WYSIWYG, or ‘what you see is what you get’, web builders are an increasingly popular method of building a website that require no coding knowledge. If you don’t know your HTML from your Headers, or your CSS from your CMS, a WYSIWYG web builder might be the tool for you.
A WYSIWYG website builder uses a graphical interface to display what your website will look like and allows you to drag and drop different templates and elements to change its appearance. These tools empower individuals and business owners to quickly and easily create their own website, bypassing the prohibitive cost of hiring a web designer and retaining them for future modifications.
Most of these tools are easy to use – your biggest problem will be choosing the right web builder; a quick Google search will reveal a huge range of different options available, and unless you want to spend weeks trying them all, it’s hard to tell which one is right for you.
For your convenience, we’ve reviewed the top 16 web builders available in 2018, including selecting winners in three specialist categories: Best for Beginners, Best for Beautiful Websites, and Best to Avoid, plus an overview of other choices you may want to consider.
Please note that unless otherwise stated, all prices within this guide are USD. Pricing may differ in other regions.
Best for Beginners: Wix
Wix wins our Best for Beginners award with its Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) feature. Wix ADI asks you a number of questions to find out how you’ll use your website and then uses that information to create a website for you. The results aren’t always perfect, but it’s a great tool for beginners who want to get their website running quickly and easily.
The standard Wix Editor provides a lot more options for those that want it, including more than 500 templates across 16 different categories You simply choose a template and then tweak it until it’s perfect using the WYSIWYG editor.
Additionally, Wix provides an App Market which delivers additional functionality. Apps include Wix Stores, enabling you to manage your own online store; Site Booster, which aids SEO; and Wix Forum, which allows you to build an online community. Some of the apps are free while others are either premium (paid) only, or offer the choice of free or paid versions (with differing functionality).
- 500+ templates which can be customized using the WYSIWYG editor.
- Choose from millions of stock images to liven up your website.
- Unlimited pages on your website.
- Add functionality with Wix Apps.
- The free plan includes hosting, unlimited pages, and 500 MB storage.
- Premium plans range from $5 to $25 per month.
- 14-day money-back guarantee.
- Some plans include a free domain, apps, and ad voucher if you purchase an annual subscription.
Best for Local Businesses: Pedestal
If you’re a local business, building a website is much more than just a vanity project. Your website should play a key role in your local internet marketing strategy. The problem with most website builders is that once you’ve created your website, you still have to compete with other local business when implementing your pay-per-click or search engine optimization campaigns. Pedestal wins our Best for Local Businesses award because it bridges that gap. Unlike other website builders, Pedestal offers key out-of-the-box marketing strategy for over 70+ local business industries as part of the package.
Pedestal offers beautiful lead-generating themes that enable your website to capture more leads (compared to websites created with other tools). Its key functionality includes SEO-friendly code, built-in analytics tools, and an easy-to-use WYSIWYG design editor.
- Designed for local businesses
- Themes are responsive, SEO-friendly, and built for lead-generation.
- Track your traffic, conversion rates, and leads from within the Pedestal platform.
- Businesses using Pedestal generate more leads on average.
- The free trial is available for 14 days and contains most features of the full version.
- Premium plans start with the $49 per month Standard plan, suitable for websites of up to 13 pages.
- The Plus plan adds a larger capacity, custom domains, and a blog builder for $97 per month.
- The Pro plan unlocks the most powerful analytics tools, such as the ability to rate leads by their quality and track ROI. The Pro plan costs $149 per month.
Best for Beautiful Websites: Squarespace
If the most important factor in your decision-making is how good your website is going to look, you might want to consider Squarespace. It’s a bit harder to use than some of the other options, and you don’t get thousands of template choices, but what you do get has been thoughtfully and beautifully designed.
It doesn’t lack in features either: there’s support for eCommerce, excellent analytics tools, and it’s responsive straight out of the box. This makes it ideal both for individuals and businesses: Squarespace claims several well-known businesses among its clients, including Pixar. It’s strong features and design makes this an ideal tool for businesses of any size.
However, there’s a price to pay for the quality you receive. Unlike many other web builders, Squarespace doesn’t have a fully-functioning free account. You can sign up for a free trial, but your website won’t go live until you part with some cash. Squarespace is also one of the more expensive options, which can make it unsuitable for individuals who just want to create a personal website.
- High-quality, fully-responsive templates.
- Excellent presentation, including video backgrounds, in-browser image editing, and lightbox presentations.
- Fully-featured eCommerce support.
- Excellent SEO tools.
- Websites start at $12 per month for individuals, $18 for businesses (if paid annually).
- Basic eCommerce sites start at $26 per month, rising to $40 per month if you need features such as Autorecovery of abandoned carts or real-time shipping prices.
