Best Ecommerce Platforms: The Definitive Guide [2020]
These website builders make earning $$ on the internet a breeze!

best ecommerce platforms shopify woocommerce boxing

Dale McManus

Co-Founder & Web Developer

Jan. 27, 2020


Hey, my name is Dale! My partner Alex and I have helped tens of thousands of people build beautiful websites around the world. In this fully-packed, step-by-step guide, you’ll learn about the top 9 Best E-Commerce Platforms. Let’s dive in!

  • Level of Expertise:
  • Time To Complete:
    30 Minutes
  • What You Get:
    Working Knowledge

For the record: It’s super important for us to keep this site 100% free for you and 100% high quality. To help us do that, we’ve partnered with some of the products we recommend and earn a commission if you buy through our links. Read our full disclosure and partners list here.

Let’s get real for a second: you want to make money online.

“Oh, wow, how’d you know that?”

Ah, dear reader, because:

  1. You’re human
  2. You most likely found this post searching for something like “best ecommerce platforms” or “best ecommerce website builders” and that tells us a lot about who you are as a person (in slightly creepy and totally cool ways #smileyface #thanksgoogle).

You’ve made it this far which means you know there are some sweet sweet software tools that can help you make your ecommerce dreams come true…

…But you’re not quite sure what you need to know in order to choose the best one to help you make your ecommerce website.

Which is why we took our website building experience, stirred in a bit of hands-on ecommerce platform research, and put together one tasty (and vegan friendly) beast of an article for you today.

Lets! Get! Going!

best ecommerce platforms shopify woocommerce boxing
Wix Logo

4.5 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4.5/5
  • checkmark Design: 5/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 4/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5
Shopify Logo




4 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4.5/5
  • checkmark Design: 3.5/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 4/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 3/5
Squarespace Logo




4 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 3.5/5
  • checkmark Design: 4/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 4/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5
Weebly Logo




3.5 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 3/5
  • checkmark Design: 3/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 4/5
  • checkmark Support: 4.5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 3.5/5
WooCommerce Logo




3.5 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 2.5/5
  • checkmark Design: 3/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 3/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 5/5
BigCommerce Logo




3.5 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Design: 3/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 3/5
Ecwid Logo




4.5 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 5/5
  • checkmark Design: 4/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 4.5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 5/5
BigCartel Logo


Big Cartel


4 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 5/5
  • checkmark Design: 3.5/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 3/5
  • checkmark Support: 3.5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 5/5
Volusion Logo




4 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 3/5
  • checkmark Design: 3.5/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 4.5/5
  • checkmark Support: 4.5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 3.5/5

The 9 best ecommerce platforms and website builders


Best Website Maker

Wix Logo

4.5 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4.5/5
  • checkmark Design: 5/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 4/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5
  • Most customizable website builder
  • Manage just about everything you need from the main product page
  • No CC transaction fees
  • Highly customizable = less easy to use
  • Doesn’t have the most advanced ecommerce features
  • Human customer support hard to get access to

Bottom Line

There’s little denying that Wix is right at the top of the website builder game; when it comes to having near-complete control for creating a website that looks and feels exactly like you’re dreaming, Wix is the place to go.

When it comes to ecommerce website builders, some of the other choices on our list offer more/better features in the ecommerce department, but Wix has enough going for it that it’s worth including in the list.

Basically, if you first want a super slick, highly custom website and second want to be able to sell stuff fairly easily, Wix should be at the top of your “try it out” list!

Check out our Wix test site

Try Wix Now

Ease of Use: 4/5

best ecommerce platform wix dashboard

First things first, finding a fantastic looking template to start with Wix can be easy, or hard.

They’ve got a lot of options, and pretty much every template is 100 in the looks department.

So you won’t have trouble finding a template, but you might struggle to choose just one (hey, you can always make more than one online store)!

Because Wix’s templates include sections, text, buttons, etc already organized and designed for you, it’s pretty easy to get started once you finally make your choice.

They do have an “Artificial Design Intelligence” option to answer a few questions and have their technology build a site for you too, though we didn’t use this for our test because we wanted to see what the manual process was like.

On the backend/product side of things, adding new products and managing pricing, inventory, options like colors and sizes was all pretty straight forward.

We especially liked how almost anything you wanted to customize about a product was able to be done right in the main product editing page.

For example, with other online selling platforms, if you want to make a discount for a certain product you have to go to an entirely different section of the website, create a unique coupon code, and in some cases, you’d have to update your product description to let users know they have to manually enter that code at checkout.

Biggest takeaway here: it’s much easier to create a site with Wix than something like WordPress, but compared to other builders it’s not the easiest.

Which is largely due to the fact that you can pretty much customize anything and everything!

Design & Customization: 5/5

best ecommerce platform wix website builder

Like we mentioned above, Wix has a ton of templates (635 in total, 87 just for online stores) and they’re all pretty top-notch so you’re not going to go wrong here.

On the customization front, Wix is the top dog in the arena.

Want to change just one button’s color? Click on it, a menu pops up, done.

Want to set all of your H2 headings to a specific font, size, and color? You’ve got it.

Want to add parallax effects to your background images? Of course you can!

Sliders, forms, little shapes and splashes of colors.

If you can dream it you can do it with Wix… 

Once you learn how to navigate their system which is the tradeoff with them.

They don’t force you into a limited set of element arrangements or page sections or color options etc.

Which means you’ll have to do some learning and trial and error to fully wield the power that is the Wix online store builder.

Ecommerce Features: 5/5

best ecommerce platform wix product editor

Super advanced Ecommerce ninjas might find something missing here that more dedicated services like Shopify or WooCommerce have, but for most of us, Wix has the ecommerce bases covered like [insert the name of a famous baseball player here].

Between the loads of features accessible right on the product info/creation/management page, the app store, and the loads of Wix experts available for hire – it’ll be enough for you to get going and keep going for a long time.

As mentioned above, we especially liked that you can manage everything from the images, to the color and size variations and discounts from a product’s main editor page.

Essential features like worldwide shipping and tax customization, payment processor integration, stock tracking are all there too, along with some nice bonuses like mobile inventory management (through their app) and no fees for payment processing on their end (if you use a processor like Paypal, though, they’ll be charging you fo show, it costs money to keep that infrastructure running).

Support: 4/5

best ecommerce platform wix support

Have questions? Wix has answers.

Their knowledge base aka Help Center is super in-depth and easy to search.

