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The Best Website Builders

Which Website Builder is the Best?

Selecting the right website builder can significantly influence your site's success in attracting and retaining visitors. It's not just about building a website; it's about building one that's user-friendly, loads quickly, functions well on mobile devices, and is accessible to all users.

Website builders are designed to simplify the process of creating your website, and eliminate technical barriers that come with more advanced web development methods. With a website builder, you can become a "drag and drop" designer, making it easy to create your homepage and supporting pages. However, whether this is a blessing or a burden depends on the quality of the website builder, the time you can invest, and your tolerance for learning curves.

Saturday, May 18th

2024 Website Builder Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award WordPress Review 5 Star Rating

WordPress

5 Star Rating
  • From $0 to 45 per month (depending on hosting)
  • Dominance with 45% market share
  • Evolved, user-friendly CMS with extensive themes and plugins
  • Open-source flexibility and PHP developer community
  • Self-hosting, plugins, and content flexibility
  • SEO optimization and supportive user community
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

WordPress has been a prominent name in the web development scene for quite a while. Since its initial release in 2003, it has become the foundation for an impressive 38 million websites, accounting for approximately 45% of all websites on the internet and 64% that use content management systems (CMS). Moreover, WordPress is a major player in the world of top websites, making up a significant 38% of the top 10,000 websites worldwide. WordPress is not going away anytime soon.

Evolution from blogging tool to CMS

Originally conceived as a basic blogging tool, WordPress has evolved into a sophisticated and powerful CMS that is still easy to use. What sets it apart is its extensive library of themes and plugins, offering endless possibilities to customize your website according to your preferences. There's no end to what you can accomplish with WordPress if you take the time to learn it and apply the right themes and plugins.

The power of open source and PHP

One of the key advantages of WordPress is its open-source nature. This means it can be used and modified freely by anyone, provided that the modifications are also shared as open source. While most users may not need to make changes to the core WordPress itself (which is not recommended for anyone), its open-source flexibility is the driving force behind its popularity. Should the need for modifications arise, a variety of WordPress-specific designers, developers, and over 6 million PHP developers, globally, are available for assistance, as PHP is the language on which WordPress operates.

Usage methods: main site vs. self-hosting

WordPress offers two primary methods of use: the main WordPress site and self-hosting using open-source software. The easiest and quickest approach is to create an account on WordPress, choose a theme, and create your site's homepage. The built-in WordPress Block Editor is recommended for content creation, as it's supported by Automattic (the company that made WordPress) and the WordPress community. It's user-friendly, and numerous tutorials are available online for guidance.

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Variety of page and theme builders

There are, however, other page and theme builders available, such as Divi, Elementor, Oxygen, Breakdance, Bricks, Beaver Builder, and WP Bakery. Each of these has its pros and cons, so be sure to check individual reviews about each one to decide which one is best for you. Note that other builders are only available on certain WordPress plans or if you're doing self-hosting.

Improvements to WordPress hosting

We spoke with a representative about what has changed since our last review of WordPress hosting. Previously, there were a lot of limitations with main WordPress hosting compared to self-hosted WordPress, but Automattic has more recently invested in more flexible and capable offerings so they can better compete with established hosting providers. This includes Business and Commerce hosting tiers that are quite competitive in pricing and features. Also, their VIP Enterprise plan better positions them to host major brands with high hosting expectations.

Free version features with main WordPress site hosting

If you go only with the free version of hosting your site via the main WordPress site, you'll get a variety of pre-built themes to choose from, unlimited pages and users, the ability to rewind post edits, built-in newsletters, and a basic level of security protection. If you sell content or products, even on the free plan you can create an online store, send paid newsletters to subscribers, and release premium content. With the free hosting plan, you do pay 10% in payment fees for every completed sale. But when you upgrade to a paid hosting plan, the payment fees reduce with each tier.

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Upgrading options and additional features

Upgrading to a higher hosting plan on WordPress provides additional features and support, such as support via live chat and email, faster DNS with SSL, removal of ads, a custom domain free for a year, better performance and security, a staging site, optimization tools, analytics, marketing integrations, payment collection, and "WordAds" advertising opportunities. Hosted email is also available through their Professional Email service.

Self-hosting advantages and flexibility

If you opt for self-hosting, you'll continue to enjoy many great options. Your hosting provider will typically set up WordPress for you automatically or it will be made available with a single click. You can choose themes that work with the Block Editor or opt for full-fledged page-builder or theme-builder themes for alternative design flexibility. Unlike free, Personal, or Premium WordPress hosting plans, self-hosted WordPress allows you to add plugins to enhance your site's capabilities. Many plugins and themes are free, while others offer advanced features for a fee, giving you control over your site's design and functionality.

Content import and export plus SEO readiness

WordPress offers a free plugin for content import and export, making it easy to switch themes or enable eCommerce on your site, and even switch away from WordPress to another CMS or website builder. WordPress' long history of being optimized for search engines and its flexibility with mobile responsive, performant design means it is tailored to maximize search engine visibility, ensuring your content reaches a wider audience.

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User education and community support

Although WordPress may require a bit more user education than quick-start site builders, the investment in learning pays off with the flexibility, cost savings, and enhanced search engine performance it provides. A wealth of free online tutorials and a supportive community of developers and enthusiasts are available to help users navigate any challenges.

Reviews and customer sentiment

Reviews, in the case of this wildly popular WordPress CMS, are secondary to our rating. They are mostly positive on Trustpilot, though most of the negative reviews are older and aren't taking into account many of the enhancements that have been put in place over the past several years. A fundamental disconnect that people seem to be having with the main WordPress hosting service is falsely equating it with other website builders and hosts that are more entry-level, such as Wix and Squarespace. However, WordPress is not in the same category as the more rudimentary drag-and-drop builders in that it allows you to do more with your site once it's built without all the vendor lock-in downsides of the other providers.

WordPress's high rating and versatility

In summary, WordPress earns our highest rating due to its long-standing presence, extensibility, search engine visibility, and popularity. Its versatility in many hosting options offers the freedom to create a top-tier website with high traffic potential, making it an attractive choice for web development. WordPress should be the first place you turn when considering website builders.

Divi Review 4.5 Star Rating

Divi

4.5 Star Rating
  • From $89 per year to $249 for lifetime support
  • Pre-designed layouts for easy site creation
  • Full theme builder with design control
  • Custom animations and design flexibility
  • A broad selection of page modules and e-commerce integration
  • High ratings and responsive support

Divi, a product offered by Elegant Themes, is a website builder tool that complements our recommendation of WordPress. Divi is essentially a theme that you can add to any self-hosted WordPress site.

Vast library of layouts

What sets Divi apart is its vast library of pre-designed layouts that cover various essential pages like home, about, contact, product, and portfolio, making it a breeze to kickstart your site. Once your site is generated using one of these layouts, you gain complete control to modify every element of its design. Or, if you want to create a completely original design from scratch, it has everything you need.

Getting started with Divi

To download Divi, you will first need to subscribe to a membership. It's $89 per year or a $249 one-time payment for a lifetime membership. With either membership, you get to use it on an unlimited number of websites. For what it can do for technical and non-technical users, or if you plan on using Divi on your website for more than 2 years, the lifetime membership is the best deal available in the WordPress page builder market.

It's wise to use the tutorials

For those new to Divi, the tool comes with a set of tutorial videos to guide you through the initial steps and orient you to its user interface. It's advisable to follow these tutorials to become familiar with its many options before diving in. Divi simplifies the design process with its user-friendly Visual Builder mode, which allows you to edit your site as it appears to your visitors. As the site administrator, you can click on any element, be it text, images, video blocks, sections, rows, columns, headers, or footers, and effortlessly edit, drag, or resize them directly on the page. Once your changes are complete, a simple click on the "Save" button publishes your modifications.

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Open-source images and illustrations

Another notable feature of Divi is the open-source nature of all images and illustrations included in the pre-designed layouts. Although it's a better design practice to use your own original images, Divi's inclusion of open-source images means you can use them on your site without the burden of royalties or licensing fees. And if you find that any of the images don't quite match your vision, you can easily replace them with your preferred ones.

