Microsoft Website Builder Review

Microsoft website builder – is a free and beginner-friendly platform to create small and simple sites without technical skills. The product was launched as a part of the major Microsoft Digital Marketing Center ecosystem making it possible for users not only to create a project from scratch but also to host it at zero cost.

The new service does not offer something really unique and innovative in terms of web building and designing tools. It is pretty straightforward and limited with features. On the other hand, it serves baseline needs making it fast and easy for non-technicians to go live with different project types.

With little information about the product on the web, we have conducted an in-depth review with all features and issues revealed. It becomes clear how good the platform is and if it is worth using.

Microsoft website builder
  • Free website builder.
  • Part of the Microsoft marketing ecosystem.
  • Great for non-technicians.

1. Pros and Cons

The system comes as an all-in-one solution with some baseline features in the pack. At the same time, you should not expect expanded functionality or something really special. The platform has a very limited option of customization instruments.

Pros:
Cons:
A free website builder.
Free default domain and hosting.
No coding skills are required.
Good for a simple one-page website.
Inline mobile editing.
Confusing registration process.
Dated website layouts.
Templates are not available.
Not for multi-page websites.
Limited customization options.
The lack of eCommerce.
Microsoft website builder
  • Fast and simple building process.
  • Good for small business.
  • All-in-one solution.

2. What Is It Good for?

Initially, Microsoft Digital Market Center was developed to help users create, launch, and run advertising campaigns. You can drive traffic across multiple platforms including social media. With a new website builder rolled out, it is now possible to create a site inside the Digital Center without the need to opt for third-party platforms. In other words, you have your own marketing network with advertising tools and the final destination to deliver the target audience.

While the abilities of the digital center are pretty wide, the website builder does not boast the same flexibility. It helps to create small one-page sites or elementary landing pages for small business owners and service providers. One may have a small local vacuum cleaning, car repair, or beauty service with some baseline information presented on the page. The system works for simple projects without additional functionality in the face of eCommerce (at least for now).

The good news is that the website builder does not require technical skills. It is very easy to use and offers free hosting and default domain. We could say the system is perfect for beginners who only get started but we can’t mainly because of the confusing registration process.

3. Ease of Use

As stated earlier, Microsoft’s website builder is very easy-to-use. It offers only several editing and customization features. So, users will never get lost. The main problem is the registration process. It looks very time-consuming and confusing especially for those who never used the digital center before.

Signing In

To access the website builder, you need to sign up for the Digital Marketing Center. It looks pretty simple from the start. All you need is to log in with a valid Microsoft account or create a new one. Some may expect they will access the dashboard right at once. Well, they won’t. To keep on going with a new (not existing) website, you need to configure the ad campaign first, which is very strange.

Microsoft Website Builder Signin

The good news is that the system will offer initial settings on default making it simple for users to skip the stage. Then, you will need to indicate the project name and choose the URL. Here comes another downside. All projects will have a .biz.site extension, which limits your project purposes.

The next stage is to edit location, advertising targets, budget, and other details. You may not even understand what they actually want from you. Have no worries, at this point, you are free to indicate any abracadabra just to path through the registration process.

Note: the final stage involves payment information. To use the system free, you need to click on “Do not add payment details”. If you plan to launch ad campaigns, you will have to indicate it further.

Website Editing

When you finally get to the dashboard, everything becomes clearer and simpler. The editor offers a simple layout with baseline blocks and elements that can be edited. The pre-designed blueprint consists of the header, CTA button, cover image, business info, and contact information.

Microsoft Website Builder editor

It is possible to add several additional components to the page. The selection is not very wide offering only social posts, galleries, reviews, and social links. That might be not enough for a scaling project.

Microsoft Website Builder add component

The good news is that each element can be customized a bit. For example, users may change the main title and description, upload a custom logo or use the one delivered on default. All you need is to add relevant information to fulfill every block and go live.

Going Live

When you are done with the website editing, you might want to preview it online. The system has a “Preview” button. However, it will not work in case you have not added any email to collect business information or requests generated through the CTA button. In other words, you can preview only a ready-to-go project instead of a draft, which does not make much sense, as some users might want to look at the site before adding specific components.

Microsoft Website Builder going live

The fact that you do not have to connect a domain manually makes the process faster. To go live, you only have to press the “publish” button making sure you have added all necessary information.

Microsoft website builder
  • Start without payment details.
  • Simple website editing.
  • Mobile and desktop modes.

4. Features & Flexibility

Users should not expect a wide range of features from the website builder, as it was developed mainly for ad campaigns and lead generation. At the same time, here you will find several great options that make the initialization process simpler.

Automated Content Import

A great option for those who want to import content from an already existing Facebook page to the website. No manual configurations are needed. The system will handle the process automatically. What’s more, the platform may use already existing ad campaigns as the source of content for the web page.

Microsoft Website Builder content import

CTA Customization

The website builder offers a simple way to connect the CTA button with any email you want to connect leads and requests. The same thing is with business information. You may use a different address from the one you used during the registration process.

Microsoft Website Builder CTA customization

Reviews and Testimonials

It is simple to add customers’ reviews and rates to the website from the Facebook page. All you need is to connect it to the website. What’s more, you may easily display social communities on the site. Simply copy the link and paste it in the space provided. The downside here is that the system comes with support for only Facebook and Instagram.

Mobile Editing

A simple but efficient feature lets you switch between desktop and smartphone modes and edit the website to make it as mobile-friendly as possible. The bad news is that it does not support a tablet mode, so it is hard to say how the site will run on devices with different screen dimensions.

Microsoft Website Builder mobile editor

Microsoft website builder
  • Automated Facebook import.
  • Social network integration.
  • Email connection to collect requests.

