Website builders do a great job of turning business owners like you into professional web designers (without the massive price tag) without having to learn web design. However, deciding which website building platform is perfect for getting your business on the internet is oftentimes harder than actually building your website.
To help simplify the process, I tested six different website builders and evaluated the great and not so great things about each platform. This article covers the best website builders and the best eCommerce website builders based on what you’re looking for.
So, let’s get started!
The Best Basic Website Builders (Non-eCommerce)
If you don’t need an online shop and aren’t interested in selling products online, basic website builders are a smart (and affordable) choice for most small businesses. You don’t need the advanced eCommerce features for an informational site or blog, so there’s no point in paying extra for it.
With that said, deciding which website builder is right for you is much easier said than done. So, use the comparison table and your design/price/customization priorities to help make that decision easier.
Then, continue on to learn more about which option is the best choice for you and your business, depending on what you need.
1. Wix — Best for Flexibility and Customization ($0 – $45/month)
Wix is the only true drag-and-drop page builder on this list. You can place elements anywhere you want them, so the design possibilities are limited only to your imagination. But, with that advanced level of customization comes a steeper learning curve.
So, if you’re interested in creating completely custom pages and don’t mind taking the time to learn how to use the platform, Wix is an excellent choice. Plus, they have hundreds of beautifully designed (and mobile responsive) templates to help you get started. In addition, the Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) quickly creates a website for you by asking a series of questions about your business and preferences.
You can get started on Wix’s free forever plan and build your entire business website before handing over your payment information. Then, when you’re ready to launch, I recommend upgrading to the Unlimited Plan to start as the free plan will display ads, which can look unprofessional. You can upgrade to the Pro plan if you run out of bandwidth and storage space.
2. Squarespace— Best Overall ($12 – $40/month)
Squarespace is easy to learn and use, plus all annual plans come with a free domain and domain email services (through G Suite) for the first year. Squarespace has 100+ beautiful, professional, and mobile responsive templates (to work properly on mobile devices) for you to choose from (for free).
And the overall ratio of design, features, functionality, and ease of use makes Squarespace the best overall choice for business owners interested in DIYing a website for their business.
You can get started with their Business Plan for $18/mo (recommended plan) after your 14-day free trial. Read the full Squarespace review to learn more about its pros and cons, pricing plans, industry reputation, and more.
3. Weebly — Best for Ease of Use (FREE – $26/month)
Weebly is known for being extremely user-friendly. With that said, customization capabilities and overall design suffer as a result of the platform’s simplicity. But, if you’re looking for something easy to learn and use, Weebly is an excellent choice.
Furthermore, you get a free domain name for the first year, and they have 50+ different themes that are ready to go out of the box. These themes, paired with a small learning curve, means you can get your site up and running in no time.
Weebly offers a free forever plan so you can build everything before paying a cent. Then, when you’re ready to go live, I recommend upgrading to their Professional Plan for $12/month (when billed annually) as the free plan will display ads (some of which could be your competitors).
Check out the full Weebly review for more details on its pricing plans, features, templates, customization capabilities, industry reputation, and more.
4. WordPress.com — Free Forever Plan (FREE – $45/month)
If you’re interested in trying a free website builder, WordPress.com is a decent option. However, I recommend going with Wix or Weebly instead. They’re both easier to use and offer more features and functionality on their free plans; however, WordPress offers possibly the best SEO tools (search engine optimization) out of the bunch to get your website noticed.
Furthermore, WordPress.com is more expensive when you’re ready to upgrade to their paid plans. With that said, you can check out the full WordPress.com review for more information on its pros and cons, industry reputation, plugin integrations, features, limitations, and more.
The Best eCommerce Website Builders for Online Stores
If you’re a retailer or interested in selling products online to diversify your income, eCommerce site builders are the best route. They come packaged with everything you need to sell your products online, and some even offer special shipping discounts and other perks that’ll come in handy down the road.
