There has never been so many options for starting a website or blog. WordPress.com is one of *the* name-brands in the website builder industry. They took the free & open-source WordPress software and combined it with an all-in-one platform that focuses on ease of use. Users get a platform with the versatility of WordPress without the learning curve of hosting WordPress on their own server.
But what if you want an alternative to WordPress.com? After all – there is no such thing as a “best website builder” – only the best for your project. And if anything has truly changed in the past decade – it is choice. Website owners can not only forego a developer/designer – they can go right to the DIY setup that fits their needs, expertise and focus.
In my career as a marketing consultant, I’ve been able to use and consult on a full range of website builders, software & platforms for both my in-house projects and client projects. While WordPress.com is a fine for some projects, I also thought it would be useful to have a list of the best WordPress.com alternatives along with what they do well & who they focus on.
Here’s a brief summary along with an extended explanation below.
Summary of Best Alternatives to WordPress.com for Websites
|Name||Best if you want…||Visit!|
|Weebly||…drag & drop features w/ diverse integrated features.||See Plans!|
|Self-hosted WordPress||…ultimate control of your website & unlimited options.||Learn!|
|Wix||…straightforward option for stand-alone sites.||See Plans!|
|Shopify||…full-featured, hosted ecommerce platform.||See Plans!|
|Blogger||…old-school simple option for bloggers.||See Plans!|
Disclosure – I receive customer referral fees from companies listed on this website. All data & opinion is based on my professional experience as a customer or consultant to a customer. Read my full reviews of various website builders here.
Guide to WordPress.com Alternatives
Here’s an extended guide to each, along with other WordPress.com alternatives for specific use cases.
Weebly is known as a drag and drop website builder. But – they also have plans that add ecommerce functionality. Weebly is not as big or as established as WordPress.com, but they have plenty of integrated features, better pricing – and the drag and drop functionality that WordPress.com does not have.
WordPress is free, community-supported software that “powers” your website. It’s the software that WordPress.com uses. In the industry-jargon, it is a “content management system” that allows you to log into you site’s backend to change the design, functionality, content – anything you can dream up. To run it, you have to purchase hosting and install it. Unlike a hosted platform like WordPress.com, it allows you unlimited options. You control your expenses (as little as $3/mo – as much as $1000s). There are even drag & drop builders that install “on top” of WordPress. It has a steeper learning curve than WordPress.com, but also provides more opportunity.
Squarespace is a major brand in the website builder industry, thanks to their heavy ad spend on podcasts & Super Bowl ads. They do not have drag & drop, but do offer a user-friendly platform with a focus on design. They are pricier than other options (and have inherent hosted platform limitations), but serve as an excellent name-brand WordPress.com alternative.
Shopify is a name-brand ecommerce platform. Unlike WordPress.com – Shopify focuses exclusively on online storeowners. They offer drag and drop, along with templated designs in addition to features that fit all types of online stores.
Other WordPress.com Alternatives
There are, of course, tons of other alternatives including options that either have a specific use case, I haven’t used enough to fully judge or don’t quite have features/benefits that the alternatives listed above already cover.
That said, I’ve had managers compiling a list for internal evaluation. Here’s the list that I usually provide.
- Wix – a name-brand website builder. It has drag & drop design with many integrated features. I compared Wix to WordPress.com here.
- GoDaddy GoCentral Website Builder – a pre-packaged website product from GoDaddy. Not as flexible as WordPress, but very straightforward. I reviewed GoDaddy’s website builder here.
- SiteBuilder – a very straightforward product that is similar to Wix, Weebly & others. I reviewed SiteBuilder here.
- BoldGrid – software offered by some hosting companies that installs with WordPress so that you get all the benefits of self-hosted WordPress in addition to drag & drop design and simplified setup.
- Ghost – software that is similar to WordPress, but focuses exclusively on publishers.
- Blogger – the original blogging software – it’s owned by Google and focused exclusively on blogging.
I’ve written a lot about website builders – and have been able to consult with a variety of clients from small shops to household brands. Here’s related resources that I’ve written.
- Shopify Review
- Weebly Review
- Squarespace Review
- WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
- Shopify vs. WordPress (and how to use together)
- Wix vs. WordPress
- Blogger Review
- Best Website Builder Guide w/ Quiz
- Best Online Store Builder Guide w/ Quiz
- How To Set Up A Website w/ WordPress
All the best on your project!