Building a website from scratch used to be hard. Not anymore. In fact, the best website builders turn you into a web designer overnight, even if you’ve never built one before. All you do is pick a stunning template and add your personality to it. See for yourself in our review of the best website builders on the market.
The 7 Best Website Builders
- Shopify – Best for selling products and services
- Wix – Best website builder for your first website
- Zyro – Best for keeping website costs low
- Bluehost – Best for WordPress websites
- Squarespace – Best website builder for creators of all stripes
- Weebly – Best for solopreneurs
- GoDaddy – Best for building your website from your phone
Website builders have gotten so much better over the years. Today, you don’t have to struggle with getting a site online or updating it to keep up with changing times.
To find out which ones were the most helpful, the Quicksprout research team got in touch with people who used these website builders for their business. Keep reading to get the full story.
Shopify – Best for Selling Products or Services
- 14-day free trial
- No-code website builder
- Free online store templates
- Built-in Payment Processor
Shopify is our top recommendation for companies that need a way to sell on their website. Sell products, book appointments, schedule deliveries–it’s all incredibly easy.
You can certainly do all this with other website builders, but ecommerce is Shopify’s strong suit. No other website builder will be as easy or as powerful.
It’s a true all-in-one platform: website, online store, payment processor, order fulfillment, and marketing tools. If Shopify doesn’t have a built-in feature to do what you need, it offers the most diverse app marketplace in ecommerce.
Start with any of the more than 100 ecommerce website templates. Tweak a few important elements to make it on-brand, and then start adding inventory. You need not be a tech whiz to make your first buck on Shopify.
Shopify has very few limits. You can sell as many items, styles, and varieties as you like, on any channel. Shopify makes it easy to impress customers who visit your page, giving them a polished online shopping experience with minimal work on your end.
Building an Ecommerce Website With Shopify
Most people will want to start with one of the online store templates. There are 11 free options, so don’t worry about having to spend more to get started.
By the time you add your content and images to the template, it already looks like a professional online storefront.
The best part about working within the online store templates from Shopify is that all your products are going to look great on a mobile phone. There are no extra plugins to install–your store will look great no matter how people are visiting it.
In terms of driving traffic to your site, Shopify lets you sell on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and more. You can create on-brand content that looks like it belongs in each social network. You can also start selling on Google, eBay, and Walmart Marketplace with a few clicks.
No other platform has the ability to sell on as many different channels as Shopify. You receive email marketing and marketing automation tools that are built into the platform, too. Everything you need to get the word out is part of the package.
And keeping track of sales is no problem. Shopify gives you a clear dashboard to track every aspect of your online store.
Running an ecommerce store isn’t rocket science–you just have to make good decisions based on what’s working and what’s not. Shopify puts all the critical information at your fingertips, updated in real time, so you can always choose the best path forward.
As we mentioned, you’ll have access to Shopify Payments to use as a secure credit card processor. You can connect Shopify with other payment gateways, but there are third-party transaction fees.
Using SEO with Shopify
When building a new online store, drawing in customers is perhaps your biggest challenge. We mentioned earlier how Shopify helps you sell on a variety of platforms, like Facebook.
Additionally, Shopify helps you drive visitors to your site by guiding the content on your product pages with SEO (search engine optimization) in mind.
Ranking for keywords is not an easy process, even with the tools that Shopify provides. However, Shopify does a nice job of giving you guidance, which is far better than trying to figure out what to do on your own.
Shopify places SEO tools directly on the website building pages, making them easy to access and use. Add photos and product descriptions that take advantage of SEO principles.
There’s no excuse to skip SEO when building your Shopify store, as it becomes a natural part of the process of adding content to your product pages.
Where Shopify struggles in terms of helping you with SEO is when you want to add a blog to your site. Shopify’s blogging features leave quite a bit to be desired. We’d recommend using WordPress for your blogging needs alongside your Shopify store.
Finding Expert Help with Shopify
One thing we really like about Shopify–especially for beginners–is the ability to access expert help when needed.
Perhaps you chose to build your site on your own, but something just doesn’t look quite right with it. Maybe you want to add a lot of new products, but you aren’t sure about the best way to organize things.
Shopify gives you access to a list of professionals who are willing to provide advice (for a fee). These experts can help with site design, marketing, and photography of products.
You can search the network for professionals who are located near you, if you’d prefer to work with someone local. You can work with an individual freelancer or with an agency.
Tradeoffs with Shopify
Shopify is totally focused on ecommerce, so if you are looking to build another type of website, Shopify is almost certainly not what you want.
As a website builder, Shopify is pretty basic in terms of design. A beginner isn’t going to be able to build a unique or dazzling website on Shopify, at least not without the help of a developer.
The nice part about the simplicity of Shopify is that it’s easy to build, edit, update pricing, swap out products, and so on. The tradeoff with that is you don’t get the depth of customization that comes with freeform website builders.
Something like Wix or Squarespace is better for people looking to make a statement with their site. Those companies also offer ecommerce websites, which may be worth checking out if you have concerns that Shopify isn’t going to let you build the site you want.
