No more than 30 years ago, building a website was a job that only the most skilled programmers could do. It was in 1990 that HTML was first developed, and then put to use a few years later. For a while, HTML provided the only way of creating a webpage. Every element of the page was done manually and it involved a great deal of effort and skill.
In 2020, this is no longer the case, as website building has moved on from being just a task for developers. Anyone, even website owners with little to no experience, can create and publish a website in just a few hours, by using website builders. Before that, it is choosing the right platform on which to build your website that can be more time-consuming than the actual website development.
Our advice is to start with a free trial and test out a few options before making the final decision. Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) features and the drag and drop block website builders will come in handy, if you are a beginner.
Without further ado, here is our list of favorite website builder softwares this year, in no particular order. These are the best website builders for beginners, but we are sure advanced users will also find useful features in most of them. In 2020, even if you have the skills, it may not be worth your time to develop a website from scratch.
Wix - more than a drag&drop website builder
From 0 to 35 $/month
Wix is a really popular cloud-based website builder and the favorite pick of more than 177 million website owners. It offers a plethora of ready to use themes and an extensive app market that caters to any type of functionality you might want to find in a website, ranging from creating an online store to even getting orders for your restaurant.
The Wix Editor offers perhaps the most intuitive drag-and-drop solution for website owners to modify their website content and design without the need of hiring a developer. Even more so, if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, you can have Wix ADI artificial intelligence create a website for you by just answering a few questions.
Being a cloud-hosted solution, the chances of your Wix website being offline are close to 0, so you never have to worry about maintaining a server or breaking your customers’ trust with a slow website.
Over the last few years, Wix has developed Corvid, a programming language in its own right and an incredible tool that can extend Wix websites to achieve any type of functionality. The days of being just a simple drag&drop website builder are long gone, with Wix being our top recommendation pick for big enterprises and small business owners alike.
Install website analytics for your WiX website by clicking here
Wordpress - the most popular CMS in the world
From 0 to 45 $/month
WordPress is more than a website builder that allows users to create a site on predefined templates with drag and drop elements. There is a difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org, the first one being the website builder app and the second one being the elaborate open-source content management system. If you have your own domain and hosting, you can easily install the latter with zero costs.
Wordpress powers 35% of the websites on the internet, according to their marketing claim, and has been one of the top choices for professional web developers and amateurs alike for years.
There are over 55.000 Wordpress plugins and thousands of Wordpress themes, so there is a wide variety of choices when it comes to improving and personalizing your online presence. Another plus is the incredibly large and active community of Wordpress developers and users. Thanks to this, finding solutions to very specific web design and functionality issues is usually very easy.
But keep in mind that a Wordpress site can be high maintenance at times, as themes and plugins need to be updated constantly. Otherwise, there is some risk of malware and hackers attacking your website through old versions of your themes and plugins, if you don’t install updates with the latest security patches.
Install website analytics for your WordPress website by clicking here.
Squarespace - growing in popularity
From 12 to 46 $/month
Squarespace continues to grow in popularity year after year because of its focus on quality design and creativity. It’s a great website builder for artists of all types, from photographers to designers and chefs, but also for small businesses and shops alike.
It has free web hosting and a great set of built-in marketing tools such as advanced email marketing campaigns, SEO and social media integrations. Our personal favorite is the Instagram integration, that allows users to shop from a website directly through Instagram.
With Squarespace, no coding skills are needed, one can build perfectly functional and good looking web pages without knowing any HTML. Just like Winona Ryder seems to have done in order to promote the sale of a photo album about her hometown: welcometowinona.com.
Shopify - probably the most user-friendly e-commerce platform
From 29 to 299 $/month
Shopify is, without a doubt, one of the best web platforms for creating an online store. This ecommerce website builder is known for its ease of use, intuitive design, and numerous marketing features.
A Shopify store can be connected to social media channels and multiple markets such as Amazon and eBay. This makes selling your products not limited to your website, as you will have multiple channels connected between them, all working through the same inventory system.
Not the cheapest option out there, considering that you will also pay transaction fees to Shopify, but with the user-friendly builder and the advanced inventory management system one might say that it’s worth paying a bit more.
Weebly - "easiest way to build a website"
From 0 to 38 $/month
Weebly is a user-friendly, drag and drop type of web page builder, with responsive themes.
The free version of Weebly is an accessible way of building a nice looking site for a hobby or even a small business. The Weebly app center has multiple addons for social media, traffic boosting, e-commerce and a lot more.
Unlike other website builders for beginners, Weebly has an optional code editor, so if you are familiar with HTML your site can also be personalized through code.
Pricing plans include web hosting and technical maintenance along with security upgrades, while domains can be bought separately from Weebly starting at 12 $/year.
Constant Contact - Intuitive Website Building
From 0 to 20 $/month
Primarily known as an e-mail marketing tool, Constant Contact also has a web builder. If you have absolutely zero experience in creating a website, Constant Contact can be quite an asset. It is an artificial intelligence-powered software that makes building a website an intuitive process. No coding skills are needed to create a functional and visually pleasant website.
