Best Website Builders of 2019 (On-Going Case Study)

I used my own credit card and signed up to each website builder...

Previously, if any of us wanted a website, we’d be looking at hiring a web developer for the cost of thousands. It’s now possible to create a professional website in a matter of hours, for a fraction of the cost.

Website builders are perfect solutions for individuals and small businesses; the ability to create a website in less than a day and have it visible online is pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say?

With over 50+ different website builders, many of them sounding very similar, both in features and functionality it’s often hard to know which is best suited for your requirements so we decided to sign up, test and review the best website builders so you don’t have to.

Best Website Builders of 2019

1. Wix: Best Overall Website Builder (£3/Month)

Wix’s website builder is probably one of the easiest and cleanest user experiences you’ll encounter. With revenue growth of 40% in 2018 alone, it’s one of the fastest growing site builders out there.

Wix is a company, in my eyes, that considers everyone. Their drag and drop builder means you can literally build a site within minutes, easily moving and editing content and image blocks as you desire. However, if you’re not interested in customising your website because you don’t fancy it or don’t have time, Wix is a perfect solution.

 

Wix Example

 

When I look through Wix’s templates, they inspire me. Wix screams clean, modern, and professional, and that really comes through in their website templates. Every template is mobile responsive, with the ability to edit your mobile site completely separately if you wish.

All of my experiences of Wix have been great; for me, they really focus on their customers.

 

Create a Website with Wix.com

 

Usability:

The classic drag and drop website builder is enhanced upon with Wix. If I had to rate Wix’s ease of use, I’d give it a solid 5 out of 5 because it is super easy to use. If you’ve never created a website before and are feeling a little anxious, Wix will put your mind to rest.

 

Wix Usability

 

The drag and drop builder is very intuitive, with helpful hints and tools to guide you along the way. When you first setup your website, Wix will ensure that your needs are met, and your site is created to your liking.

It explains things very well, so if you’ve heard some terminology before like meta data and have no clue what it is, you’ll soon know the ins and outs without the slightest bit of trouble.

 

Features:

Whether you’re fussed about features and design options (or not), you’ll be satisfied with Wix. It doesn’t push things onto you, but if you want to get your teeth stuck in, there’s plenty to experiment with. If you get something wrong (or change the whole colour theme accidentally), it’s really easy to put right.

Wix has over 500 free themes to choose from. All of their themes come mobile ready which means you don’t have to create a separate mobile version of your website. Although, if you did want to change the mobile version of your site, you can do this separately as the option is there! Wix has an SEO wizard which I found really helpful.

 

 

You’ll find lots of fun features like images, image filters, video templates, and even a blog tool. Many people, like me, create websites with a blog section.

 

Speed & Performance:

This is a really important factor to me when I consider any web host or website builder. If your website isn’t fast, and is often down, who’s going to want to visit it? Also, if your website performs poorly, it can actually affect your SEO (which you definitely don’t want as a small business).

I signed up to Wix and created a test website so that I could report back my findings to you. Over a 12 month period, my average website uptime was 99.98% which is actually better than some web hosts. Even when I added loads of features to my site, including images and videos, my website’s response time was a very respectable 568ms which is just over .5 of a second.

 

Pros:

Over 500 professional template designs organised into easy-to-use categories
Variable pricing options covering all types of users
Mobile device website builder included with all designs
Knowledgeable support agents who are on hand 24/7
Exciting ADI technology with access to the latest features and updates
Their innovative drag and drop builder make them a great choice for beginners and pros alike.
The eCommerce functionality is impressive with a great range of sales and marketing apps

 

Cons:

eCommerce plans are available but come at a higher price

2. SITE123: Easiest Website Builder to Use (£10.37/Month)

SITE123 is a website builder designed for those of us who aren’t as tech savvy as the rest. The aim of the game is to get you online as quickly as possible, having a website up and running fast.

 

 

SITE123 is different from traditional drag and drop web builders, using an editor system that allows users to choose from many exciting templates and then modify them from the settings panel, empowering users to make websites even faster!

The system is ideal for individuals or small businesses who need a professional website online fast. SITE123 provides a user-friendly experience that doesn’t dumb down the effectiveness of their features and technology.

 

Create a Website with SITE123.com

 

Pricing Plans:

SITE123 probably has the simplest pricing plans in the website builder market. They have two clear plans which tailor towards beginners, and everyone else. When you sign up, you’ve got several options in terms of how long your plan contract is: 3 months, 12 months, 24 months, and 36 months. You can also switch your plan at any time throughout your contract.

As with all website builders, there are a few things to keep in mind before we begin:

All plans offer a 14-day money-back guarantee
All plans include a free domain
SITE123 templates are mobile friendly

 

 

SITE123’s free plan (honestly, it’s actually free), comes with 500MB storage, 1GB bandwidth, and a subdomain. Though the features may not suit everyone, it’s a great choice even for small businesses to begin with. Sometimes, and there’s no harm in doing so, people want to try a product before they buy. SITE123’s free plan gives you this option so you can see if they’re the right choice for you.

