Today, we continue answering the questions we get through the Ask me for advice form. This time, we’ll try to figure out which is the easiest website builder.
Actually, it’s difficult to agree upon the easiest web service, as we all have different backgrounds and expectations, but we’ll try to do our best 🙂 .
Well, I can safely say that there are at least five contenders for the title, depending on the audience:
Description: Weebly provides a drag-and-drop editor which works in WYSIWYG mode. In other words, you immediately see all the changes you make, without having to preview the page. To add a widget, simply select it in the left-hand toolbar and drag it to the page. There’s also a handy dashboard where you can manage such things as domains, account access and more.
All in all, it’s very intuitive and requires no coding at all, unless you decide to get under the hood and try their HTML/CSS theme editor.
Audience: The builder aims at people who want to create a website, but don’t know how. It’s maximally simplified. It works for online portfolios, simple web stores, business websites and blogs.
Drawbacks: Weebly has a decent feature set, including Membership, eCommerce, multiple contributors and more, but most of the functionality is only accessible to the Premium users.
Description: uKit is a completely code-free website builder with a focus on business features. It provides a total WYSIWYG experience: uKit supports drag-and-drop and inline editing, so you can easily design your website with no coding involved. With a rich library of ready-to-use widgets, uKit lets you extend your site’s functionality with just a few clicks. For instance, you can add an Ecwid storefront, LiveChat and Google Maps, among other widgets. All uKit templates are responsive.
Audience: This platform is specially designed to meet the needs of the average small business owner. It’s popular with photographers, stylists, florists, bloggers, and budding entrepreneurs.
Drawbacks: uKit can’t boast deep design customization options. It doesn’t let you play with fonts and colors – you can only choose from the collection of ready variants (unique for each template). This approach helps avoid many frustrating scenarios, including mismatched fonts and awkward color combinations.
Description: Wix is really fun and easy-to-use. While Weeby and uKit let you drag elements and widgets only to certain areas on the page, Wix gives you full creative freedom – you can position all of your elements with pixel accuracy. This approach is called ‘absolute positioning’. It has a significant downside though – you can’t transfer your content and edits to a new template.
Audience: Because Wix has a selection of beautiful templates created with the most recent trends in mind, it’s mainly popular with creative professionals. Wix targets the end user who has no idea about how websites are being made.
Drawbacks: Once you have selected a template, you can’t change it midway through the editing process. Wix doesn’t let you re-write inner URLs.
#4 IM Creator
Description: IM Creator has a very clean, uncluttered interface that makes the process extremely easy and fun. The builder uses simple terminology and doesn’t even require registration to start building a website. Only when you want to save your work, you’ll need to sign up to the web service.
Audience: IM Creator is targeting creative professionals who have the desire to share their works online in an easy way, but have no patience for complicated interfaces.
Drawbacks: IM Creator has a very poor feature set. It doesn’t offer any blogging solutions or eCommerce.
Description: MadeFreshly is an easy hosted shopping cart that lets you set up a webstore in one sitting. It makes eCommerce easy and intuitive. Start with selecting the right theme, add your products, write unique descriptions, configure your payment options and other store settings, and your site is ready for publishing.
Audience: MadeFreshly is meant for e-retailers who have up to 500 items in stock. If you’re looking for an easy way to sell handmade goods, it’s right for you.
Drawbacks: It can’t be used for larger stores. Limited design customization options.
While these web services are primarily targeting the end user, there are also advanced website builders whose clients are web agencies and professional designers. We’re talking about platforms like Webydo, Adobe Muse and Weblflow.
These were designed with the designers’ needs in mind. And I bet that designers consider them the easiest website builders 🙂 . The key feature of the three platforms is that they let creatives see their designs in action without having to outsource part of the work to coders. Built in the tradition of Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, such softwares offer a wide range of advanced design-specific tools. So, if you’re not familiar with the Photoshop ecosystem, it can be tough to find your way around Adobe Muse, for instance.
Simplicity vs Flexibility
When choosing a website builder, pay attention to its feature set. While the ease-of-use is undoubtedly a very important factor, there are many more aspects you need to assess. For instance, how scalable is the platform? Perhaps, it makes sense to learn to use a more sophisticated software than to find yourself stuck with a limiting homepage builder one day.
This is why when I’m asked to build a website, I choose uCoz site builder. It has a steep learning curve, but its functionality is worth that effort. Happy site building!