We have a complete list of reviews of the best website builders for 2018. We put 18 of the internet’s most popular website builders through some of the most critical analyses and testing ever conducted. Find a provider here with the best uptime, features, and customer support for your business or hobby!
|Intuitive and versatile, Wix can create any type of website with unmatched fluidity.|
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|Simple, yet powerful, Site123 facilitates an easy site creation with masterfully guided design process.|
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|BigCommerce offers customizability, scalability, and many more exciting features.|
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|An impressive set of tools with a below-average price tag. A great choice for both beginners and advanced users|
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|Did you know that one-page websites can be Strikingly awesome?|
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|Flexible and functional, Weebly is the most user-friendly site builder in existence.|
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|Stylish and enticing, the Squarespace templates are the epitome of web design mastery.|
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|Mobile and multilingual, Duda sports many unique features for modern, fully responsive designs|
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|Easy to use, Jimdo allows you to build a website in just 3 minutes|
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|Flexible and simple, Enjin is crafted with gaming communities in mind. It offers a straightforward way to build a website of any kind.|
3 Most Common Website Building Myths
It’s no wonder that in today’s market websites are the most important asset for any business. With 88% of Americans using the internet, and the ecommerce market predicted to generate $450 billion in the US alone this year, it’s crucial for all businesses to have a website.
Although websites are necessary for businesses to succeed, around half of the small businesses out there still don’t have websites. This might be due to the prevailing myths people believe about website building.
You need programming skills to build a website on your own.
You need to pay thousands of dollars to developers to develop a website.
Website maintenance is hard and requires a full-time developer.
With this guide I will show you how to bust these myths. Website builders are tools that enable you to build websites easily and run them efficiently without any technical experience.
So let’s dive into making a DIY website!
Why Website Builders?
Do you want to build your own website and be able to control every aspect of your site while saving time and money? Lets see how this can be achieved!
A Programmer’s Ego vs. Wix IPO News
I always turned a blind eye to the drag-and-drop website builders, assuming they wouldn’t be able to accomplish everything I needed. Being a programmer, developing websites has always required writing PHP or Node.js code.
How did that perception change? Recently, I came across Insight’s article, “Wix.com Raises $122M in NASDAQ IPO.” It was a pretty big hit to my ego!
Although this news was intriguing enough, I didn’t immediately go and try to create a site using drag and drop. Instead, the article prodded me to dig more into the website-building market. I was shocked to know Shopify and Weebly were also publicly listed; in fact, around 100k stores were powered by Shopify!
Those stats delivered the final blow to my meaningless ego. I gave in and bought a WiX VIP plan to check out how to build a site using Wix. After developing the website, in less than a couple of hours, there was only one thing on my mind: that this is revolutionary!
I felt like I’d been hiding under a rock for not taking advantage of the conveniences website builders offer even the most inexperienced programmer!
Back in the day coding a simple ecommerce store would take me almost a month. Additionally, maintaining the website required coding experience! Thanks to website and store builders, I can now create ecommerce stores with Shopify in less than two hours!
Amazed by the cost, time, and maintenance efficiency of the Wix sample site, I decided to check the performance features and benefits of other top website builders.
To cover all of the leading website builders on the market, I teamed up with my other developer friends Muninder and Deepak. We developed a 12-step process that would help us uncover all the pros and cons of every website builder.
This led to a detailed analysis of the following:
- 18 website builders
- 5 store builders
- 11 website hosts
- 2 content-management systems
- Nearly 200 real user reviews
Using Website Builders vs. Hiring Developers
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a website builder as opposed to hiring a professional website designer and developer? Is it best to use a website builder to build your own website by yourself or shell out the big bucks to hire a professional website designer to do it all for you?
The final answer really comes down to your requirements and how much time and money you want to spend on a website that will satisfy those requirements—while giving you the power to modify and make changes later on down the road.
If you hire a website developer, it can easily cost you $2500 or more, and this is the very lowest end of the cost scale. Many of the “elite” website developers ask for $10,000 or more.
