If you have a business, you know just how important it is to have a high-quality website.
- The Right Choice
- What Will the Review Cover?
- GoDaddy Website Builder
- Comparison Chart
You cannot get by with only social media or only a brick and mortar store. No matter what type of business you have, large or small, you need to make sure you have a website that is up and running, and that it easy for your visitors to use and navigate. Many believe this means they need to hire a specialist to take care of the design of their site for them and to make sure it is ready for mobile. However, that’s not the case. With the fantastic website builders that are available today, you can create your own website. These online and cloud builders have easy to use interfaces and tools, so you do not need to have experience in design to get started. Although, if you have people on your team who know a bit about good layout design for websites, color design, and the like, they can make use of these builders as well to provide you with exactly the website you want and need.
The Right Choice
Of course, with all the options that are out there in terms of cloud and online software for building a website today, you need to make a good choice. You need to have a website builder that can meet your needs and do everything that you require. Please keep in mind that the “best” of anything can be subjective, as every company is different. We’ve found that it is a good idea to create a checklist of the things that you need and that you are looking for with a website builder. Then, you can simply compare the features of the website builders that we review below. This should make it easier to sort through the options and find something that will work well for your needs. The following are some of the most important things you will want to consider when choosing a website builder.
- What Are Your Goals for the Website?
- What Are Your Requirements and “Must Have” Features?
- What Features Would Be Nice to Have?
- What Is Your Budget?
When you can answer each of these questions, you can take that information and incorporate it into the search. It should be much easier for you to narrow your choices. In addition to these considerations though, you also want to always make sure you are dealing with a website builder from a company that has a good reputation. We’ve made sure to include only quality website builders that you can trust in this review, but if you decide to choose one of the companies outside of this review for your builder, be sure to check their reputation and make sure the company is strong enough to last. You do not want to set everything up with the lowest priced company you can find only to discover in six months that it is going under. Something else you might want to consider when you are checking out the website builder services is free trials. Some of the companies will offer a free trial so you can have some hands-on time with the builder. Take advantage of these. They can give you a much better idea of how it will be to use the builder when you are developing your own site. Try a couple of different builder trials for comparison so you can be sure it can create the type of site you really want.
What Will the Review Cover?
Over the course of this review, we will be delving in to five different website builders to get a closer look at what each of them offers and what you can expect from using them, followed by a chart that can provide you with more insight into each of the options, so you will have the information you need to make a good choice when it comes to your website builder for 2017.
Wix is one of the most popular and well-known names in the field of website builders today. As such, it has many of the features that people expect when it comes to an online website builder including templates, a simple editor, and apps that you can add to your site. Let’s take a closer look at some of these features now to see what it can offer.
Template Selection and Design
One of the first and most impressive things you will notice when you look at Wix is the sheer number of available templates they offer. Not only do they have hundreds of templates that you can customize; those templates also happen to be high-quality and professional looking. They offer both flash-based templates, as well as HTML-5 templates. As great as the templates might be, though, some might find them to be constricting when it comes to creativity. It is not possible to edit the HTML or the CSS of the templates, so you must take the templates as they are. However, you do have the option of starting with a clean slate and creating your own site from the ground up. This could be a good option for those who are looking for a custom site and who have experience in creating a website using code rather than a drag and drop builder. One of the other potential drawbacks with the templates is that it can be difficult to go from one template to another and have everything look the way you want and expect. When you switch from one template that looks drastically different from another, you can expect to do some housekeeping on the site to make sure everything is in order.
Ease of Use
If you are looking for a good website builder, it is likely because you do not have the knowhow to build a site from scratch. You want to work with a builder that is simple to understand and easy for you to get started. Wix is a good option, as it uses a very simple interface and you can drag and drop items and apps into the site as needed. Everything is laid out very simply for you. It is a good choice for designers, photographers, musicians, restaurants, and small businesses of various types. Those who have little, or even no experience, should not have any trouble with the site builder.
Many people who have websites today want to run a business from them. Wix could be a good option for that, as they will allow you to create various types of stores, and to add shopping carts quickly and easily. You do not need to have any technical knowledge to do this. One of the other nice features of this builder is that it will allow your store to take coupons and discount codes.
