The best website builder of 2018

The best website builder of 2018

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A website builder can help you build anything from a simple single-page site to a professional web store, even if you’ve no design or HTML experience at all. Whether you’re a sole trader or a multinational corporation, just about every business needs an online presence – in other words, a website.

Even if you don’t sell products online a site can help people find you, learn more about your skills and services, and provide a way to share your details with other potential customers. It’s like having a permanent, always-on-call personal assistant, ready to answer queries. And it can even be free

More experienced users can customize and fine-tune the design to suit their own needs, or perhaps install a more traditional web design package that allows them to build the perfect site from scratch.

There are free options, but these often have major restrictions, including limits on the size of the site and the lack of any ability to use your own domain. Fortunately, the commercial options are very reasonably priced, from around £5/$5 to £10/$10 a month, with hosting included.

To help you decide which option is best for your needs, we’ve picked out the cream of the crop: these are the five top players in the website building world right now.

1. Wix

Quick, easy and powerful website creation

Huge range of powerful features

Yet still highly user-friendly

Question marks over support

Wix is one of the most popular online website creators, offering a range of plans and products. The free version has Wix branding, limited storage space (500MB) and bandwidth, but move up to the most popular plan (unlimited) and there’s no Wix ads. You get unlimited bandwidth (hence its name) and 10GB storage, along with a free domain, Google Ad vouchers and much more. The e-commerce plan adds an online store along with 20GB storage for a reasonable $16.50 (£12.30) per month.

An excellent collection of 500 plus templates gets the design process off to a quick start. The drag-and-drop editor gives you all kinds of tools and features to explore – an image editor, video backgrounds, animations, social buttons, an integrated site blog – and just about everything can be tweaked, tuned and restyled.

All the core editing functions are really smartly designed, and operate more like a native app than your average website builder. Wix does have some weaknesses, with tech support seeming a little sluggish and limited in some respects. But there’s no denying that the superb editor and range of top-notch templates make it easy for web building novices to create something impressive.

best web builders

2. 1&1 MyWebsite

A strong all-round offering, but not cheap

Really well-designed editor

Some nifty bonus features

Above average pricing

There’s a lot to like here in terms of a powerful drag-and-drop editor bristling with professional features and highly customizable templates, but at the outset, let’s make it clear that this isn’t the cheapest service around.

There’s no free plan (or indeed trial – although there is a 30-day money-back guarantee), and the most basic plan is priced at $3.75 (£2.99) a month for the first year, rising to $8.75 (£6.99) afterwards. That gives you unlimited pages and web space, a simple integrated blog, limited SEO settings, plus website backup and restore, so it’s a touch pricey for what you get.

That said, 1&1 MyWebsite offers a wide range of responsive templates, and an editor which provides loads of potential adjustments and tweaks, all with plenty of visual feedback and context-sensitive menus to help streamline the whole process. What’s clever here is that the top-level stuff is easy to use and understand for beginners, yet expert users can dive more deeply into the menus to really play around and customize elements.

Other highly useful features include the ability to point to your old website in order to import media content from there straight into your new site. This could be a huge timesaver for some. There’s no e-commerce plan here, but there is a separate 1&1 eShop range for that functionality (although it costs extra, starting at  $12.50 – £9.99 – a month, rising to $27 – £19.99 a month).


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