Starting a website from scratch is not an easy task. You need to register a domain name, sign up for a web hosting, choose a CMS or framework, design and code a layout. Alternatively, you can also hire a web designer and developer, but that won’t be cheap. Fortunately, many website builder service was born in the recent years, which handle all the things for you: domain, hosting, design and development. They provide an easy-to-use interface, where you can quickly set up your site. They have many ready-to-use design templates for every possible scenario: webshop, blog, corporate, portfolio, restaurant, etc. You just select a design, insert your content and you’re ready to go live.
To save you some time, we signed up to the biggest names on the market and put them to a quick test. We’re planning to test more and update this article in the near future. Now let’s see the results!
Table of Contents
Right at the start, you can choose between an easy guided setup and a more advanced drag and drop editor.
In the guided setup, you need to answer a few questions, upload your logo and Wix will generate you a few sample layouts using colors from the logo. The editor interface is clean and intuitive. Your website is visible on the right side and you can select sections by clicking on them. Then click on the Edit button and its related settings will appear on the left side.
The drag and drop editor is a more complex interface with many options. You can customize things more deeply, drag elements and position them pixel precisely. It feels a bit like Photoshop, sections can be moved with arrow keys. You can also select multiple blocks and move them together. The editor helps you with tips in nice popups.
Wix has many apps and sections that you can add with a few clicks, e.g.: forum, chat, booking system, webshop, pricing plan, FAQ.
Out of the box, the Pagespeed score is 88/100 which is pretty good. We also ran load tests from Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia. The average load time is 5.1 seconds, but I think we can definitely improve these results just by optimizing the images.
You can start using Wix for free without giving your credit card details. However, your website will live on a Wix subdomain (e.g.: yoursite.wixsite.com) and there will be a Wix advertisement on the top. Plans that remove ads and connect a real domain are from $8.5 / month. Unfortunately, you can’t pay with PayPal, but there is a money back guarantee for 14 days.
There is only one editor here, which is similar to Wix’s easy editor. Sections become editable by clicking on them. You can drag and drop new sections from a toolbar on the left.
Tip: setting up the free subdomain was a little bit confusing. Don’t let the
https://www. prefix distract you, just type your
uniquename.weebly.com after that and the free option will become available.
Just like Wix, Weebly has a lot of apps as well, some of them cost extra.
They are using unoptimized images for the demo pages, for example I found a PNG background which was more than 2.5 Megabytes! So I had to change those to my optimized images, to get a clearer picture of the speed. This way I was able to reduce average load time from 9.2 to 2.9 seconds!
It’s also free to use, no credit card required to sign up. But your site will be on a weebly.com subdomain and there will be a advertisement on your site. Plans that remove these are starting from $12 / month which include a free domain registration as well. There is a 30-day money back guarantee and you can pay with PayPal.
The editing process here is not as straightforward as with the previous two service. The learning curve will be much longer, unless you’ve tried the free CMS edition of WordPress before.
WordPress is a free, open source content management system (CMS), that you can download and install on your web server. It’s one of the most popular CMS, trusted by many big brands. The WordPress.com core is based on this system.
You can choose from many free themes (design templates), but they don’t feel so professional like the premium ones. You need to pay extra for premium themes or choose a plan which has the unlimited premium themes option.
Unfortunately, there is no sample content that you can change, but they give you detailed instructions about the setup process. If you want to add a page to your site, you need to visit the Pages menu first, where you can build your content, add columns, images, gallery, etc. Then you need to go to Design / Customize menu to add them to the navigation. This is also the place where you can edit other parts of the layout, e.g.: background color and image, logo, sidebar and footer widgets.
At WordPress.com you can add extra functionalities with plugins instead of apps. If you can’t find something in the page editor, for example a contact form section, you should search for that among the plugins.
You have an option to switch to the classic WordPress admin interface with slightly more settings. It’s the same interface that free WordPress uses.
The speed results are excellent. PageSpeed score is 94% and the average load time is 1 second!
WordPress.com is free to use, but your site will live on a wordpress.com subdomain and there will be an advertisement on the top. Credit card is not required to sign up. From $3 / month you receive a free .blog domain and ads are removed. From $8 / month you get access all premium themes. PayPal is available as a payment option.
Website Builder Comparison Table
Most website builders have almost the same editing process and interface. Thus probably the speed and pricing will be the key factors in your decision. Let’s compare these website builder services in a table!
|Website Builder||Learning Time||Price||Speed Score||Average Load Time|
|Wix.com||short||from $8.5 / month||88%||5.1 sec|
|Weebly||short||from $12 / month||86%||2.9 sec|
|WordPress.com||moderate||from $3 / month||94%||1 sec|
That’s it! I hope you found this helpful. Don’t forget to check back later, because we intend to extend and keep this article up-to-date.