Strikingly offers a good variety of template options that are well-designed and modern.  The website builder doesn’t make it as easy as some of the others to customize things, but it’s fairly good. The real downside is the price.  At $16/mo it is the most expensive option (they have an $8/mo package but it is really limited), and with some other website builders offering a better product for a cheaper price, Strikingly is not the best choice.
Hello Robert, thank you for the comprehensive review. I would really appreciate your recommendation for my specific case (I have studied your review carefully and still I’m not sure). I am an artist and want to build a website showcasing my paintings (photographed high resolution), and an online store selling paintings. It is essential that I can add items to the store on weekly basis. It is also essential the site loads quickly to get high google ranking. Cost is an issue, and I don’t mind a learning curve. I want a clear and clean website, no confusion / getting lost elements. Would you recommend Bold Grid?
Many people have asked me about using a website builder such as Squarespace, Wix or Weebly. The problem is that these services come at a price – you’ll generally have to pay between $10 and $40 a month for a single site. You’ll also be limited to basic customization of the template designs they offer, which means that there’s a good chance your site will look just like everyone else’s site.
Responsive design is a popular web design strategy used by some of these site builders. This approach reformats the same webpage content to fit different screens. But in terms of SEO (search engine optimization), the search engines only care about whether a site displays suitably on mobile screen sizes. Both Bing and Google have pages where you can enter your URL to see if your site plays on mobile acceptably.
Even if your site’s primary purpose is not to function as a blog, you may find yourself requiring one at some point (Be sure to read the how to start a blog guide for a complete overview), either to keep your visitors updated or to use as a marketing tool. SEO, for example, is something that requires the creation of content to get your website noticed by search engines. Most website builders have built-in content management systems that allow you to write and edit blog posts in your browser. These systems make it easy to create rich content on the fly.
None gets the job done better Editors' Choice award-winning Wix. It has a drag-and-drop interface, and all elements of the site are customizable. It doesn't cost a cent to get started with Wix, but you'll want to go premium, starting at $5 per month for a domain and scaling upward to $25 per month for unlimited monthly data transfers and 20GB of storage.
Website builders are a perfect solution for individuals and small businesses to start a website without hiring a developer. The problem is finding the best website builder can be tricky for beginners. With so many website builders out there, how do you know which is the right solution for you? In this article, we’ll help you choose the best website builder by going over the pros and cons of the most popular options.

If the .COM version of your business name is available, consider using this for your website. Otherwise, try different phrases before settling for an alternate suffix, like .NET or .INFO. Consumers overwhelmingly use .COM when entering a web address. So even if you promote your .NET website, you could lose customers who typed in the .COM version instead.


As far as actually doing the nuts and bolts building and design of your site, you also have plenty of options. You can hire someone to design and code a website, or you can try your own hand. You can use an online service to create web pages, or build it offline using a desktop software tool. Or, if you're a coding dynamo, use a plain text editor to create a site from scratch. How you mix and match these decisions depends on your skills, time, budget, and gumption.
With all that being said, I want to share some things you can do to improve your website’s SEO. To keep things simple, we’ll take an 80/20 approach here – as in 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts. Yes, there are lots of tiny little tweaks you can make to marginally improve SEO – and if you’re curious about them, you might want to check out this set of tutorials.

For years Adobe Dreamweaver has been synonymous with web page creation. It's gone from being a creator of HTML pages in a WYSIWYG interface to being able to handle programming pages in Cold Fusion, JavaScript, PHP, and other formats. Its liquid layout lets you see how pages look at different browser and screen sizes—even on smartphones and tablets. It's about as code-heavy as you want it to be.

For those who prefer to use a commercial program, thesitewizard.com has numerous online tutorials for a web editor called Dreamweaver, a program with features on par with that of Expression Web. The Dreamweaver Tutorial takes you through all the steps needed to design a complete website, in addition to providing you with the theoretical and practical foundations that will help you create and maintain that site.


