Gone are the days when you used to create websites from scratch. These days, it is all about choosing a website builder platform and get started with a stylish template. These platforms prepare the groundwork and handle all the basics of creating a website. Thanks to these platforms, creating a website has become a lot simpler now.
While that is a good news, it also brings the question of which website builder platform should you use? There are lots of platforms with various types of features, options, and capabilities. How do you know which one would be the best choice for you?
That was the question which led to this mega comparison post of Wix Vs Squarespace Vs Virb Vs Weebly Vs Jimdo Vs WordPress Theme Builders. In today’s post, I am going to take an in-depth look into each of these platforms and find out which one is best for you.
Are you ready? Let’s get started.
With an active user base of more than 90 million, Wix is one of the most popular website builder platforms available right now. It offers everything you need to create and manage your personal or business websites.
Ease of Use
Wix makes it very easy to get started with your website quickly. There are lots of attractive templates to create various types of websites including business, corporate, blog, personal, community, creative, events, design, music, photography, e-commerce, etc. It is also possible to choose a blank template and create your own design.
The built-in drag and drop feature will help you to make sure that everything is in place. Wix uses a unique technology called Artificial Design Intelligence to help you create beautiful layouts. The handy support center provides all the help you need to create and manage your website on Wix.
Wix puts a lot of effort to ensure the best performance of the websites. It offers both the domain and hosting for the premium users. Thanks to the mobile-first approach, your website will look great on any screen resolution.
The integrated site analytics will be very useful to check out detailed statistics about your website. With a few mouse clicks, you can find out which pages are getting the most visits, where the visitors are coming from, how well your website performs against the competitors, etc.
Wix comes with complete support for Eventbrite and ShoutOut email marketing service. That means you can manage your events and perform complete email marketing campaigns right from your website. There is a dedicated app market to get various third-party apps and services. These will help you improve the overall performance of your website.
Following the SEO best practices is a must for any modern website. Wix helps you to do that by offering a full suite of SEO options. You can define the meta tags, assign custom URL, use the necessary heading tags, add the target keywords, and control the anchor links for your posts and pages. Various Wix apps like Site Booster, SEO Wizard, SEO Coach Analytics will help you get better search engine ranking for your content.
Wix comes with lots of professional, high quality stock images which you can use on your website. The built-in editor allows you to edit and enhance the images on the fly. There are more than 40 gallery styles to show off some of your most attractive images.
Features like strips, video backgrounds, and eye-catching parallax effects will make your website look very attractive. You can embed raw HTML code on the text editor and add any custom element you want. The platform also allows you to create one-page websites. You just need to choose the appropriate template and provide the content.
Full e-commerce support is another notable feature of Wix. The platform allows you to create a fully functional online store and sell digital or physical products right from your store. You can accept payments by using popular payment methods like credit cards, PayPal, and cash on delivery. Whenever applicable, you can set up the shipping and tax options for specific countries.
Wix forum allows you to create a thriving community around your website. Visitors can register themselves, join the conversation, follow others, and leave comments on other people’s posts.
The built-in social bar will be useful to promote your social media accounts. Wix also offers several Facebook tools for additional engagement with your visitors.
Who Is It For?
Wix could be a great choice for anyone who is looking for a readymade solution. If you want to create the website on your own, you have all the options here. On the other hand, it could be useful for the expert web designers as well. You can personalize the design and get started with the website in a matter of minutes.
Wix offers a number of plans with different pricing points. While the free plan includes free hosting, it doesn’t allow your own domain, shows ads, and offers limited storage and bandwidth. The premium plans are priced at $4.5, $8.5, $12.5, $16.5, and $24.5 per month. Depending on which plan you choose, you can get a free domain, use your own favicon, get rid of the ads, get more storage and bandwidth, etc.
Ease of Use
The Squarespace user interface is custom-tailored to make the whole process easier for everyone. As you can expect, there are lots of beautiful templates created by professional designers. The templates are divided into appropriate categories like online stores, creative services, community, food, health, fashion, media, professional, travel, home & living, etc. The platform also allows you to test multiple templates on your website and choose the best-looking one.
The custom WYSIWYG editor allows you to create unique layouts by using the various content types and multi-column structures. The proprietary LayoutEngine allows you to use various types of content blocks to create exactly the look you want for your website. You can use different types of blocks like audio, video, gallery, map, archive, product, menu, social, code, quote, button, form, newsletter, RSS, etc.
