How do I choose the best web building tool?
I have received some recommendations on Wordpress, Wix, Weebly, etc. How do I determine which to use? They all seem to have roughly the same features.
Others here have stated this, but I'll add some further insights from what I've learned over the past decade or so of learning to build websites on my own:
Website Builders like Weebly, Wix, SquareSpace, etc are the easiest for newbies to build something relatively basic without any real web skills needed. The downside is that you don't really own your website, and must pay the monthly fees charged by these platform providers to keep your site up. Also, particularly with Wix, the SEO elements are pretty bad, so you may have trouble getting your site to appear in Google results for competitive keywords (specifically, poor URL structure).
For ecommerce, BigCommerce falls in this vein as well.
So, onto CMS (Content Management Systems): For these, I consider WordPress and Joomla to be the major considerations. These are essentially open-source platforms that you can easily deploy on most hosting platforms with a single-click install.
WordPress is far more popular, largely due to its utility as a blogging platform. Since so many people use it, there are a lot of developers who have created plugins for it that range in cost from Free to several hundred dollars. The main problem I find with WordPress, is that the community seems to build plugins/widgets/themes with little regard for consistency in terms of a standardized MVC structure. This leads to plugins that do not communicate well with each other (if at all), and a kind of 'put it anywhere' approach to how plugins are implemented into the Admin User Interface. It also means that developers tend to make up their own way to implement customizations - to the extent that going into someone else's WordPress setup can be rather confusing to figure out where they put everything. Still, I find WordPress is particularly well suited for websites that are information focused with an emphasis on SEO needs (with little customized functionality).
Joomla is a little less popular, though still with a sizable development community and thousands of extensions, and I personally find it much easier to use. With the latest Joomla 3, many of the SEO problems that existed in previous Joomla versions have been resolved, and there is a lot more consistency in terms of how Joomla manages the various elements that make up a site. I prefer Joomla for most projects because I find it to be more scaleable when multiple extensions are implemented, and custom extensions (when built properly) are much easier to manage because of the standardized MVC structure.
I also find Joomla's the Admin UI to be easier to manage than WP: Whereas WordPress differentiates between "Posts" and "Pages", Joomla has just Articles: and I find the Widgets Management in WP to be far more confusing than Joomla's Modules Management.
Some of this just comes down to preference, but having built hundreds of websites with each platform, I find Joomla to be a much better solution for growing or advanced websites.
WordPress would be my recommendation but WordPress from WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. The main advantage is portability. With many of the website builders you are pretty much stuck with them. Should you ever wish to move your site you can't. (There are a few exceptions).
The second reason I would recommend WordPress is that the cost is less. WordPress itself is free as are thousands of professionally made, fully responsive, retina ready templates. Virtually all hosting companies offer WordPress as a one click install that takes seconds. You can find good hosting for less than half of what sites like Wix and Weebly charge.
WordPress currently is the tool used by over 25% of all web sites including many major companies. There are thousands of plugins that enable you to do pretty much anything you wish. You can make your site as sophisticated as you want and incorporate some really flashy effects should you chose to do that.
Another thing I consider a plus for WordPress is the extensive amount of help available. There are tons of tutorials on you tube that show you step by step how to create your site. There are also forums on WordPress.org covering WordPress itself and to provide help for most free themes.
As many have said Wix & Weebly are Web Builders whilst WordPress, Joomla, etc. are content management software (CMS).
Let's get over the jargon first and clarify the difference:
Web Builders are proprietary software which are hosted solutions and only work on the hosting server of the suppliers. This means you do not own the copyrights nor do you own the website files and code. You may ask “So What?”. The “so what” comes into it when you decide sometime down the road that you are not happy with your web service and want to change your hosting provider. You simply cannot because you don't own the code or copyrights so you have start from scratch. With CMS you can just pack your bag and go somewhere else.
Second reason is Web Builders are limited in functionality and you can only use functionality that your proprietary software allows. These include simple functions such as Photo Gallery, Payment Gateway, Sliders, Font, Social Media connections, Subscription services such as Newsletters, Blogs, etc. CMS such as WordPress, Joomla, etc. offer 1000s of themes and plug-ins so you will never be in a dead-end.
Finally, Web Builders are notoriously difficult for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), which is after-all critical for small businesses. You can have the best looking website but if people cannot find you in search engines, your fab looking website will be a very lonely place with zero revenue! Check it for yourself and I wager you will not find a single website made with a Web Builder software in the first page of any search term except the most obscure! Many high performing websites are based on WordPress, Joomla, etc.
