WordPress Alternatives | 9 Website Builder Options You Should See

Last updated on January 16, 2019

wordpress review logoLet’s get this out of the way – WordPress is one of the most widely used CMS (content management systems) in the world.

It’s powerful, reputable, flexible, and grants you a piece of the internet real estate – your very own website.

Now the flatteries are over, the key question is: is it the right CMS for you?

We’re guessing you found this discussion because you’re looking for some alternatives to WordPress.

Maybe you just want to better understand the choices available to you when looking to build your own website, or maybe you’ve grown frustrated with learning how to use WordPress (it does have a steeper learning curve, after all).

Put simply, website builders are an easier alternative to WordPress. They let you create a stunning website in a matter of hours, without needing to know any code.

This article will introduce some WordPress alternatives, and direct you to some more in-depth discussions on how these other options compare to WordPress.

When it comes to building a website, we know that deciding which platform to use can be difficult. That’s why we’ve carried out in-depth research and user testing to find you the best results. We found the best WordPress alternatives are:

Now you know our most highly rated website builders, let’s get into the nitty gritty of WordPress’s competitors so you can find the one that’s right for you!

Take a quick look at our favorites in this summary chart below:

Best All-Around Website Builder
Top Choice

4.7 out of 5

Ease Of Use

4.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.5 out of 5 stars

Design-Oriented Website Builder

4.1 out of 5

Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3 out of 5 stars

Easiest To Use Website Builder

4.3 out of 5

Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

3.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.5 out of 5 stars

Is a Website Builder Right for You?

Do you want to create a professional-looking website quickly, without knowing any techy stuff? Then a website builder is just what you need.

Website builders let you build and customize a website, even if you aren’t tech savvy in the slightest. They take away all the complex demands of building a website, like using code, and save you from spending money on web designers. In a nutshell, website builders are for everyone!

Wix and Weebly are the easiest to use, offering drag-and-drop design tools that let you add imagery, text, buttons with just a few clicks.

WordPress, on the other hand, does take a bit of work to use effectively. It’s a very powerful, flexible platform that’s nimble enough to power smaller websites, but its learning curve is steeper than other platforms’. If you have time to learn a bit of code, or don’t mind spending money on developers, then WordPress is a good option.

Let’s face it, though – not everybody has the tech skills or resources to use WordPress, and that’s where website builders come in. They are an easier alternative to WordPress, letting you create a beautiful website or online store without any code.

Money on your mind? Wix and Weebly even offer a free plan, so you don’t need to spend a single dollar.

9 Alternatives to WordPress

While they aren’t as flexible, these alternatives offer a lot of value that WordPress can’t: they’re much easier to use, fully supported by dedicated help teams, and don’t require any coding to build a great website.

The 9 best WordPress alternatives are:

  • Wix – best all-around website builder in the market today
  • Squarespace – best for design
  • Weebly – best for small businesses
  • Shopify – the best all-around ecommerce website builder
  • BigCommerce – best for businesses looking to scale
  • Site123 – best for customer service
  • GoDaddy – best for time-restricted users
  • 1&1 IONOS – best for white-collar businesses
  • Volusion – best for data-driven business owners

All of these platforms make building awesome websites a breeze. Wix and Weebly provide free plans, but all the other platforms come with free trials, so you can try before you buy!

Shopify, BigCommerce, 1&1 IONOS, Volusion, and Site 123 are all dedicated ecommerce platforms, which let you build an online store with ease. It’s worth noting that the other website builders do come with ecommerce functionality, although not as powerful as the ecommerce-specific platforms.

So if you still want to explore the world of website building outside of WordPress, let’s get into our detailed analysis below.

WordPress vs Drag-and-Drop Website Builders – Click to see more comparison discussions.

Step by Step Guide to Choosing the Best Website Builder – See our 9 step guide on how to choose the best drag-and-drop website builder.

WordPress Alternatives: Website Builders

Website builders are perfect for non-tech savvy users who want to build a beautiful website. Or, if you simply don’t have the time to customize code, they offer a great alternative to WordPress.

#1 Wix

Best all-around website builder

Best All-Around Website Builder
Top Choice

4.7 out of 5

Ease Of Use

4.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4 out of 5 stars

Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

5 out of 5 stars

wix - best all-around wordpress alternative
Wix Pros Wix Cons
  • Best all-around website builder
  • Very easy to use
  • Can’t switch themes after publishing
  • Choice can feel overwhelming

Wix is the best all-around website builder available today. It currently has over 109 million registered users, and more than 3.4 million paying subscribers.

Its simple-to-use design features mean you can literally drag and drop any content you want on your website, without touching a line of code. It  also offers over 500 professional looking design templates across a broad range of industries, so you’re spoilt for choice.

Here are some examples of websites built with Wix.

