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The Best Website Builders and Design Services of 2022

By
Skye Schooley
,
business.com Staff
| Updated
Sep 02, 2022

Your website is an important part of your business. Learn about the best website builders and design services on the market today.
Best Templates
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500+ responsive templates
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Comprehensive drag-and-drop tools
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Easy-to-follow setup wizard
Best for Small Businesses
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Full-service design agency
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Month-to-month service
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Mobile-responsive designs
Best for Small Businesses
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Free and paid plans
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Intuitive interface and usability
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Dashboard with website analytics
Best Mobile Website Builder
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14-day free trial
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Mobile-responsive templates
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Unlimited storage and bandwidth
Your website is an important part of your business. Learn about the best website builders and design services on the market today.

Every company can benefit from an intuitive business website, but how that website is created may vary. Business owners can choose between website design software (website builders) and website design services. Website design software is a self-service website builder tool available in free and paid versions. It is ideal for businesses that want full autonomy over building their websites or have very low design budgets. Web design services are full-service companies that will develop, build and maintain your website for you. These are often more expensive than website builders and frequently offer more than just website design (web design and development, marketing, SEO, branding, etc.). 

As a small business owner, how do you know which website builder or service is the best one for your company? To help you, we spent dozens of hours researching and evaluating nearly 50 companies to determine the website builders and design services we think are best for small businesses and professionals.

How We Decided
Our team spends weeks evaluating dozens of business solutions to identify the best options. To stay current, our research is regularly updated.
50
Considered
9
Researched
4
Selected

Compare Our Best Picks

  Hibu Weebly Wix Duda
Software or service Service Software Software Software
Free trial No 30 days 14 days 14 days
Templates Drag-and-drop Drag-and-drop or custom code Drag-and-drop or custom code Drag-and-drop or custom code
Mobile-responsive designs Yes Yes Yes Yes
E-commerce Up to 10 products Unlimited products Available with additional plan Available with add-on (100, 2,500 or unlimited products)

Reviews

Wix: Best Website Builder Templates

pro
Wix offers industry-specific templates with drag-and-drop customization.
pro
You can follow the easy setup wizard or access Wix Dev Mode to add custom code.
con
To cancel your Wix account, you must wait for everything to expire – no refunds.

Wix’s web design software comes with a large selection of responsive templates (over 500) and customizable tools. Not only is this website creator easy to use, but its large selection of responsive templates surpasses those of its competitors, earning our pick for the best website builder templates for small businesses. The platform has comprehensive drag-and-drop tools to add any element you may need to your website, which is ideal for small business owners with no technical experience. Those with advanced technical capabilities can take advantage of Wix’s Dev Mode to create custom coding. Each website builder plan comes with website analytics so you can assess how well your site is performing.

 

Wix Website Builder Pricing and Plans

Wix offers several website builder plans for freelancers, entrepreneurs and businesses. You can try out Wix’s premium plans risk-free with a 14-day money-back guarantee. Here is a breakdown of each plan: 

Combo

  • Cost: $13 per month, paid annually
  • Includes: 2GB bandwidth, 3GB storage, connection to your domain, option to remove Wix ads, 30 video minutes and free domain for one year
  • Who it’s for: Individuals who want a basic site for a hobby

Unlimited

  • Cost: $17 per month, paid annually
  • Includes: Unlimited bandwidth, 10GB storage, connection to your domain, option to remove Wix ads, one video hour, free domain for one year, $300 ad vouchers, Site Booster app ($60 value) and Visitor Analytics app ($60 value)
  • Who it’s for: Entrepreneurs and freelancers 

Pro

  • Cost: $22 per month, paid annually
  • Includes: Unlimited bandwidth, 20GB storage, connection to your domain, option to remove Wix ads, two video hours, free domain for one year, $300 ad vouchers, Site Booster app ($60 value), Visitor Analytics app ($60 value), events calendar ($48 value), professional logo ($50 value) and social media logo files
  • Who it’s for: Companies that want complete online branding

VIP

  • Cost: $39 per month, paid annually
  • Includes: Everything in the Pro plan, plus priority response and VIP support
  • Who it’s for: Companies that need complete online branding with quick access to customer support

If you are looking for a business website plan that includes e-commerce capabilities, Wix has additional plans to support those needs. Costs range from $23 to $49 per month, paid annually.

If you no longer wish to keep your Wix account, you can cancel your subscription. However, to close your account, you will first have to delete all of the sites in it. If your site has any premium plans or domains connected to it, you’ll need to cancel or transfer them first.