One of the great features about the templates available through the company is the fact that they are all going to work just as well on mobile devices as they do in a traditional desktop or laptop setting. Since so many people are using mobile devices, this is extremely important. Wix even allows you to create a separate mobile website if you would like. You can use a mobile editor to make changes to the mobile version of the site without making changes to the desktop website. This gives the site owner more control over what people see on their mobile site.
All the templates available through Wix are SEO friendly, which is important for any business today. You can be sure your site will be indexed with Google. With some good content, it becomes possible to improve your SEO further. They even offer a way for you to add keywords and descriptions to the page manually, if you would like.
Wix offers quality customer support, which has helped them to become one of the top choices for website builders today. They have a help center where you can find answers to your questions, as well as an FAQ, forum, how-to articles, and tutorials. In addition, Priority Support is available for those who choose the Unlimited, e-Commerce, and VIP plans through Wix.
You will find quite a few options when it comes to the types of plans available through Wix. The Connect Domain plan, which is currently $4.50 per month, will only allow you to connect your domain to the site. It features 500 GB of space and 1 GB of bandwidth. The Combo plan is $8.50 per month, and it features the ability to connect your own domain, use a customized favicon, remove Wix ads, and create a custom domain. It features 2 GB of bandwidth and 3 GB of disk space, along with $75 in ad vouchers. The Unlimited plan is $12.50 per month and features the benefits of the previous plans, along with a form builder app, priority support and a site booster app. They have unlimited bandwidth and 10 GB of disk space. The e-Commerce plan is $16.50 per month and has e-commerce features. They have 20 GB of bandwidth and 20 GB of disk space. The VIP plan has all the features of the other plans, along with 10 email campaigns a month. The current cost for this plan is $24.50 per month.
Squarespace has been around since 2004, and in that time, it has grown substantially. Today is it one of the most popular and trusted sites for those who are looking to create a beautiful and functional website. It provides a wealth of features and options for the users. Examine what they offer more closely to get a better idea of whether they might be the right choice for you.
Template Selection and Design
When you start to look at the template options through Squarespace, you will notice right away that they have a very professional, high-quality look to them. They look like they were designed by professional designers because they were designed by professionals. However, you will also notice that they have a smaller selection than many of the other companies. Still, you will not find any poor quality, or even average quality templates here. They have more than 40 templates currently, all of which look great. They also have Cover Pages that you can use for your site, if you choose. These are single scrolling pages. You could use them as a simple, standalone site or as part of a larger template if you would like. Currently, there are 26 of these Cover Pages from which you can choose. Adding blogs to the site is easy too. Everything has a very simple drag and drop feature. If you make changes or additions that you do not like, it is just as easy to get rid of them.
Ease of Use
Squarespace is very easy to use, as it has a drag and drop interface for the content that you want to have on your site. It has become a simpler platform to use than it used to be, and that has helped to make it a better choice for those who do not have a lot of technical skill, as well as those who do not have a lot of time to spend tweaking their website. They have a “what you see is what you get” approach, so what you see while you are editing the site is essentially what your site will look like when you publish it. This simplifies the experience and takes out the guesswork. Editing everything is very fast and easy with this website builder. It is a popular choice for bloggers, designers, photographers, musicians, and restaurants. Many online shops and boutiques are using it, as well.
If you would like to create an online store, it is easy to do with Squarespace. They provide a range of e-commerce tools that will help you to build an excellent store that provides a good experience for you and your customers. You can have control over your product variants, and you will have inventory management features. It also offers the ability to add unlimited products, and you can sell service-based products, digital products, and physical products. You can create coupons, shipping options, configure taxes, provide sales confirmation, and much more through their robust e-commerce features. You can even share your products over social media and utilize their analytics feature.
Squarespace realizes that having a responsive design for a website is extremely important today. You will find that the templates offered through the site are responsive, and they tend to look good when you view them through a mobile device. Of course, some of the templates will look better than others do, so you will want to look at the various options and make sure you find something that works well for your mobile needs, as well as your desktop needs. For the most part, the templates work well. When you view them through a mobile device, you will find that the navigation will change, and it can streamline the look of the site. You might want to experiment with some of the different styles when you are creating your site.
