What’s The Best Website Builder for Your Website?
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.” There is only the website builder that is right for you considering all the tradeoffs.
The tradeoffs include, but are not limited to, your budget, your technical knowledge, the features you need, and how long you need your website.
This website builder comparison quiz takes all the most common considerations and maps out the answers to the top website builder choices. It includes website builders with ecommerce options. Take the quiz and see who fits your needs the best (or skip to summary of choices).
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from companies mentioned on this site, including the ones mentioned in this quiz. My recommendations are based on my experiences as an independent paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
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 Website Builder Summary
|Name||Best if you want…||Features!|
|Wix||…convenience, built-in features & templates.||Visit!|
|Weebly||…drag & drop + CSS edits w/ support & pricing.||Visit!|
|WordPress.com||…WordPress but without hosting or setup worries.||Visit!|
|GoDaddy GoCentral||…less customization but maximum convenience.||Visit!|
Other 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.
Shopify is 100% focused on ecommerce. They have a full toolset to help get your store online.
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..
BoldGrid is an interesting “overlay” builder for self-hosted WordPress. It’s a website builder app that allow you to use self-hosted WordPress (and all the control benefits of it) but have drag & drop design of traditional web builders. If you are curious about self-hosted WordPress, and would like to get a free trial setup – you can check out the ShivarWeb Sandbox for WordPress here.
What to Look for in a 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.
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.