Squarespace, Wix, and more in 2020September 21, 2020
Whether you need the full e-commerce package or just a landing page, we’ve got you covered.
All businesses — no matter how big or small — need a strong and compelling website if they want to stand out from the crowd.
Whether you’re starting your own business or simply thinking about it, looking to create an online shop or just boost your client list, it’s important to consider what your online presence is going to look like. Without a website, you might as well not exist.
There’s a common misconception that developing a website takes hundreds of hours, or the work of a team of professionals. These days, you can create your own website through one of many website builder companies. Via a subscription plan, you can enjoy plenty of support while still being able to design your own site and choosing the look that’s right for you. A website builder is perfect for freelancers, start-ups, and more established companies alike. And if you’re on a budget, you should also check out our list of the best cheap web hosting services.
We’ve narrowed down the best website builders for many different situations. Website builders that are great if you’re on a budget, looking for stylish mobile content, a minimalist approach, an ecommerce focused site, or simply a more hands-on way of doing things, have all been considered in our roundup. There’s sure to be the perfect website builder plan for your needs.
These are the best website builders for anyone with a side hustle in 2020.
Great for beginners • Artificial intelligence can build your site for you • Offers separate mobile editor • Loads of templates, with new ones added all the time
If you want to switch templates, you’ll have to start from scratch • No direct CSS or HTML editing
Beginners will find Wix’s many templates, features, and mobile options to be easy to use, but make sure you choose the right template from the beginning.
WixWix has loads of templates and features that make it easy for beginners, and a special mobile editor as well.
Basic site with ads:
It’s straightforward enough that pretty much anyone who can use a computer can get to grips with it, making it easy to create a website in less than an hour. Such ease of use is its main strength as a perfect starter package for businesses.
Besides a constant flurry of new templates, Wix offers new features each month too. These range from new customisation features to Wix ADI (artificial design intelligence) which builds your site for you, saving you the job.
Are you a restaurant owner or cafe proprietor? A mobile website is practically a non-negotiable. You need people to find your website while they’re out and about, serving them everything they need right from their smartphone screen. The Wix mobile editor enables you to create a whole separate site for mobile users, potentially opening up a whole new market, ensuring your mobile site is far easier to use than any others.
However, Wix lacks some flexibility. You can’t switch templates at a later date without adding and customising all your content again from scratch. So you better be pretty certain when you pick your layout the first time. Quantity over quality is sometimes an issue here too, with customisation not quite as extensive as more experienced users will want. Don’t expect to be able to directly edit HTML or CSS code here.
The price: Wix offers free ad-supported accounts for the most basic sites. Subscription plans ranging from £4 per month to £19 per month are available. The best value package is the Unlimited subscription priced at £10.75 per month. It provides unlimited bandwidth, 10GB storage, a free domain name, no ads, and £230 worth of ad vouchers.
Fully drag-and-drop interface for ease of use • Over 300 templates with suggested uses
No CSS or HTML code editing • No way to change your template without starting from scratch • Limited mobile functionality
GoDaddy is aimed at those who simply want an online presence fast.
GoDaddyGoDaddy’s 300+ templates and drag-and-drop interface can help you build a website fast, but its flexibility and mobile options are limited.
A fully drag and drop user interface means users can easily insert content like images or slideshows and contact forms within seconds. Over 300 professional looking templates are available, with some insight offered as to what theme works best for which role. GoDaddy is aimed at those who simply want an online presence — and fast.
That means it’s not as advanced as the likes of Wix or Squarespace, but you won’t be intimidated by options. It’s particularly great if you’re unsure of design and style, and just want a company to say what works best. Multiple backup points can be set up so there’s never any fear of losing valuable content along the way.
The downside to the simple service is that — like Wix — there’s no way of changing to another theme without losing content. Code editing isn’t an option either, which may be limiting if you’re aiming for a site that grows with your abilities. Mobile functionality is also somewhat limited with GoDaddy, especially compared to Wix.
The price: Pricing starts at £4.60 per month for a personal site with business sites priced at £7.65 per month with the addition of a Paypal Buy Now button and SEO assistance. A full eCommerce setup costs £15.30 per month with purchase facilities.
Better and more flexible templates • Wide range of options for design • Ability to export site if you leave
Intimidating for total novices • Pricier than some
Squarespace is flexible and popular with both newbies and experts, but it’s not the cheapest option.
SquarespaceSquarespace is popular because of its flexibility and superior templates.