You can optimize all the SEO functions, including descriptions, titles, and more for your site and for your individual web pages. When the pages are produced, the HTML tends to be very clean, which makes them easy for the search engines to index. They will also create a sitemap for you automatically. Another one of the nice features is the data and statistics available for your site in real-time. This will give you a chance to learn more about how your site and your SEO are performing, so you can make changes as needed. You can even see how people are interacting with your site and whether they are on mobile devices. All of this information can make it easier for you to improve the quality of your site for the types of visitors you are getting.
Getting help through Squarespace is quite simple. They have a support team that is available around the clock and that can get back to you through live chat or through email support. The email support will generally take about an hour to get back to the customer. Their customer satisfaction rating for their support is at around 90%. You can also find tutorials and community resources for Squarespace that can help you with a range of different topics.
One of the first things you might notice in regards to the pricing at Squarespace is that it is somewhat higher than you would typically see through other website builders. However, many customers feel that the quality of this service makes up for that. You will find four different options available for pricing – two for websites and two for online stores. The Personal website plan is $12 a month billed annually, or $16 per month billed monthly. This will allow for 20 pages, unlimited bandwidth, mobile optimization, analytics, a free custom domain, around the clock support, e-commerce, and a 3% sales transaction fee through the site. The Business plan offers unlimited pages and unlimited bandwidth, along with all the other features of the Personal site. It features professional email from Google, along with $100 Google AdWords credit. It will also only require a 2% sales transaction fee if you sell through the site. The current cost is $18 a month billed annually, or $26 per month. For the online stores, you can choose the Basic, which features no transaction fees, the ability to sell unlimited products, mobile optimization, integrated galleries and blogs, a free custom domain, analytics, email from Google, $100 AdWords credit, unlimited storage, bandwidth, and contributors, inventory orders, tax discounts, label printing from Shipstation, and Integrated Accounting. This is $26 a month billed annually or $30 per month on a month to month basis. The Advanced plan features all the features of the Basic plan, along with abandoned checkout auto recovery, and real-time carrier shipping. This is $40 a month billed annually, or $46 a month billed month to month. They do have a free 14-day trial, so you can try out the various features to see if it might be a good choice for you or not.
Weebly is currently providing power for more than 40 million websites, and this number continues to grow each day. This is a user-friendly option that provides users with a range of options to create quality websites without needing to know any type of coding at all.
Template Selection and Design
The site provides you with high-quality, beautiful templates from which you can choose. Because they have a large number of templates, it should be relatively easy for you to find something that will work well for your needs. You can customize the templates easily thanks to the drag and drop features. It makes getting the site that you want nice and simple. You can use the HTML and the CSS in the website, so you can add more customization to the themes if you would like. However, this is not necessary, so if you do not have the skill or knowledge needed to work with code, do not worry. It is this level of design flexibility that people like.
Ease of Use
This website builder is extremely easy to use. You will drag and drop the content to where you want it. It is another one of the what you see is what you get builders. You can create what you want in front of you, and when your site goes live and you publish the page, it is exactly how it will look. This site builder is a good choice for small businesses, as well as those who have relatively small online shops.
While Weebly might not be the best solution for those who have a large online store or a store that needs a lot of advanced tools, you will find that it can be a good solution for those who have smaller e-commerce sites. They have features such as product, storefront, and category pages, payment options, shipping, tax, inventory, a coupon builder, mobile features, a fully integrated shopping cart, and abandoned cart recovery.
The site is designed to be responsive. When someone visits your site from one of their mobile devices, such as their phone, the site will look great and it will be easy for the visitors to use. The responsive templates help to make sure that they will have a quality experience no matter how they come to your site. One of the best features is that you do not have to do anything special to make sure your site is ready for mobile. As soon as you create your desktop site and publish it, the responsive mobile site will be live, as well.
