Setting up a business has always been a true attraction to entrepreneurs. The mere idea of identifying a fundamental part that is missing from the market and bringing about the solution to it are two of the prerequisites a business starts with. But there is something more to bring to the table – a successful business is highly active online, reason why establishing a website comes within the package.
This step can be done both ways – either hiring someone to do it professionally or doing it yourself. Regardless of how burdensome the second option might come up, in reality it isn’t.
Nowadays, the use of website builders comes in handy for the vast majority of individuals or small businesses which are eager to start a website by themselves without investing an extravagant sum of money to get just the same outcome. Yet, before heading towards making any move, it is quite essential to understand more about the role of website builders – as well as how to choose the right one for your demands. Within the following lines, you are about to discover the pros and cons of each mentioned website builder, together with each of their prices.
These being said, in case you are looking forward to knowing more concerning the subject, make sure to stick with us and keep an eye onto the following lines – the result will definitely come in handy.
Table of Contents
What is a website builder?
A website builder, also known as the interface between code and the overall interaction, is a tool used in building websites without having to deal with lines of code.
Back in the time, the only method of generating a website was by identifying, negotiating and hiring the right developers able to come up with the proper result. It took time, effort and many unexpected problems before the final version was made available. Unlike those times, the website builders are already generated and require no programming background to finally get a website.
Technically speaking, there are two major yet different types of website builders, respectively:
• Online website builders – are online software, known as tools, which require no prior download or install processess. The only tool required in here is a web browser, such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or anything else you’d like to use. Starting from here, you’ll be able to access your work from any place on your laptop, PC, phone or tablet. Moreover, it needs no alternative or separate payments for other services – let alone technical skills;
• Offline website builders – are computer-based and require the user to download the software and work upon it, on his own computer. After installing, the website builder can be further used and generates files which will be uploaded directly to a paid web host. Remember that this option is only for people who have previously worked with technical stuff. One great pick of a website builder that is offline based is Rapidwear.
Regardless of your choice, you can make your website available to be seen and accessed by anyone in the world. Whereas the offline website builders work best when wishing to have more hands-on experience, the online alternative is a great tool to make live any last minute choice you might have in mind.
Why is a website builder important?
A website builder decreases the required time for setting up a website by being a true interface between human interaction and the online world. In just 10 minutes, you can get a website which looks both professional and informative, without having to spend a single minute in the back-end. Everything is generated automatically and the effects of each change can be seen with just a click of a mouse. It means that every time you wish to see how a different template looks like or how does a different mix of colors appear, you can just make a click and everything will be immediately displayed.
Even beginners can have a website by using a website builder. In short, it is a drag-and-drop interface within which you can play and design the right one for you. It requires neither coding nor technical skills and is a great way to move icons all around the pages.
How does an online website builder work?
The entire process is simple and easy to be followed. The following lines represent a step-by-step tutorial on how an online website builder really work, helping you get a better insight into it:
1. Decide upon the desired template – both the free and the paid website builders have a set of templates which are offered by default. From these ones, you can decide upon the one that suits your niche best. Remember that simple is the new sexy, which means that the simpler the template is, the more freedom you get to make the desired changes when the right time comes;
2. Edit the template – even though all of the templates come with a set of default elements and contents, you can make yours unique by insisting upon some changes. Each and every one of them is done by a single click of a mouse, reason why it should not be that hard, not even for beginners. Just drag and drop everything you want and you’ll get the outcome expected;
3. Insert widgets to the template – these ones also improve the overall image and quality of your website, making it even more special and unique on the long run. Images, contact forms, social media sharing buttons (spotted as Twitter Tweet, Facebook Like and even Pinterest Pin), photos, videos and many more are just some of the standard widgets extremely useful for providing your website with a professional appearance. For eCommerce websites, the cart widget clearly comes in handy;
4. Hit `Publish` – as soon as every change is perfectly made, all that you have to do is hit the `Publish` button that is found among the editor. In just a blink, all the changes will be made live and available for the whole wide world to see.
In the online world, there is no such thing as a website that has been created by yourself. Most of the successful businesses have actually made it using the online infrastructure, in which you can make available both the products and the required services at any time of day or night. And this is one of the many keys of a successful website.
Which are the best website builders?