Articles can be found for just about any question you’ll have, with photos and gifs and even videos where needed.

When you want to talk to a human, though, things get trickier.

Technically they have phone and support ticket help available, but you’re going to have to dig to find the right links to get these; they can only be accessed when you visit particular knowledge base articles.

Which we get, because support staff are relatively expensive. But as a customer this means points lost because we want to feel like a human being that can hold our hand when we’re cold and naked and afraid while we’re building sites at 2:46 am is easy to find…

Unlike Wix, we don’t have answers on the naked and afraid stuff… just trust it’s part of our process and it works.

Anyway, when you do find a person they’re helpful enough so overall this is a not-ideal but acceptable scenario.

4/5 instead of 3 because their knowledge base is so badass.

Pricing: 4/5

best ecommerce platform wix pricing

The plan we recommend: Business Basic

Pricing is pretty middle of the road with Wix, you can find cheaper ecommerce website builders and more expensive.

What you get for what you pay for is pretty spot on (aka you get a lot of value for the money).

We recommend the Business Basic to get rid of the Wix ads, get a custom domain and ecommerce features; the extra “hours of video,” storage space, etc that come with Unlimited aren’t needed to get started.

0% credit card processing fees (from Wix, your payment processor will charge you), and a 14-day money-back guarantee are tasty, grass-fed bonuses as well.

Try Wix Now


Best for Non-Website Builders

Shopify Logo


4 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4.5/5
  • checkmark Design: 3.5/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 4/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 3/5
  • One of the most advanced sets of ecom features
  • Websites can look v good without a ton of work
  • Flexible (use their online store builder
  • Less customizable website builder
  • Monthly fee is on the expensive side
  • 2% CC processing fee

Bottom Line

Product creation: solid.

Inventory and order management: full-fledged.

Online store creator: well designed for its intended purpose.

What is that purpose?

To help people who mostly want to focus on building/running an ecommerce business, because their online store builder is simple/easy to use but limited in its customization options.

And probably for people who already have a product-based business up and running or have worked on them in the past, as beginners won’t be able to take advantage of advanced ecommerce capabilities Shopify offers – and charges a pretty penny for.

Check out our Shopify test site

Try Shopify Now

Ease of Use: 4.5/5

best ecommerce website builder shopify dashboard

Both product creation and online store building are pretty darn easy with Shopify.

On the ecommerce website creation front, you’ve got a simple sidebar setup; navigate to options for your site as a whole or for specific sections with a few clicks – no dragging, dropping, or inline typing on top of elements.

While this locks you down a bit on the customization front, it means you won’t accidentally break something which we like a lot.

On the product creation/management front, the product editor is simple, well organized, and includes tools like bulk variation editing to make your job and life easier.

We did face a couple of snags that weren’t so fun, like an update delay when changing background colors and an image upload size limit that other platforms didn’t have.

Hence 4.5

Design & Customization: 3.5/5

best ecommerce website builder shopify page builder

Customization is where Shopify really lost here.

All their themes/templates look great, though there are only 8 free options and premium ones start at $120.

Their store locks you into only using certain types of sections, which can be added, rearranged, and otherwise managed in the sidebar along with the options and content for each.

With 16 different types of sections, though, and options like text alignment, buttons/no buttons, layout, etc you’ve got enough to say what you need to say and do what you need to do in a unique enough way.

The ease of use vs. customization tradeoff finishes with theme colors and typography: you’ve got a handful of options for buttons, borders, text, so on and so forth.

Enough to be satisfied without being overwhelmed, though you won’t be winning any originality in your design.

Ecommerce Features: 5/5

best ecommerce website builder shopify product editor

Ecommerce is Shopify’s bread and peanut butter (keepin it vegan) – they’re definitely more ecommerce platform than website builder.

A full suite of discount/coupon, shipping, and tax tools, of course.

Unlimited products, Point of Sale app, and staff accounts? Very good.

Multiple sales channels, abandoned cart recovery, advanced analytics and inventory management, an entire ecosystem of apps and professional Shopify experts for hire and shipping discounts up to 64%?

Now that’s what makes a world-class ecommerce platform!

The free stock photos and free business tools are just icing on the cake.

Support: 4/5

best ecommerce website builder shopify support

Shopify’s knowledge base is top of the food chain; well organized, easy to search, videos and screenshots where needed, everything looks [star eyes emoji].

Forums plus chat plus email plus phone plus twitter support, all 24/7, means you’ve got people to answer questions when you need it.

When we talked to their chat, we found their English and product knowledge good, though we did have to wait half an hour, which isn’t ideal.

Pricing: 3/5

best ecommerce website builder shopify pricing

The plan we recommend: Basic Shopify

Their most basic plan, appropriately called “Basic Shopify” is definitely the place to start.

The extra $50/month you’ll spend to upgrade from there gets you more staff accounts, gift card/point of sale capabilities, and better processing fees and shipping discounts.

All great stuff, none of it needed to get started.

14-day no credit card free trial is awesome.

CC processing fees start at 2.9% plus $0.30 for Shopify Payments, if you use another payment processor like PayPal you’re paying Shopify 2% on top of that.

Not ideal and a big part of why we’d say you should only go Shopify if you’re not starting from zero in the ecommerce website world.

Try Shopify Now


Good Builder, Good Price

Squarespace Logo


4 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 3.5/5
  • checkmark Design: 4/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 4/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5
  • The most advanced photo editing capabilities
  • Industry-leading customer support
  • Build your ecommerce website for free – only pay when you’re ready to launch
  • Doesn’t quite nail the customizability/ease of use equation
  • Ecommerce feature set is acceptable, not great
  • Online store builder was laggy

Bottom Line

From an ecommerce perspective, Squarespace is a solid choice. Slightly above perhaps.

Their website builder strikes a fine middle ground in the ease/customizability spectrum; more flexible than other, simpler platforms. Not as customizable as Wix.

On the store management front you won’t be disappointed if ecommerce isn’t your main focus. They offer the features and functionality you need to make a little online cash money but we got the impression that if you really wanted to sell at scale, other platforms would be better.

That being said if you want something more flexible than most online store builders, want to build non-ecommerce sites with Squarespace as well, and/or love the look of their templates.

Check out our Squarespace test site

Try Squarespace Now

Ease of Use: 3.5/5

best ecommerce websites squarespace dashboard

Getting started was as simple as we’d want, including a quick 4 step onboarding walkthrough that explained the basics of making a site with Squarespace.

