The world is rapidly turning into a huge digital marketplace with hundreds and thousands of new websites deployed daily. From blogs and company’s websites to professional portfolios and digital stores – the Global Web appears to be the best way of representing the brand’s public face.
In other words, everyone needs a website. However, not everyone has enough skills to create a site from scratch.
A user currently has several options:
The first one is to actually build the website using coding languages and modern web instruments. This path requires a deep technical understanding and programming experience. Moreover, the process comes with multiple trials and errors, debugging, A/B testing and other terms most of us do not understand.
The second way is to hire someone to have a site developed for you. We are talking of custom and outsource development teams, freelancers, etc. Well, that might work in case of unlimited budget and eagerness to pay for each modification or update. That will hardly work for individuals who want to launch a simple block or tiny online store with a limited budget.
The last option is to opt for drag-and-drop website building software. The technology was developed to help newbies of ay level to build different types in hours or literally minutes depending on the implemented technology. They are easy to use. They are available at affordable price. They deliver a rich feature set to let newbies customize their pages in accordance with the desired style or preferences. Today, drag-and-drop functionality is probably the best and simplest way to create digital content without special skills.
What do we actually know about technology? How can it help beginners? What are the key characteristics and advantages of drag-and-drop functionality? What are the best drag-and-drop website builders? The review is to answer all these questions.
What Is Drag-and-Drop?
Before we dive deep in the world of moving contact forms, customized “About Me” and header sections, let us define the term “drag-and-drop”.
“Drag-and-Drop” means that you may capture any element or on-page block and move it to any place on the page. The same thing with media files. To upload an image, a user should only hover it with the mouse to the area he or she wants to see it.
To use the software, we only need a computer, laptop or mobile device in case the website builder has a mobile app. connect your device to the Internet and start creating your site. The key advantage is that users are not obliged to do the learning curve or take up coding and programming. You get a pre-determined layout available for customization. Some platforms (Wix, uKit, Weebly) allow creating new pages from blank. It means it is up to you what sections and blocks your page will contain: text sections, galleries, and slideshows, contact forms, media files, etc.
To customize the page, a user needs to drop any of the following elements on the page:
- Structural components.
- Background images and dividers.
- Header and footer menus.
- Custom headings and background images.
Users are free to create as many pages as they need unless their amount is limited by the software plan. The process hardly takes more than a couple of hours. Some products offer advanced technologies based on Artificial Intelligence to create new sites from scratch in literally minutes. Once again, no coding is required!
Drag-and-Drop Website Builder Characteristics
When you see the “drag-and-drop” term in the website builder’s feature description, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Apart from the ability to move elements and place them wherever you want, the SaaS software has several signature features that define them from traditional CMS and other web platforms.
If you use WordPress CMS, for example, you need to update the page and then enable the preview mode to see the changes live and then switch back to the dashboard, which is time-consuming. Drag-and-drop editors are much easier from this point of view.
All you need is to duplicate the existing layout and use it in other website sections instead of creating several product pages from scratch. You will only need to change texts as well as upload new item images.
Drag-and-Drop Editor Types
Most users think that each website builder uses the same drag-and-drop technology. It is not quite right, as the software’s functionality differs a lot. The issue is very important in terms of picking the tool that will meet your expectations.
You need to clearly understand the capabilities delivered by the drag-and-drop instrument. This is where our classification might come in handy. So, the software types are as follows:
In other words, you may create your own unique structure n matter if you modify the existing template or create a site from blank. 100% drag-and-drop tools deliver enough customization means to change elements styling, resize or replace them, change settings or dimensions to meet the overall web design.
Such platforms generally use bootstrap grids. They make it easy to aggregate as much data as you need and introduce it in the order determined by the system. Although users still have a chance to manipulate with different elements in terms of sizes, styling or settings, they can do it only in the prescribed order.
Choosing the drag-and-drop website builder type mainly relies on your needs and goals. While baseline visual editors might be good for users who do not crave for exclusiveness, 100% d&d platforms are the better option for those who require maximum customization freedom.
Best Drag-and-drop Website Builders on The Market
After we have found out some of the key drag-and-drop characteristics, types, and features, it is high time we reviewed some of the top website building platforms available on the web. The list includes the world’s recognizable software that represents different types and functionality to meet users’ needs. Here we go.
