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The world of online business can seem vast and intimidating, especially when you're just starting out. You need so many things, like a social media presence, quality content, and a website.
Luckily, it has become easier than ever to build a website. We are even entering an age where the big providers offer their AI to build an entire website for you based on your input.
But in any case, you also want to be able to make changes yourself, because only then can you manage your website properly. And besides the design, technical aspects, the price and the functions also play an important role. This is where the providers differ fundamentally.
For this reason, it helps to compare them in detail and that's where our comparison tool comes in.
What Is Important for a Comparison of Website Builders?
Unfortunately, the convenience of website builders comes with a dilemma. With such an array of options floating around on the internet, how do you know which one to pick?
To avoid comparing unimportant things, our comparison tool is structured so that you only see essential items for a quick but accurate overview of website builders.
You can view different providers side-by-side according to several key criteria that we will explain below. Let's dive into these elements to determine what really matters when comparing website builders.
1. Ease of Use
After all, what good is a tool if you can't figure out how to use it properly? This may seem like common sense, but many beginners jump headfirst into a complex platform because they figure it's the best of the best. They then feel frustrated when they don't get the desired results.
Naturally, ease of use might vary from person to person. Professional web designers with a lot of experience have already seen a lot and will probably always find their way around faster than people who are just starting to build their first website.
Our Comparison Tool has been set up with this individual variation in mind. Instead of just focusing on those with extraordinary skills, we took the average Joe into account. Our score for ease of use will show you a straightforward number out of 10 – where 10 indicates easier website builders.
We have tested the providers on a variety of usability factors such as the design of interfaces, navigation, ease of setup, how intuitive they are, performing basic tasks, etc. These tests are standardized so that all website builders are reviewed under the same conditions.
Support comes in handy when you're stuck. You might have a quick question, a technical issue, or need some advice on your website - these can all be solved with the right customer support.
There are various forms of support channels that website builders offer.
Live chat can be incredibly useful when you require fast, real-time assistance.
Phone support is helpful when you've got a complex problem that requires walking through it step-by-step. Ever tried explaining something intricate over email? It's just not the same as hashing it out verbally.
Email support which is gradually becoming less common, still holds its ground. The advantage here is being able to put forth your issues in detail without any rush. More importantly, it helps you save useful information for future reference.
When comparing the providers, you can check which channels each website builder offers, and in our score, you can additionally see how they perform in our standardized support test. This test is primarily concerned with response time and response quality as well as a large number of customer reviews.
With your business hat on, pricing becomes another consideration. Just like any other business decision, selecting a website builder should be considered an investment. And like any smart investor, you want to get the most bang for your buck. Choosing the right price point is all about striking a balance between cost and benefits.
Most providers have tiered plans with various features and benefits attached to each level. Higher tiers will usually include more features but also carry a higher cost. It is up to you to decide what plan works best for your budget and needs. We list the pricing for all available plans and highlight different features in the tooltips.
Often, you can decide between monthly and annual payments. For better comparison, we chose to list the monthly cost.
Some providers also offer a free plan. In addition to whether a provider offers a free plan, we've also added them separately to our database so you can compare them independently.
Websites are like modern-day canvases, where you can paint your unique brand story. It is thus crucial to look for the features that will enable you to create the art you envision. Something exclusive that stands in line with your business goals. If your website isn't unique, it will get lost in the crowd.
Website builders constantly add new features and capabilities to their platforms, so the best thing you can do is figure out their basic capabilities and then test which one you prefer the most. To help you compare what you can and can’t do with each website builder, here are the features to consider.
Drag & Drop Builder
Imagine designing a website just by moving elements around on the screen. A drag-and-drop builder does just that. With easy-to-use tools, these builders empower you with creative freedom. You can add different elements with a few clicks, such as menus, images, blocks, and more.
No coding experience is needed, making the whole process very simple and user-friendly. Of course, things get a little bit less customizable without coding, but that's why more advanced builders also allow custom code insertion.
A template can set the stage for what your finished website will look like. It is essentially a pre-made design that you can further customize. Most website builders come with various templates, so users can quickly find something that will suit their needs.
For example, if you're setting up a website for a hotel, you'll be able to find templates tailored to the hospitality industry. It will already have sections and elements that are ideal for this type of business, so you won't have to reinvent the wheel. Once you've chosen your template, you can modify it to make it truly unique.
No. of Users
The number of users needing access to the website builder can influence your choice of provider. For instance, larger businesses may need more user seats to ensure everyone can log in and work on their site.
Some providers offer team discounts, which can make all the difference between breaking a budget and staying within it, and some offer unlimited users, so you won't have to worry about extra charges for adding more people.