Wix Features

Creating a website with Wix is incredibly easy. You can either create a site on your own or find a Wix partner (freelancer or agency) to help you. There’s also the Wix ADI option, which asks a series of questions about your business and then creates your website based on your responses. Wix also recently rolled out an advanced editing interface, Editor X, which allows website designers and web agencies to create more complex designs.

Templates and Customization

Wix has not only the greatest number of templates available (500 choices), but also the most diverse and organized templates. You can choose one of the industry-specific templates and customize it with the drag-and-drop tool. For professional web designers, the software has an HTML editor to customize each page. With this web-based program, you can edit your websites from either your desktop or mobile device. The software allows multiple editors to make changes to the website.

Web Hosting and Domain Names

Every Wix website comes with a free Wix-branded URL (e.g., username.wixsite.com/sitename) with a 20-character limit. When you purchase a plan, you get a free custom domain for the first year. After that, you must pay an annual fee to keep it, which is standard for web hosting sites. On premium plans, you can connect a domain name you already own. 

Storage

Whether you need a simple blog or an image- and video-heavy website, Wix has plans to fit your storage needs. Storage ranges from 3GB to 50GB, depending on the plan. You’ll have access to unlimited bandwidth, and each plan includes a certain number of hours for video on your site.

Analytics

All paid plans except Combo include the Visitor Analytics app and the Site Booster app, each of which are originally priced at a $60 value. Your website analytics let you see how well your site is performing. With standard data points such as page views, unique visitors, bounce rates and forms submitted, you can determine what parts of your site need altering.

Mobile Responsiveness

Wix has responsive templates that adjust to the screen size of the device the website is being viewed from. Since many users access websites via mobile devices, this is an especially important feature.

E-commerce

When you sign up for one of Wix’s business and e-commerce plans, you can sell products on your Wix site. The software has its own shopping cart you can enable, and it integrates with PayPal to accept online payments. Your customers will receive real-time shipping rates calculated by USPS.

Additional Features

Wix offers several additional features on some of the plans. One of its standout features is the advertising vouchers. Wix gives you several hundred dollars of credit that you can use to increase visibility for your business ($100 in Google Ads with a $25 purchase, $100 in Microsoft Advertising and $100 in local listings). This website design software also has strong SEO integration features to get you noticed on search engines. Another helpful feature is the social media integration and logos.

Pros of Wix

The biggest benefit of Wix’s website design software is its templates. This platform has more than enough templates to choose from, so you’re sure to find the right one for your business. The industry-specific templates are completely customizable, so you can create a unique website that matches your style. You can use the simple drag-and-drop capabilities to add features like text, images, galleries, vector art, shapes, buttons, boxes, strips, lists and grids, videos, music, social icons, contact forms, menus, lightboxes, and content elements.

Not only does the Wix software have comprehensive, easy-to-use designs, it is also easily customizable for users with any level of technical capabilities. You can watch one of the many video tutorials or jump right into the website design process with the easy-to-follow setup wizard. If you are familiar with website development, you can turn on Wix’s Dev Mode, which allows you to add your own custom code, connect Wix business or external APIs, use internal and external development tools, and use serverless Node.js with zero setup.

Cons of Wix

Though Wix’s plans are affordable and come with a 14-day money-back guarantee, they may be a bit tricky to cancel after the trial period. To cancel your Wix account, you must wait for everything to expire – no refunds. You must cancel each premium service individually, which is not a dealbreaker but can be cumbersome if you have several services to cancel.

Customer Support

Wix’s in-depth tutorials and FAQs mean you can find the answer to just about any issue you may have. However, if you are looking for more personal online help, you may find Wix lacking. When you contact customer support online, you are directed to a webpage with a click-through sequence that takes you to a tutorial to answer your questions. It was actually very helpful and user-friendly, but we would have preferred it to direct us to a representative. Wix is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating on the site.

More

Hibu: Best Website Design Service for Small Businesses

pro
Hibu's month-to-month plans are customized and affordable.
pro
Hibu builds "smart" websites that are tailored for search engines and audiences.
con
Hibu's e-commerce platform limits you to selling a maximum of 10 products.

Hibu offers a unique solution for businesses that need a website and marketing that targets a local audience; it is our choice as the best website design service for small businesses. In addition to website design, Hibu’s other services include listings management, management of online reviews, reputation management and e-commerce.

 

Hibu Pricing and Plans

Hibu is a full-service web design agency that can create a professional website for businesses in any industry. Since it is a service, not software, there isn’t a free trial or a money-back guarantee. To discuss your needs and if Hibu can help your company, you can set up a consultation with a Hibu representative to discuss your goals.

