Website development used to be complicated. It required a significant amount of time and effort, creativity, and extensive coding expertise. Alternatively, if you had the money, you could hire a web designer to build the site for you. But now, with the rise of website builders, building your dream site is easier and less expensive than ever.
Web builders like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, Web.com, Shopify, and more recently WebFlow offer platforms where users can build their websites for free or for a very reasonable price. WordPress can be included in this list though it is more complex than the platforms mentioned earlier to set up, use, and manage with some coding knowledge being somewhat necessary. But, on the whole, the process of building a website with a web builder is straightforward — choose a theme, drag and drop and customize the layout, select images, and text, and a website is born. The process is easy enough but the real question is are web builders of this type the right way to build a website for your business? And if they are, which one suits your requirements the best?
To help determine which option is right for you and/or your business, we will discuss some of the “pros” and “cons” of the aforementioned web builders.
Squarespace is a great website builder for users who want style and substance.
- Offers more than 140 themes that are optimized for phones and tablets and their templates are highly customizable as well
- You can edit your website on mobile through an iOS and Android app
- There is a top-notch blogging feature
- Provides a generous recommended 400-page limit for optimal site performance
- Features content creation tools such as Squarespace Video Studio app to create and share videos and Unfold, which offers hundreds of editable story and post templates for your social media accounts
- Outstanding support: With Live Chat, you can get support immediately. Sometimes they will even make screencasts to show you steps to follow to solve a problem or issue
Squarespace does have a few “cons,” namely:
- The website editor asks you to save after each change and all changes are published immediately after saving rather than being held as a draft
- Only has one sub-navigation so its not suitable for larger websites that require a deep menu hierarchy
- Templates score low ratings on Google’s page speed tool which may lead to poor user experience on mobile devices and harm SEO ranking
Wix currently has the largest community with over 200 million users. It has an excellent drag-and-drop editor for creating small websites.
- Offers more than 800 customizable templates
- The elements of your website are highly adjustable and can be customized to the user's specifications
- Is one of the few site builders that allows animation of text and other elements
- Hundreds of web apps available in the App Market that can be integrated into a Wix site
- Offers a smart assistant to create your website, but is only available for some types of projects such as portfolios and yoga sites, etc.
- Automatically creates backups so that your website can be restored at any time
- Pricing is relatively high. The least expensive ad-free plan starts at $16 per month. The competition offers cheaper options
- Template can’t be changed easily – once you have chosen your initial Wix template, you can’t switch to a completely new template
- Loading speeds can be improved
Weebly offers a drag-and-drop website builder with 40+ mobile-friendly themes. It includes a blog, image galleries, and an online store.
- Very easy to use
- Themes are responsive
- There is an App center containing Weebly’s own apps as well as a selection of 3rd party apps
- You can assign other editors and give them access to your site
- Can make certain parts of your site members only if you wish
- Design flexibility is limited
- Not great for international websites. Tricky to create a website in multiple languages and blocks traffic from Russia, Ukraine, and China
Web.com offers a drag-and-drop website builder with 40+ mobile-friendly themes. It includes a blog, image galleries, and an online store.
- Web.com’s services are affordable, and ideal for small businesses as well as individuals wanting to establish an online presence in a budget-friendly way
- Web.com focuses on eCommerce and this is made clear from its array of tools centered on providing next-level eCommerce functionality
- Apps enable further expansion options that culminate in a highly functional website
- By using SSL certificate packages, which are not only economical but also efficient at securing important information, small firms are also able to integrate enterprise-level security into their websites. Payment services are not only convenient and user-friendly but also secure
- The website builder can be glitchy, freezes up at inconvenient moments, is not as powerful as Wix or Weebly and the user interface is outdated.
- All package costs are far more than those of typical website creation tools, solidifying Web.com's position as a business-only service.
- The plan structure is confusing. There are different prices and different packages depending on customer focus
Shopify is one of the leaders in the eCommerce space with almost one million active users that allows you to set up your digital business and sell goods and services.
- Easy to use - drag and drop boxes to build the site
- There is a dedicated support team providing 24/7 support through email, live chat, or phone. There is a community forum to help each other as well
- Wide range of themes, there are some that are free and others that you need to pay for
- Ideal for larger stores - has a powerful backend editor and impressive inventory system making it ideal for managing – and scaling
- Sell across multiple channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay
- Over 3,000 apps and third-party extensions are available
- Extensive payment options - supports over 100 payment options, as well as providing their own gateway
- Not as easy to use as other platforms. The editor isn’t as intuitive as it could be and takes some time to learn
- Has fewer built-in features than other platforms, so you’ll need to use apps to really boost functionality
- Unless you use Shopify Payments, you’ll need to pay a hefty transaction fee, on top of other payment gateway costs
- More expensive than it appears – transaction fees, plus the need for additional apps, can hike up the monthly cost of maintaining your website
Webflow is a drag-and-drop website builder used to build responsive websites. It is different from other web-building apps in that it writes clean, semantic code. Developers can integrate custom code or leverage a fully featured CMS (content management system) API to enhance your website.