It’s a potentially tough sell but its all-inclusive nature means that the sites it creates look far more distinctive than other website builders.
Squarespace offers noticeably better templates than its competitors, even if they’re fewer in number. It’s possible to tweak and edit how they look so you’re not stuck with a cookie cutter style result, whether you have coding experience or not.
If you ever want to leave, there’s the option of exporting your site into WordPress, and you can always change templates if your business needs change.
The only downside to such a wealth of options is that it can be intimidating for complete novices.
Additionally, Squarespace goes the extra mile when it comes to SEO with options for maximising search performance, as well as tracking your site’s performance via its own analytics dashboard.
The price: A personal website costs £9.10 per month if billed annually or £12.25 on a month-by-month basis. That gives you everything mentioned above, as well as a free custom domain if you go with an annual purchase.
A business account costs £13.80 per month if billed annually, or £20 month by month. It comes with £76 of Google AdWords credit, as well as fully integrated ecommerce support with a 3% transaction fee tied into it. More advanced online shop support ranges from £20 to £35 per month.
Has large array of plug-ins like customer service • Made for e-commerce
Relatively high transaction fees • Extra fees for some plug-in apps • Harder to code and customise
If your site is mainly about e-commerce, Shopify will help you minimise the hassle, but it’s pricey.
ShopifyShopify is the standard when it comes to e-commerce, but it’s pricier than most website builders and has more of a learning curve.
Like any good website builder, it’s hardly any effort to implement a template and design a site that reflects your business brand. Where Shopify differs from the rest is its extensive array of apps that can be plugged into your store, thereby including accounting, customer service, inventory management, marketing, and other features. Made specifically with ecommerce in mind, it’s hard to find a feature it lacks.
The only limitation comes from its relatively high transaction fee. In addition to a monthly service fee, each Shopify transaction has a fee of 0.5-2 percent, with many of the apps available adding an extra fee on top of that.
It’s also trickier to code and customise as it uses its own coding language called Liquid, rather than HTML or CSS.
Despite that, it’s a great option for small businesses owners who want an ecommerce setup with minimal hassle.
The price: A basic Shopify account costs £22.25 per month, which includes unlimited products, discount codes, and features such as manual order creation. Extra features such as gift cards require a regular Shopify account, which costs £60.50 per month.
You can easily switch between themes • Offers HTML and CSS customisation
Lacks plugins or advanced features
If you’re keen to design your own site and know how to code, but want a little helping hand along the way, Weebly covers all the right bases.
WeeblyWeebly is great if you’re already a coder and know what you’re doing.
Basic site (with ads):
On the surface, there are extensive customisable templates with more than 40 pre-designed page layouts to get you started. Unlike other services though, you can easily switch between themes, extensively customise the code, and even download the site’s code for future reference.
That comes at a small cost to the drag and drop functionality as it’s limited compared to other website builders, but it’s ideal if you want to get more hands-on with your site design. In a similar vein, Weebly lacks plugins or advanced features, but it’s possible to add functionality via coding instead. For people who run their own online business, it’s worth noting that the ecommerce functionality is a little limited.
If you’re keen to design your own site and know how to code, but want a little helping hand along the way, Weebly covers all the right bases.
The price: An ad-supported free package is available and could be good starting option to see if Weebly feels right for you. A personal site works out at £6.15 per month when paid annually, including a free domain, £80 of Google ads, and no Weebly ads. More advanced services start at £9 per month with a small business plan working out at £20 per month for unlimited product sales.
Fast and easy one-page sites • Perfect for simple sites
Bare-bones • Won’t grow with a booming business
If you just want a landing page, Strikingly specialises in that.
StrikinglyStrikingly specialises in one-page sites, and it’s what they’re best at. If you’re planning an empire, though, you’ll need something more flexible.
With its template design focused on dividing each part of the page into sections, it’s simple to create a one page design within hardly any time at all. It’s perfect for small businesses that want to advertise their physical location, or for portfolio sites.
A blog section can be included, as well as a contact form, but Strikingly keeps things very simple so it’s not perfect for all website design needs. As a form of online place holder, however, it’s quick and simple for small startups to get their name out there.
The price: A free plan is available and includes 5GB monthly bandwidth as well as the option to sell one product via the Simple Store feature. Bumping up to £6 per month provides users with more bandwidth, a free domain, and up to 5 products on the store. A pro account works out at £12.25 per month and removes most restrictions with up to 300 products possible to list.
