With the increasing prevalence of code-free, one-stop-shop web publishing platforms like uKit, Weebly and Wix, it’s hard to remember that many businesses and independent professionals still build websites with traditional desktop software.
If you’re a web professional who focuses on larger projects, it’s highly unlikely that your clients will decide to go with a drag-and-drop site builder – larger companies can afford to spend thousands of dollars to build a custom-designed website.
But what about the small businesses? Here at SWB we believe that there’s no need for smaller companies and individuals to go to that expense. If you’re a photographer, a lawyer or you run a local shop, you don’t need an award-worthy, cutting edge site. You just need to show you exist.
If that’s the case, the best way to create your own website is to use an all-in-one site builder. And here’s why:
Literally anyone can create a site using a drag-and-drop editor. All you need is a computer mouse, Internet connection and a browser. Wait. You don’t even need a mouse – some leading site builders let you create websites directly from your phone or tablet.
Weebly and Jimdo, for instance, offer free mobile applications allowing to set up and manage a site on the go.
Website builders are one-stop-shop services that give you everything you need to build and update a site under the same roof. All plans include secure web hosting, free (and sometimes premium) website templates, easy-to-use editors, the ability to purchase and connect a domain name, and customer support.
You don’t need to manually update the software (like with WordPress) – site builders are updated automatically. Running a site using a site builder boils down to uploading your content and making changes to the site’s design in a WYSIWYG editing environment.
Obviously, the advantages are never the full story. Just like any easy-to-use software, website builders have their drawbacks. Some of these are low customizability (it depends on a platform) and limited mobility – it’s hard to transfer your site elsewhere if you decide to leave your site builder. Nevertheless, there are site builders that will pack your website for further transportation.
What is the best way to create a website?
Recommending anything, especially web publishing software, without specifying the end customer is pointless. It all depends on your budget and your expectations. Check out our simple classification of web publishing software to see what we mean:
These guys want full control over the site’s look, but avoid coding like the plague. The ideal destination for them is a code-free site builder for designers, like Adobe Muse or Webydo.
These platforms provides designers with their favorite, advanced web design tools and let them create websites online in a web design studio without having to pass their designs to coders to see them in action. The smart mechanisms behind these web services immediately turn your designs into valid code.
Designers can export the generated source, if needed, or publish their site using the platforms’ hosting services. What’s more, some offer unique branding solutions: Webydo, for instance, allows users to re-brand the entire platform. Users can upload their own logos to the web design studio, client’s sign in page and the dashboard.
People who code surely want to apply their knowledge when creating a site. Therefore, they think that drag-and-drop site builders are for babies. Their best pick is WordPress or any other CMS that gives full code access.
The scalability of an open source CMS means nothing to the non-technical user. Beginners need a simple and fast way of getting their ideas online. They don’t care about the generated source behind their sites. They need to build a home for their business. This camp benefits from drag-and-drop website builders that require zero coding.
Of course, if you want to build a large webstore, you’ll want to go with a more dedicated shopping cart service, like Volusion or Shopify. These are specialized website builders that offer advanced eCommerce options.
But note that they’re quite expensive and are a good option for established businesses only. If you just want to sell some handmade goods, you may try the non-specialized site builders – all of them offer some ability to sell online.
Here we handpicked all-purpose website builders that allow you to create a website in a short time and with maximum effort, whether yo’re a designer, retailer or non-technician.
uKit is good for those who don’t want to waste time learning tons of HTML-books. It is a simple and at the same time versatile website builder. With uKit you can create business-page, portfolio, blog and small online-store.
Pricing: uKit has a two simple plans: Premium ($4/mo with annual subscription) and Pro ($12/mo with annual subscription). The main difference between them is that with Pro subscription you can edit HTML-code of your website, what is useful for those who make a strong SEO.
Wix website builder has a huge number of website templates for any kind of website. You can build either a small landing page or a big web store with hundreds of selling items.
Pricing: Wix has a free plan and five paid plans. The cheapest one, called ‘Connect Domain‘ gives user a possibility to connect to the website own domain name instead system Wix’s URL. But to remove ads you should upgrade to ‘Combo‘ version ($8.25/mo).
The most expensive tariff – Wix VIP Plan ($24/mo) allows unlimited bandwidth and professional website review by Wix experts.
Weebly reached popularity mostly due to its ease of use. With this website builder you can easy create a portfolio or a medium-size online store. Weebly can be a good solution for those who wish to build a website in a few clicks.
Pricing: Weebly, like Wix, offers a free plan, but with it your site appears with a Weebly banner at the bottom. The paid plans: Starter, Pro and Business, vary from $8/mo to $25/mo with annual subscription.