At Website Builder Expert, we love Wix for its innovation. It’s always adding new tools and features, so your website can keep up with the web industry and avoid looking outdated.

Its designs are also always up-to-date with the latest trends – you can integrate scrolling effects, insert background videos, and create different background sections, all without knowing how to code.

In addition, Wix offers email and phone support (something that WordPress doesn’t have) if you have any questions or run into any issues.

Like the sound of Wix? It offers a free plan, as well as seven price plans ranging from just $5 p/m to $35 p/m. See our pricing review here.

Wix is best for: all-around website building

Wix vs WordPress – click here to see our detailed comparison

Wix Review – click here to see our detailed pros & cons of using Wix

Wix eCommerce Review – click here to see our detailed pros & cons of using Wix for ecommerce.

#2 Squarespace

Best for design

4.1 out of 5

Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

5 out of 5 stars

Features

4 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

4.5 out of 5 stars

squarespace wordpress alternative
Squarespace Pros Squarespace Cons
  • Best designed templates
  • Best quality of features
  • Relatively difficult to use
  • Expensive price plans

Squarespace, gives you the ability to build a gorgeous, polished looking website. It’s not as easy to use as Wix, but still much easier to use and customize compared to WordPress.

Its strength is in its beautifully crafted template designs, which are all mobile responsive. These designs can make your website look clean, minimalistic and chic.

You can literally “drag and drop” you way to building a website that looks like you’ve invested thousands of dollars into hiring a designer.

If you are presenting a portfolio, or workin the design, photography, boutique, restaurant, or wedding/occasions industry, Squarespace’s designs can work really well for you.

You can see some websites built with Squarespace here.

Squarespace also allows you to play an active role in customizing your design, letting you  customize without having to code.

Similar to Wix, Squarespace offers email and live chat support. Again, it’s something WordPress doesn’t provide, unless you pay a developer to help you (which can cost more than what you would pay per month to use Squarespace).

On that note, Squarespace provides four premium plans to choose from, ranging from $12 p/m to $40 p/m. You can also enjoy a 14-day free trial. See our Squarespace pricing review here.

Squarespace is best for: design lovers.

Squarespace vs WordPress – click here to see our detailed comparison

Squarespace Review – click here to see our detailed pros & cons of using Squarespace

#3 Weebly

Best for small businesses

4.3 out of 5

Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4 out of 5 stars

Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

3.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

5 out of 5 stars

weebly wordpress alternative
Weebly Pros Weebly Cons
  • Very easy to use
  • Best builder for SEO
  • Can’t restore websites yourself
  • Relatively expensive price plans

Weebly is one of the easiest to use drag-and-drop website builders available today.

The user interface is stripped back and intuitive, making it easy to learn how to build your website (again, without touching a line of code).

If you’re not confident with technology and looking for a simple website building solution, Weebly can work well for you.

Its design templates are neither as comprehensive as Wix’s nor as polished as Squarespace’s, but Weebly is continually introducing new and improved designs – and it’s getting better and better at it.

If you know a bit of code, though, you can make more precise design customizations. This is by no means a necessity, as you can build a good looking site without touching code. But it’s an added flexibility if you want to take your design to the next level.

Weebly provides with email and phone support, just in case you need them.

Like Wix, Weebly offers a free plan, meaning you can build a website at no cost. It also offers four premium plans, ranging from $8 p/m to $38 p/m. Like to know more? Read our Weebly pricing review.

Weebly is best: for small businesses

Weebly vs WordPress – click here to see our detailed comparison

Weebly Review – click here to see our detailed pros & cons of using Weebly

#4 Site123

Best for customer service

Best Help and Support

4 out of 5

Ease Of Use

4 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

3 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

5 out of 5 stars

Features

3.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3.5 out of 5 stars

site123 alternative to wordpress
Site123 Pros Site123 Cons
  • Brilliant customer support
  • Fantastic app market
  • Features lack quality
  • Not much creative freedom

Site123 doesn’t use drag-and-drop design, but it’s still much easier to use than Weebly or Wix. How? Because you don’t actually build anything yourself.

Site123 uses something called design assistance. This means you simply answer a few questions and Site123 builds a website for you. It’s a form of AI (Artificial Intelligence), so you’re putting your trust into a machine, but the results are great.

Super easy, right? However, while it may be simple to use, Site123 is definitely a case of speed over substance. It’s not really suitable for large businesses or complex sites, given its relatively poor built-in features.

On a positive note, it comes with a brilliant live Chatbot Whiz to guide you through the whole building process, and 24/7 help from the customer service team.

Site123 has four premium plans ranging from $10.80 p/m to $28.80 p/m when you sign up for 12 months. As you can see, it’s quite cheap, and has a free plan to boot.

Site123 is best for: customer service

Like the sound of Site123? Read our full review.

