A website builder is a tool that allows the creation and building of websites without manual code editing. Website builders are a great solution for small businesses and individuals to build a website without hiring a developer.
With the rise of many websites’ builder platforms on the market, finding the right website builder solution to build your website can be tricky for beginners. I tried over 15 most popular website makers on the web, created test sites and compared the top website builders while also carefully putting user reviews into consideration to know which website builder is great for small businesses, artists, creatives and most people to create a website.
What are the best website builders?
After comparing over 15 website builders, these are our top picks based on real reviews and ratings from real users.
The most popular, top rated and best website builders are:
Which website builder is best?
After hours of testing various website builders, the best website builder in 2021 for most people and small businesses is Wix. This is because it is suitable for all website types, easy to use, has lots of website design features with professional looking website templates and averagely priced.
Whether you’re a small business owner, an artist, a photographer, a writer or a consultant wanting to build your own website, there’s a website builder out there for you.
Well-known website builders such as Wix, Squarespace and Weebly make it simple for even a beginner to build a website in minutes.
Top Website Builders
Best Website Builders (in-depth reviews and guide)
In this roundup, we’ll show you which website builder is best for building any kind of website and help you choose the best website builder by going over the pros and cons of some of the most popular website builders on the web today. This list has been carefully researched and reviewed, so you will find it up to date.
Here are the best website builders you can use to create your own website today:
Best website builder overall
- Free plan: Yes (create a free website)
- Ecommerce functionality: Yes
- Free domain: Yes
Wix website builder is no doubt one of the most popular and best website builder in 2021 for small businesses and most people. It combines ease of use with a powerful set of features and website builder templates to easily build your website.
Wix is perhaps the most popular online website builder platform right now, all thanks to its easy-to-use nature and versatility. Whether you’re a business owner, musician, student, passionate blogger, or eCommerce entrepreneur, they offer tools and features you need.
Wix website builder lets you create a website without any design or coding skills required. Their easy to use and powerful design tools makes it easy for anyone, even a beginner to build visually stunning websites.
It comes with a logo maker, Wix ADI (AI tools), and tons of professionally designed pre-made website templates that you can start with.
Website templates and design
Wix has over 500 templates that cross many interests and industries. You can also create a design yourself using their blank templates. The templates are well designed, sophisticated, and match current design standards.
Ease of Use
While most website builders limit you to dragging and dropping within a pre-designed grid, Wix unstructured editor lets you drag and drop elements anywhere you want on a page.
- Wix features an Artificial Design Intelligence website builder.
There is a Wix tool known as ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence).
The artificial intelligence website maker simply asks you a few questions and literally builds your custom website, right before your eyes. It leverages AI technology that first learns about the kind of website you want to make, and then uses the information gathered to choose from billions of combinations of images, text, layouts, and contact forms to design a site for you.
If you’re looking for a LOT of storage, you may be disappointed with Wix. While some competitors offer unlimited storage, Wix starts a 500MB for their cheapest plan and caps out at 20GB with their most expensive plan.
Once you’ve chosen a template and started editing, you can’t switch to another template. We didn’t quite like this feature during our test because, web design trends are constantly changing and business might want to make some changes to their site overall design.
Wix pricing and plans
Wix offers a simple basic free website builder plan with limited bandwidth and storage that lets you create a free website, just to try and see if the platform is right for you or your business.
Wix most basic plan starts at $4/mo. and lets you connect your custom domain name. The personal website plan starts at $8/mo. with the most popular plan for business costing $12.50/mo. The ecommerce plan has a starting price of $17/mo. and lets you add an online store to your website.
If you already have a domain registered elsewhere or want to register one with Wix, they make it very easy to connect your domain to your site. Additionally, if you’d like to add e-commerce or an online store to your site so that you also list products on your site and sell online, Wix has a plan for that too.
Wix.com is arguable the most popular cloud-based website builder software right now. It’s an easy drag and drop website creator for beginners to create professional-looking websites in minutes with no coding required.
With over 500 website design templates to get the design process off to a quick start, an easy to use drag and drop web page editor, and over 100M users, Wix is a reliable website maker for small businesses and most people.
If you are looking for a simple website maker with lots of templates to create your website, Wix is the best website builder platform with free and paid options.
Best for creatives and artists
- Free plan: No (Free 14 days trial)
- Ecommerce functionality: Yes
- Free domain: Yes
Squarespace tops our list as the best website builder for creatives such as photographers, artist, musicians and restaurants to build stunning websites for their crafts and creative businesses.