Roles & Permissions
You wouldn't hand over the keys to a brick-and-mortar store to every employee on your team. The same goes for your website: you need to be able to manage who has access and what they have access to. From a security standpoint, this is critical.
Website builders usually come with roles and permissions settings so you can control who has the power to make changes to the site content. This helps prevent people from accidentally deleting or modifying elements that should remain untouched. It also makes it easy to assign specific tasks to different people, so everyone knows what's expected of them.
This aspect involves pairing your website with its domain name (the address people type into their browsers). Some providers simplify this step with a one-click connection, while others require a manual setup or won’t allow it at all (mostly the case for free plans or when you are forced to purchase the domain through the website builder).
In either case, you should check whether or not it’s possible. When using a third-party domain registrar, you want to be sure that you can connect your domain without issues.
Going global with your brand? Language switching might be a feature to look for. Offering your website in multiple languages is a must-have for businesses operating internationally. Apart from showcasing inclusivity, it also widens your horizons regarding audience reach.
Translations are becoming extremely accurate nowadays, and some plugins also offer automated solutions. That said, make sure to check if the website builders provide the ability to run a multilingual website if you require it.
Nothing beats good old forms when collecting customer information or feedback. Having a platform that offers customizable form fields or templates can greatly enhance the user experience. People will be able to reach out faster, and you can predefine fields to receive more tailored information.
On top of that, forms are especially interesting when you can connect them to other tools like a CRM or email marketing software. This way, you can further automate some processes and reduce your manual work.
An LMS or Learning Management System, is a feature that allows you to manage and provide e-learning courses to customers. It's also great for businesses looking to offer employee training, as it can track and store progress easily.
Some platforms integrate with third-party LMS, while others have their own built-in options. If you plan on using your website to offer online courses, coaching, and training, look for software that provides this capability, otherwise, you’ll have to pay for another platform that just does that.
Many website owners are now turning to ecommerce solutions to make it easier for them to sell their products online. When looking for a website builder that can also support ecommerce capabilities, you'll need features like the ability to create product pages, automated shipping and tax calculations, payment gateways, and more.
We took a close look at which website builders allow you to run an ecommerce store. Therefore, when comparing them, make sure that this capability is available if you plan to sell online.
Blogging isn't just about self-expression anymore. it's a powerful marketing tool that attracts potential customers while boosting your brand's visibility. From SEO to content marketing, blogging can help you reach new audiences.
Website builders with blog capabilities will have neat features, such as the ability to create and manage posts, list and categorize them, and add multimedia content. Draft management and social media integrations are also good bonuses to have. When comparing website builders, look for the ability to run a blog if that’s something you’re planning on.
Opportunities for integrations empower your website even further. They can connect multiple software solutions, streamline workflows, and do wonders for business productivity. In essence, they serve as powerful tools for automating repetitive tasks.
No. of Native Integrations
There are two types of integrations: native and completely third-party ones. Native integrations work more smoothly and come with a larger range of functionalities because they are usually created in partnership with both sides (the website builder provider and the tool provider).
It also means there is no need to install any external apps or plugins manually. We counted the number of native integrations each platform offers and listed them in our comparison tool.
Tracking codes are there to track crucial data like user behaviors or demographics without inserting any scripts yourself. For effective marketing and SEO purposes, it makes sense to implement tools from common platforms like Google Analytics and Facebook on your site to optimize your website and ad performance. You’ll simply need to copy the codes that each platform provides and paste them into the right field in your website builder. The rest is done for you.
If no tracking codes are supported by default or an integration is missing, pay attention to the next point we will discuss.
Sometimes you may run into limitations with your website builder and want to adjust the CSS and HTML or add specific elements, like scripts, to your website. This also relates to tracking codes in your head section. If they cannot be inserted via the interface, you can still do it manually this way.
If you don't plan to use custom code, you should always make sure that it is possible to implement it if no tracking codes are offered by default.
PayPal is one of the most internationally recognized names among payment gateways. It allows customers to pay worldwide in their own currencies, making transactions easier. A PayPal integration means customers can use debit or credit cards, bank accounts, and PayPal credit to make payments right on your website, as long as they have their account set up.
Since it’s so widely used, a PayPal integration is vital when taking online payments.
Similarly, Stripe is what many providers use to offer a reliable online payment service. Instead of needing a PayPal account, customers can simply enter their card details, and the job is done. With Stripe, you can easily configure options like subscriptions, one-time payments, and invoicing. Platforms supporting Stripe create a smoother shopping journey by reducing friction points.