Artificial intelligence integration

A relatively recent addition to the Divi experience is a set of AI tools. Need an image to fill some space or illustrate some text content or a product? Just ask Divi's AI image generation tool in natural language to create what you need. If you need a bit of copy to describe a product or service, Divi's AI writer understands the context and content of the rest of your site and can instantly generate text for you to tweak as you need. And, if you're in need of some CSS styling code or Javascript to perform a needed function, the AI coding tool has intimate knowledge of Divi to know just how to do what you're asking for.

The cost for AI

In addition to the membership pricing, the artificial intelligence capabilities do incur an extra cost of $18 per month or $216 billed yearly. This offering is cheaper than paying for ChatGPT and Midjourney if you were to attempt to use those instead of Divi AI.

Full theme builder and design control

Divi distinguishes itself by being a full theme builder, giving you control over critical elements like headers, footers, 404 (not found) pages, search results, archives, categories, and other meta-pages within WordPress. This ensures consistency in the design of your pages, headers, and footers. If you want different headers and footers for various pages, Divi provides the flexibility to accomplish that.

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Animations, effects, and customization

Adding engaging animations and effects to your site is made even more accessible with Divi. Unlike other page builders that limit you to pre-made animations, if they have any animations at all, Divi empowers you to use ready-made animations or create entirely unique ones using a visual interface. The AI engine will even allow you to create animations from elements that were previously static. If you have a penchant for diving deeper into design through CSS and HTML code, Divi accommodates those needs as well.

Wide range of page modules

For page modules, Divi offers a broad selection of elements commonly found on websites, including accordions, audio players, bar counters, buttons, call-to-action forms, contact forms, dividers, and much more. When you install the WooCommerce plugin for e-commerce purposes, Divi's WooCommerce modules become available. This is a game-changer, as it allows you to set up product pages, carts, and checkouts precisely as you envision them, which is often challenging with WooCommerce by itself and with other e-commerce platforms like Shopify.

Third-party custom modules and layouts

If you require additional modules beyond what Divi offers internally, you have access to a large marketplace of third-party custom modules you can easily install on your site. And, if you're really into coding, or if you want to hire a developer, you can even create your own Divi modules for custom functionality.

Library items and visual modes

For users who often find themselves reusing specific layouts, Divi lets you save these layouts as library items, which can then be added to any page as needed. You can customize them on a per-page basis or, if you want changes to apply across your entire site, make them global. Furthermore, Divi's Visual Builder offers different visual modes to assist you in your design process, including Wireframe, Zoom Out, Desktop, Tablet, and Phone views. These modes cater to varying needs, from seeing the structural elements without design details to gaining a holistic perspective of the entire design.

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Bundled features with Divi license

When you purchase the license and support for Divi from Elegant Themes, you don't just get access to Divi; you also receive over 100 additional WordPress premade layouts, the Bloom email opt-in plugin, and the Monarch social sharing plugin bundled with it. With the premade layouts, you can create a whole multi-page site instantly and customize its look and feel to your liking. If you intend to use Divi and its bundled plugins in the long term, the lifetime license purchase option becomes an attractive investment.

Additional Divi features and offerings

In addition to its standard offering, Divi offers a few features for extra cost.

  • Divi Cloud is a service that acts like Dropbox but for web designs. If you want to share your Divi designs and elements of a design with other designers, you can upload them to Divi Cloud for reuse. It costs $6 per month or $72 billed yearly for unlimited storage, unlimited items, and unlimited websites.
  • Divi Teams allows you to build and collaborate with a team around your Divi website builds. It costs just $1.50 per team member per month and includes customizable permissions, Divi Cloud access, API key management, product downloads, and premium support.
  • Divi VIP amplifies the amount and speed of support you can receive from the Elegant Themes support team. Instead of several hours of waiting for chat support to respond, you get a response in 30 minutes or less. For $8 per month or $72 billed yearly, all your team members get priority access to support plus 10% off Divi Marketplace purchases.

Most positive customer reviews with helpful support responses

Out of all the website builder tools on our list, Divi has the highest Trustpilot rating at an astounding 4.9 among over 23,000 individual reviews. Their Better Business Bureau rating is an "A+" with 4.78 out of 5 stars and very few complaints. Negative sentiment is almost immeasurable in the aggregate. And, all negative reviews have direct and lengthy responses from Elegant Themes support staff. Our experience bears this out as even with the non-VIP support when we had questions about how to achieve a certain look and feel, the support representatives always provided us with the exact code needed to achieve it. That's a remarkable level of support that we haven't seen from other website builders.

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High rating despite lack of built-in accessibility and performance

It's worth noting that one of the concerns raised by reviewers is that using the Divi theme builder can impact site page speed, which holds importance for Google PageRank scores. It also lacks accessibility for creating websites that adapt to people with disabilities. We did ask the Divi support team when built-in accessibility would be released and they said it would be available in a future version, but they were not able to be specific as to when.

Upgrades on the horizon

As of this writing, Divi is closer than ever to releasing a new major version that has completely overhauled its internal code so that it will be much faster going forward. The new release will also pave the way for accessibility and other features that have been on hold. Until then, with the implementation of a caching plugin and fast website hosting, you can restore acceptable page speed levels. With some extra adjustments, a Divi-powered site can achieve commendable page load speed. And, accessibility can be addressed with a number of community-created tweaks.

Earns one of our highest ratings

In light of constant improvements being made by the vendor, our experience with Divi left us thoroughly impressed with its power and flexibility for advanced users and its ease of use for novice site designers. The advanced design capabilities that Divi offers make it a compelling choice among website builders. For all these reasons, Divi earns one of our highest ratings.

Nicepage Review 4 Star Rating

Nicepage

4 Star Rating
  • From $0 to $349
  • Multiple options, including standalone application, WordPress plugin, and Joomla extension
  • Freedom to position and resize elements, various viewing modes, and professional-grade capabilities
  • Extensive library of pre-made elements and support for CMS websites
  • High customer reviews for helpful features and support

Website design and editing tools often lack flexibility, usually operating exclusively online. However, Nicepage offers multiple options, including a standalone application for Windows and Mac, a plugin for WordPress, an extension for Joomla, and an online design tool.

Resource-intensive online version with a guided tutorial

The first time we reviewed Nicepage when using the online version, we saw that it strained the computer's CPU and consumed substantial memory. Since then, we tested the service on an upgraded computer, and it does seem to run just fine on newer machines with better hardware. If you're on a slower or older computer, to ensure smooth operation, it's advisable to close other applications and browser tabs. Upon logging in, a brief two-minute tutorial provides an introduction to the tool, covering tasks like creating a new page, adding a logo and menu, inserting blocks, and incorporating text and images.

User-friendly design features

Nicepage grants users the freedom to position and resize elements according to their preferences. It also allows you to view the page in various modes, from desktop to smartphone sizes. We had no problem finding our way around the interface, adding new pages and sections, and even considering and executing designs the way a professional web designer with years of experience would. All the information and capabilities that experienced designers would expect are there, so handing over your design to a freelancer or agency will be smoother than with many other website builders we tried.

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Limitations of single-page templates and SEO concerns

The platform offers over ten thousand modern templates across dozens of categories, although searching for specific subtypes within categories is not supported. The templates tend to create single-page websites, where each section functions as a separate "page." This can have SEO drawbacks compared to a multi-page structure with distinct URLs, so if you want better SEO, design your site from a whole theme rather than individual page templates.

Convenient editing and site settings

Undo and redo buttons facilitate corrections, while a site settings dialog provides control over various parameters in one place. Selecting elements in complex blocks with multiple layers, such as text, images, and cells, is much easier with this latest version of Nicepage than the first time we reviewed it.

Comprehensive pre-made elements and support for CMS websites

A comprehensive list of pre-made elements can be added to pages and blocks, and for CMS-based websites, widgets and shortcodes are available.

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Limitations in eCommerce capabilities

For eCommerce sites on Nicepage.io hosting, creating bespoke content layouts for each product is the norm, as there's still no centralized eCommerce database. For example, there's no way to link the "buy now" button to an action in the e-commerce system, which may be confusing for some users. This might be a limitation based on the fact that this tool is really only meant for generating a base set of HTML files that a developer will later enable for more dynamic functionality.

