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Do you want to create a website? Fortunately for you and the tens of thousands of online businesses out there, a digital website builder makes it easy to create professional-quality websites that will work wonderfully in no time.
The best part? There are plenty of free website builder options out there.
Website builders make it possible to create a responsive website that is optimized for SEO without investing a lot of money or time, which is perfect for small businesses.
But you need to learn what features to look for first.
In this guide, I'm going to walk you through the best free website builders on the market today and explain which website is the best in your niche – whether you're selling painted bricks, freelancing, or wanting to bootstrap a dropshipping business.
The Top 4 Options for the Best Free Website Builders:
- Wix – The best for ecommerce websites
- Weebly – Best for general websites
- WordPress – The best for blogging and content creation
- Site123 – The best for quick and easy landing pages
How to choose the best free website builder for you
What is the end goal of your website? This is the first and foremost question you want to ask yourself when choosing a site builder.
Would you like to start a blog to share your extensive knowledge and thought guidance with the world?
Do you have a graphic design portfolio that you would like to showcase in order to attract more freelance clients? Are you a non-profit organization that needs to show annual achievements and your mission statement?
When you build your website with a free website builder, your end goal will determine what features you need. Once you have the ultimate goal of your website in mind, here are more criteria to narrow down your choices.
If you are a freelancer, designer or photographer and want to create an online portfolio, you should consider the design options of the individual builders.
- Adaptation: How deep are their personalization and customization functions?
- Templates: Do they have eye-catching website templates that you can use so you don't have to start from scratch?
- Media storage: Does your site builder give you lots of storage space for images? Depending on how big your website is going to be, this is an important question if you want to keep things free.
When thinking about how you want to present your portfolio or brand, these are the criteria you should keep most of the site builder in mind.
How fast does your website need to be built? This will determine how much time you are willing to learn the pros and cons of your website builder.
- Intuitive design: Some builders are pretty intuitive to learn while others may have a larger learning curve.
- User friendliness: Do you want a drag and drop builder that will make building and configuring your site easy? Or do you prefer to write in HTML and code the site yourself?
- Tutorials and technical support: Do they have robust support options that will help you find answers or get a timely response from the company?
If you're pressed for time and want to build something quickly, you might not want to choose a beefy builder with lots of learning opportunities. A simpler drag-and-drop builder can get the job done faster and easier.
Long term options
As your business grows, your website inevitably has to grow with it. The needs of your website will change over time. When choosing your website builder, consider what paid features are included and whether they will meet the needs of your website as it grows.
These can be things like:
- Additional hosting capacity: Once the traffic on your website reaches a certain threshold, you will likely need to purchase additional hosting to keep your traffic growth going.
- Additional plugins and design features: If there is a need for additional plugins and features, does the free builder offer it?
- Personalized support: Do you have enough support with CSS and HTML changes to take things to the next level when you hit a wall building your own website?
Type of website
What kind of website do you need to build? As mentioned earlier, you can determine the ultimate goal of your website and work backwards to answer that.
To give you a better idea, the internet is generally made up of five types of websites:
- Blog: Will you continuously publish content that informs, entertains, or inspires a specific audience?
- Portfolio: Are you showing off your work to sell your services to potential customers?
- Ecommerce website: Do you sell products or services with an online shop?
- Small Business / Organization Website: Do you round off your brand with a public mission statement or do you publish general public business information that the world can access?
- Online application: While this is technically a more complex website, it goes beyond the scope of a free builder as it would require serious developer chops to build well.
For most businesses, the type of website you need is a pretty basic question. But an important answer.
For example, most website builders have blogging capabilities. However, this shouldn't be the only thing to base your decision on. Once you have figured out what type of website to build, we can get acquainted with the different types of website builders on the market.
The different types of free website builders
Now there are a ton of free site builders out there that fall into three general groups.
Basic website builder
I still haven't found a good reason not to create a website for your business. Nonprofits, newsletters, and even speakers with a personal brand can benefit from creating a professional website that anyone can find online.
Basic web builders tend to have several roles. They are not aimed at any particular category. Suppose you want to set up a low maintenance and simple portfolio site with a general contact form, homepage, portfolio page, and about page. In that case, a general-purpose website builder can be a good option.
Are you currently selling products in one physical location? You want to use a website builder specifically designed for e-commerce. Nowadays it is no longer enough to present your goods in a physical store. You also need a digital storefront. Or maybe you want to open an ecommerce website without a physical storefront. Ecommerce website builders make this easy.
As an ecommerce company, you want features that allow you to list products, accept different forms of payment, categorize goods, and keep track of backend inventory in real time.
Blogging and content creation
The web isn't much without content. If you want your website to be found by your target audience, consider using a website builder that enables this end goal.
If you are a thought leader, build your brand online, aspiring blogger, or want to build a community around a service or product, a website builder geared towards content creation is your best bet.
