Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.
If you’re planning to run a blog, a straightforward content website, or a website with a combination of functionalities — like a blog with a store — your best bet is probably a content management system like WordPress. This would provide a stable and flexible platform for doing a number of different common business activities online. Two other popular options in this category are Drupal and Joomla.
Hosting that is aimed at specific CMS platforms and tweaked optimally for them: e.g., WordPress hosting, Drupal hosting, Magento hosting, etc. In these cases, the best hosts do far more than just provide the minimal requirements for those platforms. They provide a rich, and fully managed environment so your site can perform like a well-tuned machine.
Since being acquired by Square in early 2018, Weebly has shifted its focus to e-commerce. Unlike Shopify, Weebly is a website builder with e-commerce capabilities. This makes it much easier to build and design a website without requiring any code. Weebly’s designer is slightly more flexible than Squarespace but definitely less than PageCloud and Wix. Weebly is much more affordable than Shopify, but doesn’t have the same number of features. So, if you’re looking for an easy way to sell a few simple product online, Weebly may be for you.
Medium is a very interesting concept when it’s compared to its competitors. In short, it allows you to write and then publish your content alongside other authors at Medium.com. You also get to follow other people’s work and be a part of the Medium community. In other words, it’s a large web publication website where you’re one of the members and can submit your own content.
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 small business or 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.
You can import your WordPress blog to Squarespace, which we like a lot. Nevertheless, we don’t recommend using Squarespace for blogging unless you don’t particularly care about SEO because page titles and meta descriptions can’t be adjusted for individual blog posts – which is very important for ranking with search engines. However, be aware that Squarespace is more difficult to use than Wix or Weebly due to its convoluted interface.
Thanks, Jeremy, for your excellent article, but I still have a couple of questions. We use Dreamhost for our website, which was built in 1999 (seriously) and we keep it semi-current using SeaMonkey's editor. Last year we added an ECWID shopping cart to replace the really difficult to use PayPal shopping cart system, which has helped, but a replacement website that's easy to change is what we really need. It seems that all of these site builders want to host us, when what I need is a program I can use to create the new site and replace my existing one. Is there a standalone site building program you recommend? How about an easy to use interface to put between me and Wordpress? (That seems like it would be an excellent tool for someone to develop.) Or should I just buy a copy of Wordpress for Dummies and start fresh? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Hi Gina, Thanks for your comment and sharing your thoughts. Hiring an expert developer is always good, but it does have its challenges. Financial investment is just one of them. It's not a big problem if a company is well established already and is cash flowing to re-invest its profits into technology. But not all companies have that level of budget to commit, and not all companies are well established (yet). A lot of users are just starting out and just don't have that level of resource to get their websites off the ground. In such circumstance, I think our list above makes a lot of sense. No doubt, your comment is also valid, but I think that's more applicable for well established businesses. We have a full discussion of the cost of building a website that compares the cost of hiring a developer versus using a DIY website builder such as the ones I suggested above. I also wrote an article about the idea of hiring a designer / developer - when it's appropriate, and when it isn't appropriate. It's just my own view and what I would advise my friends and family if they were to ask me. Of course, every single person that's looking to build a website has different needs, motivations and resources. Thanks for adding to this discussion! Jeremy
Wix is one of the oldest and widely used websites which is used to build sites. It was launched in 2006 and has been in the industry since then. One of the best catches of Wix is that it provides animation features that animate texts and other elements. It is one of the most intriguing factors of Wix. The latest ADI feature enables the user to add a website link so that the tool can help you in building the exact version of the site of which you can edit and customize it. Wix is extremely user-friendly and easy and that is the reason it attracts so many beginners to try it. It has an extensive market which helps in finding different extensions and helps the users out with it. The templates provided by it are very well designed and have a great range available. The post editor and dashboard of Wix are user-friendly.
Dear Jeremy, Your list it very interesting and really helpful for non technical website creator, all your suggestion like wix, weebly, shopify dont need html or other coding skill you can create website easily within few clicks also benefits are to choice ready to use design and no major thinking require for hosting provider selection etc. But in the other end wordpress become very huge, recently i find very interesting statistics for wordpress market share in website developer compare to other CMS, see https://blogs.perceptionsystem.com/infographic/wordpress-cms-in-2016/ Year 2016 out of 100 domain in USA 20+ website build with wordpress...and as per wordpress community it will increase lots.
If you want to use a custom domain name (perhaps you already have your own domain) then you will need to purchase one of the premium plans. As a rule, the most basic paid plan for each free web creator will allow you, among other things, to use your custom domain name. In addition, Wix has a separate option – Connect Domain, which allows you to add your custom domain at a price half that of the base premium plan. But at the same time, this option does not remove Wix brand ads.
I am biased towards WordPress, just FYI. I train new bloggers and website owners (non-profits and small businesses, etc) in setting up WordPress.org with an SSL and I do it in an 8-hour class. My point being I recommend you setup: 1) WordPress.org NOT WordPress.com; 2) Go with 1and1.com “Unlimited” + SSL (costs about $62 for 12 months, includes: domain name, SSL Certificate + web hosting). This will get you a web hosting account with a domain name, SSL and 1-year of web hosting for the cost of a SSL Certificate (most are $60+). Why SSL? because your site will display https and you can process online payments using Stripe.com (Payment processor similar to PayPal, Authorize.net, etc). I have setup at least 6 of these accounts exactly like this for attendees and clients. This will work for you and it will not have any ads popping up unless you put them there. Any questions just reply.