Once you’ve decided that SITE123 is actually pretty awesome, their premium plan is only $10.80 per month. Now, that is more expensive than Wix’s recommended plan, but it still offers some pretty cool features. Website builders (like web hosting) isn’t just about the price.

It’s important to weigh up what you want to use your website builder for, whether the features are right for you, and ultimately how confident you feel using it.

 

Usability:

What I found with SITE123 in terms of usability was that they suited both beginners and experts. There’s something for everyone, such as the simplicity for beginners (or those that just want to create something without really thinking too much).

But, if you want to get a bit more hands-on, advanced users can certainly get involved. You can customise pages and alter the design without just changing some text boxes or colour themes. Though the point of a website builder is to make life easier, I know some users like experimenting and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

 

Features:

When you decide to sign up to SITE123, you’ll be asked a series of questions (3 to be exact) about the type of website you want to create. This allows SIET123’s intuitive technology to create a basic design for you so you can edit your content and go live within minutes.

 

 

There’s also hundreds of templates to look through too. Everything from a basic website to art portfolio, cafes/restaurants to online shops. It’s a really clever platform and something that I will likely spend even more time experimenting with in the future.

 

Speed & Performance:

I do think speed and performance are a good measure as to whether a website builder is going to be good in the long term.

I recorded the results over 6 months to check SITE123’s response time (speed) and uptime (performance). This would allow me to make an informed decision as to whether they were actually worth considering as a permanent website builder.

Over 6 months, I had a 99.98% uptime record which is absolutely fantastic. Some web hosts who specialise in this area only guarantee 99.9%.

My site’s response time peaked at around 1067ms (just over 1 second) but averaged out at around 753ms over the 6 months. This isn’t as fast as Wix or some other website builders but it certainly isn’t going to change my mind about SITE123.

 

Pros:

Accessible customer support with helpful advisers, including instant 24/7 live chat
All templates are mobile friendly and fully responsive on all devices
SITE123 app market is super easy to use with tonnes of features
Design Assistance allows you to create a customised template without any technical or development knowledge
Constantly updated with new features and expanded capabilities

 

Cons:

Some features are streamlined and cannot be customized beyond a certain point

3. SiteBuilder: Best Feature Packed Website Builder (£5/Month)

SiteBuilder has a lot of experience in it’s market, prioritising ease of use and user experience for it’s customers. Recommending SiteBuilder for a specific purpose is quite difficult as they really are a decent all-rounder.

 

SiteBuilder.com

 

If you’re looking for a solid website builder for a new blog your starting, or even an eCommerce store, you won’t be disappointed. They have thousands of free templates (yes, free), including eCommerce stores.

When you start selling online, or even if you just want to generate traffic to your website, SEO is really important. SiteBuilder’s SEO tools are simple to use and actually work. You can monitor your site’s performance and continue to improve and develop your website, the way it should be.

 

Create a Website with SiteBuilder.com

 

Pricing Plans:

SiteBuilder has 3 pricing plans. They’re transparent and clearly displayed on the SiteBuilder website making it easy to come to a decision of what you’re going to choose. It’s important to note, if you’re looking to create a website for a small business that sells products online, you’re going to have to choose the eCommerce plan.

 

 

Usability:

SiteBuilder is possibly one of the easiest website builders to use. It’s completely straight forward and not once did I find myself stumped at where to go next. I’d highly recommend SiteBuilder for anyone – whether you’re just starting a new blog, a small business, or even a big scale site that attracts lots of visitors. The whole process is very intuitive making a pain free experience.

When you use a website builder, you want it to be easy. After all, you’ve made the decision not to hire a web developer, therefore expect an affordable and easy to use platform. SiteBuilder certainly ticks all those boxes in my opinion (so go check it out for yourself)!

 

Features:

SiteBuilder comes loaded with a lot of features. In fact, I’d be happy to bet that even web professionals would be impressed by what’s on offer here. They have over 1200 templates for your to browse and use. Some website builders lack in this area and potentially lose customers because there’s not much to choose from.

Something which might seem like a basic feature is actually one of my favourites. They have a ‘save history’ feature so you can go back on your history to see what’s been done. Similar to WordPress’s draft/revisions, this is really useful if you can’t remember what you’ve done, or want to go back and check some previous work.

Among all their useful tools, you’ll also find a really great customer support team. I always like to test customer support, because if something does go wrong, they’re the people you’re going to seek advice from. Their live chat is incredibly useful and easy to use, as well as providing expert help and advice all day long.

