Building a smart website for your new blog might sound like an incredibly technical task. You may think that it is going to be very expensive and time-consuming.
However, the truth is that getting your site up and running should be a lot easier than you fear. By using one of the best website builders around it is possible to get a quality, professional blog that does exactly what you need it do.
With so many different options to choose from, the toughest part can be in deciding which one to go for. Getting the right one will be of huge benefit to you in the future, so you don’t want to rush into this matter without looking into it fully first of all.
Therefore, let’s take a look at the top site builders that you might be interested in using. What do they offer and how much do they cost to use?
What Is a Website Builder?
When you are just starting out with a blog you will probably put more importance on the niche you choose and the content you produce than on the site itself. After all, isn’t the content what is going to draw people in, rather than the design?
Well, without a good site, your blogging career isn’t going to go very far. A poor design could put off visitors, and the technology you use to create your site will also affect how easy or difficult it is for you to run the blog. A great site will take up far less time and will also give you fewer concerns over the years.
Not so long ago, anyone who wanted to build a site of their own either needed to understand coding or pay someone else to do it for them. This meant that creating a website from scratch was time-consuming and also potentially very expensive.
All of this changed with the arrival of these web-building tools. They offer a very easy way to set up your own site very quickly and without any coding knowledge. This has opened up the possibility of anyone getting their own site cheaply and in next to no time.
Some of these tools are free to use, although in this case you will typically be restricted in terms of how you are able to make money from it. Others will charge you a monthly or annual fee.
In most cases, there are varying levels of membership to choose from, depending upon the features that you need to have.
There are also two types of hosting to take into account. Self-hosting sites give you the software you need to get set up but you then need to pay for hosting and a domain.
On the other hand, you could get an all-in-one package that includes both hosting and a domain for a combined cost.
Why Build a Website?
The next point to think about is why you even need to build a website in the first place. If you just want to blog then why not do it on someone else’s platform, such as Medium? You might also write guest blogs for other people, or use social media to get your views out to the world.
The most important reason for using one of the best website builders is to take complete control of your site. By doing this you can monetize the site and feel truly in control of your destiny. If you blog on someone else’s site then they can take away your voice at any time or profit from your blogging.
It is worth considering at the outset what you want from your new site. Do you simply need a blogging platform that is easy to use?
Do you want an online store? Maybe you want to be able to combine a professional, corporate site with a less formal blog? Alternatively, you might just need a standalone blog.
Each new blogger has different needs and wants that they should take into account. It is just as well that there are plenty of options out there to look through before you decide. You are almost certain to find something perfect once you start looking into it.
What Features to Look Out For?
The fact that the most popular website builders each contain a range of features means that it is crucial that you consider which features you need most. By understanding what matters most to you it is going to be a lot easier to decide which tool to use.
Which of the following features rank most highly in the list of things that you want from your website builder?
Ease of use.
To be fair, all of the best website builders make it very easy for you to get started. They are aimed at people who don’t have coding skills and are interested in getting started as quickly as possible. If your skills are in other areas then this is a clever way of quickly get a quality site started with no fuss at all.
The cost of setting up a website varies greatly depending on which site building service you use. These range from completely free options to those that charge a fairly hefty subscription fee. Naturally, the more you pay, the more extras you can expect to be able to use.
Do you want to add an ecommerce store to your blog? This might be a vital part of your initial plan or it could be something that you consider adding later on to make some more money from your blog.
Hosted or self-hosted.
We mentioned hosted and self-hosting options earlier on. These are simply different ways of ensuring that your blog has somewhere on the internet to reside. There are pros and cons to each of these approaches and it is a good idea to think about which one suits you best.
Perhaps the main thing that new bloggers look for from their site is flexibility. If you are going to make this into a powerful, long-term business then you will want to have as many options open to you as possible. Don’t forget that some platforms let you change and adapt over time, while others don’t.
Number of design templates.
As well as looking at the overall issue of flexibility, it is also worth considering the number of design templates you can choose from. The more of them you get to pick from the greater your chances of getting something that is right for what you need.