Wix refers to website builders that are 100% drag-and-drop. It means no limitations in terms of placing different elements or sections as well as their modifying and customizing. The platform made a name for itself by implementing the latest AI-technologies that let newbies create new sites in minutes. Here is what it offers:
- Wix ADI – this is the AI-feature we were talking about. It will actually build a website for you based on the answers you provide. A user needs to indicate the niche, website type, functions he or she wants to see on pages… Voila! You get a site with built-in sections, plugins, widgets, and even relevant content generated from your Facebook page.
- Wix Editor – the tool if for users who still want to get involved in the building process and want to express their creativity without special coding or web designing skills. The system does not have an AI-based instrument, On the other hand, you are free to choose any layout design or create your own pages from blank. Place them whenever you need whether it is a calendar or contact form. Create engaging structure and take the most of users’ engagement.
- Wix App Market – the collection of custom widgets and add-ons makes it easy to add new forms, integrate analytics, add eCommerce features in case of launching a digital store, etc. Simply drag-and-drop the widget you need and have it on your page.
The platform also has the Wix Corvid tool for dedicated web developers who seek unlimited customization freedom and have technical and coding skills. We will not discuss it, as this review is for dummies only.
uKit is mainly a block-based drag-and-drop website builder. It means a user may add new elements and blocks but they should be placed in the pre-determined order. The good news is that such website platforms still bring enough customization tools to modify objects and create web appearance. As for the editor features, they are as follows:
- User-Friendly Dashboard – uKit is probably one of the easiest platforms to use. Its drag-and-drop technology lets you create clearly structured pages with everything on its places. Moreover, users are free to edit texts, hover media files and images, and modify any of the available mobile responsive templates.
- Flexibility – although uKit does not have its own app market, it reserves enough room for third-party integration. You are free to connect any service to your website form music streaming apps to analytics, geolocation services, etc.
- Collaboration Functionality – a great feature for those who prefer working in teams. Users may enable the Developer Access to collaborate with freelance web designers, copywriters, etc.
At the same time, uKit is one of the cheapest tools to create different website types including small business projects, portfolios, and tiny digital stores.
WordPress is the most popular CMS platform that powers millions of websites across the globe. Although it is mainly an open-source content management system, it also has some of the drag-and-drop features. For this reason, we have included it in our list.
The platform has updated its traditional editor adding some d&d capabilities. When creating a new page, category or section, you may add different elements and blocks. They may range from videos and images to “read more” tags, galleries, widget areas, shortcodes, etc. Users are not able to customize or modify the elements themselves. They may only need custom forms in different places on the page. Inline editing process made WordPress easier for newbies.
Apart from most website builders that come as an all-in-one solution including hosting and domain, the situation with WP websites is different. You will need to manage your hosting and domain registration n your own separately. It may result in extra costs and time wasted unless you opt for Bluehost, which is a WP-recommended all-in-one solution optimized specially for WordPress sites.
Bookmark is another example of how Artificial Intelligence has made the life of dummy users easier. The platform boasts its AiDA instrument that builds a website for you. It does 90% of all work. The concept is simple. A user should provide several answers that describe his or her future online presentation in the most detailed way. The AI-based system will process all the answers and provide a ready-made template with all sections and widgets you may need.
In other words, there is no need to edit elements or deal with web designing. It will take not more than 60 seconds for users to create a new site from scratch. The entire building process is focused around speed. You may instantly add “focus” page elements or sections, benefit from access to a huge collection of stock images.
If you do not like the version created by the AI-technology, you are free to make as many revisions as you need until you are totally satisfied with the result. At the same time, you are still capable of editing elements on your own whether there is a need to modify the header menu, add some styling, etc.
Weebly also uses strict areas for its blocks and elements. On the other hand, the system hardly lacks editing flexibility. It is extremely user-friendly and has a website builder mobile app.
- Clear Interface – using Weebly is super easy. A user will find a selection of elements in the dashboard. To add them on the page, simply click on the item you need. That’s it.
