Hi, I’m Muninder (Web Developer and UI designer).
I’ve been testing website building platforms since 2015.
Combining my research, trial tests on website builders, real user reviews and ratings curated on this websites, I’ve created this ultimate guide to choose the best website builder.
I think most of the people who own small businesses can relate to this (at least with parts of it) – “Creating efficient websites and dealing with web programmers, designers, web development teams during the process is an uphill battle!”
Is it really?
The answer is both YES and NO.
Yes, it is an uphill battle, if you are a small businessman paying thousands of dollars for developers to create and maintain your business website.
No, if you know what a website builder is and how to design your website with it.
This guide is for all those YES-saying businesspeople!
There are 100+ website builders out there to let you create a business website or personal blogs on your own in minutes. What’s more – NO CODING IS NEEDED. I have created a sample website with each one of those top web builders so I could launch this website as an ultimate guide for choosing the best website builder.
Let’s create your website today!
How To Choose The Best Website Builder?
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a big or small website builder, all of them have just one goal in mind:
To simplify the website building process!
However, only a few do that efficiently. With others, the website building experience is just okay!
So, choosing any one of them is not an option. That leaves us with a big question:
How to select the best website builder from more than 100 site builders?
I have put in my expertise in web development, design, and SEO to research hundreds of website builders and figure out the best one. Moreover, I’ve also looked for the best store builder from the vast collection of website builders. I have decided to test and review website builders based on the factors I’m going to discuss in detail below.
Factors to Compare Website Builders
Here’s a list of criteria by which I’ve compared all website builders available on the market. These elements helped me make the website builder comparison and determine which is the best website builder for small business websites.
- Ease of use – how quick and easy can you set up the website’s design
- Speed – how quickly do sites load
- Reliability – uptime
- SEO tools – much needed nowadays, some site builders provide better SEO options than others
- Templates – their number and quality
- Backend coding – related to all factors above, it determines how well sites built with the examined platform perform
- Technical support
- Real User Reviews
All these serve as a map on my quest to find the best website builder Australian users can enjoy.
Website Builder Comparison
All factors considered, I could only list a few good website builders from hundreds on overall terms.
However, I cannot tag one of them as the best website builder for all website building needs.
Some of them are a good fit for small business websites; some are perfect for blogging, others for multilingual sites, while some serve their purpose as one-page web builders. All in all, there’s something for everyone!
So I have pros and cons of each of those top website builders below (there are detailed reviews, performances and real user reviews and ratings on individual website builder review pages).
Without further ado, let’s dive into the reviews.
The Best Website Builders – 2018
- Wix – Easy to Use Site Builder
- SiteBuilder.com – Very User-Friendly
- Site123 – A pocket-Friendly Website Builder
- SquareSpace – Expensive but Creative builder
- Weebly – Best for Online Stores
- Jimdo.com – Best for beginners with low traffic
- Yola.com – Affordable with the best performance
- Webs.com – Very Poor Performance
The biggest and probably the easiest to use, WiX delivers excellent functionality with a very intuitive interface. Every WiX review you’ll stumble upon, this one included, hails its astonishing interface and drag-and-drop functionality, making WiX the most suitable website builder for beginners.
Frequent updates introduce new WiX templates on a regular basis. All templates are based on modern design concepts while we can’t emphasise enough the fact that they are beautiful and fully responsive.
There is a big app market where many free and paid plugins can be added to your site. Their number continually grows. Using various WiX filters will help you a lot in finding what you need.
- Very easy to use
- The platform is well-coded
- Wix websites load quickly
- Constant updates and upgrades
- Decent SEO toolset
- Good uptime
- Good support team
- Excellent for blogging, portfolio and business sites
- WiX pricing is very competitive
- Free plan
- Free plan and the basic paid plan display ads
- Once chosen, a template cannot be replaced
- Not the best option for eCommerce
WiX’ closest competitor, Weebly website builder is another excellent option for beginners. It takes only a few minutes to orient yourself and get comfortable with the drag-and-drop design interface. Everything is where you’d expect it to be, easily accessible and ready to use.
Weebly templates are stylish and functional, but they are fewer in number and don’t see updates as often as their WiX counterparts. Weebly templates are getting better and better but can feel a tad inflexible at times. Moving things around doesn’t always bring the desired results.
Weebly has greater inbuilt functionality than WiX and also offers a vibrant app store.
Moreover, the free plan they have makes it the best free website builder for small businesses.