Websites are offered on a month-to-month basis, and the cost varies, depending on the program you select. For example, you can have a comprehensive plan where Hibu builds your website, and promotes it through ad campaigns and social media. Or you can have a simple website built with routine maintenance and upkeep done by Hibu. Marketing contracts have a duration of six months.

At the time this review was written, Hibu offered a promotion where the cost of its website design and setup fee was reduced to $99 (normally, Hibu charges $449) for new clients who purchase Smart Site Pro as part of a qualifying digital advertising package. (Monthly fees apply, and there is a minimum contractual term.) Since every website is tailored to each business, you’ll need to contact Hibu directly for a custom price quote.

Hibu Features

Hibu offers an all-in-one package to not only build your small business’s website but also manage it to ensure it ranks well.  Below are the other features we liked about Hibu:

  • Web design and appearance: After a consultation, Hibu professionals work one on one with you to create a website that fits your needs and engages your customers. Hibu Smart Sites are designed to talk to both your audience and Google. Hibu uses drag-and-drop technology to create a website based on your requirements. Hibu offers other services as well (see “Additional services” below) that, unless you’re a professional web designer, you may not be able to do yourself. Hibu takes all the guesswork out of building a website.
  • Web hosting and domain names: For no added cost, Hibu sets up domain registration and hosting for your site.
  • SEO and analytics: You have 24/7 access to website analytics with the Hibu dashboard. This is a key feature in assessing how your business is currently performing and where your website can improve.
  • Social media: Hibu focuses on local business listings. This is a helpful service, especially if you own a mom-and-pop shop, and want current and potential customers to find you online. In addition to building your website, Hibu can create social pages on Facebook and Twitter for your business. To drive traffic to your website, Hibu creates ads for your business tailored for search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
  • Mobile responsive: Hibu offers responsive web design so your website looks great and works well on desktop browsers, tablets and smartphones. And unlike many of its competitors, Hibu websites are optimized for voice search. This unique feature is great for modern technology.
  • E-commerce: Hibu can help you set up an online store, but it has a maximum of 10 products. If you plan to sell more than 10 products, an option is to incorporate a third-party e-commerce portal. Hibu does not charge an additional fee for this, but keep in mind that you will be paying for e-commerce separately. Hibu plans are scalable, so you can start with the 10-product limit and then add a third-party e-commerce portal when your business scales.
  • Additional services: Hibu is a full-service agency and offers much more than website design. It also provides services like listings management, reputation management, management of online reviews, social and search marketing, and search engine optimization. Your business can benefit from having an all-in-one agency like Hibu keep all of these various aspects of your marketing unified.

Pros of Hibu

One of the biggest advantages of using Hibu is its affordability. Many full-service design agencies charge thousands of dollars to create a website, but Hibu focuses on providing small and midsize businesses great services that won’t break their budgets. This is especially helpful for small businesses that need multiple services (e.g., web design, marketing, reviews) or that lack personnel with the skills and/or time to build a website and manage all of the constantly changing elements that come with maintaining an online presence.

Another advantage of Hibu is that it builds “smart” websites that are tailored for search engines and audiences. This is essential, since both search engines and consumers need to be able to find and understand your website. 

Cons of Hibu

Hibu offers great website design services for small businesses, but its e-commerce platform is limited – your online store can only sell 10 products. This is only an issue for businesses that intend to sell a large number of online products. If you want to partner with Hibu, but you have or plan to sell more than 10 products, talk with them about integrating a third-party e-commerce portal. Hibu does not charge fees for users to do so.

Customer Support

Hibu has a few resources available for users to learn more about its products and services. For example, it has a custom marketing plan, a marketing checklist, a Facebook calculator, a business listings scan, a digital marketing score and marketing guides. You can also read Hibu’s blog for more content.

You can contact the company a few different ways. You can chat live with a representative on Hibu’s website, call the company on their toll-free line, or fill out and submit a contact form on its website to have a representative follow up with you.

When we posed as a small business owner inquiring about its website design services, we were satisfied with Hibu’s customer service. Representatives were helpful and were not pushy. Hibu is a Better Business Bureau-accredited company with an A+ rating.

More

Weebly: Best Website Builder for Small Businesses

pro
Weebly offers free and paid plans that are affordable, intuitive, and easy to scale.
pro
Weebly lets you personally brand your website.
con
Businesses that use Weebly's e-commerce function can only process sales through Square.

