Year: 2019

eCommerce plans

How to choose the most appropriate website builder

First of all, we recommend you to think about your future site and note down what you expect to see there.  Do you want a blog section? Photo gallery? Online store? Contact section? Create a draft of your site, so to speak, including all features you desire to have on your site. If you are still having doubts about what you want to have on your site, then you should choose any site you like as an example.

The real advantage of all website builders is a “drag-and-drop” function that enables you to create the site you have always dreamt about, managing the website design.  Besides, you have an opportunity to use the trial account and see how this particular website builder functions, and only then to make your final choice.

After that, you’d better ponder your growth options. Are you planning to update your website regularly or just once in a blue moon? Do you really require a blog section? Are you sure that you need a gallery full of pictures? The point is to make sure that the website builder you choose meets all your needs.

All things considered, let’s just get right to the point of our article. Here is an in-depth analysis of the most popular website builders that we managed to carry out:  

1. WordPress

WordPress.org is probably the most popular website builder among users. Research has found that around 34% of all websites on the internet are operated by this platform.

Pay attention that there are two versions of WordPress available. They are self-hosted WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

We decided to put the self-hosted WordPress on the top of our best website builders rating list because it is popular and easy to use.

This platform is free and on top of that, you gain full control over your website in comparison with other platforms we have reviewed so far.

Advantages:

WordPress provides its users with total control of their website. What’s more, this platform can be used to build any type of website, starting from a community forum to a social network.

Another benefit is that you have thousands of pre-made templates available to use while creating your website’s design. Also, you can create your own page layouts, using a “drag-and-drop” function.

Besides, WordPress can be also used if your target is to create a multilingual website as it provides a number of languages you may use while building up your site.

All things considered, this website building platform is almost the cheapest one on the market that gives its users a bunch of different functions.

Disadvantages:

This website builder requires some previous knowledge in the area and it may seem a little bit difficult to operate especially if you are a beginner. But if you are ready to spend some time on learning, then you’ll definitely gain a benefit. Besides, mind you, WordPress always introduces new updates and you should keep up with them.

Prices:

Although this website building platform claims to be a free one, you will still be forced to pay for a domain name, spending around $14.99 per year.  On web hosting, you will spend $7.99 every month.

Luckily for you, you can start a website with Bluehost, an official WordPress hosting provider, paying only $2.75 per month. With this special pricing, WordPress appears to be the cheapest website building platform on our list.

Still we do believe that this site is more suitable for advanced users who have some previous knowledge in the area.

2. Wix

Another quite popular website builder among users is Wix. This platform has proven to be easy to use, extremely fast and highly reliable.

Advantages:

Fortunately, this platform is totally hosted and as a result, you are not supposed to pay for hosting. This website builder is famous for its one of the biggest collections of site templates, and you can use them for free. Moreover, you are can apply template editing. And using a “drag-and-drop” function, you are capable of introducing changes into your website design.

Besides, there are a great number of apps, both free and paid, that you can install on your website. Using these apps, you can add new features to your website.

This website builder also offers a free plan but with limited bandwidth and storage. Still, we recommend you to use this plan just to test this platform and decide if you like it or not. But if you want to keep your website, surely you need a domain name that is not free.  

Disadvantages:

The most essential disadvantage that we came across is that all Wix branded ads will be shown on your website. You may find it quite annoying and will definitely want to remove them. To do so, you are supposed to upgrade to the combo or unlimited plan they offer to their users.

By the way, it is not an easy thing to move your site away from the Wix once you decided to do it. Just be ready to spend some time to accomplish this task.

Also, there’s no live chat available but you can use a phone support service that is 24/7 available.

Even though you may start the Connect Domain plan they offer for $9.16 per month, you will have only a custom domain name at your disposal. If you want to get your own domain name, you have to pay for it separately.

Prices:

This website building platform offers rather cheap plans starting from $20 per month. Surprisingly, these plans provide users almost with all possible options you will need.

If you want to get a special range of features and a free domain name, you can start the combo plan they have costing around $14.95 per month. The eCommerce plan costs $26.25 per month.

What’s more, this website builder has a number of long-term discounts on offer. We assure you that you will definitely gain a benefit if you decide to prepay a bit. For instance, we decided to choose the annual plan and got a free domain just for $132.00. In fact, if you buy plans designed for more than a two-year time period, you will save around $216. Sounds great, don’t you think?

3. Gator by HostGator

Gator is the last word among a great range of website building platforms.  It was created by HostGator which is one the most popular web hosting provider in the world. It is a perfect option for small businesses as this website builder provides its users with both website building and hosting solutions.

