Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.
Since being acquired by Square in early 2018, Weebly has shifted its focus to e-commerce. Unlike Shopify, Weebly is a website builder with e-commerce capabilities. This makes it much easier to build and design a website without requiring any code. Weebly’s designer is slightly more flexible than Squarespace but definitely less than PageCloud and Wix. Weebly is much more affordable than Shopify, but doesn’t have the same number of features. So, if you’re looking for an easy way to sell a few simple product online, Weebly may be for you.
Thanks, Jeremy, for your excellent article, but I still have a couple of questions. We use Dreamhost for our website, which was built in 1999 (seriously) and we keep it semi-current using SeaMonkey's editor. Last year we added an ECWID shopping cart to replace the really difficult to use PayPal shopping cart system, which has helped, but a replacement website that's easy to change is what we really need. It seems that all of these site builders want to host us, when what I need is a program I can use to create the new site and replace my existing one. Is there a standalone site building program you recommend? How about an easy to use interface to put between me and Wordpress? (That seems like it would be an excellent tool for someone to develop.) Or should I just buy a copy of Wordpress for Dummies and start fresh? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Wix advertises itself as the perfect tool to create your stunning website for free. To make this possible, Wix delivers a step-by-step wizard-like environment where you’re taken by the hand through the whole process of building your site. In addition, Wix is a hosted solution that also takes care of housing your site. This allows you to focus on creating the content and leaving the technical stuff to them.
Being extremely flexible as well as user-friendly, it enables any entrepreneurs to focus on their products and it’s promotion. It is relatively easy to manipulate and use and offers hundreds of free and premium themes to choose from. What’s great is that Shopify also offers the user the option to sell their products through social media, by integrating a Buy Now button or even using the POS system.
It is also much more flexible and extensible than WordPress. The best part is also that unlike WordPress with predefined content type, it allows the user to set up their own content type using 18 different types of field. But like we mentioned before, this is not the perfect place to start if you are looking for a simplistic website and are a beginner.
If you don’t have a design muscle in your body, you might experience some difficulties making a Squarespace site look good (due to the platform’s reliance on good stock imagery to be part of your site’s final look). Also, Squarespace offers a good range of features from the get-go, but above that, there’s not much you can do when there’s a feature missing. Just like with Wix, if you want a site that can grow alongside your business, this might not be quite the solution you’re looking for.