- Design tools are very powerful and rival what you can do with code
- Provides an overall website builder; templates; content management system; e-commerce and marketing tools
- Wide range of plans - plans include advanced SEO controls and the sites developed with Webflow are all SEO friendly
- Easy to use - website design uses drag and drop functionality - with no code required. A huge range of features come by default negate the need for plugins, which you would usually need on a rival CMS like WordPress or even rival website building companies like Shopify or Wix
- Great performance
- Good customer support
- Secure host - Each plan is supported with a free SSL certificate. All its plans include a backup and versioning
- limited code customization
- plan variation may be confusing
- more of a learning curve because of the many powerful features
- Traffic limits on some plans
WordPress is a tool for constructing websites that enables you to build any type of website you can imagine. You have total control over the appearance and functioning of your website because of its extraordinary flexibility. But to set up, utilize, and maintain WordPress, you'll need some coding experience.
- WordPress makes it much less expensive to create, develop, and manage a blog or website on your own than to hire a designer to create it from start. WordPress offers incredibly affordable 1-click hosting options and is completely free to install
- Wide variety of professional themes
- WordPress sites are mobile-friendly. Most of WordPress’ designs and themes are responsive. Using this market-leading CMS means you will be able to automatically benefit from emergent responsive web technology
- Constant codes for favorable Google indexing, customizable SEO components for each page, and plugins dedicated to SEO are some of the ways WordPress makes sites competitive in search engine rankings.
- Great for eCommerce. Many eCommerce sites use WordPress. The CMS provides a number of plugins such as WooCommerce to ensure that your site is efficient for eCommerce
- It can be difficult to navigate through WordPress web design, development, and maintenance, especially if you don’t have any prior experience
- Although the WordPress platform is free, effective use of it depends on customization through themes and plugins. The majority of these tools and features that increase productivity come at a cost. The cost of utilizing WordPress increases as you utilize more of them
- For many consumers, security is a significant problem. WordPress is a top target for hackers simply because it is the most used CMS. The likelihood of malicious malware accessing your site's functions is additionally increased by its excessive reliance on plugins created by other individuals
- It isn't sufficient to merely install WordPress. To make sure that everything works properly, you must install a variety of plugins and themes. You'll encounter more compatibility problems the more plugins you use
- WordPress' SEO friendliness might cause issues for users without any prior SEO knowledge. Google detects WordPress material as duplicate content if it is over- or in many categories. The SERP ranks for your website may be considerably impacted by this.
Web Builder Recommendations
Best for Business
Shopify has to be considered one of the best choices to build an e-commerce site for larger businesses. It offers multi-channel retail for a reasonable price and sites can be quickly developed. Shopify provides enhanced capabilities along with a plugin/application approach to the platform with the ability to customize your site. It offers features to enhance sales and social media promotion, as well as inventory management, accounting, and business reporting (clariontech.com, 2020).
Best for Businesses on a Budget
Wix is a great web builder choice for any small business. It is easy to use which makes it easy for business owners to build the site itself without having to hire a dedicated web designer. With 800 website templates and a vast level of creative control, your website can scale as your business grows. Among the features that are attractive to small businesses is how easy it is to add an online store and incorporate email, SMS market, and SEO support using apps available from the Wix App Market. There are 8 pricing plans available including dedicated plans for online stores and a free plan – though you won’t be able to sell online or connect a custom domain while using the free plan. Businesses should upgrade to a premium plan as soon as they are able.
Best for Designers
Best for Developers
Website builders are not typically used by professional web developers. Instead, they carry out the laborious coding tasks required to create a bug-free custom website from scratch. But, if cost is an issue, and the customer’s requirements can be met by using an open-source web builder like WordPress that has many standard features and plug-ins that would accommodate a client’s vision – developers can adjust or hack the web builder to fine-tune to the customer's needs while staying within a limited development budget.
Professionally Built Website Option
After considering all of the web builder options available for businesses, and/or organizations that want to quickly and efficiently build interactive applications for mobile, web, and other platforms, the best tool may be React.
So, if an app built by professional developers is the option you wish to pursue, we are here to help! The Silverlogic has been using React to build outstanding business platforms for our clients for many years. In some instances, we can build your custom app in weeks without sacrificing quality. We have developed a system where all of our projects go through rigorous QA testing to ensure that everything we develop fulfills our client’s expectations. If you are ready to explore your options and wish to discuss whether a custom-built web platform built in React is right for your business, please get in touch! We would love to hear from you!