#5 GoDaddy

Best for time-restricted users

3.8 out of 5

Website Features

0 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

2.5 out of 5 stars

Features

2.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

3 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

4.5 out of 5 stars

godaddy - fasted to build wordpress alternative
GoDaddy Pros GoDaddy Cons
  • Fastest to build
  • Switch themes anytime
  • Features lack quality
  • Poor blogging features

GoDaddy provides the quickest route to getting online. Just like Site123, it uses its own Artificial Intelligence (named GoCentral) to build your website. All you do is answer a few questions, and you’ll have a website ready to go live.

Compare that to the clicking and coding required to run a WordPress website, and it’s clear which platform should suit you best.

However, while GoCentral presents you with a website in minutes, it doesn’t let you customize the end result too much. This could be frustrating if you’re not totally happy with what GoCentral has created, or if you’re a perfectionist when it comes to design.

You now know that GoDaddy can create site a site for you in just a few moments, but how much will it cost? The four price plans start from $5.99 to $29.99 per month. You can also trial GoDaddy for a whole month, free of charge.

GoDaddy is best for: building a website quickly

Interested in GoDaddy? Read our full review here.

For more information on GoDaddy’s pricing, see our full pricing review.

Love a contest? Check out our Weebly vs GoDaddy piece.

#6 1&1 IONOS

Best for white-collar businesses

3.6 out of 5

Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

2.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

2.5 out of 5 stars

Features

3.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

3.5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

4 out of 5 stars

wordpress alternative 1and1 ionos
1&1 IONOS Pros 1&1 IONOS Cons
  • Easy to use
  • Themes cover lots of industries
  • Outdated interface
  • No free plan

1&1 IONOS is a website builder designed for business owners. All the features and tools are there to help scale your business, while its templates cover a wide variety of industries.

As a drag-and-drop website builder, 1&1 IONIS is super easy to use. You don’t need to know any code, either.

It’s not just simple, though – it comes with powerful tools ideal for international businesses, such as multilingual translation. Another feature we love is visitor targeting, where each customer journey is personalized with different pop-ups and buttons based on the customer’s user history.

Sure, the templates can seem quite old fashioned, but 1&1 IONOS is a good option for not only businesses, but bloggers and portfolios, too.

Overall, it’s a much easier alternative to WordPress. It focuses on small businesses, which might make things easier for you if you’re a business owner.

What about costs? Unfortunately, 1&1 IONOS has no free plan. It’s both a website builder and ecommerce platform, so the features you get depend on the plan you choose.

1&1 IONOS has three website builder plans (from $1 p/m to $10 p/m) and three ecommerce price plans (from $10 p/m to $30 p/m). Check out our detailed full review here, where you can read more about these price plans.

1&1 IONOS is best for: white-collar businesses

WordPress Alternatives: Ecommerce Website Builders

One of the main perks of WordPress is that you can use it to build a comprehensive ecommerce online store. This is done by adding plugins like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads, which then let you start selling online.

However, this usually requires a bit of coding, and finding the perfect plugin for your WordPress site takes time.

If you don’t have the time, interest or budget to hire someone to do that for you, it can be a bit of a pain to get your online store up and running effectively.

Don’t worry if you’re fond of website builders like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace – they all offer ecommerce functionality too. But of course, they’re not dedicated ecommerce platforms, and there are better options out there for selling online.

Here are just three good WordPress ecommerce alternatives for you to consider.

 #1 Shopify

Best all-around ecommerce platform

Best all-round ecommerce platform

4.7 out of 5

Ease Of Use

4 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3.5 out of 5 stars

Sales Features

5 out of 5 stars

shopify best ecommerce wordpress alternative
Shopify Pros Shopify Cons
  • Best overall ecommerce platform
  • Brilliant inventory system
  • Need to reformat themes after switching
  • Costs can add up with apps

Shopify powers over 600,000 active stores. It’s the best “one-stop shop” ecommerce package out there, and can help you build anything from a small to a very large/advanced online store.

The benefit of using Shopify is that it takes care of all the technical stuff for you, so you can focus on building and growing your business. Basically, it makes building an ecommerce website much easier than WordPress does.

It offers you premium storefront themes, advanced ecommerce tools, and an extensive app store for you to integrate even more powerful tools if you need to – all with just the click of a button.

It doesn’t stop there: Shopify provides 24/7 phone, live chat, and email support, so you can reach them at any time.

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, giving you access to all of its world class sales tools and features before you spend a cent. To keep using the platform, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the three plans available, which cost between $29 and $299 per month. The highest plan is only recommended for companies with monthly revenues of more than $10,000.

Shopify is the best: all-around ecommerce platform

1) Shopify Review – see our detailed pros & cons of using Shopify

2) Free Tutorial Guides – series of Shopify guides to help you build & grow your business

3) Ecommerce Examples – see how others have built successful online stores using Shopify

4) Shopify Plus (Enterprise Level Users) – if you’re in the big leagues and your business generates 6 to 7 figures in sales per year, Shopify Plus can help you achieve even more.

