Every business has different goals, objectives and budgets for building their website, which directly impacts whether or not a website builder is best for their company. Website builders are most popular with entrepreneurs and small businesses, who are typically building their website for the first time on very limited budgets, and have simple needs for functionality and design. They are a great tool for establishing a basic web presence, and can sometimes be a good temporary approach until a company is ready for a more custom designed website in the future.
When using a website builder, it is important to recognize that setup and maintenance may not be as intuitive as advertised, design options can be limited and the total amount of time needed for building and maintaining the website may be greater than anticipated. Overall, website builders are a great jumping off point for businesses who are budget conscious and only need simple website functionality, before they fully invest in building a larger brand presence through custom design.
We did a little research on several of the most popular website builders (listed below) and evaluated the top pros and cons for each of them.
With over 67 million websites powered by Wix, it’s a very trusted option with good looking, professional templates for small or mid-sized businesses. Overall it seems like a good tool if you don’t need much custom styling, because it could be hard to find one that closely matches your brand. This web builder also enables you to collaborate on your website with people in other locations.
- Over 500+ templates (with responsive design built-in)
- Free plan option
- Easy to use with good collaboration tools
- Good tech support
- Templates look cookie-cutter
- Advertisements on the free version
- SEO tools are not intuitive
- Not flexible for large-scale e-commerce
- We’ve seen some very slow loading sites built on Wix
You may have seen the commercials and advertising from SquareSpace over the last year or so, building excitement for their web creation tool. SquareSpace could be a good option if you want an aesthetically pleasing site since it allows quite a bit of control over stylings like fonts, colors and layout, but has quite a few limitations when it comes to functionality.
- Good looking templates (with responsive design built-in)
- Great style/design flexibility
- Ability to change templates
- Limited number of templates available
- Editing your website can be fussy, requiring trial and error
- Restricted functionality and customization
GoDaddy is the world’s largest domain registrar, and they also happen to have a website builder. This is an overall affordable, easy to use tool—if you don’t mind frequent attempts to upsell you on other services. And, if your website’s appearance on mobile is important (and a lot of people use their phones to browse the internet), this might not be the best option, because the responsive display is pretty basic.
- Ability to create backups/restore
- SEO help included in select plans
- Very basic responsive display
- Outdated template designs
- SEO tool add-ons may rely on inaccurate data
- No free trial available
The Grid claims to be the first artificial intelligence (AI) platform that creates websites for you. You simply upload your content and images, and it will create a website in minutes. No, we’re not making this up. It’s not open to the public yet, but founding members who have pre-ordered have been getting beta access in waves since June 2015.
Stay tuned for a list of pros and cons once it’s open to the public!
For further information on website builders, check out this comparison chart .
So How Can You Get an Affordable High-Quality Website?
While website builders can be a great fit for businesses just starting out on limited budgets, sometimes custom web design can be a better fit, and more cost-effective than previously thought. Custom web design allows you to elevate your brand exactly as you envisioned, aligning perfectly with your brand and providing advanced functionality to your audience. When building custom designed sites, Windmill acts as your partner, making recommendations for organization, visuals and functionality, and developing your website from top to bottom.
If you’re not ready for a fully custom designed website yet, we created a middle option, the Windmill Blade Site, especially for businesses who need a high quality presence for their brand, without a large budget. This approach includes custom visual design built upon a common, transparent framework. More powerful and scalable than a website builder or template, this option provides full visual customization, responsive design and a lead generation form, in a small, content-driven website. Powered by WordPress, the Windmill Blade Site provides a simple, yet professional, branded website that can grow as your company grows. With this option, you will have access to making changes to your own site, plus the personal training from our team on how to keep your site updated and engaging to the people who will buy your products or services. Contact us to talk about how this option can be scalable, powerful, and tailored to your business goals.