2018 Reviews

Best Website Builders - 2018 Reviews

  • Google Sites

    Simple online content sharing for teams or personal productivity

    • Free
    Made for:

    Internal company sites, small showcase pages to share with friends

    Not for:

    Marketing or ecommerce; a standalone web presence

  • Blogger

    Google's free tool built specifically for blogging

    • Free
    Made for:

    Blogging and G Suite users, digital journaling and archiving

    Not for:

    Business sites, heavy customization

  • Soholaunch

    Linux or Windows server needed; Authorize.net integration

    • $18/mo.
    • No free trial
    Made for:

    Home-based business owners, easy content formatting

    Not for:

    Mobile-ready sites or extensive support

  • 1 & 1

    A website builder and design service subsidiary of the hosting giant

    • $10 - $30/mo.
    • Money back guarantee
    Made for:

    Support seekers; people looking to have others' design their site

    Not for:

    Mobile-first designs; budget users; students

  • MoPro

    Web promotions, online presence and reputation management

    • $199/mo.
    • No free trial
    Made for:

    Setting up websites with a designer's help

    Not for:

    Users under a budget and DIY'ers


    Modern HTML5 builder; all ad free; offers whitelabel package for design firms

    • $0 or $8/mo.
    • 14-day money back guarantee
    Made for:

    Students, Artists and Non-profits looks for a simple, free solution

    Not for:

    Users seeking advanced features or integrations, or designing a website from scratch

  • Website-Welcome

    Limited space; supports payments; affordable annual rate. Pay for add-ons

    • $65/year
    • 30-day money back guarantee
    Made for:

    Events or causes, 5 pages or less, basic payment or donation processing

    Not for:

    Many pages, modern designs, on-shore support, month to month plans

  • SimpleSite

    Free 15 page sites with limited design choices; costly premium plans

    • $120 - $300/year
    • Free version
    Made for:

    Posting a basic, limited site extremely quickly

    Not for:

    Long-term projects, marketable content, modern designs

  • Zoey (by Magento)

    Scalable, 3rd party payment and shipping integrations

    • $89 - $599/mo.
    • 14-day free trial
    Made for:

    Setting up online stores, recurring payments and selling gift cards

    Not for:

    New or small store-fronts with low sales volume

  • Impress.ly

    App-like HTML5 websites designed mobile-first

    • $108 or $168/year
    • Build before you buy
    Made for:

    Mobile-first audience, e-commerce inventory and shipping automation

    Not for:

    Advanced analytics; code injection; complex sites

  • Strikingly

    Easily customizable site builder with limited eCommerce functionality

    • $7 - $20/mo.
    • 14-day free trial
    Made for:

    DIY creatives and entrepreneurs that prefer longer term pricing plans.

    Not for:

    Users that want a more complicated site with vast capabilities for eCommerce.

  • Yola

    Lags well behind modern web builders; overpriced

    • $7 - $30/mo.
    • Free version
    Made for:

    Mobile publishing

    Not for:

    Modern designs, ecommerce, advanced editing

  • SITE123

    SITE123 takes the world of website builder software one big step forward.