Now you are thinking what is CMS? Well it is exactly what it says. CMS (Content Management Software) uses standard web technology such as PHP and HTML to create a website. All CMSs use Theme (WordPress) or Templates (Joomla & Drupal), so you start with a basic design which you can then customise to your liking and add functionality using Plug-ins.
Themes or Templates are made for specific CMS so visit places like http://themeforest.net where you can see thousands of them. You can purchase these which gives you the “Right-to-Use” and also provide you with online support.
Plug-ins add functionality that may not be included in your original Theme or Template for example Photo Gallery, Payment Gateway, Subscription modules, Social Media feeds, etc.
Now all this sounds really simple and you may be thinking “How do people like us web designers make any money?”. If all you have to do is go to Themeforest or other website and buy a theme for a few $s, why do you need a web specialists? Well because it is not that simple! To create a really professional looking website with full functionality and customisation, you need experience in PHP, CSS and HTML coding as well as the specific CMS you are intending to use. Of course you can learn all of these but in most cases people need to get into earning money ASAP. Additionally learning to manage these software has a huge learning curve and whilst you are learning you do not have a website hence you are not earning.
Finally be aware that all CMS software and their respective themes & plug-ins require regular upgrades which includes enhancement and security updates. This is not quite as simple as updating your Windows OS or Apple iOS. It requires understanding of how PHP works, how to back up files, how to protect your customisation (they can disappear if you do not upgrade correctly).
Now many people will tell you “It is a walk in the park”, but generally those are people with high technical knowledge and years of experience. So unless you are prepared to spend time and invest hours of trawling the Internet and reading mountains of articles, help forums, etc., I suggest you come to professionals who do this every day. You will be surprised how cost effective it can be and you will save time and your sanity. I have to be cheeky and ask you to check our website cognisant-hosting.com and see how little we charge for WordPress/Joomla customisation and Managed Hosting service which includes updates, etc.. (Sorry about the plug but give me break we all need to make a living!).
PS. The website is made in WordPress but we can also make websites in pure HTML5 and Joomla.
As others have said, technically, there are website builders and CMS's, but I take more of a business approach to the problem. What you choose to use depends on what the site needs to do for your business (requirements), how quickly you need to get up and running, how much web expertise you have or are willing to acquire, and your budget.
There are many benefits to using a hosted website builder rather than using something like Wordpress, which has a bit of a learning curve. If you're not able to learn how to use it, you'll end up paying people to help you to update and maintain it. This is especially important for a startup business, because you'll want to update it as your business evolves. Even if they set it up initially, you still need to learn how to modify it unless you can afford to keep paying someone. This is more or less easy, depending on your skills. Often, my clients don't want to get into it that deep, because they're too busy focusing on running their core businesses.
As for which tool you should use, here's a post about it on Manta which has received more than 12,000 views. The comments may yield helpful insights as well. http://community.manta.com/t5/Marketing/How-Do-You-Choose-Between-Wix-Weebly-Jimdo-WordPress-and/m-p/164/highlight/true#!#M4
Wix and Weebly are not CMS they are site builders (like others said). Stay away from those.
Other CMS to consider are Joomla (great and I prefer it over WP for many reasons), and Drupal is another competitor.
My suggestion is to ask 3 different web developers and see what they recommend for your TYPE OF WEBSITE and WHY. These answers will depend on their expertise and experience with the platform suggested and how much development and security you will need for your site.
Tip: Whatever you decide to use, maintain complete control from hosting to content.
The WordPress ecosystem is too massive for most solopreneurs to master with the time at hand. And it changes constantly.
Commercials constantly tout that to build a business, you need a website. But they fail to mention one thing–it takes much more than a site to become the independent owner of a profitable online business.
It takes a process, one that guides you every step of the way.
There are dozens of services that will help you build a website. But what good is a site without traffic?
You need a roadmap and powerful tools that guide you through the steps of building an online business, driving traffic and monetizing your hard work.
This dynamic duo,...builds your site and guides you to do what you need to build a thriving online business.
To our success, online!
Agreed Wordpress is a mindfield to keep up with and master if this is not your area. If you aren't going to engage a professional web designer to do all the core work, then something more turnkey, locked down, secure and ready to go in 5-10 minutes of setting up your profile would be the way to go. Most turn key web building systems are similar, but do lock you into their ecosystem and you can't move to something else easily without re-building again.
Work backwards from what you want to achieve. If maximum leads / sales / enquiries from search engines is what you want, look for web builders which have similar sites to what you want in their portfolio and ones specifically built for SEO - ideally giving you the tools and learning guides to achieve great things.
If it all gets too much, find a brilliant web designer who walks the talk in where you plan to head.
