A website is essential for any organization, small business or passion. These top-rated website builders will help you create mobile-friendly, fully-featured websites on a tight budget.
Social media tools like Twitter and Facebook are essential for communicating your message to the world. But that’s just half of it. A website that is attractive and easy to navigate is essential if you want your company or organization to have an online presence. You have complete control over the design and content of a website. This gives credibility to your company, organization, or personal brand. While Facebook pages look the same in design, your website can be customized to reflect your brand, offer products, and integrate third-party services.
It’s easier than ever to create a professional-looking, design-forward website. Squarespace and Wix are well-known DIY website building services that constantly improve and add new features. There are many new competitors like Zyro and Gator as well as Simvoly, Strikingly and Ucraft that offer their unique twists to the process.
A website is essential
Let’s first discuss why you need an ecommerce website developer singapore in these days of social media dominance. Personally, you don’t want potential employers to go to your Facebook page. A personal website is better for a customized online resume. A second reason to consider is the freedom you have when designing your site, both for personal and business reasons. You can choose the products and services that you sell, and how they are delivered.
A dedicated website makes a business appear more authoritative and trustworthy than a Facebook, Tumblr, or other social media presences (though those services should be considered as part of your online presence). It is as important as having a company card in the business world.
To create your website required a lot technical knowledge, such as HTML, FTP and web hosting services. We now have easy-to-use online site builders. These services allow you to create a mobile-friendly, well-designed website with very little technical knowledge. These services can help a sole proprietor or small business become profitable by providing buy links, online shops, and other money-making opportunities.
While large companies spend thousands to have their websites programmed and designed, it’s not necessary for small businesses and individuals to pay that much. These services can be yours for only $10 per month or $25 if selling products. It will take you a few hours to create an attractive, unique website.
You can build everything with these services by yourself. All you need is a template that you select from a (hopefully!) wide and well-categorized collection. Many allow you to add items like social shares buttons, blog posts, and photo galleries using drag-and-drop interfaces. You can even restrict access with a password, and allow people to join your site (see table).
Free website builders
Many of these services also offer free options. However, if you choose this route, branding will be added to your site by the provider. This makes it less appealing to shoppers and surfers. The free offerings can vary in terms of storage, bandwidth and site options. Make sure to read the fine print to see what you get from each provider. If you’re looking for the best freebies, Wix, Weebly and Strikingly are the best.
Register your domain
You need an address before you can build your home online. Most of the site builders here can register a unique domain for you, and all can give you a web address using the provider’s domain, for example, yourname.sitebuilder.com. Some plans include a custom domain name, which usually requires a year of commitment. You can also use domains you have purchased from third-party registrars like pairNIC. However, you will often need to pay the site builder.
You can choose from many templates to create your website with all the listed web services. Some of the best web services, like Wix, Squarespace and Gator, automatically format your site to be viewed on mobile devices. You can also choose targeted templates that are tailored to your site’s purpose. These could be used for marketing a bakery, getting gigs for musicians, or keeping wedding guests updated.
After you have chosen a template, it is time to make it yours. Site builders allow you to change the color scheme, fonts, page layouts, and add pages. Good site builders offer sub-templates to the most popular page types such as About, Contact and Products.
You’ll need to add custom content to these pages. This is done by adding text areas, photos (see the Photos and Galleries section), buttons, or other widgets. Third-party widgets are available for purchase by the best site builders. These can be used to create forms, chat, reservations and social feeds.
Squarespace, Strikingly and Virb have restrictions on where you can place page objects. This is a benefit if your expertise is in design. Gator and Wix offer greater flexibility, while other builders allow you to place page objects in places that aren’t too garish. Gator is a great example of balancing design freedom with responsive restrictions.
Some site builders offer a tool that allows you to enter social accounts. Jimdo, Simvoly offer similar tools, though they are a bit less ambitious. Wix’s ADI impressed a professional friend of ours with the results it produced in testing. It mostly used images and information from her LinkedIn account.
Mobile Site Design
Site builders must produce sites that work well on mobile devices if they want to be considered modern. All of the ones listed here can. Squarespace and Weebly use responsive design to create mobile sites from the web content you have created.
Some of these website builders use responsive design as a web design strategy. This method adapts the same content of a webpage to suit different screen sizes. However, search engines are only concerned with whether a site is suitable for mobile screen sizes. Both Bing as well Google offer pages that allow you to enter your URL and see if the site displays on mobile acceptable.