5. Templates & Design

The website builder does not offer any templates to choose from. Users get a baseline layout to edit and manage. As a rule, all layouts look the same no matter what type of website you indicate during the registration process.

Microsoft Website Builder choose cover image

As for the web design options, users will not be able to change colors or styles. Use different fonts, etc. All you can do is upload different cover images from the local folder or use several options provided in default. Besides, you will be able to add your custom logo.

Microsoft website builder
  • Mobile editing.
  • Custom image library.
  • A collection of page components.

6. Customer Support

Microsoft support is good. It is available inside the editor, so you do not have to switch to another window or go back to the Marketing Center in order to get in touch. To resolve different issues, users can:

  • Start Live Chat;
  • Request a free call;
  • Use the navigation to ask for help and find a related topic discussed in the Help Center.

Additionally, you may find the necessary information in a comprehensive FAQ. The key downside here is that most of the info is dedicated to launching and configuring ad campaigns but not using the website builder.

Microsoft Website Builder support center

Microsoft website builder
  • Comprehensive FAQ;
  • A Live Chat Feature;
  • Call-me-back option.

7. Plans & Pricing

The website builder is currently free to use. You may access it without indicating payment details. Besides, you may keep on using it at zero cost for as long as you want unless you plan to launch ad campaigns. This is where you will need to pay for clicks depending on the wagering requirements.

On the other hand, we cannot see any reason why you should use the website builder if not using it for advertising and generating leads. In other words, you will still need to pay for ads at some point. Otherwise, there is no sense in using Microsoft Website Builder.

Microsoft website builder
  • Free to use.
  • Default domain and hosting included.
  • Unlimited usage period.

8. Additional Microsoft Digital Marketing Tools

Wix – The Best Choice for Microsoft Users

Wix website builder

Wix is the world-renowned website builder, which has gained popularity due to the abundance of design customization tools, extensive feature set, convenient drag-and-drop editor, rich collection of high quality responsive website templates, good website promotion and marketing options, affordable pricing policy.

The website builder makes it possible to create different types of websites, ranging from small personal portfolios and up to online stores that reflect your brand identity in the most favorable light. The customer base of the service currently constitutes over 130 millions of users, who reside in 190 countries. This is the best proof of the company’s recognition, which is definitely worth the attention.

  • Ease of Use. Wix ensures stunningly simple and convenient web building experience to everyone, who has an intention to design quality and functional websites. Whether you are a newbie making your first steps in the web building niche or a professional web developer involved in the web design customer-oriented business, using Wix won’t be a problem for you.

    The website builder comes with an intuitive WYSIWYG interface and the drag-and-drop editor. Advanced Wix ADI tool will automatically design a website for your based on the content you will submit.

    Wix ADI Editor

    Wix works under the SaaS model, which simplifies the process of website creation for users, who create websites on their mobile and desktop devices, having signed up for the platform. It is a user, who has full control over the web building process and can see the result to make the changes on time.

  • Feature Set. When it comes to the feature set, Wix will exceed your expectations. The website builder has much to offer each and every user, irrespective of the web design experience he/she has got. It comes with powerful eCommerce and blogging engines, which let you create small-to-mid online stores or blogs with no hassle at all.

    Wix ADI eCommerce

    This is where you will be able to sell and advertise products, update their assortment, offer discounts, special features, add, schedule and update blog posts and perform other actions to run a successful blog or a web store.

    Wix Code is another highlight of the website builder, which will let you create web applications in a simple and effective way. You don’t have to possess coding skills to use the tool – Wix Code is intuitive and understandable to everyone. This web app builder makes it possible to create content and add it to the required web page.

    Wix Code Editor

    Another highlight of the website builder is the App Market with lots of extensions, apps and add-ons to give your website advanced performance. The apps are developed by third-party designers and can be free and paid based on their application sphere and characteristics.

  • Templates and Design. Wix offers lots of high quality templates and designs, which make it possible to create different types of websites, such as business sites, blogs, forums, online stores, portfolios, landing pages and what not.

    All in all, Wix has a collection that encompasses over 550+ high quality themes to fit various niches. The developers of the service regularly update the template gallery with fresh and up-to-date themes. For those users, who cannot find a suitable template, there is an opportunity to select and customize a blank theme to design a website from scratch.

  • Cost. You can use Wix at no cost at all for as long as you need. The system has a free never-expiring plan that allows testing the features it offers and may be a good solution for all types of websites. If you still need a website with a personal domain, you are welcome to choose one of Wix premium plans, the cost of which starts from $4.5/mo.

    Mind that Wix offers money back guarantee to users, who are not satisfied with some of its features. You can get your money refund during 2 weeks after your payment. The pricing policy of the system is quite clear and affordable.

WebMatrix 3

Webmatrix3

WebMatrix 3 is a free, lightweight, cloud-connected website builder that operates as a web development application for Windows. The builder enables developers to create sites using ready, built-in templates or popular open-source applications. It’s vital to note that the system mainly targets professionals, who create websites for their clients (as opposed to website builders that target the end user).

The purpose of Webmatrix 3 is to provide web developers with coding, customization and publishing capabilities all in one place. The platform was released in 2011, but Microsoft has stopped supporting WebMatrix already. However, it makes sense to get a quick overview of the product to see how Microsoft has changed their approach to the web building process.

  • Ease of Use. WebMatrix has a very user-friendly interface, smart guides and many other cool things as for a web development app. But of course, it’s not as simple and intuitive as DIY, code-free online website builders. It works great for a particular group of customers only. It’s much like a standard site builder, but it’s mainly geared towards the needs and skills of pros.

