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Best Website Builder for 2024: Reviewed by Our Experts

Best Website Builder for 2024: Reviewed by Our Experts

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The best website builder for you will rely on your unique requirements. It can take a lot of work to sort through all the free possibilities for a basic website and all the e-commerce website builders for a more complex company website because there are so many options. You have more options than ever before and can quickly choose the finest website builder for your requirements thanks to the industry's complexity and expansion.

True, there are a few front-runners that stand out, and those are typically a smart place to start, but not all situations call for them to be in the lead. To make things easier for you, we've outlined all the details you require to choose the finest website builder, allowing you to focus on the enjoyable aspect of creating a polished website for your small business or yourself. We took into account the builder's ability to provide strong customization options, marketing, e-commerce, and SEO capabilities. We also examined the company's e-commerce capabilities and level of customer service.

*Plans that are ad-supported are not included in the beginning price. On some plans, some suppliers additionally provide free domain hosting for the first year.

We examined the features, costs, and plans of over a dozen website builders to create this list. We also read reviews from a number of websites, including PCMag, Wirecutter, SiteBuilderReport, WebsiteToolTester, WPBeginner, and others, to look for any areas of agreement. In the end, we spent time creating several test sites using the tools below (if we weren't already members), and we also polled the CNET crew. We paid special attention to the categories—such as SEO features, creative cloud, mobile-friendly website builders, available plugins, live chat options, e-commerce features, pricing plan, and customer support—that not only set one website apart from another but also truly matter to business owners, artists, and creators.

By the conclusion of this list, if you're still unsure about how to go with your site builder, we've included a guide at the bottom with important questions you should be asking yourself as you launch your online business. Lastly, take a look at our lists of the best web hosting companies and the best WordPress hosting companies if you already have a simple website and just need a host or if you want to create a self-hosted WordPress website.

In the competition for supremacy among website builders, Wix is the undisputed leader. Based on Built With, it is the largest player with more than 8 million active websites. This well-liked website builder also has the most features, options, and independence.

Wix offers an AI-powered automatic website creator (called "Wix ADI") that requires the user to put in the least amount of work, as well as Velo by Wix, an open development platform for sophisticated applications like databases, data-driven dynamic pages, and Javascript. Since it can be challenging to maintain consistency across the design of your landing page and website, we do advise selecting one lane (e.g., Wix ADI, specific templates, or design-from-scratch) to maximize the experience. For example, if you start with a template but later decide you want to completely customize it.

Similar to other rivals in this field, Wix provides website owners with a free basic website builder plan that enables them to establish a beginner website with advertisements. You can invest in a premium, ad-free website if you like what you see when using the free website builder. The "Light" plan, which costs $16 a month and meets the majority of needs for a personal website, is priced in line with industry norms. Wix has a $32 monthly "Business" e-commerce website package if you're in need of an e-commerce website builder for your online store. A free domain is only included for the first year with those pricing, so after that you'll need to pay for it independently. Wix offers a limited set of analytics tools for all plans beyond the basic one, if statistics and analytics are your thing.

Even though Wix is by far the most popular review platform, it does have certain shortcomings. Make sure you do the math before selecting a plan if you want to upload an unlimited number of photographs and videos or anticipate receiving a high volume of monthly visits. Wix was one of the few builders that imposed data constraints for each of its plan levels. It's also important to note that your website will have a banner advertising Wix at the top if you decide to utilize Wix for free.

However, the flexibility of web design means you'll need to be more hands-on with the format and layout than with more structured or limited editors where you can't draw too much outside the lines. For people who don't have the time or inclination to make a lot of small decisions, the editor's freedom and range of options can also be overwhelming.

Squarespace reminds us of the popular guy in high school—flashy and hip on the outside, but lacking in character on the inside. In terms of usability, we found it to be halfway between Wix and Weebly, although reviewers repeatedly praised it for the high caliber of the design possibilities. For small- to medium-sized businesses looking for a beautifully designed page and room for e-commerce development with lower transaction fees, that's where we believe it might really shine.

Compared to Wix and Weebly, the Squarespace editor is less user-friendly and takes some practice to get the hang of. A good number of add-ons, website templates, and tools are included, and the powerful photo editing and universal style editor are useful features. Your website will always look great on a mobile device thanks to the responsive website editor, but you can only make mobile-specific changes to the sections of your page that make use of the Fluid Engine feature. Additionally, we regularly observed that customer service was friendly and prompt, which should reassure business owners.

