Top 5 Best Website Builders in 2020 Tested and Compared
by Mike Khorev
How can we create a website?
In the past, the answer is to hire a professional web designer to design the website, and a professional web developer to code the site. Not only it’s typically an expensive process, but also complicated and time-consuming.
Fortunately, today we live in an easier time with the availability of various website builders using the WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) philosophy. Today, we can create a beautiful website with just the cliks of your mouse.
In the past decade, the website builder industry has grown tremendously. While this means we have more options than before, it can be overwhelming for first-timers. There are various website builder platforms to choose from, each with their own unique features and benefits.
With that being said, here we have reviewed all the popular website builders available in 2020, and below is our top picks.
|Free Plan/Trial||Starting price|
|Best Overall (including best free plan)||Wix||Unlimited with Wix Branding||$4.5/month|
|Easiest of Use||Weebly||Unlimited with Weebly Branding||$5/month|
|Best for eCommerce||Shopify||14 Days Trial||$29/month|
|Best Built-In Design||Squarespace||14 Days Trial||$12/month|
|Best Customizability||WordPress||Free Forever||Free (paid add-ons, hosting server, domain name)|
Best Website Builders In 2020
Wix is not really a new player in the website builder industry, has been around since 2006, more than a decade ago. However, Wix gained a lot of attention in the past couple of years or so especially due to their aggressive marketing campaigns featuring Hollywood A-list celebrities.
Now, Wix is the hype website builder for “cool” people, but does it deserve all the attention, or just a fad?
One of the reasons driving Wix’s popularity is the fact that it’s one of the pioneers in bringing the drag-and-drop, visual builder approach in a website builder. Essentially changing the answer to the question “how to create a website?”. Wix provides everything you need from templates to hosting service, from the very beginning of building a website to actually launching a functional site.
The key highlights of Wix are its ease of use, 5
Pros of Wix:
- Wix is a full-fledged software as a service (SaaS) platform so you have access to fast and responsive customer service.
- Fully-hosted platform, so you will not have to pay for separate hosting
- Very easy to use visual website builder with a drag-and-drop approach
- Great library of additional apps to enhance your site
- Free plan available with limited storage, cannot connect your domain
- SSL enabled
Cons of Wix:
- You can’t customize any coding aspect (HTML and CSS), so less freedom in building your site
- Migrating your site from Wix to another platform is very difficult
- You still need to purchase a separate domain plan with the Connect Domain ($4.5/month plan)
- Website plans:
- Free, 500MB Bandwidth, 500MB Storage
- Connect Domain: $4.5/month, 1GB Bandwidth, 500MB storage, Wix logo on your site, no free domain
- Combo: $8.5/month, 2GB bandwidth, 3GB storage
- Unlimited: $12.5/month, Unlimited Bandwidth, 10 GB Storage
- VIP: $24.5/month, Unlimited Bandwidth, 20GB storage
- Business & eCommerce plans (can accept online payments):
- Basic: $17/month, Unlimited Bandwidth, 20GB storage
- Unlimited: $25/month, Unlimited Bandwidth, 35GB storage
- VIP: $35/month, Unlimited Bandwidth, 50GB storage
Weebly is in many ways, very similar to Wix.
Both offers drag-and-drop style, visual website builders. Both offer usable free plans (with similar offerings), and with their premium plans, Weebly offers slightly more expensive plans across all packages, but offers unlimited bandwidth.basic SEO and lead generation features even with the cheapest plan.
Weebly’s visual builder is simpler than Wix, which will translate to an easier to use platform overall. However, with Weebly you get less freedom in customizing your website, since the elements of your site are locked within “grids”, so you can’t move them as freely.
Another notable thing is that all of Weebly’s templates are mobile responsive, and you wouldn’t need to adjust anything (this is not the case with Wix’s templates where you need to make at least minor adjustments). Weebly does offer fewer templates than Wix (as of date), but the ones they offer work really well.
Last but not least in comparing the two, Weebly offers slightly more advanced eCommerce features and tools, but Wix’s eCommerce-focused plans are slightly cheaper.
Pros of Weebly:
- Fast and responsive customer service
- Fully hosted platform, so you don’t need to purchase additional hosting and domain name
- Great eCommerce tools and the Business Plus plan offers email marketing features
- Unlimited bandwidth for all plans (including free plan)
- Very easy to use, even easier than Wix, the best choice for beginners
Cons of Weebly:
- Limited freedom to customize the templates according to your preferences, can’t edit any coding aspect of the templates
- 3% transaction fees for every purchase on your eCommerce store if you are not using Business or Business Plus plan
- Slightly more expensive across all plans compared to Wix
Pricing (Unlimited bandwidth for all plans) :
- Free, 500MB storage, Weebly branding in domain name
- Connect, $5/month, 500MB storage
- Pro, $12/month, Unlimited storage, basic ecommerce features
- Business: $25/month, advanced ecommerce features
- Business Plus: $38/month, advanced ecommerce features, email marketing features
It’s impossible to discuss website builders today—or even website development in general—without mentioning WordPress.