- Hosting included with all plans, plus one free domain (free for a year).
Best to Avoid: SiteBuilder.com
SiteBuilder.com is one of the cheapest WYSIWYG site builders on the market, while still providing an apparently high level of functionality. For $4.99 per month, SiteBuilder.com includes a free domain name, unlimited free email accounts, and access to their SiteBuilder WYSIWYG tool which includes more than 10,000 templates. Users only need to pay more if they require SEO tools or support for an eCommerce store.
The editor is easy to use, and although not as fully-featured as some other choices, still perfectly acceptable for most users. The huge range of templates means that most users should find something close to what they want to achieve, which minimizes the work necessary to get your site started.
Sounds good. So why should you be wary?
Unfortunately, SiteBuilder.com has developed a reputation for poor billing practices and non-existent customer service. This also applies to their other sites, which look different but use the same software: WebsiteBuilder.com, Sitey.com, and Sitelio.com.
This is not unknown in the web builder industry which is why we’re bringing it to your attention. Always check a business’s reputation before making your choice.
- More than 10,000 templates available.
- Option to order a custom template.
- SEO tools and eCommerce costs extra
- Free domain name with all paid plans.
- Unlimited free email accounts with most plans.
- Poor reputation.
Other WYSIWYG Web Builders
We’ve covered a couple of the best options (and one to avoid), but what about the rest? There’s plenty more good options available:
Weebly is one of the best-known and most popular site builders. As you’d expect from a mature product with millions of customers, the design, features, and options are all excellent and easy-to-use. It’s easy to see why many of their customers claim Weebly is the best site builder available.
- App Center allows you to add additional third-party integrations, including table elements, forms, and FAQs.
- 40+ free responsive themes.
- Strong eCommerce features comparable to Squarespace.
- Used by more than 30 million people worldwide.
- Free account available, but uses Weebly subdomain and contains ads.
- Premium plans range from 8$ to $25 per month.
- Free domain with every paid plan.
Voog’s unique selling point is that it has been designed for multilingual websites. Users can make parallel versions of their pages in as many languages as they want, allowing users to easily switch between them at will. Even the Voog tool can be used in one of 10 languages.
- Fully-responsive, customizable websites built using WYSIWYG editor.
- Best-in-class multilingual features make this a strong option if you’re building a website in several languages.
- Above-average tools for developers who want to build fully-customized sites.
- Free for 30 days, then €6 per month for the Standard plan which includes 30 pages, 2GB storage, and up to 3 languages.
- Complete online store available in Plus plan, €10 per month.
- Enterprise plan comparatively pricey at €39 per month.
A close runner-up in our Best for Beginners category, SITE123 aims to make building a website as simple as possible. The site-creation wizard will guide you through the whole process, so all you need to do is upload your content and make a few easy design choices; SITE123 does the rest.
- Easy site-creation wizard means no coding or design knowledge is necessary.
- Library of free stock images provided, so it’s easy to get started.
- eCommerce options are available.
- Free option comes with just 500MB storage and 1GB bandwidth, so you might need to upgrade quite quickly.
- Premium package costs $9.80 per month (paid annually) or $14 month-by-month.
- Premium package includes 10GB storage and 5GB bandwidth.
- Both plans provide free hosting and unlimited pages.
Ucraft enables users to quickly build a website by dragging and dropping basic blocks onto pre-designed responsive templates. Building a website is easy, but the nature of the blocks-based design does limit your options. Functionality is improved through a wide range of integrations with tools including Disqus, Twitter, PayPal, Shopify, Soundcloud, and more.
- Blocks-based design easy for beginners.
- Integrations add more features.
- Free cloud hosting and subdomain.
- Free account limited to 1 page and a predefined template.
- Just one tier of premium account gives you access to everything from $8 per month (20% discount if you pay annually).
- Save money with the lifetime account, available for $149 (equivalent of two years of annual payment plan)
Moonfruit is aimed at small businesses such as restaurants, startups, and freelancers, helping them create a professional website quickly and easily. With no free plan available, Moonfruit is less suitable for individuals who want to experiment creating their own website, especially as some competitor’s Free plans offer about the same as Moonfruit’s basic plan ($5.99 per month).
- Build your website on responsive ready-made templates.
- Free stock imagery provided.
- Apps allow you to add functionality, including custom HTML
- No free plan available; basic plan starts at $5.99 per month for unlimited pages and 500MB storage.
- Despite the cost, the basic plan still leaves you with Moonfruit ads on your website.
- $11.99 Professional plan is the most popular – but lacks eCommerce capability.
- eCommerce plans ‘coming soon’ as of time of writing.