Squarespace offers two website plans: a $25/month Personal plan that includes unlimited storage, bandwidth, and a free domain for a year if you pay yearly ($17/month). Additionally, Squarespace offers a $36 Business plan that includes e-commerce store builder capabilities, an unlimited number of contributors, and a free Google Workspace account for a year. If you select the "Commerce" plan, your options are $40 for the basic plan or $72 for the advanced plan (which costs $29 or $55 per month when paid annually). A few finishing touches, such as subscription products and abandoned shopping cart recovery, are included in the advanced plan. It's crucial to remember that the basic commerce plan has no transaction fees, even though it may be marginally more expensive than the going rate for an online store. Your monthly sales volume will determine whether or not those savings

Overall, the clean, polished, and welcoming look of Squarespace's website serves as a decent representation of what its products offer—just without the layers of creative control or flexibility that come with using other builders.

Compared to Wix, which has over 800,000 active websites, Weebly is less well-known, but depending on your needs, it has some great possibilities. Weebly can be a fantastic choice if you're looking for an economical (but powerful) online store with unlimited storage, a large site (more than 25 to 30 pages), an easy-to-use do-it-yourself website editor, and site mobility features.

Despite having a minimal learning curve, the editor is one of the simplest website builder alternatives to use and nevertheless produces beautiful websites. Because of its simplicity of use, the editor lacks the variety of features and mobile customisation that a builder like Wix offers, as well as greater limitations in terms of add-ons and design freedom. Nevertheless, we never reached a stage in our testing where we felt that such limitations were restricting. For a fiery web designer, it might arise.

Weebly's commerce features surpass those of rivals like Wix and Squarespace, making it a great choice for users with a more constrained time commitment. Weebly also gives the rare opportunity to download site data so you can migrate to another server, which is helpful for people who are hesitant to commit to a website builder knowing that you won't be able to pick up and leave later on.

With about 900,000 active websites, Duda is a smaller player than the other builders mentioned above. Its niche is designers and design agencies. It serves the individuals and groups that comprise the majority of websites, but it has become a viable choice for anyone wishing to establish an online presence because of its robust and user-friendly builder and wide range of unique offers.

A few of the unique features of Duda's builder are its comprehensive data analytics (such as advanced metrics like form submissions, time on page, and bounce rate) and user personalization, which lets you show users tailored messages or offers depending on the time of day, where they are, or what they have previously browsed. It's also well-known for supporting multiple languages and having a free e-commerce add-on that lets you sell up to ten items.

Duda's cost, which starts at $19 per month for the Basic plan, is in line with that of its primary rivals, Wix and Weebly. For $29, you can get AI support for content and SEO, add dynamic pages, add up to three more team members to your website (compared to just one with Basic), and access client management tools. At $52 a month, its "Agency" plan—which is intended for web designers creating pages for numerous clients—includes four websites and the option to download site files for portability. At $149 per month, "White Label" allows you to create your websites entirely with their White Label website builder. Access to the white-labeled support portal, a custom domain, and branding options are included with this. If none of

Although Duda is slightly more costly, it covers some of the gaps left by the major providers, like analytics, language support, and improved customisation.

It makes natural that GoDaddy offers website builder software since its bespoke domain names and web hosting services are its key draws. "Websites + Marketing" may sound like a mouthful, but it's a similar templated experience to the other options on this list, with the goal of having a basic site up and operating in less than an hour.

Although GoDaddy is more well-known for selling domains, a domain isn't included in those costs; you'll need to add it on your own. Overall, GoDaddy's current website builder is a good place to start. You may take your time exploring GoDaddy to determine whether it's the perfect choice for you if you decide to start with the free tier. Your experience won't be timed.

The majority of people often refer to the free, open-source WordPress software that can be downloaded from when they discuss WordPress. That's quite strong, but learning how to use it takes time, and you still need to pick a website host and domain name. If you want to use in an advanced capacity, we suggest that you look into tutorials or guides like those available on WPBeginner or ToolTester to understand how it operates.

Even though it's free, the choice is quite basic, with just 1GB of storage. The "Creator" and "Entrepreneur" options increase storage to 50GB for $25 and $45 a month, respectively. Along with a ton of other useful tools, they also grant you access to over 50,000 plug-ins, such as calendars and forms, as well as safety features like real-time backups and one-click restorations, professional support, and WooCommerce goods sales.

In general, WordPress seems to be quite limited for most other use cases, but it seems to cater to bloggers who don't want to or need to spend a lot of time on website design. Having said that, Joomla and Drupal are good choices for those searching for off-the-shelf content management systems (CMS) that are more robust. While WordPress may be more user-friendly, both provide greater customization possibilities. Drupal and Joomla, according to at least one CNET editor, also provided quicker page loads.