WordPress is currently the most popular website building platform, with over a third of the whole internet is powered by WordPress.
It’s important, however, to understand that WordPress is significantly different than Wix and Weebly, since WordPress is an open-source platform. On one hand, creating a website on WordPress is completely free. On the other hand, you wouldn’t get any dedicated customer support and you will need at least basic programming knowledge to use WordPress.
However, due to the popularity of WordPress as a platform, there are plenty of resources to help you learn WordPress, including WordPress’s community guides. With WordPress, if you are willing to spend the time and have the necessary skills (design-wise and programming-wise), you have the absolute freedom to create a website according to your needs.
Although WordPress is not as easy to use as Wix or Weebly, it’s still relatively easy to use with thousands of themes available, and if you want, there are also plugins allowing drag-and-drop building style like Divi.
Pros of WordPress:
- Free forever. You can allocate investments on hosting service, plugins, etc. according to your budget
- Complete control to customize every aspect of your website
- Many available resources to learn about the platform
- Thousands of templates (free and paid), some offer advanced features like analytics and automation
- Highly scalable as your business grows
Cons of WordPress:
- You need to at least know basic programming and web design (or willing to hire someone)
- Need to get a separate hosting service, which can be a hassle on its own
- Need to purchase your own domain name
- No customer service, you need to be proactive in learning and troubleshooting the platform
Pricing: Free (open source), but you will need to invest in separate hosting service and purchase a domain name. You might also need to invest on additional plugins and premium themes.
Shopify is a popular website builder especially in building eCommerce sites and online stores. Today, Shopify powers more than 500,000 online stores all over the world, with over $40 billion worth of online transactions.
Shopify is an all-in-one website builder that also includes hosting service—similar to Weebly or Wix—, but especially focuses on eCommerce tools and features like an integrated payment gateway (Shopify Payments), payment processing features, inventory management, and so on.
It also includes hundreds of built-in templates to help you with in website creation, and also offer a visual website builder (again, similar to Wix or Weebly). Shopify also offers 24/7 customer service support (phone and chat).
Due to its eCommerce-focused features, Shopify is fairly expensive compared to other competitors, and the pricing models are based on eCommerce-related features (transaction fees, number of staff accounts, etc.)
Pros of Shopify:
- Advanced eCommerce-related tools and features (Shopify payment, inventory management, marketing solutions, etc.)
- Easy to use website builder with intuitive interface
- In-store POS system for physical stores
- Amazing integrations, including integrations with WordPress and other website builders
- Great reporting and analytics tools
Cons of Shopify:
- Expensive and limited plan options (note: Shopify Lite isn’t an actual website builder, just integrating Shopify’s eCommerce tools with existing platforms like Facebook or existing website).
- Hard to migrate your site away from Shopify to other platforms
- Basic Shopify ($29/month)
- 2 user accounts
- High transaction fees (2%) for external payment gateways, 2.9% online credit card rates
- Shopify ($79/month)
- 5 user accounts
- 1% transaction fees. 2.6% online credit card rates
- Advanced Shopify ($299/month)
- 15 user accounts
- 0.5% transaction fees, 2.4% online credit card rates
Squarespace especially emphasizes on design, as we can see from its website and brand philosophy. It offers a lot of (very) nicely designed templates and there are some unique features on the builder that are geared toward easier and more accurate design (i.e., a powerful photo editing feature).
Squarespace also offers a visual website builder, and in terms of ease of use, is a little bit more complex than Weebly, but easier to use than Wix (that’s already considering that Wix is already pretty easy to use).
The website editor and templates are responsive, so your site will always look good on mobile devices. However, you don’t get the feature to edit specifically the mobile site, like Wix, so less flexibility overall.
Squarespace also offer eCommerce-focused plans, so you can natively add an online store to your website. It offers pretty basic eCommerce tools and features, but the interface is really nice, clean, and easy to use.
Pros of SquareSpace:
- Clean, sleek, and intuitive interface
- Fair amount of well-designed templates, so you probably won’t need to make a lot of customizations. Best built-in designs overall.
- Very easy to add content to your website, point anywhere on your site and you can create a content immediately
- Can easily create your own layout with drag and drop approach
Cons of SquareSpace:
- Limited third-party integrations
- Expensive for its features
- Limited payment gateway options with the eCommerce plans
- Less flexibility overall to customize your site
- Personal ($12/month)
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
- 2 users enabled
- Basic reporting and analytics
- Business ($18/month)
- Professional Email address
- Unlimited users
- Advanced analytics
- ECommerce integrations
- Basic Commerce ($26/month)
- Promotional pop-ups and banners
- Free commerce transaction fees
- Unlimited product listing
- ECommerce analytics
- Advanced Commerce ($40/month)
- Advanced shipping
- Gift cards
- Integrated accounting with Xero
Important Considerations When Choosing A Website Builder
What are the important factors to consider in choosing a website builder?
