Building a website has never been easier than it is today. Mention the word ‘Geocities’ to computer users of a certain vintage, and you’ll catch a look of wistfulness or horror; depending if they were visiting Geocities sites or coding them.
In 2023, you don’t need to do as much as learn basic HTML as there’s a host of website builders that can turn ideas into virtual reality with a few clicks of a mouse.
Suppose one is looking to sell products without cutting eBay or Etsy in on the deal, offer expertise in specialist fields online, or have a site showcasing a favorite local sporting club. In that case, there’s a deluge of options out there in the cloud.
So many, perhaps, it’s useful to narrow down which might be best suited to a project. Let’s take a look.
A newcomer that may not be as well known as some of the subsequent software in this list, Webflow is powered by Amazon Web Services. It allows users to build their site free of charge, and will only start billing when they launch.
Webflow sites also have built-in complex SEO tools to rocket a site up search engine rankings. This can be important, say if a site is offering online learning or courses; as our February 2021 article explains, there are a lot of big players in that space, and it can be easy to go unnoticed.
Webflow can be more expensive for eCommerce than its competitors on a subscription basis; however, for fewer and higher value transactions where a transaction fee can be easily absorbed, it’s a powerful platform.
For those who need the simplest of sites – say a site to host family photos or a simple personal page to attach to a resume – Carrd is a useful builder. Dedicated to single-page sites, the free package allows you up to three, with 75 templates to change from.
The paid version (and it’s less than $20 a year at time of writing) enables storage of more HD photos/videos and up to 500 sites.
While it’s less useful for an e-commerce site (unless selling a very limited suite of products), Card facilitates buttons for easy linking to Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, so you can build an online space for the family or part of a package to market yourself.
A guide to the best website builders on Namechk has Wix as their second pick, however, the market has made them by far the most popular choice.
Wix commanded 44% of the simple website builder market in 2022, with 238m Wix sites on the web. Wix’s strengths include an easy drag-and-drop interface; however, it does have bandwidth limitations where more visitors coming to your site may bump you up their pricing plan.
As a result, Wix is becoming more associated with creative rather than commercial projects.
By contrast, Squarespace is quickly becoming the go-to for an easy online retail site builder. Known for its clean templates, the package has been described as ‘the Apple of website builders; intuitive and thoughtfully designed’.
Squarespace allows for advanced features like email marketing and live chat boxes on its sites – meaning the builder doesn’t have to import third party apps like Tawk.to.
Squarespace-built sites are notably mobile-friendly for visitors representing no lost sales if customers are on the move.
There’s life in the old dog yet! WordPress has been with us for almost two decades and millions of sites have been built using it. It’s not as user-friendly as some of its more recent rivals, but it’s almost infinitely customizable if the builder can learn a little coding.
As an open source platform, there’s no customer service department to call, but there’s a flourishing community of forums where one can seek everything from troubleshooting to inspiration.
Over 59,000 plug-ins mean WordPress can probably have it on your site if you can think of it. With free site-building and reasonable hosting costs (should you decide to host with them), WordPress makes an ideal home for a pet project site.
Self-builds aren’t just for computers. Use your computer to plant your marker in the digital world.