Just as you can get a logo designed by 99Designs.com, you can also have your full website designed through this site. The concept is the same: you submit a brief on what you are looking for and get back anywhere from 20 to 60 designs. You only pay for the design you choose, and the price ranges from $599 to $1,599, depending on which package you go with. We used 99designs here at FitSmallBusiness.com for our own website – so if you want to see an example of a 99designs website, you’re looking at one!
Overall this was my favorite website builder, and the main reasons were how easy it was to use along with having the most modern template selection.  If you want to change something on your site just click on it and options come up to edit text, drag- and-drop, change background images, etc.  There are also helpful tutorials that pop-up right inside the builder, so if you are struggling to figure something out there is help right there, which means you won’t have to contact customer service for every little thing.
Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine's lead analyst for software and web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine's coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of web services for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine's S... See Full Bio

If you prefer not to use any of the above, you can find tutorials for other WYSIWYG web editors here, including one for KompoZer, another free (though somewhat outdated) web editor. And if none of them suits your taste, there are also numerous other programs listed on thefreecountry.com's Free HTML Editors and WYSIWYG Web Editors page. In addition, if you're thinking of blogging (making a website that works like an online diary), you may want to read How to Create a Blog.
Hello, I used BigCommerce to build the website, tenbrookeleanne.com, for my girlfriend's brick and mortar boutique. I do not know any code and before making this website, I knew nothing about ecommerce. The customer service for BigCommerce is awesome! Even though they are a WYSIWYG drag and drop site builder, they helped me customize my website by editing the code for me. They changed the background for my chosen (free) template and added an instagram social button even though it wasn't in the template. When making the website I had a ton of questions and they were always happy to help, now I very rarely have to call support. The BigCommerce University and question forums are very resourceful at well. I would highly recommend BigCommerce to anyone who is looking to make an ecommerce site. My only complaint about BigCommerce is that they do not have a native solution to integrate with the brick and mortar store POS to keep the inventory up to date (though they say they are/have been working on it). I have to use an expensive and less than satisfactory third party software for the two platforms to communicate with each other.
You can download WordPress and install it directly to any hosting service you want to use. Doing this is more complicated, though, and requires more effort. If you want to rearrange the layout of a particular template, for instance, you’ll have to modify the code to do so. Plugins exist and can help, but installation often requires more than a single click.
Why wasn’t 1and1’s in there? the were rated 31 by SMB trust & Consumer Reports. I love mine. The have loads of templates, & comes with literally everything. SSL Cert, 200 emails, SEO tool, Newsletter tool,Numerous payment and delivery methods, Site Analytics, mobile optimized all for less than $15 a month. 3 other things I love are they the have 24/7 US hosted Tech support, they don’t post any ads on my site and the don’t take a penny when i sell items!!
Wix is one of the best free website builders out there. Its hundreds of HTML templates are extremely user-friendly and reliant on the software’s drag-and-drop interface, which makes building a website a similar experience to crafting a PowerPoint presentation. While Wix offers more flexibility in terms of customization over other website builders, the unbridled freedom also makes it easier to create lackluster designs if you don’t know what you’re doing.
I’m pretty new to the whole web development/design aspect of things. I’ve tinkered before with free things but more specifically with forum design. I’m very interested in building a website but aside from having a main traditional website feel I’m looking to incorporate a forum to it. Would it be possible to do this with this WordPress/BlueHost tutorial here? Or would there be something you recommend for that sort of thing?
The list on the top of this page was compiled after an extensive review process. All of the good and bad components of each website builder were considered and used to create a grade system on a scale of ten. We even included a star rating system so that users can share their assessments with us and our readers. Although Wix has our most favorable score, it is not necessarily suited to every user (check Weebly also). We encourage you to read up and determine which one best suits your needs.
Michael Muchmore is PC Magazine's lead analyst for software and web applications. A native New Yorker, he has at various times headed up PC Magazine's coverage of Web development, enterprise software, and display technologies. Michael cowrote one of the first overviews of web services for a general audience. Before that he worked on PC Magazine's S... See Full Bio
About.me and Flavors.me are examples of nameplate services. You simply upload one big photograph as the background for your personal webpage, then artfully overlay information and links to create your digital nameplate. These free sites help you pull images from your social networks or from a hard drive, then provide the tools to make the text and links work unobtrusively, though it really behooves you to check out other personal pages for an idea of what works.
Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools for tracking how people view your site. The Google Analytics Dashboard connects your WordPress site to Google for proper tracking. It also displays your traffic in your admin panel of WordPress in real-time. It's very useful if you want to plan content strategies or just see how people are accessing your content.
After you have chosen the winning design, you will need to find someone to code the design for your website. 99designs has coding partners that will be able to do this for you and who have experience working with templates from 99designs. Typically the cost to code 1 responsive page (a page that also works on mobile) is $300, and each inner page (all pages other than the homepage) costs around $150.
I own a small business and am looking to redesign our website. Thanks for all your comparisons of the website builders! I currently use Mailchimp to send out weekly emails to my customers. Do you know if any of these website builder sites allow you to create an email list? Then use a template to create an email (like Mailchimp) and send it out to all your subscribers. Ideally there would be a tab on your website people can click on to enter their email address…..They would then get your emails. Thanks for any feedback :)
