Best website builder for makers, sellers and doers.

For more than a decade, Jeffrey L. Wilson has penned gadget- and video game-related nerd-copy for a variety of publications, including 1UP, 2D-X, The Cask, Laptop, LifeStyler, Parenting, Sync, Wise Bread, and WWE. He now brings his knowledge and skillset to PCMag as a Lead Analyst. When he isn't staring at a monitor (or two) and churning out web hosting, music, utilities, and video game copy, Jeffrey makes comic books, mentors, practices bass and Jeet Kune Do, and appears on the odd podcasts or convention panel. He also collects vinyl and greatly enjoys a craft brew. 

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Sure, Squarspace isn’t that cheap. But there are NO hidden fees or complicated stuff. Trust me, I’ve tried everything, but they are all disappointing. Squarespace has not suspended me or those stupid rules other site builders have. You’ve got to pay more to do some advanced stuff like coding but there is always a workaround. It’s the best platform I have ever found!

Medium is a very interesting concept when it’s compared to its competitors. In short, it allows you to write and then publish your content alongside other authors at Medium.com. You also get to follow other people’s work and be a part of the Medium community. In other words, it’s a large web publication website where you’re one of the members and can submit your own content.


You can create a free website with Wix that comes with a Wix domain. To instantly look more professional online, get a custom domain name. It adds credibility to your brand and helps visitors find you online. You can start building your brand by using your domain in a custom email address ([email protected]), your social channels, email marketing campaigns and more.
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I’ve made some use of Kirby CMS. It’s a really well put together flat file CMS. It takes some coding out of the box to get it set up as desired, but then it’s a pleasure to use. Advantages of not having a database include simpler setup, and the ease of version control of the whole site. Statamic is a similar option, though I’ve not spent any significant time using it.
While there are modules and themes that extend the features and looks, novices find it a bit difficult to create a detailed site with it. However, the complexity of Drupal is appropriate for handling huge amounts of data. This makes it ideal for larger corporate and enterprise websites. Just like in WordPress and Joomla, Drupal also allows various extensions in the form of modules. But the difference here is, unlike WordPress users need to leave the system and manually search for the modules before installing them.
It is widely popular and the WordPress Gutenberg editor is also inspired by the Medium post editor. And if you are looking to reach out to a wider range of audience, then Medium wins it hands down. While WordPress has a large range of users overall, Medium has an average of 60 million blog readers per month. This alongside other awesome features makes it an awesome blogging alternative for WordPress.
Let's face it, one of the things we like best about the web is looking at pictures. The site builders here all offer some degree of photo and gallery display. Some, like Gator, Squarespace, and Wix, also offer loads of stock photography for you to use. Some let you touch up images with editing tools such as cropping, brightness, and in some cases even Instagram-like filters. Others, such as Gator, Simvoly, Ucraft, and uKit offer no photo editing at all, aside from resizing and positioning.
I use ExpressionEngine for most of the professional sites I’ve developed over the past 10+ years or so (I think Craft is based off EE, or developed by one of the EE programmers — I forget the details). Started out with that one because it’s easy to create templates and you know exactly what’s going on under the hood. WP was not an option earlier because it was an easily hackable mess. I finally took another look at WP because 1) I’d seen so many complex, well-crafted sites and 2) ExpressionEngine got too pricy for many of my non-profit organization clients. I just wish WP code wasn’t so convoluted — it’s not elegant code, but any means, and there is way too much stuff loaded that doesn’t serve any purpose. I guess I just have to get used to it.
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Jekyll is a static-site generator, which lets you create your content as text files that can then be inserted into folders. Once your files are created, Jekyll enables you to build the shell of your site using the Liquid template language. Jekyll stitches your content with the shell, creating a static site that can be readily uploaded to all server types.
While WordPress is pretty much the preferred publishing platform for the mass all over the world, during the recent years, WordPress has become more than just a blogging platform. This is where the WordPress alternative Ghost comes into play. It is a NodeJS based blogging open-source platform that was designed especially for the purpose of online publishing for bloggers. Released not so long ago, this project has already achieved four times more than it originally aimed for. 
Constant Contact gets really detailed here and will have different suggestions for you depending on the specific niche your site is in. For example, when putting in “food” as the topic of the site, Constant Contact will want you to clarify whether the site has to do with food tours, food banks, food stand, food truck, etc. Constant Contact will use that info to suggest a website design that’s truly optimized for what you need.
As you work with your site, the Squarespace interface offers a number of helpers, such as their logo maker, curated color palettes based on the design you’ve selected, or easy typography customizations and global font settings. You can also switch between layouts pretty easily. And when you’re ready, you can register a new domain for your site and get it launched to the world.
You can import your WordPress blog to Squarespace, which we like a lot. Nevertheless, we don’t recommend using Squarespace for blogging unless you don’t particularly care about SEO because page titles and meta descriptions can’t be adjusted for individual blog posts – which is very important for ranking with search engines. However, be aware that Squarespace is more difficult to use than Wix or Weebly due to its convoluted interface.