Why We Recommend Shopify
There’s simply no easier way to launch an ecommerce website than with Shopify. A total beginner can start selling the day they launch their site.
It’s a really welcoming platform that lets you start small and grow as big as you want. There are few limits to what you can sell and where you can market your goods.
On the rare occasion Shopify doesn’t have a feature built into it, you can probably find what you need on the Shopify App Store. Check it out today and see why more and more businesses are building their sites on Shopify.
Bottom Line: If you are looking to sell online, build your site with Shopify.
Wix – Best Website Builder for Your First Website
- Robust AI-assisted builder
- Easy to use...
- ...but still quite customizable
- Excellent selection of themes
If you’re a beginner and looking to build your first website, the clear choice is Wix.
It offers a way that makes your website building experience painless and, dare I say, fun.
Their AI helps you create a website after answering just a few questions about your goals. It’s like taking a Buzzfeed quiz, but when you’re done you have a great website (instead of just wasting time during your work day).
All the users we spoke to attested to how easy Wix was to use—without sacrificing the quality of the final product.
“[Wix] is very intuitive and they give you great tools to create great websites,” one user told me. They also spoke highly of the hundreds of templates the builder offered, praising the variety of great-looking designs along with “its easy-to-use drag-and-drop builder.”
They have templates for music, art, fashion, health, travel, photography, construction, and restaurant sites—just to scratch the surface.
Wix also offered numerous revenue streams for one user we talked to.
“My Wix website got me a few jobs,” they told me. “I’m also making consistent monthly income because of an online store I built on my site.”
Even though Wix offers a user-friendly website builder, it also gives you a comprehensive knowledge base of articles you can use if you ever get stuck.
“If I’m unsure about a certain topic, it’s quick to find answers via their support,” one user told me.
If you need a little bit more hands-on help, Wix offers a 24/7 callback service for US-based users so an actual person can walk you through any issues.
That’s a rarity in the website builder world—and definitely something that’ll help you in the long run. That way, if something breaks or your website crashes, you can immediately call someone up to help you.
Of course, I wanted to test it out for myself, so I jumped in and created my own Wix page from scratch.
Building a Website with Wix
When I set up my Wix account, I was surprised to find that it actually gave me a few ways to create my own website.
First, I could get my hands dirty and choose a template and build my website from the ground up.
Or, I could simply answer a few questions about the type of website I wanted to build and Wix’s ADI builder would handle all of the work for me. I had a decent-looking site after just a few answers.
Once you pick a template, you can update everything from the font, logo, and colors to images and more. That means you can make any of the already great-looking templates all your own with a little bit of tweaking.
When I tested Wix, I loved how easy it was to find a template that matched our vision. The AI stayed with me as I edited the page, helping me pick the next thing to edit and showing me how to do it.
The Wix AI matched my new site to my existing social media accounts, used my logo to create a color palette for my site, and gave me a template pre-populated with that logo and our street address. Connecting images from existing social media accounts made it easy to pull in all the assets we already owned.
Pick a business you already know and see how close Wix’s AI comes to replicating it. I used a local yoga studio as an example and Wix did closely match the studio’s existing site. Even better, I bet the studio paid a web designer for their design, while I did mine for free with an AI assistant.
Tradeoffs With Wix Website Builder
Take note: all of Wix’s plans are automatically set to auto-renew. Sticker shock is real, especially if you signed up with an introductory promo pricing. As one of our users put it, “the price per month tends to be quite high.”
That can be a big deal if you’re, say, a scrappy startup trying to make and save as much as possible. If you want to recoup some of the expenses with an ecommerce site, you’ll still have to pay for a more expensive plan for the subscription fee.
Zyro is going to be a good bit cheaper than Wix. If you just need a website that looks good, the extra cost might not be worth it.
Most of our users we spoke to did use Wix to build their own personal portfolios and blogs. That allowed them to find clients and customers.
Since Wix occasionally features their own users on their official blog, it can lead to more opportunities for you if you choose the platform. That’s exactly what happened to one of our users who said, “Being featured on Wix got me some freelance opportunities and ultimately landed my full-time job.”
Why We Recommend Wix
Overall, Wix offers the best combination of ease-of-use and customization of any platform we looked at. It’s not the cheapest, but people seemed really excited about the sites they were building.
The themes are varied and fantastic. You’ll also be armed with the tools you need to customize its look and feel to your exact specifications—or pretty darn close.
Wix gives you the option to essentially build your website for you through their AI site builder. That’s an amazing feature that no other website builder we reviewed offers. It takes the guesswork out of everything, especially if you just want to get a website up and running right away.
And if all that isn’t enough, Wix also delivers rock solid security and reliability. It includes high-grade security compliance, 24/7 monitoring against cyber threats, a robust 99.98 percent uptime rate, ecommerce security measures that meet the highest industry standards, and worldwide data and backup centers to keep your site information safe and secure. So no matter what kind of website you build, you can sleep easy at night knowing it’s protected, without you having to do a thing.
Bottom line: Wix is a great website builder for beginners looking to build a beautiful site right out of the box.
