Every business needs a website in order to be successful these days. A website gives your business a level of credibility that is established well beyond your first sale.
Today, more people than ever look a company up online before they can even make that first contact. They do this for two reasons: one, to see if the company is able to solve their problem(s) and two, to see if the company is worth the time to work with.
The determining factor to whether someone works with you is your reputation.When building your website, there are two options available. First, you can use a hosted website builder. There are plethora of builders to choose from depending on your needs and budget. The second is custom building your website's content management system which can be expensive and time-consuming as it can require specialized knowledge of coding.Utilizing the first option is ideal for new business owners as it allows you to scale your online efforts fairly easily with minimal cost, until you are ready to drop some cash on nice, business building features. Using a website builder means you do not need a technical background or the need to hire a developer.
You will do well if you know basic website coding such as HTML and CSS, but they are not required, at least in the beginning.
Ready to dive into the top 5 reputable website builders that fits your budget? Check out my list below:
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS). It is customizable with well over 350 different templates, layouts, and formats. It also supports plugins which can be thought of like apps on your smartphone that you can either pay to download or download for free depending on your needs and the vendor's business model.
Some examples include but are not limited to grammar and spelling checks, programmatic ads, form customization, tracking tools, and much, much more. WordPress is websites are programmed to be able to work on computers, tablets, and mobile devices with ease.
Why Would You Use WordPress?
WordPress can be used to build websites that are automatically optimized for multiple devices such as phones, tablets, and desktops. It’s super easy to use and flexible enough for just about anything. Due to WordPress’s popularity, many of the most influential and well-known brands use WordPress to power their websites such as: Time Magazine, Google, Facebook, Sony, Disney, LinkedIn, The New York Times, CNN, eBay, and many more.
One of the reasons why businesses love WordPress is because it is a free software and it scales very well. Regardless if you run a small personal blog or you run a media company that gets millions of views a month, you are free to download, install, use, and ultimately modify it with jumping through hoops or paying royalties.
You can use WordPress to create any kind of website. It is also open source which means the source code is available for anyone to study, modify and play with. It is a great platform to use as a business or outreach tool or even a beginner friendly way to learn to code.
There are currently over 2,500 WordPress themes and 28,000 plugins available to download and install for free. You are free to use as many as you need on any website, although it's worth mentioning I would keep the plugin count to 20 or below per website for performance and security concerns.
Why is this Builder Trustworthy?
Many users find WordPress to be trustworthy for a variety of reasons. Here are the big four:
- Security: WordPress can be an inviting target for hackers especially as it runs nearly 74 million websites. Many WordPress users say security is their top concern when using this builder. Much like other services, the platform has been hacked multiple times but no major vulnerabilities have been discovered inside WordPress’ core since January 2013.
- Blogging: There’s a reason WordPress is typically the first platform that comes to mind when you think of blogging. It’s set up perfectly for bloggers. The set-up is quick and easy with the tutorial being very friendly to first-time users.
- Cost: It’s open-source — AKA, FREE! Yes, the world’s most popular website building companion is available to download, install, and use for no cost.
- Ease of Use: Compared to other website builders like Wix, WordPress is not as easy to use and navigate as the menus haven't changed too much in the past 15 years or so. However, with a rating of 4.6/5, it’s still has one of the highest ratings in the industry.
To give you an idea of how trustworthy WordPress is, or in the very least, how many people actually trust WordPress to power their website, take a gander at this post on ManageWP called 14 Surprising Statistics About WordPress Usage. The amount of adoption is staggering, like how there are over 74 million websites built on WordPress.
Using WordPress.com as an Alternative
With WordPress.org, YOU host your own blog or website. WordPress.org is where you’ll find the free WordPress software that you can download and install on your own web server. Most hosting platforms have a once-click install feature as well, but this is referring to the same WordPress.org solution.
WordPress.com on the other hand, takes care of all of the hosting for you. You don’t have to download software, pay for separate hosting, or manage a web server. There is a free tier and a couple premium tiers. This can be a god option for overwhelmed, first-time business owners. I'll have an upcoming article better explaining the differences between the two platforms coming up shortly.
Squarespace is a builder that allows individuals and businesses to create and maintain beautiful, imagery based websites, blogs, and online stores. Many celebrities use Squarespace for their own online businesses and brands. An example is Keanu Reeves with his website Arch Motorcycle.
Squarespace is a highly recommended website builder for small business owners, artists, and actors. They have a great reputation for being dependable, easy to navigate, and for having a community that answers questions. The example websites are beautifully designed and everything is laid out and explained very well.
Is this Builder Trustworthy?
Squarespace is very trustworthy to users for a variety of reasons. Here are the big three:
- Better templates: Visually stunning, mobile-responsive designs that make your website look professional.
- The Powerful and flexible editor offers more design flexibility than other website builders.
- 24/7 support with one-hour email response and Squarespace live chat.
Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario. It is also a e-commerce platform for not only online stores but retail POS systems as well. It has thousands of merchants with over $45 billion in inventory.
Shopify makes it easy to establish your brand when starting with your custom named online store. Once your account is created, you have access to hundreds of the best looking themes, and complete control over the format of your store.
