Working with a website builder can be a good choice for anyone who wants to create their own site.
While social media can be a good way to carry out personal or business branding goals, nothing does it quite like a dedicated website can. Having a website will lend you credibility, offer a polished representation of who you are, and provide you with your very own platform to share your content online.
Luckily for us, there are many options available that make it super easy to build a website.
Here are our top 7 website builders in 2020:
What Are the Best Website Builders?
Using a website builder is a good option for many reasons:
- They are much cheaper than hiring a developer to create a custom website which would cost thousands of dollars.
- You own your website and can easily log in to make changes to content and schedule updates.
- You won’t have to rely on a web developer for routine site maintenance. You can log in to make changes whenever you need to, and with no extra fees or time wasted.
- Setting up and publishing a website is fast and easy.
Now, we will take a closer look at our top 7 website builders. Each platform will be analyzed on factors such as price, performance, usability, and standout features. Not all site builders are created equal. Some function best for blogging purposes, some shine the brightest as portfolio tools, while others stand out as best for eCommerce solutions.
7 Best Website Builders in 2020
Squarespace - Best Overall
Squarespace is intuitive and its templates are sophisticated and bold, offering a lot of whitespace and room to showcase your work. Their platform offers sleek blogging, podcasting, photo gallery, and audio player features which often stand apart from other editors. As a result, you can easily achieve a custom-built look with low effort.
You have over 200 design templates to choose from, and their plans have no bandwidth or storage limits.
Squarespace is best for: those who need image-based websites to showcase art portfolios, podcasters, photographers, those in the fashion industry, designers
- High quality templates for website design.
- High performance and speed.
- You can use code if you like customizations, but you do not have to in order to achieve the celebrated Squarespace professional and polished look.
- All features are built-in, so you won’t have to wonder if a certain app or extension is compatible with your site.
- Since it is an all-in-one platform, their security is top-notch. Any attacks on your site will be the company’s responsibility, not yours. They maintain backups so your site will not be lost in an attack.
- No app store so you will have to depend on their built-in features.
- Although the layouts are crisp and polished, interface can take some getting used to in terms of maneuvering sectioned-based design restrictions.
- Plans can be expensive and do not include an email client.
- Support reps can be difficult to get a hold of and also difficult to work with.
- Unable to fine tune SEO components.
WordPress - Best for Bloggers and Writers, Website Building Experts
WordPress is the most popular choice for building a website. Although ideal for more advanced website creators, it offers endless opportunities to customize and design features that work best for your website.
If you are familiar with code, WordPress offers easy access to alter code when needed. It also offers hundreds of themes and plugins that can customize and improve the functionality of your site.
It is important to mention the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org— the .com choice hosts your website for you for a monthly fee while the .org choice is the self-hosted version.
WordPress is an incredibly flexible website builder. It fosters a large professional community and there are endless webinars, tutorials, and community forums to use when you find yourself in need of tips or support. That said, when you pay for WordPress services, you also have access to customer support.
WordPress is best for: blogs, writing portfolios, eCommerce, those with more website building experience.
- With open source functionality, there are endless available plugins that you can install or create to help your site run better.
- WordPress is the most popular website creating software and because of this there is no shortage to availability of tutorials, guides, tips, and tricks to make your site perfect.
- If you can invest the time in learning WordPress, it’s a great choice for eCommerce. For example, WooCommerce is no extra charge.
- Paid plans offer online chat with support agents, who are helpful and prompt.
- WordPress has quick loading and deliverability times which surpass many other website building options.
- Long learning curve that most newbies to website creating have trouble overcoming. Managing a site on WordPress does require technical skills and can require higher maintenance time commitments.
- Free domain is only included in some of the more expensive plans.
- Some of the plans can be limited. For example, if you opt for a personal plan, WordPress will restrict your ability to install plugins.
- Beginners and hands-off website owners should probably avoid WordPress.