 

Speed & Performance:

I’m excited to write about this! SiteBuilder blew my socks off in this area, and I really wasn’t expecting them to. Over the 6 months that I tested their website builder, I encountered an almost perfect uptime (check it out):

 

 

An uptime of 99.99% rivals some of the top web hosts out there! I had around 1 minute of downtime across 6 months which is insanely good! What’s more, the response times I was getting were also really impressive.

The average response time for my website built with SiteBuilder was 387ms which is under 0.3 seconds – how could you complain at that?

 

Pros:

Plenty of eCommerce options, including £200 in advertisement credits
Over 1200 templates free templates, from online CVs and blogs to online stores
Custom template creation for those who want to inject their own design flair
Professional SEO tools including website performance monitoring

Cons:

Website builder tool runs slowly

4. Weebly: Best for Customer Service (£4/Month)

Weebly is a website builder that truly brings all aspects of a website together. Integrating templates, eCommerce, and marketing, all of their functions work seamlessly side by side. With the wide range of pricing plans, you’ll struggle NOT to find something that suits you.

I like Weebly because they offer something for everyone. They’ve placed themselves snug in the middle of the market; not too expensive, a wide range of features, and simple to get to grips with. 0.4% of all websites use Weebly, but to be honest I’d expect more.

 

Weebly

 

Their analytics feature is something which really impresses me. Being able to monitor the traffic going to your website and using that data to further cash in on those figures is quite something.

Their all-inclusive approach makes blogging or running an online store easy. Understandably, this type of model doesn’t suit everyone, so that’s up to you to decide if it’s right for your needs.

 

Create a Website with Weebly.com

 

Pricing Plans:

Weebly has a selection of pricing plans to get your teeth sunken into. Like some website builders, they offer a free plan which includes Weebly branding. This means that you can build and host a free website with them but it won’t look very professional. It’s a great option if you want to experiment with their tools and features but not recommended if you want users to visit your website.

I’m going to point out a few things you need to know about Weebly before signing up:

All paid plans include a free domain for 1 year (if paid annually)
There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not happy
Themes are mobile responsive
Flexible drag and drop blog builder included in all plans

 

 

Starter Plan

Weebly’s starter plan, when paid annually, usually costs £5. Currently it’s priced at £9 (probably to encourage people onto the Pro plan). As per the name, I found this plan to be very suitable if you’re just starting out. If you’re thinking about setting up a small business, you can’t go wrong with Weebly’s starter plan. You’ll get an unlimited amount of storage space, a free SSL certificate, free domain name, and no Weebly branded ads will display.

In terms of it’s eCommerce capabilities, you’ll get the following included:

Shopping cart
Payments through Square
2.9% transaction fee
3rd party payment providers (2.9% fee + 3% on top)
SEO marketing
Contact forms
Advanced site statistics

If you’re just running a small business (which I am assuming because you’ve landed here), then this is a perfect plan. I tested this pricing plan out and found it had everything I needed to get on my feet. Granted, the transaction fees are pretty steep, and if you want to use a third party payment provider, there’s an extra 3% fee on top of the 2.9% which isn’t great. However, as a starting point, it’s definitely worth trying out!

 

Pro Plan

The pro plan is currently £1 cheaper than the Starter plan, at only £8 per month (when paid annually). At this moment in time, I’d recommend this plan above all others if you’re looking for a website builder for small businesses. It has all the same features as the starter plan, but kicks things up a notch in terms of saving you money on fees and the introduction of other features.

Let’s take a look at what’s included for £8 per month:

All the features of the starter plan
No additional fees for using a third party payment provider
Product badges, product options, tax calculator, inventory management
Product reviews, shipping calculator
Facebook integration
eCommerce statistics

As you can (hopefully) see, there’s a lot more in the Pro plan which is focused towards online selling. If you’re looking to grab a bargain, I’d sign up for the Pro plan whilst it’s currently cheaper than the Starter plan. You’ll get a lot more for your money, and it will save you having to upgrade later down the line once your small business starts to grow into a bigger business!

 

Usability:

Weebly’s website builder is pretty easy to get the hang of. I found it to be quite intuitive and I was able to set up my website with just a few clicks. My main issue with Weebly’s builder was the fact it was really limited in comparison to other website builders. Their pre-formatted templates mean that you have to follow quite strict formats that you aren’t able to deviate from.

Now, I’m not necessarily saying this is a completely bad thing, especially if you’re just starting out with building your small business website. But if you’re looking to customise your website beyond the limits and confines of Weebly’s restrictions, you’re going to have trouble doing so.

 

Features:

Weebly’s features are definitely value for money (aside from their restrictive builder itself). The drag and drop builder makes it easy to integrate eCommerce features with your website and blog. The ability to interact with your website’s visitors and monitor statistics is really useful. Every small business should make use of these kind of tools in order to grow into a larger business.

For me, the best feature is quite a simple one. Weebly’s mobile app means you can edit and manage your site on the go. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve wanted to edit my site on a bus, train, or even when I’m out for a meal (yes I know, it’s addictive). The mobile app is a great feature and could save your small business from taking a nose dive if you’ve made a mistake or need to add something quickly.