It even has a free version with unlimited storage, social media integration, support, and SSL. The only catch is that it charges a 3% commission per sale if you have an online store. The free version just might do for some, but if you decide to go for a yearly paid plan you will get a free domain, so the upgrade will be well worth it.
The Constant Contact email marketing and store management tools will help you improve your online presence without too much effort.
Bitrix24 - web building meets CRM
From 0 to 159 $/month
Bitrix24 is more than just a website builder, it is a complete and powerful CRM tool used by enterprises worldwide.
Building a website on Bitrix24 is free for small businesses. This freemium version comes with a lot of built-in functionalities such as email marketing, product catalogs for online shops, forms, customer relationship management system, social media marketing automation, and live chat.
Bitrix24 websites also come with free web hosting and an unlimited number of webpages and bandwidth allocation. The block-based editor is responsive and easy to use. And all the information that is filled in the website forms or on the support chat by the user/visitor is automatically transferred in the CRM system, and it can later be used for lead generation and sales.
The Bitrix24 website builder is still in its beta version with many new features soon to be added. Overall the Bitrix24 site builder is good quality and definitely worth trying. See more about it in this very detailed video.
GoDaddy - from hosting service to website builder
From 10 to 25 $/month
GoDaddy used to be known as an industry leader in hosting services, but today, they also offer a fast option for building any type of website or online store.
The entire process begins with the user answering a few questions and, based on the answers, GoDaddy’s ADI (artificial design intelligence) will generate a site in just a few seconds. Afterward, the theme can be chosen, edited and personalized until the final form is achieved.
GoDaddy websites come with an SSL certificate, built-in email marketing, and search engine tools, but the main advances still remain that it’s very user-friendly and quite cheap compared to its competitors.
Drupal - mostly for advanced users
Yes, open-source does mean that it is free, but the user will still have to pay for the themes and modules (plugins) they add to the website.
Drupal is a flexible content management system on which you can build both web pages and elaborate apps. Web development skills are needed in order to use this platform at its full potential.
Drupal is a powerful and complex tool on which you can build any type of website, from a simple blog or a landing page, to an enterprise worthy web portal or CRM.
Install website analytics on your Drupal website by clicking here.
Joomla - educating users
Joomla is a platform for web developers and at first, it may seem a bit hard to install and manage, but it can have a constant learning curve.
What is special about this open-source platform is that one of its main focuses is to train and educate people on how to use it. Video tutorials make the platform more accessible and the learning process is flexible and free!
Although more limited in number than those of its competitors, Joomla has numerous plugins that make building a website or an online store more malleable.
Install website analytics on your Joomla website by clicking here.
Jimdo - fun website building
From 0 to 39 $/month
Jimdo was created based on the idea that website building should be a fun process, and this makes it a great platform for beginners. It has smart web design features, for example, if you upload a picture or a logo, the colors of the template will change to match with that. This is just one of the many Jimdo design gimmicks, but overall the web pages are easy to modify and adjust to your own personal style.
Jimdo has search engine optimization tools and social media integrations, which is pretty common for most website builders, but it also has a feature that makes it stand out from the crowd. It automatically updates terms and privacy conditions for a website, so the owner doesn’t have to worry anymore about privacy policies and GDPR compliance.
Magento - from CMS to Commerce Cloud
Magento is now part of the Adobe suite and with this merger came a serious facelift for the entire product. Magento is an e-commerce solution used by small businesses, as well as by enterprises worldwide.
It can still be used as an open-source content management system, where you download and install it on your own server for free. But for e-commerce websites with higher sales volumes and more traffic, Magento Commerce & Magento Commerce Cloud are also available. These provide more functionality, cloud hosting and management of the website data. They also come with higher costs.
This platform has numerous built-in solutions that make the store owner’s life a lot easier. It has advanced inventory, payment and shipment management, search engine optimization tools, customer service and more than other 5.000 extensions available.
Duda - flexible templates
From 14 to 99 $/month
It might not be the cheapest website builder software out there, but Duda compensates for its pricing with a very wide range of apps and widgets you can add on your web pages(e.g. maps, Facebook comments, pop-ups, etc.).
Duda is a professional tool best suitable for agencies, hosting companies, digital publishers and SaaS platforms.
You can build a website from scratch, using predefined, but flexible templates and you can even add HTML and CSS if you are familiar with coding.
You can begin with a free trial and see how you get accustomed to Duda, but you will most probably fall in love with its easy to use features.
October CMS - good features at low costs
This site builder’s philosophy is "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler".
October CMS is easy to use if you know HTML. Additionally, you can get all the information you need to start building web pages from the developer guidelines available on their site. The October CMS marketplace has numerous themes and plugins to choose from and some of them are free.
The platform itself is also free to use, but if you want premium support you will need to pay an extra fee starting at $97 per month.
Install website analytics for your OctoberCMS website by clicking here.
