Best Website Builders in 2018 (Complete Comparison)
Website builders are becoming increasingly popular for personal websites, blogs, and businesses alike. The great thing about site builders is that they don’t require the help of an expensive developer; everything can be done by you! The trick is finding the best website builder when you’ve never used one before.
There are dedicated websites and companies that offer standalone website builders, there are also companies that include domain names and hosting, and there are hosting providers who offer website builders. Well, that all sounds a little confusing doesn’t it?
That’s why we’ve put together a guide on how to choose the best website builder, the pros and cons of each, and key elements to look out for. We’ve also included each website builder’s latest pricing plan (where relevant) so you can make an informed decision.
WordPress.org is the self-hosted version of WordPress. This simply means that you will need to purchase your web hosting and domain name with another provider, like BlueHost from only £2 per month, and connect the details to your WordPress account.
WordPress is at the top of its game when it comes to content management systems (CMS), with a market share of over 50% (that’s more than other CMS platforms combined)! In 2018, 30% of the world wide web is powered by WordPress, so they must be doing something right.
- WordPress.org is a completely free website builder giving you full access and control over your website. Whether you’re looking to create a personal blog site, a portfolio, eCommerce store, or membership based site, you can do so with WordPress
- There are more than 50,000 plugins available with WordPress that you can download and install to your website. Plugins are a great option if you’re looking to expand upon the features of your website, speed up your site, manage your SEO, or learn how to keep your content fresh
- WordPress has its own portfolio of thousands of themes and templates for you to use for your website. Whether you’ve made a website before or not, choosing a professional template is easy with WordPress. Many templates are free to use, but you can also pay a small price for a premium theme if you want to go the extra mile
- Unless you choose a WordPress managed web host, you’ll have to manage your own website, including installing any updates to WordPress and its plugins
- There’s not much hand holding with WordPress; although it’s a brilliant system once you’ve got used to it, there’s not much guidance when you first begin, so may feel overwhelming at first
- You’ll need to remember to keep backups of your website via your web host, unless your web host is willing to do this for you free of charge, or for a small fee (it’s probably worth it to be safe)
As we’ve stated, WordPress.org is completely free; all you need to obtain is your own web hosting and domain name. WordPress.com on the other hand starts from as little as £3 per month, but has many limitations to it, which is why we’ve opted for WordPress.org.
Wix is a strong contender for the best website builder. It’s super user friendly and allows you to drag and drop every aspect of your website. You can include a blog, forum, and more too, should you wish.
If we were comparing ease of use, we’d probably place Wix at the top of the charts, alongside their features and pricing, they make for a great competitor.
- Wix provides a fully hosted solution, so you won’t need to shop around for web hosting, or pay for it elsewhere. This includes a free SSL too, but if you’re looking to connect a domain name to your website, you’ll need to upgrade your plan
- With hundreds of templates to choose from, you’ll find it easy to use Wix’s categorised template selector to suit your website’s needs. From café websites to mechanics, clothes stores to magazines, you’ll be spoiled for choice
- Every aspect of Wix is drag and drop; whether you’re using a template or not, you can literally drag and drop, and edit each section of your site. Once you click on a particular element, you’ll be presented with a tonne of options to customise your site
- Wix’s Free and Connect plans will come with branded adverts, unless you upgrade to their more costly plans. They’re ideal if you just want to test the waters, but you’ll want to upgrade to feel the full benefits of your Wix website
- Even if you select Wix’s premium plan, you’ll still have to pay a yearly or monthly subscription in order to obtain your own mailbox, e.g. email@example.com and this is billed on a ‘per mailbox’ basis
- If you ever transfer your website from Wix to another provider, you may find it quite difficult to do so as the process is somewhat complicated
If you want to be able to connect a domain name to your website (which most likely you will), Wix’s Connect Domain plan starts from £2.55 per month. Each pricing plan offers more bandwidth, storage, and features which you can check out here.
Their Combo plan comes with the option to have a free domain from only £5.15 per month, but we’d personally recommend their Unlimited plan at £7.76 per month which includes unlimited bandwidth, 10GB storage, and a few added extras.
Designed specifically to be able to create eCommerce websites, Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce website builders around. For example, did you know the music website NME use Shopify for their online merchandise store?
With over 1 million users, and billions of dollars being made using their technology, there’s got to be a reason that Shopify deserves a place in our guide to the best website builders.
- Shopify comes as a complete package; it’s fully hosted so you don’t need to manage software updates, backups, etc.