There weren’t many online store options to choose from template wise which sped things up a bit.

Once we got inside the online store builder, things were mostly fine. With some patience and learning of their platform, it’s usable enough.

But we had a few issues, the biggest one being their WYSIWYG builder was laggy which feels frustrating and meant we had to do some extra work when we accidentally added extra sections because of the wait.

On the product front, figuring out where we could add/manage products took some digging to find – this is done in the “Inventory” section if you’re wondering.

On the plus side, automatic site-wide font changes with font packs, shipping calculators for USPS, UPS, and FedEx, and other little features like that were nice touches.

Design & Customization: 4/5

best ecommerce websites squarespace website builder

Squarespace is top of the game in the looks department, with a slant toward minimalist/artsy feeling web designs, topped with a built-in free Unsplash image search.

Speaking of images – you cannot find a better built-in image editor in a website builder. Anywhere. We’re talking Instagram levels of saturation adjustment and filter applying.

They also have a good mix of prebuilt sections to use as starting points that you can then edit from (rearranging, adding/removing content, changing colors, etc).

Overall Squarespace’s ecommerce website builder will lock you in a bit more than Wix, but it beats everything else when it comes to customization capabilities.

Ecommerce Features: 4/5

best ecommerce websites squarespace product editor

The ecommerce features packed in Squarespace’s platform are adequate.

You can sell stuff and all the basics of variations and images and stock counts and product categories are here.

The need to manually create every variation for a product was one example of a few things that led us to feel like we wouldn’t want to use this for a site we wanted to do a lot of ecommerce business through, though.

For example, with other ecommerce platforms you can just input your color and size options (Red, Green, Blue, Small, Medium, Large in our tests).

Then the ecommerce software would automatically say “okay, you’re going to want to keep track of stock, pricing, etc for Small, Red, Medium, Red, Large Red etc.

With Squarespace, our shirts, hoodies and pants all required us to manually create all 9 options for each of our 3 products.

Not something we’d want to do for 10 products with 25 variations each, let alone hundreds on hundreds.

Support: 5/5

best ecommerce websites squarespace support

Squarespace customer support is everything we hope and dream of.

If we could live in a world where everyone was this helpful then there’d be no more wars for sure.

That starts with the videos, in-depth guides, and interactive webinars you’ll find in their easy to search and well-organized knowledge base.

It continues with the forums, email, and live chat.

When we reached out to do our customer support test, we got a fast response from a human that seemed to know Squarespace and the English language in and out.


Pricing: 4/5

best ecommerce websites squarespace pricing

The plan we recommend: Business

Start for free with Squarespace, build your site, only pay when you’re ready to publish/sell.

This is our favorite setup because sometimes (like, when you’re writing a post about the best ecommerce platforms), you’ll go sign up to try out a builder, get busy, then come back after your 14-day free trial ends.


Once you’ve tried it out and decided Squarespace is the one and only you’ll make your ecommerce site, grab the Business plan to get access to the ecommerce features you need.

“Basic Commerce” is what they’ll steer you toward, but the 0% transaction fees (instead of 3%), customer accounts, analytics, etc won’t be needed until you’re a bit deeper in your ecommerce website journey.

Try Squarespace Now


Hmm… Okay

Weebly Logo


3.5 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 3/5
  • checkmark Design: 3/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 4/5
  • checkmark Support: 4.5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 3.5/5
  • Sell multiple types of product (physical, digital, etc)
  • Automatic tax calculations
  • Product creation/management pretty good
  • Drag and drop builder was confusing/buggy
  • Misleading Pricing page
  • Too expensive for what you get

Bottom Line

If you try Weebly and like it.

If someone you’re working with to build your ecommerce website wants to use Weebly.

Go for it.

Weebly has everything you need to build a functioning online store website.

For us, though, it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough.

It doesn’t do website building as well as a site like Squarespace.

It doesn’t do ecommerce as well as a platform like Shopify.

And despite what you might think when you look at their pricing page (which makes it seem like you can build a free ecommerce website with them), you’re going to be paying damn near top dollar for the privilege.

Check out our Weebly test site

Try Weebly Now

Ease of Use: 3/5

free ecommerce platform weebly dashboard

Overall summary from the Department of Ease of Use: Weebly’s not as flexible as Wix, and it’s not easy enough to justify that lack of customizability.

The drag and drop builder was confusing and buggy.

Example: when you drag an element like an image onto the page, a little highlight appears letting you know roughly where the element will land.

Roughly being the keyword, because it’s not exactly clear that this image is going to make your text go nuts until you drop it and are left picking up the pieces.

That’s just one example of a bunch of little things like the interface feeling very 2008 (no one uses Flash on websites anymore), lackluster built-in free image search, and some confusion around offering the color “white” as a default option in their color selector.

All of which add up to “this functions but kind of hurts to use.”

Design & Customization: 3/5

free ecommerce platform weebly website builder

15 online store themes can be found in Weebly’s stockpile, and they actually look pretty good, a couple are great.

No Wix-level game changers but some solid choices.

20+ different types of elements (images, slide shows, product showcases, page dividers, etc) available are enough to say we can customize things.

20+ minus the Flash element. Just, no.

You get the freedom to arrange things unlike Shopify and other more simplified online store website builders.

But it’s not as flexible as Squarespace and, on the whole, doesn’t offer enough that Squarespace doesn’t.

Ecommerce Features: 4/5

free ecommerce platform weebly product editor

On the ecommerce front, Weebly does the job.

All the basics are well covered – inventory management, product SEO, analytics, shipping and discount and tax options, etc.

But it doesn’t have any exciting extras to really push it into the top-tier features-wise.

Support: 4.5/5

free ecommerce platform weebly support

We found Weebly’s knowledge base a bit less helpful than others, but email, community forums, and chat/phone support are all there so not too much worry on the “I don’t know what I’m doing help!!” end of the spectrum.

Because when we reached out using the literal “I need help” button, we found their support staff was friendly, helpful, and understandable.

Aka what you want in your times of need.

Pricing: 3.5/5

free ecommerce platform weebly pricing

The plan we recommend: Business

When we were first scoping out Weebly from an ecommerce standpoint, we thought that since it had “ecommerce” features like “Shopping Cart” and “Inventory Management” listed under the “Free” column, that you could get a free ecommerce store setup with them.

Which, despite its shortcomings, could make going with Weebly worth it.