Full disclaimer: my response is in the context of a vendor of an integrated Rapid Development Platform with tools for versioning, security, permissions and a robust CMS with WP like functions at the simplest level and beyond Joomla at the most complex combined with professional development and support in partnership with a client's DIY capacity. Been doing this for 21 years, seen and done just about everything, and 20-30% of new business annually if from saving failed websites, WP specifically.
Problem: WordPress, Joomla and DruPal are all open source software dependent on a "community" for support and code updates; there's no direct responsibility by anybody which can leave you or your contractor with functional problems that persist for just minutes to weeks.
Problem: Just as WP is the widest used CMS, it's also the #1 source of security breach hacks and website failures from multi-vendor, as others have mentioned their posts. Once again, there is generally nobody responsible for vetting CMS modules and plug-ins IN COMBINATION WITH EACH OTHER and in the compounding environment of changing CMS versions and/or underlying foundation software.. This phenomenon also multiplies with the the complexity of website with modules for sales, inventory, document management, customer relations, accounting and such like.
A thought about web builders: Despite limitations, Web.com, Weebly, Wix can be good places to self-educate on content creation, curation and modeling "looks like this, flows like this" which will give you more confidence when dealing with your hired developers and/or save money in prototyping and modeling stages. Always keep versions of your content off-line for use in your final website, if different.
A thought about SEO dependency for traffic: If you are going to choose a web builder or CMS based on hitting the top Google listings and drive traffic, as a small business you are probably going to be disappointed. In your niche, somebody is buying those slots or have content pros composing their pages. There are more, better and cheaper traffic driving methods. If you don't know them, learn them.
A caution: No matter what you choose to contain and publish your web site content, be DIY involved at some level, even if it's just updating the About Us page. NEVER, EVER let your contracted expert be only one in control of your passwords and permissions as an administrator. Be at least equivalent in access to all sections of your website for DIY options and changing contractors.
you have to ask yourself this question:
How much TIME do you want to spend Managing and Maintain a website?
So this depends, if you want really easy setup and LOW maintenance, then this will limit your Customization of your site
Remember, when you Customize, you are adding more maintenance and design input into your website
Wordpress would be more customization but lots more maintenance
SquareSpace would be the opposite
But here are some new kids on the block:
Pagecloud.com, aims to revolutionize website building with great experience for NON-technical people
So is TheGrid.io
also check out Launchrock.com for Landing or Sales pages
There are a lot of good answers here, so I won't go into more detail. I just noticed that your profile pic shows you with a camera and an umbrella in the background.
Assuming you are a photographer, you want a system that will highlight your photography. Knowing many photographers and watching them go through this process, here is what I'd suggest (in this order):
No one here has mentioned HubSpot here and I think it's worth a look.
Over the past decade, we've seen content management systems(CMS) go mainstream. From Blogger and Drupal to Joomla and ExpressionEngine there are more than enough CMS options to choose from but, which one helps you get and keep customers?
WordPress is by far the most popular CMS and has been the leading CMS for a long time with a record 74,652,825 websites built on the platform. WordPress is a great CMS. It's easy to setup and it's virtually free to get started. I love WordPress. We have many clients using it and we still use it on some projects.
That being said, sales and marketing has and is still going through a massive change and along with it, so has the marketing technology landscape.
If your goal is getting and keeping customers using advanced inbound marketing strategies that create one to one relationships, then you want to build your website on a sales & marketing platform rather than just a Content Management System(CMS) like wordpress, Wix or Weebly.
here is an article I wrote that tries to answer the question: "Why you should build your website on HubSpot"
As a web designer at Hindsite which builds websites on Wordpress and Wix, I can say they're both great tools. In full disclosure, I am also a paid support member at the Wix.com Lounge in NYC.
Wix's strength lies in that you can build a website which is heavily customized in terms of its look and feel at a fast pace. All of the customization is drag and drop and renders as you do it, not after hitting an update or "preview" button. Unlike customizing a wordpress theme, no coding is required to make simple style changes with CSS or HTML
Wordpress is really strong in terms of customization ability and its massive ecosystem of plugins, giving you greater functionality for your site than Wix. Wordpress also has tons of good SEO tools and also has some drag and drop features through its visual composer.
You have little CSS and html experience, Go with Wix. You want something very customized and are particular about the look and behavior of your website, Go with Wordpress.
If you want to choose from these three, then I recommend you go with Wordpress as it is more search engine friendly and easy to manage CMS. There are many free plugins and templates available in Wordpress that will help you make your website more attractive according to user as well as search engine point of view. You can view small business packages for Wordpress website development here: http://www.fatbit.com/cms-design-development-services.html
Everything depends on the purpose you need your website for, I guess. For example, I use the http://www.webstarts.com/designs free website builder with the templates for it in order to build some blogs or landing pages. But for some more serious needs, I use wordpress. It is up to you!