- Very easy to use
- Excellent platform, free of glitches and with optimised backend
- Weebly sites load quickly
- Good uptime
- You can create a membership area
- Decent SEO toolset
- Excellent support team
- Free plan
- Suitable for beginners, restaurant owners, portfolios, small ecommerce
- Weebly pricing could be more competitive
- Templates could be more flexible
- The platform updates are not that frequent
- Albeit functional, the blogging feature is not that impressive
Arguably, Squarespace is the prettiest of the bunch, This website builder’s templates are a real beauty. Fully optimised for mobile devices, they are sleek and ravishing, as long as you have good quality images. They rely heavily on good imagery, making them ideal for websites for photography, portfolios, and restaurants.
Their design is so intricate that one must have a good eye for composition. The possibilities for modifying the templates are numerous, allowing you to exert a considerable degree of control and customisation.
I feel Squarespace themes variety is one the main factors that secure them a place in the top 10 website builders list.
However, besides that, other pros make Squarespace a good website builder
- Fantastic designs
- Excellent SEO toolset
- Best blog builder
- Perfect for portfolio, photography, and restaurant websites
- Reasonably good ecommerce options
- SSL included in all plans
- Squarespace help centre and support are excellent
- 14-day free tutorial
- Pricing leans toward the expensive side
- The sites built with it could be faster to load; image optimisation is a must
- Relatively steep learning curve thanks to the immense styling options
- No backup option
Top eCommerce Website Builders
Just like the general-purpose site builders are giving CMSs a good run for their money, ecommerce site builders contest quite successfully the market dominance of Magento and, to a smaller degree, WooCommerce. Shopify and BigCommerce make the creation of online shops rather straightforward.
Setting up an online shop can hardly be more natural. Shopify is one of the easiest-to-use store builders since the basic setup takes only minutes. Despite its extensive app store, Shopify comes with great functionality right off the bat.
Great templates and outstanding customisation options make Shopify suitable for absolute beginners. Adding products and creating custom descriptions is incredibly smooth, while calculating taxes and shipment fees are fully automated.
With Shopify, you can use mesmerising 70 (!) payment options.
- Amazing functionality
- A well-rounded ecommerce website builder
- Good templates
- Rich app store
- Decent frontend and backend speed
- Product export and import function
- Good knowledge base and support team
- Plans are somewhat pricey, not very suitable for small business stores
- Template customisation could be slightly more extensive
- Transaction fees tend to pile up
- Plugins could significantly inflate the monthly bill
- SEO toolset could be better
The most popular website builder Australia has produced to date, BigCommerce is ready to use out of the box. It also has a vibrant app store, but, for the most part, you can get everything you need with the initial setup.
And while the monthly fees might seem rather steep at first, BigCommerce doesn’t charge any transaction fees, which makes its plans very affordable.
Products can be added easily, with as many variations as you wish. The membership area and a fully customisable shopping cart are also worth mentioning.
- Excellent in-built functionality
- Product variations
- Coupon codes
- Transparent pricing
- Good loading speed
- Rich app store
- Full integration with many social media platforms
- Ideal for medium and large stores
- 15-day free trial
- Only seven free templates
- Annual limits on sales
- There is a learning curve
- Relatively basic creator for landing pages
Among all ecommerce platforms, Volusion seems to have the most in-built functions. However, it doesn’t have an app store, nor do any of the plans include SSL encryption feature. This is very odd if we consider the fact that it’s an ecommerce website builder. The secure checkout offsets the latter, but a site-wide SSL is always better.
On the plus side, Volusion doesn’t charge transaction fees and has somewhat competitively priced plans. All of them impose bandwidth limitations and every one of them except the most expensive plan limit the number of products you can display.
- Streamlined site creation
- Zoom function
- Numerous payment options
- PCI compliant sites
- 14-day trial
- A limited number of free templates
- No SSL
- Complicated pricing
- Plan limits
- Learning curve
- SEO could be better
If you need a one-page website, Strikingly is one of the most suitable platforms for your needs. Of course, you can build multi-page sites via this platform as well, but you’ll need to opt for an upgraded plan.
One-page websites created via Strikingly will consist of several sections. Namely, there are sets of content, organised in an intuitive and user-friendly way.
While you can use some ready-made sections, it’s possible to make your blocks of content. Still, this DIY-part requires putting a header and a subheader, which is a bit impractical.
Furthermore, you can choose from a wide range of themes, but their customisation is pretty limited.
Finally, it’s possible to create an iOS or Android app for your mobile audience.
- A perfect choice for one-page websites
- You can create your original sections
- Adding a blog and ecommerce section is simple
- Limited level of theme customisation
If you want to start your online presence plainly, WebStarts will suit your needs. This website-building platform is based on a blank-canvas editor. With this website builder, you only drag-and-drop the sections and elements you want to add to your website.