But, we were going to recommend the “Professional” plan because to us, having a custom domain name and no “this is a free Weebly site” ads is a must.

So we bought the Professional plan and built our test site.

And we hit publish and were told we had to upgrade to the business plan to do that.

  1. We won’t go so far as to say “false advertising” but simply “someone must have forgotten to update the pricing page when they changed this.”
  2. The $12/month Professional plan was a pretty good price, perhaps enough to justify Weebly’s shortcomings. For $25/month, we’d say go with Wix or Squarespace or something else.

Like that little gotcha, you won’t find a refund policy, easily at least.

BUT customer support said it’s 30 days which is pretty cool.

Credit card processing fees are 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

Aka “too much for what you get.”

Try Weebly Now


Best for Customization Freaks

WooCommerce Logo


3.5 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 2.5/5
  • checkmark Design: 3/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 3/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 5/5
  • Most flexible ecommerce platform
  • Least expensive ecommerce platform
  • Thousands of free and paid plugins/themes
  • Online store builder is the most difficult to learn/use
  • Human customer support is basically non-existent
  • Need to install plugins to get features other platforms have built-in

Bottom Line

If you just want badass ecommerce features with little effort invested in building a beautiful site…

WooCommerce is absolutely not the choice for you.


Because if you want the cheapest possible (though not quite free) ecommerce website platform…

If you want the most customizable online store builder…

If you want the most options when it comes to ecommerce features…

WooCommerce absolute IS the choice for you.

 You will have to learn a lot.

You will have to put in some elbow grease to get your site looking and functioning the way you want.

But, at the end of the day, you’ll have a lot of ecommerce website building experience and a lot of growth potential for very little money invested when you go with WooCommerce.

(Note: the site we built and our ratings were done with only a few extra plugins; if we used something like Elementor or Divi to get a drag and drop building experience our scores would be higher but we didn’t want to assume you would use those plugins).

Check out our WooCommerce test site

Try WooCommerce Now

Ease of Use: 2.5/5

online store builder woocommerce dashboard

In case you don’t already know (because you skipped our “How to choose the best ecommerce website builder” section), WooCommerce is not a standalone platform.

It’s a WordPress plugin (one of the best we’d say).

And it comes with its own set of apps/extensions and themes to add functionality, much like plugins do for WordPress itself.

Why does that matter?

Because WordPress, on its own at least, is not a website builder like Wix or Squarespace.

Which means a lot but for our purposes here it means you don’t get a drag and drop builder by default (though with the plugins we compare in this video, you can make that happen).

And overall you get a much larger learning curve than the other top ecommerce platforms on our list.

Which is why we gave it the lowest ease of use score on our list.

BUT we love WordPress, it’s what we build the vast majority of our sites with.

We think it’s worth learning how to build websites with WordPress, and ecommerce websites with WordPress/WooCommerce.

We just want you to have the right expectations going in so you can make the right decision on the best ecommerce website platform for you.

Design & Customization: 3/5

online store builder woocommerce website builder

When it comes to themes for WordPress itself, there are literally thousands, both free and paid.

WooCommerce itself only has a few options, but you don’t have to stick with the ones built specifically for Woo.

Important to note these are Themes, though, not Templates, meaning they just give you some basic styling, not a complete layout of images, text, buttons, etc. (for the most part, some do give you layouts as well.

And with thousands of options, some look killer (like the ones on our top 10 best WordPress themes list), some – not so much.

And as we mentioned in the ease of use section: from a design standpoint, with the right plugins (like Elementor and Divi), you can get damn near the same level of customizability in a drag and drop/WYSIWYG format like Wix and the rest.

But for our testing purposes, we tried to install as few plugins as possible and just used the default WooCommerce theme so our review would apply to as many people as possible (yall are gonna use a ton of different themes/plugins on your WordPress/WooCommerce journeys).

And from that standpoint, there’s not a lot you can easily do with the basics.

Enough, but not a lot more aka “3 out of 5.”

Ecommerce Features: 5/5

online store builder woocommerce product editor

WooCommerce comes with everything you need from an online selling platform: unlimited products, product ratings and reviews, inventory management, physical, digital, affiliate products, product importing/exporting, shipping and tax options, email templates, one click refunds, reports and analytics…

You get the point, if you want it, if you’ve gotta have it, WooCommerce can probably get you your fix on its own.

With the thousands of extensions and other WordPress plugins out there, it’s game over for “I’d really love to do x but can I?”

Yes, yes you can.

Support: 3/5

online store builder woocommerce support

Support with WooCommerce basically means their knowledge base and community forums.

You can hire experts through them, or a site like Upwork to get professional developers who can help you.

But you’re getting the platform for free, and real human’s gotta eat.

Aka there’s not a live support option through WooCommerce.

Pricing: 5/5

online store builder woocommerce pricing extensions

The plan we recommend: Hostgator’s Hatchling Hosting Plan

Since WordPress and WooCommerce are a self-hosted ecommerce platform, you’ve got to get hosting.

Which can be had for as little as $5 a month for our recommended HostGator plan (Hatchling).

Note: when you click this link or that one above it’ll say $2.95 but that’s only if you sign up for 3 years – don’t do that unless you’re real sure you’re going all the way with this website stuff.

Once you snag that hosting, HostGator has an easy one-click installer for WordPress, and WooCommerce is as easy to install as other WordPress Plugins (see this post here – it’s very easy).

If you want to get one of the 372 premium WooCommerce extensions or 17 premium themes, they’ll start at $29 bucks; depending on what you’re trying to do, you may or may not need these at some point.

HostGator offers a 45-day money-back guarantee on your hosting so you’ve got plenty of time to figure out if this is really the way for you to make your ecommerce site dreams a reality or not.

And WooCommerce itself has 0 credit card processing fees, though some of their payment gateway extensions do.

Try WooCommerce Now


Best for Bigger Biz-niz

BigCommerce Logo


3.5 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Design: 3/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 3/5
  • Detailed product attributes/features
  • Ecommerce platform interface looks good/feels good
  • Loads of help and support available
  • Very few online store customization options
  • Feature set isn’t aimed at beginner ecommerce stores
  • Limited online store template options

Bottom Line

By magic or luck or the kind of intentional branding that comes from well organized and funded businesses, the name says it all with BigCommerce: this one’s best for the big boys.

Not, like, Amazon big.

But if you’re going to use BigCommerce, you’ll probably want to already be doing some good volume selling products or have the kind of business skill and investor funding that means you’ll get there soon.