With so many available options today on the market, it could be quite hard to decide upon a single website builder, said to be the best among the vast majority today. Believe it or not, the trick is exactly knowing what you need for your website – and upon that, you’ll know what to look for and where to find it. The following lines will make sure you have all the necessary details to help you make the right choice, smarter and faster than ever before. Let’s start with:
From 2006, Wix has been established having its headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel. Only in 2015, the company had buildings in no less than 12 locations which served the entire world. Nowadays, Wix is known as a website builder that has it all. And here are its main focusing points:
◦ Pros: Wix is a user-friendly website builder, able to be managed by drag-and-dropping the necessary requirements fast and easy. It also has an increasing number of available templates, from which you can choose the one which fits best your expectations. Despite other website builders, the options offered within the free Wix version are large and impressive. It is also extremely modern and up-to-date with today’s requirements and styles;
◦ Cons: the free version provides you with a sub-domain which is not that appealing, just like https://thisisawebsite.wixsite.com/. It does not look that professional either – and neither does the sticky ads which come up with the free version once you decide upon it. They are both noticeable and rather pushy, interfering a bit with the user experience. Moreover, you can choose the theme only once, before it goes live. Once it happens, you will not be able to make any changes;
◦ Pricing: as expected, the free Wix version is free-of-charge, as opposed to the premium one which can be obtained starting from $13 per month.
Wix comes with over 500 templates ready to be used by any user wishing to make its way in the online world, coupled up with varios tools, elements, icons of social media and various galleries both catchy and impressive. If you enjoy design and colors, you’ll definitely spend some time in making the right choice.
Makes a great choice of website builders, with an around-the-clock support provided online through live chat. Among most of its characteristics, you’ll find:
o Pros: unlike the vast majority of the free website builder options, Site123 display no adverts whenever a visitors lands on the site for the first time. This is a great catch, coupled up with a technical support that never fails 24/7 via live chat. And it comes in handy for people who lack inspiration by providing default options (such as the right template);
o Cons: even though Site123 provides a default set of templates, a creative person might wish to change it every once in a while and it’d be rather sad to see that it can’t be actually done. Not to mention that the choice of templates is quite outdated. Instead, it provides 11 types of categories from which a user might choose (CV, portfolio, music, blog etc.);
o Pricing: Site123 provides its services free-of-charge, yet it turns a domain into a sub-domain, having the following aspect: www.thisisawebsite.site123.me.
Provides a large variety of designs and an amazing user interface to help you organize the crafter page the way you like. Here are some things you need to know:
o Pros: it does not require any software to be downloaded and installed, since everything is being set up on the hosted platform. Moreover, it has a friendly user interface with great use and SEO prompts. These come with the package and don’t use additional money to be paid separately on them. What’s more, the domain website looks something like this: www.thisisawebsite.weebly.com;
o Cons: unlike other website builders found on the market today, Weebly is more limited in terms of creativity and provide fewer features within the free plan. Last but not least, the pop up ad placed in the top corner might be rather annoying.
o Pricing: is surprisingly slow, starting from $5 per month for the Starter plan – which is, once again, the cheapest alternative found within the market.
There is no such thing as a simple and plain website which can be styled in various methods and ways. This is what Strikingly has to offer and there are additional reasons why you should definitely give it a try:
o Pros: you can have some free and subtle advertising using the free version of Strikingly. It has an around-the-clock customer support which is completely done via live chat and you get the possibility of selling only one product for each and every free plan;
o Cons: Strikingly’s free version does not provide users with an SSL certificate, which has to be purchased separately. This website builder has only one-page sites, which you might find rather difficult to cope with. Nonetheless, there is little to none within the ability of editing templates, which is regarded as a lack of creativity freedom;
o Pricing: for just $8 per month you can get the ‘Limited’ plan which provides you with a custom domain (which looks professional enough), 50GB bandwidth each month and up to 5 products which can be sold on your website.
Is a great website builder used preponderant as an online store. It is 100% free-of-charge and might be exactly what you need, if you take into account the following aspects:
o Pros: if you want to get rid of the annoying ads on your website, Jimdo comes with the smallest prices on the market. It also has some great aesthetics;
o Cons: aside the massive financial advantages, Jimdo has a rather difficult drag-and-drop feature which can be further used, together with little creativity control and number of available designs;
o Pricing: Jimbo has some great and cheap prices to start with, but it is recommended to upgrade your plan as time goes by and you require additional space.
