Nowadays even people without the knowledge of programming and code can make an attractive resource themselves. These platforms are safe and protected from external attacks, they provide anti-virus protection, and there are many design options. There will be no problems with site management – administrative panels are often simple and intuitive. In this article, we will have a look at the top free website builders. After all, there are many platforms, each of which has its differences. It is extremely difficult for a newbie to understand them, but this article will help you to understand the key principles of work, the advantages, and disadvantages of a particular service and website builders in general.
uKit is a product launched by Russian developers. The platform offers great site functionality for small and medium businesses.
The service has about 350 themes. All themes templates are adaptive, that is, they will be correctly displayed on any devices, regardless of the screen size. Each template has content – pictures, text. Website creation is step by step, with no difficulties even for a beginner. To build a website you will use a visual editor, you just drag individual blocks onto a page. You are allowed to edit each block – color, background, structure, properties. If you are a professional user eager to embed the code, the more expensive tariffs will give you an opportunity to implement your code or various palettes on your site.
A great feature to mention: any user can convert a page from Facebook into a full-fledged adaptive resource. The entire conversion process will take no just a few minutes.
Most of the templates look similar and as it often happens with website builders – you get quite limited customization opportunities. You can’t upload a custom template. There is no free plan.
• Minimal – $3.5-5 / mo
• Basic – $7-10/mo
• eCommerce – $8.4-12 / mo
• Pro – $10.5-15/mo*
*The most expensive is a 1-month subscription plan. It makes sense to get a one for 3 months, 6 months, year or 2 years to save more.
Wix is a top-rated platform known worldwide. It is designed to create, first of all, online business cards, promotional pages, small stores up to 200 items, etc. This platform attracts more and more users with its design, a variety of patterns, ease of use.
The platform has a clear visual editor, which is handy and easy to work with.
The main benefit of the platform is the quantity and quality of existing templates. All of them are free. All themes are well categorized.
Wix offers you an ability to put on the background the video content.
You can use the Wix photo editor – it can be called a portable online Photoshop. So that you can add beautiful photos, even if you are publishing material from a mobile device.
To enhance the functionality, it is recommended to use app stores. The following extensions are available: live-chat, SEO setting, forum, online payments and more.
You can't switch from a previously selected design to another design. Although it is possible to make changes to the design. The website builder is focused on beginner users, therefore, there is no possibility of editing HTML.
• Connect Domain – $3.75 – $5.95 / mo;
• Combo – $7.58 – $10.95 / mo;
• Unlimited – $11.41 – $15.95 / mo;
• eCommerce – $14.79 – $19.90 / mo;
• VIP – $23-30 / mo*
*Wix offers plans for 1 month, 1 year, 2 years. The longer is the subscription plan the more you save.
WordPress truly deserves to be called one of the best software for creating websites. It was the complete free platform that made it incredibly popular all over the world. To create your web resource, you do not have to pay for using the platform! Just download the engine, install it, connect hosting and domain and develop your website!
The main advantage of the WordPress platform is open source PHP. This feature allows you to make changes to it. Among other advantages of this platform should be highlighted:
• Downloadable free engine and a wide selection of the same free templates;
• Simple installation;
• Intuitive, easy to use admin panel;
• An incredibly large selection of plug-ins and add-ons, including the mass of completely free.
To add content using a convenient visual editor, in fact, completely repeats the interface familiar and well-known Word. There will be no problems with adding information.
WordPress functionality is quite simple and limited, but a large selection of add-ons and plug-ins helps to increase functionality. Moreover, many add-ons are completely free.
To change the theme, overall design, style of the site, you can make changes directly to the code.
Regular updates make websites created on WordPress as safe from attacks and viruses. All questions, problems arising in the process of working with this engine are promptly eliminated.
Keep in mind that WordPress is not an online resource. Working offline requires the installation of software, purchasing hosting and domain. It can be hard or no need for beginners to set advanced functionality working with code.
To set any additional function you will need additional plugins. You can purchase only an annual plan, you can't be billed monthly.
• Blogger – $3/ mo
• Personal – $5 / mo
• Premium – $8 / mo
• Business – $25 per mo
• eCommerce – $45 per mo.
Weebly was launched in 2007 in the USA. It is a convenient and simple website builder for creating a website portfolio, gallery or an online shop.