Zapier Triggers and Actions
What will you do to integrate an app that isn't on the list of native integrations? Zapier can be the answer. Zapier is a tool that allows you to connect almost any app or service to each other. Depending on the available triggers and actions, you can create custom workflows that automate tasks.
Since the effectiveness of Zapier relies on the availability of triggers and actions a website builder provides, we have collected the numbers for both so you can compare which providers will allow more or less functionality.
6. Technical Specifications
While you might be primarily focused on comparing the more visible features of a website builder, don't underestimate the importance of what's going on behind the scenes. The technical specifications of your chosen website builder can significantly impact the performance and security of your website. Keep in mind that each of the following points can only be given if a website builder also offers hosting, since these points are related to it.
security of your website. Keep in mind that each of the following points can only be given if a website builder also offers hosting, since these points are related to it.
Web hosting functions as the backbone of any website. Different web hosting companies offer different levels of security, speed, and scalability, which are all crucial elements affecting your site's performance.
There are two main camps of website builders. Those that include hosting and those where you have to get the web hosting yourself. In the middle, there are still some providers for whom we leave the choice. In the middle are still some providers that let you choose whether you want to use only the website builder or also want the hosting.
The main benefit of hosting the website yourself is that you can often get more reliable hosting at a lower cost while gaining more flexibility. On the other hand, this again involves more effort and primarily only applies to website builders that are built on a specific CMS like WordPress.
Depending on what you are looking for, you can compare exactly which providers come with or without hosting in our tool.
Like your smartphone or computer has storage limits, so does a website. Depending on how much content (images, videos, and text) you plan to place on your site, you'll need a corresponding amount of storage space.
Provider plans vary significantly in this aspect – from basic options to enterprise-level ones designed for heavily loaded websites.
Bandwidth is essentially how much data your website can transfer to visitors per month. If your website serves a lot of content to visitors, bandwidth becomes increasingly important. Let’s say each visitor uses 2 MB of your bandwidth on average. If you now have 10,000 visitors in a given month, that would require you to have 20 GB of bandwidth. If the hosting of your website builder allows you to have less than that, you’ll either face speed-related issues or likely have to pay more for the amount you’re using.
A traffic limit refers to how many visitors a website can have per month. It’s similar to the bandwidth, but usually, something that some web hosts use on top to further limit your usage.
Also, since most don't know how much bandwidth is needed for a given number of visitors, it makes it more transparent for customers. However, traffic limits are usually not very fair in terms of this ratio. Therefore, they should always be viewed critically and represent an additional disadvantage in your comparison when traffic limits are low.
A Content Delivery Network or CDN helps reduce loading times by storing copies of your site in multiple locations around the world. Wherever users are located, they are served content from their nearest location. It results in faster page loading times and also helps reduce the load on your website.
Even smaller websites can benefit from a CDN since it helps improve the user experience and speeds up page loading times. If you have users spread across the globe, a CDN should be something that your website builder provides. Otherwise, make sure to use a CDN in addition to your website builder.
Security is an important part of any website builder and hosting because it helps protect your users’ data. You may have noticed websites starting with 'HTTPS' instead of 'HTTP' with a tiny lock icon before their address in URL bars – they house SSL certificates, ensuring secure connections.
SSL is mandatory, as some browsers will not even load websites without it. It also instills trust in users, which is an integral part of driving sales for ecommerce sites. After all, no one should give you credit card information if you can’t guarantee a secure connection.
Finally, a Web Application Firewall (WAF) is an important security measure that can help protect your website from getting hacked. It guards against malicious attacks and blocks requests coming from suspicious sources, thereby helping secure your website from potential threats. We strongly recommend opting for a web builder with an integrated WAF to ensure your website remains secure.
How to Compare Website Builders?
Having a detailed checklist is great when it comes to narrowing down your website builder options. Our comparison tool helps you glance through different providers based on these crucial parameters.
While deciding, consider "Features" as a big deciding factor. They potentially offer the most value, as you can see for what purposes you can use the website builder and for what not. This is closely followed by the pricing and technical specifications. Decide whether or not you require hosting to be included, and then consider everything together with the price points. Keep in mind that not all expensive options deliver higher value. Sometimes, brands with less popularity may offer you precisely what you need without burning a hole in your pocket.
After that, you can check if critical integrations are available and look for builders that are easy to use and offer great support.
Your Result of Comparing Website Builders
Hopefully, by now, you've gained key insights into what parameters to focus on when comparing different website builders. If you're still a bit unsure, don't worry. You can leverage the Best Picks and Finder Tool available on our platform.
Our Best Picks represent the highest-rated platforms according to our expert research. And for those with specific needs, our intuitive Finder Tool allows you to find the one provider that meets all of your requirements.