 

Speed & Performance:

Weebly’s speed and performance is actually quite good. Going into this, I didn’t really expect much in terms of website speed that holds it’s own compared to individual web hosts. Over a 6 month period, I monitored my website’s uptime with Weebly and here are the results:

 

 

A total uptime of 99.97% over a 6 month period is something to be really proud of. 6 months equates to around 4380 hours of which my site was down for 2 of those hours. When you put it into context, there’s no way that I could provide anything but positive feedback in this area.

 

 

I also put my website that I created with Weebly through the ringer by measuring it’s response time. This averaged out at around 560ms which is just over 0.5 seconds. Again, my site loaded well within the 3 second threshold, resulting in a very happy chap!

 

Pros:

Plenty of support options including live chat with lightning speed response times
Free option available for those who don’t mind a subdomain
Partnered with SiteGround, our leading web host
App store with endless amounts of 3rd party apps to make your website entirely unique
On-boarding hints throughout, when you need them

 

Cons:

All-inclusive approach may not be to every users’ liking
Lack of server file access can make adding custom tools more difficult

5. Squarespace: Best Design Orientated Website Builder (£10/Month)

Have you been looking for a website builder who provides real professional templates? Squarespace will undoubtedly catch your attention! It’s slick drag and drop builder makes creating a website or online store look too easy, but the truth is, it is easy.

If you’re into design like me, SquareSpace is a great option. As well as their stunning templates, you can edit the HTML and CSS of said templates to make them your own. Even if you’re not familiar with coding, this could be your chance to give it a go!

 

Squarespace

 

To further aid in customising your website, SquareSpace gives you access to over 1000 Typekit fonts, and over 600 Google fonts. This means you can really make your website stand out. I love playing around with different designs and fonts to create something truly unique.

Although Squarespace may be a little pricier than its competitors, I don’t feel this would put me off. Their easy to use platform makes creating a website an absolute joy, even if you have no coding experience.

 

Create a Website with SquareSpace.com

 

Pricing Plans:

SquareSpace have 4 pricing plans on offer. 2 plans in their ‘websites’ category, and 2 plans in their ‘business’ category. I’m going to start with their business plans as these are going to be more suitable if you’re looking to build a website for a small business.

 

 

Plans start from £20 per month (billed annually), and as they say, are suitable to get your business off the ground. There are a lot of features included in even the most basic ‘online store’ plan which I’ll outline below:

Sell unlimited products
No transaction fees (this is amazing)
Free domain
SSL certificate
Commerce metrics, Inventory orders, Tax
Label printing
Customer accounts

There’s even more features included too, but there’s actually too many to list (rarely does this happen). The more expensive online stores plan includes all of the above as well as subscriptions, abandoned cart recovery, advanced shipping, flexible discounts, gift cards, and orders API.

 

 

I’m not going to go into too much detail here as you can probably already see that SquareSpace offer a lot in their pricing plans. Their website plans comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage, a mobile optimised site, free domain, website metrics, SSL certificate, and 24/7 customer support.

For just £15 per month, you’ll get all of the above as well as Google ads credit, eCommerce, 3% transaction fee, sell unlimited products, and even more. This is a great plan to start with (undeniably), but I’m recommending the first online store plan for small businesses as there’s a lot more room to grow.

 

Usability:

SquareSpace is definitely marketed towards those who love design. For this reason, I expected SquareSpace to be more intuitive than I found it to be. I wouldn’t necessarily say it was confusing as such, but certain areas did feel a little botched and didn’t flow in the way I had hoped.

Comparing it to the likes of Wix and SiteBuilder which are very intuitive website builders, SquareSpace certainly lacks in this area. After around an hour of using SquareSpace, I got a little frustrated!

 

Features:

This is where SquareSpace massively redeems itself for me. You may think at this point I had given up on SquareSpace because of the website builder tools, but their features are hard to come by.

SquareSpace lets their users dive into the actual code of the website, making for some exciting design work. If you’ve never used website code before, don’t worry, you don’t have to do this, it’s more experimental. In fact, I’d suggest building a test website and playing around with some of the features so you can see for yourself.

This level of customisation isn’t always possible with some other website builders, and it’s fairly easy to perform a search engine search and inject some funky code yourself.

 

Speed & Performance:

SquareSpace certainly fair well when it comes to their speed and performance. I was feeling a bit dubious about this, but they proved me wrong on so many levels. After I purchased my plan with SquareSpace, I created a test website and monitored the uptime and response time.

 

 

My uptime over a 6 month period resulted in 99.95% which really isn’t bad at all! I know that if I continue with SquareSpace, I’ll receive a reliable server where my site will experience very little downtime. This is essential for any website (especially those with lots of visitors like small businesses).