There’s a fair variety of themes that look visually appealing. What’s more, the fonts and colours can be customised, while the responsive features work well. With this tool, you can quickly add a blog section to your website, as well as a richly populated contact form.
Blogging is enabled from iPads and iPhones via the iOS WebStarts Blog app. Finally, you can use the elements of WebStarts to create your website from scratch.
- Well-structured blank canvas
- Customized and responsive themes
- A wide range of website sections
- A limited number of themes
- Ecommerce features are available but include redirecting users
A bit different from the website builders presented so far in this guide, DudaOne demands a deeper understanding of website development.
There’s no drag-and-drop editor here. In fact, you can merely choose rows and columns from the sidebar to create pages on your website. Moreover, individual elements are added afterwards to each of these parts.
When you select your column or row, it’s possible to drag widgets inside them – a practical option that adds to their functionality and customisation.
DudaOne also provides Sections of the website. You can access them by hovering between the rows and columns.
Finally, there’s a part called Rules, which allows users to include more personalised details for particular visitors, based on their location or other features.
- Visually attractive website with many responsive themes
- Themes can also be created from scratch
- Many options with widgets
- More complicated than some other website builders
Webs is a website builder that can meet the design demands of large and small businesses alike. For starters, they offer a broad scope of modern, visually stunning templates. They can be easily customized regarding fonts, colours, and background photos.
Also, you can target an audience on various devices, since these templates are responsive. Apart from that, Webs offers a fair number of tools that will help you supervise and maintain your website. In line with that, you can count on practical SEO-tracking, website analytics, as well as well-supported eCommerce options.
Webs will provide you with pretty active customer support, both for general dilemmas you might have about website creation and for eCommerce issues.
- Responsive and appealing templates
- Numerous tools for SEO, website analytics and eCommerce
- Smooth social media implementation
- Only two payment solutions for e-stores
- Not all the templates are free
Just like the best website builders on this list, uKit also has a drag-and-drop interface. This is a significant advantage for all of us who like creating websites, but aren’t adept at coding. That way, you can perform desktop edits on your own, as well as to edit galleries for your site, or merely create blog posts.
As for the blog part, it’s important to highlight its powerful blogging section, together with strong site analytics, practical SEO tools, and smooth eCommerce integration.
The number of widgets offered by uKit falls behind some larger builders, but you can always go for additional third-party solutions that will enrich your website.
Its simplicity and visual appeal are an excellent option for SMB-owners who want to create a simple, yet useful website.
- Beautifully designed templates
- Website responsive on different devices
- A wide range of built-in tools for website analytics
- Inconsistencies between some templates and blocks
Top Website Builders Provided by Web Hosting Companies
Many web hosting companies were swift to realise that the rise of free website building platforms is a great business opportunity. Since they were already versed in all things related to website building and management, some of them partnered with established names, while others went on to develop their site building tools on their own.
Some of the solutions listed below are average, at best. However, they reveal the pains web hosting companies go through not to lose customers to the likes of WiX and Squarespace.
Before analysing the pros and cons of site builders like NetRegistry and GoDaddy, I want to express my bewilderment that a lousy website building software can be produced even today. Creating polished and functional products is not that easy, but it is not exactly rocket science either. All the same, even the biggest names in the web hosting industry demonstrate that they can fail spectacularly at this task.
GoDaddy Website Builder
GoDaddy has been an all-in-one website provider for more than a decade now. Their tradition and commitment to clients keep it high on the list of best website-building platforms.
GoCentral, their free website builder, is a comprehensive building tool that will meet the demands of responsive and user-friendly design, meaning that you can make both a mobile version and a desktop website with this tool.
Also, if you opt for this builder, you can count on managed WordPress hosting. This is an excellent advantage for inexperienced website owners since they’ll be able to use a plethora of ready-made WP options.
Apart from that, GoDaddy has both Linux and Windows-based servers. Customer support pros in GoDaddy work 24/7 to help you maintain your website.
- Streamlined creative process
- Simple setup
- Easy to use
- 1-month free trial
- Free website builder called Go Central
- Managed WP hosting
- Experienced customer support
- Insufficient features
- Limited customisation options
- No cloud hosting
Crazy Domains Website Builder
A web hosting company with a controversial history, the Crazy Domains website building tool comes with decent functionality. It is rather easy to use, but the dubious company policies cast a shadow over it.
- Easy to use
- Drag-and-drop functionality
- Clean templates
- Poor support
- For the offered features, the plans should be cheaper
- Each plan limits the total number of pages
- Highly unsuitable for bigger websites
- No free trial
NetRegistry is among the best website builders AU has to offer since their platform is stable and straightforward. However, the reputation of the company itself doesn’t inspire much confidence. Over the years, NetRegistry has struggled with the reliability of their servers.
