A website isn’t just a way to showcase your business, showcase your work, or write about your interests. It can be the biggest part of your online identity – a way to tell your story and establish a brand (and maybe earn money). After researching 21 of the best website building services, building 20 websites including 10 of the most promising, and tweaking hundreds of little things on every page, we think Wix is the best way to create a professional looking website. . Wix offers more templates than any other online site builder we’ve tested and has the most powerful setup wizard, so almost anyone can create a site and modify it to their liking. For those with design experience or who want precise design control over every element of a web page, Wix’s editor provides that, along with an abundance of plugins to help you improve and develop your website.
Wix is the most versatile tool for building a website. With its two design modes, it can automatically create a custom site to your needs or give you full control at the pixel level. It is both easy to use and full of features.
Wix is simple enough that almost anyone can use it to build a website in minutes, but it’s also flexible and powerful enough that you can tweak every aspect of every page if you want. If you’re new to website design or don’t want to spend a lot of time designing a website, Wix’s automatic site builder (called ADI, for artificial design intelligence) can do the job for you. . Just answer a few questions about your style preferences and the type of site you want, and you’ll quickly have a web page to start from. But Wix is also one of the most powerful and feature-rich site builders we’ve tested: when you want to take the AI reins, Wix’s main editor is packed with commands that can tweak every aspect of your site. Beyond the basics of site editing, Wix offers plugins for all sorts of uses, from online stores and restaurant sites to blogs and dating sites. And its SEO (search engine optimization), social media, and email marketing tools can help owners increase their online presence. A free ad-based version is available, but most people will want to upgrade to a paid plan to have a more professional-looking custom domain name and to remove the banner ad at the top of every page.
- Ad-supported version: free
- Starting monthly price (lowest plan): $19
- Starting monthly e-commerce price: $30
Square Online is the best choice if you want to build an online store or a restaurant website because that’s its whole purpose. It provides free hosting and is easier to use than the alternatives, but its design options are very limited.
Square Online doesn’t offer as many design customization options as Wix or our other website builder picks, but this service offers the easiest way to create an online store or restaurant website because it only takes just a few clicks to add a featured articles section, menu, contact form, customer testimonials, events calendar, and other essential business-focused features. If you’re using Square’s POS (point of sale) hardware to collect in-person payments, using Square Online for a new location might be a no-brainer, as it ensures that all of your payment and inventory information stays in place. same place. It’s also free, with an unobtrusive “powered by Square” footer, but upgrading to a paid plan lets you use your own domain name and access site traffic reports. Square Online doesn’t offer as many design customization options as other website builders we’ve tested, but its simplicity is a feature in itself.
- Ad-supported version: free
- Starting monthly price (lowest plan): $16
- Starting monthly e-commerce price: $16
No other site builder we’ve tested offers as many controls or as much flexibility for blogging as WordPress.com. You can also build other types of websites with it, though it’s harder to customize than Wix if you don’t have coding experience.
WordPress.com is the easiest way to start publishing content online, as it was originally designed for bloggers and other content creators who want to easily post new information for their readers. These days it’s also a powerful platform for creating just about any type of website, although the process is less automated and the templates are less slick than what you get from Wix. The free plan provides all the basics needed to run a website, but you need to upgrade to a paid plan to remove WordPress.com ads, use your own domain name, and install plugins to enhance your site for marketing, media social etc. -commerce, or for other purposes.
- Ad-supported version: free
- Starting monthly price (lowest plan): $7
- Starting monthly e-commerce price: $33 to $59
If you just want to create a simple website and don’t mind extensive design customization, Google Sites is exceptionally easy to use and completely free. It’s also ad-free.
Google Sites comes free with every Google account, and it’s as easy to use as Google Slides, which makes it ideal if you just want to build a basic site quickly and aren’t too concerned about how it looks. As you’d expect, Google Sites is integrated with everything about Google: Maps, YouTube, Docs, Calendar, etc. It only provides 13 basic templates and a handful of pre-made color and site font themes, but you can still create a modern looking website with it. The templates come with pre-made modules and pages suitable for the type of site you select, including a menu for a restaurant site, for example, or a gallery for a photography portfolio. We think it’s best to create a simple informational website, like a portfolio page or a site for a club or other group.