You will be better off in the long run as your business grows, and you won't encounter the problems you would have when choosing a web builder for ecommerce.
# 1 – Wix – The best for ecommerce sites
If you're looking for a free website builder that does everything a real-life store manager would and a few more, Wix makes this a reality.
The thought of building an online store can be crippling. However, once you've built a Wix ecommerce website, you'll have access to perks like real-time tax calculations and adding multiple payment channels that you wouldn't have with a content or portfolio-focused builder.
As a product seller, Wix helps you create beautifully designed storefronts with a choice of over 800 pre-designed themes and templates that can be personalized with the click of a mouse.
There is no doubt that ecommerce businesses are in good hands with Wix. It is a contractor who goes out of their way to advertise themselves rather than being a jack of all trades. However, as with any site builder, there can be some drawbacks. For example, if you ever want to move your website to another provider, the Wix builder will not allow you to do so because of its configuration. You'll need to completely recreate it on a new platform.
Some of their ecommerce features to help increase sales are:
- Analysis of sales and customer behavior
- View prices in international currencies
- Easily create subscriptions and discount coupons for customers
- Integration with all social channels for more visibility
- Automated email marketing and cart recovery
To get started with Wix, visit their website and sign in.
# 2 – Weebly – Best for general websites
Let's be honest. You might not need a free site builder with all the bells and whistles. And that's okay. That's why weebly exists. It is the best site builder for general sites that need to do their job well.
It's perfect for an information company, nonprofit, small portfolio, mission statement, or landing page. This is because they make it easy to bring your website together with a no-nonsense dashboard and options like built-in photo editors and professional design options that you can use to create video backgrounds.
As a general website, you don't want to get involved in technical things like SSL certification, encryption, and often costly third-party domain shopping. Weebly Integrates does all of this for you right on their platform.
One of the best features as a site builder is that you have the option to fully customize the HTML and CSS if you so choose. You may not need this feature right now, but it's nice to know you have this feature as a future option. Weebly was developed with a more structured approach to site design. If you're looking for a contractor with a little more flexibility and freedom in design, this can be a downside.
Some of the best features in Site Builder include:
- Easy to use dashboard
- Site Builder via drag and drop
- Additional integrations such as payments and product search with upgrade
- Integrated analysis that eliminates the need for an additional plugin installation
- Mobile app to manage your website from your phone
Here you can register with Weebly.
# 3 – WordPress – The best for blogging and content creation
If I had to introduce WordPress to you, I'd say it's the top contender for blogging and content creation.
Fortunately, they offer a free site builder to get you started (in addition to paid options).
For years, bloggers and companies like Disney, Dropbox, Spotify, and NBC have used WordPress.com's powerful website building features to reach audiences, grow their brand, and drive global sales.
If you want to blog, share your knowledge with the world, or create a wide variety of content in your business, you should start with the free site builder. It is designed to be straightforward and easy to use, with no confusing and unnecessary features. This allows you to create and publish your content in record time. To help you out when you get stuck, they offer free webinars that will walk you step by step through building your website.
The biggest downside to the free site builder is that you may outgrow the limited blogging toolbox. However, if you want paid access to fully customize your website in the future, WordPress can be used to upgrade easily and with no technical effort.
Some of the best content building features for WordPress site builder are:
- Optimized for search engine results
- 24/7 live chat and support
- Free subdomain that you can later upgrade to a custom domain
- Free hosting without using a third party
- Wide range of free themes to choose and customize for sharing and creating content
Log into WordPress and create your website for free.
# 4 – Site123 – The best for quick and easy landing pages
Simple and quick are the two best words to describe Site123. With its simple functions, it is the best site builder for simple sites that don't need many internal pages.
In other words, it's great for landing pages.
Your business might not need a blog, robust e-commerce functionality, or top-notch design capabilities, but it still needs an online place to call home.
Site123 helps you cross this off your list by being the best site builder possible. With Site123's well-designed web building process, you can avoid frustrations and a huge learning curve, especially if this is your first time building a site.
Some of the best features for creating landing pages include:
- Free fast hosting
- Built-in media gallery with free professional icons and videos
- Compatible with third party plugins
- Gorgeous pre-made landing page templates so you don't have to start from scratch
- 500 MB storage space
Here you can create your online presence with Site123.
What is the end goal of your website?
This is the perfect start and end question as it is the best way to determine which free website builder to use.
There is no shortage of site builders on the market. What sets them apart is what they are designed for and how you can use them to achieve your goals.
Remember, a lot of them are geared towards where you are now. However, this can change as you start thinking about how you plan to expand in the future.
However, a detailed look at each builder and what they have to offer will point you in the right direction.
Now that you've established the ultimate goal of your website, choose the right free builder from one of the options in this list to begin building your masterpiece.