Like the other website builders in this review, you will find that all the templates and sites created with Weebly are search engine optimized. You can add sitemaps, HTML formatting, and meta descriptions. All the hard work is done for you when it comes to the “behind the scenes” part of the SEO. You merely need to focus on creating good content. Of course, if you would like to take a more active role, you can create your own configurations that could help with your SEO ranking. You can add page descriptions and alt tags to all the individual pages, as well.
The Weebly technical support team is efficient and helpful. While the system is easy to use, and you will not likely have many issues, it is nice to know that you will have a method of getting in touch and getting the help you need. In addition to the tutorials and the documentation that can help with using the site, they also offer support tickets, live chat, and phone support. The support tickets are answered around the clock. The live chat is only available from Monday through Friday, 6AM to 6PM PST. On Saturday and Sunday, it is up from 8AM to 5PM PST.
You will find four different options available for Weebly plans. The first plan is Free. It comes with unlimited disk space and unlimited bandwidth. While this sounds tempting, it is important to remember that it only comes with hosting. All the other features are disabled. However, it could provide you with some time to get to know how to use website builder so you can see if it is possible to create the site that you want. Weebly Basic is the next tier up, and it costs $8 per month. This features some nice upgrades. It includes a custom domain along with analytics and e-commerce features. It also provides emails, hosting, a mobile website, social options, and no limit to the bandwidth and disk space. It is important to note that this does not come with SEO tools, though. Weebly Pro is the next option, and this is $12 per month. It features everything the Basic plan offers, but it also provides SEO tools. The Weebly Business plan takes things further by also offering advertising credits. This plan is $25 a month currently.
While the other website builders in this review can work equally well for personal sites, as well as for businesses, Jimdo is geared toward e-commerce. Of course, even though it is aimed at online shops, it is still possible to build a traditional website from the tools available. Those who want to set up a good online shop with very little hassle will find that this could be a good choice for them. More than 15 million sites have been created with this builder since it began in 2007.
Template Selection and Design
Jimdo has more than 100 template variations available. It should be possible to build a high-quality site. Many of these are business and store-style templates, but you can also find portfolio templates and personal templates available. The templates all look great, and they have a very professional feel to them.
Ease of Use
One of the nice things about the system is the simplicity. It has drag and drop elements, as well as various building blocks that you can add or take away from the templates to make them work well for your needs. What you create on the screen is how your site will look when published. You can utilize HTML and CSS if you would like, but it is not necessary. It’s a simple option that anyone will be able to use. For most, it will take just a few minutes to learn how to use the system.
They make it easy to create an e-commerce site that is fully functional all on your own. They will allow you to add your products and set your prices, and integrate with Stripe or PayPal. Getting started with an e-commerce store is fast and easy with this option. You can even switch to other store templates quickly without losing progress on the store creation.
One of the important things to note about the sites you can build from Jimdo is that not all of them are mobile ready. You will need to use the mobile editor they have available to create a mobile version of your site. This will take some additional time, naturally, and that might be enough to turn away some who are considering using the site builder. Consider the other pros and cons first though, as you might still find this is a good solution for your needs. They do have some designs that are responsive currently, and this number will likely grow. Like others, the people behind Jimdo can see that mobile is vital for their customers.
The Jimdo web pages are optimized for search engines automatically. It is possible to modify global SEO settings even on the free version of the service. If you choose the pro or business versions, you can make even more customizations to SEO by changing meta tags on each page. They also feature SEO tutorials.
They offer tutorials, as well as a community forum where you can find help with many of the questions that you might have regarding your site. They also have a live chat function that is available from 9AM to 5PM PST. You can also send them an email if you have an issue or a question. They will generally get back to you with a response within one to two business days.
You will find just three plans available through the company. The JimdoFree plan is very popular, naturally. It includes 500 MB of storage, along with 2 GM of bandwidth and a .jimdo.com sub-domain. Those who want more features can try the JimdoPro plan, which tends to be a good choice for freelancers and bloggers. It costs $7.50 a month, billed annually. It has 5 GB of storage, 10 GB of bandwidth, a free domain, email account, support, stats, mobile optimization, a basic online store, SEO, and widgets. It is also ad free. The Jimdo Business plan has unlimited bandwidth and storage, a business email package, priority support, a full online store, and all the features of the Pro plan. This costs $20 a month billed annually.