You can even go beyond the search engine and find out what users are searching for when on your site, what they’re clicking on when they reach specific pages, and what your most popular (and least popular content) is. This can be especially powerful for eCommerce shops, but is also relevant to blogs. Pages that don’t perform well can be expanded upon and improved to meet user needs and expectations.
Eric narrowly averted a career in food service when he began in tech publishing at Ziff-Davis over 25 years ago. He was on the founding staff of Windows Sources, FamilyPC, and Access Internet Magazine (all defunct, and it's not his fault). He's the author of two novels, BETA TEST ("an unusually lighthearted apocalyptic tale"--Publishers' Weekly) an... See Full Bio
Hi Leon, I think Wix, Squarespace or Weebly are potential candidates. I also heard that some affiliate marketing sites use WordPress. But with WordPress, it is much more technical challenging than drag and drop website builders. But WP does offer more flexibility, if you know how to use it proficiently (with a bit of coding knowledge). Give the ones I suggested a try. They're free to test, before you commit to upgrading to one of their paid plans. That's the best way to get a sense of what works well for you! Jeremy
The strict responsive approach of Simvoly, uKit, and Weeby means you get no control over the mobile-only view. Wix, by contrast, offers a mobile-site preview and lets you make customizations that only apply to mobile viewing. For example, you may want a splash page to welcome mobile viewers, or you may want to leave out an element that doesn't work well on the smaller screens.
While the the best of them offer surprising amounts of flexibility, they also impose stringent enough restrictions to page design that you shouldn't be able to create a really bad looking site using one of these services. Typically you can get a Mysite.servicename.com style-url with no commerce abilities for free from one of these services; you have to pay extra for a better URL and the ability to sell. One issue to consider is that if you eventually outgrow one of these services, it can be hard to export your site to a full scale advanced web hosting like Dreamhost or Hostgator. If you know that's where you are eventually going, it may be better to skip the sitebuilder step.
Modern website are more complex than websites in the past. They aren't just HTML, CSS and Javascript being passed from a server. Those assets are optimized, cached and accessed through special content delivery networks (among other things) to ensure performance. The reality of disentangling all of this from the website builder and moving into a third party host is that it's messy and would require a level of technical competence that most users of website builders don't have.
GoCentral Website Builder can act as your hub, the place where your friends and contacts can see your posts, photos, videos and more. With the option to link to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ on your website, your visitors can be everywhere you are on the web. Being able to cover multiple platforms gives you the opportunity to reach more people, while creating appropriate content for each of your socials (like posting all of your photos on Instagram, and tweeting about your most recent business venture on Twitter). By centrally locating all the links in one place – your new website – you are giving your website visitors a seamless experience. Linking to your social media in your website gives you an advantage in communicating with your visitors; the more they can connect with you and do so in the forum that’s most comfortable to them, the more they’ll engage with your site, and thus you or your business.
It basks in the basics with only a handful of themes to choose from, but each is responsive and optimized for whatever platform users might be using to view the site. The lack of customization might be a deterrent to those looking for a more comprehensive package, though it also renders the site one of the easiest to use for novices with little design experience.
Thank you for writing this “How To” guide for first-time website builders! Up until now I honestly thought the only way to make a personalized website for a business or with a unique domain name was by hiring a website designer. It was such a huge help to read about the pros and cons of each site builder and to see what costs would actually be associated with each. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
uKit – is a website builder, which is a perfect pick if you’re looking to build a website for business. The platform was specially designed to meet the needs of small-to-medium-sized businesses. The website builder, however, can be equally used to launch other types of projects you might need. It is flexible and intuitive, which makes it simple to adjust it to your web building needs.
Above all, make sure your domain’s spelling is very easy to get correct for someone just sounding it out. This way, you’ll be able to mention your domain easily in casual conversation, and the person you’re talking to will be able to find it without worrying about the spelling. This tip really applies to everything – for instance, it’s a lot easier to tell people my Twitter handle, @TomFrankly, than it is to tell them the username I used to use for everything in middle school, electrick_eye. The goal is to make it easy for people to find you.
I am currently looking at setting up a blog for the area I specialise in. I am aware of wordpress.org but have been a bit daunted by the number of webhosts out there offering this and that. One particular issue is that I use macs and I was wondering whether bluehost is compatible with the mac, and whether there are any other extra steps I have to take when using a mac over windows. Would it be as simple as registering with a webhost then clicking one-step installation on a mac?
Another great video-based learning library is Treehouse. Their library isn’t as extensive as Lynda’s, but they still have a lot to offer – especially in the area of web development. I actually prefer Treehouse over Lynda, as they include code challenges and quizzes with their video-based projects. In fact, I learned to build an iPhone app in just two days by using Treehouse. Unfortunately, I have yet to see any schools offering free subscriptions to their students – but that doesn’t stop your from asking!
One downside of most of these services is that, should you someday want to move to another web host, you'll likely be out of luck because of the custom code they use to display your site. Only a few of the services here let you take your site to another web hosting service: The most complete example of this is Weebly, which lets you download the standard site server folders. Squarespace offers some transferability by letting you output your site in standard WordPress format. As you might expect, the same transferability holds for WordPress.com.