Zyro – Best for Keeping Website Costs Low
- Affordable Plans
- No Web Design Experience Needed
- 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
- 24/7 Customer Support
Zyro (pronounced like zero) is the perfect low-cost solution if you want a website you can build and update yourself. There are only a handful of excellent website builders–this is the least expensive one that doesn’t cut corners.
You won’t have to hire a developer. You won’t have to learn WordPress or HTML. You can drag, drop, and click your way to a great-looking website. And you’ll save hundreds of dollars a year compared to similar services.
If you are a freelancer or run a small business that just needs a website, Zyro should be at the top of your list. Can it do everything Wix and Squarespace can do? Not quite, but it’s a fraction of the price, and basically as easy to use.
There are a few tradeoffs that come with the low price of Zyro. But I’d argue that many of these missing bells and whistles are not going to matter much to users that just need some basic digital real estate for their business.
If every dollar counts, there is no better way to build your website than Zyro.
Building a Website with Zyro
“Easy” and “affordable” don’t usually go together when it comes to website builders. Zyro can offer this because they were acquired by Hostinger, one of Quick Sprout’s top picks for affordable web hosting companies.
Zyro already offered a great website builder, and now it’s running on Hostinger. It’s this partnership that allows them to keep prices low. The end result is that you don’t have to compromise: pay low hosting rates and get a super-easy website builder.
This is the appeal of Zyro in a nutshell. A total beginner can build, edit, and update their website for a few bucks a month.
We interviewed a Zyro user who needed a polished website when they struck out as a freelancer. She’d never built a website before, and told us that Zyro is “great for anybody who’s intimidated by the web.”
It took her less than a day to build her site with Zyro. “This is your confidence builder,” she said, adding that the process is “very, very intuitive.”
When you’re designing your site on Zyro, it’s truly “what you see is what you get.” Pages are automatically optimized for mobile or desktop, with no extra work on your end.
Everything is laid out in a grid system, which helps non-designers keep the site looking organized. Your website visitors won’t see the grid, it’s just there to help as you build.
You don’t have to start from scratch, either. Zyro has 148 templates ready for you to customize. If you are willing to keep things conventional, you could have a Zyro site built in minutes.
Of course, if you want to get really crafty, that will take a bit more time, but it’s all point-and-click. Add videos, links, maps, galleries, or switch up the color scheme–you’ll never have to jump into CSS or HTML to get things looking good.
You could use WordPress with a solid host (like Bluehost or Hostinger) to keep costs down, but if you’re a beginner at website building, it will be more complex to get your site looking the way you want it. You’ll have to add plugins and potentially dive into the code if you want to add visual elements. With Zyro, you can avoid all of that.
Zyro includes simple tools to handle the fundamentals, like creating contact forms, landing pages, and scheduling blog posts. But there are also some standout features that you wouldn’t expect from such a low-price option.
The AI Heatmap tool, for instance, shows you where people are clicking, moving their cursor, or scrolling down. You’ll see a heatmap of “hot” and “cold” areas on your site based on where users spend their time.
You’ll also get access to a logo maker, image editor, and tools to generate writing, slogans, and titles. These are all things you need for your website. The AI-generated writing for your website isn’t perfect, but it’s a start, and sometimes that’s all you need.
The real benefit is that you’re not going to have to hunt down some free website to compress images or get rid of the background of your logo. You can do everything in Zyro.
Never had to optimize an image or use SEO to improve your site’s rank on Google? Don’t worry, Zyro walks you through everything the first time you do it. There’s plenty of online help if you get stuck, and you can reach out to customer service 24/7.
Some website companies won’t offer much in the way of customer service, but Zyro is on top of its game here. It has a pretty good track record from what we could see online, and the users we spoke with were very happy.
“They’ll give you a canned response in some cases,” one user told us, but it “wasn’t a big deal” most of the time, because the online FAQs were very good. Overall, she said, the agents she connected with “were very, very helpful, right from the start.”
Tradeoffs with Zyro Website Builder
In terms of design, you can do more with a WordPress website than you can (currently) with Zyro. The same is true of Wix and Squarespace.
So if you are trying to make a splash in the world of web design, I might point you to one of those options. Wix has hundreds more templates to choose from, for example, and far more integrations with other online tools to amp up your site.
Another thing to bear in mind is what we call “template lock-in.” Some website builders like Wix and Zyro don’t allow you to switch templates. You can copy everything over to a new template in Zyro, sure, but that takes a lot more time. Squarespace lets you switch templates whenever you want with little fuss.
Some users we talked with also felt a little constrained by the grid system. Yes, it helped keep the page organized, but sometimes it was tough to fine-tune things the way they wanted.
“Spacing was a big issue for me,” said one user. “I wanted to move the wording down half an inch, but I had to move it a whole inch,” they explained. “It wanted to force me into that grid.” In the end, they were able to find a solution, but Wix is definitely more of a flexible tool in terms of design.
One final word about price. Zyro is the best price on a good website builder looking at the total cost over time. But like most web hosting companies, you get the best deal by signing up for a long time.
It’s a really low per month price, but you have to pay upfront for the whole thing. This kind of commitment can deter people. But if you’re always going to need a website, I’d say this tradeoff is one worth making. Over the years, you will save a ton of money.
