Best Website Builders of 2018 (On-Going Case Study)

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

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?

Previously, if any of us wanted a website, we’d be looking at hiring a web developer for the cost of thousands – this is still an option, but website builders have provided a new option. It’s now possible to create a professional website in a matter of hours (yes, literally hours), for a fraction of the cost.

I’ve been testing and analysing these for a number of years now and below are the best website builders that I’ve tested so far…

Best Website Builders of 2018

1. Site123: Best Overall Website Builder

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 in a matter of an hour or two. Site123 focuses on drag and drop functionality, but somehow they’ve made it even easier to use!

Ideal for individuals or businesses who need a website online fast. Site123 provides a user-friendly experience that doesn’t dumb down the effectiveness of their features and technology.

Pros:

• Accessible customer support with helpful advisers, including instant live chat
• All templates are setup to be 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 knowledge

Cons:

• Once you’ve gone live with a template, you can’t change it
• Some features lack quality and freedom, forcing you in a single direction

2. Wix: Easiest Website Builder to Use

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 no wonder Wix has made it to the top of my list. They are by no means the cheapest website builder but their features sure do pack-a-punch.

Wix Their innovative drag and drop builder make them a great choice for beginners and pros alike. They keep their technology up-to-date which gives me the confidence they’ll be around for the foreseeable future.

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 allowing you to see what your website will look like on mobile
• Knowledgeable support agents who are on hand 24/7
• Exciting ADI technology with access to the latest features and updates

Cons:

• No live chat option for customer support
• Have to pay a higher subscription to remove Wix branded adverts

3. Weebly: Best for Customer Service

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.

WeeblyTheir 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.

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

4. SiteBuilder: Best eCommerce Website Builder

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. 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.

SiteBuilder.comOffering a great selection of features at an affordable price is what SiteBuilder do best. So if you want a new website with your own domain name, head over to SiteBuilder and check out their free trial.

Pros:

• Affordable pricing with plans starting at only £2.25 per month
• Plenty of eCommerce options, including £200 in advertisement credits that you won’t want to miss out on
• Thousands of 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:

• No live chat option for customer support
• Website builder tool runs slowly

5. Squarespace: Best Design Orientated

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.

SquarespaceAlthough 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.

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 for Blogging Websites

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.

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

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 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!

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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 for Beginners

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.

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.

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