GoDaddy Website Builder
GoDaddy is one of the best-known names in the business when it comes to hosting, and they happen to have a website builder that will allow you to create impressive sites that look great and that are functional. They currently manage more than 60 million domain names and they have more than 13 million customers.
Template Selection and Design
You will have more than 300 templates from which you can choose in a range of different categories. Finding a site that works well for your needs should not be a problem. One of the things you will want to take note of is that you cannot edit the CSS or HTML of the templates they offer. You can start your own site from scratch if you choose, though. You will have quite a few options, but the site builder is more simplistic than what you will find with other options, such as Wix.
Ease of Use
One of the best things about GoDaddy is the ease of use of their website builder. It is a drag and drop system, and like the other platforms discussed here, what you see is what you get. The layout of the system makes everything easy to see and understand as you go about designing your site. You have just one toolbar, which means you will not have to go digging for a lot of different features. Everything is right there for you. This is a good choice for businesses, as well as for personal sites.
While GoDaddy does have a lot going for it, e-commerce is one of the areas where it fails. They do not have anything in the way of e-commerce tools, so you would need to utilize other services if you want to open and run a successful shop.
The sites created with the website builder are responsive and mobile friendly, so you can be sure your site will look decent no matter how someone visits it. However, they do tend to keep things on the basic side when it comes to the mobile content they display. It might not be able to provide you with as much flexibility as you need.
When you use the builder, you will have the capability to optimize all of the SEO functions of the page. This includes the title and the description, which is par for the course with most of the website builders today. GoDaddy does offer an addition SEO plan, which costs a few dollars more each month.
One of the best things about working with GoDaddy is their support. They provide live chat, email, phone support, and many articles and tutorials that you can use. They tend to get back to customers quickly through the email system, as well.
You have three plan options when you choose GoDaddy. The Personal Plan is $5.99 a month and has a domain with the annual plan. You can choose from just 50 of the personal themes with this option. You can have unlimited pages, 1 GB of space and 150 GB of bandwidth. You will also have business email from Office 365. The Business Plan is $9.99 a month and features a free domain, 300 themes, no limit to your number of pages, 10 GB of disk space, 500 GB of bandwidth, the business email, as well as a mobile site. The Business Plus Plan is $14.99 a month. It comes with all of the other features mentioned for the Business Plan, as well as 50 GB of space, 1,000 GB of bandwidth, SEO, a social media manager, plus an SSL certificate that is free for a year.
The following is a simple comparison chart of some of the different features you will want to compare when you are choosing a website builder for your business.
|Integration||Wix Hotels with TripAdvisor, PayPal Pro, bookkeeping system, Adobe Typekit, etc.||Integrated accounting, integrated label printing, Facebook, Twitter, etc.||Integrates with PayPal, McAfee Secure, Shipstation, Sitebooster, Facebook, etc.||Integrates with PayPal, Stripe, etc.||Integrates with PayPal, social media,|
|Support Response Time||Within hours for the ticket system||Within one hour for email||Email usually answered within hours||Email response times are generally one to two business days||Email response time generally a few hours|
|Support Channels||Online documentation, FAQs, tickets system||Live chat, email, online documentation||Live chat, email, phone, online tutorials||Live chat and email, documentation||Live chat, email, phone, support library and documentation|
|Ease of Use||5/5||5/5||5/5||5/5||4/5|
|User Interface||Simple drag and drop, simple design changes||Simple drag and drop, simple design changes||Simple drag and drop, simple design changes||Simple drag and drop, building blocks||Simple drag and drop, simple design changes|
|Fraud and Security Protection|
|Best Fit||Works well for small to medium sized businesses||Works well for small to medium sized businesses||Works best for small businesses||Works best for small businesses||Works well for small and medium sized businesses|
Now that we’ve come to the end of the review of the best website builders of 2017, you should have a much better understanding of what each of these top tier candidates can offer. Take the time to compare what they have with your checklist that you created at the start of the review and see which one seems to have the most of what you want from a website builder.