Why We Recommend Zyro Website Builder
Zyro is hands-down the best option when it comes to a low-cost, easy-to-use website builder.
You’ll be paying less than the cost of a cup of coffee each month for a fast, reliable website. Want to change the store hours or run a special sale? You can do it yourself in minutes.
If you know that you always need a website, there’s not a lot of downside to signing up for a long plan, especially when that price is hundreds of dollars less over the years. Zyro gives you everything you need for your website and tools that anyone can start using right away.
Bottom line: Don’t spend any more than you have to get a great-looking site for your business. Try Zyro free for 30 days.
Bluehost – Best for WordPress Websites
- One-click WordPress installation
- Get a free domain
- Build a money-making site
- 30-day money-back guarantee
WordPress is the most popular way to build a website in the world–but you need your own hosting. Using Bluehost WordPress Website Builder is our recommendation for launching your site.
A quick disclaimer: WordPress is the content management system (CMS) we use here at Quicksprout. They don’t pay us to, mind you—we just like the product. So, I can personally attest to how great it is.
We’re not alone either. If you use WordPress, you join the likes of Vogue, Bloomberg, and even Beyonce who use it as their CMS.
Don’t just take my word for it though; our users all thought the same thing.
“With no knowledge of WordPress when I started it was a bit of a steep learning curve but I figured everything out quickly enough,” said one user. “WordPress is very intuitive and if you can’t figure something out, you just have to Google it or check on YouTube and you will likely find an answer.”
Not only is it highly customizable, but it’s also scalable. This is a CMS that can grow as large as you want, or be scaled back to as small as you want.
Another user loved how flexible WordPress was. That’s because it’s an open-source application so the back-end code is widely available—allowing developers and creators to make their own themes, widgets, and plugins for the CMS.
That means there are a ton of different ways you can mix and match plugins and themes out there. And, if you want to get your hands dirty, you can jump into the backend yourself and customize your site to your heart’s desire.
WordPress also has more than 11,000 themes. Many of them are free, some of them are paid.
My recommendation: Go with a paid one if you can afford it. One of our users paid for their theme, customized the heck out of it, and made it their own.
The benefit of doing this is that your website will easily stand out from the rest. When you go with one of the popular free themes, it’s just going to look like hundreds of other WordPress websites. However, if you put in a little work—and a little money—you’ll end up with a site that’s uniquely you.
All of our users built their sites exclusively to draw in leads, customers, and sales. The CMS allowed them to do so with easily integrated ecommerce functions, as well as powerful SEO tools such as Yoast to help capture organic traffic.
“I was able to monetize my website using affiliate marketing,” one user told me, “along with infoproducts like ebooks and minicourses once my audience got big enough.”
This user runs a genealogy website dedicated to helping people connect with family members. They were able to use their ancestry-specific blog along with a popular newsletter to build a loyal community of readers (and therefore customers).
“One thing that helped with that was creating an email subscriber list and a newsletter using the Mailchimp plugin,” they said. “It’s a must-have if you want to monetize your blog.”
Building a Website with WordPress
Like I said, this is what we use here at Quicksprout—so I’m well-versed in WordPress.
That said, there is a little bit of a learning curve for new beginners. The backend dashboard can frankly be overwhelming.
The good news is that after just a little bit of exploring and experimenting, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
From your dashboard, you’ll be able to do everything from creating new pages for your site, to crafting blog posts, to downloading new themes, plugins, or widgets.
The blog and page editor uses WordPress’ proprietary Gutenberg interface: a user-friendly blog and page creator that leverages drag-and-drop tools to help you create the page you want.
It’s not the What You See Is What You Get interface that Zyro or Wix have—but it’s close. If you want to see what your page or blog post looks like in the final product, you’ll have to click on the Preview button at the top of the editor. That’ll open up a new tab with the preview of your page/post.
It’s much, much more intuitive than its old editor—and will give any other WYSIWYG editor a run for its money.
Like I mentioned before, WordPress is scalable. If you want to build a big website with a ton of different assets, you can choose the right plugins to help. You can hire a developer (or yourself if you have PHP skills) to jump in the back end and build exactly what you need.
“WordPress gave me everything I needed to create the blog I wanted,” one user told us. “It gave me an easy interface to post my blogs, as well as everything I needed or wanted in my blog: a subscription box, an author area; just the look I wanted and the flexibility to change things as needed.”
I highly recommend you start small when it comes to plugins. My favorite plugin is Yoast SEO. It’ll help you make your page and blog posts rank better on Google search results by helping you find optimization opportunities in your content.
Choosing a Host
If you want to build a website with WordPress, they give you two options:
- Build it for free. This means your site will be hosted by WordPress. We don’t recommend this for a number of reasons. One of the obvious ones is that you’ll have to have a WordPress branded subdomain (e.g quicksprout.wordpress.com). Note: WordPress.com is their free, fully hosted version. If you want the self-hosted option (which I recommend), you’ll have to go with WordPress.org.
- Host it somewhere else. By hosting it elsewhere, you’ll get access to more resources and (potentially) a free unbranded domain name. This is where WordPress.org comes into play.