First things first, remember that the main goal is to help us create a website, and this should be our main principle when considering these different factors below:
1.Price VS Value
Yes, we all want a cheap, affordable option, especially when we are a small business with a limited budget. However, aiming solely to get the most affordable option is a wrong mindset. Rather, we should consider how much value we can get in relation to the price.
Figure out what you actually need, any specific features you want, and aim to get the most affordable option that can provide these features. Define your website goals and KPIs, and figure out the necessary features to fulfill these goals.
On the other hand, since your website is a very important indicator of your reputation in today’s digital age. So. it’s probably wise to spend just a little bit more if you can get more value from the platform.
This platform will be the life and death of your website, especially when it also include a hosting service in the package.
Website downtime can have very significant impacts on your business. It can cause you to lose potential customers who won’t come back, it can badly damage your reputation, and in some cases, drop or penalty in search engine rankings. In short, it can badly hurt your revenue both in the short and long term.
The reliability of the website builder, and the higher hosting uptime are important factors to consider when choosing between these platforms.
3.Ease of Use VS Versatility
Newer website builders tend to feature visual builders where you’ll build the site upon a template with a drag-and-drop approach—no coding skills required.
However, this type of website builders tend to limit your versatility in customizing the templates (with CSS or HTML), so you won’t get the freedom to build a site according to your exact needs.
Platforms that do offer some versatility, on the other hand, will require at least a basic coding knowledge.
So, this aspect will depend on whether you have the required coding skills (or if you are willing to learn), and whether you are willing to spend some time to build the website, instead of simply using the given templates.
Ideally, you should try to find a website builder that is easy enough to use for you while also providing enough freedom according to your needs. If that’s not possible, however, figure out which aspect you are more willing to compromise.
Obviously our hope is that our business will grow —and our website with it—. So, it’s important to consider how easy and affordable it will be to scale your website with the platform.
For example, you might need extra hosting space in the future. Does the platform offer the flexibility to do so? At what price? Also, how easy it will be to revamp your website in the future (if necessary?)
Some website builder platforms might integrate eCommerce viability in the builder, some others might require additional plugin(s), and some other won’t offer any eCommerce features at all.
An eCommerce website will require several extra considerations from inventory management features, payment gateway integration, customer segmentation, dropshipping features, and shipping-related features, among others.
Depending on whether you plan to include eCommerce store on your site, this might be an important factor to consider.
6.Number of Templates
When you create a website using a website builder platform, the design process starts with the templates—or themes—provided by the builder. The template will be a building block, the one you customize upon to build your unique, functional website.
You’d want a website builder that provides the right templates or themes according to your preferences (and/or references). Make sure the website builder offers enough number of themes and at least some degree of customization options—according to your needs—.
When you start with a template that is already a good fit for your business, you start with a very solid foundation in getting the perfect website.
No matter how good your created website is, it won’t bring any value to your business unless people actually find it.
SEO remains one of the most effective ways to generate traffic to our website, so you might want to look for website builder platforms that also offer some form of tools and features that will assist your site’s SEO optimizations and performance.
And The Winner Goes To…
It’s hard to pick just one website builder platform that can suit anyone’s needs, simply because all of the tools we’ve reviewed, and especially the ones we’ve discussed above, each offered their own unique features and benefits.
With that being said, here is our breakdown:
Best Overall: Wix
Wix is really popular nowadays and without its reasons: it’s very easy to use, it offers a lot of built-in templates and apps, it has great integrations with popular—and not popular— apps and platforms, and we get all of those with a relatively affordable price.
Easiest To Use: Weebly
The best choice for beginners and those who just want to quickly create a website without learning to code and design. Slightly more expensive than Wix, but still very affordable.
Best for ECommerce: Shopify
Shopify is the most popular choice in building online stores because of its complete package: advanced eCommerce-related features from inventory management to payment gateway, advanced analytics and reporting, and for an eCommerce-focused alternative, relatively affordable.
Best Built-In Design: Squarespace
Squarespace provides the sleekest interface and offers a decent number of really well-designed templates. Quite expensive, but will be worth it if you really want to create a really good looking website without spending too much time on customizations.
Best Customizability: WordPress
The most popular website builder today, and quite different than the others on this list. WordPress is an open-source platform so you’ll need to get a separate hosting service and purchase your domain name. You will also need to know basic programming and design skills. However, if you are willing to spend the time and resources, you get the most freedom with WordPress.
September 26, 2020
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