Best Online Website Builder Wix Weebly WordPress Yola...

Writing for the web, but fancy keeping all your own affiliate and adsense revenue? Building your own websites is an option. And it's never been easier. A raft of website builders are now online, where you can create websites ranging from all-singing-and-dancing flash sites to fully-functioning store fronts. Here's an overview of some of the best.

Wix
Flash website builder with great-looking templates

Yola
Drag and drop website builder for techno dummies

Weebly
Web Builder with unique template import tool

WordPress
Blog with website building features

Wevinator
Free web builder with unique navigation tools and product/article finder

Others
Moonfruit, Jimdo, MySpace and Volusion are some of them, but there are many more.

Wix


Flash-only website builder, which has the best selection of templates but among the highest costs.

Pros

  • Sites are well-designed and professional - good-looking templates come with pre-designed pages, such as a home page and a contact page
  • Easy Drag and Drop wysiwig (What You See is What You Get) page editor.
  • Flash widgets make creating menus, mini-pages, and animations a snip
  • Can be used in conjunction with other blogs and web builders, such as MySpace and Word Press
  • No popup ads

Cons

  • Quite expensive (see below) if you do not want to display Wix ads, which shout that your website was "Free"
  • Your site uses Flash, which has it's own disadvantages. Among them, usability, for example, the back button won't work, slower load times and accessibility - not everyone has the Flash plugin installed

Free Stuff
Hosting is free with a Wix subdomain, Wix ads and logos and a free template

Extras

  • Use your own domain (registered elsewhere) for around $4.95 a month.
  • Get rid of Wix ads and logo too - from $9.90 a month
  • Wix Widget-only plan is from $5.95 month
  • Ecommerce Packages start at $24.90 (special offer: $15.90 for first six months)


Portability
Low. Embedding the wix code into a web page not hosted by Wix seems to be against their terms and conditions, except for Widgets. In addition, such sites won't be able to utilize Wix's search engines features.

Update 2012
Wix now has an HTML 5 editor, in addition to a Flash editor. Sites created in HTML5 will display on devices which do not support Flash, although HTML5 support varies from browser to browser and no current browser supports it 100%.

Yola

Simple drag and drop page editor with a good choice of widgets and tempates

Pros

  • Good Picture Editing tool, which includes cropping, red-eye correction and optimization
  • Good selection of widgets including Google Maps and You Tube Videos
  • Can edit raw HTML
  • Can have different banner pics on different pages
  • Works with paypal shopping cart
  • No popup ads
  • Free use of custom domains registered elsewhere

Cons

  • Not completely wysiwig - some elements look slightly different when published
  • Yola's page editor is quite limited, so realistically some knowledge of html and css is needed to customize the templates, which are pretty basic and all quite similar
  • Yola is only free with a Yola Link: "Make a free Website with Yola" - not great for a business website

Portability
Yola sites can be downloaded as zip files and moved, but you will need a server with quite a long list of requirements, including php.

Free Stuff

  • Free hosting at Yola subdomains
  • Up to five sites with a 1GB or storage per site, which should be plenty unless you're publishing video
  • Free templates
  • Free use of custom domains registered elsewhere

Extras

  • Custom domains: $19.95 a year for registration
  • Premium styles: from $19.95
  • Remove Yola Link for $9.95 a year
  • Yola Pro: from $44.95 a year, includes removal of Yola link, 25 sites but not domain registration

WordPress

Although WordPress is best known as a blog host, it can also be used to build entire websites. As well as sophisticated blogging tools, users get a choice of some pretty good templates, and basic page editing tools.

Pros

  • Can nest pages
  • Templates better than Yola and Weebly
  • Tonnes of widgets


Cons

  • Very basic editor - you can only customize templates by editing the CSS, access to which costs extra
  • Premium templates are only available on sites privately hosted (costs about $6 a month)
  • Link back to WordPress - calls your site a blog
  • Navigation is a bit primitive - links just get put down the side
  • Restricted layout - all pages have one column and a sidebar
  • Occasional popup ads with free hosting


Extras

  • Custom CSS upgrade: $14.97
  • Domain mapping: $9.97 a year
  • Domain mapping and regisration: $14.97 a year
  • Domain registration only: $5.00
  • Extra memory starts at 5GB - $19.97
  • No Ads: $29.97
  • Unlimited Private users: $29.97
  • Video: $59.97
  • Premium themes - about $69 each

Portable
Yes - but only with WordPress hosts, which start from about $6 a month

Weebly

Beginner-friendly website builder similar to Yola

Pros

  • Can import templates, making the site a useful CMS (Content Management System) for sites and templates created elsewhere by designers and programmers
  • No pages/bandwidth restrictions
  • Publish at your own domain and Weebly will still host your site for free
  • Create subpages and menus
  • You can add adsense but Weebly will take a hefty 50% of your revenue

Cons

  • Wysiwig editing is even more limited than Yola's, so knowledge of CSS and HTML is really essential to create anything decent
  • Templates not great - perhaps slightly better than Yola's
  • Blogs won't work on sites not hosted by Weebly

Free Stuff

  • Hosting is free at Weebly subdomains or your own domain name (registered elsewhere), but your site will have a Weebly link

Extras

  • To remove the Weebly link, you will need to either pay to host your site elsewhere or sign up for a Pro Account - $4 a month
  • Domain registration (via Register.com) is $33.95 a year

Portability
Yes. You can download a zip. Weebly links will be removed.