It’s one of the most popular web hosts out there. It’s also the one I highly recommend to beginners.
Every Bluehost plan comes with one-click WordPress installation, allowing you to easily create a website using the CMS once you sign up.
Each plan also comes with a free domain name registration too. In one fell swoop, you’ll be able to get a great domain, set up powerful and affordable web hosting, and create your WordPress site. Triple win!
All of our users surveyed used the powerful combination of WordPress with Bluehost. “I’m still using Bluehost after four years for most of my sites,” said one user. “It’s great for beginners due to how the pricing model is structured.”
Bluehost offers rock-bottom promotional pricing starting at just $2.75 per month.
Every Bluehost plan comes with 24/7 customer support. You’ll be able to email them directly and they’ll help solve your issue as soon as possible.
That was the case for one of our users when their website crashed—but they said, “I contacted their chat support and they were able to identify the issue (a broken plugin) and fix it immediately. [I’m] very grateful for that.”
They’ll also help you migrate to their host if you’re coming from a different hosting service. This can easily be the biggest headache for any website manager—but Bluehost makes it a snap.
“The website migration was unbelievably easy!” one user told me. “And I really prefer the portal at Bluehost compared to the old place plus the service is better for me.”
Cons of WordPress’s Website Builder
When it came to the drawbacks, our users agreed on one thing: It’s not the most beginner-friendly website builder.
In fact, they each told me about their frustrations when using the CMS for the first time. One user said, “I don’t like how it does take a bit of a learning curve to use. Sometimes I’d like to have my hand held more through the [website creation] process rather than having to look up a bunch of YouTube how-to videos to learn how.”
The dashboard is complex at first look. Once you learn it, you’ll be able to jump into the backend of any WordPress website and know how to get around with ease. This can be a valuable skill set to have—and one that employers frequently look for.
Still, this isn’t going to be the website builder for you if you’re looking to easily create a website out of the box with little to no site building experience or knowledge needed. For that, we recommend you look towards Zyro or Wix instead.
But if you’re willing to put in the work, learning even just the basics of WordPress can result in a massive return on investment. Not only will you be able to create a fully customized website, but you’ll have a valuable skill employers definitely look for.
Another thing to mention is that WordPress doesn’t have the most comprehensive support system. “I wish there was a help desk that you could contact either by email or chat,” one user opined.
In fact, the only option WordPress offers for support is a forum where you can pose questions or bring up issues you’re having with your site.
I decided to jump in and test it out and posted a question about a fake issue I was having with my website. It took about two hours before I received a reply. While the answer was comprehensive and answered my question, that was still a long wait before it was answered.
If I had a business and relied on that income to keep my lights on, those two hours would represent my livelihood. I would need help faster than that.
Why We Recommend Bluehost Website Builder
WordPress is the most popular website builder on the planet, and it’s not an accident.
The users we spoke with liked how easily they were able to monetize their blogs to turn their websites into income generation engines.
While there is a learning curve, once you get the hang of it, we promise you won’t look back. By the end of it, you’ll have a website that is endlessly customizable—and it’ll be able to grow as big as you or your business gets.
That means if you’re creating a blog for your passion, and the blog grows a big audience, you’ll be able to turn the same WordPress blog into a website that generates revenue for you from your audience.
Bottom line: It’s going to take a little bit more elbow grease, but once you create a WordPress website, you’ll have a customizable website that you can make into whatever you want it to be. Couple that with Bluehost and you’ll be able to do so easily in one fell swoop.
Squarespace – Best Website Builder for Creators of All Stripes
- Stellar, beautiful templates
- WYSIWYG builder
- Tweak templates to make designs your own
- Ecommerce features
Squarespace has long been the top choice for creatives and business owners that really care about the look of their website.
It’s no coincidence the Squarespace users we talked to had creator-focused websites. These users included a web design expert who teaches students how to create jaw-dropping sites, and an interior design blog who features gorgeous home tours on their website.
“I think I had my blog up and running within a day,” said one user. “Squarespace offers clean, beautiful templates you can easily tweak.”
Building a Website with Squarespace
Jumping in, I found that Squarespace does indeed give you an easy way to start a blog just like Wix. However, I had to admit that as much as I liked Wix’s themes, Squarespace would take home the Best In Show ribbon for how gorgeous their themes looked.
The backend editor is also fairly intuitive. That’s great for beginners like the newly graduated graphic designer looking to build their portfolio, or the photographer who wants to make their first business website.
Squarespace is also great for the new generation of creators and influencers across platforms like YouTube or TikTok to create a home for your brand outside of those platforms. Squarespace plays especially well with YouTube allowing you to embed videos along with more information or content that exists solely on your website.
“They have a great What You See Is What You Get builder,” said one user. “That means when you’re building the page, you see what the page will look like as you’re building it.”
In fact, this is something that builders like Squarespace and Wix have an edge on WordPress. You can easily see the changes you’re making to your website as you’re making them. No clicking back and forth between preview windows.
This can make it easy to use if you’re just starting out. Even seasoned website managers might find it a breath of fresh air compared to the alternative.