The Most Popular Website Builders
Bearing all of that in mind, it is now time to look at a few of the most popular website builders. There are others that aren’t mentioned here too. However, the following are some of the market leaders that you will definitely want to consider.
This is the self-hosted option from WordPress. All that means is that you have more control over the site-building process. You need to download the software and then sort out your hosting service and domain name.
There are some very good reasons why this is far and away the most popular way of building a new blog. It is estimated that close to 20% self-hosted websites use this platform, with a large percentage of the planet’s most popular sites using it.
Among the biggest benefits of WordPress.org is the fact that it is completely free to use. It is also easy to set up, with many online tutorials you can turn to if you have any doubts.
The only relatively tricky part comes with looking for a hosting service and domain name, which will also cost you some money.
This is also a highly versatile choice of website builder. There are plenty of design templates and plugins that you can choose from for free. For example, you can add in an ecommerce store later on if you want to make this part of your monetization plan.
- Free to use, open-source software
- Lots of variety in terms of templates and plugins
- Simple to set up and run
- Lots of experienced users around if you need help
- Risk of hacking
- Need to set up hosting and domain name separately
If you want to link your blog to an online store then Shopify is a solid choice of site builder. This is a massively popular option that currently has over half a million websites set up using it, generating billions of dollars between them all.
Shopify was set up in 2004 to process payments for a snowboarding store but is now a massive success that is used in numerous industries.
This is a fully hosted website solution, so there is no need to sort out anything else like hosting or domain names elsewhere. You also get an integrated payment solution that allows you to accept payments without any fuss.
You are most likely to use Shopify if a store is at the heart of your business. If you are thinking of starting up a blog that might also sell something later on then you might think that this solution is the wrong way round for doing things.
It is also worth pointing out that it is possible to integrate Shopify into WordPress, thereby keeping your blog and having a quality online store attached to it. If you are just starting out on your blog then building it using WordPress gives you the option of adding on a Shopify store later on.
The pricing plans let you try out Shopify for 14 days for free. After this, you need to choose between Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. The monthly costs are $29, $79 and $299 respectively.
- Excellent tools for easy set up
- Integrated payment solution
- Can be integrated into a WordPress blog
- With a basic plan at $29 per month, it may be too expensive for someone whose main business is blogging rather than selling
Maybe you prefer a hosted solution for your blog. What this means is that your site is ready to go without you having to do much at all.
The SiteBuilder homepage tells you that just 3 simple steps are needed: pick a template, choose a domain and publish your website.
There is no need to pay for a hosting service or domain name. The package comes with all of the tools that you need to set up a site very easily, even if you have absolutely no skills or experience in doing this.
SiteBuilder is typically used to set up a main site that is supported by a blog. This means that it is likely to be best suited to a business with a blog rather than a standalone blogger.
It is also a fairly expensive approach when compared to the likes of WordPress. At the time of writing, their lowest-priced plan is the Personal Plan that comes in at $8.99 per month on a 24-month deal.
Additional services allow you to add on the likes of My Social Site, SiteLock, Save History and Priority Support for an extra cost.
- No need to pay for hosting and domain
- Big variety of easy-to-use tools.
- Thousands of editable templates
- Optional extras
- Fairly high cost
- Package may be more than a blogger needs
GoDaddy Website Builder
GoDaddy is best known as one of the world’s biggest hosting services and domain providers. Lots of bloggers use them for these reasons even if they are using a different website builder to create their site.
However, what not everyone is aware of is that GoDaddy also offers a website building service of their own. This means that you can sort out absolutely everything to do with your site in one place. Their tagline is “build a better website in under an hour”.
This is one of the best website builders if you like the idea of keeping life simple. You can start off for free with a one-month trial, after which you would need to choose a plan from Personal, Business, Business Plus or the Online Store plan.
You can get a decent mobile site with this tool too. However, a big drawback for bloggers is that there is no blogging tool built into it. This means that you could use this as your main commercial site but would need to have a separate blog.