SiteBuilder - Artificial Design Intelligence
From 4 to 18 $/month
SiteBuilder is powered by artificial intelligence and no coding skills are needed for building a website on this platform. You can use it to build any type of website, including e-commerce.
SiteBuilder has fully customizable layouts and free web hosting, and if you purchase a 2-year plan you will also get a free domain. The email addresses associated with your website (yourname @ yourdomain) are sold separately.
The entire process of creating a website begins with answering a few questions, and depending on the answers, the SiteBuilder ADI (artificial design intelligence) will generate a preview of your site. Afterward, you can easily edit and publish your website.
Webs.com - a free plan for website building available
From 0 to 23 $/month
With Webs, you can build a free website in no time, but keep in mind that this free version comes with a lot of ad banners. Begin by building your free website and then upgrade to a paid plan, and in case you are not happy with it, Webs has a 30-day money-back guarantee policy.
The paid plans include a free custom domain name, unlimited number of pages, mobile-friendly features, search engine optimization tools, social media integration, and email marketing.
Webs has thousands of templates to choose from depending on your industry, and they are fully customizable.
Prestashop - design more than just your online shop
This is another popular website builder for e-commerce. Creating a website on PrestaShop is free, and you don’t need many technical skills to do it. Just like Wordpress, Magento, Drupal, Joomla, OctoberCMS and others, Prestashop can be installed on your server using an auto-installer such as Softaculous. Your hosting provider should have this available or you can ask them to install it for you.
PrestaShop has an impressive marketplace with themes and modules, some of which are free. In addition to all the professional e-commerce features available, there are beautiful templates you can use to design all the other sections of your website, not just the shop. In this marketplace you will find all the tools you need to manage your store, your marketing efforts and to grow your online business altogether.
Webflow - some of the best animation effects for your website
From 12 to 36 $/month
Webflow is a powerful builder for both web pages and apps alike, and it can be used by business owners, marketing teams, freelancers and other professionals.
The editing interface gives you creative freedom over the looks of your web pages, as Webflow claims “updating and adding new content (is) as easy as editing a Google Doc.” With Webflow, you can build very cool animations for your website, from the interactive scroll progress indicator bar, to our personal favorite, the multi-step animation that makes the entire website come together as the user scrolls up or down through elements.
Webflow provides hosting and has easy to use e-commerce and marketing integrations. We recommend checking out the free video courses on their website to see if Webflow is the right tool for you.
Volusion - pay based on sales
From 26 to 299 $/month
Volusion is an online store builder that focuses on quality web design. The first impression is that it’s a bit expensive, but Volusion charges its users depending on the sales they generate in a year and it has no transaction fees. There's a 14-day free trial so you can test it out and only afterward, decide on a paid plan.
Volusion has a limited number of themes, but they are truly stunning: 11 free themes and 34 premium ones, each costing 180$.
This website builder has all the e-commerce features you need for owning a successful online store: CRM, payment processing, inventory, returns management, product display customization, and many more. It also comes with SEO and social media integration and other useful marketing enhancements.
BigCommerce - probably the biggest alternative to Shopify
From 30 to 270 $/month
BigCommerce is a professional choice for building a fast-growing online store.
The content management system is split into two parts, one where you manage the web design and the other where you upload your products in the inventory. This can come in handy when managing discounts and inventory.
The onboarding process is very helpful, the payment and shipping options are diversified and design customization is rather flexible. With elaborate search engine optimization tools and advanced built-in sales features, BigCommerce is designed to grow your business constantly, and we think that is worth paying an extra dollar for.
OpenCart - one of the oldest e-commerce platforms out there
OpenCart has been around since 1998, which is a statement of its value. It's one of the best e-commerce website builders and it’s used both by corporations and small business owners. Just like the other open-source builders mentioned before, OpenCart is free to download and manage, you only have to pay for the modules and themes that you install on your site.
The OpenCart marketplace has over 13.000 themes and extensions available and their numbers are growing rapidly. It has advanced payment and shipping integrations and built-in SEO and sales tools.
Not necessarily a tool for beginners, but with a little time on your hands and support from the vast OpenCart community on forums, or directly from their technical team, OpenCart can help you efficiently scale your online business.
As you can see, there are quite a few things that need to be taken into consideration when deciding on which platform to create a website. From our point of view, the most important ones are the budget, the level of technical experience needed and the flexibility of the website builder.
Before making a decision, you can try out a few platforms, especially the ones that come with a free trial and see which one is best for you. Some of them might seem overwhelming to use if you have no coding skills, and in this case, it’s recommended to hire a professional. But even if you are determined to create a website on your own, with no development background whatsoever, there are still many available options out there at a reasonable price.
Once your website is up and running, you should also check out some tools for improving your site and your business and a few ways of promoting your website for free. Also don’t forget to add analytics to your website, in order to keep track of how many visitors you have, where they land, where they drop off and, in general, how they use your website !
Did we overlook any relevant website builders? We know there are plenty more to choose from. Use the comments to tell us about what you enjoy to use.