Best DIY Web Builders Compared
Find the Ultimate Website Builder Solution
Forget the online coding schools and the expensive web designers. Thanks to the wide variety of website builders currently available, creating the perfect digital domain is now just a few clicks away even for those who don’t know the first thing about HTML code or cascading style sheets.
There’s a lot of information about website builders out there, so here’s a simplified breakdown:
Weebly is the best option for ease of use.
Wix can’t be beat when it comes to price and value.
Web.com is a top-notch choice for ecommerce stores.
- eHost is excellent for those who already have some web development experience and
are just looking to streamline things.
Here’s a more detailed look at some of the best options on the market right now.
For anyone seeking a free option that offers all the essential web-building features, Wix is the ideal solution. In business since 2006 and with 10 offices in five countries, Wix is in a class by itself.
There’s a bit of a learning curve, and sometimes the elements don’t line up perfectly the first time, but with a bit of practice, there’s little that can’t be accomplished.
The team at Wix is committed to providing their customers with the ability to create attractive, easy-to-navigate websites that don’t cost a penny. Though they do have some restrictions, Wix’s free plans are perfect for those who need to quickly develop a simple-yet-elegant web presence.
Plans start at just $5 a month (with banner ads), and even the best plan—complete with unlimited bandwidth, 20GB of storage, and a fully functional online store—costs only $25.
Wix also has a few game-changing features that make it worth checking out, including the state-of-the-art Wix ADI feature. This is the company’s proprietary artificial intelligence. It asks the user a few simple questions and then builds a complete website from scratch.
Wix sites are also easy to update and manage from a smartphone thanks to the user-friendly Wix app.
Web.com has helped tens of millions of people get their sites online since it first hit the scene in the late ‘90s.
Their Do-it-Yourself website design package provides users with everything needed to get up and running, including hundreds of starter templates, thousands of royalty-free stock images, and unlimited storage.
Over the years, the team at Web.com has streamlined the web building process to the point where it’s as simple as choosing a preferred design, plugging in some content, and clicking “Publish."
And to make things even easier, Web.com offers world-class customer service. Any user can enlist the services of the company’s friendly professionals with just a simple phone call.
It’s worth noting, though, that Web.com charges considerably more than their most direct competitors. A basic plan runs $22.95 per month; for anyone who wants to add marketing tools, the rate is $32.95. Owners of ecommerce stores can expect to pay $42.95 for a basic store.
Though the prices are a bit steep, they come with some pretty noteworthy perks: unlimited web storage, portfolio creation tools (which are great for bands, graphic designers, and other professionals), and even specialized layouts for different industries, including dental and chiropractic.
Based in San Francisco, Weebly is the backbone for more than 20 million websites.
Their widget-based builder makes it remarkably simple for anyone to rapidly create an aesthetically pleasing site with all the trappings people have come to expect from a modern web presence.
The main menu is located along the top navigation bar, and all editing features are clearly labeled and illustrated in the left column. For example, if you want to add a block of text to a webpage, just click the “Text” box in the left column and drag it right to the spot where the text should appear.
Then start typing. It’s that simple.
The Weebly website builder is also designed with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind, so prime search engine rankings are always within reach. Most website builders allow users to edit their meta tags and control how their site appears in search engine results, but Weebly takes the search factor even further with SEO-friendly HTML formatting and automatic XML and HTML sitemaps.
Similar to Wix, Weebly also offers a free—albeit limited—plan that works beautifully for the majority of users. For those who don’t mind plunking down a few bucks for a paid plan, Weebly’s platform offers additional features and functionalities that match those of their big-name competitors. There’s an $8 Starter plan for personal websites, a $12 Pro plan for organizations and large websites, a $25 Business plan for small businesses and stores, and a $38 Performance plan for large ecommerce stores.
eHost is another value provider that offers tremendous savings to users who are willing to commit.
For a three-year term, users pay only $5.95 per month; for a two-year term, users pay $6.95 per month; for a one-year term, the rate is $7.95; for a quarterly term, the rate is $8.95; a month-to-month plan costs $9.95.
As of this writing, they’re running a special deal where new members can get one, two, or three years for only $2.75 per month.
The full amount must be paid up front. When the contract renews at the end of the promotional term, users are required to pay the standard rate. The website builder is a bit more intimidating than some of the others, and this is largely due to the complicated web hosting control panel. The drag-and-drop editor is a breeze to use, but the main control panel looks similar to the kind of cPanel that one would find in a back-end hosting environment.
With that in mind, the eHost layout may be a bit overwhelming for beginners. Thankfully, eHost does offer 24/7 live chat to all of its customers, and the company guarantees that calls are answered within two minutes.
There are some other tempting selling points that are also worth noting. With eHost, users can:
Choose from thousands of templates
Connect unlimited domains
Enjoy unmetered storage and bandwidth
“Unmetered” means that a user’s storage and bandwidth aren’t technically unlimited, particularly for those users who hog large amounts of the company’s bandwidth. Still, the vast majority of websites will never run into a cap.
Strikingly is another worthy choice as it offers amazing rates and an extremely user-friendly web building environment. The site does have one key drawback, though: The editor is designed for single-page layouts.
In other words, if a user wants to create an “About Us” page, an “FAQ” page, and a “Contact” page, these three pages will all appear as individual sections on the home page. The top-tier membership plan does allow for the freedom to create unique product pages, but the drag-and-drop editor is still designed to accommodate multiple sections divided across a single page.
This is great for anyone looking to build a simple website, but it doesn’t allow for much expansion. The good news is that Strikingly is extremely affordable. There’s even a free version with an impressive 5GB of monthly bandwidth.
For the premium plans, the cost depends on the user’s level of commitment. For instance, with a one-year commitment, the Limited plan costs only $8 per month and allows for 50GB of monthly bandwidth. The Pro plan costs $16 per month and provides unlimited bandwidth, ecommerce capabilities, and access to the Strikingly App Store.
With a two-year commitment, the cost for these plans is even lower.
|Connect Domain - $5/mo||Website Builder - $22.95/mo||Free - $0||3-Year Plan - 5.95/mo||Free - $0|
|Combo - $10/mo||Website + Marketing - $32.95/mo||Starter - $8/mo||2-Year Plan - $6.95/mo||Limited - $8/mo|
|Unlimited - $14/mo||Website + Marketing + Ecommerce - $42.95/mo||Pro - $12/mo||1-Year Plan - 7.95/mo||Pro - $16/mo|
|Ecommerce - $17/mo||Business - $25/mo||Quarterly Plan - $8.95/mo|
|VIP - $25/mo||Performance - $38/mo||Monthly Payments - $9.95/mo|
About Chris Scalise
Chris Scalise has worked with major website builders since the early days of Adobe PageMill. For more than a decade, he has been addressing the web building and content management needs of leading online businesses like Coalition Technologies and Opposing Views. In his spare time, he reviews website design and creation.