Other Website Builders

Wevinator
Wevinator Online Website Builder includes a wysiwig editor, advanced navigation and time-saving tools.

Pros

  • Unique navigation tools include a finder, dropdown menu builder and lists of products or pages
  • Picture and box corners can be curved instantly
  • Quite powerful wysiwig editor - boxes can be moved and colored, columns resized and banners edited
  • CSS editor for advanced users

Cons

  • Not many templates
  • No hosting at custom domains: sites have to be downloaded and hosted elsewhere, for example at 1and1 or another host
  • Link back to Wevinator can't be removed, but it's quite discrete

What's Free
Everything is free, but custom domains (www.yourcompany.com) are not offered by Wevinator - sites can only be published at a Wevinator sub directory. For custom domains, you will need to sign up for a hosting service, such as 1and1.com (US) or 1and1.co.uk (UK) .

Best of the Rest
Moonfruit, Jimdo, MySpace and Volusion are some of them, but there are many more.

Which is Best?

That depends on what you want. If you already have a template or you're going to get a designer/programmer to build one, then Weebly might be best, as you could import it.

If you really just want a blog with a few extra pages then WordPress is probably best. If you want a product finder, you're already paying for web hosting and/or you want to build lots of sites, then Wevinator may be for you. Flash devotees can choose between Wix and Moonfruit.

It's worth remembering that none of these web builders are really free - not if you want your own domain, no ads on your site and a half-decent template anyway.

Comments 23 comments

Neha 6 years ago

Gud analysis n comparison..thanks


Miki 6 years ago

Thanks man, it's useful. I've really needed the comparison between weebly and Wordpress, since I'm Weebly newbie and have some experience with Wordpress.


Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa 6 years ago

Great Article. I like Google Blogs for a free Blog that can be used as a website. They are ultra easy to make, and hosted free. They can be made to look real nice, and tweaked for best SEO.


Jane 6 years ago

Thanks, I'll add a section on Google Blogs - sounds good.


CSS Website Templates 6 years ago

I use webs (formerly freewebs) but I didn't realise how many free web builders there were out there. Thanks for sharing with us.


John 6 years ago

I really like CirclePad for this stuff, I tried Wix and Weebly and then switched over.


Dave 6 years ago

Good breakdown. I just started using Cubender I think it's much better than Yola and Weebly.


Curtis 5 years ago

Decent list. Viviti was always my favorite. no hassles like the other sites


Kevin 5 years ago

Well done, a lot of useful information with limited use of words!


Melanie 5 years ago

I wish i had found this before I built a site with Wix. Its great to use as a travel log or a bit of fun but i wouldn't recommend it for businesses that want to show up in the search listings. I'm going to try weebly or yola.


Doug 5 years ago

I tried weebly and so far have been pretty happy with the result. Thanks for the article it was very helpful.


Abhishek 5 years ago

Hey... thanks a lot... very informative...


gg 5 years ago

Moonfruit!


bv4ph 5 years ago

I appreciate your candid breakdown of these popular website builder sites. I've been using Weebly for the last 4 months and really love it so far...my only complaint is that it becomes sluggish to work with once you've created a webpage with a substantial amount of content on it. Was looking for a potential alternative, but I think for now I'll stick with Weebly.


Ghuge 5 years ago

Seems that weebly is the best... Only weebly and blogspot allow custom domains without a fee.. And blogspot is better than wordpress since it is TOTALLY and ABSOLUTELY FREE.

I am using weebly for my website and blogspot for my blog.. dont need to pay a cent!


Yola vs. WordPress Review 5 years ago

It has been some time since I visited website with such high quality information. Thank you so much for providing such helpful information. This is really informative and I will for sure refer my friends the same. Thanks.


P. Jumago 5 years ago

I use CirclePad. I have looked at the others and CirclePad is far superior. I just love CirclePad, the tools are great and you can do flashy, edgy thing. I can actually create and make changes and my business website is fantastic.


CarlosXA 4 years ago

I really liked your review. I think Web.com and Setmysite.com are also good options for people that don't want to break the bank.


norwood451 profile image

norwood451 4 years ago

Thanx for the info on web site. I looked at all of ones you have listed and none work for me. 2 are flash and others you cannot adjust or have bad templates and the rest are not free. You said there are many more. Can you send me a list of the many more free sites that are available?


terry11 4 years ago

Hi Friends, i have just found a new online website builder which is far better than yola and weebly , they have great designs and great support. Check www.myl.co.in


webcard 4 years ago

Try www.lovewebcard.com, it's a really easy online website builder. Plus - unlike a lot of other similar builders, you can get a bespoke design. See www.youtube.com/user/LoveWebcard/videos to see for yourself.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 4 years ago from The Land of Tractors

I was interested in your review because I'm in the process of starting a Weebly web site. I like it so far, but agree that it is a bit limited. Your comparison of the different sites is insightful. Doesn't blogger also take a share of ad revenues?


webeminence 2 years ago

No website builder is best for everyone, but it depends on your exact needs. I offer help to people in choosing which website builder is right for their needs. Get some help here: http://webeminence.com/website-builders

I like Wix and Weebly best but they are very different. Wix offers design flexibility but Weebly allows you to set up a nice site very fast.

Even though Wordpress is super popular, it's not as easy to pick up and use as some other website builders.

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