You will get a great number of quality layouts that are beautiful and modern. You can preview any template before selecting it. If you have already selected one and in some time changed your mind – no worries Weebly allows switching to another template at any moment you want. You get access to the whole screen
Images, carefully selected fonts, nice colors are the key features of templates kindly offered by the Weebly team to their creative customers. It’s easy to edit them in the visual editor if you need an individual design. What’s more important – Weebly offers good online store functionality with tools to export and import goods and advanced settings. Built-in promotion tools and statistics on automatic mailing results help to track and promote your business.
The full set of the online store tools is offered for the Business plan only, so if you want to get more you will have to pay more. For Connect and Pro plan Weebly charges a commission of 3% from each transaction. SEO tools are quite limited. No integration with social networks.
• Free plan – $0
• Connect – $5-$7 / mo
• Pro – $12-$18 / mo
• Business – $25-$35/ mo
• Business Plus – $38-$46/ mo
Jimdo is a platform presented by Matthias Henze, Christian Springub and Fridtjof Detzner – German developers and marketers. The website maker is recommended for creating business cards, the online store, and portfolio websites.
Jimdo allows you to create your custom template design. The platform has a large set of ready-made blocks. It takes a few minutes to create a page structure using a drag-and-drop editor. Jimdo can boast with built-in statistics, SEO-program for search engines and good technical support. If you are planning to build a multilingual project it's easy to install several languages on the Jimdo site. You can simply add Youtube videos, Flicks images, RSS news feeds or Forum.
Using a free plan you will not get a mobile-friendly site design or Search Engine Optimization features. Jimdo accepts only annual payments. If you don't want to customize the template and work with blocks the readymade templates may look poorly designed and the choice is quite limited.
• PLAY – $0 / mo
• START – $9 / mo
• GROW – $15 / mo
• eCommerce – $19 / mo
• UNLIMITED – $39 / mo.
Strikingly is an ideal online service for building websites with no coding skills and a good option for building landing pages.
This service aims to help you with creating a beautiful website with all the important functions.
Strikingly has a user-friendly navigation and editing features: to edit any element, just click on it and the appropriate editing tool will open.
Constructed on Strikingly sites have an adaptive design so you do not need to work on the development of mobile version – the website will be compatible with all devices. Few dozens of Strikingly templates cover all popular thematic categories: from business card site to online store.
You can use a free plan as long as you want if you don’t need any premium features.
Your site will look beautiful on any digital screen with adaptive layouts offered by Strikingly.
The platform saves all site adjustments automatically and offers free support at all rates.
You can’t modify the layout, there is no form builder. Strikingly is not suitable for large projects. If you are not English native speaker be ready that the phone technical support is available only in English.
• Free plan – $0
• Limited – $7-$12/ mo
• PRO – $14 – $20/ mo
• VIP – $34.40 – $49/ mo*
Also, you can buy a custom domain for $24.95 / year and custom email for $25 / year.
*There are subscription plans for 1 month, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years and 5 years. The longer is the subscription the less money you pay.
Imcreator is quite a one-in-a-kind service for building a website. Each template is a single-page layout.
You don't spend much time on registration, even a guest account is enough to create a website. The interface is interactive, clear and simple. Site creating starts with an introduction video that speeds up the understanding of the working process. The main difference from all platforms mentioned above is that the Imcreator website builder is not just about dragging and dropping elements, but it allows you to click and change anything in the chosen template to achieve the perfect realization of your idea. This site building service is something unique in the whole world of the website building platforms. The built-in features include social networking buttons, sliders, headings and a set of widgets. Technical support is available 24/7 via email. The site can be easily exported to another hosting provider.
Some IM Creator users complain about slow performance. You can’t find any advanced marketing tools and site analytics functionality. There are no options for integration with social networks.
• Free plan – $0;
• Premium – $ 5.95 – $ 9.95 / mo *
• Pro & Whitelabel – $350 / year.
*You can buy a Premium plan for 1 year, 2 years or 3 years. The longer is the subscription plan the less you pay.
Google Sites is a service launched by Google as a part of Google Apps. Google Sites was created to replace the outdated Google Page Creator service. This service is a perfect tool for educational institutions or other team sites that require collective editing of information.