Weebly offers multiple plans with affordable pricing to fit your business’s website needs, whether you are starting a blog or running an e-commerce business (e-commerce is powered by Square). You can use the free plan if you just want basic website capabilities and then, as your business grows, scale up to the Personal, Professional or Performance plan. These have tiered pricing with the features to match.

Every new paid plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a free professional domain for the first year. This allows you to try out Weebly’s website design software risk-free. If you want to cancel or downgrade your plan at any time after the 30 days, you can opt out of the automatic renewal, but your service will stay active until your expiration date. You may be partially refunded if you cancel or downgrade.

Weebly’s paid plans are available on an annual or month-to-month basis to fit your needs and budget. Annual plans have a discounted rate.

Personal

  • Cost: $6 per month billed annually or $9 month to month
  • Includes: Marketing, e-commerce, support, SSL security, custom domain, advanced site stats, site search, option for third-party embed code
  • Who it’s for: Individuals who want to create a personal website

Professional

  • Cost: $12 per month billed annually or $16 month to month
  • Includes: Everything in the Personal plan plus a free domain for the first year, unlimited storage, removable Square ads, password protection and a shipping calculator
  • Who it’s for: Businesses that need a professional, branded website

Performance

  • Cost: $26 per month billed annually or $29 month to month
  • Includes: Everything in the Professional plan plus advanced e-commerce, marketing and support features
  • Who it’s for: Businesses that want to grow their website with integrated e-commerce tools

Weebly Features

Weebly earns our praise for its ease of use and comprehensive features. With just a few clicks, you can create an account and be on your way to building the business website you desire. You can create a simple landing page and “about us” section that introduces potential customers to your business or develop a site with any number of subdomains.

Templates and Customization

Weebly has more than 40 website templates organized into the categories of online store, business, portfolio, personal, event, blog and other. The clean interface has a standard drag-and-drop capability that makes it easy to add elements to your website and view your changes in real time. These elements include text, images, galleries, slideshows, HD and YouTube videos, spacers, dividers, buttons, social icons, products, categories, maps, search boxes, block quotes, newsletter forms, contact forms, RSVP forms, surveys, audio, files, Scribd documents, Google Ads, Flash and cookie opt-out. Advanced users can take advantage of Weebly’s HTML editor to add custom code.

Web Hosting and Domain Names

Weebly allows for unique domains, emails and free hosting. With new plans, your custom domain is free for the first year, but you must pay for it annually after that. While the cost for domain names is small, many website experts recommend getting a domain name from a third party anyway, so it’s not tied to your web host.

Storage

You get unlimited storage in Weebly’s Professional and Performance packages. This is useful for businesses that have image- or video-heavy websites or lengthy text pages. 

Analytics

Monitoring your site performance can help you understand your potential customers and pinpoint where your site needs improvement. Weebly makes this easy by providing a dashboard with an insights tab dedicated to reporting your analytics. You can see your site’s traffic, page views, unique visits, average page views per visit, top referring sites, sales data, top-selling items, abandoned carts, coupon performance, marketing information, email engagement, ad impact and more.

Mobile Responsiveness

All of Weebly’s templates are mobile responsive. This means it modifies your website for a smartphone or tablet based on the site visitor’s device. You can view your website in either desktop or mobile format from your dashboard, making it easy to adjust your website so it looks good on both device types.

E-commerce

Weebly’s Personal, Professional and Performance plans all have e-commerce features with flexible selling options and unlimited item listings. Weebly partners with Square for online payments (with a processing rate of 2.9% + 30 cents), and Performance plan users can also accept payments through PayPal. Its comprehensive e-commerce features include item badges and reviews, digital goods, inventory management, in-store pickup, an automatic tax calculator, and coupon capabilities. It’s easy to view and edit your online store information on the Weebly dashboard.

Additional Features

Weebly also offers marketing features like custom email, automation, Facebook Ads Manager, mailing lists, segmenting and social profile sync. You can integrate additional applications as needed.

Pros of Weebly

Building a website with Weebly is incredibly easy. Its intuitive interface and familiar tools let you start designing an attractive site without any prior experience. It offers professional-looking templates and images to make a site that looks great on both desktop and mobile devices. It’s the best website builder because you can jump right in and make your own website. With explanations of the tools right on the interface, thorough tutorials and responsive live chat support, it is well suited for novices and experienced designers alike.

A primary concern for most businesses is money. With its free and affordable plans, any business can use Weebly to get its website up and running within budget. There are multiple plans (with annual and monthly rates) to suit any business size, whether you are a first-time blogger or an established business that needs an extensive site.