In addition, once you get your website up and running, you’re stuck with it; and if you decide you want to make any changes or “tweaks” to the design, you’ll more than likely have to rehire them or someone else to make the changes. This means more money out of your pocket—and more time is wasted.
There are three questions you should ask yourself before you decide on custom web development:
- Will I need a custom, scalable website?
- Can my business afford the budget needed for website development and maintenance?
- Am I ready to deal with the overhead involved in hiring a developer?
Website Builders Are Effective and Easy to Use
If you can point and click, you can build your own website, which is a huge draw. Most builders also come with either free trials or even a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you really have nothing to lose by trying them out.
Any good website builder will provide the following features:
- Prebuilt templates for every theme
- 24/7 live chat
- Drag and drop
- The ability to build a site in less than 4 hours
- Prices starting at $10
- The constant addition of new tools and features
The best part is, by using a website builder, not only do you get full control over your website, you’ll also be able to modify it whenever you wish, and you can do it all for way less than hiring a web developer.
The great thing about most website builders is their overall flexibility. Website builders have the capacity to create websites for any business, big or small. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mom-and-pop business or an even smaller business with just a handful of employees.
Here are a few examples of the business categories that should consider creating their websites using website builders:
Small Business Owners
Artists & Musicians
Local Business Owners
Now that we’ve covered the main advantages of using a website builder vs. a web developer, and we’ve established which businesses website builders work best for, let’s discuss the process we follow when we rate and review website builders. If you’ve already decided to use a website builder, you can use this as a guide when evaluating website builders and choosing which one will suit you best.
Our Evaluation of the Website Builders
I think my reviews will be much more effective if I’m transparent about how my reviewing system works. Unlike other lengthy website builder review articles that are heavily biased towards only the most popular website builders, the goal of this website is not to sell you on a specific website builder to make a quick buck.
We want to provide you with a completely unbiased—and very thorough—analysis while giving a transparent critique of some of the greatest website builders on the market right now.
We started with the best website builders.
We chose the top website builders available. In addition, we will continue to add more to the list as we review them every month in order to make sure all the best website builders are reviewed for you.
We built complete demo websites.
Once we signed up with each website builder, we took our time and built demo websites under each one and then recorded our experience in detail. We also made a full demo video showcasing the process for each one—find them on our review pages.
We created and followed a 12-step evaluation process.
While building the demo websites with each of the website builders, we conducted a very strategic and thorough 12-step evaluation with each builder.
12-Step Evaluation Process
In our reviews, we address the following elements:
Ease of Use
How well does the website builder work? Most of the newer website builders work with a drag-and-drop function—you drag the feature you want and you drop it to your page. Sounds pretty simple, right? The only problem is that this feature might not work the same way on all builders. There are other things to take into consideration, such as smoothness, interface speed, and the efficiency of the editor.
The appearance of your site has a huge impact! We check how many themes and how many styles—minimalist, vintage, modern, and so on—each site builder offers. Not only that, but we also check to see how well they perform. In short, we look for the whole design package:
- Number of themes
- Look of the themes
- Technical background of themes
- Styles each theme provides
Scope of Features
Most of the time, the differentiating factor in a website builder—what makes it better or at least different than the rest of its competitors—comes down to one thing: the features. Maybe it’s blogging options, perhaps it’s a cool form builder or a useful membership system. It could be all of them—and believe us, this can happen! As numerous as the features may be, we go through all of the available website builder’s features to show you all the possibilities and tools offered for your website!
We go through all the SEO features available in the builder and review them one by one. From meta description options to the URL editable features to SEO plugin-compatible alternatives, we make sure we reveal how SEO friendly the software really is. If you want to find the website builder that will take you to the number one ranking in Google, we’ve got you covered!
- Technology analysis
- Https, SSL, meta, maps, Sitemaps
- Site structure, robots.txt
- Is the site in google cache the same as the site seen?
Scope of Integrations
Can the software integrate social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on? Does it allow you to add plugins to facilitate a mail subscription, memberships, commenting, and other features?
We check to see if you can add additional features to your site or store! We make sure to review the website builder’s app—or, if that’s not available, at least the plugins compatible with the tool—to see how personalized your final site can actually be. If you are going to build a website, you’ve got to make sure to use software that lets you do it your way!
