A nice article! And yes, it is written in a simplest way yet being very informative. I have already tried some site builders but they were not easy to use. I want to create a simple website, just a pair of pages about my family. I want my friends could view videos and photos of the family celebrations. It'll be good to create the site free of charge. I choose between Weebly and mobirise. They are both free site builders as I know. Can you recommend what builder is easier?
The free Wix version lets you build a good-looking website on a Wix-branded subdomain. With a free plan, you can use almost all functional features of Wix website builder. The plan is never-ending, which makes it possible for everyone not only to test the features of the service, but to create multiple types of websites with it to practice and improve your skills. Mind, however, that a free plan comes with the system ad banner, subdomain and some other limitations.

Hi A S, Picking and purchasing a domain name and start building your website go hand in hand. What usually happens is that you test out a few different website builders to see which one you enjoy working with and has the tools that you are looking for. During that time, you can also start your search for your domain name. This is usually your business' name or brand name. We have a domain name guide here. Once you settle with a website builder and decide to upgrade to a paid plan, you can then connect your domain name to the website. Each website builder will have tutorials on how to do that. Hope this helps! Jeremy
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.
To get rid of the ads, connect a custom domain and unlock more features, users have to upgrade their accounts. In other words, technically, you can design and publish your website without spending a cent, but in reality, this website will either display a noticeable ad or will be published on a subdomain. Neither of these variants works well for a decent website.
I’ve always been curious about building my own website for personal use. I see commercials and banners saying how “THEY” are ‘free’ or ‘are easy to use’ or ‘best web builder around’, etc, etc. Not knowing who to believe, I, like many others, used the best resource that money can buy… i Googled! Your site was one of the links that I decided to explore and was impressed off the back. I liked your unbiased thoughts and personal 10+ experience in the field so you know what you’re talking about. So thank you for making our research, any potential pitfalls, future headache, possible regrets that we could’ve suffered by making the the selfless sacrifice by exploring these website building companies for the masses.
Hey Vivy, I haven't used any of those hosting services before so I can't quite comment. I've used Bluehost and WP Engine. WP Engine is more expensive, but they're good. They're a hosting service that is dedicated to WordPress users, so their support people are quite knowledgeable about WP in general. I've had excellent experiences with them. Jeremy
Have just started to use their e-commerce features and agree they are awesome. By comparison I have just built an e-commerce site using BigCommerce and it has been a chore using their site builder. Also have a Shopify site on standby, but I think Weebly will end up being my site of choice, mainly because the guys listen and make every effort to accommodate the users.
If you study my current site, you’ll see that most of my main sections link out to other places on the web – my YouTube channel, my podcasts, the speaking page here on College Info Geek, etc. This is a strategic decision – as a professional YouTuber/writer, those are the best places for me to be directing people, since I benefit from people subscribing to my content rather than evaluating it.
That said, even if your website is responsive, it’s usually a good idea to make some additional adjustments for your mobile site. In general, you want to remove any excessive details. Your mobile website should focus entirely on your call-to-action – whether that’s getting users to call your business, fill-out a contact form, join a mailing list, or make an online order.
If you're on a Mac however, there's another option: RapidWeaver. This WYSIWYG webpage editor has full code access and FTP support for uploading pages. There are plenty of built-in templates to get started, all for the one-time price of $99.99. On Windows there are numerous choices. Xara Web Designer 365, for example, starts at $49.99 and promises you don't need to know HTML or Javascript to create sites based on the company's templates.
Social Networks. Another factor of successful website promotion is effective social media marketing. Take your time to create groups in social networks, encourage users to join them, introduce special offers to boost user loyalty and apply other marketing strategies (or develop the one of your own) to make your newly-created website popular with the target audience. May your web building effort be a success!
The first thing to do when building your website is to develop a plan. Before you move forward, think about what you want your website to do, and decide what success looks like for your website. When you look back at your results a few months after your website is complete, how will you know it was worth it? Make sure you are planning your site to match your goals.
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.
Although people tend to find your site through a branded search in Google, it’s still important to make your domain easy to spell / type out. If it requires a lot of effort to type correctly, due to trying to spell it, the length or the use of un-memorable words or sounds, you’ve probably kissed goodbye to a good portion of your branding and marketing value.
Squarespace — There are a suite of beautiful apps: Commerce lets you manage your store. Blog lets you compose blog posts and manage your blog. Metrics gives you website analytics. Portfolio lets you manage photos and galleries— but it's iOS only. Having a suite of apps is great— rather than stuff everything into one app, they're able to make a beautiful interface for each use case.