Comes in handy for mobile optimization. Whenever you are on the run and wish to make some changes upon your website, there’s no need to take your laptop with you anymore. SimpleSite is set up to support the process of editing aspects upon your website from your own mobile phone, by drag-and-dropping all the required elements. Here are some other features you’d want to know about:
o Pros: SimpleSite is extremely intuitive, turning it into a great choice due to easy usage and amazing free plan. It can be accessed within the mobile browser, by making the required editing movements in just a blink of an eye;
o Cons: this choice does not come with a SSL certificate or any access to interrogations of a third party. Moreover, it is low on customer support and its editor is rather old for today’s requirements;
o Pricing: SimpleSite’s upgraded versions are different, starting from $9,99 for the premium one and going up to $28,95 monthly for each choice that is even more upgraded than the previous one.
Is a great choice for websites that are being presented in more languages all at once. Its various features are perfectly organized to help you get the outcome expected, as following:
o Pros: helps you obtain a multilingual site within the shortest period of time, coupled up with an eCommerce sight that is being activated while using the free plan. It is free-of-charge and has the most subtle advertisement method that is being presented upon the website builders;
o Cons: Mozello’s editor is rather limited and comes with no SSL incorporated. This means it will need to be purchased separately, while lacking both the flexibility and the customization manner;
o Pricing: Mozello is free-of-charge and available for everyone to get its own free plan today.
Become one of over 30 million Webnode users by choosing it as your preferred website builder in a blink of an eye. It is drop down gorgeous and makes sure you have the following:
o Pros: the entire process is extremely fast and can be achieved in less than 5 minutes. In contrast to various other alternatives found on the market, it requires no technical background and there is no learning curve – you just have to do what you need in a rather intuitive manner. Moreover, Webnode has no pop-ups ads;
o Cons: Webnode does not offer much creative freedom and it is yet short on providing a flexible template design;
o Pricing: Webnode comes with the Profi package starting at $19,95 per month with the following features: a free domain for an entire year, 5GB storage and unlimited bandwidth, along with various other advantages to choose from.
Has impressive images ought to catch all the eyes that are revolving around the website. It really knows how to make your website enjoyable and totally fulfilling, with the following:
o Pros: discover some of the greatest templates a website builder provides, together with a wide variety of basic features. Moreover, if you are a student, artist or a NGO, you can get an theme that is both ad-free and premium for zero cents;
o Cons: when you opt for the free plan offered by the IM Creator, remember that it comes with large advertisements and a rather unappealing domain name. It does not provide any features that are eCommerce related;
o Pricing: you can choose among the free plan, the premium one (starting at $8 per month) or up with the pro and whitelabel that is charged with $35- per year.
Is one of the most common choice of website builders available today on the market, especially for blogging. It comes with all the necessary features which turn your website into a great, powerful and attractive design. Here are some of them:
o Pros: by far, it is the best choice for blogging. It provides you with the right domain name regardless of the chosen free plan which comes with an impressive number of free templates;
o Cons: the best way to fully experience and take advantage of the WordPress features is by implementing some lines of code. It means you’d need some to help you get going, which might seem rather hard to implement from the very beginning without a little bit of a technical background. Also, both the templates and the designs are clearly created strictly for blogging;
o Pricing: WordPress come with various prices, depending on what exactly do you want to do with your website. This is why you can have the free version, the personal one (starting with $4 per month), premium (most popular, at $8 per month), business ($25 per month) or eCommerce ($45 per month).
Makes a great choice for business owners who are far from being tech geeks. It is a website builder based on A.I. algorithms, able to help you get your website in just a few minutes. But here’s what you should know about the Constant Contact Website Builder:
o Pros: this website builder has loads of content suggestions, together with a bunch of personalized images from which you can choose. The A.I. wizard provides you with the best alternatives that match your wishes. Such tips and tricks are hard to be provided by natural forces. The Constant Contact Website Builder has no less than 550,000 images that are free-of-charge and ready to be used for a brighter impact and the online support is open around-the-click;
o Cons: there are little to none third-party extensions able to be installed on the website, as well as other features since they are not supported or offered by the website builder. This goes hand in hand with the lack of a custom domain name, which will be made available as soon as you upgrade for the paid version;
o Pricing: the Constant Contact Website Builder costs as much as 10$ per month for the starter plan and $20 for the business plan.
Is a perfect choice for either website for small business, a blog or an eCommerce one. It comes with some special features, some of which you’d like to know about, such as:
o Pros: it provides an impressive number of both templates and special designs which you can test out and see which one suits best your expectations. Moreover, SiteBuilder is mobile and tablet optimized, which means it has passed a powerful exam in today’s society – since most of the website nowadays are accessed through the mobile phone. Moreover, it has various built-in aspects, such as website analytics, a free domain and even the eCommerce functionality.
o Cons: there is no free plan for SiteBuilder, which means you’d have to pay upfront for the whole package. Still, there is a 14-day period of returning the money in case you are not satisfied with its services. Moreover, there’s impossible to find a developer and hire him for obtaining special features within the website once it is being bought, since the extention ecosystem does not support such storage;
o Pricing: SiteBuilder has various plans, starting with $5 monthly (Pro version), $7 (Premium one) and $10 (eCommerce plan).