- Mobile Editing – the website builder is available via a mobile app to edit your website on the go. Users may access the dashboard through tablets and smartphones as well as preview sites’ mobile versions.
- A Variety of Blocks – Weebly offers a vast selection of different elements. You may find them in the left sidebar. Apart from traditional galleries and slideshows, the system offers embedded codes and other blocks you may need on a page. We should also mention the system’s grid that makes it easier to avoid elements’ overlapping.
- Content Editing Tools – although the website builder uses content grids, different elements let users enable the customization process. You may edit text blocks, resize frames, and enable different element settings by clicking on the section you want to modify. No input masks and simple inline editing make this website builder great for newbies.
The platform has its own App Center with different widgets and add-ons to adjust to your website.
Squarespace is the combination of drag-and-drop software. At first, it may look like a 100% d&d platform. There are actually no limitations in terms of elements customization. It has a WYSIWYG editor that allows customizing each and every website field or area.
Users are free to reorder the page structure, resize blocks, edit inside content, upload media files, and more. Apart from all the advantages, some problems may occur when dragging and dropping images. The system looks a bit strange while the platform still makes a good first impression.
Squarespace has its custom style editor to compensate for the lack of hovering capabilities. The editor makes it simple to change elements’ locations, switch them between various on-site areas, change dimensions, etc. Moreover, the system offers ready-made page layouts depending on your site type, niche, so forth.
Mobirise stands out from other website builders because the software is available offline. However, it means that users should download and install additional software, which hardly boosts ease of use. The good news is that Mobirise software runs equally well on Mac or Windows OS and it is good for non-technicians without special skills, although dedicated coding pros are also welcome to work with the system. The key features are as follows:
- Simple Dragging and Dropping – the editor lets you add any block from the list and edit the content inside as well as upload background images, etc.
- Mobile-Friendly Design – Mobirise comes as a mobile responsive bootstrap platform. The software has a mobile preview feature to have a look like a site will run on various devices before the deployment.
- AMP Functionality – a great feature for bloggers who want to deliver their content faster than competitors do. It improves the page loading speed and provides faster access to blog posts and articles via smartphones and tablets.
As you can see, all drag-and-drop software has some basic features in common although they are different in terms of advanced settings and overall functionality. To choose the proper one, you need to decide on website type, niche its structure and functionality as well as the way to want to engage with your target audience.
Who May Use Drag-and-Drop Software
Drag-and-drop technologies were initially implemented in content-based website builders. They mainly served bloggers, individual entrepreneurs, and small business companies to introduce themselves online.
The software has evolved over the years. It received new features and extended functionality. Today, such instruments allow building any website type form photographers portfolio and wedding sites to small, medium or huge eCommerce projects.
Most drag-and-drop website builders have special blogging features with ready-made blog layouts. All you need is to enable the feature and get a pre-installed blog with publishing tools that include social preview modes, baseline SEO settings, article and tag management, social sharing, etc. The functionality may be different from software to software. At least, you have that option.
As we have stated before, most drag-and-drop website builders were created to introduce media content in the most engaging manner. For small business companies and individual entrepreneurs, it means a great chance to create attractive portfolios, professional business cards, websites for dining venues, B&B properties, etc.
Users have an option to work with stock images or upload their own. A selection of galleries, photo grids, slideshows and other ways to represent media files will certainly result in better online representation.
Website builders are improving. They receive new functional features. Some of them let users create online ships as well as manage products, promote their business online, and improve customers’ loyalty. Drag-and-drop technology will meet the requirements of:
- Small digital store owners selling one or several products of the same type.
- Medium online shops with multiple products related to various categories.
- Shop owners who want to take control over product page management, shipping and tax settings, payment integration, etc.
If you are planning to create a growing business and sell online thousands of products, you might need an eCommerce-specialized platform with an extended feature set.
The Bottom Line
As we can see, the term “drag-and-drop” is not only about content. It is about fast and simple web building process for users of any level. Although some platforms use different technologies, they all serve the same goal. You only need to choose the one that meets your expectations.
The good news is that most of the software comes with free trials or baseline plans at 0 costs. It is a great opportunity for you to test the service and decide whether a straightforward drag-and-drop editor with little customization options would be enough or you need a 100% d&d editing instrument.