Which Website Builder Offers Best 3rd Party Apps Integration?
One of the most appealing aspects of many website builders is that they make it easy to integrate third party apps and services into sites built on their platforms. Not all website builders feature the same breadth of plug-ins.
There are a number of leading website builders that offer fantastic third-party integrations. This comes in spite of the fact that they're not open-source. Of course, these integrations are offered in different ways and to different extents depending upon the platform. In this article, we'll compare a few of the top dogs: Wix, Squarespace, BigCommerce, Weebly, and Duda.
Who Has the Most 3rd Party Apps?
Here’s a basic breakdown of the number of third-party integrations you’ll find with the popular website builders:
BigCommerce: 350 ecommerce apps
Wix: 240 website building and ecommerce apps
Weebly: 220 website building and ecommerce apps
Squarespace: None are built into the platform, but Squarespace users can use the third-party Squarefront platform to expand their site with a few dozen integrations
Duda: 12 platform integrations (including Facebook, Yelp, Google Maps, and PayPal) and about two dozen site widgets for customization
The Verdict: Although BigCommerce has a larger selection of apps, these plug-ins are largely limited to ecommerce businesses. Wix has the largest selection of third-party integrations that appeal to all types of websites.
Variety of Ecommerce Plugins
All of the website builders on our list have ecommerce capabilities, but some are more store-friendly than others.
Wix offers about 40 ecommerce apps, including an excellent “Site Search” plug-in. This integration not only makes it easy for customers to find what they need, but it also keeps you informed about what your customers are searching for. Other great apps include “eBay eCommerce” and “Gift Card.”
Squarespace doesn’t offer third-party apps for ecommerce, but the company does integrate with Stripe and (as of recently) PayPal, so you can easily offer a wealth of payment methods to your customers.
Weebly currently offers 24 ecommerce apps, including a few great ones like “McAfee Secure,” “ShipStation,” and “Shopial.” “ShipStation” makes shipping a breeze, and “Shopial” enables you to easily integrate your Facebook store with your website.
BigCommerce is a true powerhouse when it comes to ecommerce. With more than 300 apps geared toward selling, marketing, and conversion rate optimization, there’s simply nothing like it.
If you don’t need all of those whistles and bells, Duda is known for their customer conversion widgets like “Click-to-Call,” “Coupons,” “Yelp Reviews,” and one-click PayPal integration.
The Verdict: BigCommerce is the most powerful and versatile ecommerce website builder in the world, and it shows in their app integrations.
Apps for Bloggers
If you want to build a blog as a part—or perhaps as the focal point—of your website, there are a number of apps made specifically for bloggers.
Wix offers a simple one-click blog installation. But if you prefer to stick with your existing blog platform, there are available apps that will import your Blogger or Tumblr blog right into your Wix website.
Squarespace offers an integrated blog tool, but there are no third-party plug-ins available. Also, it’s important to note that the Squarespace personal plan limits you to 20 pages.
With Weebly, you can create your blog from your main dashboard. Just select the “Pages” tab and select “Blog Page” to get started. Once you have it set up, you can enhance it with a couple of cool third-party applications. For instance, “Easy Magazine” provides you with a magazine-style layout and “Blog Image Cards” lets you add links to your blog with image boxes.
Like Weebly, BigCommerce has a built-in blog setup. Just click on “Storefront Content” and select “Blog.” There aren’t too many third-party apps for blogs, but there is an especially handy one called “Blog Sync.” It’s completely free, and it enables you to import any blog into your BigCommerce feed.
Duda creates blogs that are fully responsive (i.e. mobile-friendly), customizable, and SEO-friendly. You can assign multiple authors, add blog elements anywhere on your site, and take advantage of a few third-party integrations. For instance, you can use “Disqus Comments” to encourage user engagement, and you can use the “WordPress Feed” plug-in to integrate a blog from WordPress.
