Starting a website of your own has never been easier, and there have never been more ways to go about getting a website. We explain how to go about publishing your own site, whether you want to do it yourself or contract a website designer.
All in all, the best way to create a website is using a website builder. These simple platforms put you in control, letting you use professional templates, then customizing everything to your own preference. You won't need any coding experience or technical know-how, either.
The good news? You won’t have to pay through the nose. You can create and publish a site using a website builder with costs of around $100 per year.
This is far cheaper than paying a designer to build a site for you. Of course, the way you create a site ultimately comes down to your budget, how much time you have and what you want your site to be like. You could try building a site for free as well, but we’ll explain in this guide why we don’t recommend this.
The most important thing is to understand which approach to website-publishing is right for you. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about each way to build a site, how much you can expect to pay, and the pros and cons of each choice.
- Incredibly simple to use
- Great value plans
- Easy to preview as you go
- No expertise needed
- Great range of templates
- Free plan leaves you with a poor URL and Wix adverts
- After publishing with a template, you can't change to another one
From our thorough testing, Wix emerged as the best website builder platform you can choose. We invited first-time users of website builders, plus more experienced users, to try various platforms, and feed back on how they found each one. We also appraised the features, plug-ins, apps and help & support available when forming our recommendations.
Still, Wix isn't the only game in town, and there are lots of other high quality website builders you can choose. We pick out some of the top brands, below:
|Verdict||Comfortably the best website builder we've tested, and brilliantly simple, even for beginners||Another great website builder that's also very approachable for first-timers||Stands out with its attractive templates, though not quite as well-rated as Wix||A great system for producing an e-commerce website||Perfect for blogs, but can be fiddly for other types of site||Some big improvements to templates in the past year, but a little light on features||Can help you build a website, but the options are more limited compared to rival website tools|
|Number of templates||Over 500||56||91||433||290||8||188|
|Value for Money|
|Help and Support|
|Ease of Use|
|Free plan||✔||✔||14-day free trial||✗||✔||30-day free trial||✔|
|Paid plan (monthly)||Starts from $8.50||Starts from $5||Starts from $12||Starts from $5||Starts from $4||Starts from $5.99||Starts from $10.80|
|Try it Today||Visit Wix||Visit Weebly||Visit Squarespace*||Visit 1&1 Ionos||Visit WordPress||Visit GoDaddy||Visit Site123|
* Save 10% on Squarespace with code ‘TECH10'
How Do We Test and Rate Website Builders?
To work out the best website builders to recommend, we do extensive independent testing. As well as assessing the features, templates and ease of use, we take value-for-money into account, plus the help and support on offer.
We also do user testing, with a panel of users of mixed expertise trying out the website builders and feeding back. That way, we can give real-world recommendations to help you decide
Create your site now with the Best Website Builders for Beginners
How Do Website Builders Work?
Website builders give you the basic building blocks to begin constructing a site. Typically, you pick a template design for your website, to which you then add your own text and images to create a uniquely designed site for your blog, online store or business site. With most website builders you’ll be able to:
- Choose from a range of templates, which will help you build the site you want
- Edit the style and design language of these templates to match your business’ branding (or simply look great)
- Add tools and apps which will augment the usefulness of your website – these might be contact forms, appointment or reservation booking systems, or analytics software
The first step to creating a website is by picking a template. Rather than acting like restrictive training wheels, these templates form the rough outline of a site, which you’re free to change as you see fit.
Website builders make editing your site straightforward, even for beginners, by using simple drag-and-drop editing tools, and easy to install apps and plugins. Most website builders use a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor, making them super easy to use. The clue is in the name – when you use the editor, what you see is, well, exactly what you’ll get when you publish your site.
This style of website creation differs from more technical website builders that rely more heavily on coding, for example. These require a level of technical expertise that very few possess. However, a WYSIWYG editor makes the process of building a site accessible to everyone, with clear, easily-navigable menus and straightforward controls.
In many ways, using a website builder is no more complex than using Microsoft PowerPoint. They also take care of the most complex parts of owning a site, such as domain hosting and HMTL coding.
After you’ve finished constructing your site (which needn’t take long at all) you’ll be able to dip back in and change anything, at any time. This gives website builders a big advantage over using a web designer to create a site – you’re in complete control, all of the time, and you won’t have to be waiting around for them to make any updates you request.
It also means that you won’t need to keep paying an expensive retainer fee to the web designer, which can always increase if you need new features or a lengthy piece of maintenance. Instead, you’ll be paying a flat, predictable and affordable fee which can be billed monthly, annually or biennially.
Want to get started?
Before commissioning a web designer, however, it’s worth having a good understanding of exactly what you need from your site. And, to find out exactly what you need from your site, you’ll need to understand who your website’s users will be.
Our guide to what makes a good website will help you understand the fundamentals of a good website and how to make it work.
What about making a Facebook page?
Building a Facebook page for your business is definitely a good idea, as long as you keep it up to date and use it to engage with customers quickly.
However, using a Facebook page in place of a proper website will make your business look a little amateurish and unprofessional. It also won’t give you access to features that are easy to implement on a website builder, and are highly valued by users. If you run a restaurant, for example, you won’t be able to add a food menu.
Moreover, being restricted to a Facebook page means that you won’t be able to build your brand, and you’re less likely to appear at the top of Google rankings when someone searches for businesses like yours.
There are no benefits in the long or short term to be had from trying to create a website for free. You’ll lack advanced features, look amateurish and users will have a hard time even finding your site or Facebook page.
When building your own website or hiring a website designer are both affordable and quick options, there’s no reason not to have your own site in 2020.
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