Publishing on Nicepage.io hosting and custom domain connection

Publishing on the free Nicepage.io hosting plan provides a subdomain.nicepage.io URL, which may not be ideal for SEO. Connecting your site to a custom domain can be requested through the support link in the Site Settings dialog. Alternatively, you can consider purchasing a WordPress or Joomla CMS hosting plan and using the respective plugins to host your site on a custom domain.

Exporting options and licensing considerations

The standalone desktop application involves exporting your design as a WordPress or Joomla .zip file, including assets and code as a theme. The editor plugin can also be included in the zip file for direct editing on your CMS site. Additionally, you can export it as a project for future edits. The process is straightforward and error-free. We did notice, however, that even for a simple site one CSS file was rather large at over 800KB. That could affect site load speed without caching enabled. Exporting all HTML is suitable for static sites without content management features. You can also export screenshots of the fully-rendered website for portfolios or client approval. The licensing may seem restrictive and expensive, with a single-user license covering one laptop and one desktop. To receive updates after one year, you must repurchase the entire license.

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Customers love Nicepage

Customer reviews on Trustpilot clocked in high at over 90% positive sentiment. Happy Nicepage customers appreciate the tool's many helpful features for beginners and professionals alike, plus the fast and helpful support responses. Some customers were less than happy with the pricing structure and a few features they felt should not be missing from a tool that bills itself as geared toward professionals, but there are a lot of things any builder could be doing in this realm. For what it does do, most customers agree that Nicepage does a lot more than others.

Future updates and a user-friendly interface

Nicepage's free version has several limits. Nicepage also lacks support for exporting a whole project to WordPress. It only exports the site's assets in WordPress format. But Nicepage plans to include them in future updates. Despite these and other limitations, the user-friendly interface is a significant advantage, particularly for basic website creation and transferring to your web design professional for the final touches and functionality. For flexibility in publishing your website, Nicepage offers a viable solution.

Squarespace Review 3.5 Star Rating

Squarespace

3.5 Star Rating
  • $15 to $49 per month
  • Choose from 140+ industry-specific, responsive templates for a polished look
  • Robust eCommerce, analytics, marketing, SEO, and member areas capabilities
  • Customizable layouts, SEO support, and easy management of blog content
  • Plans from $16 to $49/month, with features like online courses and client intake

With Squarespace, you can easily choose from over 140 professionally designed templates that are tailored to different industries. These templates are not only visually appealing but also responsive, meaning they adapt to different screen sizes and devices. Once you've selected a template, you can customize it to match your brand by changing colors, fonts, and layouts. Squarespace's intuitive drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to add and arrange elements on your website without any coding knowledge.

Versatile business features

Squarespace is suitable for a wide range of websites, including blogs, portfolios, business websites, and online shops. It offers solid business features such as eCommerce functionality, analytics, marketing, and SEO tools. You can easily set up an online store, manage inventory, process payments, and track sales using Squarespace's built-in eCommerce tools.

Flexible content creation

You can create areas on your websites to offer exclusive content or services to your members. This can be particularly useful if your business or organization wants to provide special access or benefits to your loyal customers or members. Squarespace also provides tools for appointment booking, restaurant reservations, and social media integration. Furthermore, Squarespace includes an email marketing tool so you can keep your customers up-to-date on your latest offerings and information.

Powerful blogging tools

The platform offers powerful and versatile blogging tools, allowing you to easily create and manage blog posts. You can customize the layout and design of your blog posts, add images and videos, and even enable comments on your blog posts. Squarespace also provides good support for SEO, making it easier for you to optimize your blog posts for search engines and attract more visitors.

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Exports are allowed

Unlike Wix and other near competitors, Squarespace does allow you to export certain types of content, such as one blog page including all of its posts and up to 1,000 comments per post, layout pages, text blocks, image blocks, text from other embed blocks, and gallery pages in case you want to move your site to WordPress.

Clear pricing and offerings

Squarespace has various pricing options starting at $16 per month and going up to $49 per month. If you pay annually, you get a discount on the monthly rate. The pricing plans provide increasing value for money based on the features and functionality offered at each pricing tier. The features of the plans change depending on the specific needs of the user, such as eCommerce capabilities, additional storage, or advanced marketing tools. Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial, allowing users to explore the platform and its features before committing to a paid plan. Newer offerings include creating and selling online course websites and also the creation of websites for the purpose of client intake, customer relationship management, filling out onboarding forms, and invoicing and accepting client payments for services.

Enterprise solutions

For enterprises, Squarespace can solve large company needs, such as custom website production with a centralized dashboard to analyze the site's impact, search engine optimization, intranets with single sign-on access, and the ability to review website drafts and manage employee editing access.

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Customer support and resources

Squarespace delivers customer support through live chat and email. Documentation, tutorials, and guides are available to assist users in creating and managing their websites. These resources cover topics such as design customization, SEO optimization, eCommerce setup, and more.

User-friendly interface

Compared to its nearest competitor, Wix, Squarespace offers a more streamlined and intuitive interface, making it easier for users to create visually appealing websites without getting overwhelmed by too many options. Squarespace also has a reputation for its high-quality designs and seamless integration of eCommerce functionality.

Limitations to consider

However, customizing templates is somewhat limited and restrictive. Even though there is a wide range of templates to choose from, we sometimes found it challenging to make significant changes to the layout or structure of any given template. And, while Squarespace offers tiered pricing options, the availability of plugins and extensions is limited compared to other website builders like WordPress.

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Very mixed reviews

The customer reviews we found on Trustpilot were rather discouraging. Trustpilot only rates Squarespace at 1.4 stars with over 77% of users unhappy with the service. Bad experiences cited included not being able to connect to a help agent on chat, certain international domains being exempt from the 14-day trial period for cancellation and refunds, Squarespace having purchased and mismanaged the domains that people once had purchased through Google Domains, and no ability to use custom code for more complex website needs.

Many people love the tool

In contrast, people who like Squarespace were confused by the number of negative reviews and said they liked the customer service, the ease of use of the tools, and other things. But some of the reviewers included their website domains in their posts which smacks of self-promotion, so it's hard to tell how sincere some reviews actually are.

Some caution is warranted

Since Squarespace is one of the better-known and popular website builders, it's hard for us to discount its appeal. It has been useful enough to get a significant number of subscribers. We are, however, concerned that the reviews are so negative. It shows that there are real problems that Squarespace must address before we can give it a higher rating. Definitely consider it as an option when looking for a website builder, but don't immediately commit to it. Experiment first to see if it will meet your needs.

Duda Review 3.5 Star Rating

Duda

3.5 Star Rating
  • From $19 to $149 per month
  • Team plan and collaboration features for design teams
  • Inline commenting for client feedback
  • Third-party services integrations
  • AI tools for writing content

Duda is a platform established in 2009 that allows users to build feature-rich, responsive, and mobile-friendly websites using a drag-and-drop editor. Duda goes beyond being just a website builder: it is primarily targeted towards freelancers and companies offering web design services to small businesses. With Duda, users can create professional websites without the need for extensive coding knowledge or technical skills. Duda ensures a 99.9% uptime for all websites built on its platform by hosting them on its servers provided via Amazon Web Services.

Flexible options for website creation

Whether you opt for the free trial or the Basic plan starting at $19 per month, you can import content from an existing site or start fresh with a pre-made website template. Duda offers an easy-to-use interface for adding new sections, elements, and pre-designed layouts. It places a strong emphasis on design and follows best design practices to ensure visually appealing websites. Duda also provides dynamic page creation capabilities, enabling users to tap into internal or external data sources to create dynamic content. You can share your designs with clients. Moreover, you can create multiple dynamic content pages based on a single master design, enabling personalized content for individual users.

What to expect for pricing

The pricing options for the Duda website builder offer flexibility depending on the user's requirements.

  • The Basic Plan is suitable for individuals or small businesses that need a simple website with basic features.
  • The Team Plan is ideal for teams that require collaboration features and additional access for multiple users. Priced at $29 a month, the Team Plan offers expanded access and collaboration features for teams.
  • The Agency Plan is designed for agencies and design freelancers who want advanced customization options and additional features to meet their clients' needs. Priced at $52 a month, it's important to note that adding e-commerce capabilities may incur additional costs.

