Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and Jimdo are four of the most popular online website builders. Common sense tells that they are popular because they are easy to use and because they satisfy their customers. But we thought that we should dig deeper into that. We’ve made a comprehensive comparison between the pros and cons of each of the services. This way, we hope, you can determine which is the best service for your website.
1. Professional Looking Templates – As we’ve mentioned in our dedicated Wix review, we think that they are currently offering some of the best templates. Compared to other similar services, you can easily pick out Wix as a leader in this category. Almost every one of their templates has that premium look and feel about it. And the good part is that the majority of templates are available for free. If you’re looking to build a website that has an astonishing design – Wix is a great place to start.
2. Great WYSWIG Drag and Drop Visual Editor – Even though it is a bit more complex than the other editors, in the long term that could turn out to be something good. The website you are building takes the entire page, unlike other builders which cut some of the page so they can place their menus, which entirely removes the need of saving and previewing your website – it will just be the same. And as we mentioned the extra complexity – each element you add has more features than many of the other builders. If you’re somebody who doesn’t understand those features – if you don’t touch them they won’t do any harm to your website; if you want to take your website to the next level by paying extra attention to the details – the Wix builder certainly has that option.
3. App Market – If there’s something in the builder that you think is “missing”, then you can just go to the app market, find what you’re searching for, and use it directly on your website. Since Wix doesn’t allow you to edit the source code of the websites you create, this is a great relief that does give you some type of creative freedom. The good thing about the app market is that it is driven by what people are consistently requesting. Even if there isn’t an app which fulfills your need right now, soon enough – there might be!
1. Edit Source Code – You can’t be saying good things about Weebly and forget to mention that they do allow their users to edit the source code of their websites. Don’t get it wrong – Weebly is a WYSWIG Drag and Drop builder but being able to edit the source code just gives you a new level of creative and functional freedom. However, we strongly recommend that you only made editions in which you are sure of, or hire a website designer to do those editions.
2. Large Template Base – The themes aren’t as good as the ones that are on Wix, but there is a large number of themes. When you add that to the fact that you can actually edit the source code, you have potentially endless possibilities for designing your website in just the way you like it. Templates are organized by category and you are free to change the theme of your website at any time – you just have to go to the Design tab.
3. No Limits – We’re talking literally here – even with the free package there are no limits to the storage space and bandwidth. This practically means that you can upload as many files as you like, and there could be millions of visitors that download those files from your website without you having to worry about anything. However, keep in mind that Weebly, in order to keep everything real, have single file size limitations. They are different for every plan, and for the free one – 10 MB per file is the most that you can try to upload to their server.
1. Blog Management Platform – Unlike other builders where you just add content in boxes, Squarespace actually offers a sall platform which helps you manage your blog content in an organized fashion. You can actually create several different blog pages for your website and use them as a simpler way to manage your content. One sample use could be: different categories for news and magazine websites. Easily manage the articles for every different category, without having to create new, or delete old text modules.
2. Beautiful Templates – As everything else on their website, the templates look professional and crafted with passion. There are not as many templates as on other builder services, but all of them are finely crafted and whichever you choose, you will end up building a high quality website with a premium design.
3. Advanced Builder – The builder at Squarespace has lots of advanced features that will help more savvy users create beautiful and functional websites. At first you might be a little confused as to how to add modules to your website, but in the end – the builder will help you create pages that you won’t normally be able to create with most of the other builders.
1. Excellent eCommerce Solution – If you’re looking for a builder that offers powerful tools that will help you create an online store, then Jimdo should certainly be an option in your notebook. The platform has several features that are oriented towards usability and easier management of online stores – inventory management, shipping rates, and coupons for discounts at your website. The service is free so you can surely go and check out the platform before upgrading to a premium platform.
2. Very Good Support and a Big Community – There is a large community spread across the forums where you can find help from other fellow users who’ve had the same problems or questions as you in the past. This is a great example of a community which gives back to itself. If you happen not to find the desired help from the forums, you can always send an email or open a ticket. Response is very fast and the support individuals are very well trained. Responses are thorough and easy to understand.
3. Excellent Value for Your Money on Premium Plans – Unlike any other service like this, Jimdo offers 2 free domains if you buy the most expensive package. And that package is just as expensive as other services’ – circa $20/ mo on a yearly plan. But that’s not all – you get custom email accounts, lots of storage, password protection, several different store payment options, email forwarding, and better eCommerce solution limitations.
