The Best Website Builders
Author: Nate Anderson
Last Updated: June, 2019
What are website builders?
Website builders are platforms that allow the average person to build a website. They can help people save money. With a website builder, you do not need to hire a web developer (web developers can easily cost you 2K, and that’s a little low). In contrast, website builders can cost a few bucks a month to maintain, although some of them are entirely free. That’s a steal for those who need a website to sell their products or services.
Using a website builder is also a fast and efficient way to build a website. Gone are the days where you are mulling over web design and development. Website builders make it easy for the average person. (If I can do it, anyone can do it.)
Many website builder platforms make it simple. You can write your content, add graphics, and use tools to design it to look the way you want. Some website builder platforms let you include social media share buttons, media players, and blogs to your website.
Website builders are great options for freelancers, writers/bloggers, photographers, and people who own small businesses, etc. Thankfully, it is easy to create a professional looking website to send your message out to the world.
Do keep in mind that all website builders are not easy to navigate, and some end up being a hassle. That is why we reviewed the top eight website builder platforms, so you can take the guesswork out of the equation.
Website builders vs. WordPress: What’s the difference?
WordPress is more than an actual website builder. Instead, it is a content management system (CMS).
What’s the difference, then? If you have used WordPress, you understand this: there’s a learning curve. Yes, it produces a nice-looking website site to share content, but some factors are missing from WordPress that website builders offer.
First of all, there is the editor. Most website builders have visual drag-and-drop editors. These are easy to use, and you simply drag and drop the sections that you want to appear on your website. On the other hand, WordPress has a form editor, which means that you cannot easily see the result like you can with a visual drag-and-drop editor.
Secondly, WordPress, as I mentioned earlier, has a learning curve. You will spend quite a bit of time trying to navigate through how to use it. The technical language may be confusing to you. Website builders are more comfortable to use. They are geared toward the average non-technical person, and the directions and vocabulary used are simple.
Thirdly, there is the coding. If you know HTML code, you may find WordPress more natural to use than if you don’t. Website builders, however, are an excellent solution for those with absolutely no coding experience. Again, that drag-and-drop function is easy and intuitive.
Now, I am not bashing WordPress, not at all. It has its place, and many people use it and find it enjoyable. The choice ultimately is up to you and will be determined based on what you need.
Best Website Builders 2019 – Reviews
Established in 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami, and Giora (Gig) Kaplan. Wix has, to date, been one of the most successful website builders, and here is how it started. Back in 2006, the Abrahami brothers and their friend Kaplan attempted to build a website, and they realized the process was confusing and expensive. Because of their frustration in building their website, they decided that they would design a platform geared toward the average person who does not know coding or design skills. In the beginning, this platform builder was free, and today there are still free and low-cost options.
This is how Wix began. 120 million people from 190 countries use this platform. The main Wix headquarters are housed in Israel. But to date, there are offices in the United States, Ukraine, Lithuania, Ireland, Brazil, Germany, India, and Canada.
Wix launched a Facebook store in June 2011. In March 2012, Wix launched the HTML5 builder, which replaced Adobe Flash. In May 2014, Wix created “WixHive API,” which means that a user can see his or her website visitor information.
Today, Wix comes with a drag and drop function, which makes the design process easier (check out our comparison of Wix vs Squarespace). It also comes with HTML5 abilities, hundreds of pre-designed templates, superior hosting, and low cost or free options. Anyone, absolutely anyone, can create a website with no technical knowledge of HMTL or coding. The user has complete control over their website, along with creative ways to make their online presence known.
Users of Wix need to purchase packages so they can connect their website to the domain they wish to have. Wix is by far one of the best website builders out there, and one reason why is they are always updating their options and abilities for users. Wix provides top-notch customer service and the latest technology.
- Easy to navigate
- Used by millions of people
- Most popular website builder
- Contains a considerable number of site templates
- Simple to use
- Tons of customization options
- Great customer service
- Offers long-term discounts
- Includes a mobile editor
- No live chat available
- Some packages are not free
SiteBuilder is another excellent option to use to build your website. First of all, Sitebuilder.com, Websitebuilder, Sitey, and Sitelo are all the same company. Like many of the other website builders, they offer everything you need to build your website. They offer drag-and-drop designs, various templates to choose from, and organized layouts.