If you want to use great images then you will be pleased to see that you have access to a large library of Getty photos when you set up your blog with GoDaddy.
- Everything for your site in one place
- Good for mobile site design
- Extensive image library
- Not free
- No blogging tool. Only really useful for a blogger if they want an ecommerce site and plan to create their blog separately.
This is one of the very best website builders for getting started free of charge. Having said that, there is a cost involved if you want to add a custom domain to the site or choose a premium service from Wix. These premium services include the like of extra storage space and bandwidth.
The basic is Connect Domain at $4.50 per month. Other options go all the way up to the VIP deal that costs $24.50 each month.
They promise “total design freedom” and give you over 500 templates that you can start with, or you can start from scratch on your own. They let you set up an online store and also provide tools that can help you to boost your SEO rankings.
The actual process of setting up the blog is very easy. This is because this tool uses a very simple drag-and-drop interface that you should pick up very quickly. Again, there is no need to sort out hosting and domain names before getting started.
There is a reasonable selection of design templates and apps that you can use with a blog on the Wix platform, although fewer than on the likes of WordPress. On the negative side, once you have chosen your template you can’t then switch it to another later on.
- Free unless you prefer a custom domain
- Very easy to get started with
- No option for changing to another template
- Other options have more design options.
This is an interesting option because it sits on top of WordPress. BoldGrid is an open-source network designed for beginners and experts alike.
You use it as a WordPress plugin and can also go for their fully hosted approach to building a site if you don’t already have one.
BoldGrid is described as a “tightly integrated ecosystem of WordPress plugins and themes”. No graphic designs skills are needed thanks to the simple drag-and-drop interface.
If you opt to use it with WordPress then you can very easily set up a slick, professional site. It can be used easily to front an ecommerce site using WooCommerce and is most likely to be useful for a commercial site rather than just for a blog.
BoldGrid’s real-time analysis tool gives you valuable information on your SEO approach as you add content. If you want complete access to all of their premium tools then the cost is $60 per year.
- Easy to set up
- Gives a professional site finish
- Has to be used together with a self-hosted WordPress site
We looked earlier at WordPress.org, which is a self-hosted option. WordPress.com is even easier to set up and use but it does have several disadvantages when compared to the other WordPress method of starting a blog.
This is a hosted blog solution, so you can set up WordPress without needing to worry about dealing with anyone else. You don’t need a domain or a hosting service, as you are putting your blog on the WordPress domain rather than building an independent site of your own.
The biggest problem is that this gives you less flexibility than with a self-hosting option. This may or may not be important to you, depending upon your plans.
However, there is no doubt that it is more difficult to grow and monetize a blog using this method.
There are fewer tailoring options here than on the WordPress.org platform. However, if you pay to unlock different packages you can access more options. These cost $4, $8 or $25 monthly, depending upon the level of access and service that you need.
If you just want somewhere to write a blog for fun then you can do it for free here. On the other hand, if you want to create a professional site or a money-making venture then you may find that you need to pay for a package that gives you more control.
- Basic package is free
- Hassle-free with everything in one place
- Get started right away
- Lot of useful tools
- You need to pay to get a tailored blog that you can monetize
This is another popular web-building option, and it is easy to see why. It gives you a powerful way to build a commercial site that you can make money from.
The interface is attractive and very easy to get to grips with. It is also good to see that this is a simple way of getting a good mobile website that is optimized for the mobile experience.
There is a Basic option that currently costs $14.25 per month. After this, the next level is called Pro and it cost $9.75 monthly plus a $249 annual subscription. There is a more powerful Enterprise option, which you need to contact Duda about to get a quote for.
Among the main benefits on Duda are social media integration, site traffic analysis and webstore tools. You can easily add a blog here but it seems fair to say that it is going to be of more interest to you if your main concern is a high-quality site or online store.