With lots of stunning design features, pre-packed award-winning templates and an easy to use drag and drop webpage editor, Squarespace is the best website builder for creative people and small businesses who wants to build a stunning website for their brand quickly.
When you hear the word “Squarespace”, the first thing that comes to mind is amazing design.
Squarespace website builder tool is a great choice for:
- Restaurant owners who want to create a website for their restaurants.
- Small business owners looking for a simple website builder for their creative business.
- Events and wedding planners looking to build a wedding website to showcase their work and connect with customers.
- Photographers and artists who wants to showcase their work online and even sell their arts on their website.
- Students and people in the creative industry that wants stunning website design without stressing.
- Everyone else who wants to build a portfolio website.
Features of Squarespace
Some of the top features of Squarespace is its over 60 high-quality, professional-looking and responsive website templates to choose from. These templates are all mobile-friendly on Android and iOS operating systems respectively.
When I say squarespace has the most stunning website design software, I really do mean it, but if you do not take my word for it, simply just navigate to their homepage and see how beautiful it is. All done using the webpage editor.
Its site builder is easy to use, once you get yourself familiar with it. Although the same cannot be said for first time users, which is why squarespace has integrated the live chat feature to provide dedicated customer support and respond to your questions even as you build.
Squarespace plans and pricing
When it involves pricing, Squarespace isn’t the cheapest website maker out there.
Squarespace monthly prices range from $12/month for their Personal plan, $18 Business website plan that includes unlimited contributors, a Gmail pro account, with e-commerce store builder capabilities, and up to $40/month for their Ecommerce/Online store plan with all the advanced features and full functionality including abandoned shopping cart recovery and gift cards.
Monthly costs are based on a one-year contract, and Squarespace includes a free domain. It’s worth knowing that with the Squarespace ecommerce site builder, you no longer need to pay any additional transaction fees, regardless of how huge your sales are.
While the advanced plan is usually geared towards Ecommerce handling, the personal plan works just fine for anyone regardless of the type of site you are building. The personal plan provides a free domain name, unlimited bandwidth and storage, free SSL, and 24/7 customer support.
Squarespace is the best website builder to create a perfectly designed website for businesses and people in the creative industry.
If you are a photographer, an artist or a restaurant owner in search of a website builder with lots of stunning design features, pre-packed award-winning templates and easy to use editor, Squarespace is the best website builder for you.
Squarespace empowers millions of people to create a simple and easy-to-manage online presence. It offers built-in tools that support bloggers/writers, entrepreneurs, musicians and creative designers, integrated with Google and PayPal, eCommerce capabilities to help sell online, SEO tools, and social media plugins.
Easiest website builder
- Free website builder plan lets you create a free website.
- Ecommerce functionality: Yes
- Free domain: Yes
- Simple website design templates
Weebly is an easy website builder with lots of uniquely simple designs and features to power small business or portfolio websites. It is a simple website builder for small business owners who needs more space for their website pages and files.
If you are looking for a simple drag and drop website builder to quickly get your site online, Weebly is the easiest website builder you can use to build a small business website, an online store or a portfolio website without stress.
Weebly is a powerful website builder software with free responsive template designs to choose from, with a drag and drop webpage builder that is neat and direct to the point. Because of this simplicity and easy to understand page builder, novice web designers and online store owners with almost zero knowledge on website design can get started and still build a beautiful and functional site in minutes.
Outstanding features to power your small business websites
Weebly offers different features to power your online business website with various tools ranging from lead generation, site analytics and record keeping to user and search engine optimization.
The best feature of Weebly I like so much is its simple nature and ease of use. Their templates are also mobile responsive, and can be changed without losing content.
Weebly also includes some lead generation features. Depending on the plan you choose, you can get access to site analytics, performance report, HD audio/video and the ability to run a membership site.
The e-commerce features on Weebly includes product options/variants, coupon codes, inventory management, a shipping calculator, shipping labels, and the ability to accept payments through Square and other providers.
The site works well on mobile devices and creates a mobile version of your store automatically.
There is a mobile app you can use to track your website’s performance on the go, as well as email marketing tools that lets you send newsletters to your subscribers from your site, without the need for a third-party email service provider.
In our test, we noticed Weebly offered fewer templates compared to the other website builders such as Wix, Squarespace and WordPress. We also discovered a majority of the templates are not elegant. However, they’ve been steadily improving their themes in response to customer requests and we expect to see this side of things improve.
Pricing and plans
Weebly’s paid plans range from $5 to $25 per month, depending on your website needs. The Professional plan at $12 per month includes unlimited storage, basic eCommerce features, advanced site stats, a site search feature as well as video and audio players, that allows you and your users to stream media directly from your site.