Squarespace also supports multiple contributors, which makes the whole website maintenance process a lot easier. You can set up different access levels according to the user type like administrator, content editor, moderator, store manager, billing staff, reporting staff, etc. The unified site login feature makes it super-simple to manage multiple Squarespace websites with a single login.
A large part of your website’s performance depends on the hosting provider. When using Squarespace, you won’t have to worry about this because the platform offers unlimited hosting and bandwidth for all plans. What’s more, there is a built-in CDN to increase the page loading speed. When you combine these with the free SSL feature, you have got the recipe to ensure a superior performance and excellent uptime for your website.
Being in the industry for more than a decade, Squarespace clearly knows the importance of tracking analytics to improve performance. Therefore, they offer the full range of options for website analytics. You will find real-time information about the page view, total number of visits and views, etc. The superior visitor insights features will help you find the keywords and sources of your visitors. There is a dedicated feature to find out the most popular contents and traffic sources for your website. What’s more, it is possible to filter all this information by the device type.
Progressive image loading is another Squarespace feature which can be a huge step in improving your website’s performance. This feature will load the visible images first, providing a faster browsing experience for the visitors. The platform will also deliver the correct sized images according to the device resolution.
Ensuring proper security is a key factor in improving website performance. When using Squarespace, you won’t have to worry about using third-party plugins, tools, or security patches. The expert professionals of the platform will make sure that your website is protected from the common security threats, including DDoS and Layer 7 threats.
Your website needs professional design. Squarespace helps you achieve that by offering lots of attractive layouts created by top designers. The all-in-one templates cover all the details to make the website work out for you. You can get started with any of these templates and make the necessary customizations to get the exact look you want.
Squarespace supports all the TypeKit and Google Fonts. It is also possible to provide custom CSS and use video backgrounds. The mobile-optimized designs are guaranteed to look and work great on all screen resolutions, including mobile and tablet devices.
There are various customer engagement options to help you build an email list. You can use the signup forms, surveys, or applications and run full-fledged email campaigns. The platform offers built-in social sharing options, which allows the visitors to share the content on their preferred social media networks.
When using Squarespace, you will have total control over the comments by your visitors. Comments are displayed in beautiful threads with like counter for each comment. Commenters can use avatars and/or social media networks to verify their identity. If necessary, you can allow anonymous comments as well. It is also possible to enable comment moderation, sort comments, and block abusive filters.
You can use Squarespace to create an online store. The platform allows an unlimited number of products with several variations. Each product can have detailed information including text, image, audio, video, map, etc. Features like quick view and product zoom will help the customers to choose products quickly. Other notable features include mobile-optimized checkout process, speedy sign-up, multiple payment methods, discount codes, abandoned cart recovery, detailed order and inventory management, etc.
Who Is It For?
If you are concerned about the design and want to have total control about how your website looks, Squarespace could be a great choice for you. The large number of advanced management options also make it a top choice for tech-savvy people and website owners.
There are two types of plans – websites and online stores. For websites, the personal plan is priced at $16 per month and allows 20 pages, unlimited storage and bandwidth, SSL, full e-commerce support. Priced at $26 per month, the business plan offers all features of personal along with unlimited pages, professional Google email, and $100 AdWords credit.
For online stores, the basic plan allows unlimited products, mobile-optimized checkout, accounting integration, unlimited storage and bandwidth. It is priced at $30 per month. On the other hand, the advanced plan is priced at $46 per month and offers all features of the basic plan along with abandoned cart recovery and real-time carrier shipping.
You can get a discount for all these plans by paying annually.
Weebly comes with the whole suite of options for creating fully functional websites. The simple user interface is very straightforward and allows you to get started within a few minutes. The platform’s unique balance of power and usability have made it a popular choice among the users.
Ease of Use
Weebly is popular for its seamless user experience. In line with that, they make it very easy to create new websites. The website setup process starts by choosing the type. Next, you have to choose the theme, color, and provide the URL of your domain. Then, there is the powerful drag and drop page builder tool. The intuitive builder tool takes no time to familiarize. What’s more, there are handy tooltips to explain the purpose of various features.
In total, the whole process of creating and publishing a new website on Weebly shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. You can always change the style or apply other customizations from the admin panel.
Loading speed, uptime, availability etc. plays a significant role in the overall performance of any website. Weebly takes care of all these issues by offering a managed hosting platform for its customers. The cloud-based hosting is professionally optimized to ensure the optimal performance of your website and the best online experience for your visitors.