    WebMatrix 3 Mobile Sites

    The app provides a sophisticated development environment for your projects that are developed in different programming languages, so that you don’t have to get separate programs. While most DIY site builders are in-browser softwares that can be reached from any device through the sign-up form, Webmatrix is a downloadable application that requires preliminary installation.

  • Feature Set. The builder offers multiple facilities to help developers build websites in a faster and easier way. It makes it possible to create sites using ready ASP.NET, PHP, Node.js or HTML5 templates, and takes advantage of the latest web standards (CSS3, HTML5), and popular JavaScript libraries such as jQuery.

    CSS3 WebMatrix

    WebMatrix offers support for PHP frameworks including WordPress and Drupal, among others. By choosing the WordPress framework, for instance, WebMatrix will install and configure a full-fledged WordPress website running locally. Once configured, you can put your site together on your computer and then upload it to a compatible host using Microsoft’s Web Deploy technology. You can use this possibility to create WordPress sites for developing plugins and themes, or testing new code before deploying to your live website.

    Installing, customizing and publishing web apps is easy with WebMatrix. It makes it possible to create websites optimized for mobile viewing and provides several integrated features that make the task more convenient for web designers. The product comes with mobile-friendly templates, device emulators, code completion for jQuery mobile and more etc. It’s also possible to remotely edit websites with it.

    Websites built with WebMatrix aren’t tied to any particular hosting provider – you’re free to publish them wherever you want. For better performance, WebMatrix offers a list of their partners where you can sign up for a free hosting account. You can also choose from many other compelling hosting solutions at Microsoft Hosting Gallery.

  • Templates and Design. WebMatrix has you covered with multiple integrated templates that serve as a nice basis for your website development. Starter templates are offered in several languages and work great for standard personal websites. Mind, however, that after the product discontinuation, some templates may not be compatible with your browser version.

    Another way to get a WebMatrix template is to design it on your own. To create a new theme, coders can choose one of the existing samples in the corresponding WebMatrix template folder and edit it with regard to their needs. This, however, requires deep understanding of the subject.

FrontPage

Microsoft Frontpage

FrontPage used to be one of those tools that laid the foundation for contemporary website design. It was really hard to find a website that was not powered by the system at the beginning of the Internet epoch. FrontPage is a WYSIWYG website builder and HTML editor that has been included into the Microsoft Office package since 1997. The product, however, was discontinued in 2003, but it still enjoys popularity with proficient web designers, who wish to get the most out of their programming skills.

After the discontinuation of the product, it was replaced by SharePoint Designer and Microsoft Expression Web, but these two apps are no longer supported since 2006 as well. As of today, users can install and work with web-based version of SharePoint Designer.

  • Ease of Use. SharePoint cannot be called an easy web building app as it requires deep web design proficiency. This, however, does not belittle the merits of the WYSIWYG editor of the system, which aims at helping users overcome the intricacies of the HTML coding process with maximum efficacy.

    To use FrontPage effectively, there is the need to install extra plugins, which were initially known as IIS Extensions and were later enriched with a set of specialized FrontPage Server Extensions. Whatever set of extensions you need, you have to install them to get the most out of their functionality.

  • Feature Set. FrontPage is feature-laden, which unveils multiple benefits for proficient web designers. The latest version of the app offers a Split View option, which makes it possible to code a project in the Code View mode to further preview the result in the Design View mode without the need to switch between them. The app also has access to interactive buttons, which make it possible to launch web graphics for navigation benefits, eliminating the need to use more complicated image-editing tools.

    What’s more, the software has the accessibility checker that grants an opportunity to find out, whether your website code complies with the current standards and can be used by people with limited abilities.

    FrontPage includes an HTML optimizer, which makes code optimization much quicker and more legible as compared to previous app versions. One of the highlights of the product is its Intellisense (autocompletion) feature, which helps users simplify the code editing process, when working in the Code View mode. The feature suggests the most suitable code properties and tags generated while a user is writing it. This eventually helps save time and effort. Finally, FrontPage comes with Code Snippets, which makes it possible for users to create and store code pieces they create and might need in future.

  • Templates and Design. FrontPage offers integrated templates you can choose and customize as you wish. There is also an opportunity to browse the web and select FrontPage themes, which were specially created by third-party developers to provide unique and creative website design. These templates are not always responsive, so, if you need the one that will make your website accessible online, make sure to check that in advance. What’s interesting, FrontPage offers Dynamic Web Templates, which let users create the only theme they will use in multiple website pages or the entire website.

Microsoft Expression Web 4

Microsoft Expression Web 4

Microsoft Expression Web 4 is a full-featured professional web building tool you can use to design and publish quality, compelling and functional websites, which conform to generally accepted web design standards. The launch of Expression Web 4 dates back to 2010, while Microsoft announced its complete discontinuation in 2012.

The system was initially paid, but now it is available for free download. However, those users, who have purchased Expression Web before, can still avail technical support for their websites. The same service is no longer available for those, who download the system for free.

  • Ease of Use. Microsoft Expression Web 4 is a nice choice for professional web design pros, who have an idea to create and manage a project for professional or business use. The product does not work well for newbies, who have no idea of what the process of website creation involves.

  • Feature Set. The app comes with Microsoft Silverlight, Deep Zoom Composer images, ASP.NET, PHP, AJAX, and Silverlight video support. It is also possible to import Adobe Photoshop files here to publish complex websites with numerous file transfer streams and secure FTP in a quick and easy way.

    The product has several preview modes to get the most out of the web development process. The most widespread of them are the Snapshot Preview to see the way your website will look in a browser and the SuperPreview mode to make web page comparisons in several browsers at a time.