The main advantage of creating sites with Google Sites is the ability to access multiple users at a site. The site owner can invite other users to work together, share and materials and use the information on the site from other Google services such as Google Docs, Google Calendar, Picassa, etc. Google offers free hosting as well
You have limited customization of site design – you can only change colors, sizes, and styles of fonts. There are no tools for blogging and eCommerce.
You can use Google Sites for but to integrate with other Google Apps, you’ll need a G Suite subscription for:
· Basic – $6 / mo
· Business – $12 / mo
· Enterprise – $25 / mo.
Website Builder is an offline or online resource that allows you to create sites and manage them without any specialized knowledge. You just choose the type of the future site (business card, shop, etc.), a ready-made design template, colors, and modules that will be displayed on it. You do not need to learn programming languages for years to publish various pages – website builder will do all the difficult and routine work for you.
They provide enough opportunities to create websites for small and medium businesses. Using the website builder you can independently make changes at any time free of charge.
The main advantages of site builder:
• They are easy to use. Everything is done step by step and easy. You do not have to mess with complex HTML and PHP codes.
• Ready-made layout templates allow you to create a site without the knowledge of HTML programming language.
• Design templates for every taste. If you have no designing skills or you don’t want to spend time selecting colors, background and fonts – website platform developers have already worked on it for you.
• Most of the site builders store layout separately from the text. so if you want to change the design just switch to another template.
• Reliability – all files are stored on the server of the website builder. Therefore, you should not worry about creating backup copies of data or about the possibility of hacking – all this is taken care of by the server maintenance staff of the selected site builder.
• Also, some constructors (for example, Wix) allow you to transfer the finished site to another hosting.
Such systems are suitable for individual entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, small businesses, teachers, artists, photographers, etc.
In this review we have described 8 best website builders – these are, in fact, the best platforms for creating websites. Of course, there are others, but those 8 mentioned above, in our opinion, they stand out against the background of others.
Probably, after getting acquainted with the review, you will have questions – how to choose the platform, what to focus on. So, when choosing a particular service, we recommend to consider:
· general functionality;
· ease of use;
· clarity of the administrative panel;
· the quality of the technical support service – speed of feedback, politeness of communication, the desire to solve your questions;
· tariff plans;
· development prospects, etc.
To build a simple site on the online website builder you do not have to mess with the code, databases, hosting. No need to download and install anything.
Your site is created in 4 easy steps:
Step 1: You register on the platform
Step 2: Specify the necessary settings
Step 3: Choose a template
Step 4: Add content
That’s it – your site is ready. This is a cheap and beautiful solution for one-page and simple sites.
The different one is the WordPress site. With the help of a walkthrough, you will make a high-quality and functional resource suitable for attracting and converting traffic.
Step 1: Choose a hosting and register a domain
If you have a non-commercial project, choose free hosting. For example, you can share pictures of cats with the world or keep a diary of a young bodybuilder on WordPress. The site address will look like this: example.wordpress.com. If you are implementing a commercial project, for example, you create a thematic blog, a corporate website or you plan to make money using the resource in any way, choose a paid hosting.
Step number 2: Install WordPress
After purchasing a hosting and registering a domain name, install WordPress.
Go to the WordPress site and download the installation file.
Install WordPress. To do this, open the link to the site in the browser.
Fill in the required information: enter the site name, username, password, e-mail. Specify whether search engines can index a resource.
Step 3: Choose the right theme for WordPress
A design template or WordPress theme is responsible for the appearance and functionality of the resource. In other words, using the theme, you can customize the site on a standard engine. WordPress offers both free and paid templates. If you are just starting to work with WordPress, select a free template from the official catalog. All templates in the catalog are tested for safety and compliance with technical standards. If you want to buy a template, use the services of community-approved developers.
Step 4: Set up a CMS WordPress website and a template
At this stage, it is necessary to pay attention to the basic settings of the content management system, which are available without installing additional plug-ins. You should also customize the theme. Please note that the template settings are different for each template.
Log into the WordPress admin panel and select the Settings menu. Specify the required data in each section of the settings.
Step 5: Add WordPress Plugins
First of all, we want to give a piece of advice: do not install dozens of extensions. This negatively affects the development of the resource. It's not about slowing down the site, although an excessive number of plug-ins can cause such a problem.
Don’t waste hours searching for plugins, installing and customizing them. It is much more useful to spend that time creating and publishing quality content, To successfully develop the site, use the plugins carefully. Install extensions only when you want to solve a specific task. Using plugins you can:
· Ensure the safety of the site.