There's also a plan at $149 per month for agencies and freelancers who want to "white label" the work they do on Duda without revealing that Duda is the web builder they use.

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Integration with third-party services

When you need to integrate your site with third-party services using APIs, Duda supports the REST API system, allowing you to connect to various data sources and incorporate them into your website.

Mobile-friendly templates and customization

Users can choose from 98 professionally designed templates and easily customize them to fit their brand and style. These templates are responsive and can be previewed on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. You can choose a template that best suits your brand and then customize it according to your needs.

Collaborative website development

For collaborative website development with a team, Duda provides a range of tools, including a section builder for sharing common page sections, reusable templates, data widgets, live chat, and permission controls to manage the workload efficiently. Additionally, Duda simplifies client management by allowing you to share designed sites with inline commenting, streamlining the feedback process. You can control what clients can do within the platform, such as managing site design, connecting domains, and utilizing development tools. Duda also offers a content import algorithm to gather text and images from the web, making it easier to collect customer content.

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AI capabilities

Along with a fair number of other website builders, Duda has introduced AI features to make the process of creating your website more efficient and automated. You can use AI to generate titles and paragraphs, change content length, translate content, fix grammar and spelling, and change the tone of your website's brand voice. You can also use it to generate contextual content related to your business as well as produce SEO titles and descriptions for each page.

White labeling option

If you want to present Duda as your own without branding, you have the option to "white label" the platform, giving the appearance that your agency owns and operates all its capabilities.

Strong eCommerce features

Duda supports eCommerce features, enabling you to accept payments through Authorize.net and PayPal, and manage shipping with UPS, USPS, FedEx, Canada Post, Brasil Correios, or Australia Post. It also offers automated marketing emails and newsletters through MailChimp, along with tools for tracking abandoned carts and sending reminder emails to encourage completing purchases.

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Membership platform

Furthermore, Duda offers a membership platform that allows users to create membership sites. This feature is especially useful for businesses or organizations that want to offer exclusive content or services to their members. By utilizing Duda's membership platform, users can create different membership levels, manage subscriptions, and provide a personalized experience for their members.

Good for SEO

Duda website builder offers several benefits for SEO. It provides tools for adding meta tags and keywords, and optimizing site speed, allowing users to optimize their websites for search engines. Duda performs strongly in terms of loading speeds, visual stability, and interactivity, which are important factors for search engine rankings. By using Duda, users can create websites that are optimized for search engine visibility and performance.

Pros and cons to be aware of

Duda receives mostly positive reviews, praised for its features and user-friendliness. However, it does have some drawbacks. The template choices are still somewhat limited compared to other website builders we've looked at. If you plan to move your site elsewhere at any point, exporting from Duda to another website builder is supported now, but is limited to users who have published their site. So, you won't be able to create a site and export it without paying for a Duda plan. If you decide to switch to another website system, exporting your eCommerce store products is also now possible, but the store you want to import to must have a conversion method for Duda's files. And it's not clear whether your custom store business rules and personalizations will transfer.

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Deal breaker?

Furthermore, after you have exported the site, you are not allowed to unminify the Javascript or CSS. This could be a deal breaker if your intent is to use Duda as a site builder but publish it elsewhere and still want the ability to update the functionality and styles. SEO features are also more limited compared to platforms like WordPress.

Not bad, but outranked by some others

Considering these factors, Duda falls in the middle of the website builder rankings. It's got a lot going for itself, but the limitations should be enough to make you consider the higher-ranking website builders we've evaluated.

Wix Review 3 Star Rating

Wix

3 Star Rating
  • From $16 to $159 per month
  • User-friendly interface with drag-and-drop editor
  • Extensive template library with mobile responsiveness
  • Access to free high-quality images and graphics
  • Custom code integration with Velo programming language

Wix has gained significant popularity due to its user-friendly interface and extensive customization options. With its drag-and-drop editor and a vast library of templates and features, Wix empowers users unfamiliar with coding to build websites that are tailored to their unique needs and preferences.

800+ templates

Wix offers a user-friendly interface with over 800 templates to choose from. These templates are modern, sleek, and on-trend, covering various types of websites. They are also mobile-responsive, ensuring that your site looks great on any device. Wix's templates are versatile and offer design flexibility, allowing users to create websites that reflect their personal or business brand.

Drag-and-drop isn't so flexible

Wix's drag-and-drop editor makes website building a simplified but sometimes frustrating experience. Users do have creative freedom and can easily edit text, change font size, and customize various elements of their site. This editing interface eliminates the need for coding knowledge, making it accessible to users of all skill levels. However, more advanced users will find the experience frustrating if they're used to more flexible editing capabilities.

Solid library of images and other visuals

Wix offers a library of free professional photos, graphics, and videos to enhance your website's visual appeal. These resources can be easily incorporated into your site, saving you both time and money in sourcing high-quality visuals.

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Easy-to-add features

In addition to the templates and design features, Wix provides numerous site features that can be added to your website. These features include blogs, contact forms, and maps, allowing you to create a comprehensive and interactive online presence.

Velo: adding custom code

If you do want to use code to customize your Wix site, Wix introduces its own programming language, Velo (formerly Corvid, go figure why they'd change THAT name...), to help you add custom code for building new features not offered by Wix. They provide Velo tutorials, but if it seems too complex, you can hire a professional from the Wix Marketplace to handle coding and other tasks.

Mobile optimization and customization

Wix sites automatically adjust for mobile screens, and you can further tailor them to your liking, including the option to hide specific content on mobile devices.

Domain and SEO

Once your Wix site is ready, you can publish it on a free subdomain (example.wix.com). For a more professional touch, you can upgrade to a premium Wix plan to set up a custom domain name. This also enables you to have a more professional email address under your domain. To improve your website's visibility on Google, you can utilize the Wix SEO Wiz, which creates a personalized SEO plan based on your site, location, and chosen keywords.

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Creating a Wix site

Creating a new site with Wix is a straightforward process. Sign up for an account, click "Create New Site," follow the wizard tutorial to select your website type, and decide whether you want Wix to use its ADI feature or start from a template. If you opt for ADI, it will prompt you with various questions, such as your site category, whether you need features like a blog, bookings, video, and more, your business or personal information, and your design preferences. You then choose a theme, create a color palette, pick a layout, select pages to create, and start editing.

ADI has limitations

However, the ADI feature falls short of being truly impressive. For one, it's not true AI in the sense we've recently become accustomed to. It feels more like an extended step-by-step guide, and users still need to answer numerous questions. The final design we got wasn't remarkable and required significant adjustments to shine. It's up for debate whether ADI actually saves time through tweaking, or if users would be better off starting their site from scratch. At the time of this review, Wix had recently announced that a new AI experience was forthcoming and would replace ADI, but it remains to be seen whether it will significantly assist beginning website designers.

Modifications and editing isn't intuitive

When it comes to making modifications, we found that the promised drag-and-drop capability on the Wix homepage was limited to moving sections within predetermined areas, and editing elements like text and images was form-based rather than what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG). There weren't clear controls for resizing or positioning individual elements; everything had to be adjusted through property boxes.

eCommerce management is good

Managing eCommerce products offered a more comprehensive dashboard displaying all products, along with customization options (primarily for text). Wix also provides the ability to create coupons, promo videos, email campaigns, and social media sharing directly within the product editor. Additionally, you can set up a customer loyalty program where members create their own accounts.

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Agencies and freelancers have their own tools

Like Duda, Wix now offers a capability for individual designers or for teams of designers at an agency to collaborate on design projects in Wix. It includes a mobile-responsive editor with custom CSS and AI layout, customizable animations and interactions, and a collaborative workspace to manage all projects.

Upgrades for additional features

While Wix offers a free service tier, it does have some limitations, and users may need to upgrade to a paid account to access additional features and remove advertisements.

  • The free plan includes Wix branding on the website and has limited storage and bandwidth. However, for users who require more advanced features or want to create a more professional online presence, the paid plans offer a range of benefits and expanded functionality.
  • Pricing starts at $16 per month and goes up to $159 per month (or more if you choose the Enterprise plan, which doesn't display a price). You don't get any e-commerce tools until the $27 per month pricing level and upward.