Weebly comes with powerful SEO tools to help you optimize your website for the popular search engines. All the template coding follows the SEO best practices. Features like built-in sitemap, simple HTML formatting, custom meta descriptions, alt tags for images, etc. will be very useful to help you achieve better ranking in the search engines. There is also a step-by-step guide to help you utilize all these features.
You can’t optimize your website unless you know the current status of your website. Weebly helps you do that by providing detailed website statistics. Along with regular information like the number of visitors, most visited pages, you will also find out which search terms they used and which are the top referring websites. Featuring complete integration with Google Analytics, you can enjoy real-time syncing of your data.
Dedicated solution for creating mobile websites is another notable feature of Weebly. For starters, all the available templates are optimized to look great on various screen resolutions. The drag and drop editor allows you to rearrange the website layout for mobile devices. It is also possible to check out real-life previews of your website on virtual mobile devices. That means you can rest assured that your Weebly site will look great on all mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.
Weebly features one of the simplest but very powerful drag and drop page editors available right now. You can use this editor to set up and display attractive page layouts without requiring any advanced technical skills. The builder supports all the common elements like text, images, videos, maps, etc. You can add these elements and drag them to the desired position.
There are lots of professional themes and templates to help you get started as quickly as possible. The customization options allow you to choose the font, color, header style, backgrounds, custom slideshows, etc. If you have the skills, you can add custom HTML and CSS codes as well.
There is a fully featured solution for creating online forms. You can use the drag and drop interface for creating contact form, survey, poll, RSVP lists, etc. It is also possible to rearrange the form field positioning and review the submitted data.
Weebly is fully equipped with the necessary options for creating popular ecommerce websites. The fully functional shopping cart and checkout features are automatically added to your ecommerce store. You can add and manage hundreds of digital or physical products. The powerful search option includes several filters to help the customers find out their desired products.
The flexible shipping options allow you to offer different shipping types like free shipping, price-based rate, weight-based rate, location-based rate, etc. Other notable options include store management from mobile devices, dedicated ecommerce templates, specialized ecommerce hosting, several display options, coupons, advanced tax options, bulk import and export, cart abandonment emails, and transaction emails.
Who Is It For?
Weebly could be the choice when you are looking for a fast website creation solution, by which I mean really fast. Some quick examples I can think of are creating your portfolio site, an event site, a blog, or even sharing your resume. The flexible templates, intuitive page builder, and the overall structure make it an excellent platform for non-savvy people.
Weebly offers a free plan along with 4 premium plans. The free plan doesn’t allow your own domain, shows ads, and is limited to 500MB of storage. The premium plans – Starter, Pro, Business, and Performance are priced at $8, $12, $25, and $49 per month respectively. All premium plans come with a free domain, Google ad credits, unlimited storage, detailed stats, no ads, ecommerce support, and lots of other benefits.
Unless you are a complete beginner to the website development world, you probably heard about WordPress already. While it is possible to install WordPress on your server, we will discuss about creating website by using WordPress.com, which is a unique combination of a website builder and a Content Management System.
Ease of Use
There are two parts of using WordPress.com – My Site and the Admin panel. My Site offers simple options to publish news posts, create new pages, create menus, choose a theme, install plugins, check out the stats, etc. The WYSIWYG editor in this part is simple and easy to use.
The Admin panel is where all the advanced options are located. And if you don’t have any experience of using WordPress before, getting around the admin panel and being familiar with the available options will take quite some time. That time is not wasted though, because it makes you familiar with the WordPress admin options, which will come in handy for creating virtually any type of website.
WordPress.com offers the largest range of themes among all the website builder platforms. There are 350+ free and premium themes available for you to choose from. You can find lots of attractive themes for creating different types of website including business, personal, minimal, travel, food, music, wedding, etc. If these types don’t satisfy you, you can use the advanced search filters like the available features, layout, responsiveness, color, price, etc.
The integrated statistics section will provide you with detailed information about the number of views and visitors for the day, week, month, or the year. It is also possible to integrate Google Analytics with your website to get even more data.
When it comes to SEO, WordPress is almost unbeatable. The superior coding structure of the platform follows all the SEO best practices. The sitemap of your website will be automatically created and sent to the major search engines. It will also help you to get your website verified with various search engines.
