I’ve used website builders in the past, and I’ll be honest… it wasn’t the most pleasurable experience.
Programmers who know HTML, CSS, and other languages are a great resource, but for the rest of us, website builders are an excellent alternative.
My experience with HTML and CSS helps, but I’m not an expert in these programming languages. I know bloggers who started with website builders and found a lot of success. You can easily find success as well with these tools.
Here’s our roadmap:
The Gigantic Difference in Cost Between
Website Builders and Developers
You want start making a website, so you explore some articles that try to explain complicated things like coding, development, stylesheets, and plenty of other scary looking terms.
You can find WordPress Guides online. However, many of these guides become quite complicated. What’s a beginner to do? Perhaps you can pay someone to do it for you.
It can’t be that expensive, right?
- Custom design and architecture: $2,500 – $10,000+
- Shopping cart integration and programming: $200 – $15,000
- Website content creation: $50-$200 per page, or hourly rates
- Website managed services: $75-$150 per month
- Hiring a developer alone: $2,000-$5,000
What it comes down to, is about $2,000, minimum, for a basic website that gives you a static page and answers a few questions for your customers. Advanced websites and fully custom websites for big businesses rack up costs of $30,000 or more!
Paying someone to do everything doesn’t work unless you manage to secure a small loan of a million dollars. You have two other choices:
1. Make a website with WordPress
2. Use a Website Builder
We’ve covered the former option pretty thoroughly on here, so this time we’re going to talk about website builders. Now, in terms of cost, I think you will like this a lot better:
- Between $4 and $18 per month
That’s it! Way less expensive, and you get the tools you need to make an attractive and fully functional website, blog, store, or anything in between.
Who Are Website Builders For?
- No Experience? No Problem! Website builders use drag-and-drop interfaces that make it easy for anyone to make a website from scratch.
- Starting a Small Business? You can get your store and your website up in mere hours.
- Fancy yourself the next Stephen King? Writers can make incredible professional blogs and portfolios using today’s website builders.
- Artists, you’re welcome too. Portfolios and galleries are a snap with website builders.
- Want everything in one convenient package? Website builders offer domains, hosting, and the tools to get your website up and running in one place.
Website Builder Comparison Infographic:
Who Stacks Up as the Best?
Best Website Builders in 2017 and Beyond
Here they are, in no particular order, my top picks for website builders in 2017, and well into the future. Enjoy!
SiteBuilder comes out of the gate strong with a free domain name, support for templates, a free email address, eCommerce support, and SEO tools. They have a starter package with simple features that are totally free.
When you want to get serious, you can choose between four different plans that all cost less than $12 a month.
What I loved about SiteBuilder
- Free domain and email account? Yes, please!
- Over 1,200 templates to choose from.
- Modern design on the templates, and a simple/clean UI
- Starting at $59.88 for an entire year.
- Save history feature and build a blog feature are very welcome
SiteBuilder Could Make
- eCommerce stores require a business account, which is more expensive
- Activation can take a few hours when all you wanna do is get started.
Wix is the website builder most people will recognize immediately. It has a lot of advertising behind it, and it’s known for making beautifully designed websites. Everything from drag-and-drop interfaces, to designer crafted templates and tons of other features, are all at your disposal.
It truly is an all-in-one solution for your website creation needs.
What I Loved about Wix
- Wix has 300+ templates that are all gorgeous and hand-crafted for professional and modern design
- The website builder is really flexible. There are lots of customization options
- Design changes are visual-based. This means you can simply point and click on something to modify or change it
- Sign-up and activation are instantaneous
- The cheapest ad-free option is $9.25 per month, which is reasonable.
- Great loading speeds and very little downtime
Wix Could Make
- Email accounts cost $5 per
- eCommerce users will need the higher package that costs $17/month
Squarespace was started back in 2004 in founder Anthony’s dorm room at the University of Maryland. And, now I feel old. Today, the company has over 600 people on its team and have helped millions of websites launch into the World Wide Web.
Today it helps creative people design beautiful websites for their stores or portfolios.
What I Loved About Squarespace
- There are over 40 modern templates that are each extremely high quality
- Free domain and privacy protection
- Blogs, websites, or eCommerce sites are all welcome
- Solid loading speeds and uptime
- Great for image-heavy sites like art or photography portfolios
Squarespace Could Make
- A fully upgraded site runs about $18/month which is on the higher end of the spectrum
- There’s a small learning curve for beginners, and it’s really designed for image-heavy sites
- Each email account is $5/month extra
BoldGrid offers a solid website builder with lots of flexibility and good pricing. It has some downsides, but it’s also a great way for WordPress beginners to understand the platform since it’s built on WordPress.