#2 BigCommerce

Best for businesses looking to scale

4.2 out of 5

Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

3.5 out of 5 stars

Sales Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

3.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

3.5 out of 5 stars

wordpress alternative bigcommerce
BigCommerce Pros BigCommerce Cons
  • Most built-in features
  • Great for SEO
  • Complicated editing interface
  • No mobile app

BigCommerce powers over 95,000 active ecommerce websites, and is a very reputable online store builder. Our research found it to have the most built-in features of any platform, making it perfect for ambitious businesses.

It can also help you get your website up and running without having to get too tangled up in technology, offering a comprehensive set of ‘out of the box’ ecommerce related tools. Also, like Shopify, BigCommerce gives you access to more advanced tools through its app store.

Like the sound of BigCommerce? You can trial the platform free of charge for 15 days, then upgrade to a premium plan. It has three core plans costing $29.95, $79.95, and $249.95 per month (which is for companies generating $150,000 – $1m in yearly revenue), as well as an Enterprise Plan which you’ll need a quote for.

Overall, BigCommerce is one of the best ecommerce website builders available in the market. In our opinion, its biggest competitor is Shopify – if you’re unsure how to separate the two, check out our comparison article below for more information.

BigCommerce is best for: scaling businesses

BigCommerce review – see our detailed pros & cons of using BigCommerce

BigCommerce vs Shopify – see the biggest differences between these two ecommerce builders

#3 Volusion

Best for data-driven users

3.9 out of 5

Ease Of Use

3 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

3.5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

2.5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4 out of 5 stars

wordpress alternative volusion
Volusion Pros Volusion Cons
  • Great analytics tools
  • Lots of payment gateways
  • Cannot sell digital products
  • No blogging features

Volusion has been around since 1999, and currently powers 30,000 online stores. Sure, the numbers don’t quite match those of Shopify, but Volusion still packs a punch with its features.

During our research, we found it supplies tons of useful data and analytics tools, helping you manage and grow your business. On top of that, it comes with an impressive amount of payment gateways, letting you sell to a wider audience.

One thing Volusion has lacked in is user-friendliness. In other words, it’s always been rather tricky to actually build an online store. It does, however, provide stronger built-in sales tools than WordPress.

It’s not all bad on the simplicity-front though – Volusion has recently improved its UX (User Experience), introducing a cleaner inventory system and making it easier to manage your stock.

Volusion has a 14-day free trial, where you can test all the powerful tools on offer before handing over any of your hard-earned dollars. It also offers five premium plans, ranging from $15 per month to $299 per month.

Volusion is best: for data-lovers

Volusion Review – read our in-depth analysis of Volusion

See how Volusion compares to Shopify with our article.

WordPress Alternatives: Conclusion

At the end of the day, your decision to use WordPress or one of the alternatives suggested above really depends on what you want to achieve, and what experience you want to get out of the process.

Let’s quickly recap the 9 best WordPress alternatives:

  • Wix – best all-around website builder in the market today
  • Squarespace – best for design
  • Weebly – best for small businesses
  • Shopify – the best all-around ecommerce website builder
  • BigCommerce – best for businesses looking to scale
  • Site123 – best for customer service
  • GoDaddy – best for time-restricted users
  • 1&1 IONOS – best for white-collar businesses
  • Volusion – best for data-driven business owners

WordPress is a powerful and flexible CMS, but it requires patience and enthusiasm to learn how to use it effectively. The learning curve is higher than other platforms, but if you have the resources, you can build a really great website with WordPress.

But WordPress is not for everybody.

If you want to be more hands-on in managing and building your own website, yet don’t want to invest the time in becoming your own tech troubleshooter, then some of the website builders suggested above might be excellent options for you.

With website builders, you don’t need to know how to write a single line of code; instead, you can build a website quickly before moving on to other more important things. Not to mention, these website builders have dedicated support teams to answer your questions, should you have any.

Not only do you not need to be tech savvy, but the timeframe it takes for you to launch a website with these alternatives is so much shorter than using WordPress.

All in all, the platforms that we have discussed in this article are capable, and all of them have their own pros and cons. You should choose the one that will give you the best experience – after all, building a website is a process.

It’s like trying to get healthier. There are many different ways of building good websites, but you should aim for a lifestyle, routine, and process that works for you.

FAQs

Which is the easiest to use?

We recommend Wix if you’re looking for a really smooth and simple website building experience. That said, you might find another WordPress alternative easier to use: for example, with their Artificial Design Intelligence features, GoDaddy and Site123 can build your site in a matter of minutes.

Which is the cheapest?