    • $9 - 27$/mo
    • 14-day money back guarantee
Expert Interviews
"For a small business or an entrepreneur in need of an impressive marketing website, Squarespace is the easiest option. They may have a lot of branding done already, along with custom or stock photography. The platform can deliver fantastic value in a short amount of time for people whose main business is not web design...Squarespace eliminates the need to spend time and money on security updates and custom templates. It can get someone’s site on the internet so that it can start generating leads. If a business is putting content on the internet, WordPress is a great solution. We run the Atomic Object blog on WordPress, using a custom template and plug-ins for different functionalities...It has performed well, and we’ve never had a problem with it...Again, our use for WordPress is putting content on the internet in a simple way. The monthly cost of Squarespace can be too much for people like teachers showing their students how to build a site. In this case, Wix may be the way to go. It’s a good solution for people who don’t care about the branding being put online, and only want to post content on the internet. It’s a user-friendly solution that can’t be broken by users. At the same time, there are constraints with what can be done with it."
Jonah Bailey
Managing Partner, Atomic Object
"WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress. Given that WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS, even though adding e-commerce to it may seem crazy, it makes a lot of sense. It’s a platform that people are comfortable with. WooCommerce is open source, which makes it highly customizable and flexible. Compared to software like Magento, it’s also quite lean, without a lot of technical debt. Magento is very good, and it has a lot of functionality out of the box, but there are many improvements and fixes in its backlog. WooCommerce doesn’t have much of that. It may not have many capabilities out of the box, but this can be a good thing—it’s not a bloated software stack, and we can add things to it as we need them. It’s still a young platform—having been released in 2011—but it’s already a massive part of the e-commerce market. More than 30% of all e-commerce sites are using WooCommerce."
Mitchell Callahan
"The ideal client for Shopify has rather simple variations on a product, not really something which would require a lot of customization. Historically, Shopify has been a simple, streamlined platform for simple products. Anything “way out there” may not be a good fit. Customizations come at a cost. In order to make it work, you may have to invest in custom scripts and apps. The app store is fantastic, and there are many apps within it, but most have additional costs as well. It’s not that anyone would necessarily be a bad fit, but it depends on how much they are willing to invest to make it come together. Shopify helps get a business up-and-running quickly, with an intuitive interface allowing users to add products and do everything else needed for a simple e-commerce store. Anything beyond this takes some coordination and consulting. Something which oftentimes frustrates me, but is actually impressive, is that, even though they’ve evolved over time, they ultimately refuse to clutter the platform with features which are going to go unused by most customers. "
Rob Alan
Founder, Monumental
"The great thing about Shopify being a fully-hosted solution is that they have a proprietary database on which all customer data is stored. Merchants themselves don’t even get access to it, which may sound limiting, but is actually great. It means not waking up in a cold sweat, thinking about whether data has been compromised. Once again, this would be a Shopify-wide problem, unlike with on-premises solutions like Magento or WooCommerce, where we have to lock down credit card information, either on our own servers or by using something like Stripe Checkout. With Shopify, there is so much included from a security perspective—like SSL for all sites—that things become inherently easier to manage...The platform has added features around their payment system, including Shopify Pay, by which customers with Shopify accounts can log in with a single click, get a verification code sent to their mobile devices, and not have to log in again on another site. This makes a quick checkout possible, even if someone hasn’t been to the store before."
Chad Fisher
CEO, BTown Web
"It certainly hasn’t happened overnight, but, over the last five to six years, the web has transformed, making a big shift from information sharing, which used to be key, to true interactions. Users now expect companies to interact with them, whether that be through social channels, tools like chat capabilities, good, dynamic FAQs, or the way in which the information is brought to bear. Being able to bring the right ideas to the table and combining them with data-driven KPIs and insights is something difficult to do, especially if they’re not exposed daily to the changing market and user expectations. This is often an area for which people come to us seeking help."
Steve Hamilton
SVP of Engagement Delivery, agencyQ