Wix - Best for Design Freedom
Wix is one of the most popular and widely used website building tools now available. It is well-established with over 100 million users worldwide. Perhaps one of the best features of Wix is that it offers an unstructured editor, giving you unbridled freedom. While most builders offer a pre-designed and limiting grid to arrange information, Wix allows all the control freaks out there to have what they so desperately want— total layout control. However, for those who need a bit more guidance, they may find this feature to be more tedious than freeing.
Wix offers over 500 free themes and has an App Market where you can buy extra features. It doesn’t cost anything to publish a Wix site but paying for the right subscription package will allow you break free from the limitations that a free site will have.
Wix is best for: portfolios, small businesses, those who prefer freedom and control in creating a website.
- Huge library for templates and themes.
- 24/7 phone support.
- Cheap option for eCommerce stores and small business
- Simple usability with many options for site customization. Sites can be altered via drag-and-drop editor.
- Wix can support almost any type of site. You can create customized music players, eCommerce portals with specific payment features, online ordering forms, etc.
- Subscriptions offer long-term discount options so that prices are lower the longer you commit to using their services.
- No live chat for support
- While Wix has seemingly endless built-in tools available for creating features, adding extra code to your site is difficult.
- No way to export your data should you choose to move hosts.
Weebly - Best for Beginners
Weebly is a great resource for those who are not terribly tech-savvy who are tasked with building a website. They offer a long-standing and fast-growing website building choice for those who are looking for something simple and all inclusive.
The trade-off for this convenience is that you will lose some of the customization control other website builders offer but it can be a great choice for small website projects and those just starting out with creating a website.
Weebly does not offer a large catalog of themes and if you do feel the need to outgrow their platform, migrating content will be difficult as you will essentially have to copy and paste via RSS. However, Weebly does give you the option to work with a free basic plan and any of their paid plans do offer a free domain and access to the App Center where you can add new features to your website.
Weebly is best for: bloggers, eCommerce, small businesses, those looking for cheaper options
- Great for those who lack technical ability or are beginner website creators.
- Fast load speeds and dependable security.
- Pricing is competitive and cheaper than many similar options.
- Drag-and-drop website building. Using code is not necessary but there is a custom CSS option should you find it necessary to customize templates.
- Customer support can be accessed regardless of whether you buy a plan or not.
- You won’t have access to your server files which makes Weebly inconvenient for long-term projects should you need to change platforms.
- Relatively mall selection of themes, around 70 are available.
- Although pricing is competitive and appealing, the cheaper plans can be quite limited, forcing you to consider upgrading as your website and projects grow.
Site123 - Best Landing Page Builder
Site123 is a simple and straightforward choice for businesses or users who need to create a website quickly and easily. This is a great choice for creating landing pages, blogs, or small online shops. Site123 is great for newbies to explore website creation or those who ultimately only need a single-page site or a landing page.
Some professional users may find that Site123 is too limiting and outgrow it quickly. Users who only need barebones functionality may find that the free plan works perfectly adequately for them, but you can upgrade to paid plans if you need a little extra functionality such as an email client.
Site123 is best for: single-page sites like landing pages, squeeze pages, and small blogs.
- Cheap plan options which include customer support services and community forums.
- Drag-and-drop tools and over 200 templates to choose from. Templates are customizable and visually pleasing, with options spanning several industries making it an excellent choice for quick and easy landing page creation.
- Simple to use— no design or coding skills necessary.
- Although customer support is available to users, the representatives tend to use generic responses.
- Free and low-cost plans are relatively limited.
- Some professional users will find the range of settings to be too limited for their needs.
- Cannot create a large multi-functional website with Site123.
Shopify - Best for eCommerce
Shopify boasts the fact that they power more than half a million businesses’ online stores. This website builder provides a platform specifically to those looking to build an eCommerce shop to sell their products online. If you are looking to build a pure eCom website, then we highly recommend this website builder.
Shopify includes access to their robust app store. In the chance that you need additional functionality to what comes out-of-the-box, you can find an app to accomplish that need.
- Fully hosted and managed solution. No need for you to worry about backend maintenance, software updates or backup creation.
- Includes complete inventory management, statistics tracking, and simple to use marketing functionality.