That’s not a 100% rule. They’ve got a good online store builder and are pretty darn easy to use even for beginners.

But you’re very limited in what you can do with your store’s design without getting involved in coding, and a lot of the top-tier ecommerce features included are more than you’ll need for a smaller or startup store.

Check out our BigCommerce test site

Try BigCommerce Now

Ease of Use: 4/5

best platform to sell online bigcommerce dashboard

So, as we talked about above in our “rating process” section, part of how we made our ratings more objective is by timing how long it took us to make a few products and a barebones basic ecommerce site with each platform.

BigCommerce was one of our fastest builds (just under an hour), which helped its score out a lot.

Maybe more than it should, but we made our plan/ratings system and stuck to it to be as honest and fair as simple humans can.

What are we trying to say here?

Well, that this score isn’t wrong, but the full story is that it comes in part because we couldn’t really do much when it came to design and customization (which we get into below).

At the same time, creating products was easy, their backend platform is easy and looks great.

So, it’s not wrong.

But when it comes to actually building a custom site, you’re not going to get very far without having to get into custom coding.

Which is not very easy, and if you’re going to spend time learning how to do that, we’d recommend going with WordPress/WooCommerce as you’ll have more flexibility in the long run.

UNLESS you plan to become a website building consultant to bigger businesses and want to learn BigCommerce to better help them.

Which, if that’s the case, more power to you!

Design & Customization: 3/5

best platform to sell online bigcommerce website builder

12 free and 139 paid templates here, the latter range from $150-300 aka “not cheap.”

They all look very good and include more advanced design elements like scroll over zooming in on images, built-in sliders, etc.

Modifications, without coding, are limited.

You can change colors globally from the website builder sidebar, along with some other options, and it’s possible to add images and text content where needed.

But you can’t add buttons, rearrange sections, etc.

In short: it’s adequate but not much beyond that.

Ecommerce Features: 5/5

best platform to sell online bigcommerce product editor

This is the stuff BigCommerce was really built for.

Yeah, yeah, discounts, inventory management, shipping and taxes, it’s all there.

Real-time shipping quotes, multi-channel selling, a mobile management app – okay, very cool.

Apple/Google/Amazon pay, real-time shipping quotes, gift wrapping options, minimum/maximum purchase quantities and super-advanced product details like “Bin Packing Number” (useful for larger warehouse operations).

Now that’s what makes for a 5/5 rating!

Support: 5/5

best platform to sell online bigcommerce support

Like BigCommerce’s ecommerce platform interface, the knowledge base looks great, is very in-depth and easy to navigate, has lots of getting started videos – it’s top of the game.

You’ve got Forums, but not just your standard community Q&A here; you’ll also find AMAs with BigCommerce employees, Site Critiques, Job boards, and “Town Hall” webinars.

That’s on top of live chat, phone, and email support which, in our testing experience, is very helpful and very much appreciated.

Pricing: 3/5

best platform to sell online bigcommerce pricing

The plan we recommend: Standard

To really nail home the “this is for bigger businesses” message, the lowest cost plan (Standard) is limited to “just” $50,000 in yearly sales.

More than enough to get started, and you won’t need the customer segmentation and abandoned cart emails that come with their mid-tier plan until you’re getting close to that sales figure anyway.

No refunds available, which is not great, so make sure you take full advantage of the 15-day free trial.

On the processing fee front – 0%.

Try BigCommerce Now


Best All Around

Ecwid Logo


4.5 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 5/5
  • checkmark Design: 4/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 4.5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 5/5
  • Beautiful “Instant Sites” and Self-Hosted options
  • Built-in multi-channel support (Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, etc)
  • Online store builder could have more customization options
  • Have to pay more for some fairly basic features like Variations
  • No weekend live support

Bottom Line

If you DON’T REALLY WANT to get into website building but you DO WANT to get into ecommerce, Ecwid is almost certainly the place to start.

If you DO WANT to get into website building stuff EVENTUALLY, Ecwid is almost certainly the place to start, too.

Because it’s that badass of an ecommerce platform.

A free version that doesn’t leave you wanting when you’re just getting started.

A site builder that gets you a beautiful site in 5(ish) minutes.

The ability to move over to a Wix/WordPress/Squarespace/etc. site AND sell on Facebook/Amazon/Instagram/etc. once you’re up and running.

From all the top ecommerce platforms we tested, Ecwid did the best job we found at offering everything website building and ecommerce beginners would want and need.

Check out our Ecwid test site

Try Ecwid Now

Ease of Use: 5/5

best free ecommerce website builder ecwid dashboard

First off, the Ecwid dashboard looks beautiful. Not a must, but it’s the kind of detail that adds up to a feeling of ease for sure.

But more than that, it functions as smoothly as avocado spreads on toast (because butter isn’t vegan).

The sidebar items are well organized and make sense when you’re new and don’t know where to find things.

Great start.

The built-in “Instant Site Builder” is basically exactly what we’d want for what it is.

A complete set of tools to build any site you can imagine?

No. THat’s not the goal.

The goal, according to their website, is for you to get your website up and running in 5 minutes.

It’s probably more like half an hour unless you have supreme discipline when it comes to poking around and trying things out (we don’t).

Still, for a tool looking to be easy, it nails it.

And that super smooth experience carries over to the product creation tools – everything you’d want in neatly organized, easy to use and understand tabs.

Design & Customization: 4/5

best free ecommerce website builder ecwid website builder

79 beautiful looking modern themes to choose from here, any one is site-worthy – just pick the colors/fonts that fit your taste to get started.

The rest (layout and elements) don’t matter because you’ve got the ability to make any theme look like any other theme on those fronts (e.g. if one theme has a full page header image but the one you choose doesn’t, you can change that in the options).

With the Instant Site Builder, all modifications are managed from the sidebar like Shopify – no clicking on a piece of text to move or edit it, meaning it’s a bit less intuitive but also harder to accidentally mess up.

In that sidebar you’re stuck with a limited set of sections you can add and rearrange on your online store’s homepage.

And each section has a limited set of relevant options you can play with.

Example: the Headline & Cover Image section lets you add a headline, description, call to action button, and background image – the last of which you can add overlays to.

That’s it and that’s fine for what this thing is.

Full Wix-levels of customization? No. Enough to get something that looks amazing and is unique enough to get started with?