SiteBuilder offers three types of packages. The first plan they offer, which is the most popular, is the Pro plan. It starts at $3.84/month, and it comes with a drag-and-drop builder and a plethora of custom templates. Website statistics and a free domain name are included, but the first billing cycle is the only time you will get this price. After the first billing cycle, the price increases to $7.68/month, and you will need to commit to a two-year Pro plan to get this price.
The next plan they offer is the Premium plan, which costs $5.99/month. It comes with everything that the Pro plan offers, but it comes with priority support. After the first month of billing, your price will increase to $11.98/month.
The third plan SiteBuilder offers is the eCommerce plan. This plan features eCommerce store support and costs $9.22 for the first month and $18.45 for the following months.
If you need a basic builder, SiteBuilder would be an excellent option. The website is easy to navigate. You don’t need any coding or HTML knowledge. There are a large number of templates to choose from. And the drag-and-drop feature is tremendously useful to organize your site. Also, SiteBuilder offers a wide range of stock photos you can use. One drawback, however, is that if you choose a template, you cannot change it later without creating a new account.
- No maximum storage restrictions
- Over 1,200 design templates to choose from
- Easy to use drag-and-drop options
- A free domain name for the first year
- Wonderful customer service
- Great discounts available
- 24/7 Live Chats
- Costs a minimum of $6/monthly
- Renewal prices are twice as much as the initial price
- Some customers have complained about poor billing practices
- Once you choose a theme, you have to stick with it
- Some customers have complained about poor customer service
Site123.com is a great platform for small businesses and simple websites. It is easy to use for anyone without a web design background. A feature that sets site123.com apart from the others is that users can create multilingual websites. All they have to do is add another language version to their website.
You can easily register to use Site123 through your Facebook or Google+ account. The dashboard is simple and contains sections such as editing, copying, deleting, setting up domains, etc. Site123 features a visual editor but does not have the popular drag-and-drop feature. Any changes you make as you are building your website are made through the sidebar settings. An option of plugins is also available.
Anyone who wants to use Site123 to create an online store is in luck. Site123 offers an advanced eCommerce resource that creates a professional and easy to navigate online store. Users will be able to take and process orders quickly and efficiently. Customers will also receive options when they check out (such as different currency types). Also, they will be able to use PayPal, Stripe, and 2Checkout.
A blog is a cool way to add more online traffic to a website. Users can easily create blogs on Site123 with blog templates based on style and theme. They can write posts and upload them right away, or they can schedule blog posts to be posted at a later date.
The plans offered for Site123 range in price from free to Gold ($22.80/month). The most popular plan is the Basic one which gives you 10GB of disk space, 5GB of bandwidth, and a free domain. This plan costs $10.80/month. Overall, Site123 is pretty affordable, especially for all the features you get.
- A free plan to test out their website builder
- Over 250 design templates to choose from
- Cheapest e-commerce plan we found (starts at $22.80)
- Great customer support
- Availability of plugins
- You need to upgrade your plan to get more accounts
- The Support team is not personal (copy/pasted emails and responses)
Matthias Henze, Christian Springub, and Fridtjof Detzner started Jimdo in February 2007. Its headquarters are in Hamburg, Germany, and currently, its team has over 200 people, representing 15 countries. To date, over 20 million websites have been created with Jimdo.
Jimdo offers a free basic plan that allows users to create an online store featuring a maximum of five items. The only drawback is that the user’s own domain name is not included. They offer two premium plans: JimdoPro and JimdoBusiness.
JimdoPro is $10/month, and it is for users who do not need an online store, but they want to feature their website with no ads. JimdoBusiness is for larger websites and online stores. Here you can sell as many products/services as you want. This plan is $2/month. Both premium plans let users have their own domain name and more storage space. Plus, they don’t have to deal with any ads.
Jimdo users rave about how the website is easy to set up and straightforward. Adding and editing pages is simple. The style editor is easy to use. However, one drawback is their design is limited. There are only 16 templates to choose from.
