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Comparing Website Builders by Building Real Websites

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Every website builder promises to be the simplest, the fastest, or the most flexible. But which ones actually live up to their claims? I built real websites to find out which website builders are the best, so you don’t have to waste your time on one that won’t work for you.

If you’ve been trying to figure out the best website builder for your needs, you’ve probably noticed a lot of different claims by the most popular ones. The easiest free website builder! Build a site in 3 simple steps! Get a site running in minutes!

But is it actually possible to build a functioning website in literal minutes? Which website builder is truly the easiest to use? Just how many steps are there to building a website with any of these builders?

These are exactly the questions I had, and I’m sure you have them too. Lucky for you, I tested these website builders to give you the answers you’re looking for.

I’m not a web designer. I have a background in digital marketing, specifically SEO, so I’m familiar with how websites should look and function, and I’m trained to pay attention to user experience.

I’ve built a couple of personal websites, but I need just as much help on design and technical setup as the next person. I’m well-positioned to assess both the simplicity of these website builders to the average person and whether the websites they create are functional and useful for businesses, bloggers, and more.

To get the best testing experience – and one that most closely aligns with what you will experience as you build a website – I tested a paid version of each website builder. This gave me access to more features and the ability to test whether paying for a plan is truly worth it.

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    • Best for full creative freedom
    • Over 500 templates to choose from and customize
    • Starting price: $10/Month

    Wix promises that you can create exactly the website you want, and it certainly delivers. You can adjust any element any which way with their drag-and-drop editor, and the hundreds of template options give web design newbies like me a strong starting point for a website layout.

    There are also hundreds of pre-made blocks, buttons, galleries, and more, to help you add photos, video, or whatever you have in mind. The process is so intuitive that it almost feels like by thinking about an element, you make it appear on your site.

    It took literally one click each to add the blog and the online store apps from the App Market, which has hundreds of free and paid apps to provide tons of extra features. These range from Wix-created apps that allow you to add forms, live chat, and appointment bookings, to integrations with important business tools from Google, Amazon, and social media platforms.

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    • Preset layouts make design easy and beautiful
    • Fast site load speeds

    SITE123 feels at times like a simplified version of Wix, which may make it a better choice for you if you’re just starting out. This website builder has more than 180 mobile-responsive templates and a strong selection of apps to expand your site’s functionality.

    Instead of a drag-and-drop editor, SITE123 has a point-and-click editor, meaning you’ll just be clicking a series of buttons and prompts to design your site within a predetermined framework. You can’t adjust the placement of elements down to the pixel, but you can add and reorder content sections to your liking. This type of editor also ensures that your designs are always perfectly aligned.

    When I tested SITE123, there was a bit more of a learning curve than for some other builders on this list. That said, once I figured out a few quirks, I was able to build my site much more quickly than on Wix. There are some cool automatic features like breadcrumbs navigation, auto-categorization of products in the online store, and a super easy contact form builder that were a nice touch and made the process easier overall.

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    • Fiverr to miejsce, w którym
    • Fiverr to miejsce, w którym

    Squarespace is truly a beautiful website builder, both in the sites it creates and in the interface itself. It’s most similar to WordPress.com, with a block editor and similar navigation layout between pages and other design facets. However, I found the experience of building a site on Squarespace to be much smoother, like Wix, with everything a bit more connected in the interface.

    Where most website builders emphasize either content or e-commerce more strongly, Squarespace manages to shine in both aspects, making it a great option for e-commerce stores of any size that also want to prominently feature their blog. (You can do this on other builders too, but Squarespace has strong functionality for both, at a greater scale than say, Wix.)

    Squarespace doesn’t have a free plan (although it does offer a 14-day free trial), but you can access the majority of essential features on either of the lower tier plans, which are comparably priced to the other builders on this list.

  • squarespace-picture
    • Fiverr to miejsce, w którym
    • Fiverr to miejsce, w którym

    Witryna Fiverr jest dostępna w języku angielskim i niemieckim.

    Jeśli chodzi o Twoje logo, cóż… prawdopodobnie możesz używać dowolnego języka, o ile projektant, z którym pracujesz, ma zainstalowane odpowiednie czcionki.

    Ceny są dostępne, ponieważ każdy sprzedawca ustala własne ceny. Możesz nawet uzyskać logo za jedyne 5 USD. Wszystkie ceny są jednorazowymi płatnościami za określoną ilość pracy.

    W każdym razie, jeśli potrzebujesz logo po polsku, na pewno możesz znaleźć projektanta w Fiverr, który będzie znacznie tańszy niż zatrudnienie lokalnego projektanta w Polsce.

What I Looked For In The Best Website Builders

These rankings are based on three main criteria: ease of use, design flexibility, and pricing. There are some additional considerations as well, particularly when site builders are on nearly equal footing with the above. Here’s what I mean by each of these criteria:

Ease of Use

A good website builder will be intuitive, clear, and even enjoyable to use. Nearly all of these builders have some kind of tutorial or checklist to get you started. Once you are past the setup phase, all the tools you need should be pretty much where you expect them to be.

The most crucial elements of a website need to be easily accessible for editing, not hidden behind several layers of navigation. Additionally, the support options should be clear and robust, and provide near-immediate answers.

Bonus points for autosaving your work and continuous prompts for important steps, like publishing your website or connecting a domain.

Design Flexibility

If your site is going to stand out, it can’t look like it was built from the same template as hundreds of other sites out there. You’ll need to start from a template no matter what, but the best website builders will give you a wide variety of templates to choose from (Wix, for example, gives you over 500) and plenty of options for modifying that template to your brand or personal preference. Specifically, it should have:

  • Plenty of initial templates to choose from
  • Full control over color scheme
  • A wide range of fonts
  • Lots of options for page layouts and/or blocks

Drag-and-drop site editors like Wix’s tend to offer the most flexibility, which is reflected in the test results, but other types of editors offer a lot of customization as well.

Pricing

This criterion isn’t so much about absolute cost as it is about value. A site builder may have dirt cheap plans, but if its most expensive plan has only half the features you can find with a different builder’s most basic plan, that’s not really a point in its favor.

A good value website builder will give you the most features for the lowest cost. It may have a variety of plans to choose from, allowing you to customize to your needs. Squarespace, for instance, may not be the cheapest builder out there, but since it has so much to offer, I consider it excellent value. You can click here to see its latest plans.

Often (but not always), the higher-tier plans are one of two things: more bandwidth and storage, or access to advanced e-commerce features. Having a sense of what your site will need will help you better assess the value of these plans as you read through the results.

Additional Considerations

While the criteria outlined above are the most important for assessing website builders, there are a few bonus features that I believe set one site builder above the others. Any of these individually wouldn’t warrant a builder a higher spot, but when combined with other strong features, make these builders even more powerful.

These additional considerations must be actually useful – not just a flashy claim to good features. Here are some other things I looked at:

  • SEO capabilities: Most site builders help you optimize your title tags and meta descriptions, but the ones that have extra technical features, like auto-generating robots.txt files or sitemaps, are really helpful. For more information, check out our list of the best website builders for SEO.
  • Plenty of apps and integrations: This has more to do with function than design. A good site builder should be able to offer you the capabilities you need, ideally by integrating with other tools or software you’re already using, like MailChimp for email campaigns.
  • A truly unique feature: Some builders have standout features that are unique to them and can’t really be compared with others. These are noted in the results for each builder.
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