The Best Website Builder

The Best Website Builder

We should know: We’ve built some of our own business sites with website builders. Every one of our picks for the best website builders will help you get your site up beautifully and simply: Wix Best for: Automating the tough choices Squarespace Best for: Beautifully designed templates Ucraft Best for: Building a one-page site for free Onepager Best for: Quick set-up What we look for in a website builder Ease of use: everything’s all in one place, and it lets you get on with your real business. —Why AI is the best tool to help build your next website, TechRadar To start, click create site. From there, the AI will help you build your website. It’s easy to see how soon most websites that are created use AI in some way. Ucraft Quicksprout Pick Best for: Building a one-page site for free Paid plans start at $6 / month (billed annually) Free trial period: 14 days Sign up We love the free Landing Page option from Ucraft: create a single, mobile-ready page and connect your domain for free. Onepager Quicksprout Pick Best for: Quick set-up Paid plans start at $8 / month (billed annually) Free trial period: Unlimited free editing; simply pay when you publish Sign up We were so surprised to name Onepager a top pick. We didn’t love that we needed to sign up to see the templates, that most of the templates are very similar, and you’re extremely limited in editing the templates. But, this is a feature Wix, Squarespace, and others also offer. Recap: The best website builders Ucraft Best for building a one-page site for free Onepager Best for quick set-up

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The best thing about using a website builder is knowing that, in a world where an online presence is absolutely mandatory, the technical proficiency to build and publish that presence isn’t.

Sure, you can sign up for web hosting, implement a template, and launch your own WordPress website. But there is an easier way. We should know: We’ve built some of our own business sites with website builders. It’s easy, fast, and unobtrusive to use an all-in-one tool.

Every one of our picks for the best website builders will help you get your site up beautifully and simply:

  • Wix
    Best for: Automating the tough choices
  • Squarespace
    Best for: Beautifully designed templates
  • Ucraft
    Best for: Building a one-page site for free
  • Onepager
    Best for: Quick set-up

What we look for in a website builder

  • Ease of use: everything’s all in one place, and it lets you get on with your real business. No technical proficiency required. No need for a designer or other outside help.
  • A beautiful final product: a professional, well-designed website that reflects your business.
  • Customer support: It’s there if you need it, but everything is intuitive enough that you don’t feel like you do.

We also ask questions in 5 key areas

  1. Style and templates
    What do the templates look like?
    How customizable are those templates?
  2. Usability
    How easy it is to get started?
    Or, how long does it take to build a nice looking site?
  3. Ecommerce and business needs
    Can I sell things on my site?
    Can I add a menu?
    A form?
    A map?
    Reservations?
  4. Pricing
    How much does it cost?
    Which tier should I start on and when will I need to upgrade?
    If it’s free, what’s the trade-off?
  5. Domains, emails, and other bonuses
    Does it come with a free domain?
    Does it come with email addresses?
    Any other extras I should be looking for?

Our top picks for the best website builder

Wix

  • Quicksprout Pick
  • Best for: Automating the tough choices
  • Paid plans start at $11 / month (billed annually)
  • Free trial period: 14 days
  • Sign up

It’s easy to choose Wix as a website builder. It truly takes on the name. Wix’s artificial intelligence asks you a few questions and literally builds your website before your eyes — unique color palette, features, and design all in one. It’s the best tool we’ve seen to get a site that matches your vision, even if you don’t know yet how you’d articulate that vision. Honestly, building a site with Wix’s AI felt a little like getting our minds read.

Wix has been at the forefront of this revolution, and is looking to closely combine AI and website building.

Why AI is the best tool to help build your next website, TechRadar

To start, click create site. You’ll be asked a question: What kind of website do you want to create? From there, the AI will help you build your website. (You can opt-out and go it alone at this point, too, but we appreciated the AI’s help.)

Wix artificial intelligence website builder questions
One of the first screens you’ll see when you build a website with Wix.

We loved how easy it was for us to find a template that matched our vision. The AI stayed with us as we edited the page, a little pink square in the bottom (it looks like a chat pop-up) helping us pick the next thing to edit and showing us how to do it. The Wix AI matched our business to its online presence, used our logo to create a color palette for our site, and gave us a template pre-populated with our logo and address. Connecting images from existing social media accounts made it easy to pull in all the assets we already owned.