- Hundreds of pre-built templates to choose from, no coding necessary using their drag and drop solution.
- Physical in-store point of sale system that includes credit card payments all while allowing you to take advantage of the same inventory management, shipping, stats tracking and marketing tools available in Shopify’s online platform.
- If you ever find the need to migrate your eCommerce website off of the Shopify platform, it will be a difficult process.
- Higher price point than other eCommerce website builders.
GoDaddy - Best for Diverse Needs
GoDaddy is one of the largest website services companies to date. They started out as a domain registrar service but have since expanded into web hosting and website building services that are widely used.
GoDaddy certainly has brand recognition on their side after all this time being in existence and their business is not going anywhere. This is definitely an advantage over some of the smaller upstarts available.
GoDaddy offers competitive pricing for their plans and over 1500 website theme templates. Additionally, GoDaddy offers a free trial before committing to buying their services. With this website builder you have the ability to create virtually any kind of site really well.
GoDaddy is best for: Blogs, portfolio sites, business promotion
- Templates are organized by category based on the type of site you want to create, and templates offer drag-and-drop interface to keep website creation on your end simple.
- eCommerce is fully supported with many features to support working with clients and selling product.
- Interface is responsive and quick.
- GoDaddy’s plans can get expensive, especially for eCommerce, so this is not the cheapest website building choice, even amongst comparable solutions such as Wix.
- Customer support includes a live chat option, but wait times seem to generally be long so customer support could improve given the size of the company.
- GoDaddy’s security has been called into question. Although it’s a dependable business, its size and brand recognition make it susceptible to security attacks.
But Which Website Builder is Best for Me?
Choosing the best website builder for small business can be overwhelming and a bit confusing. It’s difficult to recommend the best site builder for you, as there’s no such thing as a one-for-all website creator.
With a lot of trade offs to put into consideration, it’s challenging to make a simple comparison. These factors include, but are not limited to, the needed website uptime, the features you require, your technical knowledge and your budget.
This website maker comparison features mostly the primary factors to put into consideration and also provide answers to frequently asked questions about a couple of top site builders out there.
Here are our tips to help you make the right choice:
7 Tips For Choosing the Right Website Builder
After you’ve determined the type of website you need, now you need to figure out which of the best website builders will work for you specifically.
We’ve put together a few tips to help you make the right choice for your business.
#1 - Budget Considerations
Obviously, this should be the first factor you need to consider: how much you are willing to pay the best site builder. Start by calculating other expenses necessary for building a professional website, such as the cost of registering your domain and hosting. Also, you may have to invest in other branding and copy writing services such as website name, logo, images, and content if you do not plan to develop these things yourself.
For business owners with a limited budget, you can consider website makers offering basic services for free. Also, opt-in for plans that include your most needed functionality, this helps save money on building your website in the long-term.
However, most web page builders charge somewhere between $5 – $40 a month for a plan with the kind of features likely needed by your business. Thus, it can sometimes be advantageous to go for a plan that includes both the hosting cost and price of your builder without trading-off outstanding services.
#2 - Set Your Priorities
Before you rush into choosing the best website platform, it’s paramount that you have a clear idea of what you want your website to portray your brand to your audience and customers. This tip will help foster better decision making as to what features you need to look for and include in your website.
Here are a few good questions to consider to help know your needs and set your priorities:
Do you have any prior experience in web or graphic design?
Many website builders are designed for people with less experience with website coding or design in mind. However, some users find it easier to use than other less experienced users. If you have little or no idea about coding or design, then you should look for a platform that has the drag-and-drop design feature and comes with many themes or templates to choose from.
What type of website do you need?
If you need a website for your small business, then be sure to thoroughly research any specific functionality you might require. This could include things such as an online booking calendar, customer portal, or eCommerce support. It will be essential to design your website in a way that converts your traffic into customers. Making sure you have the right functionality included in your website builder from the beginning will set you up for success.
How much control do you need?