    Microsoft Expression Web 4 has a SEO Checker feature that lets you make the analysis of your website promotion efficacy, making use of the existing standards. This will help boost your website search engine ranking, adjust SEO options, create SEO reports etc. This version of the app has a re-designed dialog box, with special characters and symbols that can be inserted into a web page as HTML character units. It also comes with jQuery IntelliSense support, snippets management panel, comment/uncomment Code View functionality, Interactive Snapshot Panel as well as multiple toolbar and workspace customization options.

  • Templates and Design. Microsoft Expression Web 4 templates are available in the special folder of the system after its installation. Those users, who wish to get the most out of their web design experience, can browse the web to download templates that were designed by the third-party users. The themes fit various niches and can be customized via code editing as you need.

Microsoft website builder – is a free and beginner-friendly platform to create small and simple sites without technical skills. The product was launched as a part of the major Microsoft Digital Marketing Center ecosystem making it possible for users not only to create a project from scratch but also to host it at zero cost.

The new service does not offer something really unique and innovative in terms of web building and designing tools. It is pretty straightforward and limited with features. On the other hand, it serves baseline needs making it fast and easy for non-technicians to go live with different project types.

With little information about the product on the web, we have conducted an in-depth review with all features and issues revealed. It becomes clear how good the platform is and if it is worth using.

Microsoft website builder
  • Free website builder.
  • Part of the Microsoft marketing ecosystem.
  • Great for non-technicians.

1. Pros and Cons

The system comes as an all-in-one solution with some baseline features in the pack. At the same time, you should not expect expanded functionality or something really special. The platform has a very limited option of customization instruments.

Pros:
Cons:
A free website builder.
Free default domain and hosting.
No coding skills are required.
Good for a simple one-page website.
Inline mobile editing.
Confusing registration process.
Dated website layouts.
Templates are not available.
Not for multi-page websites.
Limited customization options.
The lack of eCommerce.
Microsoft website builder
  • Fast and simple building process.
  • Good for small business.
  • All-in-one solution.

2. What Is It Good for?

Initially, Microsoft Digital Market Center was developed to help users create, launch, and run advertising campaigns. You can drive traffic across multiple platforms including social media. With a new website builder rolled out, it is now possible to create a site inside the Digital Center without the need to opt for third-party platforms. In other words, you have your own marketing network with advertising tools and the final destination to deliver the target audience.

While the abilities of the digital center are pretty wide, the website builder does not boast the same flexibility. It helps to create small one-page sites or elementary landing pages for small business owners and service providers. One may have a small local vacuum cleaning, car repair, or beauty service with some baseline information presented on the page. The system works for simple projects without additional functionality in the face of eCommerce (at least for now).

The good news is that the website builder does not require technical skills. It is very easy to use and offers free hosting and default domain. We could say the system is perfect for beginners who only get started but we can’t mainly because of the confusing registration process.

3. Ease of Use

As stated earlier, Microsoft’s website builder is very easy-to-use. It offers only several editing and customization features. So, users will never get lost. The main problem is the registration process. It looks very time-consuming and confusing especially for those who never used the digital center before.

Signing In

To access the website builder, you need to sign up for the Digital Marketing Center. It looks pretty simple from the start. All you need is to log in with a valid Microsoft account or create a new one. Some may expect they will access the dashboard right at once. Well, they won’t. To keep on going with a new (not existing) website, you need to configure the ad campaign first, which is very strange.

Microsoft Website Builder Signin

The good news is that the system will offer initial settings on default making it simple for users to skip the stage. Then, you will need to indicate the project name and choose the URL. Here comes another downside. All projects will have a .biz.site extension, which limits your project purposes.

The next stage is to edit location, advertising targets, budget, and other details. You may not even understand what they actually want from you. Have no worries, at this point, you are free to indicate any abracadabra just to path through the registration process.

Note: the final stage involves payment information. To use the system free, you need to click on “Do not add payment details”. If you plan to launch ad campaigns, you will have to indicate it further.

Website Editing

When you finally get to the dashboard, everything becomes clearer and simpler. The editor offers a simple layout with baseline blocks and elements that can be edited. The pre-designed blueprint consists of the header, CTA button, cover image, business info, and contact information.

Microsoft Website Builder editor

It is possible to add several additional components to the page. The selection is not very wide offering only social posts, galleries, reviews, and social links. That might be not enough for a scaling project.

Microsoft Website Builder add component

The good news is that each element can be customized a bit. For example, users may change the main title and description, upload a custom logo or use the one delivered on default. All you need is to add relevant information to fulfill every block and go live.

Going Live

When you are done with the website editing, you might want to preview it online. The system has a “Preview” button. However, it will not work in case you have not added any email to collect business information or requests generated through the CTA button. In other words, you can preview only a ready-to-go project instead of a draft, which does not make much sense, as some users might want to look at the site before adding specific components.

Microsoft Website Builder going live

The fact that you do not have to connect a domain manually makes the process faster. To go live, you only have to press the “publish” button making sure you have added all necessary information.

Microsoft website builder
  • Start without payment details.
  • Simple website editing.
  • Mobile and desktop modes.

4. Features & Flexibility

Users should not expect a wide range of features from the website builder, as it was developed mainly for ad campaigns and lead generation. At the same time, here you will find several great options that make the initialization process simpler.

Automated Content Import

A great option for those who want to import content from an already existing Facebook page to the website. No manual configurations are needed. The system will handle the process automatically. What’s more, the platform may use already existing ad campaigns as the source of content for the web page.

Microsoft Website Builder content import

CTA Customization

The website builder offers a simple way to connect the CTA button with any email you want to connect leads and requests. The same thing is with business information. You may use a different address from the one you used during the registration process.