It's worth noting that the pricing options of Wix may not be as flexible compared to some other website builders. While Wix offers various pricing plans to cater to different needs and budgets, some users may find that the specific features they require are only available at higher price points than they're able to justify. However, considering the extensive features and customization options provided by Wix, other users find the pricing to be reasonable and justified.

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Missing export feature

Wix is known for its user-friendly nature, making it a leader in this field. However, many users might not realize that websites evolve over time. If you ever need to switch to a different platform, you may find it challenging to export your content. There are some third-party solutions and workarounds for exporting, but nothing that Wix provides directly. Wix does suggest "embedding" your site within a "frame" of another website, but this is against many web design, development, security, and accessibility standards. Wix's proprietary systems will become a hindrance if your requirements grow beyond what Wix can offer and you need to move elsewhere.

Customer reviews are mostly positive

Wix has a 4.5-star rating on Trustpilot. The reviews are actually a mix of about a 70/30 split between positive reviews and negative reviews, respectively. People who like Wix say they appreciate that customer support is helpful and timely, the wide array of tools and features, and ease of use. Customers who don't like Wix complain about customer support problems, billing issues, undelivered work by Wix developers and designers, and even entanglements with controversial political subjects.

Consider export and flexibility

Wix has been making certain improvements since our last review, as a user-friendly web builder with extensive customization options and a wider range of features. It's particularly suitable for beginners and small businesses looking to create a professional online presence. However, the limitations of the outgoing ADI, uncertainty as to the incoming AI upgrade usefulness, export capabilities, and certain editing feature quirks may make it less appealing to more advanced users or those with specific needs.

Reasonable choice if you'll stay with Wix

Pricing is reasonable for the features offered, but some users may find it less flexible compared to other options. Wix is a suitable choice if you plan to use its walled garden set of features for an extended period. But if you desire the flexibility to make changes or move your site in the future, check out other recommended web builders before settling on Wix.

Weebly Review 3 Star Rating

Weebly

3 Star Rating
  • From $0 to $26 per month
  • Integrated shipping and eCommerce solutions are available
  • Intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface for website customization
  • Offers SEO tools for better online visibility
  • Wide range of third-party apps for enhanced functionality

Among website builders, Weebly falls in the category of being "average." As a benefit, the service offers integrated shipping and eCommerce solutions. However, it doesn't measure up to our higher-ranked providers in terms of overall functionality.

Choose between a standard website and an online store

We still find a considerable number of individuals discussing Weebly, so let's explore how to utilize this website builder. To begin using Weebly, you can sign up for a free account and start building your personal website. Once you're registered, you can choose from a personal or a business website. If you choose a business website, you'll need to set up a Square Online account. You can then pick from a selection of over 50 professional themes to customize the look and feel of your site. Weebly's interface is designed to be intuitive and easy to navigate. When you're ready to publish, you can connect your site to an existing domain or create a new custom domain name.

A brief overview of the interface

To begin editing, simply click on the text box and start typing directly on the page. You have the freedom to change fonts, adjust font sizes, and modify text formatting to suit your needs. If you want to personalize the background of your site, you can select the "Edit Background" option and choose from various customization options. This allows you to select a background color, upload an image, or even add a video background to make your website more visually appealing.

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Some confusion during testing

Our testing of the eCommerce feature directed us to the Square Online store editor. This can be somewhat confusing for people thinking they're using Weebly alone. Square acquired Weebly as its website builder software in 2018, so the e-commerce path is going to be different from the personal site path.

Convenient element menu

Weebly also provides an "Element Menu" on the left-hand side, allowing you to add different elements like text, videos, buttons, and more to enhance your website. It's important to note that while Weebly offers a range of elements, some may not be available in the free plan. However, even with the free plan, you still have plenty of options to create a visually stunning and functional website.

Customizing your website and online store

The editor will guide you through selecting the features you want to include in your website and online store via a wizard-like interface for adding features, a logo, and styling. If you don't have a logo yet, you can skip that step. The remainder of the editing experience involves choosing pre-made options for headers, footers, banners, layouts, sections, and elements like images, buttons, and forms. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be a built-in blogging option.

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Tools for SEO

To optimize your website's chances of ranking online, Weebly offers tools to set up SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This includes customizing meta tags, optimizing page titles and descriptions, and adding alt tags to images. These SEO features help search engines recognize and index your website, making it more visible to potential visitors.

3rd party integrations

Furthermore, you can enhance your site's features and capabilities by integrating third-party apps that suit your specific needs. Weebly's App Center provides a wide range of apps that can be easily integrated into your website, allowing you to add features like social media feeds, contact forms, appointment booking systems, and more.

A Square-centered focus with added value

For eCommerce, creating a product involves completing a straightforward form with item type, title, price, description, images, and fulfillment options, including shipping, in-store pickup, or local delivery. Within the product creation process, there's a "More Options" button that reveals additional choices, such as making an item tax-exempt and generating variations based on various attributes. You can also allow customers to customize items with text or make selections. Overall, when it comes to eCommerce, Weebly provides good value due to its Square-centered focus. Square brings in a wide array of analytics and store management tools that are not typically offered by other website editors.

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Plans and pricing are reasonable

Weebly provides various pricing options to accommodate different website needs.

  • The Free Plan allows you to build and host a website without any cost. This can be a great option for individuals or small businesses who are just starting and want to test the waters.
  • For additional features and functionality, you can opt for one of the Premium Plans offered by Weebly, starting at $10 per month up to $26 per month. These premium plans provide access to more advanced features such as e-commerce capabilities, advanced site statistics, and priority support. It's worth noting that Square ads are only removed on the Professional plan at $12 per month.

Customer reviews

Weebly has mixed reviews, and not as many positive ones as we wanted to see. On the Better Business Bureau, they have an "A+" rating but a low star average. On Trustpilot, they have under 50% of users who like the service. The rest are very negative on the basis of problems with customer support, unexplainable glitches, problems with more complex hosting setups, complaints about Square taking it over, and dozens more. You can take a risk and see if it will still work for you, but it's looking like it's not a viable option for serious website owners, especially for e-commerce.

Design limitations are the trade-off for e-commerce focus

Similar to other website builders that rank lower, the Weebly design experience is confined by the constraints set by theme designers. While you can separately hire a Weebly designer to address any design shortcomings, most website owners will eventually desire more creative freedom regarding the sizing and positioning of elements. At that point, they may become frustrated by these limitations. So, if you want more design flexibility, consider using another builder. But if your primary focus is eCommerce, Weebly is a suitable choice, at least as a starting point. Should you decide to transition to a WordPress and WooCommerce setup later on, Weebly allows you to export your data for use with WordPress/WooCommerce import plugins.

Website Review 2.5 Star Rating

Website

2.5 Star Rating
  • From $0 to $10 per month
  • Diverse Plans: Free, Personal, Elite, and E-commerce options
  • User-friendly Drag-and-Drop Builder
  • Mobile-Friendly Design with "Smart Layout" feature
  • E-commerce Support and Membership Features

Website provides a variety of tools to help you create the specific kind of website you need. They have different plans tailored to the types of websites people usually make - Free, Personal, Elite, and the e-commerce business tier of Basic, Standard, and Advanced plans. As you upgrade your plan, you'll unlock many useful features like the ability to test different versions of your design, assign different permissions to your team, track button clicks and scrolling with Google Analytics, use enterprise email accounts, and upload custom fonts.

Watch out for introductory pricing

Plans can be bought monthly but most people buy a website for a year at a time, so the prices are free, $3 per month for Personal, $5 per month for Elite, and $10 per month for Business Basic, each paid annually. On the Business & Ecommerce tier, you pay $16 per month for Business Standard and $22 per month for Business Advanced, each billed annually. These all appear to be introductory prices, so be sure to read the fine print to see what you'd pay in year two and onward.

User-friendly builder and specialized options

The builder is user-friendly, allowing you to design your site by simply dragging and dropping elements onto designer-made templates. This is a true drag-and-drop experience that lets you, for good or ill (depending on your experience with responsive and accessible web design), place elements exactly where you want them to the exact pixel. It even supports multiple languages for visitors who speak different languages. If you're making a restaurant website, they offer a separate builder that focuses on menus, reservations, and other restaurant-specific needs. The same goes for an e-commerce store, with a focus on products, collections, abandoned cart recovery, and order fulfillment.