Jimdo is also well organized with its drag and drop feature. Customers love the fast visual editor and can build their website in less than ten minutes (that’s what one user said). There is, however, no preview function, which means that you will have to view your website live and then go back and make changes, if needed.
Another perk of Jimdo is SEO optimization. They give you information on SEO with Jimdo’s paid ranking coach tool. Also, Jimdo uses SSL-encryption.
Jimdo supports eight languages, while the editor supports all languages. If you need a multilingual website, Jimdo may be your best option. Jimdo.com is a great option for simple websites. However, there are better options if you need something more in-depth.
- Inexpensive—as low as $9/month
- No hidden fees
- Easy setting up accounts
- Extra email accounts only $1/month
- Limited themes to choose from
- Customer support can take up to 2 business days
- No customer support telephone number
- Website performance can be lacking
If you are a photographer, artist, or designer, then squarespace.com is for you. Similar to the other website builders we’ve reviewed, you don’t need any coding knowledge to build a website on Squarespace. Just create an account, pick a template, and then edit until you have created a creative and professional website you love.
However, unlike some of the other websites we reviewed, Squarespace isn’t as simple to set up. It does have a drag-and-drop feature, but it is section-based (no drag and drop), so there is a bit of a learning curve. Squarespace works well with people who have some technical knowledge. It is not as beginner friendly as some website builders. Other than that, it’s pretty organized and easy to navigate.
Squarespace offers a range of customer support, including a live chat Monday through Friday, 24/7 email support, 24/7 Twitter support, and a community forum. One thing it doesn’t offer is phone support, but it does give the user in depth articles and Q&A that help with common website building issues.
Squarespace offers four plans, ranging from $12 to $40/month, and you have to pay for a year upfront. One nice perk is that there is a 14-day free trial, so you can go ahead and try Squarespace before you commit. To date, more than one million people use Squarespace for their personal and professional websites.
In detail, the plans are the personal plan, the business plan, and two e-commerce plans. The personal plan lets you create a simple, yet elegant website for $12/month. You get a free domain and unlimited bandwidth and storage. The business plan is $18/month, and you get much more, including SSL security, unlimited contributors, a professional Google email address, $100 Google Ads credit, promotional pop-ups, and you can sell as many products as you like.
The two e-commerce plans are $26/month and $40/month, and they offer the user a plethora of perks. The basic e-commerce plan is perfect for a new business/online store, and the advanced one works well for a thriving business.
- Great for photographers who want to display their images
- 200+ professional design templates
- A great editor that helps with designing
- No storage or bandwidth restrictions
- Fast speed—averaging 326ms
- Cost does not include email account
- Support experiences lacking
- Customer support not personalized
GoDaddy is one of the most popular website builders in the world, and you will soon see why. In 2017, GoDaddy launched GoCentral, which makes using this website builder even simpler. They no longer have a drag-and-drop editor, and believe it or not, that has simplified the setting-up process.
GoDaddy has a blog option that you can use to reach your audience. You can even add video and audio to your blog posts. Another perk of GoDaddy is the autosave feature that continuously backs up your page if you forget.
GoDaddy offers a 24/7 customer support phone line. There’s also a live chat available Monday through Friday, 5 AM to 6 PM.
Perhaps GoDaddy’s SEO optimization tools are some of the coolest features. It will ask you questions about your audience, and then it will give you keywords to use on your website to reach your audience and increase your rank on Google. This is especially helpful on the eCommerce plan.
One great feature of GoDaddy is that you can start with a free month trial to see how you like the website builder. Most other builders do not offer this. After your free month, you have four options: a personal account, a business account, a business plus account, and an eCommerce online store.
The personal account is $5.99/month ($71.88/year). With this plan, you can get website hosting, a blog option, responsive mobile design, and security. The business account is $9.99/month ($119.88/year), and you get all the features of the personal account plus a PayPal Buy Now button and SEO services. The Business Plus plan is $14.99/month ($179.88/year), and it comes with all the business plan perks, plus email marketing, Google my business services, social media sharing options, and online appointment options. Finally, the eCommerce online store is $29.99/month ($359.88/year), and it offers everything that all the plans offer in addition to an online store, the ability to manage products, inventory, and orders, and product reviews/social referrals.