Weebly is also great for those who want a personally branded website. In our increasingly digital world, a website is key to build awareness of your brand, but it can’t do a thing for your business unless people see it. This webpage design software offers excellent tools for marketing and branding your website. With a paid account, Weebly removes its own branding from your website and site address. This makes the site fully yours and projects a professional image. If you use your site for a business and not a hobby, you want a brand that is exclusively yours.

Cons of Weebly

Weebly provides excellent website-building tools and features, but it does have a few drawbacks to be aware of – one of them being domain names. Although the Professional and Performance plans offer a free custom domain name for the first year, it is only for new plans, and you will be charged an annual fee for any following years. This is a common drawback for website builders. Some businesses choose to partner with a third-party site to buy their domain name so they are not tied to one web host forever.

Weebly has great e-commerce capabilities, but those who want an online store should be aware of Weebly’s payment limitations. Businesses that pair an online store with their Weebly website must process their sales through Square’s credit card processing services. Since Square is a great credit card processor, this is only an issue for businesses that specifically want to partner with another credit card processing company for their online store. This drawback also does not affect those who simply want to build a business website without an online store.

Customer Support

Weebly offers a variety of support solutions. It dedicates an entire page of its site to helping you find the answers you need. You can search through suggested articles, browse the knowledgebase, read the Weebly blog or collaborate with the Weebly community.

You can reach a customer service representative by phone, email or live chat. When we posed as small business owners inquiring about products and services, we were pleased with the help we received from Weebly. Although the agents were not overly friendly, they were polite and answered all of our questions completely. Helpful customer support can be essential if you have questions while (or before) designing your website.

More

Duda: Best Mobile Website Builder

pro
You can edit your site based on device (e.g., desktop, tablet or mobile) separately or all at once.
pro
Duda allows multiple users to collaborate on template and website creation.
con
Customer support is tiered along with the plans, so Basic plan users may find support lacking.

As our pick for the best design software for mobile websites, Duda is a great choice for any business owner who wants an affordable way to build a mobile-responsive website. The platform is easy to use, whether you are a novice or professional web designer. It has excellent features, like unlimited storage and bandwidth, drag-and-drop elements, and mobile-responsive templates. Businesses that need online store capabilities can easily add on a Duda e-commerce solution. You can create a website with Duda risk-free by signing up for a 14-day free trial. 

 

Duda Website Builder Pricing and Plans

Businesses and entrepreneurs can access Duda’s website design software risk-free. The 14-day free trial let you test out the features of the Team plan, with no credit card required. Accounts canceled in the first 30 days are automatically issued a full refund; if you cancel after that, any refund requests must be made within 60 days of cancellation.

Here’s a breakdown of each of Duda’s plans.

Basic

  • Cost: $14 per month billed annually, or $19 month to month
  • Includes: One website, sites hosted on AWS, email support, HTTPS encryption and multi-language capabilities
  • Who it’s for: Individuals who want to create a basic personal website

Team

  • Cost: $22 per month billed annually, or $29 month to month
  • Includes: Everything in the Basic plan plus chat and phone support, your brand and logo on every part of the platform, and access to team and client management features
  • Who it’s for: Companies that want to grow their business with a fully functional website

Agency

  • Cost: $74 per month billed annually, or $99 month to month
  • Includes: Everything in the Team plan, eight websites, priority support, dynamic pages connected to customer data, extensible widget builder and robust API
  • Who it’s for: Businesses that need multiple sites with advanced functionality

E-commerce Add-ons

E-commerce capabilities can be added to each plan for an extra fee. The Standard e-commerce plan (100 products) is $7.25 per site per month, the Advanced plan (2,500 products) is $19.25 per site per month, and the Unlimited plan (infinite products) is $39 per site per month.

Duda Features

Duda has a host of useful features, including its own e-commerce solution. The features make it easy to create impressive, mobile-responsive websites.

Templates and Customization

Duda’s website builder is customizable and easy to use. It guides you through the setup process, allowing you to choose from many mobile-friendly templates. Once you select a template, you can edit the design to match your branding and begin adding pages. As you work, you can switch between desktop, tablet and mobile phone view. If you’re a novice web designer, you can drag and drop elements, import images, and change the formatting and color scheme all very easily. If you have coding experience, you can customize the HTML.

Web Hosting and Domain Names

Duda websites are hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Hosting is included with every paid Duda plan. The Team and Agency plans come with custom branding and domain capabilities as well.

Storage

There is no limit on how much storage or bandwidth your site can use. This is great for websites that have a lot of videos or images.

Analytics

The Team and Agency plans include white-label statistics, analytics and email reports. These features allow you to track how your site is performing and where it’s lacking. It can take up to 24 hours before you start seeing stats for your published sites.