What I Loved About BoldGrid
- Runs on top of WordPress, which is great for people looking to transition to the platform eventually
- Flexibility for any kinds of site
- Free domain, unlimited email, and eCommerce tools
- $4.17/month is a great price
BoldGrid Could Make
- Sign up and activation was about 2 hours altogether
- A bit of a learning curve for beginners, but it’s worth it
Weebly is a really popular option for website builders, but it can be lacking depending on your needs. On the one hand, it’s very intuitive, but that simplicity also comes at the price of complexity. Let’s take a look.
What I Loved About Weebly
- They offer free email
- Instant activation upon sign up
- Drag-and-drop customization options and pre-built features
- $12/month isn’t too bad
Weebly Could Make
- Roughly 80 themes to choose from, but none of them really pop like other options
- An eCommerce store with over 25 products costs $23/month
- The uptime is solid, but it can sometimes report fake or error-filled site statistics
Jimdo does its job pretty well, but it’s overshadowed by the competition in a number of regards. For starters, the theme selection is a little small. There may be better options out there for your site.
What I loved about Jimdo
- Pricing isn’t too bad at $7.50/month
- Less than 30-minutes to get a website up and running
- Best performance in terms of uptime and speed
Jimdo Could Make
- Jimdo only has 17 themes included.
- Changing color and adding text or images is fine, but anything else is difficult because of the strict templates
- It’s $20/month for unlimited eCommerce products
GoDaddy is the largest reseller of domains out there. It would make sense that their site builder adds up, right? It’s not quite that cut and dry. Great drag-and-drop interfaces are marred by poor choices and lots of upsells.
What I Loved About GoDaddy
- The website builder is very simple and easy to use
- Creating a custom site and adding content is pretty easy
- The starting price isn’t bad
GoDaddy Could Make
- If you want anything beyond the basics, prepare to pay more
- Customer support is really hit or miss
Adobe Muse is for the graphic designers out there. Its main draw is the ability to draw elements directly into the program.
What I loved about Adobe Muse
- Starts at $14.99/month (not bad, given the features)
- Premium web fonts available
- Supports blogs, storefronts, and plenty of other site features
- Templates available
- Written and video tutorials
- The ability to draw directly into the program for artists/designers
Adobe Muse Could Make
- The UI can be complex for anyone who isn’t a graphic designer
- A little high on pricing in comparison other options
1 & 1
1 & 1 offers some pretty awesome features and a solid price point. It’s not anything we haven’t seen elsewhere, but it does have some really good options for new bloggers or website owners.
What I loved about 1 & 1
- Starts at $6.99/month
- Domain and 200 email accounts included
- Web apps, support for third-party tools
- Free PayPal mini store
- Editable SEO tools
- Analytics included
- Access to HTML and CSS for advanced users
1 & 1 Could Make
- More options for customization would go a long way towards making this one stand out
Vistaprint Web Builder
Vistaprint has a lot of cool services, and now we can add website builder to that list. Does it manage to stand out? Well, yes and no.
What I loved about Vistaprint Web Builder
- Responsive design
- Form builder included
Vistaprint Could Make
- Block-based web builder doesn’t have a ton of options
- No themes, you have to use color settings and custom designs
Strikingly offers the promise of an easy website builder and on that it delivers. Does it offer anything else? Let’s find out.
What I loved about Strikingly
- Free option, and starting price at $8/month
- eCommerce tools included
- Free domain
- 24/7 support
Strikingly Could Make
- Unlimited bandwidth and ad-free options are only included with the pro plan
- Used for building one-page websites
- Switching themes resets the entire site
Shopify is a well-known website for making eCommerce platforms. Can it sell us? Let’s check it out.
What I loved about Shopify
- 14-day trial
- Over 100 responsive templates
- 1,400 different apps
- 24/7 support
Shopify Could Make
- Transaction fees unless you use Shopify Payments
- Coding language “liquid” is required for customization
- $29/month is a little steep
Website builders demolish any obstacles between you and the website of your dreams. In conclusion check out one of these options for the chance to finally get that dream blog or online store up off the ground. You can take these valuable skills and use them to make an even better website down the road.
Thanks as always for reading, and be sure to let me know which website builder you decided to use in the comments!