Microsoft Website Builder CTA customization

Reviews and Testimonials

It is simple to add customers’ reviews and rates to the website from the Facebook page. All you need is to connect it to the website. What’s more, you may easily display social communities on the site. Simply copy the link and paste it in the space provided. The downside here is that the system comes with support for only Facebook and Instagram.

Mobile Editing

A simple but efficient feature lets you switch between desktop and smartphone modes and edit the website to make it as mobile-friendly as possible. The bad news is that it does not support a tablet mode, so it is hard to say how the site will run on devices with different screen dimensions.

Microsoft Website Builder mobile editor

Microsoft website builder
  • Automated Facebook import.
  • Social network integration.
  • Email connection to collect requests.

5. Templates & Design

The website builder does not offer any templates to choose from. Users get a baseline layout to edit and manage. As a rule, all layouts look the same no matter what type of website you indicate during the registration process.

Microsoft Website Builder choose cover image

As for the web design options, users will not be able to change colors or styles. Use different fonts, etc. All you can do is upload different cover images from the local folder or use several options provided in default. Besides, you will be able to add your custom logo.

Microsoft website builder
  • Mobile editing.
  • Custom image library.
  • A collection of page components.

6. Customer Support

Microsoft support is good. It is available inside the editor, so you do not have to switch to another window or go back to the Marketing Center in order to get in touch. To resolve different issues, users can:

  • Start Live Chat;
  • Request a free call;
  • Use the navigation to ask for help and find a related topic discussed in the Help Center.

Additionally, you may find the necessary information in a comprehensive FAQ. The key downside here is that most of the info is dedicated to launching and configuring ad campaigns but not using the website builder.

7. Plans & Pricing

The website builder is currently free to use. You may access it without indicating payment details. Besides, you may keep on using it at zero cost for as long as you want unless you plan to launch ad campaigns. This is where you will need to pay for clicks depending on the wagering requirements.

On the other hand, we cannot see any reason why you should use the website builder if not using it for advertising and generating leads. In other words, you will still need to pay for ads at some point. Otherwise, there is no sense in using Microsoft Website Builder.

Microsoft website builder
  • Free to use.
  • Default domain and hosting included.
  • Unlimited usage period.

8. Alternative Microsoft Web Building Tools

WebMatrix 3

Webmatrix3

WebMatrix 3 is a free, lightweight, cloud-connected website builder that operates as a web development application for Windows. The builder enables developers to create sites using ready, built-in templates or popular open-source applications. It’s vital to note that the system mainly targets professionals, who create websites for their clients (as opposed to website builders that target the end user).

The purpose of Webmatrix 3 is to provide web developers with coding, customization and publishing capabilities all in one place. The platform was released in 2011, but Microsoft has stopped supporting WebMatrix already. However, it makes sense to get a quick overview of the product to see how Microsoft has changed their approach to the web building process.

  • Ease of Use. WebMatrix has a very user-friendly interface, smart guides and many other cool things as for a web development app. But of course, it’s not as simple and intuitive as DIY, code-free online website builders. It works great for a particular group of customers only. It’s much like a standard site builder, but it’s mainly geared towards the needs and skills of pros.

    WebMatrix 3 Mobile Sites

    The app provides a sophisticated development environment for your projects that are developed in different programming languages, so that you don’t have to get separate programs. While most DIY site builders are in-browser softwares that can be reached from any device through the sign-up form, Webmatrix is a downloadable application that requires preliminary installation.

  • Feature Set. The builder offers multiple facilities to help developers build websites in a faster and easier way. It makes it possible to create sites using ready ASP.NET, PHP, Node.js or HTML5 templates, and takes advantage of the latest web standards (CSS3, HTML5), and popular JavaScript libraries such as jQuery.

    CSS3 WebMatrix

    WebMatrix offers support for PHP frameworks including WordPress and Drupal, among others. By choosing the WordPress framework, for instance, WebMatrix will install and configure a full-fledged WordPress website running locally. Once configured, you can put your site together on your computer and then upload it to a compatible host using Microsoft’s Web Deploy technology. You can use this possibility to create WordPress sites for developing plugins and themes, or testing new code before deploying to your live website.

    Installing, customizing and publishing web apps is easy with WebMatrix. It makes it possible to create websites optimized for mobile viewing and provides several integrated features that make the task more convenient for web designers. The product comes with mobile-friendly templates, device emulators, code completion for jQuery mobile and more etc. It’s also possible to remotely edit websites with it.

    Websites built with WebMatrix aren’t tied to any particular hosting provider – you’re free to publish them wherever you want. For better performance, WebMatrix offers a list of their partners where you can sign up for a free hosting account. You can also choose from many other compelling hosting solutions at Microsoft Hosting Gallery.

  • Templates and Design. WebMatrix has you covered with multiple integrated templates that serve as a nice basis for your website development. Starter templates are offered in several languages and work great for standard personal websites. Mind, however, that after the product discontinuation, some templates may not be compatible with your browser version.

    Another way to get a WebMatrix template is to design it on your own. To create a new theme, coders can choose one of the existing samples in the corresponding WebMatrix template folder and edit it with regard to their needs. This, however, requires deep understanding of the subject.

FrontPage

Microsoft Frontpage

FrontPage used to be one of those tools that laid the foundation for contemporary website design. It was really hard to find a website that was not powered by the system at the beginning of the Internet epoch. FrontPage is a WYSIWYG website builder and HTML editor that has been included into the Microsoft Office package since 1997. The product, however, was discontinued in 2003, but it still enjoys popularity with proficient web designers, who wish to get the most out of their programming skills.

After the discontinuation of the product, it was replaced by SharePoint Designer and Microsoft Expression Web, but these two apps are no longer supported since 2006 as well. As of today, users can install and work with web-based version of SharePoint Designer.