"The size of a page in physical kilobytes is something which a lot of web designers or web developers tend to forget about. Speed is of the essence of website delivery. It always has been, actually. You could argue that it’s less so today because of the speeds of access and speeds of computing. But what’s happened is, because speeds of access have increased, the capability of our interfaces with websites and web servers has increased, people have given carte blanche to increase the sizes of the website pages with very, very large imagery, complex coding, video and other multimedia that are running on the site. That’s all embedded into a single webpage which results in several hundred kilobytes of data that has to be loaded, in most cases, before the website page will display. That’s unacceptable and should be considered by every developer but often is not. We regularly have to rebuild clients websites when they have been developed elsewhere and they have come to us, for say, SEO services.
Clickingmad Ltd
Managing Director, Production Manager, & Lead Developer
"An often-overlooked part of it is making sure, no matter what CMS you pick and what design you pick, it’s mobile responsive. It’s almost a no-brainer in 2017. I’ve seen more and more websites designed to look good only on the computer. But they never bother to check it on tablet and on a cell phone. Cell phone searches and cell phone traffic is now surpassing desktop. Most of the categories we work in, traffic from mobile devices is now double that of a desktop. That makes sense. If you come home from work and you see your sink is leaking and you need a plumber, you’re not going to go upstairs, boot up your computer, and look for a plumber. You pull out your cell phone and search. Make sure to treat mobile as a top priority no matter what CMS you choose. In 2017, it’s no longer that you design your site and make sure it works on mobile. It should be a mobile-first philosophy. That’s how behavior is driving the use of websites."
Alex Melen
Co-Founder, SmartSites
"Drupal is one of the 2 large opensource projects, the other being WordPress. The main contrast that we’ve seen is WordPress is great for the lower end of the market. It’s very opinionated in terms of how it works and what you can do with it. One of the things we say in the sales process is if you can do it in WordPress, you probably should. But for most of our clients, there’s something more complex that they need. Drupal is great because it gives you a lot of functionality out of the box, the core functionality that’s been built by thousands of developers over time. It’s really solid, tested, and secure. The modules that are created by the community are really where the power comes and where it stands out."
Jeff Calderone
CEO, Elevated Third
"The ecosystem is much more developed today than it was seven or eight years ago. People have many options to choose from and one of the important things to consider, depending on where someone is within their business process, is doing upfront research on each platform. There are hosted solutions like Shopify, which is a great option for many people, but doesn’t offer the level of customization which some companies need down the road. So, if someone starts a store, they need to think about where they will be in a year, three years and then five years and make decisions today, which will set them up for success in the long run."
Jonathan Martin
CEO, coolblueweb
"If possible, customers should know the tool’s capabilities out-of-the-box, and look at how they’re hoping to manage their needs in the future, whether outsourced or in-house—what the delta between the current level of comfort and what would be needed to truly carry out the vision is, and what the level of comfort with the incumbent team is, at the moment. It’s also important to consider that since the functionality is open source, it is possible that over time, maintenance would cease or wane for specific functionality, and they may not have the support of the maintainer for free anymore. This is normally because there was a reduced need. It’s effectively crowd behavior, so, if there are a number of use cases for a bunch of customers which need such a thing, it will normally be well-maintained, while a small need will most likely fall off the radar screen of the maintainer, being eclipsed by more current ones. Therein lies the reality which people have to incorporate into their strategy."
Chris McGrath
Founder, Celebrate Drupal
"It’s very important that the agency or individual you’re working with doesn’t hardcode the code inside of the editor, or in a way where you have to edit the code to edit your website. Everything should be very user-friendly. If you’re a restaurant like a burger shop, you can flip burgers really well. Your job is a chef. You know what to do, what temp it should be, etc. You shouldn’t have to have any web knowledge because you’re paying a professional to have that knowledge for you. I don’t like going into a restaurant and telling the chef how to do their job, and we shouldn’t as web developers have to tell the customer how to do our job. It’s important when you’re developing a site to make sure it’s extremely editable."
Blake George
Founder, BMG Media
"The whole point of using a CMS like WordPress or Drupal is to make it easy for site owners to keep their content up-to-date...These platforms are used by millions of websites and like any other computer software, they have bugs which can be attacked...I hope people are coming to realize that leaving sites unpatched is like leaving your front door wide open – someone will come in and take over, use the website to attack other websites, consumers, DNS servers, or simply use the site’s resources to mine Bitcoins, and so on. Instead of having a website that supports the business, the website becomes a part of a much bigger problem—it may be controlled by malicious actors who are attacking other people, whether or not it interferes with the business directly."
John Locke
Founder, Freelock