While the $25/month plan (specifically tailored towards eCommerce and online store owners), gives you more advanced eCommerce features like coupons, taxes, inventory, item options, reviews, and more. The business plan also gives you a free domain, and $200 of Google ad credits.
Free website builder plan
Like every other website maker out there, Weebly comes with three different pricing plans for different users, but what separates it from the other website creators is its free plan.
Weebly’s free plan is one to contend with, which is why it often comes off as one of the best free website builders to build a free website. With the free plan, you’ll get 500MB of storage (Weebly’s subdomain in use), basic SEO, lead capture features, and contact forms.
Weebly is an easy-to-use website builder that lets you create attractive and responsive websites or online stores. The website editor is one of the easiest website builder options for most people to use. It is a site builder that maintains two editors — the Square editor for eCommerce sites, and the Weebly editor for non-eCommerce websites.
While the Square editor is more rigid and doesn’t allow many customization options (to help beginner web designers stay guided), the Weebly editor is easy to customize and for experienced developers, there’s a built-in coding window to make the required changes and customization you need.
All thanks to its cheap site builder pricing model, Weebly is often ranked among the top free website builder platforms and site creation tool.
Best for online store
- Free plan: No (14 days free trial)
- Onsite POS: yes
- Free domain: Yes
- Basic plan starting at $29/mo.
The Shopify ecommerce website solution is the best online store website builder for e-commerce business to create an online store quickly, regardless of the type of product you want to sell online.
Whether you want to create a website for an online clothing store or start a drop shipping business, Shopify is the best website builder for basic online store.
Who is Shopify perfect for?
If you’re setting up a new website and know or think that you may want to sell products online in the future, using a more ecommerce focused software like Shopify is best to get started, rather than any other tool that doesn’t take online shopping seriously.
Like most other digital commerce website builder and manager software, Shopify’s platform is more focused on your product and sales details.
Fortunately for those without a ton of experience setting up an online retail business, Shopify’s process makes sure you won’t miss any important detail as it guides you through inventory, customer information, tax and shipping rates.
Features and Pros: How Shopify compete against other online store website builders we tested
One of the things myself and almost everyone else really likes about shopify is its onsite Point of Sales Services, which just further makes the site builder software an all-in-one fully hosted solution.
What this means for you is that, you don’t have to worry about managing software, third party payment processing, installing updates, or keeping backups, as Shopify does all that for you.
In addition to its online shop, businesses can also link and connect their social media profiles to integrate with other top online marketplaces like Amazon.
To eliminate the use of third-party payment solution and save you from stressing, Shopify makes use of online payments that allows your website to interact with Shopify Credit cards.
There are other features such as Shopify Payments, Shopify Augmented Reality, as well as its P.O.S services that helps scale eCommerce businesses.
Its website builder is easy to use and provides two separate editors to help navigate products with ease. There are also free and paid templates on Shopify that provides multiple themes to match different business types.
Shopify plans and pricing
Shopify offers three main pricing plans ranging from $29/month to $299/month. While the $299 advanced plan is completely geared toward high trafficked and big online stores, the $29/month Basic Shopify Plan gives website owners everything they need to get online and manage their store. This includes a full website, an online store with unlimited products, blog features, 24/7 support, and more.
Shopify also offers a Shopify Lite plan for $9 per month, which basically allows you to add a buy button on any website.
Shopify is a popular eCommerce website builder designed specifically for online stores, ecommerce websites and businesses looking to sell products online in the future. With its intuitive drag and drop interface, Shopify makes it super-easy to create a full-fledged ecommerce store.
With Shopify, not only could you set up a quick website with a blog inclusive, a map of your business location, contact info, and appointment scheduling (with an app), but you could also sell different products ranging from beauty to hair care and fashion online.
Best for building basic websites
- Free plan: No (1-month free trail)
- Ecommerce support: Yes
- Free domain: Yes
- Basic plan starting at $5.99/mo.
GoDaddy website builder is a great choice for people who quickly wants to build a basic no-frill and simple website with few pages & functions for their business, services, craft or non-profit.
Features and Pros of GoDaddy basic website builder
Ease of use.
The website editing tools on GoDaddy site builder are easy to use, well arranged and easy to locate. There isn’t an overabundance of editing options which makes the learning curve smaller and more precise.
While each website theme is laid out in a specific format, you still have flexibility to move or change some items on the website.
On the GoDaddy site builder template library, we found over 300 well-designed templates. It’s easy to pick a theme and get started designing your website.
