For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as Senior Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web... See Full Bio
Branding has become such an important aspect of web businesses that every website needs to communicate a unique brand image via its website. This essentially means that you simply can’t afford to go with a free website template and hope to be memorable. Of course, drag and drop website builders let you play around with the design at a visual level as well as at a coding level. However, truly transformative branding needs significant makeovers upon existing template designs. And, because each website builder has its proprietary coding, it becomes challenging for your in-house website developers to uncertainty and carefully optimize and edit the code to achieve true customization.
Back in the days, knowing how to create your own website required knowledge about HTML code, CSS and Flash. Making your own website nowadays doesn’t require you to have these skills anymore. Content Management Systems (CMS) like Shopify, Wix or Wordpress can help anyone build their website from scratch. These website building platforms are user-friendly and help you manage your online content easily. Most websites make use of Wordpress, so we’d suggest that you do too.
Squarespace allows you to execute deep customizations in the website design via its drag and drop website builder, without touching code. You can easily drag and drop design elements, and look at the website preview before publishing. All templates are mobile responsive, so you can be sure your website will be mobile optimized. Design customizations of Squarespace’s website editor include fonts, colors, image opacity, background images, sidebar width, etc.

You won't need any special hardware or operating system (other than a Mac if you’re learning iOS), and you can even write code inside the Treehouse App using a feature called Workspaces. Subscriptions, which offer you access to all the training courses on the site, start at £20/month, and there’s a seven-day free trial if you want to check out the training first. Also note that there are special organisation rates for companies, non-profits, schools, organisations and businesses.
You can sell products and services on your website if you have the Online Store plan. You’ll have an online store that will allow you to add products and services, set up different types of payment methods, and even specific types of shipping. Your store will be integrated into your website as a page. You can add featured products for your visitors to scroll through, make quick purchases using PayPal and Apple Pay and promote your store/products through coupons. You can also use the same type of email marketing that is included in the Business Plus plan to send email communications to your subscribers and customers about sales in your store, coupon offers and events. Establishing a strong online commerce can boost your current sales, especially if you have a brick-and-mortar store.

GoCentral is a website product that lets you create a website that fits your personal or business needs, regardless of your skill set. You no longer have to choose between a website or an online store – now you can have both. Whether you want an online store, a pop-up site or a professional website to attract new customers, you get to choose how simple or dynamic you want your site to be. Just pick a design and go create your website with GoCentral.
If you want a visually stunning and premium looking website, Squarespace is worth considering. Squarespace’s templates look great out of the box, but the look is mostly achieved by their images; replacing them with your own images could take the sheen off the website. The aesthetic appeal of these templates is in a different league, as compared to other drag and drop website builders.
Aquent Gymnasium is a great place to improve your current knowledge of responsive design techniques, front end web design, CSS, UX design and HTML. It is a class-based website where you can enroll with other web designers to improve your knowledge. Classes consist of videos that focus on different topics that also includes Coding for Designers, Flash cohesion and JavaScript. The lessons are mainly for people wanting to build professional websites.
If you choose to go with WordPress.com, though, you’ll find yourself equipped with a blogging-focused website builder which offers both a good range of templates and a straightforward, easy-to-use blog post editor. You’ll also be joining a large, engaged community of users who’ll be able to show you the WordPress ropes. However, a number of more advanced features are reserved for the more expensive pricing plans, and you don’t have as much control over your site’s design as what most website builders offer.
All Alison courses are free to enrol, study and complete. To successfully complete this Diploma course and become an Alison Graduate, you need to achieve 80% or higher in each course assessment. Once you have completed this Diploma course, you have the option to acquire official Certification, which is a great way to share your achievement with the world. Your Alison Certification is:
uKit – is one of the easiest DIY website builders, which is mostly oriented on the development of small business websites. If you have ever worked with the system, however, and wish to use it to launch other types of websites, you are welcome to do that with no hesitations at all – so feature-rich and flexible the system is. The web building process is simple and intuitive here and it does not take much effort or time.
Duda's selection of features is thoughtful and solidly business focused. If you already have a business website (or Facebook page), you can take advantage of the free preview option and see what your site will look like with Duda's mobile design. If you don't have a business website, you can build a mobile site from scratch using a simple drag-and-drop interface that doesn't require any coding.