Shopify serves the same purpose for an e-commerce store as Wix, which is undoubtedly the best option for most website construction purposes. The platform helps business owners with their e-commerce capabilities and provides an easy-to-use method for setting up an online store for sales and purchases. Like Wix, Shopify is a secure place to start for most "e-tailers," but that doesn't imply it's ideal in every situation.

Shopify's platform is tailored to your product and sales specifics, much like the majority of other builders with an emphasis on commerce. Shopify's procedure makes sure you don't skip any crucial steps while setting up a retail business, even if you don't have much experience. It walks you through inventory, customer information, tax and shipping rates, and more. Shopify has a live online community forum, phone assistance, and chat available around-the-clock in case you still have questions. An AI bot can assist in locating the best resources for your issue; if they aren't a good fit, it will provide alternative support.

Shopify doesn't provide a wide range of plan alternatives, its user base is pretty defined, and its costs are more than usual for the industry. The $39/month "Basic" plan takes care of most of the necessities for an online store, while the $105/month "Shopify" plan adds extra staff accounts, insurance, and shipping savings. Although we found it difficult to justify the $66 upgrade from basic to Shopify, it might make sense when you take into account the lower transaction fees and delivery savings. They also have a $399-per-month plan for larger operations.

Shopify's price structure is arguably its biggest flaw. The additional expenses are worthwhile if you want the help, direction, and a builder who will handle the majority of the technical aspects. Although the abundance of apps is tempting, using the bespoke, extra-charge apps can add up. If you're still unsure after weighing the various e-commerce features, we advise you to figure out how much extra add-ons and transaction fees will cost you based on your sales. Then, you can compare these costs to those of competitors like BigCommerce, which provide more product combinations and variants at cheaper prices.

BigCommerce is true to its name; medium- to large-scale online retailers who can profit from the absence of additional transaction costs and limitless product options should use it. Although the store site builder may not be as user-friendly as Shopify's, the time you invest in becoming accustomed to it could end up saving you a significant amount of money in the long run.

Like Wix, the editor offers a ton of tools and customization options, but for inexperienced users, it could be overwhelming. If you have some experience, you'll undoubtedly find that those features and tools, such as tax rates and product variants, are useful when your business expands or if you're currently operating at scale.

Shopify and BigCommerce both have pricing tiers of $39 (Standard), $105 (Plus), and $399 (Pro), but the features offered at each price point are different. BigCommerce offers its customers unlimited users, bandwidth, and storage, as well as an infinite number of products and no additional transaction costs, even with its most affordable plan. You may also connect eBay, Amazon, and Walmart to your online store. The sales thresholds are where the pricing becomes a little more complicated. The Standard plan only covers yearly sales of less than $50,000, while Plus and Pro support sales of up to $180,000 and $400,000. In essence, the more sales you generate, the more money you save on transaction costs; however, after you reach a certain number of sales, you must upgrade to the next plan tier.

It will be worthwhile to perform some calculations based on your product inventory and anticipated sales, just like with all online store builders. Depending on your size, we find that the lack of transaction fees to be a huge deal-maker. If you run a larger business, take advantage of BigCommerce's 15-day trial and give it a try.

It's critical to go into the battlefield knowing exactly what you need, especially considering the abundance of options available and the fact that many website builders don't let you pick up and move later on. Finding the best website builder and avoiding buyer's regret later on will be made easier by first determining your priorities and direction.

The majority of builders have two to four pricing categories, each with a unique set of features. This can make it challenging to compare services because they are tough to compare side by side, but that is one of the main reasons we put up this helpful guide.

With an annual membership, you can typically get a decent personal website made for $10 to $20 each month. The majority of e-commerce plans cost between $25 and $35 per month, with premium options costing up to $400 if you require an enterprise-style package with numerous editors and VIP-level assistance.

Generally speaking, storage and bandwidth are limitless; however, some services, like Wix, scale their storage based on the plan tier. A respectable amount is included in even its lowest tier plan (2GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth).

The most important factor in selecting the finest website builder is knowing what you want, following the obvious issues like cost and storage. The following list of questions should help you make sure you're prepared to shop like an expert and select the ideal website builder for your requirements.

Identifying the main objective of your online presence should be your first move. Would you like to market a product? Draw in prospective clients for your offerings? Create a page for your portfolio?

