It’s a simple fact that if you want your business to take off in 2019, you have to have your own website. People use websites as their first impression of your company, gauging the general aesthetic and quality of your work.
More than 80% of internet users search around online before they try to buy any service or product.
It also gives you a base of operations from which you can post updates, contact clients, and perfect your brand image. That means choosing the right tools to make your website is quite a big deal. It takes roughly 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for users to decide whether they want to continue using your website or not! If you go for a layout that’s not user-friendly or design that looks tacky, you could quickly lose traffic.
So here’s a quick list of some of the best website builder tools and websites out there at the moment:
Personal - $5 per month
Premium - $8 per month
Business - $25 per month
eCommerce - $45 per month
These guys are the internet big dog, powering over 30% of all the websites on the net right now. 193 million people can’t be wrong! It’s a very simple and sleek format with great blogging options, fashionable design themes, scheduled posts and draft saving. You can also use it for free (with limits)! And, if you feel so inclined, the site can be transferred elsewhere.
The cons are that the format is a little bit rigid. There’s no drag-and-drop function, and you can’t make it look exactly how it will be published when inside the editor. There are no email campaigns, no photo editing tools, nor phone support links. The amount you can customize the page layouts is limited. Also, the interface isn’t entirely seamless and sometimes counterintuitive.
Standard - $10.80 a month
Site123 is a much newer, beginner’s website. It has an extremely simple and basic interface, with great customer support, an extensive app market and professional mobile compatibility. You can set up an entire website in a few minutes. It’s fast, minimal, and cheap!
The problems are quite predictable with something like this: it has extremely limited features - you don’t really choose the layout of the page and have very little control over it - and once published you can’t edit the overall template of your site. This means while it may work for a small business or advertising site, it’s difficult to really scale up your commerce using site123.
Connect - $5 per month
Pro - $12 per month
Business - $25 per month
Performance - $38 per month
The biggest disadvantage is that there’s no universal undo tool, which really causes trouble on big edits. The mobile site is very limited in its customisation, and it has no inbuilt photo saving.
Pro - $7.50 a month
Business - $20 a month
SEO Plus - $30 a month
Platinum - $40 a month
Jimdo is a less-well known website builder that packs an impressive punch. Anything from the business plan upwards comes with unlimited storage, it's incredibly easy and cheap to make your website advertisement free, and the interface is incredibly simple and streamlined - with a kind of halfway point between drag-and-drop and having the tool do all the work for you.
One large con is that you rely more on the templates, which are limited and feature not particularly impressive starting designs. It has no restore function, meaning you can lose hours of work easily, and that synthesis of drag-and-drop and total automation can feel quite clunky at times.
$5 a month
$11 a month
$14 a month
$29 a month
No.1 recommendation by PCMag! This site-builder is extremely intuitive, has a free option, and comes with hundreds and hundreds of templates for any market. The sites you build can have any number of gadgets available with the Wix package, and if you want to create a webstore these features are also included - to a high level.
Sadly, Wix has no built-in stats and monitoring of the sort - all of that has to be done third-party. The responsiveness of the design is also limited in comparison to competitors.
Basic - $29 a month
Standard - $79 a month
Advanced - $299 a month
Shopify powers over 600,000 businesses meaning it’s generated a total of over $82 billion worldwide! That makes it the leading online shopping (e-commerce) website builder. Clients are blown away by the advanced inventory and store management, and its in-built shipping and selling solutions. It comes with 70 different website themes, a blogging platform, SEO tools, its own app, social media integration, analytics reports, and integration with Google analytics. They even have a service where one of their own experts will help document and create 3D models of your products! It’s the real deal.
The biggest con is transaction fees, meaning you’ll end up paying more than you expected for this service (which is already a lot) and reduce your own profits. If you want to sell abroad you may need third-party gateways, or have to pay for an app.
Limited - $3.95 a month
Mini - $5.95 a month
Standard - $11.95 a month
Profi - $19.95 a month
With over 30 million registered users, this low-cost service is not to be ignored. Webnode comes in more than 20 languages and allows you to make your website mulitilingual, meaning this is the perfect tool for an international market - since it's designed for internet shopping and has new shopping cart features. In terms of search engine opitimisation, this interface also really excels.
The downsides are the e-commerce options it offers are fairly limited compared to others like Shopify etc, and the blog has relatively limited features if you want to create a network for customers and emplyoees.
Personal - $12
Business - $18
Basic - $26
Advanced - $46
Squarespace is currently on the rise: its responsive, stylish templates work extremely well for mobile screens, and it has very versatile selling capabilities for any kind of business, including digital downloads from the site. Its customer service is excellent, and it comes with analytics tools to keep up to date on your business performance. That, and it gives you a free SSL certificate.
The competing site builders at this level tend to be more straightforward, however. Squarespace tends to require some knowledge of computers, and if you just go with the templates there are fewer of them with more restrictions. There are also problems of a fairly rigid mobile site, and the lack of a marketplace for third-party widgets.
Limited - $12 a month (or $8 on a yearly plan)
Pro - $20 a month
VIP - $49 a month
Strikingly is another extremely simple, modern interface. It’s best for smaller corporate sites, because of how basic it is, but make the process of setting up a website last only a few minutes. The preview functions in the builder are comprehensive, and the designs for mobile and desktop are attractive and functional.
Sadly the cons are the limited number of templates available with this simple format. You have very limited customization, and in many cases the mobile site suffers because of simple, single pages. Many of the standard features also subtly require you to pay for the premium paid account.
These are just a few of the many website builders big companies are using at the moment. All have their own pros and cons, but ultimately the most important thing is finding a site that suits your style and shows what you can give your customers.