Both Wix and Weebly offer free plans, so you can get up and running without spending a dime. Both also offer paid premium plans that are worth considering if you want to give your website additional functionality and take it to the next level.

Which is the most comprehensive?

If you’re looking for an ecommerce website builder, Shopify is the most comprehensive WordPress alternative. They have pretty much everything you need for building a successful online store. Or, if you’re looking to build a non-ecommerce website, we recommend Wix as the best all-around website builder.

Which has the best templates?

Squarespace has the ability to give your website a polished and professional look, thanks to its beautifully crafted themes. If you’d prefer a website builder that simply offers a huge range of templates, Wix allows you to pick from over 510.

Which has the best support available?

Both Wix and Weebly have great support available if you’re looking to create a non-ecommerce website. If you’re thinking about a pure ecommerce website builder, Shopify and BigCommerce have extensive support available, and look after their customers very well. Both have 24/7 phone support, live chat and email available.

Found This Guide Helpful?

Question – Did this guide benefit you? Leave a comment below.

Do you know anyone who can benefit from this guide? Send them this page or click on the share buttons on the left.

You’ll be helping us out by spreading the word about our website, and you’ll be helping them out too!

Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight. Click here for further information.

Jeremy

About Jeremy

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.

Subscribe

Jeremy

About Jeremy

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.

Leave a Reply

37 Responses to WordPress Alternatives | 9 Website Builder Options You Should See

  1. #

    I think among all the alternatives, weebly is the most simple.

  2. #

    Thank you! I tried to sign up for your list and freebie, but you use Aweber, which has blacklisted me for years! I put a half dozen quite spammie emails into Spam (“Hurry, Last day for ___”) and was forever and unforgivably condemned to their ship list… I have fought through to a human at Aweber twice, and both swore they could do nothing about it!
    Sad, but thus far and no farther!
    Thanks for the analyses,
    Sam

  3. #

    Hate to have to levy some REALITY upon you, but WordPress is largely drop-and-drag now – with page builders (Elementor, Divi, Beaver), pre-designed blocks, templates and themes and a great many tutorial videos and courses available free on YouTube. .

  4. #

    I’m surprised you don’t mention anything about Joomla in your comparisons.

    • Fred Isaac
      #

      Hi Jim,

      Is Joomla something you’ve used yourself?

      We’re always looking for new tools to review.

      Fred

  5. #

    Yes this article on website builders alternate to WordPress is very helpful. QUESTION: Is wix or Squarespace suitable for building one-page scrolling websites with navigation links within the site? I mean rather than separate pages.

    • Fred Isaac
      #

      Hi Henry,

      Glad you found the piece helpful!

      Good question. I’m not 100% sure which builder would be better for the kind of site you have in mind. I’d recommend using the free trials available to experiment first.

      Wix has a very useful guide on creating a one-page site here: https://support.wix.com/en/article/creating-a-one-page-site

      Hope this helps.

  6. #

    Great article guys! Your list of powerful website builder options available was quite interesting and useful. Eager to read more interesting topics from your writers.

    • Tom Watts
      #

      Hello BlazeDream,

      Really glad to hear you found the discussion such a helpful piece of content!

      If you want to stay up to date with the site, then you can subscribe to our email newsletter in the ‘top tools’ box just above the comments.

      Thanks for reading
      – Tom

      • #

        Sure…Thank You!

        • #

          Thank you

  7. #

    Hello! I noticed you didn’t mention which drop and drag website builder has the best mobile view. Also I wanted to know which one will allow you to build more than one website.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Cedric,

      Have a look at this guide on mobile interfaces for drag and drop website builders.

      You can also build multiple sites within one user account. But if you want to subscribe to a paid plan, you will have to upgrade one website at a time.

      So for instance, you have 1 Wix account and within this account, you have 4 websites. You can upgrade each of the website one at a time.

      Jeremy

  8. #

    Thanks, Jeremy, for your excellent article, but I still have a couple of questions. We use Dreamhost for our website, which was built in 1999 (seriously) and we keep it semi-current using SeaMonkey’s editor.

    Last year we added an ECWID shopping cart to replace the really difficult to use PayPal shopping cart system, which has helped, but a replacement website that’s easy to change is what we really need. It seems that all of these site builders want to host us, when what I need is a program I can use to create the new site and replace my existing one.

    Is there a standalone site building program you recommend? How about an easy to use interface to put between me and WordPress? (That seems like it would be an excellent tool for someone to develop.) Or should I just buy a copy of WordPress for Dummies and start fresh?

    Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Donny,

      I think there are some drag and drop user interfaces for WordPress, but I haven’t used them myself so I have no idea if they’re good. But as far as I know, most WordPress users I know don’t use these interfaces – maybe that’s an indication that people rather bite the bullet to learn how to code or hire someone who does, rather than using these interfaces? I can’t be completely sure, though.