· Fight spam.
· Optimize the resource to the requirements of search engines.
· Increase functionality and improve usability.
The following guidelines will help you choose a good domain name:
1. Choose a domain name that partially or completely coincides with the site name.
2. Use the shortest possible domain name. Owners of smartphones find it difficult to enter a long address in the browser line.
3. Make sure that the selected site address makes sense and is easy to remember.
4. The choice of a domain zone does not affect the technical characteristics of the resource or position in the search results. However, theoretically, this parameter can affect the trust of the audience. Therefore, for commercial projects, try to choose top-level domains, for example, .com, .info, .org, .net etc.
All online website builder platforms are simple and easy-to-use. We consider Jimdo the easiest free website builder. The system is very, very simple. Some even consider it primitive, but still, it allows getting an acceptable result.
You may think that there is no ideal platform. And you will be right – the ideal website builder to satisfy all requirements of all users does not exist. But there is certainly a product that will satisfy your needs. Most of the platforms listed in the article offer a free trial or a free plan. So that you can register (even through social networks) and try yourself all the features of the platform, its functionality, the ability to create and edit pages. It will help you to find the best website builder for you.
For those who want to create not just a website, but an online store with a low price special attention should be paid not only to the availability of the corresponding function in the site builder but to scrutinize all the features of this function. All services that have online store capabilities may differ in important details. The best platform for e-commerce from above mentioned is Jimdo and Weebly. Note that the full e-commerce functionality is available for paid plans only.
For us, the best option is WordPress. And not only because it is a completely free platform for creating a website (as mentioned above – you will not have to pay for downloading and installing it). It is incredibly functional due to the presence of many supplements. On WordPress, you can easily create a website of any subject and orientation.
But if you want to create a simple site or a business card any of the website mentioned above builders will work for you, give a try to find the best platform for your business.
Free website builders attract a very large number of Internet users, those who want to have their web resources on the web. But let's think about why, nevertheless, most of those people who want to succeed in sales on the Internet using their website, use sites for a fee? Is it worth to use a paid website builder?
Let's try to figure it out. To understand the difference between paid and free sites, consider some of the disadvantages of a free site, and then we will compare these two sites among themselves.
· Advertising hosting provider (website builder) – this is the most basic and most annoying disadvantage of a free site, and more often it is quite bright and expressive. This is because the website builder, which provides the opportunity to create and place a site on its server, necessarily places its advertisement on all web resources of its clients, since this is his main income. But, you know, such advertising is distracting your customers, making your resource less attractive, and can even poach people from your site. Also, many hosting providers put so-called pop-ups, which many people are very scared, and as a result, you can lose a lot of your potential customers.
The site on a paid basis gives the right to put only the advertising, you need. It can help you to monetize your site and bring income only to you.
· The domain name of the 3rd level is given when creating a free site. Thus, your website will have a complex domain name, which is not so easy to remember. And for this reason, free sites can hardly be called visited, since their names are difficult to remember, and therefore, many of your potential customers are lost.
If you create a website on a paid hosting, with an easy-to-remember domain, you will be able to more effectively promote your web resource on the Internet. As a result, you will achieve great success, and your domain will become your brand.
· Another, but no less inconvenient disadvantage of a free site is the insufficiency of the functions and services it provides. Due to a small amount of disk space, a small amount of allocated traffic, the absence of certain databases, mailboxes, partitions or other you need, a free website will not allow you to create a really promising and solid Internet resource. Usually, most free hosting providers provide a small package of services that is suitable only for a very small and low-functional website on the Internet.
When using the paid plans for a website builder, you have a real opportunity to create a truly powerful and multifunctional project that can be promoted and developed in the future, which will satisfy you with all the criteria, and if necessary, you can change or add almost everything you want. And as your business grows, changes can occur both with the design and with the content.
· Another fact is the slowness of servers that are available on a free platform.
A good paid site is the control 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by specialists over the workload of the entire system, which prevents the occurrence of any kind of malfunctions and interruptions in the work of the sites. And this is understandable because paid hosting providers are afraid of losing their customers, therefore, they are interested in providing quality hosting services.
· Slow site indexing is a problem that is encountered by all those who created a free website for themselves. Of course, you know that if the site is not indexed by search engines, then it is very difficult to promote it.