On average, my site’s response time was 648ms (under 1 second) which again is very promising. If you want a reliable website builder that’s going to have your back, I highly recommend SquareSpace.

 

Pros:

Over 60 exquisite templates for free across all of Squarespace’s pricing plans
Access to 1000+ Typekit fonts and 600+ Google fonts to make your website stand out from the crowd
Advanced users can edit the HTML and CSS of some of the templates
Video background creation for a stunning landing page
Email and live chat support with friendly staff who are quick to answer questions

 

Cons:

Advanced users and eCommerce businesses may not benefit from the lack of a proper file management system and advanced features
Pricing is more in-line with Shopify and BigCommerce without all of the same tools

6. Strikingly: Best Website Builder for Blogging (£6.48/Month)

Diving deeper into one of the more niche markets, Strikingly is a website builder that focuses on one page websites. The idea is that users, especially those on mobile, are able to access one page to gain all the information they need, making for a better user experience.

I’d recommend Strikingly to those who are keen to get their website built in a matter of hours at an affordable cost. But, if you want a full-blown online store, this website builder won’t be suited to you.

 

 

Pricing Plans:

Strikingly have 4 main pricing plans. Their free plan is entirely FREE for life and contains the features to set up a very basic website and online store. This is ideal if you want to test the waters or simply aren’t sure whether you want to commit to a monthly or yearly contract.

 

FREE LIMITED PRO VIP
Websites Unlimited Free Unlimited Free, 2 Limited Unlimited Free, 3 Pro Unlimited Free, 5 Pro
Domain Strikingly.com Custom Custom Custom
Bandwidth 5 GB /month 50 GB /month Unlimited Unlimited
Store 1 Product 5 Products 300 Products 500 Products
Support 24/7 Standard 24/7 Standard 24/7 Standard Priority
App Store X X Yes Yes
HTML/CSS/JS X X Yes Yes
Strikingly Branding Yes Yes Removed Removed
Password Protect X X Yes Yes
Site Search X X Yes Yes
Collaboration X X Yes Yes
Custom Fonts X X Yes Yes
Newsletters X X X Yes
 
Price FREE $8/mo (£6.52) $16/mo (£13.04) $49/mo (£39.93)

 

Their Limited plan kind of does what it says on the tin. It offers more than the free plan, but still limits customers to Strikingly branding and just 5 products per eCommerce site. The limited plan is great for bloggers or small businesses who offer just a few products. Again, it’s a great option if you want to explore more of Strikingly’s features but aren’t yet ready to dive into the Pro or VIP plans.

The Pro and VIP plans are very similar. The main differences are that the Pro plan offers PRIORITY support as well as English phone support. You’ll be able to send 2000 email newsletters a month as well as sell up to 500 products per site.

 

 

If you want your very own custom email domain, you’ll need to fork out $25 per year for the pleasure. None of their website builder plans include this.

 

Usability:

 

 

Strikingly is a simple and easy to use platform. Their sign up process takes just a few minutes and doesn’t require too much information. Once you’ve signed up (which you can do via email or Facebook), you’ll get to select your template.

 

 

You can view examples of as many templates you like. Once you’ve made your decision, simply click start editing to do just that! If you’ve never used Strikingly before, they give you the option to take a tour (which is their version of a tutorial) to get you started.

 

 

The website builder itself is very functional. Everything responds quickly and works as intended. You can add new sections like a blog with ease, or edit existing sections, styles, fonts, etc. This is great for beginners as well as experts who can sign up to the Pro plan and edit the CSS/HTML/JavaScript.

 

Features:

Strikingly offer PLENTY of features for you to explore. Whether you’re setting up a blog, personal website or eCommerce store, there should be enough to keep your interest. Let’s take a look at some of the features they offer:

Build a website in under 30 minutes
eCommerce store (Connect PayPal or Stripe)
View your site audience
Send newsletters
Run marketing campaigns
Register domain names
Sign up and contact forms
Social feed
Analytics
HTTPS (SSL certificate) included for FREE

 

Speed & Performance:

Strikingly doesn’t outwardly advertise or provide any uptime guarantees. There wasn’t much information before signing up to them, so I had to do some of the leg work myself. Hopefully this will give you enough insight to make your own decision.

Strikingly don’t state what server specs they are using, or providing to it’s customers. They appear to use Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which is hosting from a company called Linode. This suggests they are providing a shared hosting level of resources to their customers.

What this means is that you can expect a reliable and stable uptime and response time from Strikingly. However, don’t expect your site performance to be off the charts. It’s likely you’re sharing a cloud-based server with other customers.

