Options maker review
Think of them as the minimum you need to get Google to notice you. From there you will need links and quality content to outperform your competitors. I explain this more in my Guide to Making a Great Website. For many years Google had two indexes: The desktop index was served to desktop users and the mobile index was served to mobile users. But that's all changed. In March , Google announced that a mobile-first index was being rolled out. This means that the mobile index is now Google's primary index— so how you're site works on mobile will effect how your desktop site ranks.
That's why it's critical that your website builder offer mobile-friendly themes. Fortunately most website builders do— but a few still do not. My website builder reviews always cover this.
Every page has a meta title and description. They are what make up the core of your Google result:. Putting your keyword in a meta title can help you rank for it. Putting your keyword in your meta descriptions won't really help you rank— though a well-written meta description can increase your chances of getting click on. Almost all website builders offer let you customize your meta title and description— but because it's so critical, it's worth making sure that it's easy to do.
Having an SSL certificate is what gives websites the secure icon in a browser and adds an 's' to the http making it https. In Google announced SSL as a ranking signal. And when Google explicitly suggests something is a ranking signal, it's usually good to implement it. Most website builders include SSL in paid plans— though some do not, so it's a good idea to check before you buy. Google has announced that site speed is a signal they use to rank pages.
Because website builders handle millions of websites, they tend to have the architecture necessary to have your website optimized for performance— especially the major website builders such as Weebly , Squarespace and Wix which host millions of websites.
One page websites have become extremely popular. Designing for one-page can seem counter-intuitive. Rather than stuffing your website full of content, you actually have to limit your content.
But the truth is, visitors don't want to read a book when they come to your website anyways. Instead visitors want quick access to clear information. Strikingly is the best one-page website builder that I've tried. OnePager is another one-page website builder. I wouldn't recommend it my review explains why. I've also heard really good things about Carrd — though I have not had a chance to review it yet.
You can build one-page website with website builders such as Wix , but the interface on website builders such as Strikingly are much simpler because they are designed purely for one-page websites. Landing pages are pages designed to generate leads— newsletter signups, app downloads, sales, signups and more. People often use landing page builders as a marketing tool or as a way to generate interest before launching a full site. There are about popular landing page builders. I talked to real-life users of each of these landing page builders to write an in-depth guide to landing page builders.
I did a deep dive on the best free website builders here. I also put all together in a popular Youtube video. In the end, I recommend Ucraft's free plan because it allows custom domain names. I recommend Weebly for those looking for an easy to use website builder. Weebly manages to keep everything simple without ever watering down features. It's what I'd recommend to anyone who doesn't feel tech-savvy. Strikingly is a good runner up. It's really easy to use and best suited for making one-page websites.
Snappages and uKit deserve honorable mentions. Both are easy to use. Vistaprint is also quite easy to use but too simple Vistaprint is easy to use to a fault.
Wix and Squarespace are two website builders that I give high ratings to but wouldn't suggest if you are looking for easy to use. Both have a steeper learning curve than Weebly. Most website builders require you to choose a theme— but a few let you build your own theme from scratch. In my feature comparison table I show which website builders you let design a website from scratch— and there are a handful.
Of those I would recommend Wix. Wix is an excellent, highly customizable website builder. It can be a bit overwhelming with the amount of options it provides— but that's exactly what you want if you're designing a theme from scratch.
You might also want consider front-end design tools such as Webflow , Pagecloud and Froont. These are most sophisticated than website builders but are really powerful tools that let you design a website from scratch without coding experience.
I built a tool that helps you answer this question quickly. The price comparison calculator compares plans from every website builder I review.
It helps you calculate the real price of each website builder. Just clear pricing over time. It also takes into account the price of domain names. My price comparison table lets you find the cheapest website builder. The reason I built the price comparison calculator is that some website builders aren't transparent with their pricing. If a price seems too good to be true it's probably an introductory rate that increases after the first year or first month.
Now most website builders have transparent pricing— and I make it very clear in each of my website builder reviews if they have shady billing practices. So you don't need to worry if you check the review first. Squarespace is the only website builder that let's you syndicate a podcast— which is required for submitting to iTunes. There are third-party podcast companies such as Podomatic that integrate with website builders such as Weebly but I have not tried them before.
Voog has the best support for a website with multiple languages— but strangely they don't advertise their multilingual features very clearly. Basically Voog websites with multiple languages have a flag icon.
Users click the flag to change the language. Each language represents a completely different version of the website. There are no automatic computer translations people who've actually had to build multi-lingual websites know that you can't just automate translation! You manually write each translation for your website.
Voog's multi-lingual support will be super helpful for a small percentage of people. For example, in Canada, multi-lingual websites are a requirement for some organizations French and English. If you're building a pure ecommerce website, you'll probably want to consider a store builder such as Shopify rather than a website builder. Store builders are focussed on ecommerce— so they typically have more advanced, fully-featured ecommerce systems.
As you see in my guide to store builder , Shopify is far and away the best store builder. Now, this is not to say that you shouldn't choose a website builder for an ecommerce website— in the last few years website builders such as Wix , Weebly and Squarespace have aggressively built out strong ecommerce features.
Instead, I'd suggest choosing a website builder for your ecommerce website if you're website needs to do things other than ecommerce. For example, if you also want to have a blog or other content heavy pages. I maintain a feature comparison table of around 40 different website builders— on it I've listed the website builders that offer iOS or Android apps:.
You might think that website builders don't let customers export or move their website because it's a good way to lock them in, but there are actually some very good technical reasons why website builder websites can't be moved. Modern website are more complex than websites in the past. Those assets are optimized, cached and accessed through special content delivery networks among other things to ensure performance.
The reality of disentangling all of this from the website builder and moving into a third party host is that it's messy and would require a level of technical competence that most users of website builders don't have. If this is a problem for you, I'd suggest going to the next level in complexity and checking out a CMS like Wordpress or a front-end design tool such as Webflow. Both are more complex but will let you export and move your website.
You can register a domain name through most website builders and web hosts but you may want to consider registering the domain name yourself at a third party domain name provider— that way you are in control of your domain name no matter what.
It's a question of trade-offs. Registering the domain name provider at a 3rd party is a bit of a technical hurdle but it means that you always have control of the domain name. Strong features, just difficult to use. For those who want "Photoshop for websites. Basic editor with outdated themes. Easy to use, though limited. Simple website editor that can get confusing at times. Simple one page websites. Too simple to recommend. Don't bother, they've given up. No web fonts, no mobile website and old themes.
Terrible mobile themes and an outdated user experience. Single-element pages make for a poor user experience. Avoid— Virb is not being maintained. No longer actively maintained. I did a deep dive on the best free website builders here. I recommend Ucraft's free plan because it allows custom domain names. Most website builders include an advertisement on free websites and some offer very long, free subdomains. Squarespace is the only website builder that let's you syndicate a podcast— which is required for submitting to iTunes.
My work is supported by earning an affiliate commission when readers choose a website builder based on my reviews. I do not use a website builder for Site Builder Report. Instead I designed it myself and coded it in Ruby on Rails— a popular programming framework.
I do use Squarespace for my band's website though. I hear great things about Webflow. Most people know Wordpress as Wordpress. I don't review it because it's not a website builder. I do review Wordpress. Wordpress is a good option for building a website— the key is to know when to use it instead of a website builder.
I wrote a blog post about this here.