And when you want more you’ve got options later, as Ecwid has integrations with a ton of website builders so you can keep the store you’ve already built with them and just embed things like your product pages and Buy Now buttons on a more custom site.

Ecommerce Features: 5/5

best free ecommerce website builder ecwid product editor

You know the ecommerce basics by now, of course those features are there.

The multi-channel support for marketplace sites like Etsy and Amazon, as well as social media like Instagram and Facebook is where things start to look “above and beyond” for Ecwid.

Because ultimately your ecommerce website should be a hub for your company/sales, but you’ll want to branch out and sell in a bunch of other places too.

You’ll also get some 5/5 grade features like automated tax and shipping calculations, an app market that lets you modify the design and functionality of your instant site, and local/in-store pickup options.

Mix that in with the fact that you can build a FREE ECOMMERCE WEBSITE to get started and pay for more expensive plans as you need the extra features makes Ecwid a real winner here.

Support: 4.5/5

best free ecommerce website builder ecwid support

The top-notch experience continues with Ecwid’s support.

Best-in-class grade knowledge base with videos, photos, and tons of in-depth guides?


Helpful live chat and email support?

You’ve got it.

The only thing holding back a full 5-star rating here is the lack of phone support.

And live chat isn’t available on the weekend.

Pricing: 5/5

best free ecommerce website builder ecwid pricing

The plan we recommend: Venture

This was a tough one.

The Free plan is really good and may very well be the best place for you to start.

BUT in our minds, one of the pro-website (ecommerce or otherwise) must-haves is a custom domain.

Aka “” not “”

And being able to talk to a real support person is pretty important too.

For those, you have to get Venture.

For $15/month, this is not a difficult gelatin-free capsule to swallow.

No refunds or money-back guarantee but that’s what the refund is for and you can cancel anytime.

Add in 0% transaction fees and we’ve got ourselves a 5/5.

Try Ecwid Now

Big Cartel

Best for Artists/Influencers

BigCartel Logo


Big Cartel


4 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 5/5
  • checkmark Design: 3.5/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 3/5
  • checkmark Support: 3.5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 5/5
  • One of the least expensive ecommerce platforms
  • One of the easiest to use online selling platforms
  • Create an online store for free!
  • Ecommerce features are just the essentials, missing some things
  • Live support took 2 hours to respond :/
  • Can only scale to a certain point

Bottom Line

Enough customization to make something that looks good.

Basic shop features covered.

Big Cartel does a pretty good job of making it easy to set up an online store quickly.

But beyond adding more products (which you can do when you buy higher-tier plans), we didn’t see a lot of room to grow your ecommerce website.

There’s only so much you can do to change the design, and the acceptable but minimal amount of ecommerce features wouldn’t lend themselves to scaling to a large ecommerce operation well.

Thus, we’d agree with Big Cartel’s suggestion that their ecommerce platform is “Easy online stores for artists & makers.”

Maybe add “& Instagram hot girls.”

Check out our Big Cartel test site

Try Big Cartel Now

Ease of Use: 5/5

online store website big cartel dashboard

Either Big Cartel was ahead of the Dark Mode game or they adjusted lightning-quick when that started trending, because it’s black on black in the dashboard.

And the whole thing is super simple and straightforward.

Homepage = sales stats and quick links to your products so you can see how they’re doing/make changes.

Orders = where you can track and adjust orders.

Products = add and modify products.

Discounts = add and change discounts.

Account = edit your online store and adjust payment details/shipping, etc.

Limited options means it’s quick to learn the interface and get things set up.

But the Big Cartel team’s also done a good job of following UX best practices so kudos where kudos are deserved there too.

Design & Customization: 3.5/5

online store website big cartel website builder

17 themes to give you basic fonts and color schemes, they all look pretty good and artsy.

Changes to fonts, colors, certain element displays, and adding/removing content are all done from the sidebar.

There’s enough here to not be lacking, but not a lot of room for customizing without getting into HTML/CSS code.

Which isn’t necessarily an issue (see Ecwid above), but their builder needs to do a better job of making things look nice for you.

Case in point: the slideshow on our test site is a weird, overly large size because it just got bigger to fit the large images we uploaded.

The fix? Just scale/crop our slideshow images so they’re all the same size and all a reasonable size.

But other ecommerce website builders do that kind of thing for you.

Or offer way more customizability.

Ecommerce Features: 3/5

online store website big cartel product editor

Creating products is simple and straightforward and limited.

You’ve got these options:

Price, name, description, options (variations), shipping, URL, Tax Code, up to 5 images, category, status (active/not active).

Enough to sell products? Yes.

But you have to enter all your variations in manually (Small/Red, Medium/Red, etc).

Only 5 images per product is fine but you’ll want more at times.

And the inventory management… you can add stock quantities and they’ll go down as you sell but it’s all very manual.

So, again, smaller shop, you don’t want to mess with a lot of more complex ecommerce options – Big Cartel is a solid choice.

If you want to go beyond selling merch for your Youtube channel (now or ever), we’d look elsewhere.

Support: 3.5/5

best platform to sell online bigcommerce support

On the support side of the equation, the knowledge base is likewise sufficient.

There are some images where needed, the articles are easy enough to search for and scan through.

There’s just not the level of depth you find with other ecommerce platforms.

Email and chat are available when you want to talk to a human, and those humans are helpful.

But it took 2 hours to hear back when we messaged them via chat.

Not ideal if you’ve got deadlines (but Facebook meme page operators probably don’t).

Pricing: 5/5

online store website big cartel pricing

The plan we recommend: Platinum

So Big Cartel is technically one of your free online store builder options.

But unlike Ecwid, in addition to a limited number of products, you’re only going to be able to have 1 image for each.

If you can make that work, go for it, but we think that’s not enough.

From our pro website perspective, you’ve gotta get that custom domain name too, so that’s where our Platinum recommendation comes from; beyond that, you’ll only need to upgrade plans if you want to sell more than 50 products.

No refunds since they have a free plan, 0 credit card processing fees.

Try Big Cartel Now


The Weebly of Ecommerce

Volusion Logo




4 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 3/5
  • checkmark Design: 3.5/5
  • checkmark ECom Features: 4.5/5
  • checkmark Support: 4.5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 3.5/5
  • Some of the most advanced SEO features for a Platform hosted option
  • Beautiful backend/helpful “getting started” flow
  • Helpful “how to run an ecommerce business” content
  • Online store website builder got buggy when adding content
  • Themes just look okay
  • Like Weebly – pretty expensive for what you get

Bottom Line

Like Weebly, Volusion is fine.