- Number of apps
- Free and paid apps
- Options to integrate custom apps
- API integrations
Pricing & Support
Are their prices comparable to the other options on the market? We review not only the different website builders’ prices, but also the features included under each package, the price models, the paying options, any hidden discounts, and even their billing practices. When it comes to money—especially yours—we want to make sure everything is safe and sound!
- Prices of packages, features included, value for the money
- Is the payment gateway secure?
- Hidden prices or discounts
- Fair billing
When it comes to their customer support, we created a list of possible issues one might face throughout the website-building process. For every website builder, we send our reviewers to the support team—via phone, email, and live chat, and we also look up their FAQ section—and we review their service.
They should not only be fast, friendly, and patient, but they should also have an accurate and helpful response for the specific problem or query. We truly put their user-support system to the test! We make sure the support teams are fast, friendly, and resourceful.
This means that whether you are on your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or desktop computer, you’ll always be able to enjoy a well-designed, high-quality website.
When it comes to the responsive features, we specifically check to see if the website builder tool offers mobile-friendly options—meaning that the website should adapt, without a problem, to any given screen size. And we put all of this to the test!
- Technology used in themes
- Mobile editor
- Loading speed on mobile phones
We run different tests for different templates and different devices to make sure that regardless of the circumstances, the final product (your website) has a good—or at least average—loading speed. The following criteria impact how we rank these website builders based on loading speed:
- Page score
- Page size vs. page load time
- Number of calls made to database
- Caching capabilities
Real User Reviews
While we do have strong programming experience and know what a good website builder should be able to do, we also took the experiences of real users into account. By reading and evaluating the thoughts and opinions of other users—what they liked about the website builders and what they struggled with—we were able to provide you with more detail about these companies.
Pros and Cons
Once we’ve reviewed every single detail about the website builder—usability, loading speed, designs, responsiveness, SEO features, integrations, support, prices, and features—we can then make a list of the major strengths and weaknesses of their software.
If you have to make a decision—especially one that will have such an impact on your business—you make a pros and cons list. And that’s exactly what we do for you! Are the pros good enough for you? Can you look past all the cons? We make it easy for you to start making your own personal assessments.
As the title of this step suggests, this is our final say about the website builder we’re reviewing. Is it as good as it claims to be? Is it really worth it? Do we recommend it—or don’t we?
You know what they say—there’s a match for everyone. What may work for, let’s say, an ecommerce site may not be the ideal option for a blog or portfolio. And we want to emphasize that in this section. Our final goal is to make your decision and even your learning process for a website builder easier, faster, more fun, and smoother overall. We work hard to provide you with an in-depth review and, ultimately, an unbiased overview of the website building software that best suits your needs and goals.
Winners by Category!
Once we’d set up the demo sites and evaluated each website builder according to our 12-step evaluation process, we wrote out a detailed review of each website builder. You can read all of these reviews by visiting our website builder reviews page! What’s more, within several elements of our 12-step evaluation process we found a winning website builder that prevailed over the rest.
Just how is this section useful for you? Well, if your top priority in a website builder is that it be extremely easy to use, for example, our winner in the usability section is likely to be what you’re looking for.
You can design and build a beautiful and functional website, but if getting there makes you lose your mind trying to figure out how the website builder works, perhaps it’s not really worth it. That’s why usability is the first point on our checklist.
You may be able to add colorful charts, attractive galleries, and fun videos to your site. But if it takes 30 seconds to load all that beautiful content, nobody will ever wait to see how amazing your page is. Would you as a customer wait that long? The loading speed is very important for your users/customers—and it is for us too—therefore, the website builder of your choice should be up to par in this category.
If your page loads as soon as you click on it, but it’s just a basic, unappealing, boring template, your visitors will leave just as fast as they got there. Therefore, it’s important to find a site builder that offers a good selection of modern templates to choose from. We evaluated website builders based on the number, look, technical background, and styles their themes provided. We also evaluated reliability, flexibility, and responsiveness.