There are so many website builders to choose from, it’s almost impossible to figure out which is the best one.
Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret…
There’s not a “best” website builder.
There are three…
The real question is…
“Which of the top 3 website builders is best for you?”
How to find the best website builder for you?
The first thing we’re going to do is help you figure out exactly what your needs are.
In order to determine which website builder will meet your needs, you’ll want to understand the 7 key factors for finding the best website builder.
Here’s what you’ll want to look for…
These are the necessities such as bandwidth and storage that you get with the plan you choose. When just starting out, you don’t need to worry about the amount of resources, since you won’t be getting a ton of traffic right away. All three website builders in this comparison provide ample resources to get you started.
Website builders will offer useful features like form builders, photo editors and shopping carts. You’ll want to make sure to also consider the features that are available through third-party integrations, as these can help you add a lot of functionality to your website.
When looking at a website builder’s editor, we want an uncluttered interface with menus and buttons that lead to tools when you need them. While all three of these services have great editors, some are easier to learn how to use than others. Generally speaking, the more powerful the editor, the more difficult it is, and vise versa.
It’s important that you’re able to find a template you can use for the specific type site you want to build. The more template choices a builder offers, the more likely you are to find one that fits your needs. And the better the templates looks out of the box, the less you need to adjust the elements on the page.
Price is often the deciding factor, but shouldn’t be the only one. As consumers, we’re always evaluating the value we get with a product or service. And website builders, shouldn’t be any different. We want to find the builder that meets all of our needs, and still fits within our budget.
You don’t want an editor that’s slow and clunky. That will eliminate frustrations while you’re building your website. At the same time, you want your website to load fast and reliably. That will ensure your visitors stick around and read or buy what you have for them.
When building your own site with a website builder, support is critical to your success. It’s important to be able to access support 24/7 and know that they’re competent enough to help you resolve your issue right away.
This is just a general overview of the 7 key factors for finding a website builder.
We’ll go into more detail on each factor as we take a closer look at each individual website builder below.
The Wix Website Builder
Wix is great because you can build an unlimited number of professional websites for free. Of course, nothing’s truly free, so you’ll end up with 2 small Wix ads on your site once you’re done. But it’s a great way to get started building your website without having to make a financial commitment.
Then, once you complete your site, and want to attach it to a custom domain, you can simply upgrade to a paid plan.
Wix has a limit of 2GB for bandwidth usage and 3GB for disk space. Those amounts won’t be a problem, until you start getting a significant amount of traffic to your site. The great thing about Wix is, unlike Squarespace, you don’t have any limitations on the number of pages you can create with your site.
This is where Wix really shines. They offer a total of 456 templates that are both modern and professional. As such it’s very easy to find a template that’s closely matches the layout of the site you want to build.
Which means you’ll have less customization to do and the majority of the work will have less to do with layout and design, and more about changing the text or images on your pages.
I was happy to see that Wix has included a Mobile editor which allows you to completely customize the mobile version of your site. That means you can do things like leave out your sidebar or other elements that you might not want to show on your mobile site.
Wix offers a basic list of features along with a free domain name when you sign up and pay for a year. They have a great image editor and form builder. Their online store is only available with the eCommerce plan.
Of the 3 editors, I found the Wix editor to be the most robust. Due to the fact that it’s a “blank canvas” editor, I was able to easily drag and drop, resize and position elements on the page and customize every single element on my website, exactly like I wanted it.
As an example of one thing this editor can do, I was able to create shapes with colored backgrounds to use on my site. Something that was impossible to do with Weebly or Squarespace.
Here’s the Wix editor in action…
Wix offers high-speed, cloud-based hosting that never fails to disappoint. Both the backend editor, and the pages on the frontend of my website were fast and always online.
Nothing to complain about here.
The Wix Combo plan starts at an affordable, $9.25/month, if you pay for a year in advance. If you pay month-by-month, the price goes up to, $12.95/mo. The great thing is you get a free domain for the first year, just like the other two builders.
Wix has what they call an “Online Support Center” where they offers many different ways to get support when you need it.
They suggest starting with the knowledge base of videos and articles. If you can’t find an answer there, they recommend posting your question in the forums where you can choose to make it private if you don’t want everyone else to see it.
If you want to contact them by phone, you have to make a call back request between 6:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (PST).
Wix is the most powerful website builder solution. It was very easy to use and I was able to customize every single element on my website. They have a great selection of templates to start out with.
Sample Wix Website
Click the image below to check out the full website I made with the Wix website builder…
Wix Website Video
I actually had my 6 year old son build this Wix website, just to prove how easy the editor is to use.