If you like something about them, if there’s something they offer that you need, go for it.

If someone you’re working with wants to use them, okay.

Like Weebly, we feel they don’t quite strike the right balance between easy to use and customizable.

They do have a pretty solid set of ecommerce features so that’s a plus, we’d go with them over Weebly for that.

But we think for most people there’s more bang for your ecommerce platform buck elsewhere

Check out our Volusion test site

Try Volusion Now

Ease of Use: 3/5

ecommerce site volusion dashboard

The dashboard looks great which got our hopes up, along with the nice quick start guide they had (complete with walkthrough/explainer videos).

We also like that they have video guides to help you get unstuck throughout their dashboard.

E.g if you go to the “Product” tab there’s a “?” button that has a video tutorial next to the “+” add a new product button.

When it came to using their online store builder, we found it challenging.

Like some of the other builders that try to keep things simple, changes are made from the sidebar, though you can click on your WYSIWYG page preview to change the section you’re editing, as well as add/remove and rearrange sections.

But the options you have when editing sections felt a bit of a mess; like they were trying to do too much with too little space.

And their text editing interface (which is a popup) was not the most fun to use.

Oh, and you have to manually press the “save” button so you don’t lose your work if you click away.

Design & Customization: 3.5/5

ecommerce site volusion website builder

14 free, 3 paid ($180) themes – all look fine, functional, but are missing some polish factors that make for a “wow” ecommerce website experience.

We liked that you could create and set typography and colors globally (across your whole site) and by section/block.

And we like that you could make blocks “reusable” – so if you, say, create a really nice “sign up for our newsletter” block you don’t have to manually recreate that across your site.

From a customizability perspective, Volusion does a good job for builders on the “make it easy” end of the spectrum.

There are a lot of options available for editing.

But we felt the site we ended up with in our quick and dirty test could look a lot better.

Ecommerce Features: 4.5/5

ecommerce site volusion product editor

Yes, they’ve got {insert the basics here}.

Payment support, inventory management, coupons and discounts, taxes and shipping, so an and such forth.

Plus some standout stuff to put them in the above-average rating realm.

Dropshipping integration? Ooo that’s nice.

Marketing and design help for hire through them? Ahh, that’s good.

XML sitemaps, Google Search Console tag adding, redirects manager…

Well, Volusion, here’s the award for most advanced SEO management we’ve seen from an ecommerce platform (that isn’t WordPress with the right SEO plugins).

Support: 4.5/5

ecommerce site volusion support

You’ll find what you need in Volusion’s knowledge base, along with some delicious extras like where to find dropshipping products and how to choose a domain name.

Online chat is available 24/7 and is readily accessible from the “?” on any page of the dashboard/online store builder.

We’d like to see email and phone support at lower level plans, but for the most part you won’t be disappointed when you need help (unless you’re also feeling lonely and want to hear the sound of another human being… but helping you with crippling depression isn’t really Volusion’s job #YesWeCryOurselvesToSleep).

Pricing: 3.5/5

ecommerce site volusion pricing

The plan we recommend: Personal

Phone support is nice, yes, and abandoned cart reports are handy but they’re not essential for getting started.

Especially not for an extra $45 a month over the Personal plan.

14-day free trial but no money-back refunds.

Their monthly plans are on the higher side so we’re glad they don’t charge credit card processing fees.

Try Volusion Now

What is an ecommerce platform and should you use one?

what is an ecommerce platform guy scratching head

Ecommerce platforms, put simply, are software tools that let you create an online store – without having to learn HTML/CSS/Javascript aka “how to code.”

They do this by including some/all of the features of a standard website builder and mix in some extra “ecommerce features” like:

  • Sales channel management (e.g. making it easy to set up/maintain your website, in-person sales, stores on sites like Amazon, etc).
  • Inventory management (so you don’t have to manually mark every sale down in a spreadsheet to figure out how many shirts/necklaces/gluten-free baking mixes you have left).
  • Sales reports (so you can stop wasting your time on products/channels that don’t do much for you).
  • Tax calculations (you know exactly why this is valuable).

The most common reasons people choose to use ecommerce platforms are:

They’re easy to use

Especially when you’re new to the ecommerce and “build a website” worlds, this is crucial. Back in the late 80s through the mid-200s, our ancestors had to make website pages, shopping cart features, and payment processing functionalities with their bare hands.

Ecommerce platforms let us, the fortunate children of modernity, do all that stuff with a couple of clicks in a fraction of the time.

They’re one-stop shops

Ecommerce platforms include everything you need to run an online store – web hosting, domain name registration, updates, and web page creation on the front end.

And customer, inventory, and sales management on the back end.

…For the most part. There are exceptions to this for good reasons, see the “types” below.

They’re “supportive”

You’ll also get customer support staff to help you, which is great because there’s a lot of “figuring out how to do it” involved with creating an online store without using an ecommerce platform.

Which is frustrating and time-consuming if you just want to sell stuff.

This one’s also a “for the most part” – one of the platforms we reviewed doesn’t have customer support per se, more on that below.

Bottom line

Do you like saving time? What about money? What about avoiding frustration?

The answer is, of course, “well, sure I do!”

Which is why you should probably use an ecommerce platform/website builder.

More specifically, they’re best for:

  1. People who just want to focus on their business/product creation, not their website.
  2. People who want to build an ecommerce business for themselves from scratch (without having to rely on a website building/programming expert).
  3. People who want to build ecommerce websites for other people without having to become coding experts.

Sound like you?

Sure it does!

But how do you choose the right ecommerce platform for your goals/hopes/dreams?

How to choose the best ecommerce website builder for you

how to choose ecommerce website list of options

Well, for starters, there are a few different types of ecommerce platforms to choose from.

Which type is best depends on what you’re going for.

Type #1: Self-Hosted

Basically, this means WordPress and WooCommerce (there are others but they’re really not worth mentioning in an introductory post).

With this option, you’ll pay a company like HostGator for the resources needed to make a website available on the web.

Then you’ll install WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin (and probably a bunch of other plugins too) through them.

The benefits: it’s a lot less expensive to do this than using one of the other options and you can do whatever you want design/functionality wise.

The drawbacks: it’s a lot more work to learn how to set up and manage hosting/all the plugins and tools you’ll need – some of which might not have great customer support available.