“Sometimes, like in WordPress, you’re editing your site in the backend, but then you have to go to the front end to see what it’ll look like when you’re finished,” the user said. “With Squarespace, as you’re building the blog post, you’re seeing the changes happen at the same time. And I think that’s really useful. That’s one aspect that makes it easy to use.”
Tradeoffs with Squarespace Website Builder
While Squarespace ranked fairly high on customization, it was still an area of some contention for our panel of interviewed and surveyed users.
One user enjoyed what Squarespace offered in terms of customization options and extra tools such as an ecommerce function, integrated email marketing, and podcast support. However, it’s still fairly limited when compared to the enormous customizability of WordPress. Not to mention, you might have to pay more for the plugins and widgets you need to make certain things work.
“Custom CSS is only available in the Business Plan,” said one user. “It’s doable for my website, I found some great tutorials on the internet for extra CSS customization and I had to buy a sidebar plugin because it wasn’t integrated in my template. For more complex websites this might be a problem.”
Mobile customization is also an area our users flagged. One user found it particularly frustrating since they essentially had to create your website twice—once for desktop and another time for mobile.
But, it should be noted that the Squarespace version you use might result in a different desktop vs mobile experience. For example, Squarespace version 7.0 might have templates that include extra built in mobile styles that’ll make your site look differently depending on what device you’re using to browse.
And while the website builder is easy to use, it could certainly be more intuitive. This is an area where Wix has an edge on Squarespace. One user told us, “It could be more obvious how to perform certain actions. Sometimes you have to hunt and click here and there. Every now and then I’ve accidentally deleted a blog because I’ve clicked the wrong button.”
Why We Recommend Squarespace
Squarespace allows you to create a striking blog or portfolio without a lot of trouble. For people who want a million interactive features on their site, it might not be the best. But if your aesthetic is minimalist, or you really need to showcase images and videos–Squarespace should be your top choice.
The website builder’s gorgeous templates and creator-friendly features earned it a spot on our list. Their designs truly can’t be matched.
Bottom line: If you’re a creator looking to show off stunning visuals of your art, photographs, graphic design, and more, then Squarespace is the builder for you.
Weebly – Best for Solopreneurs
- Visual website builder
- Free SEO tools
- Sell services and digital products
- Easy payment integration
Weebly is another flexible, out-of-the-box website builder in the family of Wix and Squarespace. We like it for freelancers and solopreneurs who need a website and a simple way to charge for their services.
Weebly is powered by Square—the folks behind the popular point-of-sale system. That means if you sell products in-person like at a farmers’ market, you’ll be able to easily integrate your POS sales with your website.
For ecommerce, it’s hard to beat Shopify–but if you don’t want a full online store, Weebly may have what you need.
We talked to users that ranged from a musician who used Weebly to sell music directly to fans, to a LinkedIn coach and blogger who sold her coaching services via sessions directly on her website, to a website designer who used her Weebly site to bring in new clients.
“I chose Weebly to design all of my websites years ago with the idea that it was simple enough that my clients could update their own websites,” said the web designer.
Building a Website with Weebly
After hearing our users glow about Weebly’s easy site building process, I had to jump in for myself.
True to their word, our users were right when they said it was easy. Weebly offers an intuitive website creation process. It is as simple as choosing a domain name and a template and creating the site.
It’s also easy to add new pages to your website. One of our users told us that, “Creating the blog section of my website was super simple and took less than five minutes to set up.”
I found that Weebly integrates nicely with other third-party tools that you’ll definitely want for your website such as Google Analytics and Mailchimp.
The builder itself is drag-and-drop a la Wix or Squarespace. So like those platforms, it’s minimal effort and headache free. What you see is what you get.
There are tools for email, SEO, site analytics, shipping, and inventory for the ecommerce plan. You’ll be able to even add a product search to your online store—which I love. If you have a big catalog of products and services, you’ll definitely want to add this function in.
They also give you the ability to add badges to your products and services when they go on sale or when inventory is low for a specific item. That’s a great way to build scarcity into your products—and make your customers want to click the buy button all the more.
Setting it up is simple and straightforward too. Since it’s a WYSIWYG builder, I can easily swap out products, prices, and descriptions, along with digital assets like logos, product images, and banner images. Setting up a rudimentary store took less than five minutes to do after signing up.
I was also pleased by how I was able to accept payments via gateways like Paypal, Stripe, and—of course—Square. Those options are a boon for users who will be able to pick the gateway they want.
Tradeoffs with Weebly Website Builder
One of our users didn’t like how Weebly doesn’t allow you to “save” changes on your site before it goes live. That would be a good addition if you were in the process of redesigning your site.
Another user we spoke to didn’t like how complicated it was to sync up their inventory between their Weebly website and their Square POS system.
“Square and Weebly sometimes don’t cooperate with me or each other,” the user said. “So I can’t have full, accurate inventory reflected between the two entities.”
That user also opined the fact that they had to jump back and forth between Square support and Weebly support if they needed help fixing an issue. It’s like a game of tennis and you’re the ball.
