Lastly, the uptime for Yola’s websites is 99.9%.
- There is no live chat feature neither the free and paid plans. However, you will find a machine answered chatbox.
- SEO features are only available with the most expensive plan for $19.95.
- There is no Yola mobile app version to edit and publish your content. The system, however, has Mobile Publishing that functions as a mobile optimization tool. However, you need to pay to have this feature.
Yola’s free plan is the super basic site builder. Say, you want to create a simple site with the free version and have elegant themes, Yola is most suitable.
However, Yola’s free plan offers limited access to storage and bandwidth, 1GB each, which could be too small for a big site with high traffic.
My suggestion is to go right to the most expensive plan, simply because it offers unlimited storage and bandwidth, and SEO features.
- The free plan offers you access to 5 pages.
- The plan pricing is not too expensive. The basic one starts at $5.99 per month, the mid as well as the recommended one costs $12.99 and the advanced one is priced at $22.99.
- The paid plans offer essential features including social media integration, mobile view optimization, advanced web analytics, password-protected pages and many more.
- You will have access to the free and premium templates during the signing up process. This feature is valuable for you to assess how worthy are the paid templates.
- Creating a website design is very easy due to the intuitive editor. You can do drag and drop elements anywhere on the site. Furthermore, the functions are clearly positioned and easily understandable.
- Email support is available for both free and paid plans. The paid ones also offer advanced support features such as live chat support and phone support.
- All the paid plans provide web statistics to assess your site’s performance.
- The premium themes do not look that modern. I can actually find free themes with better layout design from other site builders such as Yola and SquareSpace.
- SEO optimization is only available with the most expensive plan.
- With the free plan will only get 40MB of storage and an advertised site.
If you want a free site, find another site builder. You will get extremely limited access to storage and support.
The paid plans, on the other hand, have many useful features. You can get SEO booster, unlimited storage, basic and advanced statistics, and more. Furthermore, Webs got a plus point for designing an intuitive editor page.
What to Look Out For Before Picking a Builder?
After reading all the pros and cons of the 10 website builders above, I can get to a conclusion that all of them offer basic functions but in different terms.
For instance, Weebly offers software that is ecommerce friendly but has fewer themes. On the other hand, Wix and Squarespace highlight the beauty of their themes and layouts.
So, what to look out for when choosing a website builder?
My first suggestion is to really know what you want to do with your site. It means more than choosing between a blog or an e-commerce site.
You need to estimate your traffic, think about the amount of content you’ll have on your site. If you’re aiming to reach a global market, the website builder should be multilingual.
Next, look for the site builder that suits your planning. If the free version offers all your wanted features, go with it. However, most of the time you’ll have to choose the paid options.
Most paid plans offer a custom domain name, which is a must for your brand. Having a subdomain attached to your URL won’t look professional.
Another point is storage. Take Webs’ free plan’s storage for example. It only offers up to 40MB of storage. If your dream is to have a travel blog with photos and videos, this is clearly is not an option for you.
Always take price into consideration. If you go with a paid plan, make sure to compare various website builders and choose the one who offers the most features for your money.
What’s Considered a Safe Bet?
Consider these following three builders: Wix, Weebly, and Yola. These website builders offer great prices, loads of features and great themes that will look good on any kind of website.
Let’s quickly review all the mentioned website builders:
- Wix – Affordable and packed with features
- Squarespace –Visually pleasing, has great support.
- ConstantContact – Plenty of storage, free, and secured with SSL for all plans
- Jimdo – Intuitive editor dashboard, but has limited features.
- Site123 – Fast sign up and set up, SEO-friendly.
- Weebly – Pretty templates, mobile app available for easy access to your site.
- GoDaddy – Superb Global Support, well-integrated products, intuitive real-time preview.
- Doodlekit – Very intuitive editor page but with old-fashioned templates.
- Yola – Affordable paid plans with good looking themes, and ad-free websites even with the free plan.
- Webs – Intuitive editor page but outdated templates.
Which website is your favorite? Drop a comment below!