If you need absolute control over certain aspects of your site look for a website maker that offers a wide range of options and flexibility when designing. The right site builder for you should come with more flexible editing options and templates. These options enable you to make extensive customization to your website design.
Will, your website, include a lot of media?
Do you need to figure out whether your website will include a blog? A photo gallery? Videos? A map showing your store location?
After providing answers to the above questions, make sure the web page builder you will be investing in support the types of media you choose to include.
Most importantly, you need to make your website is mobile-friendly, as many buyers tend to shop using their mobile phones now. Remember to make sure the platform includes mobile responsive functionality out of the box.
#3 - Consider the Theme Options
Designing a website using a web builder software starts with the provided themes by the builder. This process is often easy, as you have to look through the available themes and choose any one that fits your style. After that, you can start customizing the template into a unique design for your website.
Here’s why it necessary to check the number of theme options before investing in a site builder. If the customization options are way too limited, then it reduces your chances of finding a template that works well for your brand.
Thus, it’s essential that you use a web page builder that offers more than enough themes to choose from, which increases your chances of finding the right template to get your website started in no time.
Besides, everything else becomes hassle-free if you find a theme that works perfectly with what you already have in mind.
#4 - Ease of Use
The primary reason for using a website maker is to make building your website less challenging since you don’t have to do any programming and coding. However, this doesn’t mean all site builders will be simple and straightforward to figure out.
As stated before, platforms with a drag-and-drop functionality option make building your website way too easy. Also, you may want to consider site builders with intuitive editors, which makes customizing easy and straightforward.
Also, consider researching the best website builder reviews, especially for those who have never built a website before. Turning to real user reviews will help you determine if you will be able to easily learn the platform based on your level of experience.
Besides, checking out the best website builder reviews is an excellent way to source for answers before investing.
#5 - Consider the SEO Features
There’s no point building a website that is only visible to you and your friends. For that, it’s crucial to implement the SEO best practices while you are done designing your website.
A good site builder should offer SEO features and make it easier to optimize your website. More importantly, it should provide an easier way to update all SEO meta elements – image alt tag, page title and meta description – on each page.
Further, the right website maker should give you a head start on SEO optimization, even though on-site SEO is just one of the many search engine optimization components.
#6 - Support & Available Resources
Even the best web page builder will still require you to spend time learning how best to use it. The more features offered by the platform, the more time needed for learning.
Therefore, before making a choice, make sure the vendor offers a lot of resources to aid your learning. Ideally, they will provide you with a plethora of PDFs, tutorials, videos, etc. on how to use each feature of the software and make any customizations of your choice.
#7 - Customer Service and Company's Reputation
Making sure everything goes as it should and learning how to use the website builder should be easier and less challenging provided you are using a builder with a good customer support team.
Because of this, it’s usually advised to check out reviews from other customers about their experience with the companies’ customer support before choosing any platform for building your website.
A good support team will always be there for you when you are having troubles using the platform. Also, they should be easy to get in touch with most often via email, live chat or social media.
Key Features To Look for in a Website Builder
There is a lot of web builders out there today, and whichever you choose totally depends on whether or not the product offers enough functionality to fit your individual needs.
A website builder is a tool that helps you create a website with your unique design and content. However, it’s not as simple as that; there are several other vital features to consider when choosing your website building platform.
In a most basic sense, eCommerce functionality includes inventory management, a shopping cart and the ability to receive payments online. While some web page builders have this feature as an upgrade (sometimes free and sometimes paid), others, such as WooCommerce for WordPress, act as third party integrations to provide the necessary functionality.
If you are not looking to create an eCommerce website at the moment, then you have many more options to consider. However, if your highest priority is having the best website builder for eCommerce, then make sure you consider the above mentioned eCom functionality when doing your research.
Drag & Drop Functionality
Generally, when using web page builder, the foundation of your design starts with a template or theme which you can customize to your liking.
Further, many builders allow users to customize using a modern drag and drop feature.
This feature allows users with little or no experience in web development to design their site as desired by visually dragging a widget from the set of options and dropping it on the builder’s canvas.