- Attractive site builder
- Range of useful tools
- Good way of monetizing a blog
- Not free
- You will probably end up paying for more tools and features than a blogger needs
This is a strong option for a small business that want a good-looking site at a modest cost. It can be used to quickly create a tailored website that looks appealing and inviting to visitors, without any need for coding or design skills.
The list of features is a little more limited than with some of the other best website builders we have looked at here. However, if you just want a great site that you can set up in next to no time then this is a solid choice.
While this tool is particularly aimed at small businesses, it is also a decent option for bloggers who want a very attractive site. The process for adding blog posts here is very simple and intuitive too.
The cheapest package is the Personal plan, while the more expensive Business plan offers more flexibility.
- Visually attractive
- Simple user interface
- Option for combined blog and ecommerce options
- Not as many tools as on some other website builders.
This is another simple and highly effective platform for getting your own site set up without any hassle. It has a range of design templates that can be customized, and some other features that could come in very useful.
This is another fully hosted option, meaning that you don’t need to worry about looking into hosting services and domains at all.
The options when you pay for the service include a free custom domain name, ecommerce options, and custom email addresses. The pricing structure also includes a Starter package at $5.99 per month. Other options include Enhanced at $12.99 per month, as well as Pro at $22.99 each month.
- Easy to set up a visually appealing site
- Different levels of membership to meet differing needs
- Relatively limited range of features
Which One of the Best Website Builders Suits You Best?
Having looked at the main options in this field, you may feel that you now know which one is right for you. Of course, there is also the possibility that you still aren’t completely sure how to choose from these numerous different site builders.
In this case, it is a good move to think about your needs before going any further. This will help you decide which features are most important to you.
Keeping the costs low.
Many bloggers start off on a tight budget. If this strictly a money-making venture for you then you probably want to keep the costs low at the beginning.
Naturally, the free options tend to be extremely limited. You may find that playing a low monthly amount gives you exactly what you need without needing too serious an investment.
Adding an e-commerce option.
As we have seen, some of these tools are focused on letting you set up a blog, with ecommerce an optional extra or not available at all. Others prioritize an online store, with a blogging option available.
The ecommerce-based platforms tend to be more expensive, so you can start off by considering whether this is likely to be worth it.
Number of options.
Do you want to be able to choose from as wide a range of options as possible? If you already have a clear idea of what you want then you will probably want a site builder that gives you the flexibility to make your vision a reality. Otherwise, you may be happy with a more limited set of options that let you get started more quickly.
You will have noticed that some of these website building tools are especially powerful in terms of creating a visually appealing site. This is great if you are looking at starting up a fashion or design blog that needs to look at attractive as possible. If visual appeal isn’t so important to you then this won’t be such a big factor.
Is the popularity of a website builder important to you? There is no denying that sites such as WordPress and Shopify are massively popular.
This tends to be a good sign that they can be trusted, and also means there are plenty of specialists out there who are comfortable using these tools.
Free introductory offers.
Getting started for free with a short introductory offer makes perfect sense. This will typically give you a month or so without any charge.
While this is a good opportunity to try out the platform, be careful not to put so much effort into your blog during this time as moving it to another platform at the end of the trial would be a huge hassle. Instead, use it to get a feel for the tools they provide and the ease of use.
Everything in one place?
Finally, we have seen that there is a crucial difference between choosing a hosted site and getting self-hosting for your blog. While neither of these methods is foolproof, some people simply prefer one over the other.
Self-hosting is certainly a little trickier but it does give you a greater level of control over the future of your blog.
The Best Website Builders: Conclusion
Choosing the right website builder for your blog is one of the most important steps in the whole process of starting and running a blog. In fact, we can safely say that making a good decision on this point greatly increases your overall chances of blogging success.
The good news is that there are some excellent site building tools around just now. You can get started smoothly and easily with just about any of them.
Having said that, there are some important differences between the various options to take into account. It is only by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each one that you can hope to make an informed decision on the matter.
There is no doubt that WordPress is an excellent tool for bloggers, and it is very easy to see why so many blogs are set up in this way. Yet, there is no harm in checking to see whether a different option is more suitable before you get started.