 

Pros:

14-day free trial to test Strikingly’s website builder
Ability to transfer templates and designs mid-build without losing any of your existing work
Custom HTML headers and footers can be implemented
Ideal for portfolios due to the photo-heavy nature of the templates available

 

Cons:

Not suitable for advanced users due to lack of flexibility and features
Not catered towards eCommerce, even with their Simple Store they only allow 300 products per site on their Pro plan

7. Shopify: Best Overall eCommerce Website Builder (£23.50/Month)

For those of you who are simply interested in creating an online store, Shopify is my recommended eCommerce website builder. It’s active user base of over 1 million displays a level of confidence in what it offers. Shopify’s all-in-one solution means you can get everything to run your online store in one place.

 

Shopify Review

 

Shopify is entirely hassle free and has all the features you’ll need to setup your online store. What’s more, you can integrate it with WordPress too – fancy!

 

Pricing Plans:

Shopify offer 3 main pricing plans. Because Shopify is an eCommerce website builder, all plans include the ability to sell unlimited products online. Shopify offer a free 14-day trial on their products before committing to any particular plan.

 

BASIC SHOPIFY ADVANCED
Online Store Yes Yes Yes
Products Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Staff Accounts 2 5 15
24/7 Support Yes Yes Yes
Free SSL Yes Yes Yes
Abandoned Cart Yes Yes Yes
Gift Cards No Yes Yes
Professional Reports No Yes Yes
Advanced Reports No No Yes
Third-party Shipping Rates No No Yes
Online Credit Card Rates 2.2% + 20p 1.9% + 20p 1.6% + 20p
In-Person Credit Card Rates 1.7% + 0p 1.6% + 0p 1.5% + 0p
Additional Fees 2.0% 1.0% 0.5%
 
Price $29/mo (£23.63) $79/mo (£64.37) $299/mo (£243.65)

 

Shopify also offer a Lite plan which enables selling on Facebook from just $9 per month. Their Enterprise plan is for large-scale online businesses. Shopify’s cheapest main pricing plan is their Basic plan which is $29 per month. Whilst this may seem expensive compared to other website builders, it does include selling of unlimited products.

If you’re starting a new business, I highly recommend their Basic plan. It gives you enough tools and features to get started, without breaking the bank. For established and growing businesses, the Shopify plan is ideal.

Unless you’re already well established and selling a lot of products consistently, I wouldn’t even think about the Advanced plan. At $299 per month, you’ll need to be making enough money to cover your existing costs, plus the cost of Shopify’s site and store builder.

 

Usability:

Creating your very own online store with Shopify is easier than you might think. The signup process is pain-free and just requires your email address and store name to start.

Once you’ve signed up, Shopify will ask you whether you’re already using another platform to sell. They’ll also ask for your estimated revenue and whether you’re setting up a store for another person. Next up you’ll need to enter your personal details to verify you are who you say you are. This will enable Shopify to send payments to your account.

 

 

Adding products to your store is SUPER simple with Shopify. When I first started creating an online store, I was really worried I wouldn’t understand it. Shopify takes you through each step at a time and doesn’t require any coding knowledge to proceed.

 

Features:

As well as being a website builder, Shopify is known for being able to create beautiful online stores. This means it has a whole host of features that other website builders don’t have.

Let’s explore some of Shopify’s features that might peak your interest:

Storefront with over 70 professional themes
Brand and customise your own online store
Edit with HTML and CSS
Blogging platform
Free SSL certificate
Automatic Taxes
100 Payment Gateways
Inventory management
Digital Products
SEO product tags
99.98% uptime and monitoring
Google Analytics

There are literally hundreds of features that Shopify offer. I suggest you take a look at their website before making a decision. However, I am CONFIDENT you will love them. Creating an online store with Shopify is easy, simple, and frankly very exciting!

 

Speed & Performance:

So we already know that Shopify provide a 99.98% uptime guarantee. Shopify claim that they will do everything they can to ensure your store is always online.

99.98% uptime and 24/7 monitoring
No need to worry about downtime with Shopify, we work around the clock to make sure your website is always online.

Of course, I wanted to test this for myself to see if it was really true. Here’s hoping that it is because so far I really LOVE Shopify and what they have to offer.

 

 

I monitored my website with Shopify for 6+ months. During this period, I achieved a 99.99% uptime which is absolutely AMAZING! I only had 8 outages lasting a total of 27 minutes, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t much at all.

 

 

My site’s response time was also GREAT! To be honest, this beats some web hosting companies that I’ve reviewed. Again, this was recorded for over 6 months and during this time my website and online store’s response time never exceeded 1 second.

 

Pros:

Easy to use drag and drop interface
Great management system including inventory, shipping, and marketing tools
Integration with WordPress if you already have a WordPress website or plan to start one from scratch
Unlimited products meaning you’ll never be restricted to what you can sell
All-in-one solution so your web hosting and website is under one branch

 

Cons:

Expensive pricing starting from $29 per month
No website builder included, only an online store

8. iPage: Cheapest Website Builder (£6.99/Month)

You may have seen on my iPage review that this web host actually comes with its own in-house website builder. You’ll have access to a limited version of the builder with your hosting account so it’s definitely worth taking a look at.