Is one of the most popular choices among website builders for small businesses. Besides being a building tool, it is also a host provider for the entire world. Let’s take a glance on it:
o Pros: technically speaking, there’s no website builder that is more safer and easier to use due to the fact that it is a complete hosted platform. It provides you with more than 200 design templates, able to fit any professional website in the wild. Moreover, each one of them features a bunch of customization options which will make your website unique in a matter of minutes.
o Cons: Gator is everything except a free option. It does not provide you with a plan that is free-of-charge, which means that you will have to make a choice between buying it or not from the first moment. Alternatively speaking, there is no free trial option. And just like in the case of SiteBuilder, Gator does not provide you with the possibility of hiring a developer to make the right changes for the desired website;
o Pricing: is rather small and totally affordable. With only $3,84 per month for the first option, $5,99 for premium and $9.22 for eCommerce, each one of these plans are meant to be monthly paid. But they make it to the top into the cheapest website builders available on the market.
Is perfectly orientated towards eCommerce, making your online store be perceived as the right choice for the long run. Here’s what you might need to know:
o Pros: BigCommerce has its own hosting platform, which means that the website speed, various updates and even security is around-the-clock provided by them. There are no technical inquiries that you have to handle by any means. Yet, probably one of the massive benefits it has is that WordPress is integrated and thus makes sure that regardless of the traffic, everything is fast and secure. In addition, it displays the most common payments gateways, such as PayPal, Amazon Pay, Chase Pay, Ayden, Stripe, Apple Pay, Visa Checkout and many others. And these are all free-of-charge;
o Cons: the price might seem a bit unbearable at the very beginning, yet the features are unique and really great;
o Pricing: BigCommerce provides any user with a free trial of 15 days, while they can decide if it is the right choice for them. After it, the basic plans start from $29,95 per month, while the upgraded ones are $79,95 and even $249,95 for the pro plan.
As important as eCommerce gets while days go by, Shopify is a nice catch to make your dream come true. Only today, this eCommerce website builder provides power for over 500.000 businesses which have more than 1 million users that are active. Below you can find its pros and cons:
o Pros: keep your work fun and easy while letting Shopify do its tasks. It is self-hosted, not having to be managed in any way in regards to handling updates, backups or software. Just as BigCommerce, this one features Shopify Payments, being open to add even third-party gateways;
o Cons: just like eCommerce, Shopify’s prices might not seem the most appealing for someone who has just entered this world. Moreover, the process of changing and moving from Shopify to a different website builder is rather burdensome;
o Pricing: the basic plan starts with $29 per month, while the upgraded one is $79 and the Advanced Shopify as much as $299.
Free vs. Paid Website Builders
Quality is something to be paid for. As special resources are being used, the paid website builders have special features and benefits which are easier to use. In contrast, the free ones come with basic aspects, some of which you’d be happy to integrate yet not enough for attaining the desired growth. In order to better understand the pros and cons of either free or paid website builders, here are some aspects to consider:
• User-friendliness – there’s no such thing as working with an intuitive interface which is able to always reveal to a visitor what the next step is. Between a modern and an obsolete website appearance, the first choice is more appealing and meets most of today’s website requirements – impressive features, great choice of colors and logical steps to follow over the page;
• 24/7 support – a website failure is capable to draw massive repercussions to an online business. And visitors remember a website that has failed to them quite well. Because of that, having 24/7 support (email, live chat or phone) should be one of the main characteristics in choosing a website builder – yet this aspect is mostly offered in paid website builder package. Still, once purchasing one of these packages, you are closer to making sure that everything fits in the right place;
• Template – being able to decide upon one that perfectly fits your niche is a must for setting up a successful website. The free website builders bring few alternatives to the table, whereas the paid ones are more diversified and work with various other features which improve the website’s overall use. That’s a drawback found among various free website builders which lead buyers into paying separately for obtaining the right features;
• Available marketing tools – there’s no secret that the level of success of a website is usually generated by the marketing strategy that lays behind. The premium website builders have special marketing tools which are extremely useful, especially from the very beginning when the website is just created. Some of the benefits of a website builder package with marketing tools included are: SEO tools, the integration among social media platforms and email campaigns. All of these (and many more) are brought up by the paid website builders;