  • Ease of Use. SharePoint cannot be called an easy web building app as it requires deep web design proficiency. This, however, does not belittle the merits of the WYSIWYG editor of the system, which aims at helping users overcome the intricacies of the HTML coding process with maximum efficacy.

    To use FrontPage effectively, there is the need to install extra plugins, which were initially known as IIS Extensions and were later enriched with a set of specialized FrontPage Server Extensions. Whatever set of extensions you need, you have to install them to get the most out of their functionality.

  • Feature Set. FrontPage is feature-laden, which unveils multiple benefits for proficient web designers. The latest version of the app offers a Split View option, which makes it possible to code a project in the Code View mode to further preview the result in the Design View mode without the need to switch between them. The app also has access to interactive buttons, which make it possible to launch web graphics for navigation benefits, eliminating the need to use more complicated image-editing tools.

    What’s more, the software has the accessibility checker that grants an opportunity to find out, whether your website code complies with the current standards and can be used by people with limited abilities.

    FrontPage includes an HTML optimizer, which makes code optimization much quicker and more legible as compared to previous app versions. One of the highlights of the product is its Intellisense (autocompletion) feature, which helps users simplify the code editing process, when working in the Code View mode. The feature suggests the most suitable code properties and tags generated while a user is writing it. This eventually helps save time and effort. Finally, FrontPage comes with Code Snippets, which makes it possible for users to create and store code pieces they create and might need in future.

  • Templates and Design. FrontPage offers integrated templates you can choose and customize as you wish. There is also an opportunity to browse the web and select FrontPage themes, which were specially created by third-party developers to provide unique and creative website design. These templates are not always responsive, so, if you need the one that will make your website accessible online, make sure to check that in advance. What’s interesting, FrontPage offers Dynamic Web Templates, which let users create the only theme they will use in multiple website pages or the entire website.

Microsoft Expression Web 4

Microsoft Expression Web 4

Microsoft Expression Web 4 is a full-featured professional web building tool you can use to design and publish quality, compelling and functional websites, which conform to generally accepted web design standards. The launch of Expression Web 4 dates back to 2010, while Microsoft announced its complete discontinuation in 2012.

The system was initially paid, but now it is available for free download. However, those users, who have purchased Expression Web before, can still avail technical support for their websites. The same service is no longer available for those, who download the system for free.

  • Ease of Use. Microsoft Expression Web 4 is a nice choice for professional web design pros, who have an idea to create and manage a project for professional or business use. The product does not work well for newbies, who have no idea of what the process of website creation involves.

  • Feature Set. The app comes with Microsoft Silverlight, Deep Zoom Composer images, ASP.NET, PHP, AJAX, and Silverlight video support. It is also possible to import Adobe Photoshop files here to publish complex websites with numerous file transfer streams and secure FTP in a quick and easy way.

    The product has several preview modes to get the most out of the web development process. The most widespread of them are the Snapshot Preview to see the way your website will look in a browser and the SuperPreview mode to make web page comparisons in several browsers at a time.

    Microsoft Expression Web 4 has a SEO Checker feature that lets you make the analysis of your website promotion efficacy, making use of the existing standards. This will help boost your website search engine ranking, adjust SEO options, create SEO reports etc. This version of the app has a re-designed dialog box, with special characters and symbols that can be inserted into a web page as HTML character units. It also comes with jQuery IntelliSense support, snippets management panel, comment/uncomment Code View functionality, Interactive Snapshot Panel as well as multiple toolbar and workspace customization options.

  • Templates and Design. Microsoft Expression Web 4 templates are available in the special folder of the system after its installation. Those users, who wish to get the most out of their web design experience, can browse the web to download templates that were designed by the third-party users. The themes fit various niches and can be customized via code editing as you need.

9. Conclusion

Microsoft website builder
     4.0
  • Great for total newbies
  • 64 stylish and responsive templates
  • Free plan with unlimited sites
  • Integrated SEO and eCommerce

Microsoft Website Builder is a part of the Digital Marketing Center created to help users generate more leads and traffic to their websites. The platform itself serves as a simple and free tool to create simple one-page projects in minutes. It comes with an automated import feature letting you easily transfer content from ad campaigns or Facebook pages.

Despite all simplicity, the system is very limited. It does not offer templates for different business niches while the selection of customization tools will hardly impress. As a result, you should not consider the tool as a stand-alone platform. It generally serves advertising needs and should be used together with other products from the Microsoft digital marketing environment.

Microsoft website builder was one of the renowned niche leaders people applied to design different types of websites. As time went by, niche competition has become much stronger, giving way to more advanced and functional website builders – those that currently enjoy worldwide popularity.

When it comes to modern website development, however, many users keep working with Microsoft-powered website builders to create versatile projects to come up to their web design requirements and needs. So, what makes these products so popular? Why do they remain in demand with users and are there any better alternatives to them? Let’s try to find that out now.

Microsoft Website Builder in 2018

As of today, Microsoft doesn’t have its own web building service to create simple-to-complex websites. If you have ever worked with the products of the system before or heard so much about it to get the desire to give it a try, you can use the solutions available in the platform’s app market.

To start building a website with a Microsoft-based website builder, you should initially get a Microsoft account. If you don’t have the one, you can either sign up for it or use your Skype account. This will grant access to all the applications available in the Microsoft brand store.

There are different web building tools you can use for universal and specialized purposes, but the most popular of them is Wix. This website builder is definitely worth the attention of users, who intend to launch decent websites even without any specific web building skills and niche knowledge. Let’s find out know what the system has to offer contemporary users and what makes it stand out from the crowd.

