Website Builder Review
Why Use a Website Builder?
The top performers in our review are Weebly, the Gold Award winner; Wix, the Silver Award winner; and Squarespace, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a service to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of the 10 best website builders.
Everyone seems to have a website or blog these days. If you think creating a website involves a crash course in coding, relax. Creating a website has become simplified to the point that anyone with a basic understanding of drag-and drop functionality (dragging an object [e.g., a photo] and then dropping it into the desired placed within a webpage) can make a professional and modern-looking site.
For our evaluation, we focused on basic website makers. These programs are tailored for those who don't know HTML from RSS. Because these programs are so easy to use, there is no need to ever worry about coding in order to have a professional site that runs well.
For the novice who wants every web design tool at their disposal, our top-ranked services give you a veritable feature playground that allows you to customize your website so it meets your expectations.
Similar Services to Website Builders
There are many services available for those new to web design. These services help you design your website and improve its ranking in search engine results so customers can find you. These include mobile website builders and web design software for Mac.
Website Builders: What We Evaluated, What We Found
Top Ten Reviews' hands-on testing is designed to simulate typical, real-world experience with the software applications we evaluate. For our tests, we assessed the full-featured trial versions of each platform. The companies had no input or influence over our test methodology, and the results of our evaluations were not provided to them in advance of publication.
Each of the 10 online website builders we selected for our list strives to be accessible for new users. We tested the mid-tier plan of each application. These packages provide similar feature sets with a specific audience in mind, and they are advertised as the most popular options.
Design & Multimedia: How Easy Was It to Create a Site?
The following features are what you'll want in a website builder.
We assessed the quality of each web builder and how easy it was to set up and use. We looked for tools, including a setup wizard, that helps users with no prior web design experience create a professional website.
We awarded each application an Ease of Use score with a maximum score of 100%. Web builders that offer setup wizards, as well as tutorials and other helpful resources, received high scores based on the quality of the support they provided.
While you may only ever use one template for your site, it's still important to have several templates to choose from. At some point, you may want to refresh your website. Most of the applications on our list had fewer than 100 templates, but a handful provided over that standard amount. Wix, for example, features over 500 responsive templates.
Themes are essential when creating your website. You should have the ability to change the look of your site as your brand changes. Site redesigns are not uncommon, but with many website design services, you cannot change your site's appearance without erasing content.
Fortunately, many applications allow you to change the look of your site without causing you to lose all of your content. Jimdo is a great example of a site builder that allows you to change the look and feel of your site without affecting any of the images or text.
Along with design features, each website builder offers industry-standard tools. These tools, such as integrated blogging systems and responsive themes, enhance your website's overall design. Some web builders, like Aabaco, do not offer responsive themes; instead, they rely on third-party services for responsive, mobile-optimized themes.
Another increasingly expected feature is mobile editing. This lets you edit your website from your mobile device instead of restricting you to a desktop computer to make changes to your website.
Marketing Features of the Best Website Design Software Applications
A beautifully designed website will not magically increase your business's visibility or sales if no one can find it. Once you've created your website, the best web builders offer tools to help search engines find you.
While good, reliable content is the biggest factor in how search engines rank sites, there are still certain steps, like search engine optimization (SEO), you need to follow so customers can find your site.
We evaluated each application's SEO tools, including how each one helped you input metatags and add your site to search engines. Services like Duda that automatically submit your site to major search engines received the highest scores.
The best website builders provide analytics, or data and statistics, about how your site is doing. Some services offer custom analytics for your site, while others rely on Google Analytics.
Without good analytics, you have no way to track your website's performance and see what audiences you are reaching. Each web builder on our lineup uses Google Analytics; however, some have their own data-tracking tools.
Weebly, Squarespace, Yola, Jimdo and Aabaco all offer proprietary analytics to give you an impressive view of who your audience is, what areas of your site are performing well and which areas can be improved.
We awarded each website builder an analytics score, again, ranging from 0 to 100%. Services that track in-depth data, like bounce rates and referring pages, in addition to industry-standard data points, like page views, received the highest scores. Strikingly, Squarespace and Weebly provide some of the most comprehensive analytics.
Once you build your website(s), you'll need a hosting service to store your files on their server and publish your site to the internet. Each of the services on our list provide hosting as part of their monthly subscription plan. (Hosting features vary according to the application.)
Both Weebly, SpaceCraft and Duda stand out among the other services. These programs offer unlimited storage, websites and web pages as well as email addresses. Some services offer free custom domain names with a yearly subscription; however, there may be separate setup or registration fees that apply.
Storage is another important consideration, especially if your website features lots of video and images. Each of the website makers we evaluated let you build unlimited web pages. However, keep in mind that unlimited typically means within standard use. If you violate standard-use policies by creating more webpages than a typical company would, you could be charged a fee. It's a good idea to check with the provider to see what, if any, restrictions apply.
While some companies offer unlimited storage (again, unlimited really means within reason), most companies offer anywhere between 5 to 10GB of storage. This is the minimum amount of storage we recommend for sites with images and other media. Sites with more than 10GB of storage take longer to load, which could repel first-time visitors to your site.
Website Builders: Our Verdict & Recommendations
We recommend Weebly, our Gold Award Winner, because it is so accessible. Our Silver Award Winner, Squarespace, gives you an elaborate editor and a great image gallery. The Bronze Award Winner, Wix, can help you in the long run with its fantastic analytics. Each of these services provides a builder that can increase awareness of your brand, gain new customers and increase your bottom line.
Though it falls lower on our lineup, GoDaddy is worth taking a closer look at. It charges more for some design tools that other website building programs include at no additional cost with their plans. GoDaddy is a contender in website makers because it sells domain names along with offering a solid and secure web-building platform.
To learn more about building a website and other business topics, check out our articles.