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The Best Website Builder

Hi, I'm Steve and I try every website builder so you don’t have to. Every month over 60,000 people use this guide to choose a website builder. My work is supported by affiliate commissions. About This Site »

  1. Good Theme Customization

    Ucraft is a block-based website builder— which means you build pages by stacking blocks vertically on top of another. Blocks are then made up of individual elements.


  2. Beautiful Themes Learning Curve

    The interface for XPRS is slick but a bit overwhelming to use. It takes time to learn— there are lots of icons and forms floating around. It lacks features like blogs and ecommerce but shines with fresh and contemporary themes.


  3. Blank Canvas Editor

    Webstarts is a blank canvas website editor— which means elements can be dragged anywhere on a page (sort of like how you would edit a Powerpoint presentation).


  4. Covers The Basics

    Here's something you like to see as a user: I've been following Snappages for a couple years now, and they continually work on their product. While other website builders begin to get stale, Snappages just keeps pushing new releases.


  5. Overwhelming Difficult To Use

    Overall the DudaOne website editor kind of throws the kitchen sink at you. It can feel disorganized and overwhelming— not the easy, unified experience you’d find in other website builders like Strikingly and Weebly. It will take most users time to wrap their head around it.


  6. Limited Theme Customization Easy To use

    Everything feels easy and within arms reach in uKit. There's a real coherence to the product— it's thoughtful and intuitive. Unfortunately most themes look very similar and theme customization is limited.


  7. Simple Lacks Customization

    Cindr websites are built by stacking "blocs" of content on one another— unfortunately the blocks are too simple and lack customization options.


  8. Lacks Features Poor Themes

    Moonfruit recently launched a new editor that's easier than the old editor— though still tricky. The major knock on the new editor is that there's isn’t much going on: no blog, no form builder and no ecommerce.


  9. Limited Cookie-Cutter

    GoDaddy wants to you to be able to build a website in less than an hour. The problem? They designed a cookie-cutter website builder that is far too limiting.


  10. Intranets Wikis

    You'll be frustrated if you try to use Google Sites for building a business website. It's just not meant for that. Instead Google Sites is best used for building collaborative websites and intranets that integrate Google services (Docs, Drive, Calendar, Form etc.).


  11. Lacks Theme Customization

    A good, usable editor that provides basic elements. Webnode offers a nice selection of 65 themes— unfortunately, it lacks serious theme customization as you're locked into whatever the templates have chosen for you.


  12. Confusing Difficult To use

    Simvoly has some interesting features, unfortunately it's often undermined by an interface that is confusing and language that can at times be incomprehensible.


  13. Overwhelming

    Sitey is the same product as WebsiteBuilder.com. The company behind these websites builders has decided to host the same website builder on multiple domains (it's not entirely clear why).


  14. 1&1 licenses the software for their MyWebsite service from DudaOne. So it’s actually the same website builder as DudaOne. If you decide to use 1&1 just be aware they disable their web-based cancellation in the first month.


  15. Adobe has announced they are no longer developing new features for Muse and will be ending technical support in 2020. Because of that I would strongly recommend you not use Adobe Muse.


  16. Expensive Simple Missing Features

    Yola is expensive— and you don’t get much for what you pay for. Pricing aside, Yolo is a simple website builder that’s missing some key features (for example: blogs). You can get much more for cheaper from other website builders.


  17. Overwhelming

    Poor billing practices and an overwhelming website editor— users who are looking for thoughtful defaults and an easy-to-use website builder will want to take a look elsewhere.


  18. Basic Outdated

    Themes are a bit simple and outdated. For example, some themes require a subtitle and sidebar— but most modern websites don't have a subtitle or a sidebar. The editor can also feel poorly thought out at times.


  19. Confusing Few Themes No Ecommerce

    Zoho Sites provides a lot of freedom but often buries the user under an avalanche of options with confusing language. It also has too few themes and no ecommerce


  20. Overwhelming

    SiteBuilder.com is the same product as WebsiteBuilder.com. The company behind these websites builders has decided to host the same website builder on multiple domains (it's not entirely clear why).


  21. Easy To Use Limited

    Vistaprint's website builder is block-based, which means you build pages by dropping pre-designed blocks onto it. The interface is clear and simple— though the simplicity can be a problem when you discover the limitations of customizing blocks.


  22. Frustrating Difficult To Use

    Web.com's monthly plans are technically 28 days long— which means users end up paying for 13 months in a year. Ridiculous. It also doesn't help that the editor is one of the most frustrating I've ever tried. Read the full review now.


  23. Confusing

    Simple website editor that can get confusing at times.