Wix – The Best Choice for Microsoft Users

Wix website builder

Wix is the world-renowned website builder, which has gained popularity due to the abundance of design customization tools, extensive feature set, convenient drag-and-drop editor, rich collection of high quality responsive website templates, good website promotion and marketing options, affordable pricing policy.

The website builder makes it possible to create different types of websites, ranging from small personal portfolios and up to online stores that reflect your brand identity in the most favorable light. The customer base of the service currently constitutes over 130 millions of users, who reside in 190 countries. This is the best proof of the company’s recognition, which is definitely worth the attention.

  • Ease of Use. Wix ensures stunningly simple and convenient web building experience to everyone, who has an intention to design quality and functional websites. Whether you are a newbie making your first steps in the web building niche or a professional web developer involved in the web design customer-oriented business, using Wix won’t be a problem for you.

    The website builder comes with an intuitive WYSIWYG interface and the drag-and-drop editor. Advanced Wix ADI tool will automatically design a website for your based on the content you will submit.

    Wix ADI Editor

    Wix works under the SaaS model, which simplifies the process of website creation for users, who create websites on their mobile and desktop devices, having signed up for the platform. It is a user, who has full control over the web building process and can see the result to make the changes on time.

  • Feature Set. When it comes to the feature set, Wix will exceed your expectations. The website builder has much to offer each and every user, irrespective of the web design experience he/she has got. It comes with powerful eCommerce and blogging engines, which let you create small-to-mid online stores or blogs with no hassle at all.

    Wix ADI eCommerce

    This is where you will be able to sell and advertise products, update their assortment, offer discounts, special features, add, schedule and update blog posts and perform other actions to run a successful blog or a web store.

    Wix Code is another highlight of the website builder, which will let you create web applications in a simple and effective way. You don’t have to possess coding skills to use the tool – Wix Code is intuitive and understandable to everyone. This web app builder makes it possible to create content and add it to the required web page.

    Wix Code Editor

    Another highlight of the website builder is the App Market with lots of extensions, apps and add-ons to give your website advanced performance. The apps are developed by third-party designers and can be free and paid based on their application sphere and characteristics.

  • Templates and Design. Wix offers lots of high quality templates and designs, which make it possible to create different types of websites, such as business sites, blogs, forums, online stores, portfolios, landing pages and what not.

    All in all, Wix has a collection that encompasses over 550+ high quality themes to fit various niches. The developers of the service regularly update the template gallery with fresh and up-to-date themes. For those users, who cannot find a suitable template, there is an opportunity to select and customize a blank theme to design a website from scratch.

  • Cost. You can use Wix at no cost at all for as long as you need. The system has a free never-expiring plan that allows testing the features it offers and may be a good solution for all types of websites. If you still need a website with a personal domain, you are welcome to choose one of Wix premium plans, the cost of which starts from $4.5/mo.

    Mind that Wix offers money back guarantee to users, who are not satisfied with some of its features. You can get your money refund during 2 weeks after your payment. The pricing policy of the system is quite clear and affordable.

WebMatrix 3

Webmatrix3

WebMatrix 3 is a free, lightweight, cloud-connected website builder that operates as a web development application for Windows. The builder enables developers to create sites using ready, built-in templates or popular open-source applications. It’s vital to note that the system mainly targets professionals, who create websites for their clients (as opposed to website builders that target the end user).

The purpose of Webmatrix 3 is to provide web developers with coding, customization and publishing capabilities all in one place. The platform was released in 2011, but Microsoft has stopped supporting WebMatrix already. However, it makes sense to get a quick overview of the product to see how Microsoft has changed their approach to the web building process.

  • Ease of Use. WebMatrix has a very user-friendly interface, smart guides and many other cool things as for a web development app. But of course, it’s not as simple and intuitive as DIY, code-free online website builders. It works great for a particular group of customers only. It’s much like a standard site builder, but it’s mainly geared towards the needs and skills of pros.

    WebMatrix 3 Mobile Sites

    The app provides a sophisticated development environment for your projects that are developed in different programming languages, so that you don’t have to get separate programs. While most DIY site builders are in-browser softwares that can be reached from any device through the sign-up form, Webmatrix is a downloadable application that requires preliminary installation.

  • Feature Set. The builder offers multiple facilities to help developers build websites in a faster and easier way. It makes it possible to create sites using ready ASP.NET, PHP, Node.js or HTML5 templates, and takes advantage of the latest web standards (CSS3, HTML5), and popular JavaScript libraries such as jQuery.

    CSS3 WebMatrix

    WebMatrix offers support for PHP frameworks including WordPress and Drupal, among others. By choosing the WordPress framework, for instance, WebMatrix will install and configure a full-fledged WordPress website running locally. Once configured, you can put your site together on your computer and then upload it to a compatible host using Microsoft’s Web Deploy technology. You can use this possibility to create WordPress sites for developing plugins and themes, or testing new code before deploying to your live website.

    Installing, customizing and publishing web apps is easy with WebMatrix. It makes it possible to create websites optimized for mobile viewing and provides several integrated features that make the task more convenient for web designers. The product comes with mobile-friendly templates, device emulators, code completion for jQuery mobile and more etc. It’s also possible to remotely edit websites with it.

    Websites built with WebMatrix aren’t tied to any particular hosting provider – you’re free to publish them wherever you want. For better performance, WebMatrix offers a list of their partners where you can sign up for a free hosting account. You can also choose from many other compelling hosting solutions at Microsoft Hosting Gallery.

  • Templates and Design. WebMatrix has you covered with multiple integrated templates that serve as a nice basis for your website development. Starter templates are offered in several languages and work great for standard personal websites. Mind, however, that after the product discontinuation, some templates may not be compatible with your browser version.

