What is a website builder and how to check who is the best?
The name explains it all - website builders are tech-tools, perfect for small businesses and individuals to create a website without hiring a developer and designer. These online builders are easy to use, user-friendly, and most of them are free to use. Simple as that!
Do you know, that more than 1/3 of internet users said they first find out about small businesses when researching online? That's why your internet presence is so vital for your business.
There are many benefits of using such website builder:
- You can create and maintain a website without any knowledge of web development frameworks and coding languages;
- You don’t have to manage your own web hosting;
- There are a lot of free website builders /We don't recommend a free website builder - all of them are serving advertisements on your website and you cannot use your own domain name. You are renting a subdomain from the builder/;
- You pay your bill in one place for the domain, hosting and builder;
- You can add hundreds of apps with a simple click - Wix has more than 250 apps available /analytics, forum, gallery, calendar, comments, booking system and etc./;
- If you have an Internet connection, you can access/edit/manage your website from everywhere.
What sites can be created with a website builder?
The answer is simple: any small and medium size websites (less than 100k monthly visitors).
Who should use a website builder?
If you don't want to spend:
- too much money (an average website costs between £500 and £10,000 in total, depending on the type of website you want to create);
- time (from one month to six months, depending on complexity),
and you have no coding and design skills, website builders are for you!
With a website builder, you can get a website up and running in just a few hours, with no prior design experience required.
Our list of the best website builders
As we mentioned above, in the beginning, we've tried to search for a UK website builder, but all of them were a big disappointment - lack of templates/features and support.
In this Google Trends graph, we've compared the search volume of most popular website builders in the UK - "Wix", "Squarespace" and "Weebly".
It’s easy to see that, measured by search volume, Wix has more than 2 times more searches than Squarespace. The search term Weebly is used about five times less than Wix.
#1 Wix Website Builder
Editor's Choice - Most Popular and Easy to Use
Is Wix The Right Website Builder For Your Idea?
Wix is for anyone who needs a professional and good-looking website, without having any knowledge in programming or designing. Wix will save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars of hiring a pricey designer and developer.
With Wix, you can make a stunning and powerful interactive website for any personal or business idea, but It's not for you if you're looking to build a complex site.
We would recommend WIX without reservations for smaller websites – less than 20 pages, for small businesses, restaurants, online stores, freelancers and artists such as actors, musicians, and photographers.
Pros and Cons
Extremely easy to use.
500+ exceptional templates in 16 Categories: Business, Photography, Food, Travel, Freelancer and etc.
300+ apps from the Wix Market.
99.9% Uptime and relatively fast loading time - 500ms.
Flexible website builder.
Very Important! If you want to switch your template at a later stage, you’ll have to add and customize all your content again from zero.
No live chat.
Wix has 500+ pre-made templates in 16 categories and 60 subcategories, ready to install and customize right away in just a few clicks.
All started back in 2006 when Wix was one of the first to offer end to end website creator without any advanced technical skills or knowledge.
Wix reached 110 million users in 2017, which is way bigger when compared to some of its competitors – Weebly /over 40 million users/ and Squarespace /millions of users/. WIX is listed in NASDAQ and it also had commercials on the Super Bowl games. Yes, for a little more than 10 years of history, WIX is doing amazing.
#2 Weebly Website Builder
Easiest to use
Pros and Cons
Extremely easy to use
Very user-friendly, drag & drop website builder
50+ pre-set page layouts
Access to the templates’ HTML / CSS codes
Change the template and all existing content will be automatically transferred into the new
Limited theme selection
Some low-quality apps
#3 Site123 Website Builder
Simple and Straightforward
Pros and Cons
Easy to integrate apps and widgets
Templates are fully mobile and tablet responsive
Speedy and helpful ADI system
Can’t change templates once your site goes live
Lack of flexibility
#4 Squarespace Website Builder
Beautiful & elegant
Pros and Cons
Beautiful, mobile-responsive, designer templates
Extensive styling options
Easy to use style editor
All plans are ad-free
It's hard to create multilingual websites
#5 GoDaddy Website Builder
Fastest to work with
Pros and Cons
Very cheap, compared to others
Create a website in a couple of minutes
Easy to use
The new GoDaddy builder - GoCentral is speedy and simple
Lack of some features
It's hard to customize
#6 Jimdo Website Builder
Good site performance
In recent years, Jimdo has become one of the major website builders, with its easy to use drag and drop builder.