“If I want to fix something and I go to Weebly, they go, ‘No, go to Square,’ and Square’s like, ‘No, you have to go back to Weebly.”
Why We Recommend Weebly Website Builder
Weebly offers users a very simple website design experience with the ability to sell goods and services.
We’d point most ecommerce users to Shopify, but freelancers, consultants, and solopreneurs with a simple suite of services may want to check out Weebly.
Like Squarespace, Weebly also lacks the comprehensive customization and scalability of WordPress. But, on day one, Weebly is a lot more approachable than WordPress.
Bottom line: If you are running your own business, Weebly works off-the-shelf.
GoDaddy – Best for Building Your Website from Your Phone
- Best mobile site builder
- Build sites in minutes
- Easy-to-use editor
- Great for simple and short-term sites
On top of solid domain and hosting services, GoDaddy offers a simple and straightforward website builder.
It’s not necessarily the best at any one area—but think of it as “jack of all trades, but master of none.” From ecommerce websites to blogs to portfolios, they have tons of different templates to help you create the website that’s right for you.
If there was one single thing that GoDaddy does well though, that’s intuitiveness and simplicity. That was the biggest stand out for Gabriel Smith, one of the users we spoke to. In fact, Gabriel built his GoDaddy website all from his phone while he was homeless living on the street.
You read that correctly. He had just finished his memoir, also from his phone, and wanted to get his words out there. So he found GoDaddy and got to work building an entire website from his phone.
“I literally did it because I was homeless,” Gabe told me with a laugh. “What else could I do? Some way, somehow I was going to get my story out because I didn’t know how many people that could possibly help.”
Gabe was able to easily create his website using one of his few possessions: a smartphone. Using just the mobile editor, he was able to create a website that worked for him and his goal of promoting his book.
In his own words, he ranks GoDaddy’s ease of use at a five “only because ten isn’t an option.” So simplicity is definitely a strong suit for the website builder.
With some more hustle and grit, Gabriel was able to secure speaking engagements because of his book and website, as well as coaching opportunities to help out folks who were in a similar situation to him. Now, he has a successful career as a motivational speaker and a self-improvement author.
Building a Website with GoDaddy
I tried it out for myself and found that Gabe was correct. GoDaddy offered an intuitive way to create a website via a mobile editor or a desktop site builder.
That’s not to detract from Gabriel’s immense accomplishment of building a successful website on his own while homeless, mind you—just verification that it is in fact easy to use.
I like that it gives you tools to book appointments, sell different products and services, and take reservations. Their drag-and-drop website builder makes it easy to do so too.
One user we spoke to owns a gardening shop and regularly offers classes. They said that they like the way GoDaddy “easily integrates appointments and workshops into the site.”
Our entire user panel of users also liked the tools offered—but occasionally wanted more. One user who owns a coffee roastery said they were “able to build an email list with our Godaddy website which is an extremely effective way to grow, but outside of that, the growth tools were limited.”
The simplicity is a boon and a drawback (as we’ll get into shortly). But overall, I enjoy it because of how easy it is to use.
It’s pretty affordable though, with plans starting at $9.99 a month. I highly recommend it if you are already using GoDaddy for your domain or web host.
Cons of GoDaddy’s Website Builder
GoDaddy does seem to trade off simplicity for depth of customization.
In fact, they’re too simple in some ways. One user said that while the drag and drop editor was easy to use, it’s still “quite limited and you can’t easily alter things like font size.”
That user also criticized how slow the editing tool becomes if you have too many digital assets on the page.
Also, if you’re hoping to direct your emails to a portal of your choice, it’s going to be tough. “I think my biggest issue with them is their webmail that’s tied to the website,” one user said. “After a very frustrating season of my emails to customers constantly getting stuck in spam filters I had to give up and switch to Gmail for all correspondence. GoDaddy has not been able to fix the issue.”
They continued, “It’s a bummer because I’m paying for the service and I want to have that professional email address but I just can’t use it and have confidence that it will get to my customers.”
Another user actually recently switched from GoDaddy to WordPress because they felt like they had to “compromise on some aspects” of their website when building with GoDaddy.
“I wanted a store list of the physical locations people could buy our [products]. This didn’t exist,” said one user. They ended up having to get creative with a menu tool to create this page—but it obviously wasn’t ideal.
The user also added, “The lack of ability to have recurring purchases for our [product] subscription service was also a big factor in deciding to switch from Godaddy to WordPress.”
Why We Recommend GoDaddy Website Builder
If you’re looking to build a website easily and quickly and don’t expect to upkeep it too much, GoDaddy could be a good choice for you.
It’s a fantastic alternative if you’re a busy, on-the-go professional or someone who might be limited in the ways they can create their website looking for a dead simple website builder to get the job done.
In any case, Gabriel is more than happy to tell you how happy he is with GoDaddy—and that makes it a fantastic choice in my book.
Bottom Line: GoDaddy offers a simple, easy website builder—but not much else.
How We Chose Which Products to Review
I chose all seven website builders based on three criteria:
- Ease of Use
- Depth of Customization
- Ability to Earn Money
I took a look at dozens of the most popular website builders on the market today and benchmarked each of them against the three qualities above.