• Mobile optimization – the vast majority of free website builders don’t offer mobile optimization for your website, reason why you’d have to obtain it separately. According to a study conducted in 2018, smartphones make the top in the methods used for accessing websites – and a website that is not mobile optimized will definitely lose both visitors and ranking. Putting things aside, the paid versions fulfill this massive requirement in just a blink of an eye;
• Ads usage – making money off a website is sometimes done through selling ad space. It means placing some relevant ads, preferably linked to your website’s niche, in such a way that people will be interested in clicking them and making certain purchases starting from your link. The ability of placing specific ads on your website (by yourself) is usually a paid website builder characteristic, whereas seeing alternative ads (that are not yours) is usually a free website builder one – since it is a nice method for the company to generate passive income from your website;
• Storage capacity and bandwidth – both are larger and greater in the paid versions of website builders – and this is totally understandable. Even though free plans also provide users with good storage capacity and bandwidth, as your website increases and becomes more successful it’d be better to go for a paid version to fulfill its needs – minimum 20 GB storage coupled up with unlimited bandwidth;
• Domain usage – a professional website looks like a domain, rather than a sub-domain. To put it thoroughly, www.thisisawebsite.com looks more profi than www.thisisawebsite.wix.com. Moreover, the latter version is harder to remember by anyone – and visitors like smart and easy stuff. Again, to get your own domain, you can either go for a paid website builder which provides it by default to you or purchase it separately;
• E-commerce – your website could be turned into an online store by purchasing a website builder plan which makes sure that everything is perfectly organized. Apart from the complete set up, perfectly designed as an online store, you’ll get sales reports, cart reminders for shopping carts which have been abandoned, process payments and many more. Wix is in here only one of the available alternatives, which provides you with the necessary benefits to make it in the e-commerce world. Unfortunately though, an online store is a feature that is brought up only in premium plans, which means that is it not available in free ones.
Free-of-charge website builders are extremely useful for learning how to use a website, yet any additional benefits are usually found among the paid versions. Features like additional storage, special usage and around-the-clock support are trademarked characteristics for paid website builders, yet they pay off entirely for websites which are ought to become successful and famous, as well as visited by hundreds, thousands and further millions of people around the world. All of these benefits (and many more) are to be soon identified by yourself, once making the right choice upon your requirements.
How can others actually make money when you are using a free website builder
Even though the free website builders come free-of-charge, they are indeed money generators for the right people. There are various methods to do so, but the most common are:
• Placing random ads on your free website – this happens automatically, as you don’t get the possibility of changing them with what you want. This is a characteristic that is managed only in the premium (or paid) website builders. It means that the website builder from which you got your free website will be the one obtaining revenue based on the random ads;
• `Freemium` model – known as turning the payers into who sustain any other free website builder user. This is basically a method of using the money from people who have (and wish to offer) to those who don’t but want to get the possibility of having a ravishing website.
But these are only two common ways of generating passive income from a website, even though it is made using a free website builder. On the market, there are many more, yet extremely powerful on the long run. The main advantage of choosing a paid website builder is that you get to be the one receiving all of this revenue as time goes by and your website gets more and more traffic (especially organic).
Upgrading from free to premium
Even though now you have a free website builder, you can jump to a paid premium one fast and with no repercussions. By this way, once you decide upon the paid version, you already know all of the tips and tricks in using a website, as well as how to deal with website builders. And this comes in handy, since a premium version always provide you with more templates, widgets, plugins and everything else to improve your website with just some clicks here and there.
Making the transition from free to premium is even easier than getting a premium plan right away. This is due to the fact that the free versions are great for gaining insights and useful experience, ought to be further used in managing the website’s appearance.
A great hint telling you should get a premium plan lays in the number of visitors your website gets. In case it tends to go viral and your posts shared on social platforms, that’s an important sign you’ve just won the lottery. This is definitely a great moment to opt for a premium plan, in which you get more storage, bandwidth, great SEO, insights using marketing tools and many other useful hints to help you get going.
But it doesn’t have to be that famous (or successful) for you to change parameters. Whenever you feel like, it can be done simple, easy and in a total delightful manner. And trust me, you’ll thank us later for pursuing you into that direction. These being said, what are you still waiting for? Have you already managed to see how to choose the best website builder among the presented ones in 2020?