  24. Outdated

    Their blog hasn't been updated in 18 months. Their Facebook page has 1 post in the last two years. The copyright on their homepage no says 2017— even though it's 2018. Homestead seems to have given up.


  25. Cluttered Outdated

    The Doodlekit website editor is purely designed. Doodlekit told me they were in the process of a major overhaul that would launch spring 2015— but I've yet to see it launched. Doodlekit needs a lot of work and it's not at all clear that they are doing it.


  26. Outdated Poor Themes No Mobile Websites

    Angelfire is an abandoned product. The "team blog" and the Angelfire Twitter haven't been updated since November 2012— and the core product is extremely outdated.


  27. Too Simple

    Onepager is really simple— and it's not just that it limits your website to one page. It goes even beyond that: there's simply a lot that you can't do with Onepager.


  28. Frustrating Difficult To Use

    The CityMax editor is bad. I hate to be so blunt— but it's true. You create CityMax websites in a form-based editor that doesn't show a live website preview. This is a really outdated (and frustrating) way to build a website.


  29. Overwhelming

    Though iPage sells software, don't think of them as a software company— think of them as a predatory sales company. They license their website builder software from other companies and resell it in a way that's designed to take advantage of vulnerable customers.


  30. Abandoned

    In 2014 Virb was acquired by GoDaddy. Since the acquisition, it has been increasingly clear that Virb is not being actively developed— it's simply being maintained.


  31. Abandoned

    Webs has become increasingly out-of-date: there are no responsive themes, and no feature or UI changes are on the horizon. The Webs Announcements blog hasn't had an update since 2015. I believe this is because it's no longer actively maintained.



SEO

What's The Best Website Builder For SEO?

There isn't one. Choosing between Weebly, Squarespace or Wix will not rank your website any differently in Google. Don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

That being said, there are still technical SEO features that you need in a website builder— it's just that most website builders have these features.

Below I've listed the four SEO features that are critical in a website builder. Think of them as the minimum you need to get Google to notice you. From there you will need links and quality content to outperform your competitors:

1. Mobile-Friendly Themes

For many years Google had two indexes: desktop and mobile. The desktop index was served to desktop users and the mobile index was served to mobile users.

That's all changed.

In March 2018, Google announced that they were rolling out a mobile-first index. This change means that Google's mobile index is the index for all websites— including desktop. So how your mobile website works now effects how your desktop site ranks.

This why it's critical that your website builder has mobile-friendly themes. Fortunately most website builders do— but a few still do not.

2. Customizable Meta Titles and Descriptions

Every page has a meta title and meta description that Google uses in their results.

Putting your keyword in the meta title will help you rank for that keyword. But putting the keyword in your meta description won't help you rank. But meta description is still important— it should entice searchers to click on your webpage.

Almost all website builders let you customize your meta title and description— but because it's so critical, it's worth being sure about.

Meta titles.png?1523453336?ixlib=rails 1.1

Google uses your pages meta title and description in their results.

3. SSL

SSL certificates give websites the "secure" icon in a browser and adds an 's' to the http— making it https:

Ssl.png?1523453832?ixlib=rails 1.1

This site is secured by SSL.

Google announced SSL as a ranking signal in 2014— and when Google explicitly announces something is a ranking signal, it's usually good to implement it.

Most website builders include SSL in paid plans— but some do not. Check before you buy.

4. Performance

Google has said that site speed is a signal they use to rank pages. Fortunately, website builders tend to have good performance infrastructure— especially the major website builders such as Weebly, Squarespace and Wix which host millions of websites.

The two best tools to check your website performance is Google Page Speed Insights and WebPageTest.org.

If you'd like to learn more, check out my SEO chapter in How To Make A Website.

Simple

What's The Best Website Builder For a Simple Website?

If you'd like to quickly build a simple website, I'd suggest two options: build a one page website or use a landing page builder.

1. One Page Websites

One-page websites have become extremely popular. They're long websites where clicking the navigation scrolls you up and down the page. In short, one single page holds all the content of the website.

You have to limit your content with a one-page website. You don't want your one page stuffed full of content. But the truth is, visitors don't want to read a book when they come to your website anyways. Instead visitors want quick access to clear information.

Strikingly is the best one-page website builder that I've tried. Seriously— it's excellent. Read my review of it here. I've also heard really good things about Carrd— though I have not had a chance to review it yet.

You can build one-page website with website builders such as Wix, but the interface on website builders such as Strikingly are much simpler because they are designed purely for one-page websites.

2. Landing Page Builders

Landing pages are pages designed to generate leads— newsletter signups, app downloads, sales, signups and more. People often use landing page builders as a marketing tool or as a way to generate interest before launching a full site.