I rarely comment on these sorts of reviews, but after reading your clearly unbiased and in depth review I felt it necessary to thank you. I already have a boldgrid website and domain and wanted to understand more about the limitations of that vs it’s competitors, a LOT of other articles on the subjects are clearly shills for one of the companies, it’s refreshing to see such an honest and thorough review, thanks again!

Weebly has been around longer than just about another website builder, but unfortunately they have not been able to keep up with their more modern competitors.  The template designs look older, and the website builder is more difficult to figure out.  It’s not a bad choice if you have a particular reason for choosing it, but otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it.
Thanks, Robert. I guess it is what you get used to. I went to Weebly several years ago from both Yola and Wix. At the time they were the only one that could easily do drop down menus which was important to me. Also have found them very innovative and have rarely suffered any downtime. Their tech support is excellent. While their selection of templates may be limited, they work closely with another company, Baamboo Studios who produce impressive templates for their users.

Do it Yourself: There are a number of logo design software out there that will allow you to create your own logo. We recommend Tailor Brands if you want an easy way to create an appealing logo. Once you create your logo, you can subscribe and gain access to branding tools, including seasonal logos, branded social media posts, branding landing pages, and more. You can try it out for free, and if you find a design you like, you can download it for as little as $2.99. Click here to start designing your logo.

If you want to improve the chances that your website will work in future versions of all web browsers, consider validating the code for your web pages. In layman's language, this means that you should check that the underlying code of your web page, called "HTML" and "CSS", has no syntax errors. You don't actually need technical knowledge of HTML and CSS to validate the page, since you can use one of the numerous free web page validators around to do the hard work. On the other hand, if the validator tells you that your page has errors, it may sometimes be hard to figure out what's wrong (and whether the error is actually a serious one) if you don't have the requisite knowledge. Having said that, some validators actually give concrete suggestions on how to fix your code, and one of them, called "HTML Tidy", is even supposed to be able to fix errors for you.
A web browser can display three types of images on your website: GIF, JPG, and PNG. GIF images are great for logos or images with limited color in them. They make your image file size smaller, which means they load much faster for visitors. JPGs are great for photos, while PNGs are ideal for full-color website images like button and menu backgrounds.
Hi Kahil, I think it will be challenging to find a free website builder that will allow you to connect your own domain name to the website. All of the good website builders I know of, such as Wix or Weebly, even though they allow you to build websites for free, they do require you to upgrade to at least their lowest plan before you can connect your own domain to the website. I suppose this is just a trade off - they can brand their names on your free website, in return for allowing you to build a website for free. If you want the ability for each customer to log in to view his/her own specific / individual pricing, it's not a feature that most website builders have. Builders such as Wix and Weebly has membership functions, but they just protect pages behind a membership gateway, where all members can access the same pages. So you can't set pages up that each member has his/her own unique pages, if you know what I mean. If you want that function, I think you'll have to use a more powerful membership software. Perhaps WordPress has a plugin for that, but I'm not familiar with one. Jeremy
WordPress is not an all-in-one package. It’s a Content Management System (CMS). A CMS allows you to create and organize digital content. Other elements like hosting and domain registration are best done separately. It’s up to you to bring these together in service of a WordPress site. This isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think, but it’s not the easiest way to make a website. We wouldn’t recommend it to people uncomfortable with technology.
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