You may prioritize the features, plugins, and tools you want in your builder and avoid becoming sidetracked by an ostentatious add-on that isn't really assisting you in reaching your objective by first figuring out why you are using the builder. Start by researching e-commerce experts like Shopify and BigCommerce if increasing sales is your main goal. Wix and Squarespace are excellent starting points for photographers and web designers who wish to create a stunning website or portfolio. If you want more creative freedom, Wix might be a better option than Squarespace; but, if all you want is a chic frame for your work, Squarespace might be a better option.

Both Weebly and GoDaddy offer straightforward builders if all you want is something simple to use; Weebly has more capabilities and elegant design, while GoDaddy is considerably more basic and constrained. Duda offers the greatest customization options if you're building up a website or store and want to give consumers a personalized experience, or if you have a specific design in mind for the mobile version of your site. Webflow is the greatest option if you need both website development and hosting from a single supplier. Web design doesn't require coding expertise. If you're a wordsmith unaffected by stylistic choices and sophisticated editors, WordPress can assist you in starting your blog and provides useful avenues for connecting with your audience.

This will definitely vary based on a variety of things, including whether or not you have prior experience designing websites and how clear your design concept is. That being said, depending on the features, adaptability, and user-friendly editing interface, each site builder has advantages and disadvantages in terms of usability or simplicity of use. On the one hand, there are builders like Wix, which are incredibly user-friendly but also feature-rich; yet, the overwhelming quantity of options and tools makes it challenging to quickly create a website. Conversely, you have builders such as WordPress or GoDaddy, which don't offer you a lot of

We normally advise you to take the time to get to know your editor and make use of all the options available because most people will want to dedicate enough time to their site so that it fulfills its aim of presenting you online in a positive way.

Wix provides a rather extensive toolkit for editing websites.

This is closely related to time investment because you have more choices the more control you have. Certain builders, such as Squarespace, allow you to alter the content, colors, and fonts while maintaining a rather rigid design structure. Conversely, you have websites such as Wix, where you can add objects wherever on your page (at your own peril! ), and Duda, where you can build unique user experiences based on past browser activity.

It's crucial to determine if your site will have a lot of pages and sections or if it will be more akin to an elaborate work portfolio or glamorized digital business card. Some editors are better suited for huge site architectures (40+ pages).

One key factor to take into account is the amount of navigation levels. These can be seen of as file folders or Inception; for example, a page within a directory within another directory would indicate three levels of navigation. Sections and the pages within each part are probably the two tiers that most pages employ, but other kinds of sites, such online commerce, can require more. Large site structures can be supported by Weebly and BigCommerce the best, while Squarespace and Wix only allow two tiers of navigation.

Even while every builder we looked into has an e-commerce option, not all of them are capable of handling it. If your goal is to sell things online, a website like WordPress isn't really what you want. In contrast, a website like Shopify or BigCommerce is designed specifically with online sales in mind and offers a plethora of e-commerce options. One of the specialized e-commerce builders makes the most sense if all you actually want is a simple, user-friendly online storefront; however, if this is more of an extra service or just something pleasant to have, you can choose the builder that feels right for you and sign up for its e-commerce option. Even builders exist, such as Duda, which let you sell up to ten goods for

Square's payment options are supported by a lot of website builders.

Transaction fees: We enjoy math even though we don't own small businesses, so we thought this element was very crucial. If you sell $10,000 worth of goods in a month and the vendor processing cost is 3%, you will be out of pocket $300 more each month. That's an additional $100 to $300 if you're paying your website host an additional 1% to 3%. These figures far outweigh the monthly fee you pay, and they increase even further if your sales volume is higher. Make sure you read the fine print regarding transaction fees before selecting a builder.

While most builders don't impose additional fees over the standard 3% Square or PayPal rate, others do. If you want to use Shopify Payments, you can receive a rate that is lower than 3%, but using its services has additional fees. Then there are websites like BigCommerce, which have sales caps for every plan but don't charge more.

Even though we are aware that you are an astute and astute business owner who closely monitors the books, we felt it would be beneficial to remind you to do the arithmetic before committing.

Many builders lock you into their hosting provider, as we indicated at the start, but not all of them do. Go for a provider like Weebly or Duda that lets you download your website files for convenient usage on another server if you're wary of commitment or believe you might want to transfer as your business or services expand.

Here, the free trial period is another important consideration. Most industries follow a 14-day turnaround time, although some allow up to 30 days. Some do not offer a trial period, but if you're not satisfied, they'll refund your money within 30 days.

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