You can follow along with us and build your own website by watching the video below.
Wix is just a little more expensive than Weebly or Squarespace. However, I think it’s really worth it if you want to have a high level of control when building your website.
I would recommend starting out with the free version and give them a try.
You really can’t go wrong.
The Weebly Website Builder
Weebly is a hugely popular website builder. Over 20 million websites have been created with the platform. In 2007 TIME magazine was listed as one of the top 50 websites, and it has been growing steadily ever since.
Weebly is the only website builder of the three that offers unlimited resources for around $8.00 per month. Perhaps the most comforting thing is the fact that you won’t have to worry about going over a page limit, like you would with Squarespace.
Weebly has over 124 professional looking templates with a good variety for building different types of websites. Even better, all of Weebly’s templates are fully responsive, and look amazing no matter what type of device your site is being viewed on.
Weebly has a number of great features, including a cool form builder that gives you default contact, RSVP and survey forms to customize to your liking. They also employ a powerful image editor, that gives you all the tools you need for editing your images before you use them.
The Weebly drag-and-drop interface was the easiest and most intuitive to use. All of the tools were easily accessible and the navigation of the interface was very simple. My main complaints are that I couldn’t create shapes like I was able to with the Wix editor. Nor could I edit some of the colors of buttons that I wanted to change.
Here’s what the Weebly editor looks like…
Weebly’s cloud hosting was quick and reliable with decent page load times and no down time. I’ve heard that Weebly sites do fairly well with SEO, and I would assume that’s the case being that you’re able to define Title and Description tags at the page level.
Weebly’s pricing is fair, and provides everything you need for just $8.00/month. Just like Wix and Squarespace, Weebly gives you a free domain when signing up for one of their yearly plans.
Weebly offers a wide range of support options in their Help Center including the following:
Weebly has made some vast improvements to their website builder since the last time I tested it out. They’ve added a lot of amazing looking templates and this version of the editor is much more user-friendly.
Sample Weebly Website
Click the image below to see the full website I made with the Weebly website builder…
I haven’t made a video for this website yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll post it here.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend giving Weebly a try as millions of users can’t be wrong. They provide a simple editor and fairly elegant templates to help you build your site.
The Squarespace Website Builder
Squarespace is the oldest of the three website builders we’re looking at. In September of 2012, Squarespace was named as a top 50 website by TIME magazine. It’s now in its 3rd version, and has become very popular with creative types.
The Personal plan is the only one that has limitations on resources, however, with 2GB of storage and 500GB of bandwidth, you shouldn’t need to worry. This plan only allows you to create 20 pages and sell 1 product or receive donations, which might be too limiting for some.
Squarespace offers 28 clean and professionally designed, fully responsive, templates, which might be too limiting for some.
When building my website, I discovered that there are limitations based on the template you choose. For example, one template didn’t give you the option of using a sidebar on your blog. And other templates had similarly strange limitations.
Squarespace has a number of great features including the powerful photo editor, and a form builder that can be integrated with autoresponders such as Mailchimp or AWeber. For analytics, you can use Squarespace’s own tracking system, or integrate Google Analytics.
The latest version of the Squarespace editor, Squarespace 7, is quite simple and intuitive, especially when compared with previous versions. I did run into a few little glitches when trying to position elements on the page, but that’s not too uncommon with website builders.
Here’s a peek at the Squarespace editor…
Squarespace has fast and reliable cloud hosting provided by Peer1. As such, I never experienced any kind of slow page load times, or problems with my website going offline. You can read more about performance in mySquarespace review.
Squarespace is a bit cheaper than Wix and Weebly, however, they do limit you to 20 pages on your site. If you pay for the yearly plan, it amounts to $8.00 per month, and they also give you a free domain name for the first year.
Squarespace has a number of great resources to help answer your question, should you have one. One of the most popular ways to contact them is through their ticket system. They promise to provide a response within 1 hour, 24/7.
I would recommend Squarespace based on its ease-of-use and beautiful templates. While Squarespace could probably be used to build any kind of website, it’s best suited for blogs and portfolios type websites.
Sample Wix Website
Unfortunately, after 14 days, Squarespace disables access to the site you build.
As such, the only thing I’m able to provide is a screenshot of the website I built with the Squarespace website builder…
Squarespace Website Video
And here’s the video of me making the website…
If you’ve never taken Squarespace for a test drive, I’d recommend giving them a try. They have a free, 14-day trial that doesn’t require a credit card.