    Another way to get a WebMatrix template is to design it on your own. To create a new theme, coders can choose one of the existing samples in the corresponding WebMatrix template folder and edit it with regard to their needs. This, however, requires deep understanding of the subject.

FrontPage

Microsoft Frontpage

FrontPage used to be one of those tools that laid the foundation for contemporary website design. It was really hard to find a website that was not powered by the system at the beginning of the Internet epoch. FrontPage is a WYSIWYG website builder and HTML editor that has been included into the Microsoft Office package since 1997. The product, however, was discontinued in 2003, but it still enjoys popularity with proficient web designers, who wish to get the most out of their programming skills.

After the discontinuation of the product, it was replaced by SharePoint Designer and Microsoft Expression Web, but these two apps are no longer supported since 2006 as well. As of today, users can install and work with web-based version of SharePoint Designer.

  • Ease of Use. SharePoint cannot be called an easy web building app as it requires deep web design proficiency. This, however, does not belittle the merits of the WYSIWYG editor of the system, which aims at helping users overcome the intricacies of the HTML coding process with maximum efficacy.

    To use FrontPage effectively, there is the need to install extra plugins, which were initially known as IIS Extensions and were later enriched with a set of specialized FrontPage Server Extensions. Whatever set of extensions you need, you have to install them to get the most out of their functionality.

  • Feature Set. FrontPage is feature-laden, which unveils multiple benefits for proficient web designers. The latest version of the app offers a Split View option, which makes it possible to code a project in the Code View mode to further preview the result in the Design View mode without the need to switch between them. The app also has access to interactive buttons, which make it possible to launch web graphics for navigation benefits, eliminating the need to use more complicated image-editing tools.

    What’s more, the software has the accessibility checker that grants an opportunity to find out, whether your website code complies with the current standards and can be used by people with limited abilities.

    FrontPage includes an HTML optimizer, which makes code optimization much quicker and more legible as compared to previous app versions. One of the highlights of the product is its Intellisense (autocompletion) feature, which helps users simplify the code editing process, when working in the Code View mode. The feature suggests the most suitable code properties and tags generated while a user is writing it. This eventually helps save time and effort. Finally, FrontPage comes with Code Snippets, which makes it possible for users to create and store code pieces they create and might need in future.

  • Templates and Design. FrontPage offers integrated templates you can choose and customize as you wish. There is also an opportunity to browse the web and select FrontPage themes, which were specially created by third-party developers to provide unique and creative website design. These templates are not always responsive, so, if you need the one that will make your website accessible online, make sure to check that in advance. What’s interesting, FrontPage offers Dynamic Web Templates, which let users create the only theme they will use in multiple website pages or the entire website.

Microsoft Expression Web 4

Microsoft Expression Web 4

Microsoft Expression Web 4 is a full-featured professional web building tool you can use to design and publish quality, compelling and functional websites, which conform to generally accepted web design standards. The launch of Expression Web 4 dates back to 2010, while Microsoft announced its complete discontinuation in 2012.

The system was initially paid, but now it is available for free download. However, those users, who have purchased Expression Web before, can still avail technical support for their websites. The same service is no longer available for those, who download the system for free.

  • Ease of Use. Microsoft Expression Web 4 is a nice choice for professional web design pros, who have an idea to create and manage a project for professional or business use. The product does not work well for newbies, who have no idea of what the process of website creation involves.

  • Feature Set. The app comes with Microsoft Silverlight, Deep Zoom Composer images, ASP.NET, PHP, AJAX, and Silverlight video support. It is also possible to import Adobe Photoshop files here to publish complex websites with numerous file transfer streams and secure FTP in a quick and easy way.

    The product has several preview modes to get the most out of the web development process. The most widespread of them are the Snapshot Preview to see the way your website will look in a browser and the SuperPreview mode to make web page comparisons in several browsers at a time.

    Microsoft Expression Web 4 has a SEO Checker feature that lets you make the analysis of your website promotion efficacy, making use of the existing standards. This will help boost your website search engine ranking, adjust SEO options, create SEO reports etc. This version of the app has a re-designed dialog box, with special characters and symbols that can be inserted into a web page as HTML character units. It also comes with jQuery IntelliSense support, snippets management panel, comment/uncomment Code View functionality, Interactive Snapshot Panel as well as multiple toolbar and workspace customization options.

  • Templates and Design. Microsoft Expression Web 4 templates are available in the special folder of the system after its installation. Those users, who wish to get the most out of their web design experience, can browse the web to download templates that were designed by the third-party users. The themes fit various niches and can be customized via code editing as you need.

Bottom Line

There are various options to build a quality website and some of them are provided by Microsoft. The choice of the most suitable system depends upon the expertise rate you have and the complexity of a project you plan to launch.

If you are a web design expert, who knows what result exactly you need and what you can do to reach it, then using WebMatrix 3 or Microsoft Expression Web 4 might be a reasonable solution. These products are no longer supported by Microsoft, but many users still give preference to them, when it comes to the development of complicated projects.

If your web design skills, however, leave much to be desired or you just don’t wish to deal with complex coding nuances, then Wix will work best for your project. This website builder is currently the best in the niche, providing access to multiple features, tools and web design options.

Wix powers millions of websites around the world, being the top notch destination for users with diverse web design background. By using the system, you can launch different types of projects almost in no time. This is what makes the platform a decent contemporary web building solution.

Summary
Reviewer
Howard Steele
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Microsoft website builder
Author Rating
21star1stargraygraygray
Howard

About the Author

I'm Howard Steele, the founder and editor-in-chief of this website. With over 10 years of web building I know how complicated and tiresome this task can be for a non-IT person. Can’t decide which service to choose? Feel free to ask me for advice. Just describe your website needs, and I’ll gladly help you.

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