Most will disagree but I like Wix if you have no web development or design experience. It's easy drag and drop lets you create professional looking websites. Wix is a more sophisticated version of PowerPoint, self explanatory and easy to change or make edits to.
why dont you come and try out http://site.pro/
It is free and simple to use even for beginners,
no registration needed, does not require any special knowledge as well. Really worth a try.
Individual web designers no longer have to learn coding or depend on web developers since modern website builders generate W3C standards compliant code with clean and semantic markup. Designers just have to use drag and drop features to build responsive websites that look great on every platform and screen size.
Teams of designers no longer have to sit at one place to give life to their projects since modern website creation tools bring in collaboration features that allow geographically diverse teams to work in tandem on the same project.
Web design tools are mushrooming everywhere now a days. Let us look at the best 10 web design tools that are most advanced, feature rich, popular among community of web designers and make it possible to build complex, modern, responsive, feature rich interactive websites and web apps.
Webflow is the creation of Vlad Magdalin, Sergie Magdalin and Bryant Chou and was first released in 2013 with support of Ycombinator’s startup accelerator program. It is cloud based software as a service platform for creating enterprise grade responsive websites just with drag and drop tools.
Ever since its release, Webflow has grown to become the big daddy of website building software tools and provides features to create multi platform and multi browser compatible responsive websites with ease
Weblfow generates W3C compliant HTML5 and CSS3 and provides a very clean markup, based on Bootstrap from Twitter developers.
While working in Webflow, Web designers across locations can collaborate and work on the projects in tandem. Responsiveness is at the core of Webflow and designers do not have to bother about media queries or breakpoints, those are auto managed by Webflow code generator engine.
The size and growing power of Webflow can be gauged from the fact that big corporate houses like Box, IBM, HP, Intuit, Hitachi and MTV too are using this tool for one or the other web design tasks.
You can signup on Webflow site for free and try your hands on, there are many free website templates available to get you started within no time. However, for building professional grade websites and utilize all features that Webflow offers, you will need to join a paid subscription plan.
Kickstarter project named Macaw, funded by more than 2000 backers and released in the month of March, 2014 is a new kid on the block, but a very aggressive one.
In just a few months of its release, Macaw is competing with the best in class responsive web design tools that offer drag and drop features for creating professional grade responsive websites.
Macaw runs on top of a powerful real time fluid layout engine, named "Stream". Creating responsive layouts is out of the box feature and you don’t even need to think about that while working in Macaw.
It also features a sophisticated design to code engine, named Alchemy. Alchemy auto creates semantic, clean and usable HTML and CSS from your design.
Macaw pitches itself as web design editor where you draw the code instead of writing it and the statement from Paul Boag that Macaw is “Beginning of the End of Coding” says it all.
Macaw is available as a package that you can download and install on Mac OS X and windows.
You get free trial that can be upgraded by paying one time price that depends on the number of licenses you need.
Webydo is the creation of Shmulik Grizim and Tzvika Steinmetz, the team who created it to build websites for their own clients and later on made it available for commercial use in 2012. Webydo is created by web designers keeping in mind the needs of web designers and hence coding is kept completely at bay.
Web designers create fully responsive professional websites using drag and drop features and the generated code is fully compliant with latest web standards and is cross platform compatible.
Webydo comes packed with hundreds of open source webfonts to give a beautiful look to your website. Parallax scrolling animator is another cool feature that webydo provides.
Webydo also provides cloud hosting and that makes it possible to publish and host your websites with click of a button. Webydo also features its own content management system that makes it real easy for the content editors to create and update content directly on the website, as required.
Webydo is on the cloud software as a service platform and offers 30 days of free trial, doesnt ask for the credit card information. You can upgrade the plan as per your requirements by subscribing for monthly license fee that is billed annually.
Edge Reflow is from the house of grandfather of web design tools, Adobe Systems Incorporated. Although Edge Reflow is still in its early days but looks so promising that I couldn't resist including it in the list of top 10 tools for creating responsive designs.
The best thing about Edge Reflow cc is that it connects directly with Photoshop which means your static designs created in Photoshop are converted to fully responsive components with just one click of a button.
Reflow is the perfect tool for designers who are used to work in Photoshop and Indesign, the interface looks quite similar and intuitive to use.
However, keep in mind that Reflow still is not a complete solution for building and running your website end to end, it doesn't come with any CMS or link to any CMS and doesn't host your website with click of a button like you can do in Webflow or Webydo.