- Regardless of pricing plan, Shopify doesn’t limit you to the number of products you can sell. With unlimited file storage and products, you won’t have to worry about how much you’re able to sell
- If you’ve never used a website or store builder before, have no fear. Shopify makes it easy to create an eCommerce store with loads of professional designs to choose from. You don’t need to be a web developer to create an intuitive design
- As well as being easy to use, you can also integrate Shopify into your WordPress website, combining two of the most powerful solutions under one roof
- If you’re looking for a cheap eCommerce solution, Shopify probably isn’t the best option for you. It’s competitively priced, but is aimed at those who want to sell lots of products
- Transferring your Shopify website and files from Shopify to another provider may prove to be quite complicated if you change your mind in the future
- Gift cards, reports, and abandoned cart recovery is not included in Shopify’s basic plan; these are features which are often desired, and the leap between the basic and standard plan is quite steep in terms of price
From only $29 per month, you can have an eCommerce store up and running within the day; with unlimited products and storage, your professional online store is ready to go. Shopify’s mid-range plan starts at $79 per month, and jumps up to $299 per month for their advanced plan.
Their pricing may seem quite hefty on the wallet, however, compared to other eCommerce website builders, we think they’re pretty reasonable. Being able to create your online store yourself with fully customisable products and features is quite a feat.
Established over 10 years ago back in 2007, Weebly provides a platform where you can create a website of any kind. Whether you’re a blogger, establishing a personal portfolio, or online store, Weebly can power your needs.
Weebly is very user friendly, making it a great website builder for beginners; their simple drag and drop page builder is easy to get to grips with regardless of skill.
- Very similar to the likes of Wix, Weebly is a fully hosted platform meaning you won’t have to obtain your web hosting from another provider. When you select their Connect plan you’ll receive a free domain name and the ability to connect your domain to your website
- Weebly’s live page editor means you can select one of their many stunning designs and edit it to your hearts content. Making your website the way you want it has never been easier
- Weebly makes it easy to connect your website to an eCommerce store, as well as creating one so that you can start selling online straight away. Their built-in features like contact forms are great for any type of website; personal or professional
- Unless you choose Weebly’s Starter plan, your website will display Weebly Ads which doesn’t look very professional
- As Weebly is fully hosted, you can’t use any outside or open source features; you’re stuck with the features that Weebly offers
- If you’re an eCommerce customer, you’ll have to pay a 3% fee on all transactions to Weebly unless you upgrade to the Business plan
Although some of the cons we’ve mentioned include upgrading your Weebly website builder plan to a higher pricing plan, we think their pricing is actually very competitive. Aside from their free account, their Connect plan starts at £3 per month, Starter from £5 per month, Pro from £7 per month, and their top level Business plan is just £15 per month.
When you consider that many web hosting packages cost on average around £7 per month, you could get your web hosting, a website builder, domain name, SSL certificate, and eCommerce store for just over double the price – that’s a pretty good deal in our books!
SiteBuilder.com offers another fully hosted website builder solution, much like its competitors, with a bit of a twist. Your hosting, domain name, and website email address is all included in their level one tier of pricing plans.
You can simply take one of SiteBuilder.com’s many templates or designs and either make it your own, or make some simple amendments and go live with it immediately. It’s as simple as pointing and clicking anywhere on the website builder to edit any element of your site.
- SiteBuilder.com offers an eCommerce plan with priority support and a PayPal account designed specifically for your online store, meaning you can start making money straight away on your website
- SiteBuilder.com is very user-friendly making it a great option for beginners and professionals alike; with thousands of website templates available with the click of a mouse, you’ll be able to create the perfect website for your needs
- You’ll have access to your website’s analytics data which means you can learn how to make changes and improvements in order to increase your website’s traffic and engagement
- Unless you want adverts on your website, you’ll need to upgrade to SiteBuilder.com’s Pro plan which is currently £3.84 per month (or £7.68 normally)
- Because SiteBuilder.com is fully managed and hosted by them, you won’t be able to use any tools outside of their platform to customise your website
SiteBuilder.com is a competitively priced website builder, offering 4 plans (3 of which are paid). Their starter plan which is free is a good option if you want to test the sites features and tools, but isn’t recommended if you want to go down the professional route due to its adverts and lack of domain.
Currently at a promotional price of £3.84 per month, the SiteBuilder.com Pro plan includes a domain name, website statistics, and Ad Credits included. Upgrade to their Premium plan at only £5.99 per month to gain priority support, or opt for their eCommerce plan at £9.22 per month to create an eCommerce store.