Understand the basics of website construction and get up and running quickly in this beginner Expression Web course. The topics you learn in this Expression Web class include; adding text and images; styling your pages with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS); and working with tables. You'll also explore how to upload and manage your site, generate site reports, and work with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to increase traffic to your web site.
Aimed at “lifelong learners” rather than beginners, Udacity is firmly focused on teaching specialised skills to help people in the tech industry get to the next level of their career. Courses are focused on high-end topics such as autonomous systems, AI, machine learning and full-stack web development, and are built in partnership with Google, AT&T, and Facebook. 
Because of the minor risks we explained above, it’s crucial that you choose a drag and drop website builder with stellar reputation, domain expertise in your niche, responsive customer support, and a large user base. Keep all these points in mind, and you can be sure that you’ll be able to leverage the tremendous benefits of drag and drop website builders for the success of your online projects.
If you are interested in learning how to build dynamic, interactive web pages then the Webmaster HTML/CSS and JavaScript Bundle, which is part of our best-selling Webmaster range of web design courses, could be just the training programme you are looking for. Consisting of the HTML & CSS course for beginners and the more advanced JavaScript Programming course, this bundle of courses is available at the discounted price of £350.00, representing a saving of £100.00 over purchasing the courses separately.
This is a great review post on website builders. I have tried some of them myself but most of them were hard on the budget and too clunky for me to actually use. Weebly and Squarespace did have what I was looking for but decided to abandon them for lack of time. The customer service on most of these is pretty bad (except the top3). I was actually going to do a review on most of these website builders myself but you’ve done a good job here.
Doodlekit is one of the most unusable and unintuitive website builders on the market. Editing the limited number of templates is confusing and convoluted and taking advantage of the advertised features is more trouble than it’s worth. Despite my extensive history with site builders and web design, I found myself confused and frustrated when trying to make even the simplest changes on my Doodlekit website.
I just wanted to thank you for your execellant review of the web builders. I am a professional Art Director who at my clients requests, needs to start building sites for them. I started a site for a film Director last year who wanted to feature his personal photography. So at the time, I used Square Space which seemed to be very versitle, however, I was never able to finish the site due to other job commitments. I have now been hired to design/build a site for a wonderful luthier. So I think I am going to go with WIX per your review. (Unless you think SP would be better.) please let me know and thanks again!!!!
Whereas Weebly only allows you to reposition design elements within designated areas on the template, this actually helps you switch your website template to a different one (unlike Wix). Also, Weebly automatically creates a mobile optimized version of your website. You can even use HTML and CSS3 coding (if needed) to make very intricate design changes in Weebly templates. Read our Weebly review
Website builder, website schmilder. Planning to start a new website and don't want to use a web builder program for setup and editing? Are you looking to create something more professional for your business? Or perhaps you've had a bad experience in the past with companies like Wix, Squarespace, Web.com, Weebly, Webs, Jimdo, Homestead or GoDaddy. Regardless of your reasons to not use a website building program, the following page offers some alternatives and solutions to create a website without having to use a proprietary HTML editor browser interface, as well as when a DIY site builder might be the best choice.
One downside, though, is that using a website builder will require slightly more of your time. Got more money than time? Hiring a website developer could be right for you. But, by creating the site yourself, you will be able to make the exact site you want, rather than a developer’s approximation of your requests. And, you never know, you might even enjoy it.
Learn Rapid Prototyping skills in this UX training course. Participants discover how to efficiently create, share and test concepts, designs and structure for websites and apps. Learn best practices for UX prototyping and testing before investing in final user experience designs. Gain an understanding of the process for rapid iteration of UX designs and creating mockups. Find out ways to improve the efficiency of the design and development process in this Rapid Prototyping UX workshop.
Launched in 2012, Bloc describes itself as an “online coding bootcamp” that aims to take you from being a beginner to job-ready web developer. Learning materials are a combination of written and video lessons, but Bloc’s special sauce is an apprenticeship model that pairs you with an experienced mentor, who provides support and guidance throughout the course via 14 hours of live Q&A per day. There are also weekly group discussions and daily group critiques.
Great article! Having trawled the internet and read quite a few websites on how to build a website, I can honestly say this is the most comprehensive and easy to understand - to a complete novice! Your step-by-step guide is thorough and very informative and has given me the confidence to go ahead and try to set up my own business website ... A big THANK YOU!
×