Advantages:

Taking into consideration that Gator is a fully hosted platform, it is essential that you shouldn’t be anxious about the updates or backups.

This website builder offers more than 200 professional up-to-date templates you can use while designing your site. We are sure you won’t be able to find sites with more design options to choose from.

On top of that, you are capable of modifying them due to a “drag-and-drop” function available. This means you can add items like pictures, videos, music player, photo gallery, maps, and contact forms without too much difficulty.

The greatest advantage out of all possible is that its plans also include a free custom domain name for your website. And if you start the eCommerce plan, you will get a chance to set up an online store and therefore to sell your products online using your site.

What’s more, due to the fact that you pay for using this website building platform, there are no ads shown on your brand new website.

Disadvantages:

Out of all website builders we have reviewed so far and included in this list, Gator is probably the one that doesn’t provide its users with a free plan. It means that there is no free trial at all.

Also, you can’t engage web developer services in order to modify your website design or add new features to it like using any other website building platform.

Prices:

As we have already mentioned, there are only paid plans available for this website builder user. They start from $3.84 per month. For a premium plan, you are supposed to pay $5.99 per month. And the eCommerce plan will cost you $9.22. Our research has shown that Gator is one of the cheapest website builders on the list for sure.

In general, we have come to the conclusion that this website building platform is a perfect match for creating a small business website, as a store with limited items. If your aim is to set up an elaborate restaurant site, for instance, rather than an ordinary personal blog, then we recommend you to use a more powerful website building platform, like WordPress.

4. BigCommerce

From our perspective, BigCommerce is the best eCommerce website builder available on the market. It is definitely the best choice for those individuals who are aiming at an online store creation. It has all the possible features you want to use for the site setup.

Advantages:

The first thing we should mention is that you mustn’t be anxious about website speed, security and updates as BigCommerce is a fully hosted eCommerce platform. The point is no matter how much traffic you get, your site will be always fast and secure. You are not supposed to concentrate that much on some technical issues since they do it for you. As a result, it enables you to focus your attention only on your business.

Another thing is that this website building platform collaborates with all payment gateways popular among users, such as Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, Square, Amazon Pay, Visa Checkout, Chase Pay, Ayden, etc. On top of that, when you use these payment gateways, you do not have to pay a transaction fee as BigCommerce doesn’t charge it as many other website builders do. You can start with one of their pre-made website templates and customize it to match your needs using their easy drag & drop website builder.

Besides, they have a range of different built-in features that help to manage conversion rate optimization, such as cart abandonment, improved product search, product reviews, coupons, and so on.

And last but not least, they have an impressive dashboard that shows all the metrics. This helps you to grow your business with confidence.

Disadvantages:

You will definitely find this website building platform pricing just a bit higher than other website builders on our list.

By the way, keep in mind that BigCommerce is a proprietary platform, so it requires a lot of effort to migrate away from it.

Prices:

This website builder offers a 15-day free trial for all its plans. Their basic plans cost $29.95 per month, and you get practically all the vital features that you need to set up your site. If you want to have additional conversion optimization features at your disposal, you are welcome to start the plus plan costing $79.95 per month. If you are interested in obtaining all the advanced features they offer, you can start a pro plan that costs $249.95 per month.

But the most fascinating thing about this website building platform is that it is integrated with WordPress. It is a great benefit for those who are willing to test the unique combination of the flexibility that WordPress provides and the power that BigCommerce has.

5. Shopify

Shopify is also quite a popular eCommerce website builder that can be used for online store and eCommerce website setup. We have estimated that nearly half a million businesses use this website building platform to operate their sites. It has approximately a million active users. That’s why it is considered to be the most popular platform for online shops creation.

Advantages:

Shopify as well as BigCommence is a fully hosted platform, so you mustn’t be anxious about managing software, installing updates, or keeping backups. This platform is here to do all of that for its users.

It also offers an integrated payment gateway called Shopify Payments with no fee charged.

Shopify, being an eCommerce website builder, offers its users proper management, unlimited products, powerful stats, easy marketing solutions, etc. It provides an enormous range of design templates you can choose from, and besides, it is not required to add any code.

We can assure you that it is an easy task to create an eCommerce store using this platform as it has a “drag and drops” feature available. Also, it has an in-store POS. This means you get enabled to sell products in your area and meanwhile accept all credit cards, enjoying all management tools that Shopify offers.

Besides, Shopify can be integrated with WordPress which gives you a chance to gain a benefit from using two powerful website building platforms at the same time.