NetRegistry hosting plans are quite pricey, and the site builder packages are no exception.
- Good core features
- Decent templates
- Quite expensive
- Bandwidth limitations
- Unreliable support
- Problematic hosting servers with frequent downtimes and slow loading speeds
- No free trial
Other Notable Website Builders
A drop-and-drag website builder, Simvoly will serve you well if you want to create a website swiftly and effortlessly. Also, it’s an affordable option, since you can finish most of the work on your own.
You can make e-stores, blogs, landing pages, or even custom websites via Simvoly.
This builder offers a wide range of themes and templates, which you can adapt to your business needs. It’s also possible to use set widgets and sections so that you can organise pages by your preferences.
The themes are compatible with various devices. You can check their responsiveness during the creation process.
Also, you can integrate a website built via Simvoly with various payment solutions. This is why eCommerce websites are often created via this building tool.
- Attractively designed themes
- Practical for different types of websites
- User-friendly drag-and-drop interface
- Communication with customer support via the contact form
Just as its name says, Site123 is meant to be a simple builder that will enable website creation in no time.
Internet users and entrepreneurs who want to build a website fast and without too much hassle are the target audience of this building tool.
The functional and straightforward editor makes the entire creation process smooth and easy. You can choose from 15 languages in the website wizard and build your site with the full understanding of all its features. However, the number of website localisations will depend on the plan you opt for.
You don’t need to possess any knowledge of coding or web design, due to the ready-made templates, which can be customised to your own website needs. What’s more, these templates are responsive to different gadgets.
- Simple and intuitive editor
- Attractive pre-made templates
- Multilingual installation wizard
- Basic landing pages and eCommerce options
A website builder with a simple name, SiteBuilder doesn’t require any coding skills or unique design knowledge.
Its simplicity makes it a reasonable choice for new business-people who need to build a simple website quickly.
One of the most considerable advantages of this website is the number of templates you can choose from. A user-friendly template wizard makes the theme-choosing process simple. Also, there are some ready-made templates for different niches of work.
Furthermore, you can count on straightforward SEO-tools, smooth integration with social networks and a fair blog section, as well as website analytics
Still, the pricing part is a bit blurry, since they don’t stress out enough what you need to pay and what’s restricted to the promotional period.
- User-friendly template selector
- A large number of niche-specific templates
- A variety of tools for SEO, website analytics and social media integration
- A bit confusing billing policy
Sitey is a fair choice for amateurs in the field of web design who want to make a fully functional website promptly.
For starters, you can choose from a plethora of attractive templates that will make your website look as if it was built from scratch.
Furthermore, Sitey provides its users with a plethora of useful website tools, from eCommerce solutions and SEO-features to blogging and social media integration.
While these features are more or less on the menus of most, similar building tools, Sitey makes a difference with their excellent customer support. You can contact them via phone, email, social media, or live chat. As a result, you can have them solve your problem in a jiffy.
- Many attractive templates, as well as blank ones
- Fast and smooth website building experience
- Easily reachable customer support
- Responsive templates only with paid plans
- Somewhat confusing pricing descriptions
One of the finest multilingual website builders, Voog offers its users an easy-to-use interface with drag-and-drop elements.
Still, its multilingual functionality doesn’t mean that the website will automatically be translated into different languages. You have to make a modified version of every single page on the site.
As for the design features, Voog offers sixteen different themes, which are all outstanding and easily set on the website. Each theme can either be laid out as a standard or a front page. This restriction could be impractical for some users.
The design editor provided by Voog allows users to adapt fonts, background colours and many other elements to their website needs.
- Straightforward and enticing design editor
- Attractive themes
- Multilingual options
- Adding images is a bit complicated
The brainchild of the popular accounting software solution, ZohoSites is another drag-and-drop website building tool.
It offers a fair number of templates, some of them seem visually rudimentary in comparison with some other website builders. Nonetheless, they’ll serve you well if you need a basic website.
ZohoSites has a practical option of keeping the previous versions of your pages in its database. This enables you to get back to them and replace the existing page with its previously created version.
Also, a website made via this tool will be optimised for all sorts of devices. What’s more, you can easily integrate it with other Zoho tools. The blogging section and form building-feature are two crucial aspects of this builder.
- Clear-cut building procedure
- Useful database functions for website pages
- Practical blogging and form-building elements
- Limited eCommerce options
- Theme database needs updating
A pretty simple website builder, Webnode is the right place for those who will be satisfied with a primary theme and straightforward website layout.