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Mostly mobile-friendly design options

When it comes to creating a mobile-friendly version of your site, you have options. You can manually adjust the mobile view or use the "Smart Layout" feature, letting Website make the decisions for you. If something on your page doesn't look right on mobile, you can remove it in mobile editing mode. You can also choose whether specific pages should have a mobile view or not. The main problem we discovered with the mobile view is that it's too narrowly defined on smartphone screen sizes. There is no design and preview option for tablet devices, nor for smartphones in landscape mode vs. the default portrait mode.

Ecommerce and site enhancement

For those planning to set up an online store, via an upgrade to Business Basic, Business Standard, or Business Advanced, Website makes it easy to add a shopping cart and provides secure hosting for handling payments and user data. They also offer tools for improving your site's visibility, like SEO, a blog, and email marketing. To track your site's performance, you can integrate Google Analytics.

Membership features and third-party services

Website offers a membership feature to allow visitors to become paid members of a community site. Once you upgrade to the membership feature, members can access members-only pages and interact with the community you build on your site. If you need additional functionality, you can integrate third-party services like OpenTable Reservations, MailChimp, Google Maps, contact forms, online booking, and social media apps.

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Positive user reviews and support

User reviews for Website are generally positive, with most users satisfied with the service. However, Trustpilot shows only three reviews, so it's very hard to know just how much the positive reviews really mean in terms of overall customer satisfaction. Website offers various support options, including a resources page, web design articles, a learning center, an FAQ, phone support, live chat, and a contact form.

Not portable to other services

Like several other website builder services and products we reviewed, Website doesn't have a way for you to export your site from their service and import it into another website builder or CMS. Once you build your site on Website, you're stuck with it until you completely redesign and rebuild it on another service.

Some room for improvement but not bad overall

Website is pretty neat in its true drag-and-drop capabilities. We found it much less frustrating to use in that regard and when adding various sections and modules to the page we worked on. The service and support options are a lot more plentiful than on other services. Just be aware that, unless you're willing to start all over on another website builder, you're locked into Website's service. That notwithstanding, we rate this as an average builder worth considering.

GoDaddy Review 2 Star Rating

GoDaddy

2 Star Rating
  • From free to between $9.99 and $20.99 per month depending on features
  • Free website builder with essential tools
  • Quick and easy website setup process
  • Data-driven insights for online presence improvement
  • Import products from various sources for e-commerce

The GoDaddy free website builder offers the opportunity to establish a contemporary online shop or promotional website without any costs. You can incorporate tools to manage appointments, social media, email marketing, and more. Additionally, you can improve your online presence with data-driven insights from GoDaddy InSight.

Paid plans

The paid plans at GoDaddy start at $9.99 per month for the Basic plan, $14.99 per month for the Premium plan, and $20.99 per month for the Commerce plan. These are all introductory rates that increase in the subsequent year and beyond, so be sure to look for the details of how much your plan will cost after renewal.

Easy start with GoDaddy

Upon launching the website builder, you'll be prompted to select a purpose for your site. The options include "Sell goods and services" , "Let customers book appointments" , "Start with a basic website" , "Share info about my business" , and "Promote myself" . We chose the "sell goods and services" option to get a feel for the broadest array of features.

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Finish with a tour of the features

We were then asked to choose a selling method, including "On my website" , "In person/Point of Sale" , "In online marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon" , and "On social media" . Choosing "on my website" , we then proceeded to select other business criteria. Once it had enough information, it proceeded to create a website with a design that matched the type of business (a hobby store). Finally, the editor walked us through the site editing process with a tour of the website builder features.

Templates are ho-hum

The template chosen for us was rather underwhelming, being of a style common to websites ten years ago and with plain fonts in a size too small for most people to read comfortably. There wasn't a lot of color in the overall design. That may have been for the purpose of allowing the user more freedom to add their own special touches, but it felt more like a lack of effort on the part of the template designer. There's a tantalizing button available to "try a new look" , but it seemed to be a confusing dead-end, not providing us with anything but the current design as an option.

Product adding is overly simple

Adding new products was relatively straightforward with no real surprises. You have the choice to import existing products from CSV, In-Person Catalog, eBay, Amazon, Etsy, Google Shopping, and Walmart. However, there is no support for more complex per-product shipping that some online retailers eventually experience as their customer base and product catalog grow and diversify.

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Add widgets to your website... maybe

Unlike our past review experience with GoDaddy, we were now limited to what we could add to the site in terms of widgets. Before, we could add various useful widgets, such as a calendar, live chat form, appointment scheduler, information collection forms, photo gallery, blog, menu/price list, video, audio, gift card, and other features. That selection seems to have become severely limited and we couldn't find where they had disappeared to if they still existed. Perhaps it was a matter of the template we chose, but there wasn't an easy way to find out.

Simple or limited control with limited design flexibility

For those who prefer simplicity, the GoDaddy website builder is ideal, providing a basic website without requiring much time or expertise. However, if you desire more control and flexibility, GoDaddy's offering might feel limiting, as it constrains you to filling out forms rather than precisely placing elements and customizing them in unique ways. For instance, font size options are limited to small, medium, large, or extra large, and you can't choose specific numeric values for precise adjustments. The text can be edited easily on the design, but you can't select and resize the text box, and you're restricted to the positioning and size determined by the generated design. Moreover, changing the column layout of a page or section from one to four columns appears to be impossible.

Basic help system

The GoDaddy help system, in case you encounter difficulties, is focused on self-help primarily and mainly relies on keyword searching to provide tutorials. If your question is too specific, you'll need to resort to a chat queue or a customer service representative, which may be frustrating for self-starting DIY enthusiasts.

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Fine print and costs

As is common with GoDaddy products, there's some fine print involved, even in their "free" website builder service, which is essentially a free version of the Websites + Marketing service with ads for GoDaddy displayed on your site. Premium features and services come at an additional cost, and the renewal price varies based on the features added to your site. To stop the auto-renewal of a domain or hosting plan, you must log into your account and disable it or contact customer service for assistance.

Customer complaints

It is difficult to discern how customers feel specifically about GoDaddy's website builder offering as the Trustpilot and Better Business Bureau ratings focus on the company's overall domain registration and hosting business activities. So, in this case, their 4.7 Trustpilot rating and "A+" Better Business Bureau rating don't inform us much. A filtered search for positive and negative sentiment on Trustpilot around the site builder was a mixed bag. But the substance of the negative reviews outweighed the substance of the positive ones, with complaints ranging from bait-and-switch tactics around the "free" builder, and the fact that it is inflexible and that people could not move their sites to, say, WordPress or another hosting provider.

A basic, DIY website solution with surprise costs

While GoDaddy's website builder offers a free and easy solution for basic online presence, its outdated and limited template design, restricted widget options, lack of customization control, reliance on self-help in the help system, hidden costs, and mixed customer feedback make it a less-than-ideal choice for users with more ambitious or specific website requirements. Those seeking a more versatile and feature-rich website solution may find better alternatives, such as a WordPress site hosted on WordPress or self-hosted by another provider, to better suit their needs.

Site123 Review 2 Star Rating

Site123

2 Star Rating
  • From $0 to $12.80 per month
  • Beginner-friendly website builder
  • Free mobile-friendly templates
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Basic online store setup

Site123 is a simple website builder designed for beginners who want to make their own website. You can start for free and select from a variety of modern templates. Then, you can use the website editor to create a mobile-friendly, search engine-optimized site and host it for free on a custom domain. It even allows you to set up a basic online store to sell your products globally. If you run into problems, you can get help through 24/7 live chat support.

Simple steps to get started

There are just a few steps to get started with Site123.

  1. First, you need to decide what kind of website you want. You can choose a regular website or a card website, which is essentially a single-page business card website. For regular websites, Site123 offers 16 categories like Business, Photography, Music, and Community.
  2. Next, give your site a descriptive name that people might search for when looking for your product, service, or content.
  3. The third step involves providing your name, email, and a password, or you can sign in using Facebook or Google.