However, not everyone prefers this feature, as some more technical folks love to customize within the code base itself.
Pre-made templates are similar to the drag and drop feature discussed above. Most web builders offer basic templates for users to choose from and customize. Some offer remarkable, professionally-designed templates, which require little or no customization.
However, using a pre-made template may limit your customization options. You can only make a few modifications, such as color, text, layout, etc. Also, finding the right template for your business or idea may be a bit challenging.
But on the bright side, using pre-made templates makes building a website simple, easy and fun. Besides, you don’t have to be a professional web developer to get a site up on the web.
Not all site makers are great for building out a full website experience; some are best used for a one-time marketing campaign. As such, you should look for certain features available in the various platforms you are considering for your project.
For a long-term, full website experience for your business or idea, then you should start considering a web page builder that offers a robust suite of features and functionality.
On the other hand, if it’s going to be a short-term project such as an individual landing page for a one-time marketing campaign, then your website should be focused on conversion objectives and speed optimization.
There are various options that cater specifically to landing page development, while others are designed to help you build a strong online presence.
As previously mentioned, some website makers are great options for building landing pages or other one-time websites. But in the event you want to build out more content, you may find it difficult as landing page builders oftentimes lack migration support.
For this reason, you need to consider if the builder offers an option to migrate your optimized website (such as your one-time landing page) to a longer-term, full website platform. If you are not interested in this feature, you can focus on optimizing your website’s speed and user experience.
Most blogging platforms are designed to create new posts using pre-formatted post styles and offer scheduling functionality. Some web page builders are designed specifically for bloggers.
They come with various pre-made templates, features, plugins, etc. for creating impressive, responsive, and SEO optimized blogs. Some web builders come up short on this feature, as they are only designed to create a series of static pages and lack the ability to schedule out posts in the future.
Website Builders for Specific Uses
Each sitebuilder has its pros and cons. As such, not every website maker is great for designing any type of website.
Thus, in this section, we’ll discuss different use cases and offer our recommendations for the best website builder for each.
Small Business Websites
When running or working on your own small business, one vital factor is your online presence. This critical piece helps small business owners advertise their goods and services, keep in contact with clients or customers, and above all, help increase leads and sales.
For those looking to have a website to sell goods and services online, you need to consider a website (online store) builder with incredible e-commerce options. They help sell and showcase your products while allowing users to monitor other important parts of their customer journey such as shipping, transaction fees, and invoicing.
Whether you love to write articles, recommendations, stories, or travel posts, you need a website building platform with blogging functionality. They should offer special features such as comments sections, social sharing, RSS feeds, post categories and scheduling capabilities.
These features are necessary for building a successful blog and should be top consideration when looking for the best blogging platform.
Art & Photography
If you are in the creative world, having a beautiful website is a must. Your website is the platform at the forefront of your business to showcase the beauty of your work. So, it’s paramount that you select a website maker that offers slick features and beautiful layouts that sync well with your style.
Consider options that include specific layouts for showcasing artistic work. The best photography website builder for you might not be the same as for someone else.
If you want to make your website worth calling home, you will need to make it attractive and functional without shelling more than your budget. Fortunately, the market is filled with a plethora of real estate web builders that offer just what you want. Weebly, Squarespace, and Wix provide you with a platform to advertise your properties and convert into a deluxe online property.
So Which Website Builder is Best for You?
After reviewing all 6 of these popular website builders, we have learned that each offer some really solid features. Picking the right site to your specific project will make all the difference as to whether or not it is the right one for you. A great first step will be to decide if your site will be more of an online store, more image-based, or more word-based. For example, a blogger with prior website building experience might choose WordPress. A photographer who wants a sophisticated site for their portfolio would probably choose Squarespace.
The best choice for overall flexibility, simple usability, and fair prices is Wix. It’s straightforward to use, won’t break the bank, and is great for beginners who don’t quite know where to start.
Now that you have the details on website builders, you can choose the right website building platform for you and get your website published quickly, on your terms, and you’ll save a couple thousand bucks in the process!