- Offers 1500+ design/template options
- Offers a free month trial
- 99% uptime
- Auto save feature
- A little more expensive than some of the others
- Websites aren’t as professional as some of the others
Weebly is another great website builder to use if you are not tech savvy. It is currently one of the most used website builders with more than 50 million users.
It’s quite simple to use, flexible, and it even features an app store. Weebly contains a simple website editor that allows you to drag and drop content or pictures from the sidebar. One thing Weebly does is keep the interface clean and organized. Users consistently rave about the simplicity and ease of using this website builder.
One cool feature of Weebly is the app center. The Multilanguage app is $3/month and allows you to add pages in various languages. In addition, there are other apps for social media, tables, and calendars. Weebly offers around 70 themes for users to use, which is not as many as some of the other website builders we discussed.
Weebly also comes with some cool widgets—tools that add more functions to your page. You can add ample images, video and music players, and other fun gadgets.
Weebly offers five plans, for websites and online stores. There is a free plan for basic use. It doesn’t have many cool features, but for a basic website, it works. Then there’s the Connect plan which is $5/month. With this one, you can connect a domain. The Pro plan is $12/month, and it is good for groups and organizations. It contains a free domain and $100 credit towards Google ads. The Business plan is great for small businesses and online stores. It is $25/month, and it also comes with a free domain and $100 Google credit. The Performance plan is featured for “power sellers.” It is $38/month and comes with a free domain, $100 Google credit, and email marketing.
Weebly’s pricing is simple. There are no hidden fees, but the prices quoted above are for when you pay for a year. All the paid plans are advertisement free.
- Limited free plan
- 15-day free trial
- Hundreds of templates
- Drag-and-drop options
- Intuitive editor
- Only 70 themes to choose from
- Each email costs $5
- Cheapest plans coerce upgrades
As mentioned earlier, WordPress is a great option for blogs and bloggers. It is also extremely popular. To date, more than 80 million websites are built via WordPress. However, it is not the best option for beginners as it does require some technical knowledge.
WordPress has some perks, though. It gives you access to all the codes needed to build an awesome webpage. If you have coding knowledge, this is wonderful for you. It gives its users tons of plugins. Again, if you have coding knowledge, you can create themes, plugins, features, and more.
Because WordPress is so well known, there is a plethora of information on how to use it out there, including online classes. If you do not know how to use it, there is a learning curve, but the information is out there for you to learn.
Different from the other website builders we have looked at, WordPress does not have a drag-and-drop editor. In contrast, it has a visual editor where you can add your formatting and a text editor where you can add your content. It may sound scary, but it’s not once you get used to it.
Those who would benefit from using WordPress are those who:
- Have basic coding skills
- Have previously had a website
- Want lots of design freedom
- Want specialized features
- Have lots of content (bloggers)
- Have the time to devote to learning WordPress
To be honest, WordPress is not the cheapest option out there. For basic website hosting, you may be paying anywhere from $5 to $100/month. For tutorials and online courses, you will be paying up to $50. For custom designed themes you can be paying anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. Of course, you can use the basic templates for around $40. But as you can see, you need to have the money to be able to afford WordPress’s options.
- Most popular software to create a website
- Good eCommerce features
- Good customer service (for paid users)
- Not a good choice for beginners
- Requires some technical skills
- More expensive than other platforms
- Not all of the themes are drag-and-drop
How to Find the Best Website Builder
Types of Website Builders
Now let’s discuss the different types of website builders out there. As stated before, a website builder is an online platform where you can design your website for your personal use or business use. Typically, you can create a website in just a few hours with website builders, as they take all the guesswork out of the process.
However, not all website builders are created equal. You need some knowledge of the different types. Here are some basic terms you should know when choosing your website builder:
Drag-and-drop features are perhaps the simplest of all. All you need to do is choose your template, then write your content. If you wish to change the layout of your page, you simply highlight what you want to change, drag it, and drop it to where you want it to be. If you don’t like the placement, drag and drop it somewhere else.
