Let’s start with some questions about your website.
- What do you need your website to do for you? Do you need to do ecommerce? Publish an online course? Set up a membership site? Display a photography or video portfolio?
- Do you plan to maintain or update the site in-house? If you’re maintaining your own website, how comfortable are you with HTML/CSS? Do you prefer a drag-and-drop interface? Do multiple people need access to your site for content publishing?
Your site needs are going to be a major factor in which website builder is the best for you. Read on:
WordPress is still the leader in website builders, and we use it a lot. And since the debut of their drag-and-drop builder Gutenberg, WordPress is frankly a lot more accessible to folks without a lot of website experience. We like it for the sheer depth of themes, tools, and plugins available– with the right combination, you can make a website that pretty much does anything. WordPress also offers WooCommerce and a Shopify integration, making it an appealing option for ecommerce needs. WordPress is a slightly larger learning curve than any of the other platforms- but that learning can really pay off with a robust, unique, well-designed site.
We’re going to be honest: Squarespace produces gorgeous, modern websites, right out of the box, and it’s also one of our picks for client sites. If your business uses or relies on large, high-resolution imagery, Squarespace might be the right choice for you (we’re thinking photographers, fashion, art and design, and eye-catching personal brand websites). The interface is reasonably user-friendly, and a person can make good use of colors and fonts to differentiate their site from their included themes. However, if you want to seriously customize one of their themes, you’re going to need to be able to work with CSS.
We’ve used Wix in the past for our own website, and for client sites. It’s highly customizable, and has a true drag-and-drop style builder which is very approachable for people without much web design experience. And it has a pretty deep selection of themes. While it does have mobile responsive design, you might have to spend a lot of time getting the elements to show up in the order or arrangement. We also don’t love the way they handle video on the site. Wix might be a good fit for a business who doesn’t need a lot of ecommerce or video functionality; best for service-based, small retail, or B2B businesses.
Weebly wasn’t our first (or even second) port of call for a website builder for a long time. However, since their 2018 acquisition by Square, they’ve significantly upped their game. Now they boast attractive, contemporary theme designs, a drag-and-drop builder, and Square integration, making them a competitive option for ecommerce and online store sites.
You might have noticed that we didn’t mention SEO in any of these. Typically, WordPress has been regarded as the SEO winner. However, that might be changing. Ahrefsblog reports here on Wix SEO vs. WordPress: 6.4MDomains Studied to the tune that the SEO leader is more inconclusive these days. If you’re a site that relies heavily on organic traffic, then WordPress is probably your best bet. But for a multitude of other industries, from ecommerce to B2B services, you’ll probably do just fine with another platform as long as you have a healthy digital strategy in place.