Mobile Responsiveness

The flexibility of Duda’s mobile responsiveness is something many of its competitors lack. As soon as you purchase a Basic, Team or Agency plan, it’s entirely up to you whether the websites included in your plan are mobile only or completely responsive. This customized feature allows you to set up your website to best suit your intended audience.

E-commerce

Duda offers e-commerce capabilities, but they are add-ons to the standard website builder plans. This lets you pick both the website builder plan and the e-commerce plan that best suits your business. The Standard e-commerce plan is $7.25 a month per site for 100 products, the Advanced e-commerce plan is $19.25 a month per site for 2,500 products, and the Unlimited e-commerce plan is $39 a month per site for infinite products. The site, font style and look imitate your main website to be uniform with your brand.

Pros of Duda

There are several great features to take advantage of when using Duda to build a website, a primary one being its mobile responsiveness. When creating a website, you can access an industry-specific template and edit it in different viewing modes. You can view the most recent version of your site in desktop, tablet and mobile format – either separately or all at once. You have the choice to make your website primarily mobile or responsive to your consumers’ devices.

Creating a website with Duda is extremely simple – especially if you have a team doing the creation. Duda allows users to collaborate on template and website creation. You can also set user permissions and control with the client management tab. This is great for businesses that have clients or multiple people working on the website creation. 

Cons of Duda

Although Duda has many great advantages, it has a couple downsides to note. For starters, we did not find a free starter plan option. It does offer a 14-day free trial for users to test out the services, but those seeking an entirely free website builder will have to look at other options.

Also, since the customer support is tiered, businesses that choose a minimal plan may find it lacking. Basic plan users only have email support; Team plan users have email, chat and phone support; and Agency users have full-service priority email, chat and phone support. Although this is not a dealbreaker for most, it may be an issue for Basic plan users who need immediate assistance.

Customer Support

Duda has a wealth of information under its resources tab for those who wish to learn more about building websites. It shares success stories, a blog, webinars, marketing materials, a fulfillment channel, a developer portal, a help center and product updates. In the help center, you can find resources with a search bar or by category (website builder, account and billing, developer portal, product updates, marketing, users and permissions, and white-label features).

When we tested the free trial, a live chat opened with a demo tutorial video. The tutorial was helpful for learning the basics of building a site. When we contacted a support representative for assistance, they were friendly and accommodating.

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What Is the Average Cost for Website Design?

When considering the cost of web design, you should separate website builder solutions from professional services that create custom sites for specific clients. As you might expect, the former is significantly less expensive, and the latter varies by design specs and client needs. 

Website Builder Pricing

If you are working with a small budget for website design, website building software is likely your best option. Most no-code web design platforms offer free personal plans, free trials, and tiered subscriptions that increase in price and functionality with each level. Subscriptions are charged in monthly rates and often discounted if you pay annually. 

Most entry-level subscriptions cost around $10 per month for each website, while intermediate subscriptions tend to be in the $15-$20 monthly range. Higher-end drag-and-drop design packages, which often include more customization options and better analytics, usually cost around $25 to $40 a month and can increase into the hundreds for specialty platforms geared toward large enterprises. Keep in mind that a plan with e-commerce capabilities typically costs more than one without. 

Although web design software is intuitive and user-friendly, it is helpful to have coding experience if you want to make unique modifications. When you sign up for this software, there isn’t much room for negotiation, since it has preset plans. However, you can always request a free demo before making a commitment. 

Website Design Services Pricing

Pricing for a website design service is more difficult to determine, since the scope of work depends completely on each business’s website goals. Although the price varies, even a basic website will cost you at least a couple thousand dollars, and that price will climb with each feature or design element you add. 

If your business is moving out of the SMB space and into the enterprise realm, or if the specifics of your website design are essential to your daily business, it will be money well spent. Just make sure to request price quotes from a few different website design services before you make a final decision.  

The biggest mistake SMBs make when they go for custom creation is heading into the process without a clear goal or plan, and then getting talked into unnecessary extra features, resulting in higher maintenance costs going forward. For this reason, the aim of your website should be clearly defined and meticulously detailed long before you approach a web design service. Issues like security needs, ongoing maintenance, SEO, integration with other products or systems, and must-have features should all be covered in your plan. This level of planning will not only help you get what you want, it will also help the designers. 

A responsive website created by an individual web designer that only lists basic company information is, of course, much less expensive than an agency-built site that has a custom chatbot, integration with multiple systems, embedded videos and different login permission levels. One thing you can do to keep your costs low is to only include the features you need in your build and ask early on about the maintenance or support plan costs you will incur going forward.

