There once was a day when a site builder meant an actual person who would build your website for you. Now the term has become synonymous with online tools for launching a website yourself.

These site builders allow for more people to get online, since they’re less expensive, easy to use, and mostly maintenance-free.

Therefore, we’d like to go through a comparison of the top 5 site builders, from WordPress to Site Builder. This way, you know which ones are easiest to use, affordable, and filled with design tools.

1. WordPress

WordPress was once a simple blogging management system, but it’s evolved into so much more. You can make eCommerce websites, forums, large online magazines, small business websites, and more. It’s become one of the most powerful site builders on the market, which is why almost 19% of all websites are created with WordPress.

Ease of Use: 8/10

WordPress looks somewhat intimidating to the first time user, yet this outlook usually changes fast. WordPress is actually organized in an easily digestible format, with quick tabs on the left hand side and a beautiful dashboard with information on plugins, menus, stats, and post activity.

Blogging, creating pages, and interacting with users is all simple once you get the hang of it. WordPress does come with a slight learning curve, but you can overcome that quickly. In addition, WordPress has two versions, WordPress.org and WordPress.com. You can learn more about the differences here, but WordPress.org is known for its flexibility and control, while WordPress.com is great for beginners.

Feature Set and Flexibility: 10/10

WordPress delivers on most built-in features you would expect from a site builder. You can customize the menu and change everything from fonts to sliders, and colors to gallery support. If you have trouble finding a feature inside WordPress, it’s easy to solve your problem with a plugin. For instance, some plugins secure your site or block spam. Others are there to link to your social media accounts.

The plugins expand the flexibility and feature set quite a bit, and many of them are available for free.

Design Freedom: 10/10

Compare WordPress to a consumer product like Shopify or Weebly and you’ll begin seeing just how much freedom you have. Not only do you have full control over your website, but it lets you adjust files and source code. If that’s not your style, the appearance module has options for themes, customizations, widgets, menus, and more. Basically, it doesn’t matter if you’re an advanced user or a beginner. You can customize almost anything you want.

Pricing: 9/10

The WordPress software is completely free. That makes it one of the more affordable site builders you can choose. However, there are some fees that many people forget about. First of all, you have to pay for hosting, which can run you anywhere from $2 to $500 per month. Small businesses should be able to get away with a $5 to $10 per month hosting plan. You also might have to pay for themes and plugins. But these aren’t that expensive, and many are available for free.

Customer Support: 7/10

You don’t actually get any dedicated customer support from WordPress. In fact, you’re mainly left to fend for yourself. That said, the WordPress community is a large, friendly, and vibrant one, with endless blogs, courses, forums, social media groups, and more.

When you download a theme or plugin, you typically receive detailed documentation to guide you through the installation and settings process. You’ll also find that most hosting companies are willing to help with some WordPress issues

Overall, if you need a ticketing system, chat box, or phone number for your user support, WordPress might not be for you. But for those willing to research and learn on their own, you can’t go wrong with WordPress.

2. Shopify

Shopify serves as your go-to site builder for eCommerce stores. It’s a proprietary platform that you pay a monthly fee to use. Therefore, you get everything from hosting to plugin support with the monthly payment.

Ease of Use: 10/10

Shopify has an elegant interface that guides beginners and advanced users through the sometimes complicated world of eCommerce. The main dashboard provides steps for launching your site, with buttons for adding products, choosing templates, and setting up your payment processing. Site management comes easy with the dashboard, outlining things like sales, revenue, and users.

Feature Set and Flexibility: 9/10

Shopify has one of the largest app stores in the eCommerce site building market. This allows you to expand your site with accounting, marketing, invoicing, and social media apps.

The built-in Shopify features are fairly powerful as well, seeing as how you can configure things like coupons, shipping labels, discount codes, blogs, and gift cards.

Design Freedom: 7/10

Design freedom is the main area where Shopify is lacking. It’s extremely easy to adjust basic items like colors and font sizes, but you’re limited to whatever customization options are built into Shopify (and the theme being used).

In addition, Shopify decided to make websites with its own programming language, called Liquid. This means that anyone with regular HTML/CSS or JavaScript knowledge is out of luck. Also, you’ll have to hire a Liquid specialist if you want more advanced changes done.

Pricing: 9/10

Shopify has a $9 per month Lite plan for adding products to any current website. It’s also great for selling on Facebook.

However, the real eCommerce functionality comes with the $29 per month Basic Shopify Plan. You’ll also find a $79 per month plan and a $299 per month option.

Chances are it’s more expensive than an opensource solution in the long run, but you at least get everything in one package.

Customer Support: 10/10

Shopify prides itself on customer support, providing phone, live chat, and email support at all times. You’ll also find a collection of valuable resources like guides, videos, podcasts, success stories, forums, free tools, free stock photos, and the app store.

3. Weebly

Weebly is the king of proprietary site builders, seeing as how it’s developed a platform that even the most technology illiterate person could understand. It’s not going to satisfy the needs of real developers, but average people who want to launch websites should find it appealing.