1. Inability to Change Templates – Even though the quality of the templates of Wix is a great pro of the service, the inability to change themes after setting up your website is a bit disappointing. Because the service is constantly adding new templates, some people might find that a newly added templates suits them better. Or when a free user upgrades and unlocks the premium templates – he can’t use them unless he creates a new website. This is a con that requires you to carefully lay out a plan for your website’s design. Make sure that the template’s options provide a solid base which will do the work for you. Create a few sample websites and see which template performs the best. This is the best technique to work around the restriction.
2. Shopping Cart Supported By the Two Most Expensive Plans – If you’re on Wix because you want to take a look at their eCommerce soluiton, then you will be a bit disappointed. The shopping cart is locked up until the fourth package (some $16+/ mo) and that practically means that you are unable to have a working store which you can test. Other services of this kind offer a shopping cart even for the free plans, even though only a few products can practically be added. Anyways that allows the website owners to test out the service and determine whether the platform suits them
3. Big Ads if You’re on a Free Plan – If you’re using a service as good as this on, ads are to be expected. But they are just too large. If you’re a free user it might not look too professional to create a website full of ads that you can’t actually control in any way. If you want to remove the large ads you are going to have to upgrade to a plan – all except the Connect Domain will do the trick for you.
1. Templates Not Up to Par With Other Similar Services – Although Weebly’s catalog of themes is large and you have a lots to choose from, only a small portion of those themes are really high caliber. We’re not saying that the theme look bad or perform bad – it’s just that they are mediocre. Nowadays it’s not that hard to create a website with a premium design and a very pleasant user interface. If you want to choose a theme, for your website, which is high quality, you might have to dig a bit deeper. If you’re willing, however, to pay extra for a designer – he can edit the code of the theme you’ve chosen and make it look much better.
2. PayPal is a Paid Feature – This is not tragic per se, but if you want to test out your online store without paying a subscription fee (that’s what free plans are for, right?) then you will stumble upon this little problem. There are 2 other checkout methods, but they are not as popular and as secure as PayPal is.
3. Not Good Enough for a Blog – Weebly isn’t a service which is going to let you build blog websites which are easy to use for the administrators. Of course, you can easily create a blog website which is visually attractive and full of fun content, but if you’re having a hard time managing that, then it might end up not being worth it. The only way of adding blog posts (and removing them) is through the drag and drop interface. Your blog posts are actually just text fields and modules – not organized content which you can choose to remove or edit from a menu.
1. Advanced Builder – Why mention it as a con when we already mentioned it as a pro? Well, even though the fact that the builder does have lots of capabilities and gives you lots of freedom to create whatever you want, we did spend a good half hour reading tutorial articles and watching some videos before we entirely got the hang of it. And we’ve reviewed a lot of services like this. If you’re someone who’s never used a tool like this before it might be a bit confusing, but nothing that can’t be overcome if you spend some time reading the knowledge base, which happens to be extensive.
2. No Code Edit – We thought that this great exclusive tool would give its advanced users more creative freedom and let them edit the source code of pages. But this isn’t the case. Perhaps they don’t want people to find out what the secret behind the builder is. Or perhaps the people at Squarespace think that too many people will make their websites unusable if they started editing the code. Whatever the reason, this is a slight disappointment, given how exquisite the tool is.
3. Limited Number of Themes – Even though Squarespace’s templates are one of the best themes on services like this, they are limited in quantity. You can’t really sue the developers for not adding more themes; we’re suspecting that they are taking their time with the themes before releasing them. We really hope that more themes, covering a broader range of subjects and topics, will be released soon. It would be a pity to only have so many themes to work with.
1. Templates Not up to Par – This being the second time we’re mentioning this con – we really think that with the easiness that it is to create a premium looking theme today – Jimdo aren’t putting too much effort in it. There are excellently looking themes on Jimdo but they are not enough and the overall quality can be labelled as “average”. The problem with limited quantity high-quality themes is that most people will choose them and that makes it harder to create an unique website.
2. Not Drag and Drop – Most of the website building services nowadays are drag and drop. This makes it easy for everyone to create websites just the way they want them to look. However, don’t think that the tools are hard to use or anything. They still are pretty decent and easy to use. It’s just the fact that a drag and drop interface provides another level of website creation.
3. Limited SEO for Free Accounts – We strongly believe that SEO should universally be free to edit on website creation services. While you can edit the titles of your web pages, you are unable to edit meta tags. Some people will say that those no longer matter, or that they have very little weight in the search engine “ranking scores”. Anyways, there are lots of similar sites that are offering all of their SEO tools for free. Jimdo can make a good deed and do so as well.
DISCLOSURE: We want you to understand that we didn’t create this review to tell a single service that is better than the others. This is a review to help you evaluate the good and the bad sides of each. This is to help you determine which is the best use for each service.