Buying Guide

Benefits of Website Design Software vs. Website Design Services

It can be tough to know whether you should use a self-service website builder or a full-service website design agency to build your business website. There are a few major differences between the two that can help you narrow down the choices.

Website Builder (Design Software)

  • What is it? Website design software is a self-service web builder platform. It is often quick to download, and it lets you create, edit and monitor your website all on your own. The best software includes features like user-friendly templates, domain names, e-commerce website capabilities, analytics, responsive web design and mobile applications.
  • What are the benefits? A major benefit is price, as it is typically free or cheap to use. Most builders offer the option of a free plan or free trial, which is helpful for those who want to try out the software before subscribing to a paid plan. It’s quick to activate, so you can start building your website almost immediately.
  • Who is it for? Web builders are very popular among individual professionals and small businesses. Since website builders come in affordable plans, this is typically the best (or only) option for those working with a tight website budget. The majority of the software is easy to use, featuring premade templates and drag-and-drop capabilities. Even business owners with no web design experience can create their website after watching just a few online tutorials. A website builder is also ideal for those who have web design experience, as they can customize their website exactly how they want it. If you want complete autonomy over how your website will look, this is the best option.

Website Design Services

  • What is it? Website design services are companies that create, build and maintain your website for you. In addition to the website development features of web builders, web design services typically offer many other services. For example, they can create content, strategize your SEO and assist with branding efforts.
  • What are the benefits? This full-service option takes all the guesswork out of the equation. With experienced web designers and developers creating and maintaining your site, you have a better chance of ranking and performing well. Since these companies also offer several other business services, this can be a convenient way to fulfill a variety of needs (web design, development, branding, marketing, SEO, etc.) with one company.
  • Who is it for? Although website design services are typically utilized by midsize or large businesses, they are great for any business with the right budget. It is more expensive to use a website design service than a website builder, but having professionals creating and building your website gives you a better chance of a good online presence. It also gives you more time to run your business instead of building and maintaining a website. Since many website design services offer additional services like branding and marketing, businesses that need a plethora of services can benefit from partnering with an all-in-one design service.

What Should You Consider Before Choosing a Web Design Program?

The web design process is often an ongoing task, so if you are searching for the best professional website creator, it’s important to find one that caters to your interests and business goals specifically. The best web builders are easy for tech novices to learn, but they also have advanced tools to cater to those with coding experience. They should allow you to select industry-specific themes for your site.

With industry-specific themes, you should have access to backgrounds and images that correspond to the type of service you’ve chosen, while still having control over the design elements that go on each page. Most of the companies we reviewed limit the number of sites you can create, with only a select few offering an unlimited number of both websites and webpages.

After you create a website, the web design console should provide a preview of a determined page. This can be your homepage, direct online storefront or whatever you decide to make it. Web builders typically have predetermined pages built into the template – like contact pages, homepages, “about us” pages and business location maps – to speed up the design process.

The best web design software includes a blog manager. Many new site creators are looking to give their blogs some credibility by adding professional design and the .com that comes with any paid host. Blogging pages are intended for dynamic content that is continually updated rather than landing pages that remain largely static.

What to Look for in Web Design Programs

When looking for a website design program, you first need to determine whether you want to use a self-service software or a full-service design agency. Consider what basic functions you need your software or service to perform, in addition to which features you may need as your business website grows. 

Usability

One of the most important elements of a website design service or software is its usability. Web design services can professionally assist you in creating a website that suits all of your business’s needs, and most of them do this by assigning a dedicated account manager to each client. If they turn over the website monitoring to you, they should ensure that you effectively understand how to use the software and content management system (CMS).

Web design software should be easy to use, whether you want to update your current website or build a new website from scratch. The best website builders have demos and setup wizards that show you how to make a website quickly and effectively. Most of the web builders we analyzed have a variety of website templates and design tools. Web templates should be highly customizable and responsive to desktop, tablet and mobile devices. Drag-and-drop capabilities make it easy to shift elements such as images or widgets. HTML or CSS editors are also helpful inclusions, because this means the software serves experienced web designers as well as novices. 

Hosting Besides offering web design solutions, the best website builders also host your site. Most programs offer free custom domain hosting for at least the first year of your subscription. While this feature is touted as free, you typically have to pay for setup fees or to register your domain privately. Each website creation application comes with a basic hosting plan that is essential to giving your site a professional domain. However, if unlimited storage and subdomains is your priority, take a look at our web hosting comparison. These hosts have a few more options of builders, with an emphasis on WordPress. 