There are about 10-15 popular landing page builders. I talked to 467 real-life users of each of these landing page builders to write an in-depth guide to landing page builders.

Free

Which Website Builder Has the Best Free Plan?

I did a deep dive on the best free website builders here. I also put all together in a popular Youtube video.

I think there are three things to think about when comparing free website builders:

  1. Advertisements - Does the website builder include an advertisement on free websites? How intrusive is the advertisement?
  2. Domains - Very few website builders allow you to add a custom domain name to free websites— in fact Ucraft is the only website builder to allow for this. Some website builders have really wordy free domains— for example, here's what Wix's subdomain looks like: http://random1028.wixsite.com/yoursite
  3. Limitations - Are all the features available? For example, is ecommerce allowed on the free website?

In the end, I recommend Ucraft's free plan because it allows custom domain names.

Easy

What's The Easiest Website Builder?

I recommend Weebly for those looking for an easy to use website builder. Weebly manages to keep everything simple without ever watering down features. It's what I'd recommend to anyone who doesn't feel tech-savvy.

Strikingly is a good runner up. It's really easy to use and best suited for making one-page websites.

Snappages and uKit deserve honorable mentions. Both are easy to use. Vistaprint is also quite easy to use but too simple (Vistaprint is easy to use to a fault).

Wix and Squarespace are two website builders that I give high ratings to but wouldn't suggest if you are looking for easy to use. Both have a steeper learning curve than Weebly.

Custom

Which website builder let you's design custom themes?

Most website builders require you to choose a theme— but a few let you build your own theme from scratch.

In my feature comparison table I show which website builders you let design a website from scratch— and there are a handful. Of those I would recommend Wix. Wix is an excellent, highly customizable website builder. It can be a bit overwhelming with the amount of options it provides— but that's exactly what you want if you're designing a theme from scratch.

You might also want consider front-end design tools such as Webflow, Pagecloud and Froont. These are most sophisticated than website builders but are really powerful tools that let you design a website from scratch without coding experience.



Cheapest

What's The Cheapest Website Builder?

I built a tool that helps you answer this question quickly. The price comparison calculator compares 131 plans from every website builder I review. It helps you calculate the real price of each website builder. No BS. Just clear pricing over time. It also takes into account the price of domain names.

Cheapest.jpg?1523538701?ixlib=rails 1.1

My price comparison table lets you find the cheapest website builder.

The reason I built the price comparison calculator is that some website builders aren't transparent with their pricing. If a price seems too good to be true it's probably an introductory rate that increases after the first year or first month.

For example, 1&1 advertises a $0.99 per month price— but that price increases to $9.99 per month after the first year.

1n1.jpg?1523538362?ixlib=rails 1.1

1and1 advertises a $0.99 per month price— but that increases to $9.99 per month after the first year.

Now most website builders have transparent pricing— and I make it very clear in each of my website builder reviews if they have shady billing practices. So you don't need to worry if you check the review first.



Podcasts

Which Website Builder Should You Use For Podcasts?

Squarespace is the only website builder that let's you syndicate a podcast— which is required for submitting to iTunes.

There are third-party podcast companies such as Podomatic that integrate with website builders such as Weebly but I have not tried them before.

Multilingual

Which website builder should I use for a multilingual website?

Voog has the best support for a website with multiple languages— but strangely they don't advertise their multilingual features very clearly.

Basically Voog websites with multiple languages have a flag icon. Users click the flag to change the language.

Flag.jpg?1523886141?ixlib=rails 1.1

The flag icon for this Voog website is located on the footer.

Each language represents a completely different version of the website. There are no automatic computer translations (people who've actually had to build multi-lingual websites know that you can't just automate translation!). You manually write each translation for your website.

Voog's multi-lingual support will be super helpful for a small percentage of people. For example, in Canada, multi-lingual websites are a requirement for some organizations (French and English).

Ecommerce

What's the best website builder for ecommerce?

If you're building a pure ecommerce website, you'll probably want to consider a store builder such as Shopify rather than a website builder. Store builders are focussed on ecommerce— so they typically have more advanced, fully-featured ecommerce systems.

As you see in my guide to store builder, Shopify is far and away the best store builder.

Now, this is not to say that you shouldn't choose a website builder for an ecommerce website— in the last few years website builders such as Wix, Weebly and Squarespace have aggressively built out strong ecommerce features. Instead, I'd suggest choosing a website builder for your ecommerce website if you're website needs to do things other than ecommerce. For example, if you also want to have a blog or other content heavy pages.

Mobile Apps

Which Website Builders Have iOS and Android Apps?