The platform also comes with full support for Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). That means your blog posts and pages will enjoy a significantly faster loading speed on various handheld devices.
WordPress.com allows you to import existing content from different sources like Blogger, Blogroll, Blogcast, TypePad, Posterous, Tumblr, Xanga, etc. Similarly, you can export your website data too.
Being a Content Management System itself, WordPress is the best platform for creating blog, portfolio or any other content-rich website. The integrated post editor is intuitive and very powerful. You can add different categories, tags and define the slug, featured image, and excerpt for your posts. It is also possible to schedule the posts to be published on a future date and time. Along with the regular posts, you can publish other content types including quote, audio, video, image, gallery, link, etc.
WordPress comes with a very powerful form editor. You can use different form fields like text, textarea, radio, checkbox, number, email, etc. for your form. The submitted form data will be sent to the admin email address.
There are separate options to change the title, tagline, favicon, default language, and timezone of your website. There is another option to keep your site hidden or private, which can be useful when you are still developing the website.
The theme customizer is the home to all styling options. These options allow you to choose your own font, color, size, background, header, menu, etc. You can use the widgets to display various types of content on the sidebar, footer or other suitable places.
Strong comment management is a notable feature of WordPress. You can require the commenter to provide a name, an email address, or get registered. It is also possible to automatically close comments for older posts, enable threaded comments, receive email notifications for new comments, enable comment moderation, and blacklist any name, URL, email address, or IP address from commenting.
There are dedicated Android and iOS apps for managing your website from mobile devices. These apps allow you to check out the stats, manage comments, and publish new post or page while you are on the go.
Who Is It For?
WordPress.com is a great choice for creating any type of websites, except online stores. There is no fully integrated solution for creating ecommerce sites on WordPress.com. Otherwise, the large number of themes, unlimited customization options, superior support, and the powerful dashboard make WordPress.com a highly recommended website builder platform.
As the other website builder platforms, WordPress also offers a free plan. This plan doesn’t allow your own domain and is limited to 3GB of storage and basic customization options only. On the other hand, there are 3 premium plans – Personal, Premium, and Business, priced at $2.99, $8.25, and $24.92 per month respectively. All paid plans allow your own domain, provides more storage space, more customization options, remove ads, etc.
Virb used to be a great platform for creating new websites. However, since GoDaddy acquired the platform in 2014, it hardly received any exciting new feature at all. But there are some people who still use Virb and somewhat satisfied by the service.
Ease of Use
Getting started with Virb is very easy. You need to provide all the information about your website while signing up for an account. Compared to the other platforms, this is rather unique. The next step is to choose the theme. There are several great-looking themes available. You can filter the themes by using various types like personal, portfolio, business, organization, restaurant, music, etc.
Virb has made it a lot easier to create specialized websites like photography, music, restaurant, designer, or general websites. For each of these types, there are some recommended themes and features which will help you get started quickly.
There are lots of customization options to help you choose your own color, font, and other styling features. It is also possible to add custom CSS and HTML to apply your own styling and to add custom elements.
Hosting plays a very important role in the overall performance of a website. Virb acknowledges this by offering cloud hosting for the users. Your website files will be hosted on secure cloud servers which are also capable of ensuring a fast delivery speed for the files. As the platform offers unlimited storage, you are free to store all the necessary website data on the server.
If you are creating a blog, list site, or other frequently updated website, you are going to have a large number of pages. Virb allows unlimited pages, which takes care of this issue. The built-in content delivery network will make sure that your pages are served from the nearest location of the visitor.
Virb works correctly with Google tools. That means you will have easy access to useful tools like Google Analytics and other tools right from your website. The platform also follows the SEO best practices to help you get better search engine ranking for your content.
As I mentioned earlier, there are lots of readymade themes available for you. All these themes are provided with mobile styling. That means your website will look great on mobile, tablet, and other devices.
Virb allows a large number of page types including common names like about, contact, gallery, blog, etc. The store page will be useful for connecting your existing shopping carts. You can show the list of available products or other items by using the listing page type. And in case you want a blank layout, the custom page type is there for you.
Virb also comes with close integration with several third-party services. For instance, you can use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, SoundCloud, LastFM, Etsy, Instagram, Dribble, Tumblr, etc. with your website.
If you are creating a private website, there is a handy feature to protect your website by using a password. It is also possible to restrict specific pages with the password.
There are several ways to get help and support about using Virb. First of all, you can check out the video tutorials to find out the solution. Additionally, you can seek help from the Virb user community.