Free plan offers unlimited sites and bandwidth • Offers templates and widgets • Offers HTML and CSS customisation
Duda’s free package is perfect if you’re unsure if you need an online store.
DudaDuda offers an unprecedented number of features for free, but you’ll have to pay if you don’t want ads.
Basic package (with ads):
For free, you can launch as many sites as you can build, with as many pages as you want, and without any bandwidth limits. Unusually, the free plan also offers a web store with up to 10 products, PayPal, Stripe, and Global Gateway support, and order and customer management tools. That’s unheard of in the industry and perfect for those users dipping their toe into the ecommerce market. Admittedly, there are ads involved, but for a no-risk form of trial, it’s perfect.
Designing your site is a simple matter of picking out a template through the builder’s drag and drop interface, with some basic widgets also available. Editing HTML and CSS code is also an option.
Duda could have been just another website builder, but its free package makes it worth checking out if you’re unsure about whether your company will benefit from an online store presence.
The price: Duda currently works out at £7.50 per month over the course of a year, for its Pro package. For additional ecommerce tools such as a larger store, there’s an additional monthly fee to pay.
Auto-detects visitor’s language from their location • Especially good for bloggers • E-commerce features are easy to implement
E-commerce payment options are limited
If you’re going global, Voog might be the service to consider.
VoogVoog’s language detection feature makes it great if you’re planning a global business.
On the surface, Voog is a fairly typical website builder. It has a simple-to-use editor with drag and drop elements that make it easy to get started. Layouts can be tweaked to a certain extent so that sites look different from others, and it’s particularly ideal for avid bloggers. Ecommerce features are simple to implement with a great degree of flexibility, although there are limitations to PayPal and MakeCommerce when it comes to payment.
It’s the simple way in which each site offers a flag to change languages that makes Voog perfect for start-ups and entrepreneurs who need to speak to a global market. It’ll even automatically detect the language from the visitor’s location. Although, do expect to translate things yourself. There’s no automation here — not that such services are particularly accurate anyhow.
The price: The standard plan is £4.55 per month billed annually, which provides users with 2 GB storage, a custom domain, 30 pages, and a limited online store. £7.60 per month upgrades the storage to 10 GB, provides a full online store, and unlimited pages. A premium package costs £29.60 per month and eradicates the 3% sales transaction fee.
Why do you need a website?
It’s important to consider why you want an online presence before purchasing a website builder plan. Is it just to double up as a form of online business card or do you absolutely need advanced features — like ecommerce tools or a contact form? Are you creating a portfolio of your work or a more personal blog of sorts to keep customers or potential clients up to date? Consider these questions before you spend money or invest in something that might not be for you.
Additionally, if you’re willing to learn some coding yourself or are open to purchasing web hosting separately from a website builder, there are other options you can take. A service like Dragify WordPress Builder and Hosting is perfect for when you want a slightly more hands-on approach, and it’s far cheaper than a subscription plan.
Alternatively, cheap web hosting services are available and we’ve narrowed down the best of the bunch here for when you simply need the space rather than the building facilities.
Tips for building your own website
Remember to put yourself into the shoes of someone who knows nothing about what your company does. Your site should be less about what you are and more about how you can help someone get what they need.
If you’re creating an online store, show your products up front. If you offer a service to others, put customer testimonials on view. Simply looking to display a personal website with contact info so that others can get in touch with you? Make sure your details are front and centre.
A great website should be easy to navigate, with text distilled down to it’s most basic and direct form. When communicating on the web, shorter is definitely better.
We’re a highly visual species, so the value of good photos and art cannot be overstated. If your budget doesn’t allow you to hire a photographer and shoot custom photos, then don’t fret. There are great options for royalty-free photos out there (like Pexels and Pixabay), and the average smartphone can now shoot just as well as some DSLRs.
How to show up on the front page of Google
Having a website is one thing. Making sure people can find it across various search engines is another thing.
Google basically runs the show in terms of search, so do some work to find out how people are searching for the types of services you offer, then make sure those keywords show up prominently on your site and are also built into your site’s metadata. Mastering a few key SEO tricks will take you far.
It’s a good idea to create service-oriented content that speaks to your expertise. If you’re a dog walker looking to use your site to find new clients, create a blog section dedicated to dog training tips and advice. It’s all about creating opportunities to showcase that you are the ideal person for the job. Your website is the very first step in that process.