Storage Storage is an important feature to consider, especially if you have video- or image-heavy webpages. The services we evaluated each include a fairly large number of webpages, but if you have a large e-commerce store, consider plans that allow for a higher number of products or pages. If you intend to create more than one site, be sure to find a website solution that allows this. Finally, a custom domain and the ability to add several custom email addresses is important for branding and presenting a professional image.

Marketing and Analytics An awesome website won’t raise awareness of your organization or boost your sales if no one knows about it. Every website design service or software should give you the ability to enhance your website’s SEO and view its performance metrics.

Many website design services offer digital marketing and SEO as part of their core operations. Most web builders allow you to include marketing features like metatags, but businesses that need comprehensive marketing efforts will benefit the most from full-service website design companies.

Whether you partner with a design service or use DIY software, your website builder should give you access to website analytics. These analytics show you how your website is performing and where you can improve.

When we evaluated each application’s analytical tools, we noticed that all of the software employed Google Analytics, but many programs offer proprietary analytic tools that track different data points. The best web design software not only tracks industry-standard data points, like the number of visitors and page views, but also provides data like bounce rates, referring pages, behavior and mobile data points.

Responsive Web Design and Mobile Optimization

Since roughly half of website traffic comes from mobile devices, it is important for your business website to accommodate those users. Many search engine algorithms even penalize websites that are not responsive to mobile devices. The best professional website creators offer responsive web designs that automatically modify your website to adapt to the device type it is being viewed on (desktop, tablet or smartphone).

If you currently manage a desktop-only site, we recommend you take advantage of a mobile website builder to convert your site to mobile, or at least create a mobile version of your site that can reach a wider online audience. Improving your web design to fit the current demand can result in higher conversion rates.

E-commerce Capabilities and Additional Services

Online shopping is on the rise, making e-commerce design a valuable feature to look for in a website builder. Even if you do not currently want to sell any products online, it is important to find a service that can scale with your business (in case you want to sell online in the future, for example). Some platforms limit the number of items you can sell, so if this is a core element of your business, it’s an important feature to analyze.

Many website design agencies provide additional services like content creation, branding and website monitoring. If these are services you want to take advantage of, be sure to find an agency that can accommodate you.

Methodology

To identify the best website builder software and services for small businesses, we started with our current list of website design vendors. We added to that list with research through other reputable online sources, such as business websites and reviews, and by conducting standard industry research. We examined nearly 50 website design software and services in total.  

We narrowed our list based on different use cases and the criteria listed below. We reviewed each company’s website and software, taking careful note of usability, flexibility, integration, customer service and other factors that are important to entrepreneurs. We posed as entrepreneurs and contacted support representatives to assess the quality of service they offer small business owners.  

We eventually cut our list down to these top website builders: Blue Fountain Media, Duda, GoDaddy Business, Hibu, Squarespace, Strikingly, WebiMax, Weebly and Wix. 

We based our final decisions on these factors: 

  • Rates and contracts 
  • Industries served 
  • Web hosting and storage
  • Marketing and analytics
  • Usability and templates
  • Responsive and mobile-friendly designs
  • Customer service 
  • Better Business Bureau ratings and accreditations 
  • Customer reviews and complaints

State of the Web Design Industry

The demand for easy, no-code website-building options from individuals and SMBs alike has rocked the state of the website design industry and irrevocably changed the landscape. Years ago, the only way to build a website was to manually do it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. Gradually, WYSIWYG editor design programs popped up with limited templates that allowed basic website creation, but they were restrictive and typically built without mobile viewing in mind. As mobile connectivity has grown, the demand for responsive design has exploded, and most website design software today automatically scales to any screen. Programs today also allow users to embed media and integrate with outside apps like Google Maps and PayPal. 

While enterprise-level clients still frequently choose dedicated web design teams to create their corporate websites, small businesses are happily helping themselves to DIY builders that allow for quick creation with minimal tech skills. The proliferation of inexpensive web design tools with hosting built into the subscription has changed not only how SMBs build websites but how the public views SMBs without websites. Websites are now considered mandatory in many SMB industries, and website design tools make the process of creating and maintaining a site painless.

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
business.com Staff
Skye Schooley is a staff writer at business.com and Business News Daily, where she has written more than 200 articles on B2B-focused topics including human resources operations, management leadership, and business technology. In addition to researching and analyzing products that help business owners launch and grow their business, Skye writes on topics aimed at building better professional culture, like protecting employee privacy, managing human capital, improving communication, and fostering workplace diversity and culture.
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demaerre / Getty Images

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