It’s a fantastic, easy-to-use e-commerce platform for those wanting to quickly and affordably start their online store without messing with auction websites and FBA programs. Shopify makes it easier than ever for you to impress your visitors with a beautiful store.
Shopify offers a large range of professionally designed themes, with prices ranging from free to $180. If you are looking for a more custom approach than a standard theme, you still have a range of options.
Is this Builder Trustworthy?
Shopify is very trustworthy to users for a variety of reasons. Here are the big three:
- Dynamic Marketing: From an online marketing standpoint, Shopify makes it easy for you to edit the most important elements of your website to be search engine friendly. You can input meta titles, page titles, meta descriptions, unique URLs, toggle visibility settings, and redirect pages where necessary. This gives you great flexibility to optimize your e-commerce store the way you want it.
- Unmatched Technical Support: A reliable and responsive technical support service is vital when running a e-tailer operation. You can call up the team around the clock on their toll-free numbers or simply live chat with an online operator.
- 24/7 Security: Shopify invests millions of dollars into ensuring their platform is secure. Security is more important than ever and when store owners are taking customer’s credit card details to make purchases. As such, it’s extremely important your website follows best security practices as well as following regulations.
Wix is a cloud-based web development platform. It allows users to create HTML5 websites and mobile websites through the use of online drag and drop tools.
Users may add social plugins, an e-commerce store, online marketing, contact forms, email marketing, and community forums to their websites using a variety of Wix-developed and third-party applications.
Wix is a free, user-friendly, website building platform. Their websites are professional, and can be updated with ease. No knowledge of coding is needed in order to create an amazing website.
Is this Builder Trustworthy?
With over 100 million registered users Wix is very trustworthy to users for a variety of reasons. Here are the big three:
- Anyone can do it: Without needing technical knowledge in coding, let alone needing to find plugins and themes, Wix is an easy choice for first-time website builders, especially small business owners.
- It’s Free: Normally, the cost of building and maintaining a website using a professional developer, would cost hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. The Wix Editor has been designed to be as easy to use as possible so that anyone with a computer can have the opportunity to build their own website.
- Wix is made for the masses: Wix has a wide range of templates covering a variety of subjects. You can personalize any template with many of our special features, including an online store, a hotel booking system, and an advanced blog manager and much more.
Weebly is a web-hosting service featuring a drag-and-drop website builder. Weebly's powerful drag and drop website builder and guided setup helps you get to the finish line faster, with no coding knowledge required.
With over 40 million users, Weebly is one of the simplest and easiest to use website builder tools available. You can build and publish your website online within minutes without having any technical skills.
Is this Builder Trustworthy?
Weebly is very trustworthy to users for a variety of reasons. Here are three:
- Drag and Drop Editor: The visual composition of Weebly’s interface editor is amazing compared to some others on the market. You do not need to spend much time on installing or finding plugins like a WordPress website. Though with the limitations you will see clearly what you can do it with Weebly and try it instantly.
- Multimedia Content: Flash content can be added just by adding an element and any audio and video codes can be embedded using custom HTML element called embed element. Images can be directly dropped in the content area without using image element and Weebly will automatically ask to consider it as a gallery or slideshow if multiple images are dropped.
- No ads: The annoying part of most of the free website builders is the ads they display. Ads will distract the users and you do not have any choice to get rid of it unless go for an upgrade. Weebly is promising that they will never place ads including free websites.
Alright, so we got through all that but what if you don't quite have a grasp on the right one for you?
Let's recap. We talked about the benefits of using these top 5 website builders:
As you're picking a website builder, just know going in that every builder has its advantages and disadvantages. Try to pick a builder that aligns to your goals as much as possible. This will help prevent a potential time consuming migration in the future.
But at the end of the day, you really can't go wrong choosing any one of these platforms, say for Shopify if you're not running an e-commerce operation. The biggest thing you'll want to do is just get started. A web presence is just that important.
Here's a more detailed recap of each builder's highlights:
Excellent builder to hit the ground running. There are so many ways to customize or extend your WordPress website.
Chef, photographer, or other creative? Squarespace is perfect for those who rely on high quality imagery. Showcase your work easily with a modern style. No need to worry about heavy customization.
Easily the top dog in hosted e-commerce builders. Many ways to manage your physical product business with ease.
Beginner's choice for those who wish to build their online presence in a day and not worry about other things. Their drag and drop editor is superior to other hosted website builders.
Another great beginner's choice who wished to quickly get their website up and running but wants the flexibility of future customization and portability.
My Pick for the Best Website Builder
There are a lot of great homes for your future website. Weigh the pros and cons and see what the best option for you is.
I'm sure you'll never guess what my pick is. /sarcasm. Even if I hadn't written about why I love and use WordPress, you're astute enough to notice that this website is built on WordPress.
I recommend WordPress for most people as it's one of the easiest content management systems out there and there is plenty of room to scale.
Let me know what your favorite website builder is in the comments below and while you're down there, explain why it's WordPress. 🙂
Thanks for joining me in this lengthy article!