Pros and Cons
Very intuitive with drag and drop
All designs are optimized for mobile devices
Easy to use style editor
All plans are ad-free
The drag and drop builder has no preview function
It's not a good choice for online store
Lack of flexibility of some templates
 TOTAL SCORE - We took 10 vital criteria, each scored from 0 to 100 - Easy To Use, Cost, Uptime, Support, Design, Blogging, Customization, E-Commerce, Features, Innovative. With the "total score" element, we've tried to summarize the key points, that may help you make a better decision. For a better understanding of our comparison table, we highly suggest you read our detailed reviews for each website builder.
 WHY WE CHOOSE? - This is to summarize it all with a few simple words. What is the biggest advantage of each website builder and/or who it’s most suited to?
 WEBSITES POWERED - The total number of websites powered from each website builders in millions. The data is provided by the companies themselves. We use this data to give a rough idea, how big is the specific website builder! This is not the number of paid subscriptions or active users!
 FREE PLAN - Some website builders are providing "free plans" or "free trials", but these plans have a lot of limitations. !IMPORTANT - if you want a free website builder, you’ll get ads on Wix, Weebly, and SITE123 (which doesn’t look super professional). You will not be able to connect your own domain name (you have to use their subdomain, for example, http://YOURNAME.jimdofree.com)
 TYPES OF SUPPORT - We checked all the support types of each website builder - whether there are 24/7 or not.
- Wix – Phone support is available - Monday-Thursday, 5am-5pm.
- Weebly – has email, phone, and live chat support, available Monday-Friday, 6am-6pm; Saturday-Sunday 5am-5pm.
- Site123 – Live chat is available 24/7 and the support team is extremely helpful
- Squarespace – 24/7 email support. Live chat support - Monday-Friday, 4am-8pm ET.
- GoDaddy – GoDaddy doesn't currently offer support through email. GoDaddy offers 24/7 phone, and live chat support - all Day Mon - Fri.
- Jimdo - doesn't have live chat and phone support; Does have E-Mail and knowledge base
 NAME OF THE PLAN - We picked and compared the cheapest plan of each website builder, who is not serving any ads.
 PRICE - The monthly price for the compared plan, paid yearly.
- Wix - £3/month - Connect a domain; £6/month - Combo; £8.50/month - Unlimited; £18/month - VIP
- Weebly - £3/month - Connect a domain; £5/month - Starter; £8/month - Pro; £17/month - Business
- Site123 - $ 10.80/month - Premium
- Squarespace - $ 12/month - Personal; $ 18/month - Business
- GoDaddy - £4.99/month - Personal; £6.99/month - Business; £10.99/month - Business Plus; £19.99/month - Online Store
- Jimdo - €5/month - Pro; €15/month - Business
 BILLED - All the prices are for a full year of revenue all at once.
 STORAGE - The web space, also known as storage space, means the amount of space on a web server that is allocated to your website by the website builder (total quantity of all text files, images, scripts, databases, emails and other files).
 BANDWIDTH - the level of traffic, and amount of data that can transfer between your site, users, and the rest of the internet.
 ADVERT FREE - All compared plans are ADS free. For example, Wix is not serving ADS in these plans: the Combo, Unlimited, VIP, Business Basic, Business Pro, and Business VIP Premium Plans.
 CONNECT DOMAIN - All the compared plans are with the option to connect your own domain, for example, your site may look like YOURNEWWEBSITE.COM, instead of YOURNEWWEBSITE.WIX.COM.
 EASY TO USE - for a tech guy, all the website builders are easy to use. We based our score on the feedback, we received from you. (How complex is the interface and drag and drop builder? Do you require any coding/designing skills? In how many minutes, your website could be live and etc.?).
 COST - Website builders companies are selling so many things to you, like plugins, themes, apps, custom designs, even some complex support queries. We scored, based on the minimum amount you required, your site to be fully functional and live.
 UPTIME - is a metric that represents the percentage of time that your website is live. For example, if your site is down for one day, each year, the uptime will be 99,73%.
 SUPPORT - This metric is based on the support types, time to respond, how accurate is the first solution and etc.
 DESIGN - How many themes, are they free, responsive and professional coded? What is the design quality?
 BLOGGING - What specific functions for blogging are provided (analytics, categories, embed a comments section, social bookmarking, a search feature and etc.)? Actually, the best blogging platform is WordPress! Other good platforms are Tumblr and Blogger.