 

iPage Review

 

With over 100+ mobile responsive templates, you’d be surprised at what it can offer at such an affordable price. An ideal solution if you’re interested in creating a starter website.

 

Pricing Plans:

iPage actually only has one pricing plan. The plan starts from just £1.50 per month and includes all of their features. Their website builder is FREE when you sign up to their web hosting.

 

 

Included in this you’ll get a website builder where you can create up to 6 web pages. The website builder is mobile optimised so you can be reassured your site will look great on all devices. If you want to use WordPress instead of their website builder, this is an option too.

There’s hundreds of themes and templates to search through to create your perfect website. Whether you’re looking to create an online forum or blog, iPage’s website builder can do the job.

 

Usability:

Whilst iPage’s website builder isn’t as fancy looking or maybe as intuitive as others, it’s still very EASY to use. Signing up is simple, and you’ll have your web hosting and domain sorted before creating your website.

 

 

Their editor is easy to get the hang of. All of the tools are on the left-hand side panel. When choosing a template, you can look through as many as you want in preview mode. Once you’ve selected a theme or template, you can update the colour chart instantly if you find one more suitable.

 

Features:

iPage’s website builder is ideal for beginners. Whilst experts can use the builder, I wouldn’t recommend it because there are others out there that are more intuitive and in-depth. Let’s take a look at some of the awesome features iPage’s FREE website builder includes:

Drag and drop functionality
Hundreds of themes and templates
Built-in PayPal integration
SEO and social media tools
Revision history and drafts
Analytics

 

Speed & Performance:

If you’ve read my iPage hosting review, you may already be aware of how GREAT iPage’s uptime is. When I signed up to iPage in order to test their website builder, I started my monitoring again. I felt like this would give everyone an accurate representation of the company as a whole.

 

 

iPage doesn’t make any guarantees when it comes to uptime. Whilst this may put people off, I hope I can show you WHY iPage are so great. Over the last 24 hours my uptime was 100%. Across 7 days this totalled 99.99% and over the last 30 days it was 99.92%.

Granted, not the best uptime I’ve ever seen but it’s certainly not bad.

 

 

iPage’s response time was great. Over the last 24 hours it averaged out at 803 ms which is under 1 second. Good news all round!

 

Pros:

All templates and designs are mobile responsive without the need to change views if you add/remove sections to your website
All elements are drag and drop compatible so editing becomes a breeze
Pre-built sections allow users to drop in popular website features without the hassle of too much thought
iPage’s website builder comes with built-in social media tools

 

Cons:

Features are limited for advanced users
Lack of 3rd party apps means you can only use what’s available to you

9. WordPress.com: Best Budget Option (It’s Free)

WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org) is a web hosting service. But, it uses the same WordPress software as you might be familiar with. Users have the option to choose from free or paid plans, with access to hundreds of popular WordPress themes.

 

 

I think WordPress.com is versatile enough to cater for all user markets; beginners and experts alike, from small personal blogs to up and coming online stores.

 

Pricing Plans:

Whilst WordPress.com is a FREE service, they do also offer premium plans. These paid plans are designed to offer something to everyone.

 

FREE PERSONAL PREMIUM BUSINESS ECOMMERCE
FREE DOMAIN No Yes Yes Yes Yes
EMAIL + LIVE CHAT SUPPORT No Yes Yes Yes Yes
STORAGE 3 GB 6 GB 13 GB 200 GB 200 GB
PREMIUM THEMES No No Yes Yes Yes
REMOVE ADS No Yes Yes Yes Yes
SOCIAL MEDIA No No Yes Yes Yes
SIMPLE PAYMENTS No No Yes Yes Yes
SITE MONETISATION No No Yes Yes Yes
SEO TOOLS No No No Yes Yes
GOOGLE ANALYTICS No No No Yes Yes
INSTALL PLUGINS No No No Yes Yes
UPLOAD THEMES No No No Yes Yes
REMOVE BRANDING No No No Yes Yes
ACCEPT PAYMENTS No No No No Yes
UNLIMITED PRODUCTS/SERVICES No No No No Yes
ECOMMERCE MARKETING No No No No Yes
 
PRICE FREE £4/mo £7/mo £20/mo £36/mo

 

Aside from their free plan, WordPress.com’s pricing starts from just £4 per month. One of the things that sets WordPress apart (for me) from other CMS platforms is their themes and plugins. Unfortunately premium themes aren’t available until you reach the Premium plan and plugins can’t be installed until £20 per month.

 

Usability

WordPress is one of the easiest website builders to use (once you get the hang of it). Admittedly, at first, it can be quite daunting. There are SO many options to choose from, places to edit and customise your site, as well as plugins and themes.

What makes WordPress great is that you can customise it to make it suitable for you. For example, if you want to use a website builder plugin that enables drag and drop functionality, you can do. Most plugins are free, or at least free to use ‘x’ amount of features.

