Website builders are a great way to build an up-to-date, responsive and totally customized website. With their help, you can create your own website without any fundamental programming knowledge, based on pre-existing templates.
Different platforms compete with each other in terms of available functionality and customization opportunities.
As the number of platforms grows, their potential users are wondering: which one is better for each particular case? To make things more clear, we have compiled this overview of the most popular website building services.
Website builders: market overview
The core principle of Webflow is "smart no-code". In other words, the platform was specially designed for people who want to create websites without focusing on the technical aspect, while relying on the high quality code.
This way of working is especially appealing to designers, as it allows them to implement their creative ideas directly online.
Webflow offers the three main components: a codeless visual web design tool, a content management system (CMS), and hosting. The first of them is undoubtedly the flagship of the service.
The Photoshop-like interface is actually an HTML / CSS automation tool where the user is free to add, position and style elements as they see fit, while the base system automatically generates the markup and all the other necessary code.
You can build your site from scratch or use any of the ready-made templates. Webflow offers over 30 free and 100 premium templates.
In addition, Webflow CMS allows you to manually define custom content types (blog posts, projects, team members, etc.) using custom fields, which can make life much easier for those who manage large web projects with complex structures.
Webflow hosting services are provided on a "create free, add hosting to launch" principle. This means that you can create a prototype on the webflow.com subdomain and then connect your domain name by subscribing to one of the Webflow hosting plans.
One of the most recent (and most anticipated) additions to Webflow is the online store functionality. Webflow eCommerce is offered on separate pricing plans and includes everything you need to organize online sales: product and inventory management, custom baskets, checkout, customer correspondence, and self-checkout.
Next comes Wordpress - one of the most popular CMS in the world, which powers over 60% of sites.
The main feature of the WordPress platform is the open source PHP code, which allows making changes to it. Of course it’s great if you or your specialists have sufficient programming knowledge.
Among other advantages of this platform are a downloadable free engine and a variety of the templates, plugins and add-ons (both free and paid). Actually WordPress itself doesn't possess great functionality, but the large selection of add-ons and plugins allows you to enrich the initial functionality significantly.
A convenient visual editor actually repeats the interface of the familiar and well-known Microsoft Word, so filling your site with content won’t be an issue.
Constant (and often automatic) updates make sites built on WordPress as safe as possible from attacks and viruses.
WIX is the go-to choice for creating online stores, blogs, and portfolios. With this platform, you can choose a design with ready-made functionality among more than 500 templates. The website builder is powered by Drag & Drop technology.
The basic website options adjust themselves to various devices. To further customize the mobile version of the website, there are built-in automated features, such as tap-to-call.
The experienced users can utilizeWixCode to write a website from scratch. Moreover, you can use WixADI - an AI powered algorithm to build a website based on a completed customer questionnaire.
In addition, a wide variety of marketing options are provided. Similar to working in Google Analytics, you can track which device a visitor came from, which pages are popular, and which ones should be worked on.
The Weebly team markets its platform as the best website builder for small businesses. Weebly's collection of templates includes a wide range of useful widgets, such as the event planner. For example, you can set up timing for posting deals and special offers, and the system will publish them automatically.
Weebly is good for building blogs, business sites, or online stores. Unlike WIX, this builder lets you switch between the themes right in the editor. The more flexible Drag & Drop interface is an advantage of Weebly, which sets it apart from its competitors.
Initially positioning itself as a tool for online sales, Shopify allows you to create online stores of absolutely any complexity. Therefore, it is not surprising that more than 800,000 online stores around the world have been developed on this platform.
Shopify's strong point is its powerful Drag & Drop editor and super rich functionality. This is primarily due to the fact that Shopify has a large collection of additional free and paid apps (in AppMarket) and paid premium templates. The paid additional applications and templates allow you to expand the capabilities of a regular e-shop to a super advanced online store.
What else makes Shopify stand out? Such features as accounting calculations, accounting for stocks of goods in stock make it a good option for ecommerce businesses. And these are the default options available in the constructor control interface itself.
Pixpa is an all-in-one platform for creators and small businesses to create beautiful, professional websites complete with a built-in online store, blog, and client galleries.
Pixpa's offers a multitude of stunning, mobile-friendly, and fully customizable templates that you can change anytime. Pixpa's drag-and-drop page builder helps you to build stunning professional websites without any coding knowledge.
Pixpa's beautiful, responsive templates that can be fully customized without touching any code, affordable pricing, and amazing customer support make it stand out from its competitors.
Bootstrap is an open source and free HTML, CSS, and JS framework that web developers use to quickly build responsive website designs and web applications. It is supported by all popular browsers, and its responsive CSS is customizable for desktops, tablets and mobiles.
Its main area of application is the development of front-end sites and admin interfaces.
Second, Bootstrap contains beautiful and functional built-in components that are easy to customize.
Also, its popularity is related to affordability - even a novice developer can make up high-quality layouts on it, which would be difficult to complete without deep knowledge of web technologies and sufficient practice. And with just HTML and CSS knowledge, anyone can get started with Bootstrap.
Webflow vs other website builders
As a team specializing in Webflow, we’d like to highlight the key benefits of this platform in comparison to other solutions.
An absolute favourite among non-coding designers
If customization is your top priority, and your team lacks coding skills, then Webflow is totally worth trying. The amazing features of this platform include:
- A totally virtual canvas;
- A variety of animations and interactions.
Advanced SEO features
Webflow builder helps with the following SEO related tasks:
- Optimizing your site's metadata, specifying specific keywords, and using alternative titles for your images;
- Generating sitemaps automatically;
- Setting up customizable 301 redirects.
Automatic backups make it easy to restore the site to the last save point
Website builders like Wordpress don’t offer integrated hosting services. Webflow does.
Easy to make edits
Once you select a template and navigate to the design editor screen, you will notice that it’s pretty easy to apply and add various functions to your site. And if you know a bit about programming, you can even try setting things up with code instead of using the site builder's features.
So, we have covered the most popular website building platforms available in the market today, Which one is the best fit for your needs will depend mostly depend on the following factors:
- How big is the selection of templates, and good they are to cover your needs
- Whether a platform has a Drag & Drop editor
- Whether the platform interface is simple and intuitive
- Which external integrations are supported
Based on your website specifics, you will be able to define which option is the best one to implement your project. As experts in the Webflow platform, we can say it is a perfect solution for corporate websites, online stores and blogs. It provides not only an excellent variety of ready-made templates, but also gives a room for the implementation of unique design ideas.