When it comes to building websites, understanding what is a good website builder software (or platform) and how to pick one for you will help you move forward in creating your own website.
Here’s Wikipedia’s definition:
“Website builders are tools that allow the construction of websites without manual code editing.”
There is a lot of website builder software in the market nowadays to help you create your own website, even if you don’t have any technical knowledge.
For sure, if you have a bit of coding knowledge, you can take your website design and functionality a lot further – but this is not an absolute necessity when it comes to building websites.
It’s not that long ago that if you wanted to create a website, you will either have to go through a painful process to learn how to code, or you have to spend thousands of dollars to hire someone to code one up for you.
Web builder software such as Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, SITE123, or Jimdo are built to make website building possible for anyone, from kids to grandparents. Specifically, Wix, Weebly, SITE123, and Jimdo are free website builder software, while Squarespace has a free trial program.
Here’s a quick snap shot of some of the website building software that we recommend and how we rate them.
Best Software to Build a Website
- Wix – best overall website builder
- Weebly – best for small businesses and portfolios
- Squarespace – best designs
- Wix & Squarespace – best for ecommerce
- Wix & SITE123 – easiest to use
- Weebly – best features
- Wix & Weebly – best value for money
- Wix & Squarespace – best support
Now that you’ve seen the summary, let’s get into our detailed analysis of how they can help you build your website.
“No longer do you need to know how to code to build websites. You don’t need to be technical at all!”
To make website building possible for all levels and ages, the website builders we mentioned above created what the industry calls “WYSIWYG” (What You See Is What You Get) builders.
Basically, you get to drag and drop content directly onto a blank canvas for you to build a website. Here’s an overview of the top four drag and drop website builders:
Wix is the best all-round website builder software on the market. There’s a free plan, plus seven paid plans ranging from $5 – $35 a month. You unlock more features as you upgrade. Choose from over 510 templates, sell online, create galleries, and more.
Weebly is the best website builder for small businesses. It has a free plan and four premium plans ranging from $8 – $38 a month. You can sell online with all paid plans. Unlock features like video backgrounds and password protection when you upgrade.
Squarespace is ideal for creatives. With the best quality template designs of any website builder software, you can create a sleek and modern website. Squarespace price plans range from $12 – $40 per month. This covers everything from unlimited storage to advanced ecommerce features.
SITE123 is an easy to use, simple website builder. There’s great 24/7 support, especially through its live chat feature. You can choose between the free plan and the $10.80 a month paid plan. Upgrade for your own domain and ecommerce tools.
No longer must you code in any content such as paragraphs, pictures, slideshows, dividers, and so on and so forth. If you can drag & drop, you can build websites now.
WYSIWYG website creators give you the tools so you just have to drag a picture (for example) from their toolbar directly into the website content area to start constructing your site. You can add pages, subpages, blog posts, pretty much most of the critical components of a website are within your reach.
Once you have populated your website with content , you just have to save your additions and publish your site. What you see on your screen when you are editing, will show up exactly the same way when you publish your website (that’s why they call it What You See Is What You Get!)
This makes website creation very simple, straight forward and powerful. Almost anyone can drag content, upload pictures or text, and publish without having to write one line of code.
Don’t believe me? We made a video putting a website building novice to the test:
“Website builder software gives you a broad range of design templates to choose from, so you can pick your favorite design to make your site look professional.”
One other benefit of using website builder platform is that they give you a selection of templates or themes. These are basically “clothes” to give your website more style and personality. You can pick from a broad selection of themes to make your website more professional and pretty.
Website builders are continually adding more themes to their selection to attract users to pick their builder to create websites. This is a really important consideration for you as most website builder software have similar tools for you to use, but what can really set your website apart from others is how your website looks.
In our view, Wix & Squarespace provide you with the best-looking themes amongst most WYSIWYG website builders.
“Each website builder has its own pros & cons. Try the ones that best fit your needs and go from there.”
There really isn’t a “best” site builder software or website builder platform as each has their own pros and cons. Some are more design oriented and can help you build a more attractive website, some are easier to use, some have better e-commerce tools, and some come with 24/7 support.
What is more important is that you find one that fits your unique needs. Here is a summary of our thoughts and recommendations:
- Easiest to Use – Wix and SITE123
- Best Designs – Squarespace and Wix
- Best e-Commerce Tools – Wix and Squarespace
- 24/7 Support – Wix and Squarespace
“Drag & Drop website builders do have weaknesses compared to more advanced platforms. But they do enable you to build websites without worrying about technical headaches.”
WYSIWYG website builders are often criticized as the “poor man’s” way of building websites. It’s not as sophisticated or flexible as other more powerful website creators such as WordPress.
However, the traditional or more “advanced” way of building websites can really hinder most non-technical people from creating their own websites.
Drag and drop website builders breakdown the technical barrier and open up the possibility of publishing websites to pretty much every single person.
This is not to say that there are no drawbacks when it comes to using WYSIWYG builders. Some of the more popular points against using drag and drop builders include:
Customization Limitations – since these website builders are “closed source” software, they only allow you to customize your website to a certain extent, but a lot less flexible than other more advanced website builders.
Shared Hosting – as your website will be hosted on these website builders’ servers, you don’t have full control over your own content, and if you violate the website builders’ terms & conditions, they can terminate your account. This is extremely rare, and you really have to be doing something really bad for this to happen.
No Backup – most of the builders (except for Weebly) do not allow you to fully backup your websites. So if you want to take your entire website elsewhere, this is going to be a challenge.
Slower Loading Speed – as your website will be hosted on shared hosting, you will be sharing servers and bandwidth with other websites. This will result in slower website loading speed, especially if you have very large image files on your website.
So there are definitely trade-offs if you choose to use a WYSIWYG website builder.
The benefits include you not having to know any code to be able to publish a website (nor hire developers), the ease of use (dragging and dropping content), and customer support from the builders.
Moreover, you no longer have to throw thousands of dollars to a website developer to help you build a website. To most, this is a significant financial commitment and what if you don’t get what you want?
With the website builder software discussed here, it’s no longer expensive for you to build your own website, and you can limit your financial risks as they only charge you a monthly payment (if you decide to upgrade) and you can walk away at any time without getting dragged into a dispute with a website developer. In fact, most of these web builder software have free plans.
These benefits are offset with less flexibility, slower loading speed, and you won’t have full control of where your website is hosted.
In our view, these trade-offs are definitely worth it if you want to publish a website and don’t have the skills or financial resources to hire someone to build one for you.
Using a drag and drop WYSIWYG site builder software to create your website is a quick and effective solution. Instead of investing months to learn codes, you can create a decent website within a day and showcase it to the world.
Not everybody has the time or financial resources to create a custom built website or to learn to use to use a more advanced builder such as WordPress or Joomla. These website design software require much less financial commitment, and in some cases, they are free for you to use.
If you are building a business related website, and have a smaller budget, using builders such as Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, SITE123 or Jimdo can definitely help you maintain financial discipline, and also allow you to create and update your own website in a very short period of time – no need to call / email your website developer and wait for small updates as you can now make them yourself. Additionally, with the time you save, you can focus on other more important aspects of running your business.