WebStarts users can select from hundreds of predefined templates and then move elements to customize their site. Unlike block-based builders, WebStarts allows you to drag any element anywhere you wish on the page. Snap-to-grid features help users get everything in line, but less creative users may still struggle to get everything where they want.
- Fully-customizable and mobile-ready.
- A wide variety of features including eCommerce, online chat, hosted video, and SEO.
- Confident users can edit HTML and CSS to fine-tune their website.
- Limited free account lacks social integration, SEO, and slideshows but does include unlimited pages, 1GB storage, and 1GB bandwidth.
- Ad-free Pro account starts at just $4.89 per month.
- Fully-featured Business account necessary for an online store, costs $19.99 per month.
- Generous free advertising for higher tier accounts ($500 for Business accounts).
Jimdo allows you to create a website from one of its 15 high-quality templates and is suitable for both blogs and simple eCommerce stores. The free plan is relatively generous compared to some other free plans and unlike most other free options, can include an eCommerce store.
However, the editor fails to provide the same level of customization that some of the better-known web builders provide. Jimda is great for a basic website and good value for creating your first eCommerce store, but more advanced users may feel constrained by the lack of options.
- Good-looking templates with some level of customization.
- Built-in SEO and analytics.
- Generous features for a free account.
- Limited eCommerce capabilities.
- Jimdo free includes 2GB bandwidth and 50MB storage. Lacks a few SEO and analytics options but be used to create a basic store (up to 5 items).
- JimdoPro accounts start from $7.50 a month, billed annually.
- Stores with more than 15 items will need a JimdoBusiness account ($20/month).
Yola aims to help you create and publish your first website within 30 minutes, offering customizable designs that can be edited using drag-and-drop. Yola offers both free and paid plans; the free plans are somewhat restrictive compared to the free plans provided by other providers, but at the lowest tiers the premium plans are very competitively priced.
- Competitively priced lower-tier plans.
- No third-party advertisements on any plan.
- Free plan includes three pages, 1GB storage, 1GB bandwidth.
- Bronze plan starts at just $4.16 per month (billed annually).
- All premium plans include free custom domain.
- Add an online store to any package for an additional $10/month.
Strikingly allows you to create a website easily, but at the expense of some features, and creating multiple page websites is impossible: Strikingly focuses solely on long-form one-page websites, and if this is the format you are looking for it may be for you – most other web builders are geared around creating multi-page websites.
- Specializes in creating one-page websites.
- Simple eCommerce options available.
- Few templates, but all the choices are high-quality.
- Free account includes Strikingly.com domain, unlimited sites, and 5GB bandwidth.
- Limited account costs just $8/month, but stores are limited to 5 items, and this plan does not remove the Strikingly branding.
- Full-featured Pro account, $16 per month, will be necessary for most serious users.
Duda has a strong set of features and a lot of customization options, making it ideal for individuals and businesses that want that extra bit of control. Duda is primarily marketed at businesses and offers integrations with PayPal, Yelp Reviews, and more, as well as SEO, analytics, and eCommerce options.
- 70+ high-quality, responsive themes.
- Triggers enable website personalization according to certain rules. For example, you might display a custom special0offer for returning customers.
- Advanced users with premium accounts can edit HTML and CSS of their site.
- Free option comes with Ads and Duda Domain.
- Business+ starts at $19/month ($14.25 on an annual plan).
- Business+ Ecommerce starts at $29 per month ($22.50 on an annual plan).
iPage is first and foremost a hosting company, but they also offer a WYSIWYG website builder which their customers get access to when they purchase a hosting plan. You get the most basic website builder free with most hosting plans, but advanced features do cost more.
The main advantage to using a hosting company such as iPage is that you have more control over the space you’re buying. If you want to later replace your iPage website with a WordPress one, you can do that without changing your hosting provider.
- Drag-and-drop design using 100+ mobile-friendly themes.
- Easy to use your hosting for WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal at a later date if you decide to upgrade.
- Convenient of all-in-one package slightly reduced by confusing pricing.
- Website builder comes free with hosting that typically costs $7.99 per month (special offers frequently reduce the first term to just $1.99 per month).
- However, iPage website builder incurs an additional charge if you go above six pages, or want features such as HD video or eCommerce.
- Business plan with eCommerce starts from $15.99 per month.
Like iPage, GoDaddy is another company who are best known for their hosting services. GoDaddy GoCentral offers a quick, easy-to-use website builder that allows you to build a website very quickly, but at the expense of fewer features – and without a significant discount over similar services.
- Get your website complete within an hour.
- Quick and easy, but fewer customization options.
- No blogging tool or site statistics.
- Free for one month, but then you need a paid subscription.
- Personal plans start at $5.99 per month, business plans at $9.99 per month.
- Businesses wanting an online store plan pay $29.99 per month.
- All plans include hosting and responsive design.