"I think there is a tendency to be excited about the platform, when starting a web project—Drupal versus WordPress, and the feature sets associated with each. Clients can sometimes forget the main objective, after becoming enticed by the different things they can do. It’s important to be focused on that, and we don’t always need complicated solutions. Simple things can work as well, and can be easier to maintain in the long run, as long as they accomplish the project objectives...No matter how great a platform or beautiful the template is, if the content doesn’t convey the message, getting people to buy the new product a business may be offering, or to change their points of view, or to provide answers for a problem, the website platform itself can’t help with that."
Abhijeet Chavan
CTO, Urban Insight
"We can do the most with them, since they’ve been around for a long time. WordPress is used for 60-70% of the published web, and it’s open-source, which means there are multiple plugins available. A lot of people have added to the capabilities of this platform, and it’s all available for others to use. There are also robust CMS communities in place for support, whether it’s WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. A CMS-based website can be easy to get up-and-running for anyone with a bit of web development experience, but the challenge is that there are so many plug-ins. It can be a challenge to find the right one, and make sure that it’s the best choice. You don’t really need to worry about malicious plug-ins, but it’s important to find the ones which will actually do the right job."
Jill Starett
Design Strategist, Fresh Tilled Soil
"If someone is looking for a scalable, easy-to-use and secure CMS, WordPress is the best bet. Drupal comes second, in our opinion, but it’s used for different purposes. It’s more of a framework on which to build a custom and unique solution, whereas WordPress is more of an out-of-the-box CMS. There are other platforms, such as Craft, which is good, but doesn’t have as strong of a community. The reason we’ve chosen WordPress is the support of the community and the premium plugins which are available, as well as the ease of use for clients and junior developers.'
Ab Emam
Managing Director, WDG
"Drupal is an open-source CMS, one of the two most widely-known ones, along with WordPress. Drupal’s strength from the outset has been its ability to be customized and extended. It’s a powerful platform, and it can do just about anything. It’s very feature-rich in terms of its ability to model content, in terms of editorial capabilities, and in terms of its abilities to accommodate customized workflows and permissions governance. For some, the downside to this is that, with all of these capabilities, there’s a fair amount of complexity as well. Drupal has always had the reputation of having a steep learning curve. I personally feel that it’s a great choice for many industries, as well as different enterprises."
Brian Skowron
President, Lullabot
"The considerations are how much the customer is willing to spend and why. Squarespace is customizable, but, if getting every pixel exactly right is the priority, versus having a reliable, user-friendly site which looks good, it’s not the right choice. Users should look at their budget, and setup their priorities.It’s really about budget and priorities. If your budget is $10k or under, it’s probably a good idea to at least look at Squarespace. Conversely, if the person has a large budget and they want the site to look and behave perfectly, and they’re okay with ongoing maintenance, they should explore WordPress or Drupal. These sites won’t look good if they’re done for under $15,000. Even in that case, there will be ongoing maintenance costs and risks."
Jared Gold
Founder, Brevity
"The ideal person would be a small-to-medium business. WordPress is budget-friendly, as opposed to a larger enterprise CMS platform. Startup businesses or startup web apps which have to save a little on cost can also leverage the platform, instead of going fully-custom. They can have an initial proof-of-concept, and then build something custom.... If the site is heavy on customizations, WordPress may not be the best choice. Still, we’ve done some heavy customizations on it. I would typically say it’s a matter of speed and performance, but this can be managed with a team of good developers who can optimize the speed when working with a lot of data."
Paul Scott
Founder, GoingClear Interactive
"A lot of organizational decisions start with the budget and then decide how to spend it. I would recommend stepping back start with planning. What does the business really look like, survey the landscape, survey the competition, do an overall assessment of where things stand, and also do some technical discovery. We can look at the software a business is currently using to manage their website. We can look at the software that you’ve integrated in your website. We can actually start to get a much clearer picture and answer a lot of questions that maybe the client hasn’t thought about, or we haven’t fully understood."
Marty Vernon
Co-Founder, EDUCO
"A paid platform today must have a heavily maintained and supported resource center, and a good service model for marketers, technologists, or developers to provide access to staff for troubleshooting or recommending workarounds to non-traditional requests. One of the most interesting things about open source options in lieu of paid platforms is that even though there’s usually not real-time customer support, solutions to development problems are essentially “crowdsourced” by a community of developers who share and collaborate. You’re not subject to product development cycles; there’s constant innovation and collaboration."
Lori Dunkin
Director of Operations, FINE