      Using a hosted service really isn’t terrible at all. If you are running an ecommerce store (sounds like you are since you are selling products?), platforms like Shopify is excellent. They’re very scalable, and tons of tools for you to use. They have dedicated support teams so you can always reach out for dedicated help and they manage all the technical back end matters for you.

      Of course, if you prefer to have 100% control over everything including hosting and security, then something like WordPress will allow you to do that.

      Jeremy

  9. #

    Dear Jeremy,
    Your list it very interesting and really helpful for non technical website creator,
    all your suggestion like wix, weebly, shopify dont need html or other coding skill you can create website easily within few clicks also benefits are to choice ready to use design and no major thinking require for hosting provider selection etc.
    But in the other end wordpress become very huge, recently i find very interesting statistics for wordpress market share in website developer compare to other CMS, see http://blogs.perceptionsystem.com/infographic/wordpress-cms-in-2016/
    Year 2016 out of 100 domain in USA 20+ website build with wordpress…and as per wordpress community it will increase lots.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Tarang,

      Interesting infographic – thanks for sharing.

      WordPress is very popular and will probably get even more popular. I’m not saying that it is a bad website building platform at all, as it is very powerful and flexible. But learning how to use WordPress proficiently is much more challenging than using a drag & drop website builder, such as the ones I listed above.

      So it all comes down to what you want to do. If you have the luxury of time and money and can afford to invest it into learning how to tackle all the technical aspects of running a website, or hire someone to do that for you, then by all means consider WordPress.

      We have are more in-depth discussion about that topic here.

      Wix, Squarespace, Weebly or Shopify are what we call DIY website builders, as you can do it all by yourself and not have to worry about most technical aspects of operating a website. So they are very user friendly and can get you off the ground in days, which can’t be done if you are new to WordPress.

      So what’s appropriate to a user is very dependent on the user him/herself!

      Jeremy

  10. #

    I have to disagree with your list. If you want the best for your company, then you should really hire a developer unless you yourself know coding.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Gina,

      Thanks for your comment and sharing your thoughts.

      Hiring an expert developer is always good, but it does have its challenges. Financial investment is just one of them.

      It’s not a big problem if a company is well established already and is cash flowing to re-invest its profits into technology. But not all companies have that level of budget to commit, and not all companies are well established (yet).

      A lot of users are just starting out and just don’t have that level of resource to get their websites off the ground.

      In such circumstance, I think our list above makes a lot of sense.

      No doubt, your comment is also valid, but I think that’s more applicable for well established businesses.

      We have a full discussion of the cost of building a website that compares the cost of hiring a developer versus using a DIY website builder such as the ones I suggested above.

      I also wrote an article about the idea of hiring a designer / developer – when it’s appropriate, and when it isn’t appropriate. It’s just my own view and what I would advise my friends and family if they were to ask me.

      Of course, every single person that’s looking to build a website has different needs, motivations and resources.

      Thanks for adding to this discussion!

      Jeremy

  11. #

    Hey Jeremy,
    These are my first visit to your website.And I am so thankful to Google that redirects to your website page.I have many types of info that are solution to my problem.I really appreciate your article.Thanks a lot for sharing such a great article with an online community.
    With Regards,
    Sarah.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Thanks Sarah!

      Glad our discussion here is helpful to you!

      Jeremy

  12. #

    Hey Jeremy,
    How are you ? I love you work it’s very informative.
    I got a question for you. I want to set up a membership site where I can put video courses and have re-curring memberships.
    What would be my best option(s)?

    P.S I got no clues about coding ; )

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey Aron,

      The web builders we listed above probably be suitable for your needs. When it comes to setting up a paid membership area to deliver courses, there are some good WordPress plugins (such as Wishlist) to help you do that.

      But if you don’t know how to code, that really limits your ability to design or customize your WordPress site (unless you hire someone to help you).

      One option is to take a look at Sentry Login, which is a membership widget that can work with Wix, Squarespace and Weebly websites. This widget enables you to charge recurring membership fees and gate off content to paying members.

      But I haven’t used them before so do test them out before committing.

      Also, keep in mind that since this widget is not built by Wix, Squarespace or Weebly, when the website builders make updates, Sentry Login has to ensure that its features will still be compatible. So there is a compatibility risk here.

      But they’ve been around for a few years, so I’m assuming that they’re doing at least a good enough job to remain in business!

      Jeremy

      • #

        cheers

  13. #

    Nice article Jeremy. I think you can also look at it like this. Pictures and text – small website – upstart – no programming or graphics experience – then choose a website builder. A functioning business which requires functionality, flexibility, multiple editing points (memberships, ecommerce – custom) wordpress (or other programmers platforms).

