Listed below are our recommendations for the best website builders.
They have been ranked using several key parameters, including ease of use, technical support, customer satisfaction, and overall performance.
Whether you are looking for free web site builder software, or require a premium version, our guides are here to help.
There comes a time in the life of every freelancer, business or organization where the free platform of social media websites aren’t enough for sharing your message and growing a brand. And when that time comes, the best thing to do is create a website. Choosing to create your own website means you will have a representation of your business online that is fully in your control; everything from the color scheme to the content will be in your hands and can be changed whenever you desire.
But many people struggle with how to make a website when they don’t have any experience, leading them to assume that the only way to proceed is to hire a professional developer. However, there are other methods available for creating your ideal website, and they are found in website builders and Content Managment Systems.
What is a Website Builder?
Website builders are software solutions that all individuals with various skill levels to create a website on their own. They can help you choose a functional layout based on your business type, give you tips about content curation, and even provide step-by-step guides to walk you through the entire process.
However, not every website maker is designed with the same goals in mind. Some focus predominately on those with limited technical experience, creating drag-and-drop options to manage common content needs across multiple page styles. Others include features focused on a specific niche, such as the eCommerce store builders focused on sales-oriented businesses.
Do I Need More than a Website Creator?
When you are first creating a website, it can be easy to assume that the website builder is all you need. But there is actually more to bringing your page online than simply designing the pages.
While this can sound like an overwhelming task when you first look into creating your own site, it can actually be a fairly simple process. Many of the top website makers also provide access to some of the best website hosting available. They can also secure your domain name and manage other add-on features. The benefit of this approach is that you only need to pay a single provider to get everything up and running and to keep it operational.
However, you can choose to mix and match your services if that is more suitable for your needs.
How to Choose?
Choosing a website creator is a personal decision. Every person’s needs regarding web services are different, and your skill level may not match that of another business looking to create a website. Luckily, there are numerous reviews available to help make the process simpler, such as those offered on this site.
Ease of Use
One of the most important factors in choosing a website builder is ease of use. The right solution should offer the best features and the most beautiful design templates, but if it is difficult to use it can be worthless to any user regardless of design experience or skill.
The initial process of designing a website should be intuitive and simple. It is also important to remember that you will constantly be changing your website, so if it is not easy to set up it won’t be easy to make edits later.
Sometimes the process of building a website isn’t as straightforward as you might anticipate. Other times, you may run into outages or operation issues once your site is online. It is therefore vital that your choice of builder offers an excellent level of technical support at hours that are convenient to your schedule.
One of the most important parameters for measuring the quality of anything today is knowing what other people think. Customer reviews are an essential part of assessing how your experience might go.
Customer satisfaction ratings take into account the good and bad of an experience and clients rarely hold back from expressing their views whether they be positive or negative.
The parameters above are extremely important and work in unison to create an overall experience. It is likely that if all of these factors rank highly, the overall quality of the software will be high as well, but sometimes the overall performance just doesn’t add up. It is necessary, therefore, to assess all of the parts as a whole to determine which builder is right for you.
Some of the best website builder review sites can help you break down exactly what each site building solution can offer and whether it meets your general goals. Additionally, you can find out about certain special offers, such as free trials, money-back guarantees, and other perks.
In fact, one of the major players in the web building arena actually offers a free-for-life program for those who only need a basic site and don’t mind having it hosted through the company’s domain. While this normally isn’t an ideal solution for the long-term, as it can be seen as less professional than securing your own domain, it does give you an easy method for trying it before you buy and can be a great method for a web design beginner to get their feet wet.
What Types of Websites are There?
Websites have various functions that can be used in differing ways. Someone looking to create a personal site meant to be shared with friends and family has very different needs from a business wanting to set up an eCommerce solution for their web clients. It is important to distinguish between the different website types and know what you are hoping to accomplish before setting out on your web building journey.
Websites can be categorized broadly in two ways: static and interactive.A static site provides fixed content and all users will have the same browsing experience. These sites are generally informational in nature and often exist to provide specific knowledge to a user. They include resume sites and blogs and are generally inexpensive to produce. An interactive website is dynamic and allows users to customize pages, use a shopping cart, and provide ratings. These sites exist to get users to perform certain actions and create their own input for your page. They include e-commerce stores and forums and are generally more expensive to produce.
Blog or Personal Websites
Blogs are informational websites meant to provide an informal take on a specific topic or interest. Their subject matter can range from politics to religion to everything in between and they often contain the opinionated view of a writer.