One thing GoDaddy offers that many other website builders do not, is the ability to make as many backup copies of your website as you want. You can save various versions of your website in case you make a mistake, or if you want to return to a previous version.
GoDaddy has specific plans for eCommerce, including the ability to sell products, take payments, and even manage appointments if you’re selling a service. Theres an abandoned cart recovery service that automatically emails your customers if they’ve put something in a cart and didn’t checkout.
The customer support we experienced on GoDaddy was amazing. They have one of the best support systems currently in the market.
Cons of GoDaddy site builder
Although GoDaddy does have a separate website builder specifically designed for eCommerce stores, the basic website builder does not include an eCommerce option.
If you want to add a store to a website that you didn’t create specifically to be a store, this probably isn’t the best option. You are better off with the likes of Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and Shopify.
No Website Export Feature
Another thing we didn’t like about GoDaddy and you probably won’t like as well is that GoDaddy’s website builder doesn’t have an option or feature to export your website if in any case you decide to change website builder software.
This means that you won’t be able to take your website with you should you want to switch builders. The reason is because many of their site functions will not work on other sites.
If what you’re looking for is a basic website builder that’s easy to use, will give you a quick start, and won’t require a lot of web designing knowledge on your part, GoDaddy is the perfect website builder platform for you. It’s a cheap website builder that offers more for the price paid.
Choosing the best website builder – What to look for?
When choosing a website builder to use in creating your website, there are certain fundamental and necessary features to look out for.
While these features are really very easy to find and can be found on many website maker, obviously because they are basic features all good website creation tool should have, it is still worth looking out for, just to be sure.
Pre-Made Website Templates
Every website builder has templates and different styles to choose from. Website templates are basically a frame work that controls the look of your website on the layout, font choices, color schemes and other design factors.
Before choosing a website builder, first have a clear picture of the type of site you want to create, the pages you want on your site, things you want displayed and then select a template based on your site preference for editing and customization.
For example, if you’re a photographer, you may want a photography specific website template that presents your images in a very attractive manner, with the right fonts and contact form for interested clients to contact you.
Drag and Drop Webpage Editors (WYSIWYG)
The term WYSIWYG is an acronym for “what you see is what you get”. It is a term used in website designing meaning, whatever you add or remove stays that way, just as you see it. It is a vital web design/building feature that gives you the ability to move elements around on a web page.
With a drag and drop editor, it becomes possible and easy for you to add, remove or move various sections/functions on your page, including:
- Images and Videos.
- Slides and gallery.
- Spacers and dividers.
- Navigation menus.
- Headers and Footers.
Individual pages can be created and manipulated with online website editing tools to make up all of the webpages on your site. These are common features of a good and easy to use web builder platforms that allows you to edit your content easily without any coding knowledge.
Before choosing a website builder for your small business or service website, make sure the WYSIWYG page editor is easy to use and you are comfortable with it. This way it gets easy to create any webpage or change your site layout/design whenever the need arises.
A responsive website is one whose design and functions stays the same and is accessible on any type of browser or device.
As more users continue to browse the web on smartphones than on computer, to get all the site visitors interested in the products or services offered on your website, you need to have a mobile friendly and responsive website. Your website needs to look great across all devices platforms, browsers and operating systems.
When choosing a website builder software, make sure you go with the one that have mobile-responsive templates that adjust your website’s elements to fit the device they are presented on.
Best Website Makers: In Summary
The best website builder for most people and small businesses is Wix. Squarespace is a great choice for creatives who wants to build stunning websites and Shopify is the best website builder for creating an online store or building an ecommerce website.
- Best website builder overall: Wix (wix.com)
- Best for creatives: Squarespace (squarespace.com)
- Easiest to use: Weebly (weebly.com)
- Best for online store: Shopify (shopify.com)
- Best for building basic websites: GoDaddy site builder
Gone are the days when creating a website would require you to code, or otherwise employ the services of a web designer to help you build your website.
Today, with tons of new site building tools and software’s available, creating a website now simply requires a good website builder and your creative ideas to design and customize your website as you like.
It’s never been easier to set up a well-designed and professional looking website. Well-known DIY site building services, such as Squarespace and Wix, are constantly improving and adding new capabilities.
Having reviewed various website builders to aid an easy site creation without any coding knowledge, choose the best website builder well suited enough for your website creation and signup for free to start building your website today.
References and Resources
- Smartphone internet access stats – retrieved from CNBC.
- Leader in website creation – retrieved from Wix.
- What to look for in a website builder – retrieved from HostGator.
- Tools we used: Google web performance tools.
- The basics of website building – retrieved from HostGator.
- Checklist for creating a website – retrieved from smallbiztrends.