You need to take your responsive designs out and use in your favorite editor or CMS. You can call it a supporting tool rather than a complete website builder software.
Squarespace is one of the oldest website creation software around and definitely the only one to keep up to the growing needs of the modern web design. When it comes to building modern looking responsive websites with drag and drop options, Squarespace stands tall and competes with the new age tools like Webflow and Macaw.
Squarespace was created back in 2004 by Anthony Casalena, and as of today, it is available on the cloud as software as a service platform. It has grown gradually in width & breadth and offers blogging platform, hosting services and website creation tools.
Squarespace ecosystem is huge and it comes packed with tons of website templates, logo builder, tools to create iOS and Android apps and tons of other developer resources.
You can get started with Squarespace with its free to use 14 days trial and utilise tons of free to use elegant and beautiful website templates. You can upgrade the free plan by paying monthly licensing fee.
Squarespace offers best in class customer support, which makes it a go to option for big corporates like Target, Wired, HBO and Cisco, to name a few.
Design for the browser in the browser is the philosophy of the development team behind Froont, which was launched back in May, 2013 in beta. Froont became main stream web design tool and got great recognition on release of "version one", recently in Oct, 2014. Designers get the power by using intuitive drag and drop tools and there is a minimal need for coding.
Froont is the newest tool in this list of best responsive web design tools and is yet improving and maturing with addition of new features regularly. Froont doesn't really compete with the likes of Webflow and Macaw in its current state. However, it offers good customer support, and other free services that makes it an attractive option for freelancers and individual developers.
I am personally impressed with Froont and keeping a close eye on how Froont performs in the days to come, stay tuned for updates.
Weebly is a complete product suite for creation and management of websites. It was founded by David Rusenko, Chris Fanini, and Dan Veltri back in 2006 when the idea of responsive websites was not even in the imagination.
Homestead is the complete set of tools and services to get small business online with do it yourself philosophy, it is owned by Homestead Technologies, IncHomestead offers both website creation tools as well as hosting services. Homestead too dates back to 1996 but is racing well alongside new age web development tools. QuickSites is a service offered by Homestead that helps design websites without even knowing the basics of HTML as fast and easy as possible.
Make it simple is the philosophy of Websitebuilder, create any website in just three steps. Choose a website template from the available repository of more than 10000 website templates, do customization as required and publish the website with click of a button.
i am not going to miss this giant from the list of best 10 website builders of modern times. Wix is the closest competitor of Weebly and the biggest player in the market of online website builders. Wix was founded back in 2006 by Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami and Giora Kaplan, however, it became a pure modern drag and drop website builder in 2012 when it got powered with HTML5 site builder.
Instead of listing out 10 – 20 different website builders, which can lead to choice paralysis (having too many options to study and consider), I'd narrow down my recommended list to 3 really good website builders:
All of them enable you to build a website without having to know how to code and they all manage the hosting and system administration functions for you – so you don’t have to deal with them.
So how do you figure out which of the 3 is the most suitable for you? Here below are the main sections I’ll go over:
1. All 3 website builders have been established for many years. In my view, they are the original pioneers of the drag and drop, code-free, website building industry.
2. These website builders have invested millions of dollars and many years into growing and improving their software.
3. With high user growth, this further reinforces that these website builders are expanding, growing and are leading the charge in making website creation easy.
4. Getting in touch with an actual person from each of the website builders is not challenging. This further reinforces the point that they are not some sort of dodgy companies that hide behind their websites.
5. Having a fair, reasonable and transparent refund policy is a sign a good business to deal with. If you do upgrade, and you change your mind for whatever reason, you get a reasonable number of days to get your refund.
You can test all of them for free. Wix and Weebly both have free plans. While Squarespace doesn’t have a permanent free plan, they do offer you a 14-day risk-free trial period so you can give them a test drive.
To help make this process slightly easier for you, to enable you to at least have a sense of which website builder might be more suitable for you, here are my recommendations based on what you might be looking for:
Easiest To Use – Wix and Weebly
Stylish & Professional Design – Wix and Squarespace
Best Help/Support Guides – Wix and Squarespace
Most Customizable – Wix and Squarespace (If you know how to modify codes, Weebly is best)
Most Popular – Wix (Based on user numbers and most searched after in Google)
Wordpress is the best CMS tool for website development. Others are too good, but they are website builders. Wordpress is a CMS which helps to build website along with managing it too.
Conctrete 5 is a CMS that is powerful and flexible yet easy to understand. Much easier for a beginner to learn than wordpress. Concrete5.com
Weebly is by far the easiest to use but WordPress has more customization possibilities but it does have a learning curve. Drupal has more content automation possibilities but has even more of a learning curve.