Top 10 DIY website builders for small businesses
There used to be a time when building your own website was something you outsourced to a specialist. But these days, whether you know your Ruby from your Python or not, a great-looking site can be completed in the space of an afternoon.
As a self-employed person, it’s become ever more important to make sure that you have a visible presence online. A quick Google search is often the entry point for any organisation looking for a self-employed professional, so it pays to put the time in.
There are a vast array of free website builders out there, but the difference in ease of use and quality varies dramatically. Take a look below for our ten preferred options (in no particular order).
Wix – One of the best and most well-known free website builders on the market. Wix ticks a number of boxes – it’s easy-to-use, has an advanced drag and drop editor, and an enormous portfolio of professional looking templates to choose from.
Although the website will be limited to 500MB storage space and 1G bandwidth, that’s more than enough for most users. You’ll also have in-built Google Analytics and customer support that’s second-to-none.
WebNode – Another heavy hitter. With almost 30 million customers, WebNode is a universally popular choice. WebNode is notable for supporting an array of online features including e-stores, blogs, and portfolios.
With an excellent in-house editing suite it’s possible to create a mobile-friendly website in well under an hour. Another bonus – even the free package on WebNode is designed to be totally pop-up and ad-free.
Weebly – With a smooth drag and drop interface and integrated CMS solutions Weebly offers a quick, clean, and simple way to build your website (there’s even the option to use hand-coded HTML files if you’d prefer to build your website the ‘old-fashioned’ way.)
Unlike some competitors Weebly is compatible with every device and platform, making it one of the most versatile and malleable options available to the self-employed professional. The free plan also offers unlimited bandwidth and a free cloud backup facility – perfect for beginners.
Bookmark – An interesting alternative. Bookmark is a cloud-based website builder driven by artificial intelligence – in this case a design assistant called AiDA. Like many of its competitors, Bookmark offers SEO and analytics tools, alongside CRM solutions and a number of plug-ins.
You’re able to choose from 19 pre-existing themes and professional templates, using the dashboard and in-house editor to assist you. Social network integration is also a breeze, enabling you to widen your customer base with little fuss. It’s worth noting that the free version of Bookmark has a few restrictions (such as only being able to create 10 web pages under a single domain) but nothing that will get in the way of creating a professional online portal for your work.
Sitey – Sitey is a great choice if you want to get creative, with an interactive and responsive drag and drop interface featuring an impressive number of editing tools. Sitey manages to mix aesthetics and usability well – an impressive feat compared to some of the other web building options out there.
The editing system is intuitive and easy to pick up, and the vast assortment of templates and designs only enhances the appeal. All templates are designed with device adaptability in mind, meaning your site will work just as well on a mobile or tablet as it does on a desktop or a laptop.
Webs – A perfect example of WYSIWYG software when it comes to website creation. On Webs everything is controlled and customised by the user, allowing you to create your website simply by editing a template and uploading content. It really is that easy.
With all of the functionality offered by its competitors (Google Analytics, social network integration, email marketing etc.), Webs’ point and click system allows you to be a build a powerful website within a matter of minutes.
Ucraft – Ucraft utilises a block-based framework, allowing you to build your website by stacking blocks vertically on top of each other. If you’ve got a more creative eye with a focus on detail and aesthetics then Ucraft is probably the perfect web builder for you.
With a platform that allows you to build blogs, portfolios, forms, and e-stores, as well as all the usual integrations, Ucraft doesn’t lack for options. Unlike some of the other names on this list it’s a relatively new addition to a crowded marketplace, but has already made quite a name for itself among web developers and other professionals.
Jimdo – One of the bigger names in the web building arena, Jimdo offers a nice equilibrium between creative and professional features. Unlike some of its competitors, Jimdo is multi-lingual. It also gives you the chance to tweak the HTML and CSS source files if you have the skillset to do so.
If you’re looking to grow your business relatively quickly, Jimdo is an excellent option for you. The company has also released Android and iOS apps which allow you to update and edit your site from your phone.
WebStarts – The best option if you’re an absolute beginner when it comes to building your first website. Starting with a blank canvas, all you have to do is drag and drop your content elements onto your chosen template. In doing so you’re able to see exactly how your content will look as you continue to design your website.
Anything you build on WebStarts is visible and easily accessible on all devices, and its free package comes with a number of enviable benefits – free hosting, domain registration, unlimited bandwidth, wide storage space, and cloud backup to name a few.
IM Creator – Of all the options on this list, IM Creator is the most state-of-the-art. With over 11 million sites built using its platform, it’s certainly well-regarded. Thanks to its simple point-and-click interface, you don’t have to rely on complex coding or special software skills to put your site together.
IM Creator is a cost-efficient option if you’re just starting out, with unlimited web hosting and domain services. It also contains a unique XPRS feature which helps you build your site using readymade blocks which fit together seamlessly, allowing for an impressive final product.
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