 

Features

WordPress has SO many features. Not only that, but the ability to install plugins make their features list as long as you can imagine. Let’s take a look at some of the features that come as standard with WordPress.com:

Create a website, blog or both
Mobile-ready responsive themes
Fast and friendly support
Embed media into site pages and blogs
Social sharing built-in
Search engine optimised
Analytics

 

Speed & Performance

WordPress.com is different to WordPress.org. Remember, WordPress.com provides web hosting for you, whereas WordPress.org is self-hosted. For this reason, it was important for me to check my site’s uptime and performance to see if WordPress.com could compete with other web hosts.

 

 

As you can see, my uptime report for my WordPress.com site recorded 100% uptime across the last 24 hours, 7 days, and 30 days. There’s not really much else to say about the matter! WordPress.com has absolutely smashed the ball out of the park on this one.

 

Pros:

Free version available to those who want a more affordable option
Customisable designs allowing you to make your own stamp on your website with navigation menus and more
WordPress.com will automatically backup your website and keep your software updated without the need for any intervention

 

Cons:

Unlike WordPress.org, you can’t install custom plugins or themes unless you pay for a business plan
Lack of eCommerce features unless you upgrade to Business which costs $24 per month

10. GoDaddy: Best Website Builder for Beginners (£4.99/Month)

Another web host whose services come with a website builder is GoDaddy. Their builder is included in all of their hosting plans, giving you easy access to a simple and professional tool. If you want to work on your website on the go, you can actually do this from your phone or tablet.

 

 

For users who want to host and build a simple website, GoDaddy is a great and affordable choice.

 

Pricing Plans

GoDaddy’s website builder has 4 pricing plans. You can try all of them out for free beforehand.

 

BASIC STANDARD PREMIUM ECOMMERCE
SECURITY SSL SSL SSL SSL
CONNECT DOMAIN Yes Yes Yes Yes
MOBILE-FRIENDLY Yes Yes Yes Yes
PAYPAL Yes Yes Yes Yes
SEO No Yes Yes Yes
SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS 1 3 Unlimited Unlimited
SOCIAL POSTS PER MONTH 5 20 Unlimited Unlimited
EMAIL MARKETING SENDS (/mo) 100 500 5000 25000
SMS ALERTS No No Yes Yes
ACCEPT ONLINE PAYMENT FOR SERVICES No No Yes Yes
ADD PRODUCT LISTINGS No No No Yes
SELL PRODUCTS VIA STORE No No No Yes
MANAGE DISCOUNTS No No No Yes
 
PRICE £4.99/mo £6.99/mo £10.99/mo £19.99/mo

 

From just £4.99 per month you can create a website which allows you to engage with your website visitors. You can do this via social media, with a limited number of posts per month. However, if you plan on selling products online or want to generate traffic to your website, you’ll need to move up to their £6.99 per month plan.

If building an eCommerce store is what you require, their eCommerce plan is the most suitable. At £19.99 per month, this very much rivals other eCommerce website builders like Shopify. They do have plenty of features and tools to use, but I imagine if you want to go big, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Pros:

Really simple to use and recommended as a starting point for beginners
Pre-loaded sections so you don’t have to create your own
Getty Photography integrated photo library giving you access to an array of images you can use on your website

 

Cons:

There aren’t many features available if you’re intending on building a complex website
If you want to move your website from GoDaddy to another website builder, this may prove difficult

Web Developer vs Website Builder

I’ve touched on this very briefly, but I want to explore this in a little more detail. Web developers still exist – there will always be a need for them because not everyone has the time to invest into alternatives.

The issue for most people (the likes of you and I) is that hiring a web developer can cost upwards of £1000. And, the costs don’t stop there. If you require changes to your website in the future, you’ll either need to pay your original developer for more time, or hire freelancers on a fixed or hourly rate basis.

Website builders give people the freedom and flexibility to create stunning websites at a very affordable cost. In fact, lots of website builders offer free trials, or free plans altogether. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re building a personal website or a business website, users all around the world are jumping on the website builder train.

It’s all about exploring the perfect website builder for your own needs; hopefully, I can help you with this.

Is a Website Builder right for me?

You may be wondering whether you even need a website builder. Although they’re very useful, the truth is they’re not recommended for everyone and that’s okay. But, if you use a website builder for the right reasons, you could be onto a real winner (like me)! Let me run you through the reasons why a website builder would be suitable. If any of these points ring true with you, then I invite you to carry on reading:

• You run or want to start a small business website

• You have a personal blog or want to start on

• You want to or already do sell products online

In honesty, that probably covers a lot of users, and that’s why I highly rate website builders. I think more and more people are starting their own small businesses now than they ever were before. Why? Most likely because they can start a small business without the worry of how much a website is going to cost to build or start.

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