Ease of Use: 10/10

There’s no better way to launch a quick website than with Weebly. You sign up for free, choose a theme, then get your site running within seconds. After that, you have support from the app center, along with the wonderful drag and drop builder. There are also tools for eCommerce and mobile apps. Advanced users might scoff at this setup, but beginners love it.

Feature Set and Flexibility: 8/10

The built-in feature set is fairly powerful, but you shouldn’t expect anything advanced in terms of functionality. One upside to the primary toolset is the eCommerce solution packaged right into Weebly

Much of your site functionality will come from the app store. It’s filled with apps for eCommerce, communication, marketing, social, and more.

Design Freedom: 6/10

The average user isn’t going to find access to site files or source code. In fact, most of the time you’re stuck with whatever is given to you. This includes your hosting.

However, Weebly does provide API access to developers who want to design sites with Weebly. It’s not the perfect interface for doing so, but at least Weebly opens up the API.

Pricing: 10/10

The first pricing plan from Weebly is free. Although you’re limited to the drag and drop builder, 500MB of storage, and a site that serves up ads, it’s not a bad place to start your blogging or website journey.

After that, you can choose from plans at $8 per month, $12 per month, and $25 per month.

Customer Support: 9/10

Weebly has direct competitors that fail miserably with customer support. Luckily, Weebly isn’t like those competitors, since it offers phone, email, and knowledge base support. What’s more is that you can call in whenever you want.

There’s also a large community of Weebly users, along with developer docs, success stories, an inspiration center, and a blog.

4. BoldGrid

BoldGrid is one of the less popular site builders on this list, and that might be because it’s actually a site builder that combines with WordPress. BoldGrid is designed to make WordPress even more intuitive than it currently is. It offers a drag and drop builder, free themes, easy customization, and built-in staging.

Ease of Use: 10/10

It’s tough to argue against any of the features in BoldGrid, since it operates with a visual page builder and several plugins. For example, you can take advantage of page templates, an SEO plugin, and an eCommerce plugin.

Feature Set and Flexibility: 10/10

The staging area brings about all sorts of flexibility for the web developer. We also enjoy the eCommerce and backup plugins for expanding on what’s already built into WordPress. Overall, the entire BoldGrid software improves WordPress, and that’s a good thing.

Design Freedom: 10/10

The drag and drop builder truly does expand the power of WordPress. You’re essentially combining a highly customizable CMS (WordPress) with some free themes, a staging interface, and a drag and drop editor. You’ll also maintain full control over your website files.

Pricing: 9/10

Since BoldGrid is somewhat of an add-on to WordPress, you’re still stuck with hosting and theme costs. However, there is a free version of BoldGrid that should satisfy most users.

Besides that, BoldGrid offers discounts on hosting, along with a $60 per year plan for using BoldGrid on an unlimited number of websites.

Customer Support: 6/10

The customer support from BoldGrid is limited to a knowledge base and social media. It’s a wonderful knowledge base, but we’d also like to see phone and live chat support, or at least a ticketing system.

5. Site Builder

You might consider Site Builder the one-stop shop of website builders. It allows you to grab a template, choose a domain, then launch your website. You’re not going to see incredible designs like you would from WordPress or Shopify, but Site Builder gets the job done for small business websites.

Ease of Use: 10/10

Site Builder has a beautiful website builder, thousands of templates, and free email addresses. You can essentially configure your entire business email system along with the website. The dashboard is easy to understand, and you don’t have to go through the hassle of finding hosting.

Feature Set and Flexibility: 7/10

The feature set from Site Builder is as basic as they come. You get a domain name, plenty of templates, an email address, SEO tools, eCommerce support, and a blog. There aren’t any plugins or add-ons.

We love this for standard business websites, but more advanced sites might want to look elsewhere.

Design Freedom: 7/10

Designing a simple business or eCommerce site is a breeze with Site Builder. It’s intuitive, clean, and modern enough for you to look like a true professional. Unfortunately, you don’t get much freedom over the design, site files, or hosting.

Pricing: 10/10

Site Builder offers a free website with up to five pages, a website builder, and templates. You get stuck with website ads, but that’s not bad for beginners. After that, the plans start at $4.99 per month and go up to $11.99 per month for eCommerce support. Not only are these some of the cheapest site builder prices, but the features aren’t bad either.

Customer Support: 8/10

The knowledge base is the main spot where you’ll find most of your answers. Site Builder does post email and phone number information, but it’s clear they want you to only use the phone number for billing situations.

However, there’s also live chat support and some awesome resources online.

Which Site Builder is Right for You?

WordPress checks most boxes in terms of flexibility, control, and pricing. We like Weebly and Site Builder for the beginners, while Shopify is a must-try for eCommerce sites. Finally, BoldGrid is a wise choice if you’re trying to make WordPress more intuitive.

Posted by DzineBlog Editorial

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