Popular Web Builders: Pros and Cons

There are many options available for creating a website. It can often be difficult to know which of the many online web builders to use or whether to use a self hosted platform such as WordPress. It largely depends on your individual requirements and your budget. This articles explains the pros and cons of various popular web builders and should hopefully make it easier to decide which options is best for you.

What is a Web Builder

A web builder is a tool that allows you to create a website yourself, without the need for any coding knowledge. Web builders are generally ‘drag and drop’ meaning building a website is quite straight forward. Most web builders also come with ready to use templates which further simplifies the process. There are a variety of online web builders available which are designed to be very easy to use and are often as simple as choosing a template you like and customising it with you own images and text. Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and Shopify are some popular web builders although there are many more. A self host WordPress site is another great option. ‘Drag and drop’ functionality can be easily added to WordPress by installing one of the many plugins available.

This To Consider When Choosing a Web Builder

  • How easy is the web builder to use
  • Hosting options
  • Is there support available
  • What costs are involved
  • Ability to back up the site
  • Can the site be migrated
  • Site speed
  • Ecommerce functionality
  • SEO

The Pros of Using a Web Builder

  • You can easily build a website with no prior design experience or technical knowledge
  • You can have the site up and running very quickly
  • Large amount of ready made templates to use
  • ‘Drag and drop’ design, very simple to use.
  • Easy to manage content
  • Built in options for on page seo
  • Support available
  • Lots of online tutorials and ‘how to’ guides are available
  • Can be used for a variety of different types of website

The Cons of Using a Web Builder

  • Monthly fee and possible additional costs for extra ‘add ons’.
  • There may be limitations regarding functionality and customisation.
  • The cheaper options may contain ad’s e.g. the cheapest option for Wix will include banner ad’s for Wix.
  • It may be difficult to fully back up or migrate the site should you decide you need a more advanced option further down the line.
  • Little control over hosting options.
  • Ecommerce plans are usually the most expensive monthly plan and sometimes you will also pay a percentage fee for each product sold.
  • Difficult to have a very specific or custom designs as you are relying on ready made templates.
  • Once you have chosen a theme, you can’t always change this if you change your mind. You might have to start building the site again from scratch if you wish to choose a different theme.
Below is a more detailed look at some of the most popular web building platforms, we’ve looked at 6 key areas and provided our personal views and recommendations. (check the individual sites for a full list of features and pricing info.)

WIX

Design

Easy drag and drop, very quick to build, limited to their templates but there are many available. Modern, responsive designs.

Domain

With the free plan you get a domain that ends in wix.com. You can use your own domain with any of the premium plans. With the free and basic plans, your website will also display a Wix banner ad.

SEO

You can easily add meta tags, keywords and alt tags to optimise your site. There are also an in depth support topics and guides. Whilst you can do most of the SEO fundamentals, you may find some limitations if you are used to platforms such as WordPress as you can’t make any code customisations.

Support

There are lots of help articles online and you can contact Wix directly for support.

Ecommerce

An online store is only available on the business and ecommerce plans, Wix does not take any commission from sales.

Backup

Limited backup, difficult to migrate site to another platform if you decide to change platforms in the future.

Wix is a good choice for small business sites and portfolio sites. You can build a stunning site very quickly and the templates are easy to customise. If it’s a simple site you are looking for and you won’t need any extra functionality in the future, Wix is a great choice. Wix has had some stick in the past for it’s SEO features, they have made a lot of positive changes in terms of customisations and URL structure and there are lots of guides and info on their website to help you optimise your site. Having said that, there are some downsides (the following article from Search Engine Journal details some of these) but it’s likely that these will be improved in the future. It’s still a good platform and it’s certainly very simple to use. For large businesses, authority sites or sites that you want to grow and add extra features to in the future, Wix may not be the best choice but it’s a good option for business sites. It’s certainly very easy to use and you’ll have your site up and running very quickly.

WEEBLY

Design

Easy drag and drop, very quick to build, once again you are limited to their templates but there are lots available.