Comparatively not so advanced, Squarespace is ideal with the simplest method to build a basic website. Unlike traditional Page Builder, you do not need to sign up for hosting, purchase a domain or go through the extra hassle. Instead, you simply create an account on Squarespace and that’s about it. After answering a few more questions on your preference you end up with a working website in a matter of minutes. While it includes a drag and drop builder that you can use to add and customize the elements of the site, it does not provide much control to the users.
Yes. Wix offers a few different ways to create your own free website, so you can choose the creation process that works best for you. Need to get online fast? Answer a few simple questions and Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) will build a professional website for you in under 10 minutes. If you want 100% design freedom, start from scratch and drag and drop the website design features you need in the Wix Editor.
As an example, let’s consider Shopify – a premium eCommerce website builder. Over the years, Shopify has become quite a heavy and complicated e-store creator. Its focus on adding more technical capabilities has transformed the visual editor from something a beginner could use, to something that can intimidate a beginner. Today, nobody recommends Shopify as a relevant e-store builder for newbies.
It’s chock full of some pretty sweet features that will make your content managing life easier, leading its devoted fans to argue it’s even better than WordPress. You can split-test two versions of web and landing page examples, build in easier content transition, take a deep dive with Google Analytics, for truly detailed marketing analytics, and even let HubSpot CMS analyze your pages to help you optimize them for higher search engine ranking.
Squarespace's pre-designed themes usually emphasize imagery or video, so it might be great for people in visual media, entertainment, dining, or fashion industries. Many templates, such as the one below, are both simplistic and mobile optimized. While simplicity might be difficult for a software company or a business which offers many services, it could be great for consumer facing companies that sell products related to one major industry:
Being extremely flexible as well as user-friendly, it enables any entrepreneurs to focus on their products and it’s promotion. It is relatively easy to manipulate and use and offers hundreds of free and premium themes to choose from. What’s great is that Shopify also offers the user the option to sell their products through social media, by integrating a Buy Now button or even using the POS system.
You can create a free and professional website all on your own. With Wix, you can start with a stunning template and customize it, or get a personalized website made just for you. When you choose Wix, you don’t just get a drag and drop website builder. You get the whole package. Free reliable web hosting, top security, the best SEO and a dedicated support team to help you along the way.
BUILD a Website with FREE DOMAIN NAME and HOSTING [BEGINNERS GUIDE]
Joomla is also another Content Management system which works on model view controller architecture. It is one of the biggest competitions for WordPress. In addition to the usual functionalities of WordPress, it also has additional extensions like components, modules, plugins, templates, languages, libraries and different packages. All these features have a purpose and are mostly built on Joomla. Joomla created URLs are great for SEO services. Also, the modules that are provided by Joomla are more flexible and can be easily moved to individual pages or menus. It helps the user in managing the site with all the ease even though the site may have multiple subpages. When it comes to being multilingual Joomla is ahead of WordPress. It supports many languages as they are created right from the core. Joomla also provides several plugins that can be easily accessed from its homepage.
Jekyll is a static-site generator, which lets you create your content as text files that can then be inserted into folders. Once your files are created, Jekyll enables you to build the shell of your site using the Liquid template language. Jekyll stitches your content with the shell, creating a static site that can be readily uploaded to all server types.
Welcome to the CNET 2020 directory of web hosting services. In this directory, we'll look at a few of the best web hosting providers like Bluehost, A2Hosting, Hostinger, DreamHost, HostGator, InMotion Hosting and more. In this evaluation of the best web hosting providers, we're featuring commercial web hosting companies that offer WordPress, VPS, shared hosting and many more web hosting services, along with a variety of annual and monthly plans.
Medium is one of the fast-growing online publishing platforms that allows any users to create stories and post them on their own personal web space. So if you are looking for a blogging alternative for WordPress, this is a pretty good option. It is easy to use, understand and also features built-in social networking feature. Although branding and promoting is not the ideal purpose at Medium, if you are simply looking to share contents then it is a great platform. Of course here, users lack the flexibility and the control over a specific content or profile.
Unlike other sites, e-commerce sites also require alterations and demand to have something easy. Among all these WordPress alternatives, Shopify is the best alternative to WordPress in this regard. It is simple and helps in growing your business the easy way. It is user-friendly and assists entrepreneurs in focusing on their products and promotions. It is easy to manipulate and offer varied kinds of themes. The added advantage of Shopify is that it integrates with social media which helps in selling the products on these social networking sites. As it is meant for e-commerce websites it is integrated with PayPal and can use it for simple and easier transactions. It helps in displaying an unlimited number of items as it has unlimited disk space. It also has advance shipping options and discount codes available.
But even if you’re not that into technology, you don’t have to go without a website of your own. Website builders such as Wix, Squarespace or Weebly offer a wide range of advantages, but it’s important to choose the right provider! Switching providers is difficult once your website is up and running because every platform uses its own system, and these systems are usually not compatible with other website builders.
When it comes to themes, although the market is not as huge as WordPress, Weebly has a decent amount of amazing themes to choose from and customize. The tools are all super user-friendly and easy to follow. Simply put, Weebly makes a pretty great alternative for WordPress and is suitable for smaller websites. Although not as flexible as WordPress, if you are aiming for minimal and simplistic sites, then it is definitely a good start. To give you a bit more insight, here are some pros and cons of using Weebly!
Arguably one of the most flexible and easy-to-use builders, Site123 lets you customize anything and offers a one-click installation wizard with graphics and templates. Site123 stands out as particularly helpful with its free images library, professional fonts to add visual elements to your site, and creative DIY plans for creating multiple pages (which are unlimited). Plus, since it offers web hosting domain registration, 500 MB storage space, Google Analytics, and is ad-free, you won't feel pressured to switch to a paid plan.