For each website builder I found, I created a bare-bones website to test out their tools and features. I also took into account the things offered in paid premium plans.
Using this method, I was able to narrow down my list of more than a dozen website builders to what I considered to be the seven best. These seven best showcased the three criteria above in unique—but effective—ways.
In all, this stage of the research process took two weeks to complete. When I finished, it was time to find real users of each product.
How We Reviewed Each Product
At Quicksprout, we believe that if you want to get actual insights about a product or service, you need to talk to actual users.
You can’t just trust the website builder’s marketing or even the testimonials you find on review sites. Instead, you need to find the people who have used the builders before. Only then can you get the good, the bad, and the oh-so-frustrating.
It took time to find and verify users, but in the end, we were able to connect with a few dozen people that used these website builders for their business.
Each person agreed to either a phone interview or a survey. Questions for both were identical, though some of our interviewees had a lot to say about their experience.
We took all of our research, interviews, and surveys and synthesized them into the post you are reading now.
What We Learned Choosing the Best Blogging Platform
There’s no such thing as a “perfect” website builder. Instead, each one offers a unique set of features and tools for a different kind of user.
Everyone wants something easy to use, but what exactly does that mean when it comes to website builders?
Keep reading to hear insights from our research and user interviews that can help you hone in on a website builder that really matches your needs.
Ease of Use
If you’re reading this, you’re likely a beginner. We all need to start somewhere.
What that means is that ease of use plays a bigger role in your ultimate decision than ever.
The reason is because it’s easy to get frustrated and burned out when learning a new skill like website building. That can easily result in abandoning your website-building efforts entirely.
To combat that, you want to make things as easy as possible in the beginning. That’s why we highly recommend finding a platform that can help you create a site easily and quickly.
With something like Zyro or Wix, a first-time user is not going to run into any trouble.
“[Wix is] intuitive and has great tools to create individual website designs,” one Wix user told us.
We also love that it will hold your hand through the process—and will even build out the website for you if you want.
That said, Squarespace, Weebly, and GoDaddy are also easy-to-use products as well. It just depends on what you’re looking for.
For example, if you’re looking for a great WYSIWYG website builder to create gorgeous blogs and portfolios, Squarespace is for you.
If you want to create an online store, Shopify is for you.
If you want a simple builder with a great mobile editor, look no further than GoDaddy.
Depth of Customization
Being able to customize your website to the exact look and feel you want is crucial—but it sometimes makes the learning curve for the builder a bit steeper.
This is a delicate balancing act. But once you strike it, the platform will allow you to not only align with your brand but also draw in the type of readers and customers you want.
Customization also includes things outside of the way your website looks. It’s also the ability to add the features you need to accomplish your goals.
For example, if you want to build a list of email subscribers for a newsletter, you want to find a website builder that’ll allow you to easily capture your visitor’s contact information. For that you might want to go with Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress as they give you either native tools to do so or allow you to download a third-party plugin like Mailchimp.
Not all platforms offer the same amount of customization. A website builder like WordPress offers the deepest level of customization on this list. You’ll be able to create the exact website you want so long as you have the knowledge to code and edit, or are willing to pay someone to do so.
A website builder like GoDaddy offers likely the least amount of customization. That’s not to say you won’t be able to build a good website. They’re just not open-source. As such, there’s no community out there dedicated to creating widgets, plugins, and themes for GoDaddy sites.
A builder like Squarespace allows you to include things like ecommerce stores easily right out of the box.
“One of the reasons why I recommend Squarespace to small businesses or bloggers is because you don’t need to go get a third-party plugin to add a shop or to have your Instagram in the footer, or create your email newsletter collection,” said one of our users. “It’s really an all-in-one system, which is wonderful.”
It all starts with the templates that they give you. You start with a theme, but are able to use it as a launching point. Once you tweak and customize it to your specific needs, it becomes virtually whatever kind of website you want it to be.
Ability to Earn Money
If you’re building a website for your business, or portfolio, or even a simple blog, you likely want to make money from it.
Websites are marketing channels after all. They exist to promote brands, products, services, movements, and more.
The website builder you choose will have a fairly big impact on how much money you can earn.
For example, if you want to build a good ecommerce store, I would highly recommend going with Shopify. It’s a true plug-and-play ecommerce website builder that works across every sales channel.
Weebly is partnered with Square—which makes it a cost-effective way for people to start selling from their site.
But online stores aren’t the only way to make money.
For people looking to drive traffic to their site for advertising purposes, Shopify is not going to work out well at all. WordPress is probably a much better choice for that. They offer a ton of great third-party plugins to help with SEO.
Sure, you won’t have out-of-the-box ecommerce functionality. But WordPress gives you a much higher ceiling in terms of being able to customize your website and creating even more avenues to revenue beyond sales.
The Top Website Builders in Summary
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for website builders. What works for one person or business might not work for you—and that’s okay. Look for a website builder that addresses your needs and skill level. Start with a template, and you’ll be on your way.
Use the recommendations in this guide as a resource as you’re evaluating the best website builders. Our reviews still steer you in the right direction.