Although blogging began as a way for singular users to update an audience, they are now also commonly used by larger news organizations and often have multiple authors and professional editors.
Similar to a blog, personal websites contain information of interest to the user or even about the user himself/herself. They can be meant for wide public consumption or merely for family and friends. Often times a personal website provides information relevant to potential employers or clients, such as resumes and portfolios. Blogs and personal websites are generally static in nature.
eCommerce Websites and Online Stores
E-commerce websites allow users to purchase goods and services and are complex enough to maintain inventory information and customer data. They can range widely in function and include retail sites, auction sites, digital goods sites, and financial management sites.
Similar to blogs, e-commerce websites can be run by a sole proprietor or huge corporations with thousands of employees. They require constant maintenance, much of which is often done through automated software provided by website builder tools. E-commerce websites are a good example of an interactive website.
Brand Building Websites
Brand building websites exist to enhance a company’s brand equity by providing users with an experience meant to reflect its mission or purpose. These sites do not sell anything, but rather focus on creating a user experience or providing users with relevant information about a company, such as a map of store locations, business hours, or where to find a certain product. It may help to think of a brand building website as an interactive business card. Brand building websites are generally static in nature.
Did you know? Some interesting website building facts:
Wix is a drag-and-drop website builder, founded in 2006. They started utilizing HTML5 in 2012 and now power more than 70 million websites, with 44,000 new member sign-ups every single day.
Dominant features include free for life plans (hosted on Wix’s servers and domain), a large App market, hundreds of designer templates, mobile friendly layout and a vibrant community. Wix went public in 2013 and is traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Did you happen to catch their latest Super Bowl ad?
eHost has been providing Internet related services since the year 1998. As a cPanel based hosting, they power more than a million websites to date, and claim to focus on customer satisfaction and simplicity above all else. Rebranded in 2015, eHost offers cost effective hosting solutions, site creation tools (with a Drag & Drop builder), website templates and marketing solutions.
If you do choose eHost as your next web builder, be sure to claim up to $200 in marketing coupons when advertising with Bing, Yahoo, and Google AdWords.
Based in San Francisco, Weebly is another leading host and website creation service. Catering to freelancers, small businesses, and service providers that are building a website for the first time – Weebly is easy to use and fast to deploy. Some say they have managed to create appealing websites in under 15 minutes.
Being featured in magazines and journals, such as Entrepreneur & WSJ, they are praised for simplicity and versatile features, in addition to their e-commerce abilities. They are reasonably priced, and it is always good when a service includes a free-for-life plan as well. See our extensive Weebly themes and templates collection.
WordPress is a leading open source, PHP based content management system that reportedly powers more than 24% of the internet as of 2017.
With a mission statement to “democratize publishing”, this blog solution is great for intermediate users, and enables endless possibilities due to a vibrant community and related marketplaces.
If you are looking for an ecommerce solution, Shopify might fit the bill. Based in Ontario, they were set to disrupt the online store market with a new solution that incorporates social channels, multiple high-end integrated applications, and premium support.
Today, the company reports that more than 200,000 store owners use their online software and has even added offline features, like a point of sale system, which integrates into the online shop. They are a bit pricey but we do think Shopify is a great ecommerce solution, and they have a two-week trial, too.
Bigcommerce, a privately held company, is another one of the big ecommerce solutions out there. They recently reported that more than 5 billion dollars in sales were processed, using their platform. Social and mobile integration applications were professionally executed, and the overall design and feel of the platform is inviting. We thought their pricing was fairly high and recommend using Bigcommerce if you already have some basic experience.
Drupal is known as an advanced CMS suited for advanced designers and developers looking to handle large traffic volumes and pages.
Distributed under the General Public License and great for corporate users, Drupal gained traction and marketplaces for add-ons, designs, and services sprouted over time. Drupal templates and themes are available at relatively low price.
Web.com is a publicly traded company, based in Florida, which offers web and marketing services to small – medium sized businesses. With millions of customers, thousands of templates to choose from, and great support, it’s no surprise they are one of the leading website creation services. That being said, Web only offers a limited free option, and most start with the monthly plan (which includes a .COM domain).
Web has introduced the “Website Coach” system, in which a certified expert guides you as you build your first website, including live help after the launch. Their system fits both first time novices and business.
GoDaddy started as a domain registrar and hosting provider back in 1997. They provide web creation services for personal and enterprise uses as well. Pricing for their various plans is competitive, compared to offered space and bandwidth.
Although the brand is solid and known internationally, the service is not quite up to par with industry standards to our taste. You can definitely try GoDaddy, but there are better solutions in our opinion.