Exploring Site123's features

Once you're in the Site123 design interface, you'll see a "Start building your website" message along with the option to watch a tutorial video (with a distractingly robotic artificial voice) on how to use the builder. It also offers an option to chat with support.

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Domain and hosting options

Free hosting comes with a subdomain that's hard to remember and doesn't help with SEO. To use a custom domain, you can pay $12.80 per month for a subscription and link your domain to Site123's IP address. You can get big per-month discounts by increasing the number of months you buy at a time, all the way out to 10 years. However, we strongly suggest you not do this as there's no way for anyone to know how long any particular website will last. Or, more positively, if your site does really well and you want to move it to more powerful hosting and a better page builder, you'll already have paid a non-refundable amount up front for a 10-year term.

Unlimited websites in one account

You can create and manage an unlimited number of websites under a single account. These sites are stored on Site123 servers and duplicated worldwide for faster loading times for visitors far from your location.

Design limitations

The control options and design flexibility in Site123 didn't impress us much. It feels more like a "design by form" than a true website editor. After setting up your basic website, you're on your own to figure out what to do next. It's not difficult to figure out how to change text, add new modules and sections, and minimally change some colors. We found it annoying that when you resize text boxes, you end up with a bigger or smaller font size of all the text in the boxes. If you aren't carefully consistent, you could end up with sections of text on the same page and across the site being different sizes entirely.

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Photo and icon difficulties

One challenge in building a website is finding affordable, high-quality photos and icons. Site123 offers a collection of hundreds of great photos and icons without any royalty fees or restrictions. However, we found it quite difficult to figure out how to add a single image to a page. You have options to add galleries of all types and even side-by-side comparison images, but not just a single image by itself. Once you add the gallery widget, there appears to be no way to choose new images to replace the placeholder images. Only after watching a tutorial video on YouTube did we realize that we had to click a "back" button to go back to where we could see a sidebar listing everything on the page, including the gallery. From there we could click a button to manage and upload photos. It seems like this should be an easier process no matter where you are in the editor.

Good luck changing the layout

If you find that the content on your new site doesn't match the design you chose, you can refer to Site123's FAQ for information on changing the layout. Unfortunately, we couldn't locate how to do this ourselves. However, a nice feature is that your website automatically adjusts for optimal display on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

What customers say is surprisingly positive, on average

Trustpilot lists a 4.2-star rating for Site123 with about 85% of users happy with the site builder. They like its ease of use, customer support, and customization features. Those who were unhappy with the service said customer support was terrible, that their credit cards were charged years after they had canceled, and that Site123 is a hotbed of scammer sites and phishing pages.

This is not the builder you're looking for

Site123 might not be the best choice if you're looking for a more flexible and future-proof way to create and manage your website. It's a better idea to explore other website builders that rank higher on our list.

Strikingly Review 1.5 Star Rating

Strikingly

1.5 Star Rating
  • From $0 to $34.30 per month
  • Quick and user-friendly website builder with easy clicking and editing
  • Wide variety of modern templates for different purposes
  • Collaboration feature for building teams in the free version
  • Ability to integrate eCommerce features, forms, and social connections

Since our last review of Strikingly, it has a redesigned website builder that enables you to create a brand-new website in a matter of minutes through a user-friendly interface that offers easy clicking and editing.

Just a few steps to get up and running

According to the initial tour, your site is broken up into sections. You can add, delete, rearrange, and jump to your sections. You just click a button to add a new section.

  • Section types include a blog, galleries, contact forms, and even an app store.
  • The Styles feature lets you play with the look and feel of the site while the Settings feature lets you configure your URL, domain name, and more.
  • Any changes you make won't be visible to the world until you click the publish button. Just click the question mark help icon if you get stuck. You can also search their knowledge base or contact them for support.

Free plan limitations

On the free plan you can only add up to 5 pages. After that you're forced to upgrade to the Pro plan at $11.20 per month billed yearly. The limited plan is $8 per month and the VIP plan is $34.30 per month, each billed yearly as well. You can choose billing terms of monthly, yearly, 2 years, 3 years, and 4 years and obtain sliding scale discounts for longer terms. However, it is not recommended that you sign up for any builder for longer than one year at a time given the pace of innovation and that site requirements can change rapidly.

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Selling made easy

This platform also includes features for eCommerce. You can integrate a store that accepts payments using PayPal or Stripe, and you have the option to include shipping and coupons. Additionally, you can implement membership features.

Forms, chat, and social connections

Apps include e-commerce, business, media, documents, and social apps ranging from HTML embeds, PayPal buttons, Mailchimp integrations, and SoundCloud to Slideshare, Scribd, and Facebook comments. To retain your site's audience, Strikingly allows you to generate forms for sign-ups, information collection, and contact purposes. You can incorporate live chat, newsletters, as well as a basic blog and social feed for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Master of your domains and subdomains

Strikingly allows you to register a new domain name and utilize it on your site. In the free plan, you can employ a subdomain from Strikingly.com to host your website. But, the subdomain is cryptic and will not benefit your site in search results.

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Easy setup and template selection

To get started, just create a new account and pick a template to kickstart your design. There are hundreds of modern templates available for various purposes, including stores, businesses, startups, creative projects, personal sites, and blogs. If you have a change of heart, you can switch templates and modify or remove elements. You can also preview templates with the "Preview" feature before making your selection.

Be careful trying to switch templates

However, when trying to switch from one site template to another, the preview didn't show anything changed. When we pressed forward anyway and made the template change, it seemed to merge both templates together in a way that didn't make any sense with no easy way to reverse that decision.

Not as user-friendly as promised and still limited

Overall, as we worked to create a site in Strikingly, we were regularly confused with workflows and methods of changing things that didn't make sense relative to other builders we tried and our professional knowledge of website design. There was not an easy path from A to B in any task we tried to perform.

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Inflexible free version

The free version offers limited editing options and flexibility. These limitations didn't give much confidence that there would be anything much better on the other side of the paywall. It's true you can adjust styles, incorporate a store, establish forms and live chat, and modify general settings. However, you don't have the freedom to drag and drop or resize elements and blocks like other editors allow.

New collaboration feature in the free version

Unlike in our prior review, the free version now does provide a collaboration feature, allowing you to build a team by adding teammates with either an "Admin" or an "Editor" role. Other new features, which vary between free and paid versions, include importing portfolio items from CSV files, customizing page URLs with an additional slash character, and a new "kickstart" service where a design expert will build your site within 48-72 hours.

Inconsistent payment options

To set up a store, simply connect a payment gateway. Strikingly supports Stripe, PayPal, Square, and Offline Payments. Apple Pay has disappeared from their offering since our prior review. This is unfortunate as it cuts out a large portion of mobile visitors who want to pay quickly via Apple Pay.

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Very negative reviews

Strikingly has a, well, strikingly large number of negative reviews. Their Trustpilot rating average is a stark 1.5 stars and over 85% of its customers have something bad to say about customer service, the user interface, feature problems, massive amounts of unsolicited messaging, product misrepresentation, and dozens of other complaints too numerous to list here.

Ok for tight budgets, but incomplete

While the Strikingly platform offers some enticing features, it falls short in several critical aspects. The limitations imposed on the free plan, the reported usability issues, the lack of essential features like drag-and-drop functionality, and inconsistencies in payment options make Strikingly.com a less appealing choice when compared to other website builders available in the market, not to mention their very low reputation with customers. We recommend considering alternatives that offer a more user-friendly experience, greater flexibility for website creation, and better customer experiences.

Tip Top Website Review 1 Star Rating

Tip Top Website

1 Star Rating
  • From $3.95 to $14.95 per month
  • 1, 5, or 100 page websites
  • Free domain name
  • Blog and message board

Tip Top Website is anything but "tip top" among website builders. The service is limited, your options are few, and the pricing is too expensive. Let's explore them in further detail.

Challenging pricing model

Prices for Tip Top Website plans have increased from the last time we reviewed them.

