Choosing a Website Builder
Starting a website is much easier and cheaper than it used to be thanks to the wide variety of user-friendly, DIY web builders that consumers can now choose from. We've compiled a list of do-it-yourself website builders above, highlighting the features that each of them offers.
When choosing a website builder, you must first consider what kind of site you want to build and what kind of functionality you require. Below is a list of of key decision-making factors you should consider when picking a website builder to help make the ideal personal or business site for you.
Consider the Software Features
There are a lot of highly rated website builders to compare & choose from, but your best option will depend on the features that matter most to you. For instance, Wix and Moonfruit are excellent options for users who desire absolute simplicity. Network Solutions and GoDaddy both offer excellent stock images and photo editing tools. Squarespace and Shopify are equipped with world-class shopping cart solutions.
If you’re just looking for a quality hosting platform that works with WordPress or another preferred CMS, you might favor iPage or FatCow.
A Great Website Deserves a Great Template
Your template is the backbone of your website. It comprises the entire layout, including your menus, colors, background elements, and photo and text alignment. A worthy website builder will have hundreds of templates to choose from, but the quality of those templates is also critical. For instance, GoDaddy and Wix offer fewer free templates than some of their competitors, but the templates they do offer are among the most beautiful you’ll find. Web.com and Strikingly are also great choices for quality templates.
To Pay or Not to Pay?
Should you go with a free platform like WordPress or a paid platform like Squarespace? That depends on how much control you want over your website and how big you want to go:
Free website builders are excellent on a budget, but they typically don’t allow you to connect your own domain. Also, you’ll have to keep the company’s ads on each webpage.
Paid builders are definitely an investment, but you get more storage, bandwidth, and tools. Also, you can use your own domain and get rid of those pesky ads.
Here are some additional factors to consider when deciding between free and paid website builders.
The Brand Is Important, Too
We know that trust is important when you’re choosing a website builder. All of the website builders featured & compared on this page are industry leaders, and some of them have been in business for over two decades. Register.com has been around since 1994, Web.com since 1995, and GoDaddy since 1997. Network Solutions has actually been in operation since 1979!
These companies have also received numerous industry accolades. For instance, BigCommerce has received two Stevie awards for Best Overall Business. GoDaddy also received three Stevie awards for their sales and customer service and has been recognized as one of Arizona’s Most Admired Companies two years running.
Looking for Design Services?
Yeah, these website builders offer plenty of stellar designs right out of the box, but sometimes, you need something a bit more custom. If you’re looking to have a professional design a gorgeous website on your behalf, your best bets are Web.com, Weebly, and Register.com. These platforms all offer competitively priced DIFM (Do It for Me) web design services. Once your site is built, you can still use their easy content management system to maintain your site.
If your site includes a storefront, BigCommerce is another excellent option. They can connect you with one of their carefully vetted BigCommerce design partners. Best of all, there are hundreds of partners to choose from, so you can compare rates and portfolios and find the option that works best for you.
Don’t Forget About Google
If you want potential visitors, readers, customers, or groupies to be able to find you, you need a site that is optimized for search engines. SEO (which appropriately stands for “search engine optimization”) refers to all of the techniques and best practices that allow a website to achieve prominent search engine rankings.
If you want to ensure that your website builder is SEO-friendly, look for features such as:
The ability to edit title tags, meta descriptions, and alt image attributes
Automated XML and HTML sitemaps
Search-friendly URLs (good: mysite.com/latest-news; bad: mysite.com/349596)
Keyword density tools and conversion tools
Wix and Web.com are two of the best website builders for SEO. They both offer all of the features mentioned above, and Web.com even employs SEO experts who can optimize your site on your behalf (additional rates apply).
And Then There Are the Hosting and Domain Bundles
Your hosting is like your real estate. But instead of paying for five acres and a duplex, you’re paying for a few gigabytes of storage and enough bandwidth to make your site run smoothly. All of the website builders featured on this page offer hosting services for your website, and most of them allow you to connect your own domain for a small fee. Squarespace is one of the few hosting providers that will give you a free domain when you sign up for a yearly contract.
Weebly and Web.com both have hosting plans with unlimited storage and bandwidth. This is a huge advantage for any website owner. BigCommerce offers these perks as well, but if you have an online store with thousands of products and customers, you may be required to upgrade to a costlier enterprise plan.
When comparing your hosting options, just be aware of the difference between “unlimited” and “unmetered” bandwidth. An unmetered plan isn’t truly unlimited. That is, the hosting provider won’t stop you from receiving large influxes of traffic, but it may slow your site down after you reach a certain threshold.
Got something to share? We always look forward to receiving feedback from our users, so feel free to reach out to us at any time. Just email your comments or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.