The Verdict: While Duda may not have the most third-party integrations under its belt, it does have some of the most useful, especially the WordPress tool. And when you combine that with the hassle-free setup process and nearly limitless customization potential, it’s easy to see why Duda is a premier choice for bloggers.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is what helps you to climb the Google rankings and get noticed online. It’s essential for anyone who wants to build an online presence.
The Wix App Market offers nearly a dozen useful SEO apps, including “rankingCoach,” “Rabbit SEO,” “SEO Wizard,” and “SEO Analytics.” With these tools, you can monitor your site’s progress while enhancing the search engine visibility of each page.
Squarespace offers search-friendly templates with which you can build your website. You also have the freedom to edit your meta tags. Additional tools can be found in the Squarefront marketplace, but your options are fairly limited.
Weebly has more than 20 SEO apps to choose from, and some of them are pretty impressive. For instance, POWr Pack contains a full suite of marketing tools for creating SEO-friendly media galleries, generating FAQ pages, and encouraging user engagement. MarketGoo makes it easy to monitor your competitors and devise strategies on how to outrank them.
BigCommerce has about two dozen SEO apps, but remember that they’re all designed for ecommerce. You’ll want to check out “GoingUp,” which includes a whole suite of analytics and SEO tools. Other great apps include “Plug in SEO” (an SEO store auditor) and “ReloadSEO.”
Duda is designed with built-in SEO functionality, and it’s pretty impressive. The platform automatically generates your XML sitemap and robots.txt file. You also have the ability to customize your URLs, optimize your metadata, and implement 301 redirects. No apps are required.
The Verdict: Weebly has the greatest selection of SEO tools that appeal to basic websites and online stores alike, and the majority of these apps are free to use.
Mobile-friendliness is no longer just a good idea. More people are surfing the web on their phones than on their desktop PCs, so your site must be built with mobile integration in mind.
Wix enables you to create mobile-friendly website, and it also offers a fantastic third-party app called “My Mobile App.” This plug-in enables you to turn your mobile site into an app.
All Squarespace sites are automatically mobile-optimized, so if you’re looking to create a mobile-friendly site without a lot of labor, that may be the way to go. Just don’t expect to find any third-party app integrations.
Like Wix, Weebly offers the “My Mobile App” plug-in. The platform also offers many more great apps, though, like “Easy Web to App” and “Hide if Mobile.” The latter app enables you to hide specific elements from mobile visitors.
Once again, BigCommerce takes the cake in terms of sheer volume. The company offers about a dozen mobile plug-ins that enable you to create your own apps and optimize the look and functionality of your mobile layout.
Duda has a built-in mobile editor that lets you control the look of your mobile site without the need for third-party integrations. From there, you can use the “Click-to-Call” widget to enable one-click customer phone calls from a mobile device. The “Video” plug-in allows you to embed a video directly into a mobile site.
The Verdict: This one was a close match between Weebly and BigCommerce. While both platforms offer an impressive number of apps for mobile customization, Weebly once again is the more flexible choice for different types of websites. ecommerce businesses should definitely consider BigCommerce, though.
Free vs. Paid Apps
If you’re concerned about the app stores nickel-and-diming you when you’re already paying for your website, you’ll be happy to know that a large number of the available third-party plug-ins cost nothing to use.
Wix: 85 free apps (35% of all apps)
Squarespace: All plug-ins and features are included with your membership
Weebly: 84 free apps (38% of all apps)
BigCommerce: 110 free apps (31% of all apps)
Duda: Limited third-party integrations, but they’re all included
The Verdict: Wix offers the most apps to the most websites, and more than a third of them are completely free to use. Their selection also includes some of the most useful free apps on the market.
This was a tough battle, and it’s extremely difficult to narrow it down to just one clear winner. BigCommerce is unrivaled for ecommerce businesses, and Weebly is second to none for people concerned about ease of use.
Overall, though, we have to give it to Wix. The Wix App Market has some of the best free apps available, and it offers a better overall selection than you’ll find with any other all-purpose website builder.
Overall Winner: Wix
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.