Domain

With the free version, you will have a weebly.com domain, the paid options (starting at £4 per month) enable you to have your own custom domain. When using the free version, Weebly ad’s will be displayed on your site.

SEO

Simple to add meta description and alt tags etc. There are also help articles available to guide through the process.

Support

Plenty of online support guides and articles as well as the option to get in touch via email or phone.

Ecommerce

An ecommerce store is available on the pro plan from but there is a limit to how many products you can sell with the pro plan and there is a 3% transaction fee. With the business plans (starting at £18 a month) there is no transaction fee.

Backup

You can export and backup the site, however, any blog content will not be saved. You can migrate the site to another platform should you wish but this will not include any blog posts and some features may not function correctly.
One of the best things about Weebly is it’s simplicity. It’s very easy to design and customise a site, even if you’ve never built a website before. If you need a website for your business and have a limited budget, Weebly is a good choice. There is no prior knowledge needed, Weebly is ‘drag and drop’, meaning all of the built in templates can be easily customised to suit your needs. You can include an image gallery, a blog and even an online store at a relatively low cost. Weebly has lots of SEO guides to help you get started as well as built in options for optimising your site.

SQUARESPACE

Design

There are lots of great templates to choose from that are very easy to customise.

Domain

There is no free option with Squarespace (although there is a free trial period), you can choose or transfer a domain of your choice with any of the plans.

SEO

Plenty of options for structuring content and adding meta data. There are also lots of support articles available to help you.

Support

Online knowledge base with lots of guides and videos. Support is available via email and live chat. No phone support.

Ecommerce

Ecommerce from £15 per month with a 3% transaction fee or £20 per month with no transaction fee. There is also a £30 a month option with additional features.

Backup

You can create backups of the site. Can be exported and migrated to another platform but some features may be lost.
Squarespace is a very straightforward, easy to use web builder. The entry level plan (personal plan) is affordable at £10 a month. There is no option to add your own custom CSS or make any code amendments with this plan, however one of the main plus points of squarespace is the fact that it’s an ‘out of the box’ solution so this is unlikely to be an issue for most people. Squarespace has lots of info regarding SEO and there are plenty of options for site optimisation.

SHOPIFY

Design

Lots of templates to choose from, easy to customise the layout and content.

Domain

You can easily purchase a new domain or transfer your existing domain through Shopify.

SEO

Options for optimising your content and adding meta data as well as more advanced options.

Support

Online help centre with lots of useful guides. You can also get support via online chat, email or phone.

Ecommerce

No free option although there is a 14 day free trial. The basic package for an ecommerce website starts at $29 a month.

Backup

You can backup a Shopify site and you can export data to a CSV file. It is not possible to migrate the site to a different platform.
Shopify is an excellent ecommerce platform and one of the most popular options for selling products. Shopify has a built in payment system (no transaction fees), however if you wish to use external payment gateways to process card payments, it’s important to note that there will be additional fees. Shopify is easy to use, you can customise your theme via the theme editor, you can also edit the theme code but this will require some developer knowledge. There are plenty of templates to choose from including both free and paid options. SEO options such as adding headings, ALT text, page titles and meta descriptions is straight forward as there are built in options for this. 301 redirects can be implemented and URLs can be customised (you can change the URL but not the overall URL structure.) Shopify also have lots of SEO guides to help you through the process.

You can quickly and easily build a website with any of the web builders mentioned above. They have some great templates and design choices available and all of the platforms are fully mobile responsive. The ideal platform for you is dependant on your personal needs and objectives. Whilst the above are great choices, there may be some limitations depending on your exact requirements. 

Another option for building a site would be to have a self hosted WordPress site. WordPress is an excellent choice as you can add extra functionality as your business grows as well as tailor your site to meet your exact requirements.

The following article outlines the benefits of a self hosted WordPress site. This provides an excellent alternative to the web building platforms listed above.

Emma Schwartz

Emma Schwartz

Emma is a website optimisation specialist with many years experience providing expert advice and support for small business owners. She enjoys writing, blogging, building websites, taking computers apart and spending quality time with her two children.
Share this article:

Leave a comment