For the DIY crowd that has more time than they do money to spend, there are many website builder options out there.
With a little know-how (or tutorials on YouTube) you can get a site live and looking pretty good.
However, all website builders aren’t created equal. And, depending on your capabilities or needs, not everyone should pick the same one to work with.
Each has a different level of ease of use, design capability, and SEO capability. Of course, some of you also have a budget in mind you’d like to stay within.
This one isn’t the one we’d recommend for those who aren’t at least moderately tech savvy, but this is the best website builder in our humble opinion.
First of all, it’s free. Who doesn’t love that?
Now, when we say free we mean WordPress itself is free. No matter who you go with you will have to pay for your domain (your URL) and a hosting fee.
WordPress has tons of plugins to help accomplish whatever mission you have for your website.
There are also thousands of themes to choose from.
If you plan on eventually building upon your website or handing it off to the pros, this is our top recommendation.
WordPress is arguably the best option when taking SEO into consideration as well.
Squarespace is our top recommendation when it comes to ease-of-use while also considering SEO.
As long as you don’t call Facebook “The Facebook” or call your kids to ask them how to get the VCR to play on the TV you’re likely going to be able to work Squarespace’s drag-and-drop builder. There might be a learning curve, but if you are confident you know enough to be dangerous you will likely be able to figure it out.
However, you will be limited to 20 pages. For a good portion of you, that’s probably not an issue. But it is for some so we thought we’d mention it.
Squarespace does have a monthly fee, though. Depending on the type of site you need it can be anywhere from $16/month (a basic, personal website) to $40/month (advanced commerce site).
Also employing the drag-and-drop designer, Wix gives you a bunch of templates (not as many as the previous builders however) to choose from in which you can customize.
You can also receive free hosting from Wix, but you’ll be required to showcase their logo on the front of your website if you go that route.
Furthermore, if you start on Wix and try to move to another host, you’ll find it quite difficult.
SEO is also a shortcoming here as well.
Honestly, we really don’t recommend using Wix for small businesses.
However, if you choose to go with them, there is a free version as well as advanced options that can go as high as $39.
Weebly is another potentially free option but, as you are probably starting to figure out, you’re going to get what you pay for.
If you stick with the free version you only get 500MB of storage.
You can pay as much as $29 to go with their advanced, integrated eCommerce tools. You can go a little cheaper per month but at that point they charge transaction fees.
It’s a little more capable in the SEO arena than Wix but significantly less so than Squarespace and WordPress.
And while it does have a drag-and-drop builder, we’ve seen several reviews in which people do not find it as easy to use as others.
Similar to Wix, Weebly also makes it unnecessarily difficult to move to another website platform.
We would only recommend Shopify to someone looking to build an eCommerce site. Otherwise, you’d be better suited with one of the others mentioned here because you’d be spending too much for features you aren’t employing with Shopify.
Shopify has made it incredibly simple to build an online store and you won’t have to download any additional software to do so. However, you can install your own payment system if you would like.
This is yet another drag-and-drop editor with hundreds of customizable templates.
We were also pleasantly surprised to find you can integrate Shopify with WordPress to get the best of both worlds! But, if you wanted to leave Shopify entirely it isn’t easy.
Then, there’s the price.
Shopify starts off at $29/month not including any fees for Shopify payments, shipping, or point of sale.
They have two other price points with more features and smaller fees but they jump up to $79 and then to $299 per month.
So, as you can see, you have some math to do to determine if Shopify is the right choice for you.
Custom website development
Starting to wonder whether the time investment combined with the fees and lack of SEO and other digital marketing tools are worth the money saved using a website builder is worth it?
Only you can answer that question.
When you use a professional website developer like 2oddballs, you receive a site perfectly tailored to your needs. You also always have the option to update it or switch to a different hosting provider without issue.
Custom websites from us are also built with SEO in mind and you have a marketing team on your side that you can always call on for advice.
If you have decided this is the best route to take, you can fill out the form below this article or give us a call at 417-986-6332.