Most of the website builders highlighted in this article use drag-and-drop features, which is great because it truly is so simple.
Section builders are when you build your website in section, just like building blocks.
The different sections you build are the text block, the images, the contact form, etc. You decide what order you want them in, and all you do is reorder them. It is a simple concept and not hard to do.
Squarespace and Weebly both feature section builders when building a website with their platforms.
Artificial Design Intelligence
ADI websites are easy and fun to use. Before building your website, answer questions about what you would like for your website. Consider the purpose, if you want to sell products on it, if there will be a blog, etc.
After you answer some questions, the ADI will design your website for you. Of course, you can still revise it afterward if you want to make it perfect for what you want. ADI is a great option for those who need more help in designing their website. It’s also the simplest to use.
Some website builders that use ADI are GoDaddy and Site123.
Content Management Systems
Content Management Systems (CMS) do just that—they manage content. As mentioned earlier, WordPress is an example of a CMS because it features so many options for the displayed content. With CMS, you will simply add, edit, or delete content that you want to appear on your website.
CMS builders are great not only for bloggers, but for businesses too. They can help you maintain inventory, keep up with shipping products, and give you information about visitors to your website.
Ease of Use
Except for WordPress, all the website builders discussed here are easy to use. You don’t need any technical, coding, or HTML knowledge. You simply pick the plan you want and design your website with the guidance of the platform.
The easiest way to design your website is through the ADI option where you answer questions about the purpose of your website, and the ADI designs it for you. It can’t get much simpler than that. Also, the drag-and-drop feature is a cinch to use.
From all the website builders, Wix is the simplest and easy to use. But the rest of them aren’t far behind. The best thing about website builders is the fact that pretty much anyone can use them and design a professional looking website. As I said earlier, if I can do it, anyone can do it.
When looking at support options for website builders, you want to be able to communicate quickly with customer service representatives. The website builders we reviewed varied on this feature.
Some of them, like Sitebuilder, offer wonderful live chats. You can ask questions anytime you need help, and someone should be there on the other end to assist you. Unfortunately, some of the service representatives offered generic copy/pasted answers which were not helpful, but it’s better than nothing.
Some of them, like Wix, and offer phone support.
Be wary of the ones, like GoDaddy, who do not have a phone number to call. You will need to fill out a support ticket. It may take several days to get back to you.
WordPress offers good customer service, as well as a lot of learning resources. These resources will probably offer you the support you need without talking with anyone.
Overall, it is important to have good support options available when you are building your website.
When it comes to design flexibility, some of these website builders offer more than others. It also depends on the user. Some may want more flexibility, while others may not mind using a standard template and design.
Most of the website builders offer a ton of premade templates, but to create your own, you must pay extra. If design flexibility is important to you, be willing to pay an extra cost for it.
All the builders offer ways to custom design your website as far as placement goes.
Site Builder has over 1,200 templates, and to be honest, anyone could find a template from that many. WordPress has the most flexibility, but it also requires the most coding and technical knowledge.
Even though these website builders are great, sometimes you take the risk of your site looking like any other site. That is why you should take advantage of some of the features that come along with these website builders.
The website builders that offer widgets such as video and audio tools can be used to create a personal, unique presence to your website. Make sure you take advantage of this to create a unique website.
SEO optimization tools are also a great feature of some of these builders, including Jimdo. You don’t need much knowledge of SEO to use this tool, but using them will help increase your Google rankings.
Some of these website builders let you customize your design. You can add your photos, design your site however you want, and make it as personal as you can. People are drawn to unique and personal, so make sure you add features that set your website apart from others.
Value for Money
The best value for the money you spend on a website builder is Wix. With plans from entirely free to eCommerce at $29/month, you will be getting what you need in a website for an affordable price. Plus, there are no hidden fees.
Another good option is Sitebuilder. It $3.84/month, but do keep in mind that it doubles the next month, and you need to prepay for a year to get that price. Still, overall, not bad.
Watch out for hidden fees and adding on email accounts. Some builders will charge for this, while others won’t. Overall, all of the website builders we reviewed would be decent choices for the money. It all depends on what you are willing to pay and what you want in a website.