Disadvantages:

Just as in the case with BigCommerce, Shopify’s pricing policy may seem a little bit higher than of other website builders we have viewed.

Mind you, if you ever need to move your site away from this platform, you will have to make quite a considerable effort.

Prices:

This website builder basic plan cost $29 per month. You can also get it upgraded by paying $79 per month or starting an Advanced Shopify for $299 per month. Still, for beginners, it offers a Shopify Lite plan that costs $9 per month but only allows its users to add a buy button on any website they need.

6. Weebly

From our perspective, Weebly is quite an easy website building platform to use that provides its users with a considerable range of great design templates. Surprisingly, you are not required to possess any coding skills to edit your site.

Advantages:

Due to the fact that Weebly is a fully hosted platform, you are not supposed to install and eventually manage any software. They are responsible for hosting your website and managing all the software.

This website builder offers its users an impressive variety of website design templates you can use as the starting point for your website. They are conveniently sorted out by type. What’s more, thanks to Weebly’s live page editor, they are fully editable.

For eCommerce, a drag-and-drop function is included. In fact, the intuitive editor has proved to be the greatest feature we have tested so far. Thanks to it, we managed to build up a website within a few hours.

Also, it has built-in support for eCommerce that enables you to create an online store easily and start selling goods as soon as possible.

Besides, the Weebly platform provides special options like adding contact forms, photo galleries, sliders, etc. And you can do it without any considerable effort.

Disadvantages:

As we have already mentioned, Weebly is a fully hosted platform so take into account that you get only those features that they have on offer. This means that you simply cannot engage a developer or designer services if you are willing to add new features to your website.

Besides, whenever the purchase is made through your online store, Weebly will charge a 3% fee for this transaction. If you want to avoid this additional fee, you are supposed to start their business plan.

Prices:

This website building platform offers a very basic free plan starting from $8 per month and further billed annually. They also have a pro plan that will cost you $12 per month, and for their business plan, you will have to pay $25 per month.

Although they do have free plans, they are quite limited as you are allowed to test it only for a short period of time before actually buying it.  This website builder platform provides a 15-day free trial.

7. Squarespace

Squarespace is considered to have the greatest options for web design available on the market. It is a fully hosted website builder popular with photographers.

Advantages:

This website builder has an enterprise-grade infrastructure for hosting your website. It appears to be a secure platform allowing its users to focus directly on their own business without feeling uncertain about hosting issues.

Squarespace has proven to possess the greatest collection of website designs for you to use. It has more than 200 amazing design templates. Moreover, all of them are totally suitable for all possible types of websites. Besides, they are fully editable, and you can use numerous templates for the same website at the same time.

Taking into consideration all its options available, it is still an easy-to-use platform that allows customizing things just within a few seconds. For example, you can easily add content to your personal site just by pointing anywhere on your website and starting typing afterwards. Besides, our favourite “drag and drop” function is available here too, so you are enabled to create your own layouts just in a few minutes.

This platform builder has also an eCommerce plan. This means you can add an online store to your website. They offer you a nice interface to manage your products, inventory, orders, coupon discounts, and many other features that you will definitely find quite useful.

Disadvantages:

The most obvious disadvantage is their pricing policy which is truly high. For example, an ordinary website can cost around $12-18 per month. If you want to receive some top-quality features, you will have to pay around $40 per month. What’s more, email accounts are not included in the price, and you will have to pay an extra $5 per month for each

Besides, its eCommerce plans only allow certain payment gateways, such as Stripe, Apple Pay, and PayPal for carrying out transactions.

Prices:

As we have already discussed, Squarespace websites start from $12 per month. And keeping an online store will cost you from $26 to $40 per month.

eCommerce plans, Website Builders

Which website builder to choose then?

Having reviewed so many website builders so far, we have come to the conclusion that WordPress is the best platform to use these days because of its flexibility, simplicity and pricing policy.

We think that this website builder is an excellent choice for newcomers in the area as well as for the business website setup. Interestingly, many of the world’s top brand websites are powered by WordPress.

All in all, if you are willing to create your personal website without much effort, then you’d better use WordPress. But if you need to build up an online store, then you are to start with BigCommerce. It is believed to be the best eCommerce website builder as it provides its users with all possible features and has moderate prices.

We also recommend you to use Wix or Gator. Although Wix offers a limited free plan, you can start their premium plans and get a considerable variety of advanced features. Gator is the perfect match for small businesses or those individuals who are total newcomers in this sphere.