    By the time you go through all the different limitations the builders limit you to you will soon come to realize that websites are much more than pictures and text. Start adding your own graphics/fonts/text and in many cases your site will start to look ordinary very quickly. Websites are a holistic thing and to build a descent custom site even on a website builder is not easy. Everything from servers to look/feel, functionality, backends, graphics etc.

    So if your business does become successful and you rely on the web to generate income you most likely will have to move to the more comprehensive WP or similar platform. There are strong reasons why businesses use wordpress and its much more than visuals. And for complexity vs flexibiity and customization it leads all other platforms behind. I believe this site is built on wordpress as well. Is this right Jeremy?

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Mitch,

      Thanks. I think there are a lot of valid points in your comment.

      I think a lot of times it’s a bit of chicken and the egg. If one was to build an online business, I think using a drag & drop website builder is a good way to accelerate the process, to validate the business idea.

      For instance, if one was to spend a lot of resource (time and money) into building a WordPress website and the business doesn’t work out for various reasons, then it’s a huge disappointment. No doubt, if the person struggled with the steeper learning curve of using WP, then it becomes a skill that can be deployed again for another project.

      But if the person used a drag & drop website builder to quickly launch a website in less than a couple of days, and start deploying time to other aspects of the business (product development, marketing of the business, engaging with prospective customers), in my view that is a much better allocation of time (which is a limited resource for most entrepreneurs).

      So the idea here is to launch quickly, and iterate / adjust as you go along. I’ve seen a lot of cases where people get paralyzed with technology and stumbled with moving their businesses forward. With drag & drop web builders, technology is no longer a major obstacle.

      If a business idea proves out, and the business starts to grow and a person was able to generate some cash flow, then he/she can consider upgrading to a more sophisticated platform (such as WordPress).

      At the end of the day, my own view is that websites are just “tools”. Most of the time, it will not make or break a business (unless you’re trying to build some very specialized app or software).

      For instance, if a person wanted to sell a physical product (clothes, toys, etc), the business will not succeed or fail depending on which website builder is used. Know what I mean?

      Of course, there are a lot of positives with using WordPress (as you’ve highlighted and you’re absolutely correct in your points).

      But my key message to people is not to let technology be a stumbling block. It doesn’t have to be any more. If you’re not great with technology, or don’t have the time and money to figure things out, then pick a drag & drop web builder and just get started!

      Thanks for your comment though. This discussion is quite meaningful!

      Jeremy

  14. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    I am looking to build a website with one of the website builder that you have mentioned above. Based on your opinion, which one would meet my criteria the best?
    Requirements:
    1) Website is for an organization. It holds training classes in Hong Kong and Mainland China.
    2) Website language in English, Chinese in Traditional characters and Chinese in Simplified characters. If not all three are possible, then English plus one other Chinese character is fine.
    3) Function of membership, enrollment, and accepting payment.
    4) Articles , photos and videos will be posted.
    5) I have browsed the WIX website and found that it mentions their sites maybe blocked in China due to the The Great Firewall in China. Do you consider that a concern?

    Thank you for your advice in advance.

    Sam

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Sam,

      I think based on what you need, WordPress is a good option to test out. The main reason being that the drag and drop website builders I referenced above don’t have paid membership gateways built into its core features yet.

      There are some good WordPress membership plugins out there, such as WishList, where you can create paid gateways so that only paying subscribers can log into the membership area.

      However, to use WordPress proficiently, you will need to be pretty decent with coding so you can make design, formatting, etc changes. Or else you’ll have to hire a capable designer / coder to help you out.

      If WordPress is a bit too complex for you to set up, you can consider integrating a paid membership tool with some of the drag and drop website builders. Take a look at Sentry Login, which integrates with Wix, Squarespace, Weebly etc. They enable you to turn a drag and drop website builder into a paid membership website.

      I saw the note about certain parts of China won’t be able to access certain Wix sites due to their firewall. If that is a major concern for you as the majority of your visitors are from China, take a look at using the other website builders. Reach out to their support team to confirm if they are aware of any potential issues.

      Good luck!

      Jeremy

      • #

        Hi Jeremy,
        Thank you for your advice.

        Sam

  15. #

    I’m glad this and some of your other posts came up easily in a few different Google searches. After days of researching ecommerce platforms your articles were the most comprehensive for a beginner but thorough for everyone to benefit. Thank you I actually have decided the best platform for my ecommerce needs. Your words gave me a starting place to sort out the unknown, I appreciate all the links to the more in depth info and the comparisons. I then went on cross referencing with other review sites and felt I could now make a thorough well researched decision. I ultimately ended up back here referencing your concise words to ensure I made the right choice.

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi KB,

      Thanks for your feedback – glad our discussion here has been helpful to you.

      Do click on the social sharing buttons on the left side of the post to spread the word! I’d really appreciate that.

      Jeremy

  16. #

    I am so glad I found this site! I’ve been reading and learning alot.