They offer 65 different themes, which is a substantial stack to choose from. Still, the negative aspect is that they aren’t customisable, so what you see is what you get. Still, they’re all responsive and work well on gadgets.
As for the website creation process, it’s a mere drop-and-drag editor, where you put together sections and elements within them. Moreover, elements are placed vertically.
While the interface is straightforward to use, it will look too basic for some users, as well as some other functions on the website built via Webnode.
- A large number of different themes
- Responsive with mobiles and tablets
- Easily arranged sections and elements
- Themes aren’t customised
- Oversimplified design features
Moonfruit is a user-friendly website-building tool that gives you a chance of creating a website in a few minutes’ time.
Its key feature is the ‘Responsive editor’. What you need to do here is stack sections vertically on every page you create via Moonfruit. When you add a new part, the editor zooms out, so that you can see what it looks like on the live page. Also, this editor enables you to create elements from scratch.
Apart from that, you can choose from nine different templates for your website, which will be enough for website owners who don’t need to publish too much content.
The templates are responsive and look great on mobiles. Still, they look as if they’ve been blown up on desktop screens.
- User-friendly, intuitive Responsive editor
- Visually attractive templates
- Zooming out when you’re adding sections
- No blogging nor eCommerce support
As you can see from the diverse products listed above, choosing the right website building tool is not an easy a task.
You need to conduct proper research (detailed reviews published here are an excellent starting point) and to test a platform or two to get the whole picture.
However, first and foremost you need to create a concept. You need to figure out, at least loosely, the purpose and the potential scope of your website. Check your time and resources, probe your curiosity and desire to learn.
Building a website without a concept is like sailing without a purpose.
Spend all the time you need for choosing the right platform; getting it wrong can doom your online future before it has even been born.
Mostly all website builders come with comprehensive tools, excellent support and very decent functionality in their respective niche of specialisation, but neither of them won’t do you any good if you don’t know what you want to achieve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How good are free website builders?
A: In some instances, they are excellent, but mostly they can give you an excellent idea of the platform. Typically, their most notorious limitation is the inability to have your domain name. You’d have to rely on a subdomain like MyCoolSite. The site building platforms display advertisement banners on free sites, generating revenue for themselves without charging the end user. Naturally, the free plans lack certain perks the paid subscriptions grant, but you could still build a very decent website.
Q: What does a free domain name mean?
A: It means that the registration of a domain name is included in the plan you’re paying for. Typically, a .COM domain name would cost about $10 per year meaning that a free domain registration would negate this price for one year.
Q: What does “connect your domain name” mean?
A: If you own a domain name registered with another company and not with the site building platform itself, you could use it with the website builder. Typically, this is done by pointing your nameservers toward the website building platform or by editing the A records in your DNS zone. Specific instructions must be provided by the support team (or the knowledge base) of the website builder and implemented by you or the support team of your domain registrar.
Q: Do I need a domain name?
A: Yes. Unless you want to dabble with website builders as a hobby and have no serious intentions, a good domain name is crucial. It helps on so many levels that a separate article can be dedicated to this matter.
Q: Can I transfer my website from one site builder to another?
A: Generally, this is not possible. There are a few exceptions, but many platforms are yet to implement such a feature. That’s why choosing the right platform is extremely important.
Q: Do I need coding knowledge to work with any of the website builders?
A: No, all of them are designed to help people who have absolutely no technical understanding establish a professional web presence. In some cases, CSS and HTML knowledge may be beneficial as it would allow you to modify the core code of the templates. Still, this knowledge is a bonus and not a necessity.
Q: Which is the best website builder?
A: This depends mostly on your goals and website concept. For instance, WiX is an excellent all-purpose platform suitable for beginners, while BoldGrid is a complicated advanced solution. Formulate your idea, lay out the details of your vision and then calculate your budget and desire to commit time and effort into the building of your website. Read some of the reviews best website builder software we have here, and the answer will crystalise.
Q: Which is the best site building platform regarding SEO?
A: That’s a tough one. WordPress is the most quoted answer, even though hard, statistical data behind this statement is hard to find. The truth is that SEO depends mainly on the content of your site. Most site building platforms have the SEO grounds well covered, but without quality content, no SEO strategy and tools can help you.
Q: Which are the cheapest website builders?
A: This is a tough one because the advertised plans often don’t include all the features you might need. Based solely on the plans’ prices, WiX would be the most economical solution, starting at $4.50 per month. Check the prices carefully before choosing the best website builder for you and don’t forget to explore the app stores to see what you might need from there and how much would it cost.