This subject has been reviewed and examined in-depth over and over again, so I am not planning to go through all the ins an outs about every website builder available but I do want to share some of the resources that I have found on the internet that go way deeper into the subject.
Before I give you a break down of the popular web builders that are available and a few reference links, I have to admit that my current favourite is Squarespace. This is the one that I use for my own website and the one that I suggest to my clients. The reason that I choose squarespace, is because of these reasons; ease of use, price point, beautiful templates, customizable and stability of platform.
The reason why I say that Squarespace is easy to use is because I believe if you are a complete novice in web development and design you would be able to put together a pretty decent website on your own with Squarespace. Squarespace is the first online web builder that I have used that has a very intuitive interface for design and constructing a website. You can choose how complex or simple you want to make the site. I believe that the true beauty of the platform is the way that they have designed their site. Everything is templated and you don’t really have to understand design techniques or be a designer by trade. The site walks you thorough page layout options and gives you industry standard layouts that make it hard for you to go wrong.
The price is in line with most website builders i.e. Wordpress.org, Wix, Shopify and others. Most of these sites offer monthly plans that are within a few dollars of each other for the basic plan. They all get a bit more pricy if you intend to do more complex development or you need to incorporate an online store to sell products. You can get started with a personal site on Squarespace for about $17 CDN($12 US) per month for a basic site and about $26 CDN($18 US) for a more complex site with a payment gateway features included.
In my opinion, you have good assortment of visually appealing templates, which are free to use with your basic monthly Squarespace plan. They are easy to install and you can sample a variety of templates before you make your choice. I have worked on many Wordpress templates in the past and even though they have been fairly well designed, they were more complicated to get them to look exactly how I wanted them to look. When using Squarespace, I find that it’s a lot easier to get it to look and feel how I want it to look without having to add a lot of extra code.
I have been on the Squarespace platform for over a year and I can only recall a couple of time that I notice my site was down or that it had hiccups in the authoring interface. I have had wordpress sites hosted on Go Daddy in the past and I have seen hiccups regularly on their platform. I don’t think you can find a platform out there that has no technical issues but the best you can do is find one that has the least amount of outages.
Here are a few sites that go in-depth about the various web builder options available. They compare price, ease of use, functionality, templates and more.
In conclusion, you have to go with the builder that is right for you. Even though my current favourite is Squarespace that could potentially change in the future. There are a lot of things that you have to consider when considering a website builder. If this is a site that you would like to maintain on your own, you have to make sure that the CMS (Content Management System) is easy to use and that the interface is intuitive. If you are not a web designer or developer you have to make sure that you are able to design and maintain the site on your own. One other thing that I didn’t mention above but it’s very important. Most of these website builders have built-in functionality to help with SEO. Squarespace has built in functionality that enables you to add you meta title and page descriptions to each page. However, SEO is something that you should always think about when creating your site because even if you find the perfect website builder and you build the most beautiful site. If no-one can find it, you may not get the desired results from your beautifully designed site.
Update: My Favorite website builder as of Jan 2021 is Webflow.