  • The basic plan from Tip Top Website now starts at $3.95 per month (up from $1.95) and provides a single-page website along with a free domain, allowing you to upload only one photo
  • If you want to have five pages and upload five photos, you can switch to the $9.95 per month plan (up from $4.95)
  • To have a more substantial website with 100 pages and 1,000 photos, you can upgrade to the $14.95 per month plan (up from $9.95)

Limitations on quantity

We are not impressed with any pricing model that restricts the number of pages and images in a website builder tool. Tip Top Website has especially low limits, even on the most expensive plan. It's not a wise business choice at this stage of web design development to impose restrictions on the quantity of pages and images. People are now too used to having unlimited pages and even unlimited websites with their hosting plans.

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Design and usability concerns

Furthermore, we have concerns about the overall design and usability of the landing pages that introduce this service. Even before we explored how to start using it, we were puzzled by the design choices in the marketing campaign for a product that claims to offer a superior web design experience. If the goal is to attract users who want to create outstanding designs, the site selling those designs should set a better example.

Limited customization

Our experience with the Tip Top Website designer interface was frustrating, as it felt quite limiting in terms of controlling the website's aspects. While it's easy to create a one-page website by entering text and uploading a single photo, the options for further customization were severely lacking.

Outdated sample websites

The sample websites displayed on the platform look like they were created on a budget, with designs reminiscent of the late '90s or early 2000s. If you're aiming for a retro look in your projects, Tip Top Website might have some appeal, but you'll still be paying too much for what you get.

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Customer reviews are almost non-existent after 2017

Trustpilot shows 100% customer satisfaction with all 5-star reviews. Six of them, anyway. All of the reviews are from 2016 and 2017 and seem made up or solicited in return for discounts in light of the low value we perceive from this service.

Inadequate value

It's best to steer clear of Tip Top Website. It's not worth your time or money, regardless of the amount.

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Continued from above...

In recent years, online website builders have witnessed an unprecedented surge in popularity. They have transformed the landscape of web development and empowered individuals and businesses to easily create an online presence. This movement can be attributed to a number of factors that have redefined the way websites are designed, developed, and maintained.

First and foremost, online website builders eliminate the need for extensive coding knowledge, making them accessible to a broader audience. Traditionally, creating a website required proficiency in languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, putting up a barrier to those without a technical background. However, with user-friendly interfaces and intuitive drag-and-drop functionalities, individuals without a technical background can now build sophisticated websites without writing a single line of code.

Online website builders can also simplify tasks such as domain registration, hosting setup, and security implementation. This all-in-one approach streamlines the development process from conceptualization to publication. This lets you focus on content and design rather than navigating technical intricacies.

Website builders have also made website development much more cost-effective. In the past, hiring professional web developers could be expensive and time consuming. The easy accessibility of website builders, often available at affordable or even free subscription levels, allows individuals and small businesses to create and maintain their websites within budget constraints.

Many people don't know that their choice of a website builder can have a long-lasting impact on their website functionality and availability. It's crucial to think about the long-term and consider future needs, not just in the coming months, but also in the years ahead.

When you're ready to jump in and get your new website up and running, you could feel a little overwhelmed as you look at all of the options available to help you build it out. Don't worry! We've done a deep dive into today's most popular website building services.

As you decide which website builder suits you best among the options on our list, there are several key factors to consider:

  • Flexibility. Think about how the website builder will adapt to your changing site needs over time.
  • Usability. Evaluate how user-friendly the tool is and whether it aligns with your skills and experience.
  • Search Engine Optimization. Determine whether the service allows you to manage SEO effectively, as this is crucial for website visibility.
  • Stability. Investigate whether the builder functions without errors or glitches, ensuring your site's reliability.
  • Accessibility. Whether your site is accessible to people with visual impairments and other disabilities matters more now than ever before. You don't want to find yourself facing a lawsuit down the line.
  • Cost. Calculate the expenses associated with using the builder and obtaining the features you require for your site.
  • Reputation. Research what other users have to say about their experiences with the website builder to gauge its quality and reliability.

Top Consumer Reviews has conducted thorough reviews and rankings of the best website builders available today. We hope that this information will assist you in creating the ideal website for your business, non-profit organization, or personal projects, ultimately helping you achieve your online goals.

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Website Builder FAQ

Yes, but free website builders should generally be avoided because they fall short of many features that paid website builders include. There are exceptions, such as WordPress, which is free (if you download and self-host your own copy) and is a very powerful and flexible website builder.
It all depends on how comfortable you are with the features of a particular website builder. Some are easier to use than others. For example, some will build your website for you after you fill in a form with your business details, resulting in a new website in just a few minutes. Others will require you to have a basic understanding of the common parts and pages of a typical website, which can take up hours of work on your part.
It depends on the website builder you choose. There are several that offer a full package, including the ability to register your domain, build your site, and host it on your domain right within the same service. Others split up domain registration and hosting into separate concerns.
Anyone who is approaching the task of creating a website for the very first time, especially with little knowledge of how to make successful websites, should consider hiring someone who has that expertise. In spite of the ease of use promised by many website builder companies, websites can be quite complicated when it comes to things like user experience, proper calls to action, image rights, color coordination, search engine optimization, and accessibility for people with disabilities.
Generally, professionals prefer to have creative input prior to any work being done on your website. If you've already done some design or content placement, you'll find it more difficult to find someone who is willing to finish what you've started. If you want a professional to do it, but still want to use a website builder for easy content maintenance, engage their services before you sign up for a website builder plan. Your professional may have some ideas of which one to use and how to make it easier to use your website builder.
Using a website builder can definitely harm your search ranking if you are not careful. Be sure to follow all the guidance the builder may give you on search engine optimization. If the builder doesn't provide that information, or the capabilities necessary for better SEO, you should not choose that builder. Do your research into which builders provide better SEO than others.
The number one reason to use WordPress is content portability. Many website builders want to lock you into their services, so while they may make it easy to import your content from another builder, they sometimes make it difficult or impossible to export your content for importing to another service. If you start with WordPress, you'll have the most content portability.
WordPress is very popular. It currently runs 35% of the websites across the entire Internet. Even though it's very easy to get a new website up and running with a default theme, free theme, or paid theme, it can sometimes become more complicated and frustrating as your content grows or your needs become more advanced.

Features Every Website Should Have

Websites are a major marketing tool, whether you're a one-man show or a large corporation with thousands of employees. In the age of technology, potential clients want to be able to click a few buttons on any search engine, and find what they are looking for - including products and services.

If you are among the service or product providers who do not yet have a website - but are considering building one - there are a few features you should be certain to include in order to make the website both functional and user-friendly.

The kinds of features your website should contain are dependent, in part, on the type of website you are building. Business owners will need to have a few more features than others, including pages which list your products and services. However, all websites should include the following basic information:

  • Friendly Design. If your website is hard to use, or it is unclear exactly what kind of business or service you are offering, potential clients won't even bother to look around. They simply will leave and go to another website that is easier to interpret and use.
  • Contact Information So many times, customers find themselves hunting for how to contact the business. Either the information isn't included at all, or it is poorly placed, making it difficult to locate. Being presented with an easy way to contact the business - including telephone numbers, email and even the inclusion of a "contact us" form - is one of the most vital pieces of information necessary for inclusion. It does you no good to have a great website with great products if you fail to tell potential clients how to get in touch with you.
  • Easy Navigation Tools Too often, website creators are trying to make the pages flashy instead of functional. With many people now accessing websites from their Smartphones, iPads or other mobile devices, flash over functionality is not necessarily a good thing. Clients who are in a hurry will want to get on, find what they're looking for and be done.
  • Social Media Links Social media has become another valuable marketing tool in the 21st century. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ are being widely used as a means of communication and advertisement. If your company has any of these social media accounts, be sure to link them to the website in an easy-to-find location.
  • Security Features. If you offer clients the option to order your products - and pay for them - on your website, then you will need to include an SSL certificate on the site. SSL encrypts communications between the website operator and its clients, allowing for information such as credit card numbers and bank account information to be shared without fear of someone else receiving the information. Companies which provide SSL certificates are VeriSign, GeoTrust, TrustE and Entrust.
  • Mobile-Friendly Version. Smartphones, iPads and other android devices quickly are replacing traditional computers and laptops as the main way for people to access the World Wide Web. Websites which are heavy with flash features can take forever to load onto a Smartphone or other android device, leaving users frustrated. Offering a mobile-friendly version of your website will ensure that people can still visit your site, even if on the go.

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