Like many website design tools, Wix was created to make it easier to build beautiful websites without coding anything by hand. We named Wix the best template-based website builder because, in addition to being easy to use and highly functional, it has more website templates (over 500) than any other website design software we reviewed, and all of them are responsive to screen size.
The best way to begin your search is to sort the themes by category. If you are opening an eCommerce store (using Bigcommerce for example), there is no reason to browse through blog-optimized themes. Most online website creation services use categories like portfolios, online shops, and blogs to differentiate their templates. Some go even further by creating more specific categories like sites designed to showcase bakeries or sell sunglasses.
Each service on our list puts the control of designing and launching a website into your hands. However, if you have a significant budget to make a great-looking, professional online persona, it might be worth checking out web design companies. These services take the work out of your hands. They run site creation and maintenance. Also, they devote a lot of the funds you pay for the service to marketing your site.
With any of the web building options listed above on this page, visitors to your website from mobile devices should be an important consideration. You'll want to have a website that either is a responsive web design (RWD), or you'll want to add a separate section and/or dedicated mobile version website on your site that allows for smartphone viewability. Mobile users comprise over half of all web users, so you will want to be compliant for desktop computers, tablets & surface as well as smartphones in your design. If you do decide to go with one of the web builder programs, be sure to ask about mobile or any other question up front before you commit.
The Mobile Web Specialist Certification exam tests your skills in developing for the mobile web. You'll write code to demonstrate that you have essential web developer skills such as being able to create offline-first experiences, audit an app’s performance, and debug asynchronous functions. By earning a Mobile Web Specialist Certification you'll set yourself apart from other web developers and demonstrate the skills you’ll need to create responsive and flexible web applications regardless of the platform.
With the website builder software discussed here, it’s no longer expensive for you to build your own website, and you can limit your financial risks as they only charge you a monthly payment (if you decide to upgrade) and you can walk away at any time without getting dragged into a dispute with a website developer. In fact, most of these web builder software have free plans.
This platform gives users various styling options to help customize websites and give them a more branded look. Like the previous platform, Squarespace enables users to tailor their site’s appearance without having to dive into coding languages; this greatly simplifies the processes for designers. Though, if a client requires it, coding can be applied for a more customized destination.
Every application is intended to be user friendly, as claimed by the applications' developers. We put these claims of usability to the test. We purchased plans for each of the applications on our lineup, created a hosting account, along with a landing page, and tested each interface. For comparison, we used the most popular package, typically the pro plan for each application. In doing so, we had access to far more features than the basic, starter package but, like any efficient small business owner would do when they create a website, we were focused on keeping costs down.
Don’t miss… Coding Dojo created a free Algorithm Training Platform that will help build your coding muscles and nail coding fundamentals before diving into learning how to code! The Algorithm Training Platform takes you through a series of problems that become more challenging as levels progress. After each challenge, there’s a video with a Coding Dojo instructor who walks through how he or she would personally solve the algorithm.
An extremely useful learning site that covers all manner of subject, and the computer programming section of Khan Academy in particular cannot be overlooked. It features a variety of self-guided tutorials, generally with experts providing audio and/or video guidance on the topic while interactive on-screen windows show the code and output the results during narration.
Our final best pick isn't website design software but rather a custom website creation service from Blue Fountain Media. For some SMBs, the investment in a hand-designed, fully original website that does not use templates is worthwhile, and we were impressed with Blue Fountain Media's past design projects, customer service, approach to strategy, and options for integration and growth.
Some sources state that 25% of the websites using content systems are using WordPress. Although started purely for blogging, now you can create amazing websites for any vertical using pre-made themes and templates. The advantages of WP is a huge community (that works to improve the product), and large marketplaces to cater for plugins, designs, technical help and much more. The learning curve is not too steep, but possibilities are endless.
We chose Weebly as the best website builder for small business owners. Its drag-and-drop editor is easy to use, regardless of your tech savviness. Plus, it’s an affordable option with its highest-priced plan at only $25 per month. Weebly gives you plenty of professional-looking templates, and it’s an ecommerce-friendly website builder. The page load time and uptime are among the best too.
GoCentral Website Builder can act as your hub, the place where your friends and contacts can see your posts, photos, videos and more. With the option to link to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ on your website, your visitors can be everywhere you are on the web. Being able to cover multiple platforms gives you the opportunity to reach more people, while creating appropriate content for each of your socials (like posting all of your photos on Instagram, and tweeting about your most recent business venture on Twitter). By centrally locating all the links in one place – your new website – you are giving your website visitors a seamless experience. Linking to your social media in your website gives you an advantage in communicating with your visitors; the more they can connect with you and do so in the forum that’s most comfortable to them, the more they’ll engage with your site, and thus you or your business.
One downside of most of these services is that, should you someday want to move to another web host, you'll likely be out of luck because of the custom code they use to display your site. Only a few of the services here let you take your site to another web hosting service: The most complete example of this is Weebly, which lets you download the standard site server folders. Squarespace offers some transferability by letting you output your site in standard WordPress format. As you might expect, the same transferability holds for WordPress.com.
You can get started for roughly $10 per month for shared or WordPress hosting if your website doesn't require much server horsepower. As your business expands, however, your website may need greater horsepower. That's when you should look into cloud, VPS and dedicated hosting. These levels of services are for when you really need a web host that offers lots of storage, a significant amount of month data transfers, and numerous email accounts.
Weebly is one of the largest site creators out there and hits the top spots in our ranking table. But since we are mainly looking at the free plans here, we have to judge our contestant with slightly different criteria. The free plan is where Weebly doesn’t shine quite as bright, mainly due to the very visible ad in the website’s footer that even sports a mouseover effect.
None gets the job done better Editors' Choice award-winning Wix. It has a drag-and-drop interface, and all elements of the site are customizable. It doesn't cost a cent to get started with Wix, but you'll want to go premium, starting at $5 per month for a domain and scaling upward to $25 per month for unlimited monthly data transfers and 20GB of storage.
“Wow! I mean WOW. Stupid easy and brilliant website builder software. How did it take so long for this to be created. I have been out of Web Dev since 2010 so maybe just being away from it all impresses the hell out of me but you guys deserve a GOOD JOB! Award. I will pass on your name to all I know. Best of luck to you and I can not wait to see what is next.”
If those template customizations don’t look like enough for you (though if you’re building your first website, they will be), you might want to think about building your website on an open source platform like WordPress.org. You will get more flexibility, but if you’re not a coder, learning WordPress takes a lot of time — especially compared to drag-and-drop builders.