Whether you’re a small business owner, artist, photographer, writer or consultant, there’s a website builder out there for you.
Joe Van BrusselMarch 7, 2022 10:36 a.m. PT
- WixBest website builder overallJump to detailsSEE AT WIX
- SquarespaceBest prepackaged designJump to detailsSEE AT SQUARESPACE
- WeeblyEasiest to useJump to detailsSEE AT WEEBLY
- DudaBest for building a customized experienceJump to detailsSEE AT DUDA
- GoDaddyBest For basic, no-frills websitesJump to detailsSEE AT GODADDY
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Creating a simple, intuitive and professional-looking website for your small business has never been easier. You no longer need to be a web developer with coding skills to get a website up and running. Now, with website builders such as Squarespace, Wix and Weebly, even newbies can put together a polished site quickly and painlessly. The best website builder services even allow you to incorporate more advanced features such as email marketing or an eCommerce site.
Choosing the best website builder depends on your specific needs. There are many options, so it can be overwhelming to comb through all the free providers for a simple website and all of the eCommerce website builders if you want a more sophisticated business website. The complexity and growth of the website building industry means you have more choices than ever before and you can easily find the best website builder tailored to your wants and needs.
It’s true that a few favorites have emerged — and those are usually a good place to start — but even the front-runners aren’t ideally suited for every scenario. To make it simple for you, we’ve laid out all the information you need to make a good decision on the best website builder so that you can get to the fun part of designing your own professional website. Some factors we considered were whether the builder offers a solid customization option, eCommerce tools, marketing tools and an SEO tool. We also looked at the quality of the company’s customer support and eCommerce functionality.
BEST WEBSITE BUILDERS COMPARED
|Free trial?||Starting price*|
|Best overall website builder (and best for free)||Wix||“unlimited” w/ ads||$14 a month|
|Best prepackaged design||Squarespace||14 days||$14 a month|
|Easiest to use||Weebly||“unlimited” w/ ads||$12 a month|
|Most customizable||Duda||30 days||$14 a month|
|Best no-frills option||GoDaddy||30 days||$12 a month|
|Best for writers and bloggers||WordPress||“unlimited” w/ ads||$4 a month|
|Best for basic e-commerce||Shopify||14 days||$29 a month|
|Best for bigger stores||BigCommerce||15 days||$30 a month|
*Starting price doesn’t include cheaper plans if they are ad-supported. Some vendors offer free domain hosting for the first year on some plans as well.
To compile this list, we researched the plans, prices and features of over 12 different website builders and scoured reviews from several sites (including PCMag, Wirecutter, SiteBuilderReport, WebsiteToolTester, WPBeginner and more) to see where there might be any consensus. We also surveyed the CNET staff and ultimately spent time building some test sites using the tools below (if we weren’t already members). We paid particular attention to the categories that not only differentiate one site from another, but that actually matter to business owners, artists and creators such as SEO features, creative cloud, mobile-friendly website builders, available plugins, live chat options, eCommerce feature, pricing plan and customer support.
If, by the end of the list, you’re still not sure which direction to go with your web builder, we’ve included a guide at the bottom, including key questions you should be asking yourself as you start your online venture. Finally, if you already have a basic website and just need a host or you’re interested in building a self-hosted WordPress site, check out our list of best web hosting services and our list of the best WordPress hosting services.
Wix is the clear front-runner in the race for website builder dominance. It’s the biggest player with over 110 million websites built. This popular website builder also boasts the greatest quantity of tools, capabilities, and freedom.
Like many competitors in this space, Wix offers a basic free website builder plan that lets website owners create a free website starter site with ads. If you like what you see with the free website builder, you can spend up for a premium, ad-free site. Pricing falls within industry standards with a $14-per-month “Combo” plan that covers most needs for a personal website. If you need an e-commerce website builder for your eCommerce store, Wix offers a $49-per-month “Business VIP” e-commerce website plan for your online store. Those prices do not include a domain, so you’ll need to account for that separately. And if you’re interested in stats and analytics, you’ll either need to get a Google Analytics paid plan or another third-party tool, as Wix doesn’t have its own.
Despite being the clear favorite among most reviewers, Wix does have a few drawbacks. Wix was one of the few builders that has data limitations for each of its plan tiers, so if you want to upload endless photos and videos, or expect more than 5,000 visitors a month to your site, make sure you do the math before choosing a plan.
Also, the editor’s freedom and range of options can be overwhelming for folks who don’t have the time or inclination to make lots of little decisions and the web design flexibility means you’ll need to be more hands-on with the format and layout, as opposed to more structured or limited editors where you can’t draw too far outside the lines.SEE AT WIX