From the time it first became available, the World Wide Web has always been targeted for the general user base at large. GeoCities, Excite, Squarespace and Lycos were some of the earliest website building software.
In general, website builder tools can be categorized as online tools from hosting companies and offline software which instead run on the desktop. Online tools are in general, used by web hosting providers to help promote their hosting services. Offline tools are provider agnostic and are geared towards giving users the maximum amount of functionality needed.
Here are some of the best website builder software available for Webmasters.
Wix has one of the best free website offerings on the web. With hundreds of HTML templates, building a website is extremely quick and as easy as creating a document in MS Office. Wix provides a ton of advanced features including:
- The ability to revert to older versions of the website through Site history
- Integration with an array of third party services for pulling in components such as your Instagram feed, calendars and other similar plugins
- Supports the creation of a corresponding mobile site
Wix provides site storage of 500 MB under the freemium package. Upgrades to more storage space and bandwidth come along with domain tools for a price ranging from $4-25 per month.
Weebly is among the oldest tools available in the market in terms of template based website building tools. Weebly is fairly limited in terms of customization options, which permits sites to be created very easily. Weebly also provides a good number of advanced features such as the below:
- The ability to add maps
- Ability to add video and audio
- Ability to add ecommerce functionality
- Mobile site functionality and ability to build the site from an iPad app
Unlimited storage is available in the free plan, so long as the size of each file is limited to 10 MB.
Webflow is an advanced website builder tool aimed at professional web designers and companies that need to build fully featured sites for their clients. Webflow gives you the ability to write full featured websites using HTML and CSS, the code for which can be fully customized. These are the prominent features of Webflow:
- The site builder is not tied to a specific CMS. The site built can be carried over to WordPress or other similar CMS platforms.
- Significant number of themes are available to choose from.
- A number of widgets come available as standard, including those for adding maps, social components, videos and maps.
One of the most popular website builders around, WordPress is the leading and the most advanced website platform in the marketplace. The most unique aspect of WordPress is that while it is open source in nature, allowing for a virtually unlimited number of themes, templates and plugins, the functionality it delivers is what you would expect from any fully paid for software. Here are some of its most noteworthy features:
- Mobile optimized templates
- A powerful widget library for functionality ranging from images to comments
- 3 GB of storage space and unlimited bandwidth
The most prominent disadvantage with using WordPress is that it is not quite easy to use and has a steep learning curve.
Tumblr is one of the most basic website builders on the planet. It is fairly simple to use and has only a limited selection of built in libraries and tools. It is the perfect choice if all you are looking to do is to host a barebones webpage or a blog, for instance. Tumblr works just fine for handling images and simple text. It operates in the same space as Blogger, offering similar basic functionality. Below are some of its most prominent features:
- Thousands of themes customizable with HTML and CSS
- Completely free service including hosting and bandwidth
- Tumblr sites can be connected to custom domains for free
Squarespace is one of the most sophisticated website builders in the market. The most amazing part about Squarespace is that for just $8 a month, you get a full blown feature set including a mobile website, 500 GB bandwidth, 2 GB storage, a custom domain, up to 20 pages and 24/7 customer support. These are its key features:
- Step by step tutorials are available for importing pages from external sites
- Squarespace also supports forums and workshops for getting trained on the site’s functionality
The builder has a couple of significant disadvantages in terms of the fact that the mobile experience is not customizable and the platform does not support tools for on-page advertising.
Just like Blogger and Tumblr, Light CMS is a no-frills, simple website builder. These are its most prominent features:
- More than 100 different templates to choose from
- Allows for advanced website customization using HTML, JS and CSS
- Fairly fully built out CMS toolset including tools for calendars, photo galleries, forms and product listings
- Full support for ecommerce based selling tools for both digital and physical goods
- Support for SEO and analytics
One significant disadvantage of Light CMS is that the mobile experience is not customizable.
Voog, earlier Edicy, is a simple website building tool in the class of Blogger and Tumblr. Voog is built on a simple drag and drop based interface, and makes available a few themes to choose from. These are the most significant features of Voog:
- Voog boasts a powerful multilingual component, which allows you to build multiple simultaneous versions of your website for various regions and countries around the globe. This is typically very useful for building international, web based stores. And it costs just USD 9 per month.
- Voog provides for the same price, 2 GB storage and open API access
Jimdo is an elegant website builder with a WYSIWYG editing environment which obviates any need for the user to know any programming languages. These are its critical features:
- Ready templates can be customized using inbuilt editing widgets and tools
- Excellent support for blogging including dynamic blog posts incorporating custom HTML/widgets, Google maps, file download and flash animations
- Full blown ecommerce capability with highly customizable properties including tax, product display, shipping costs, item availability and shipping costs among others
- Automatic optimization for mobile viewing
- URL redirects and basic SEO fixes are supported
While Go Daddy is known for cheap Web hosting, it also has a good website builder software. These are the prominent features of the software:
- Domain registration is included
- No limitation on number of website pages
- Drag and drop based site building
- Mobile site is not included
- No commerce features or blogging tool
- No free account is available