Who Is It For?
As you can already guess, I do not recommend Virb anymore. It has been a while since they updated their themes and they don’t offer any drag and drop feature. However, if you are looking for an alternative website development platform with a clean, simple layout, you can give it a try.
Virb follows a simple pricing policy with a single plan for everyone. For $10 per month, you will get unlimited pages, cloud hosting, dedicated support, SEO tools, analytics, store integration, custom domain support, etc.
If you are a student, you can get your first year for free by using the special Virb student program.
Jimdo is a dedicated website building platform which aims to make the whole process easier for everyone. The Jimdo builder is powered by lots of templates and several customization options.
Ease of Use
When using Jimdo, you will find it a lot easier to create your website and get started within minutes. You just need to create an account, set up the basic configuration options and voila, your site is live on the internet.
The fully functional drag and drop editor allows you to create the exact layout you want. The platform also supports real-time implementation of your styling. That means your styling changes will be applied to the live site as you are making the customizations.
Jimdo supports widgets which allow you to embed content and information from other websites. For instance, you can show YouTube, Vimeo videos, embed SoundCloud audio tracks, show charts and infographics from info.gram, use Eventbrite and Google Calendar to create and manage events, collect email address with MailChimp, and use other popular services like Disqus, AddThis, Muut, PollDaddy, Gumroad, Munch, Wufoo, 99designs, etc.
It is also possible to create multi-language websites with Jimdo. The main interface supports 8 languages and the editor allows you to publish contents in any languages and display these on the same website.
At its core, Jimdo is specialized for speedy website creation and simple maintenance. That means you shouldn’t expect breathtaking performance from these websites. You will get an average performance with small-scale websites types like portfolio, small business, non-profit, wedding, restaurant, etc.
A plus point for Jimdo is all of its templates are totally redesigned and fully responsive. That means you will have a good-looking website which works perfectly on all devices and screen resolutions.
Jimdo also comes with a bunch of SEO options to help you get better search engine ranking for your content. The free plan focuses more on making the home page discoverable on the search engines. More powerful options like custom URL, XML sitemap, custom metadata, and the rankingCoach add-on are reserved for the pro and business plans. The business plan enjoys some additional features like URL redirection and meta tag automation.
The premium plans also allow you to use branded email addresses with your domain name. This is a definite plus for your branding. As an additional bonus, the business plan allows unlimited forwarding aliases. This will be useful to make sure that the emails are delivered to the right person or department.
Like all other website builder platforms, Jimdo also comes with lots of attractive templates for various types of websites. As the templates are divided into categories like business, store, personal, portfolio, etc., you can easily find a suitable one for your website.
Full support for online stores is a notable feature of the platform. While all pricing plans support the store, they offer different types of options and capabilities based on your chosen plan. For instance, the free plan allows only 5 store items, while the pro and business plan allows 15 and an unlimited number of products respectively.
All the plans support PayPal as the primary payment method. You have to go for the premium plans to get access to other payment methods. It is also possible to make test payments before you actually open the store.
Jimdo also comes with a strong support for managing your website from mobile devices. There are both Android and iOS apps to create, edit, and manage websites from anywhere in the world. You can use the mobile devices to perform various tasks like publishing a new post, upload new photos, check out the statistics, etc.
Who Is It For?
Jimdo could be a great choice for people who want to launch their website as quickly as possible. As the platform will suggest the best features and settings options according to your website type, you won’t have to spend hours configuring your website for the best results.
There are three pricing plans. The free plan is limited to 500MB storage, 2GB bandwidth, and doesn’t allow your own domain. The Pro and Business plans are priced at $7.5 and $20 per month respectively. These plans offer free domain, more storage and bandwidth, detailed stats, mobile optimization, advanced SEO options and lots of other features.
Thanks to the website builder platforms, it has become a lot easier to create a website. These platforms allow you to set up a website within a few minutes and optimize your website down the road. Now that you have this in-depth comparison of all these platforms, you can choose your desired platform and get started with your website.
If you ask my opinion, I will choose WordPress because of its flexible, versatile nature, powerful customization options and reliable support. But if you want a speedier option with less clutter, go for Weebly. The simple, intuitive page builder and full ecommerce support make it an obvious choice for anyone.
That was my opinion. But what about you? Which website builder platform are you using right now? How is your experience so far? Let me know in the comments.