    Here’s my dilemma: I built our business site about 6 years ago using Coffeecup’s Web Editor for OSX, bought the software and there’s no monthly fee. I’ve had to learn a bit of code to use it, but mostly by cut-and-paste. The problem is that our site is not mobile-friendly and Coffee Cup does not have a way to make it so except by rebuilding it from scratch using their Responsive Site Designer, which I’d have to purchase. If I’m going to rebuild it anyway, I’d rather use something easier as I don’t find Coffeecup very user-friendly.

    So I’ve been reading your comparisons of the various website builders. I do want to have some control over coding, so I was leaning to Weebly, but then I read more about WordPress that I liked. Bottom line is I would rather avoid rebuilding at all.

    Is there a website builder that lets you import code or upload ftp files, or would that defeat the purpose of becoming mobile-friendly? Also, if I switch builders, I know I can point my domain name to the new site, but what about keeping the names of sub-pages? For instance, our site is ‘www.burnhamguides.com, then we have pages for the different places that we lead kayak trips to, such as ‘www.burnhamguides.com/everglades. Will I be able to keep all these names?

    Thank you for your advice!

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hi Mary,

      I haven’t used Coffee Cup before, but I think it will be quite challenging to transport your codes from that platform, and have it work properly in other platforms.

      First of all, the drag and drop website builders that we’ve covered on our site don’t have an import function for Coffee Cup, as all the platforms are coded differently, so the codes will not be compatible. But even with more flexible / advanced platforms such as WordPress, they have very specific code configurations, so if you want to make your previous codes work, you’ll have to tweak / modify them to adapt them to WordPress standards. At least that’s my own personal view and others may see things differently.

      Having said that, it might be worth while to give your site a refresh, either with WordPress or other website building platforms. Since you’re not afraid of codes, WP might be a good option for you, and you’ll be able to retain your URL structure (page address structure) as that’s customizable with WordPress.

      If you are exploring a website builder that has mobile responsive templates, and allow you to customize the page URLs to match your previous website, take a look at Squarespace. Other advantages of using a hosted solution such a Squarespace is that they manage all the hosting, system updates / upgrades work for you. So you don’t have to be your own IT system administrator. They also provide you with 24/7 support, so that’s definitely helpful.

      We also have an article here comparing WordPress against Squarespace – you might find it helpful as well.

      Hope this is helpful!

      Jeremy

      • #

        Thank you so much, Jeremy! You’re saving me a ton of time researching all this on my own (while trying to run a kayak business!). You mentioned Squarespace to retain my site’s URL structure (thank you for that terminology, BTW!). Does Weebly allow that as well?

        • Jeremy
          #

          Mary – with Weebly, however you name your webpages is the way it will show up in your URL structure.

          So for instance, if your page name is “Kayaking in Vancouver”, then the URL structure will be /kayaking-in-vancouver/

          There isn’t the flexibility to customize it to say, “/vancouver/”

          Squarespace gives you this ability, to alter the URL structure of your pages.

          Jeremy

  17. #

    WOW! I was really hoping to find a lot of comments here. I’m thinking mostly of using Weebly for it’s simplicity, cost and support. I have been playing with WordPress on and off for a while now. I have even bought some themes. I purchased Elegant Themes and started using their DIVI theme but quickly found out that to make things look the way I wanted, I needed to learn some CSS and how to apply it and where in the theme.

    To me WordPress is like going to an all you can eat place that also offers an unlimited amount of premium dishes for extra $$’s and you just don’t know where to start or exactly what you wan’t and before you know it, you’ve broke your budget with lots of add-ons. But then the time and overhead to maintain it, is huge as well. (again, for people that aren’t developers and already know what they are doing.

    I played with WIX, started building a site, decided I didn’t like the way it was going and figured out I couldn’t just change the theme. I’d have to start all over.

    I built a site in a very short period of time with Weebly for my mom and everyone I showed it to was impressed. I then changed the them and made some minor adjustments and in less than an hour had a completely new website.

    I’m not 100% sure yet that Weebly is the final answer for me. And that is why I am here. : )

    • Jeremy
      #

      Hey David,

      Thanks so much for your comment and I think you’ve hit a few of the key benefits and drawbacks of using WordPress. WordPress is a very powerful website building platform, but to use it effectively you do have to know a bit of codes, or work with a capable coder to get what you want.

      That’s why the WordPress alternatives I’ve highlighted here are much easier to use, as you have also experienced.

      I think if you are comfortable with Weebly, then run with that option. But if you have a few hours, give Squarespace a try as they’re a really good website builder to use as well and is much more polished than Weebly when it comes to design.

      We have a lot of dedicated discussions when it comes to comparing WordPress with drag and drop website builders here. I think you’ll find them helpful!

      Jeremy