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?
Absolutely. You have the option to customize your website based on your business needs. You can add site content wherever you’d like in a variety of sections; from multiple site pages, to scrollable sections that you can add to each of those pages, to a gallery of images, menus and price lists, and YouTube or Vimeo videos. Each section in your website is customizable as well, from the name of the page, to your website’s navigation bar. You’ll also have the ability to change text colors, styles and font. It’s important to have a mobile and desktop-friendly website. With Website Builder you’ll be able to choose tablet and desktop layouts to give your visitors the experience you want them to have.
Hello Richard, Thanks for your comment and for your support! WooCommerce is a solid ecommerce tool (they were purchased by WordPress last year, I believe). They're flexible and you can bolt on a lot of different tools, but the downside for a "typical" business person is that to use WooCommerce (and WordPress) well, they'll need to invest more time into learning and managing the tools, or hire someone knowledgeable for help. A lot of new small businesses just don't have the mental bandwidth and time to learn the in's and out's of operating a WordPress site efficiently and effectively. The article you mentioned focuses more on hosted ecommerce builders, versus platform where you need to get your own hosting services (and there more technically and administratively challenging for users). We did highlight WooCommerce briefly in this guide where we dig into the differences between hosted and non-hosted ecommerce platforms. Jeremy
By creating a website, you are creating an online presence. This allows you to connect with people that you might not otherwise be able to reach. Whether you’re making a basic website with contact information for your medical practice, creating a landing page for your freelance work, a multi-page experience for your wedding photography business or you just want a place to blog about your thoughts on food, having a website will give you a dynamic advantage.

This is the actual “website builder” that we’re looking at here.  No matter how good the template you choose is you will definitely need to do a least some customization in order to get your site looking the way you like.  So an easy-to-use and intuitive website builder is a must.  You want something that offers the ability to make the changes you want, and that doesn’t require you to spend hours learning how to do it.
Hey Grant, Glad you're finding our discussions helpful! GoDaddy is a pretty good website builder and we've discussed it in more details here. In general, while using website builders with hosts does give you access to a broader range of services, at times, their support teams may not be the best in terms of answering very specific website builder related questions. For instance, Weebly offers really good website building services, and you can reach them by going to Weebly.com. You can also use Weebly through hosts such as Bluehost. Both will work and enable you to build your website, but when it comes to support, if you are using Weebly through Weebly.com directly, you get Weebly's direct customer / technical support team. If you reach out for help through Bluehost, you get Bluehost's support team. We have a much deeper discussion about this specific scenario here. While some of the website builders don't provide you with email accounts, you can also easily sign up for Google Business App's email services for a few dollars a month. This way, you can take advantage of having your own custom domain email addresses, a familiar Gmail interface, and also that your email is stored on Google's servers which is probably a lot safer / reliable / accessible. - Jeremy
Speaking of usability, website builders are also made to be extremely functional and usable by even novice users. An average website can be built in a matter of hours and changes can be made in minutes. Something that users often fail to keep in mind is that a website is never completed. It is always a work in progress that requires changes and edits and they give users the ability to make snap edits and changes.
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.
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.
Hey Jeremy, Awesome article. I especially like the flow and the logical approach that you took to educate people. This is the article I point clients to, to get them up to speed before starting projects. I think it's important for them to know how their products work. While they aren't making their own sites, it definitely still fits the bill. Also, I'm curious as to what you think about WooCommerce these days. I didn't seem them on the list in the other article you wrote "Best Ecommerce Software". Anyways, I've been sending my clients here for a while now and just want to give you a shout out at a job well done! If you are able to send me an email, I do have a question I'd like to ask if you have the time.
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!
On most builders you can create your website in less than an hour. We don’t recommend being quite so quickfire about it, though. The best way to make a website is to give yourself a solid day to play around with the software and fine tune your site. It can take much longer than this to make a website site though – it depends on how many pages you have and how much customization you need to do.
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