Every decent business should use the best website builder available to increase its online presence. Gone are the days when you needed to be an expert coder to build websites. Even website building software solutions are being rendered obsolete by platforms such as WordPress, themes, addons, and plugins.
There are several website builders in the market, with some being bundled with hosting packages. Some of the most reputable include Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and Webflow.
These tools allow you to have a professional website without complex coding and design skills. Before determining the best website builder, let’s look at some of the characteristics it should have.
Features of a top-notch website builder
Capable website builders have the following qualities:
If you want the best website builder for your site, chances are you’ll spend a pretty penny. While affordable doesn’t mean cheap, it should be an option that gives you the most value for your money.
- Easy to use
The main reason for picking a website builder is to avoid all the boring technical aspects of website building. A suitable solution should be intuitive, have drag and drop function, and enough tools to bring your design vision to life.
- They have many templates
Templates provide a much-needed shortcut when creating websites. Their creators have already envisioned how you want your website to look, so you only make minimal edits and additions to customize it. The best website builder must have industry-specific templates to make your work even easier.
To become a successful webmaster in the 21st century, your website(s) must be responsive. This is the ability to automatically resize depending on the size of the screen it’s being viewed on, without losing important content.
Whether your users are accessing from a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer, they should all have similar experiences.
- Make SEO and social sharing easier
As website building becomes easier, SEO becomes harder. With thousands of new websites being made every day, you need a solution that can help you climb the rankings.
Other than high quality content, the best website builder will make you stand out from a crowded field.
It will also give you all the tools needed to share your content across the web through various social media sites.
- Have useful addons and helpful resources
Examples of great add ons include image, audio, and video libraries. Educational resources such as video tutorials also offer much-needed convenience.
- Great customer support
Although this should be available by default, you’d be surprised at how many companies fail at it. The best website builder is also one that responds fastest to customers’ queries. One advantage of doing so is that bugs in the software are identified and fixed fast, which improves the overall functionality.
Top five best website builders
Now that we’re reviewed the ingredients that make a great website builder, the following are the best in the market:
This is a strong contender for the best website builder because of its reliability and upfront pricing. With Squarespace, what you see in terms of pricing is what you get, meaning there are no sneaky upsells.
The most affordable monthly plan costs $12 (Personal plan) while the most expensive costs $40 (Commerce plan). Unfortunately, Squarespace doesn’t have a free version.
Its features include unlimited bandwidth storage, SSL security, e-commerce integration, 24/7 customer support, advanced website analytics, and SEO tools.
Its templates are somewhat more restrictive than those of other website builders. Squarespace also lacks a third-party marketplace for widgets, which limits your customization options.
Wix is probably the best website builder if you’re looking for versatility. One of its biggest selling points is that you can start a website for free, then upgrade to premium plans once you get comfortable.
There are two major pricing categories. The Website option is for enthusiasts, freelancers, and small businesses. Its plans range from $4.50 to $24.50 per month. The other category caters to business and e-commerce entities, and ranges from $17 to $35 per month.
If you opt for the free option, Wix ads will appear on your site by default. Other than allowing you to remove the ads, premium plans also come with powerful extra features. These include custom domains and increased storage.
The more advanced e-commerce plans allow you to accept payments on your website via Paypal, credit cards and other options.
We highly recommend Wix because of its intuitive interface with easy to use site building tools, hundreds of templates, mobile-friendly tools, web store extensions and strong customer support.
Another renowned solution, Weebly, is one of the best website builders for various reasons. Apart from a free version, other features include a web store, blogging tools, site portability, basic image editing, the ability to sell downloads, and membership site-building tools.
Premium monthly plans range from $5 for the most basic personal website to $38 for an advanced online store. Ecommerce plans allow you to add a shopping cart, accept payments through Square, manage inventory, automatically calculate tax, and fulfill real-time shipping.
Unlike Wix, Weebly doesn’t have as many templates and design options. It’s also less intuitive, but gets the job done as far as website building goes.
One of the veterans on this list, Webs.com is responsible for building over 50 million websites although it isn’t clear how many are active. This popularity makes it a top contender for the best website builder. Its tools are primarily geared towards business websites, although they still work for personal ones.
Its biggest advantages include an intuitive and easy to use WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) drag-and-drop editor, the option of integrating third-party apps for increased functionality, and ability to build professional membership sites.
Webs.com has less than 100 templates, which is somewhat limiting compared to the hundreds available on Wix. Premium options have ready customer support, helpful tutorials accessible from the dashboard, and a community forum where you can interact with fellow webmasters.
Monthly subscription rates range from $6 for the starter plan to $23 for the pro package.
This is one of the most intuitive and easy to use solutions in the market. Its attractive features include responsive templates, free web hosting, SEO tools, free domain registration with some plans, and a fully integrated online store.
Other than a free account and a 14-day money-back guarantee, site123 is also one of the most affordable website builders on the internet. Its premium plan costs only $5.80 per month and includes a free domain for the annual plan.
It also allows you to remove the company’s branding, as well as build an e-commerce site. Given this low price and the value it delivers, site123.com is easily one of the best website builders you can opt for.
The cons of website builders
Website builders save you a lot of headache because you don’t need technical expertise to build websites. They also save you hundreds to thousands of dollars that skilled individuals would charge you for designing, building and maintaining your website.
However, they have some limitations, such as:
- If you decide to switch to another company, most will only allow you to move your custom domain name but not content. That will mean starting from scratch.
- With some builders, you still end up feeling like the design isn’t exactly what you wanted. Although the preview might look awesome, the published website might look a little different.
- Some builders offer a limited mobile experience and SEO tools. With millions of new websites being built everyday and most users accessing the web from their smart devices, this is a serious limitation.
The bottom line
All the five website builders reviewed above have their strong points. Some excel at being affordable, easy to use, having several templates, and integrating advanced features such as online stores. Although all are good, if we had to choose one company as the best website builder, it would be Wix.
When all is said and done, your choice will depend on your exact needs. If you’re not sure start with a builder that offers a free plan and/or a money-back guarantee. That way, if you like the experience you can upgrade to a premium plan. If you don’t, you can conveniently try a new builder.