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Website builders - Wix vs Squarespace vs Weebly

Updated on June 18th, 2018

A Website builder is a tool that allow users to easily create websites without manually editing code. These builders use what-you-see-is-what-you-get(WYSIWYG) functionality which allows users to build their websites through drag-and-drop of website elements.

These website builders usually come with hosting included, which means that you don’t have to set up web hosting separately. Most of them will also encourage you to use them as your domain registrar as well. The result is that you’ll miss out on the benefits of keeping your domain and hosting separate.

Since a website builder is all based on drag-and-drop, the availability of design elements will unfortunately set limitations to which functionality you can add to your site. That being said, their design libraries are continuously expanding and you can definitely create some pretty good-looking sites!

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of using website builders for your website

Pros

  • Free trial – Most website builders will offer a free trial, lasting everywhere from 14 days to never ending. This free trial then includes your own sub-domain under their main domain, (e.g. YourDomain.weebly.com) and hosting. As a result, you can actually try to make your own website free of charge!
  • Setup time – Since these often come as bundled deals where domain, hosting and the website builder software is ready in a few clicks, you can have your website up and running in no time.
  • No coding – Since everything is based on drag-and-drop design, there is no need to know coding.
  • Security – Most website builders are not open source, meaning that the source code is not made available to the public, which again makes it harder for hackers to find vulnerabilities.

Cons

  • Cost – If you eventually decide to go for a more professional domain name, e.g. YourDomain.com instead of YourDomain.weebly.com, it will start to cost. It usually ends up costing more than the slightly more advanced options.
  • Limited functionality – Since all functionality is developed in-house by the company itself, some users might experience that a website builder doesn’t provide the options and flexibility they were hoping for.
  • Transfer – Very troublesome to transfer your website/domain from a website builder to a ‘normal’ domain registrar and web host if you’re not happy with the service, design options, cost etc.

If you realize that a website builder doesn’t offer the level of customization you were hoping for, have a look a Content Management Systems.

If you still like the sound of having everything in one place, easy setup and a drag-and-drop user interface, keep on reading.

I have had a closer look at the three most popular website builders out there, Wix, SquareSpace and Weebly. Let’s see how they compare to each other.

Quick overview

Wix – The best allrounder with the wide variety of templates and innovative solutions such as Wix ADI which uses Artificial Intelligence to provide you with a website that is custom made for you.

SquareSpace – With its gorgeous templates relying heavily on good images, it becomes a good candidate for people that value good design and visual impressions highly, typically photographers and artists.

Weebly – With its minimalistic intuitive user-interface Weebly is probably one of the easiest website builders to get started with.

WIX

Annual subscription (no ads): $8,50/month

Monthly subscription (no ads): $12/month

Domain renewal: $14,95/year

Free version: Yes

Free SSL: Yes

Free domain name: Yes, for all annual subscriptions

Out of the three website builders, Wix is the most popular in terms of live websites with around 3,4 million active websites (According to BuiltWith).

Wix stands out from the crowd as being one of the most innovative website builder out there. One of the key reasons for that is their ability to deliver new user-friendly features/designs on a monthly basis.

One feature that comes to mind is the Wix ADI, where ADI stands for Artificial Design Intelligence (NOTE, only available with English language setting). Basically, Wix ADI will ask you a few questions about your new site and will then use that knowledge to create a unique layout custom made for you and populate it with content.

If Wix ADI didn’t manage to create the perfect website for you, Wix also comes with more than 400+ professional well-designed templates, so don’t worry.

Overview Of Different Wix Templates

Wix also offers a completely free version that does not have an expiry date. The only downside is that you’ll get some small Wix ads on your page and a domain name that looks like this: YourUsername.WixSite.com/MyDomain.

Although Wix might not be as easy to use as Weebly, it makes up for it by delivering a larger variety of features. If the features available in the page editor is not enough, Wix also offers a wide variety of apps from their App Market.

One thing that did not impress me with Wix was that it’s really difficult to switch templates once you’ve selected one. In fact, currently the only way is to create a new site and transfer the content, so choose your templates wisely.

Summed up, Wix is a great website builder that provides user-friendly fresh content on a monthly basis. If Wix ADI isn’t able to set up your dream site, Wix got enough templates to suit most needs. Considering that Wix also offers a completely free option allowing you to spend all the time in the world familiarizing yourself with Wix and what it has to offer, it’s easy to understand why it’s one of the most popular website builders out there.

Squarespace

Annual subscription (no ads): $12/month

Monthly subscription (no ads): $16/month

Domain renewal: $20/year

Free version: No

Free SSL: Yes

Free domain name: Yes, for all annual subscriptions

Out of the three website builders, Squarespace is the second most popular in terms of live websites with around 2 million active websites (according to BuiltWith)

Squarespace have made it their goal to provide stunning design templates for their users, and they truly do! Currently there are about 80+ templates to choose from, and they’re all free.

You’ll quickly notice that most of the designs rely heavily on images. The good thing is that you can easily turn it into a unique website by adding your own images instead. The downside is that most of the templates requires professional high-resolution images to look really good.

Squarespace Bedford Template

One thing to note as a new user is that Squarespace unfortunately does not offer a completely free version. They do however offer a 14-day trial, so it’s still possible to test their website builder capabilities before you decide if they are your preferred option. It’s also worth noting that your website will not be publicly available during this trial-period.

Squarespace might not be as intuitive as the other website builders mentioned on this page, but they do make up for it by providing some really good tutorials.

Summed up, Squarespace is a website builder that provides its customers with some well thought out gorgeous templates. It fits well for people that value style and visual impression highly, like an artist or a photographer that wants to create a portfolio site.

Weebly

Annual subscription (no ads): $8/month

Monthly subscription (no ads): $14/month

Domain renewal: $20/year

Free version: Yes

Free SSL: Only business plan and higher($25/month)

Free domain name: Yes, for all annual subscriptions

Out of the three website builders, Weebly is the third most popular in terms of live websites with around 1 million active websites (According to BuiltWith).

Weebly has put a lot of effort into building a user interface that is user-friendly and intuitive. They manage to keep the user interface minimalistic so that even non-technical beginners will not get overwhelmed.

A result of the minimalistic approach is that some might feel that Weebly provides too few customization options, but they do try to make up for that with an app-store providing some more advanced functionality.

Overview Of Weebly App Selection

What is also worth noting is that Weebly offers a completely free option without a time limit. That means that if you’re ok with your site being called YourDomain.weebly.com, you will not have to pay a single cent.

The free version comes with a Weebly add in the bottom of your site and some minor limitations, but it also gives you the opportunity to really familiarize yourself with the builder before you decide that you might want to upgrade.

Their templates are also on par design wise, although they might not look just as good as the Squarespace templates. If you decide to change template, all your content will be transferred over to the new layout without any hassle.

Another feature worth mentioning is the ability to add sections to your site where you can choose from a wide variety of well design layouts. This becomes especially handy if you’re not that creative or good with designs.

Summed up, Weebly with its minimalistic user interface is probably one of the easiest website builders to get started with. Since Weebly also offers a completely free version (with ads), you’re allowed to spend all the time in the world to develop your site free of charge while evaluating whether or not you should upgrade.

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