I maintain a feature comparison table of around 40 different website builders— on it I've listed the website builders that offer iOS or Android apps:

  • Squarespace — There are a suite of beautiful apps: Commerce lets you manage your store. Blog (iOS) lets you compose blog posts and manage your blog. Metrics (iOS) gives you website analytics. Portfolio (iOS) lets you manage photos and galleries. They also have an Android app that is similar to their iOS Blog app. Having a suite of apps is great— rather than stuff everything into one app, they're able to make a beautiful interface for each use case.
  • Weebly — Weebly has iPhone, Android, iPad and Apple Watch apps. The tablet and phone apps are fully featured— meaning you can design your entire website using them. This is awesome— no other website builder offers this on both phones and tablets. The Apple Watch app is mostly for stats and store notifications (new orders, new form entries etc.).
  • Wix — Wix has an iOS and Android app that lets you manage your online store, chat with visitors and manage your blog.
  • Strikingly — Excellent, fully functional iOS and Android apps let you edit your website, manage ecommerce orders, view analytics and more.
  • Wordpress.com — iOS and Android apps let you check analytics, write blog posts and respond to comments.
  • XPRS — Strangely the XPRS website says an iPhone app is 'coming soon'— yet one is already available in the app store. The app is a full website editor— which means you can add text, videos, blog posts, photos and more from your phone. Nice!
  • Webstarts — WebStarts has an iOS app called WebStarts Blog that allows you to write blog posts on your iPhone or iPad. There is also another app called WebStarts AI that promises to let you create a website using artificial intelligence.
  • Jimdo — Jimdo has iPhone, iPad and Android apps that allow you to do full website editing— I honestly can't think of any other website builder that lets you do full website editing on mobile devices. So if you need to build a website using an iPhone or Android app, Jimdo is your best option.

Moving Your Site

Can you export or move your website once it's built on a website builder?

Unfortunately, you can't.

This is a common question I get and admittedly, one of the downsides of a website builder.

You might think that website builders don't let customers export or move their website because it's a good way to lock them in, but there are actually some very good technical reasons why website builder websites can't be moved.

Modern website are more complex than websites in the past. They aren't just HTML, CSS and Javascript being passed from a server. Those assets are optimized, cached and accessed through special content delivery networks (among other things) to ensure performance. The reality of disentangling all of this from the website builder and moving into a third party host is that it's messy and would require a level of technical competence that most users of website builders don't have.

Plus, features that require server-side processing (such as forms, ecommerce) would not work.

If this is a problem for you, I'd suggest going to the next level in complexity and checking out a CMS like Wordpress or a front-end design tool such as Webflow. Both are more complex but will let you export and move your website.

Domains

Domain Names

You can register a domain name through most website builders and web hosts but you may want to consider registering the domain name yourself at a third party domain name provider— that way you are in control of your domain name no matter what.

It's a question of trade-offs. Registering the domain name provider at a 3rd party is a bit of a technical hurdle but it means that you always have control of the domain name. If the domain name is bought through a website builder, you'll have to work through them to move the domain name if you ever decide to change your website provider.

I typically buy my domain names at a 3rd party provider: Namecheap. That way I'm always in control.

Webflow

What About Webflow?

I hear great things about Webflow. The reason it’s not on Site Builder Report is because I only review website builders and Webflow feels more like a tool for designers. While Webflow doesn’t require you to learn how to code, it has a code-like environment— similar in complexity to Photoshop.

Wordpress

What About Wordpress?

Most people know Wordpress as Wordpress.org, the self-hosted, content management system (CMS). I don't review it because it's not a website builder.

I do review Wordpress.com because it is significantly different from Wordpress.org and is very much like a website builder.

Wordpress is a good option for building a website— the key is to know when to use it instead of a website builder. I wrote a blog post about this here.

About This Guide

About This Site

My name is Steve Benjamins and I’ve designed and coded websites for the last 20 years (since I was 10 years old). My websites have been featured in Wired, The Next Web, Smashing Magazine, The Huffington Post and Forbes. I am the sole developer, designer and reviewer at Site Builder Report— you can read more about my story in my interview with IndieHackers.

Over the the last 4 years I’ve written over 100 in-depth reviews of website builders— which, at over 100,000 words, is the size of a big book. In that time Site Builder Report has grown quickly. Today over 60,000 people every month use it to choose a website builder.

My work is supported by earning an affiliate commission when readers choose a website builder based on my reviews.

Read more about me here.

Do I use a website builder for this website? I do not use a website builder for Site Builder Report. Instead I designed it myself and coded it in Ruby on Rails— a popular programming framework. I do use Squarespace for my band's website though!