With so many options out there, it’s not always easy to figure out which platform is right for you and your business. So, use the comparison table and your design/flexibility/feature priorities to decide which eCommerce page builders are a good fit.
Then, continue reading to learn more about each platform and which one to choose depending on what you’re looking for.
1. Shopify — Best For Larger & More Complex Sites ($29 – $299/month)
Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce website builders for good reason. Their drag-and-drop page builder is easy to use and comes with advanced customization options you won’t find with the other options on this list.
You have 9 free themes to choose from and 60+ premium themes you can try out and customize before you buy. Additionally, Shopify is built specifically for eCommerce stores, so you can rest easy knowing you’re in good hands.
Shopify has mastered the art of creating a platform that’s easy to use yet highly customizable, which is why it’s the best overall eCommerce option.
With all that said, they do charge a 2.9% + $0.30 fee per transaction. Check out the full Shopify review to learn more about their eCommerce features, themes, customization capabilities, and more.
2. Wix — Most Affordable Option & Easy to Use ($32– $59/month)
Wix has four different eCommerce plans to suit businesses and different stages. So, if you’re looking for something a bit more affordable and has a lower learning curve, Wix is a good choice.
Their truly drag-and-drop interface lets you create anything you can imagine, so you’re not limited like you are with the other eCommerce builders on this list. But, with that extra level of customization comes a steeper learning curve.
The eCommerce features are not as in-depth as Shopify, which is a tradeoff for ease of use. So, depending on how complex your site will be, you may miss out on useful features by choosing Wix. And, they charge the standard 2.9% + $0.30 fee for every sale you make.
3. BigCommerce — No Transaction Fees ($29.95 – $299.95/month)
If you’re looking for an eCommerce specific platform with no transaction fees, BigCommerce is a good choice. However, the platform is not as easy to use, and each plan has maximum annual sales limits.
With that said, those sales limits are pretty high, and you can always upgrade when you do reach those limits. Furthermore, BigCommerce has 80+ free and paid eCommerce themes to choose from, so you don’t have to start building your store from scratch.
Read the complete BigCommerce website review for more details about their pros and cons, pricing plans, industry reputation, eCommerce features, and more.
4. Squarespace — Best for Basic Sites ($26 – $40/month)
If you’re interested in a simpler eCommerce builder that comes with a free custom domain name and email services (for the first year), Squarespace is the only option on this list. However, those extra features come at the cost of using a website builder, not specifically for eCommerce.
With that said, Squarespace does offer numerous eCommerce features like no transaction fees (on the Basic eCommerce Plan), POS, and advanced analytics. But, some of their most powerful eCommerce features are only available with their most expensive plan.
And while the platform is easy to use, it’s not as customizable. But, this simplicity is perfect for business owners who have never built an online store or are interested in something simple and easy to manage.
Check out the complete Squarespace website review to learn more about their industry reputation, pros and cons, eCommerce features, customization options, and more.
Final Words on Choosing a Website Builder
Regardless of the platform you choose, building your own website has never been easier, thanks to these powerful drag-and-drop editors. Not only do they all make it easy to create a website without knowing complex HTML or CSS coding, but essential SEO features and mobile-friendly designs are also included to help Google find your site. We covered a lot in this article, so here’s a quick overview of everything we talked about today.
Best Basic Website Builders:
- Wix (best for flexibility and very easy to use) — $0 – $45/month
- Squarespace (best overall) — $12 – $40/month
- Weebly (easiest to use) — $0 – $26/month
- WordPress.com (not recommended for beginners) — $0 – $45/month
Best eCommerce Website Builders:
- Shopify (best for large or complex sites) — $29 – $299/month
- Wix (most affordable option and ease of use) — $32 – 59/month
- BigCommerce (no transaction fees) — $29.95 – $299.95/month
- Squarespace (easiest to use) — $26 – $40/month
Wishing you all the best with building your first (or next) website, and congratulations on taking this massive step in the right direction for your business!