As AI progresses, it will be harder and harder to know which site was built via AI and which was built via a designer. You can think of it like passing a “design turing test”, i.e. in the future humans will not be able to differential between the two. Then, it’ll have to get innovative. Instead of mimicking what it is learning from what’s created, it will get better and more experimental. It’s easy to see how soon most websites that are created use AI in some way.
—Wix VP & GM of Consumer Experience Nitzan Achsaf told TechRadar

There’s a lot of variety between the Wix themes, and the personality of each theme matches its name well. The Business Advisor had a spot-on graphic of an analytics dashboard, while Astrologer features an astral hero image.

Wix theme template designs for marketing
Some of Wix’s business-centric themes.

Editing your desktop site with Wix requires some patience. To change the text on a text box, you’ll need to hover precisely in the right spot. We did some deep breathing and were able to find enough inner zen to make all the changes we needed. The mobile editor has the serene helpful feel we wish the rest of the editor maintained. It’s super easy to click through the options for how your menu, quick actions, and scroll options work on your mobile page. What you change in the mobile editor doesn’t affect anything that happens on the desktop.

Wix website builder menu overwhelm
Wix’s editor requires patience — and some clicking around.
Wix website builder mobile user interface
We prefer its easier-to-use mobile editor.

Wix does have a free tier, but we don’t recommend it. It has some of the most in-your-face “this was not paid for” company branding we’ve seen — an instant trust breaker. Wix free sites also have one of the most cumbersome domain structures: yourusername.wix.com/sitename so we’d be QuicksproutEditorial.wix.com/Quicksprout. Connecting your actual domain also allows you to attach a Google Analytics profile and add email accounts if you’d like ($5 / account / month, or about half that with an annual plan). Unfortunately, none of this pricing is very upfront. Wix wants you to connect your domain before you see the email pricing, for example. We found answers to pricing questions in the support center, not the user flow.

Take note: all of Wix’s plans are automatically set to auto-renew. Sticker shock is real, especially if you signed up with an introductory promo pricing (at the time of publish, premium plans were a full 50% off, for example). There are many frustrated customers on TrustPilot who’re unhappy with this. It is possible to turn off your auto-renew, but you’ll need to do it more than 14 days before your plan’s anniversary — and if you do it during your 14-day free trial, your trial will be cancelled immediately.

As for which paid plan to pick, you have 7 options: 4 “regular” and 3 “ecommerce.” The difference really boils down to whether you’ll be accepting payments on your site or not. If you’re not sure about how much bandwidth you need, you can always start with a smaller subscription: if you go over the limit, you’ll get a notice from Wix (with no penalty) and use that as your signal to upgrade.

Squarespace

  • Quicksprout Pick
  • Best for: Beautifully designed templates
  • Plans start at $12 / month (billed annually)
  • Free trial period: 14 days (plus an additional 7-day extension)
  • Sign up

“Build something beautiful” is right. There’s no doubt that Squarespace wins the design and beauty contest here. The user interface has a bit of a learning curve and there’s not much of a Squarespace community to help you out, but the page you’ll end up publishing will be phenomenally good-looking.

Squarespace website builder template editor user interface
Squarespace’s templates are all modern and beautiful.

But, building a website with Squarespace can feel a little like building IKEA furniture: in the showroom it’s all so beautiful and simple, but somehow it feels a little more complicated to put together than it promised. It can be hard to understand where exactly you are in the editor. We kept getting notifications that we were editing demo content, or that we would see the social logos once we connected our social media, or that we could unlock this or that feature with a paid subscription, but Squarespace didn’t go the extra step to make it easy to make that required move. It was a lot of fumbling through a beautiful interface, not exactly sure what changes were real, or where to head next. We also had some issues saving changes — an error message popped up and we had to move on, without our changes.

Squarespace website builder editor and page selector
Editing a site in Squarespace has a bit of a learning curve.

Unlike IKEA, Squarespace is pricier than other website builders. That all being said, we love the way sites built with Squarespace look, and think it’s one of the simplest ways to create a beautiful, contemporary site.

Ucraft

  • Quicksprout Pick
  • Best for: Building a one-page site for free
  • Paid plans start at $6 / month (billed annually)
  • Free trial period: 14 days
  • Sign up

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