Starting with Wix's ADI (artificial design intelligence) tool, some of the site builders now offer a tool that lets you enter social accounts and other personal or business info, and presto bingo, they get you a no-work website. Jimdo and Simvoly now offer similar if somewhat less ambitious tools. Wix's ADI even impressed a professional designer acquaintance of ours with results we saw in testing, mostly using images and information it scraped from her LinkedIn account.
After Joomla, another name that pops up as a great WordPress alternative is Drupal! It is also an open-source CMS that you can use to deliver a more ambitious digital experience. Although it is suitable for almost everyone, it is not as beginner-friendly as users would prefer. Mostly recommended for experts, Drupal lets you create blogs, personal websites, forums and even social networking sites.
You surely have heard the name before! Joomla is yet another powerful and popular name when it comes to CMS platforms. It is free, multi-purpose and is built on the model-view-controller web application framework. Already with millions of users by its side, it will be celebrating it’s 14th year of establishment this year! Although not as widely popular as WordPress, it is equally competitive and is a great alternative!
Finally, I would like also to draw attention to another interesting CMS that I used a decade ago and really enjoyed using at the time: it was originally known as Article Manager, and its current incarnation is CMS Builder, from InteractiveTools (a company based in Vancouver). At the time I was using it, I remember that the developers were very helpful, and the forum was lively and helpful too. Now that I am using WP, I would not really consider moving to CMS Builder (although I own a license), since WP offers much more in my view. But some people might have reasons to prefer it. However, one should pay attention to the fact that some of the add-ons can make it more expensive than the initial $200 price for a single site.
Craft CMS is a feature-rich, open-source platform. In addition to offering a sleek interface for building HTML and creating content APIs, Craft CMS enables you to preview all changes made to your site in real time. Craft CMS also lets you run and manage multiple sites from a single installation and has built-in localization features for simple site translation.
Many companies moved or started their blog on the Medium platform. The lucky ones among them could still publish on their own sub-domain name. But that suddenly changed a while back: now you have to publish on the Medium.com domain, which is a terrible idea if SEO is important to you. Also you get annoying mobile pop-ups pushing you into installing the Medium app.
I found CMS Made Simple to be very easy to template, for instance. And I used ModX for years before using WP, and it is also very easy to template, and offers a lot of nice features. They will appeal to someone who wants to develop, but is generally uncomfortable in PHP. You can mostly get by with HTML and template tags. This tends to prevent the “white screen of death”.
GoDaddy InSight is a technology system that provides tailored recommendations gleaned from insights across more than a million GoDaddy customers in different locations and industries. InSight is designed to help you improve your online presence by providing you with performance metrics and advice on how to improve them. GoDaddy InSight powers a central dashboard where you’ll find your:
Larger businesses spend many thousands of dollars to get their custom-designed and programmed sites, but there's no need for smaller organizations and individuals to go to that kind of expense. For about $10 per month (or around $25 if you're selling products) and a few hours of your time, the services included here can help you create a unique, attractive website.
WordPress (either version) is a blog-focused content management system that accepts plug-ins and themes that extend its capabilities to what most of what the other products here offer, including commerce. In fact, WordPress.com uses plug-ins such as JetPack to provide many of its features. As a whole, WordPress (either .com or .org) is not as easy to use as the other options in this roundup, but if blogging and site transferability are of key importance and you don't mind digging into its weeds a bit, you should consider the platform—especially WordPress.org. Furthermore, the ability to use WordPress is a valuable skill, as some estimates say that WordPress powers 30 percent of the internet.
Jekyll is a static-site generator, which lets you create your content as text files that can then be inserted into folders. Once your files are created, Jekyll enables you to build the shell of your site using the Liquid template language. Jekyll stitches your content with the shell, creating a static site that can be readily uploaded to all server types.
Thx for your article Colin 🙂 As u said Joomla is great for an intranet-like web site. I made a lot of knowledge bases and a bunch of intranets with Joomla and since 1.6 version, new ACL Management helped a lot i must say. I found out very lately about WP and i think it’s like going Mac after a long period of Windows struggling (kind of). Anyway there is also a very good database based/self hosted CMS which deserves IMHO some interest: MODx. Not very well known but probably the most flexible CMS when it comes to templating. You literally design your website in Photoshop, export the HTML then put wherever you want some snippets and Boom! Incredible tool. Learning curve is however longer than Drupal, Joomla or WP obviously. WP ecosystem and simplicity out of the box + universality made it the winner. Just a thought 🙂 thx again for sharing.
You are mistaking the problems with WordPress as something that is inherit in PHP. That might have been true years ago, but modern php (php7 and hhvm) is a very powerful and mature language with rock solid performance, and in the case of hhvm that performance is equal to native,and in many cases faster than even C++. When written correctly and running in the right architecture it scales seemlessly and delivers low latency and high throughput. Sorry if you thought you could pay some indian 3 bucks an hour to slap together a wordpress site and be the next facebook.
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