Simvoly, uKit and Weeby have a strict responsive approach that makes it impossible to control the mobile-only view. Gator, Ucraft and Wix offer a preview of your mobile site and allow you to make customizations only for mobile viewing. You may need a splash page for mobile visitors, or you might want to remove an element that isn’t compatible with smaller screens.
Gallery and Photos
We all know that looking at photos is one of our favorite things about the internet. All of these site builders offer some level of gallery and photo display. Gator, Squarespace and Wix all offer lots of stock photography. You can edit images using editing tools like cropping, brightness and, in some cases, Instagram-like filters. Gator, Simvoly and Ucraft offer photo editing, but not positioning or resizing.
There are many options for photo galleries. Weebly, for example, offers many styles to choose from for your online galleries. Godaddy and Duda, however, have fewer options.
Make Money from Your Website
You can’t go wrong with Shopify if you are looking to sell more. Although most of these services offer the ability to sell items through your website, some do not offer this in free accounts.
Some builders offer more advanced options, such as the ability to process credit card payments, add your cart and checkout pages. You can also use the email marketing and product promotions to promote your products. Some allow you to sell digital downloads while others do not. See the table above for which. Although only a few of these builders allow you to place ads on your website, most allow for some custom HTML code insertion.
Social and site statistics
Each of these site builders allows you to add Facebook Like and Twitter Follow buttons to your pages. Some even allow you to display feeds from social networks. Some offer assistance in building a Facebook Page, as well as integrating it into your website design and updates. Although many products provide some SEO tool you will often only be able to enter meta tags on a form. The rest of the SEO process is up to you. If you don’t want others to find your site, it’s vital that you submit and verify it to search engines.
Although most of these products can provide information about site traffic, the detail they offer varies between them and is often tied to premium accounts. Weebly, for example, can show you page views, unique visitors, search terms, and top-visited sites. Wix and uKit on the other hand, do not have any built-in stats. Instead, you will need to create your own Google Analytics account. Even that requires a paid account. The downside to this approach is that it only shows traffic from the previous day and the past; it doesn’t show traffic up-to the minute or the hour.
The WordPress Question
WordPress.com is a well-known name in web design. WordPress.com isn’t what most people mean when they refer to WordPress. WordPress.org is the free and open-source blogging platform. This is what most internet-savvy people refer to as WordPress. This means that you will need to create your own web hosting service. Many web hosting companies offer managed WordPress hosting plans. WordPress.org is such a popular platform for site building that it’s even offered by many web hosting providers. WordPress.com is a service that hosts and deploys the software for you.
WordPress (either version), is a blog-focused content-management system that supports plug ins as well as themes which extend its capabilities to the majority of what other products offer, including commerce. WordPress.com makes use of plug-ins like JetPack to offer many of its features. WordPress.com (or.org) can be difficult to use. However, if you are serious about blogging and site transferability and don’t mind getting into the weeds, WordPress.org is a good option. The ability to use WordPress is an important skill. According to some estimates, WordPress powers 30% of the internet.
Note that We reviewed WordPress.com to build websites, but the three-star rating doesn’t qualify it for this roundup.
Moving to another site builder
The downside to most of these services, however, is that if you ever want to change web hosts, the custom code they use for your site will make it difficult. You can only transfer your website to a web host service with a small number of these services. The best example is Weebly which allows you to download the standard site folders. Squarespace allows you to export your site in standard WordPress format, which gives you some transferability. WordPress.com also has the same transferability, as you might imagine.
Optional Support for Website Building
There are many support options available. From free WordPress.com accounts that only offer community support to Jimdo’s email service to Wix’s phone-call service to Wix users, even for free accounts. Most site builders have extensive online support knowledge bases and FAQs so you don’t need to call the company. As part of my review, I ask questions about less-common site building procedures to determine if the support is available.
There are many site-building options!
There are many factors to consider when selecting an easy website builder. There are many providers to choose from, at least 20 more than the ones listed here. We don’t miss a single pitch from a brand new vendor for at least a week. Many of them were reviewed, but none made it to the final cut due to outdated site designs, insufficient site-building options, and poor ease-of-use.
These selections should provide enough information to get you started. Click through the reviews and read the blurbs to determine which one is best for you. Don’t be afraid to comment in the comments section about your experience with site builders or to praise those that are not. Check out our primer How To Create a Website for more information and alternative methods to DIY website building. Learn How to Build Websites, and 10 Simple But Powerful SEO Tips To Boost Traffic to Your Site are excellent starting points.