- Wix - you can add analytics, social bookmarking, comment section on a post and a search feature + dozens of beautiful blog templates, but no way to add archives and RSS feed on a blog
- Weebly - Detailed analytics on your blog’s performance, add an RSS Feed, easy-access archive, comment section, a search feature and social bookmarking.
- Site123 - Does have analytics, social bookmarking, a search feature and an RSS feed, but doesn't have categories, archiving, and a comments section.
- Squarespace - Detailed analytics, Display blogging categories, allow comments, add an RSS Feed, a search feature and social bookmarking.
- GoDaddy - I don't suggest you use GoDaddy for a simple blogging site. For example, you currently can’t archive or add comments to a post.
- Jimdo - Jimdo is a good platform to build a blog on. The old-school design is the weakest point of Jimdo.
 CUSTOMIZATION - How flexible is the website builder, meaning how you can make a substantial amount of site customizations?
- Wix - The templates are fully customizable, but once you chose your template, you cannot change it! Advanced customization isn't currently supported in Wix stores.
- Weebly - Not as flexible on customizing design templates and no control over what site looks like on mobile.
- GoDaddy - The worst from all, it's almost impossible to create a unique website!
 E-COMMERCE - We've evaluated how good is the platform for eCommerce, does it allows you to design, develop, market, and sell any type of goods to consumers around the world.
Shopify is one of the best eCommerce platforms that has everything you need to sell online, on social media, or in person.
- Wix - Business owners who only plan on retailing less than 200 goods. You can create your website look professional with dozens of pre-made eCommerce themes. You will be able to start a payment system through the interface with a few simple clicks.
- Weebly - Overall, with all the features that you get with Weebly eCommerce (integrated PayPal, Stripe, and Square payment processors; fully integrated shopping cart; product, storefront and category pages, filtered product search and etc.), combined with its drag and drop builder, Weebly is a good platform to build your eCommerce site.
- Squarespace - Offers you a truly complete set of tools to create a fully functional eCommerce website.
- GoDaddy - We don't recommend
- Jimdo - We don't recommend
 FEATURES - We checked all the features of each website builder, like the number of templates, applications, plugins, fonts and etc. All of the compared builders have the basic features (custom domain, mailbox, analytics, forms, SEO tools, Chat, Social tools, etc.)
 INNOVATIVE - A very important factor for us! We've evaluated how each builder is developing over time (design of themes, new templates, tools, apps, features, etc.)
 FREE SSL - All the builders are providing Let's Encrypt, which is a free, automated, and open certificate authority by the non-profit Internet Security Research Group
 FREE 1-YEAR DOMAIN - Most of the builders, as well as most of the hosting companies, are providing a free .COM/.NET/.ORG domain when you first buy a service from them.
 BLOG - Built in Blog section (YES or NO).
 E-COMMERCE - ECommerce option (YES or NO).
 FORM BUILDER - Form builder option (YES or NO). A form builder is a tool that allows you to create custom forms that are used to collect and update a wide range of information, like contact, feedback, etc.
 EXPORT WEBSITE - Is it possible to export your website (YES or NO). Let's say, you have decided to move to another service or temporary stop your website, with this option, you can download all your data (files and media) and import it to another service/hosting/builder later.
 RETINA READY - Is your website RETINA READY (YES or NO). This phrase was invented by Apple with Iphone3. Retina ready relates to a screen on a device that has a high enough pixel density that the human eye can’t make out specific pixels.
 RESTORE OPTION - Restore or recovery option (YES or NO). If you mess up, you are able to restore the information from backups created earlier.
 IOS & ANDROID APPS - Mobile App option (YES or NO). You can turn your website into a stunning app, increasing user experience and CTR.
 NEWSLETTER - Newsletter option (YES or NO). Newsletter marketing is the method by which you can send informational and product-focused content via an email to a subscriber list.
 MEMBERSHIP SITES - Membership option (YES or NO). With membership option you can put some or all of your website content in a restricted area (only members can access it).
 INBUILT EMAIL SERVICE - Inbuilt email option (YES or NO).
 MULTIPLE EDITORS - Multiple editors option (YES or NO). You are able to assign multiple editors to your content.
 DONATIONS - Donation module (YES or NO). With this module, you can start raising money for a cause.
 MULTILINGUAL - Multilingual option (YES or NO). You are able to change the language of your website.