What’s The Best Simple / Easiest Website Builder?
Figuring out how to choose the best website builder for your website is a tough and often all too confusing process. It’s tough to do a simple comparison because there is no such thing as an absolute “best website builder.”
With recent software advances, many website builders are full-featured and even used by professionals for large websites. They suffer from “feature bloat” and are way to complex for straightforward project.
There are tradeoffs with any software, but you have to be especially careful with tradeoffs with simple / easy website builders. Tradeoffs include, but are not limited to, your budget, your technical knowledge, the features you absolutely need, and how long you need your website.
Based on my experience working with many website builders, there are a few that are a good fit for most people. Here’s a summary of the companies included in the quiz.
Best Simple Website Builders
|Name||Best if you want…||Features!|
|Wix||…balance between features & simplicity.||Visit!|
|GoDaddy GoCentral||…maximum simplicity w/ limited features.||Visit!|
|Weebly||…better support & ecommerce integration.||Visit!|
|WordPress.com||…simple blogging functionality & designs.||Visit!|
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from companies mentioned on this site, including the ones mentioned on this page. My recommendations are based on my experiences as an independent paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Other Simple Website Builder Options
Website builders are a dime a dozen on the Internet. Here are other options that I’ve used that might be a good fit for you.
GATOR Website Builder
GATOR is a hosted website builder from HostGator. It’s focused on simplicity in a similar way to GoDaddy’s GoCentral. Not as simple as others, but gives you much more freedom since you’ll own your hosting account.
Shopify is 100% focused on ecommerce. They have a full toolset to help get your store online. Steeper learning curve with lots of things to learn, but also more robust choice for a long-term ecommerce store.
Google has a very basic website builder with every Google account. And it’s totally free (but with plenty of limitations).
The original blog website builder. They are owned by Google, but still ticking along for anyone that wants a traditional blog.
Squarespace is a name brand in the website builder industry. Their builder has a focus on beautiful default designs w/ access to coding features. Steeper learning curve than other website builders due to focus on freelancers, but good nonetheless.
What to Look for in a Simple Website Builder
Website builders exist on a spectrum, and the builder that makes sense for you depends on what you really need out of it.
Think about when you are choosing a car. The core need is to get from point A to point B. With an website builder, you need a place for your website to “live”, a toolset to help you create the right design, and the ability to edit content. That’s it. But like car selection – there’s more to it. Here’s the most common considerations to look at when choosing your “top” or “best website builder.”
Ecommerce options are basically inventory, a shopping cart and the ability accept payment. Some website builders integrate, and some offer it as an upgrade (sometime paid and sometimes free). If you don’t need ecommerce right now, then it widens your options. If ecommerce is a high priority for you – I actually recommend taking the ecommerce platform quiz here.
Budget & Pricing
Free is not necessarily cheap and expensive is not necessarily the best. However, budget does provide some parameters. Think about when you go car shopping – if a salesman knows you have a maximum budget of $20,000, they can at least rule out the Ferrari.
Drag & Drop Functionality
Most all website builders start with a “theme” or “template” as the design foundation. You can then customize to your liking. However, some allow for drag and drop customization. Some people like it, and some prefer to customize within set parameters. Drag & Drop does not mean it is simple. Often, drag & drop can be maddening if it’s not done right. Think about whether you really want drag & drop or “point and paint” a theme or template.
Related to the drag and drop are the pre-made templates. Some website builders have basic templates that you customize. Some offer beautiful, professionally deisgned templates that you aren’t really supposed to customize much.
The best websites aren’t always a click, click, done process. But if you need something quick and basic, then a fast setup might be exactly what you want.
Length of Project
If your website will be around for a while, you want to optimize for the long-term and use a website builder than provides either a good foundation or options to upgrade. If it’s a short term project, then you should optimize for speed and convenience.
On a related note, even if you want to optimize for speed and convenience now, do you want to have the option to migrate to a longer-term website platform? If not, again, you can optimize purely for speed and convenience.
A blog is simply webpages listed in reverse chronological order. However, most blogging platforms make creating new posts fast and automatically formatted in a certain way. Some website builders do not have strong blogging functionality – they focus on creating a series of static pages.
This consideration is straightforward – if you get stuck do you want to email/call someone or are you comfortable Googling the answer. Keep in mind that customer support costs money.