Type #2: Platform Hosted

These are your Volusions, your Big Cartels, your Wixes (Wixi?) – ecommerce websites that you pay to do all the technical stuff for you, including the hosting and the website building.

One monthly fee and you’ll be able to make a website, take orders, process payments, etc.

The benefits: what you need to do to get started is a lot simpler/clearer (they’ll walk you through setup, the platforms have more limited options/features than WordPress/WooCommerce plugins, and they’ll have plenty of helpful FAQ articles)

And you’ll have customer support from people who can see exactly what’s going on (with WooCommerce, one extension might not work because of a WordPress plugin you have installed, and the developer who made the extension won’t know that/might not respond quickly when you ask for help.

The drawbacks: They’ll cost more and you’re restricted to being able to do what the platform lets you do (e.g. some of the ecommerce website builders we reviewed didn’t give you many options when it came to making the website part of an online store).

Type #3: Mixed

Unlike pure website builders that all fall under the “platform hosted” category, ecommerce platforms offer a combination of both of the above options.

In our list below, this means Shopify, Ecwid, and BigCommerce.

Each of these not only has its own version of an online store builder, they also offer plugins for WordPress.

The benefits: you can get started fast with an easy to use ecommerce website builder, then as you grow you can expand to a self-hosted WordPress site to build exactly what you want while keeping the ecommerce features you need.

The drawbacks: you could argue you’ll pay too much.

In the beginning, maybe you should have just learned WordPress/WooCommerce and saved the money; when you’re using the ecommerce plugin, you’ll pay for both hosting and the ecommerce platform’s services when maybe you could have gotten by with the free WooCommerce plugin in.

Maybe on that.

The definite drawback is this is all too complicated/of no use to you if you don’t want to get that deep into the ecommerce world.

Which type is best?

Well, that really depends on you:

  • If you want to start as lean/low cost as possible, self-hosted WordPress with WooCommerce is the way to go.
  • If you want to have the most flexibility to build ecommerce or other websites and don’t mind putting in the time to learn a lot, WordPress with WooCommerce is the way to go.
  • If you’re more of an artist or business person or shop owner type, who just wants to be able to sell stuff online without having to learn a bunch about websites, a Platform Hosted option like Wix or Big Cartel is the way to go.
  • If you want to get started fast with an easy to use online store builder, with the option to expand to a “do what you want” WordPress website, a mixed platform is the way to go.

Once you know in general the type of ecommerce platform you want, there are a few things that differentiate one from the other, like:

  • Ease of Use
  • Design and Customization Features
  • Ecommerce Features
  • Customer Support
  • Pricing

And it just so happens those are the exact criteria we used to evaluate the ecommerce sites on our list!

Can you believe it?!

Of course you can!

Here’s a bit more about what WE look for in online selling platforms.

Our ecommerce platform review process

free ecommerce website review process checklist

The CaPW Ecommerce Platform Challenge

Here at Create a Pro Website, we want you, our dearest and most valued reader, to have all the information you need to make smart decisions when it comes to building websites, ecommerce or otherwise.

Which is why we do more for you.

See, there are over 200,000,000 results in Google for “best ecommerce platform.” 

best ecommerce platform google results

Some of those are for builders themselves (hello Shopify :).

Many of those are guides/blog posts.

And most of those suck for one simple reason: they didn’t actually use any of the ecommerce platforms or website builders they talk about.

We get it. 

Getting your hands dirty takes time and can be messy.

So maybe you can slap together a list of features, take a look at a few ecommerce sites and whip up a “best ecommerce platforms ultimate guide.”


But we’re not about that life here at CaPW.

Which is why we didn’t just casually slap a “Definitive Guide” at the end of our title.

We actually engaged in a little something we call “The CaPW Ecommerce Platform Challenge.”

Like our similarly named “The CaPW Website Builder Challenge,” this involved two basic steps:

  • Sign up and PAY for each website builder we review.
  • Time how long it takes to do the minimum setup needed to make an online store with them.

Now we’ve got a good bit of website building experience, and we were aiming to spend around an hour on each ecommerce site.

So don’t expect to be blown away by our demo sites (though we did include a couple of fun easter eggs in there for ya).

But what you will get from this is some honest, more detailed insights into how easy these online store builders are to use.

And more objective ratings than one can get from looking at a “/features” page for a few minutes.

With that, let’s look at our rating criteria:

Ease of Use

First up we’ve got Ease of Use, which is one of the biggest selling points of just about any ecommerce website builder.

Because no matter how awesome their ecommerce features might be or their templates might look, if it’s hard to build your online store website or manage your products and orders, the whole point of using an ecommerce platform is out the window.

We use these things to save time and frustration!

So, like our website builders challenge, to get a sense of how easy these platforms are to use we made ecommerce websites with each platform complete with products, shipping, and tax options as fast as possible (aiming for about an hour).

That means we tested both the website builder features – the tools for creating web pages – as well as the ecommerce features – the product creation and management tools.

Now the caveat here is that to fully test each platform we’d need to actually set up stores and make a bunch of sales because you can’t really understand how the order and inventory management parts of these platforms work without that.

But we hope you’ll forgive us for not going quite that deep (yet!).

Design & Customization

Beyond being easy to use, we looked at what each ecommerce website builder has to offer in the looks department.

Here we looked at things like:

  • How many templates/themes do they offer? How good do these look?
  • What options are there for editing the site (changing colors, fonts, adding images, rearranging content, etc)?
  • How good do our quick and dirty sites look?

Template/theme looks are especially important for beginners as these are your starting points for website building – first, you choose a theme that has the page sections, colors, and fonts you want, then you customize from there.

If the themes look great, it’ll be easier for you to make a beautiful website without spending a ton of time/having a lot of experience.

But you’ll always want and need to make some changes so the website becomes your own.

When you use an ecommerce platform like WordPress and WooCommerce, between the themes and plugins on offer and custom code, you can make a website look exactly the way you want – with enough time and $$ invested.

Online store builders like the one Shopify offers necessarily restrict what you can do – they’re hosting your site and need it to be a certain way to keep it running smoothly on their hosting infrastructure.

And by limiting the number of choices you can make, they limit the choices you have to make – which can mean an easier ecommerce site-building experience.

So there’s always some level of tradeoff between ease of use and customization.

Which is something we keep in mind while doing our reviews and you should while deciding which is the best ecommerce platform for you.

Ecommerce Features

Building ecommerce websites that look great is obviously important.

But so are the tools and options you have for selling products. Obviously.

And because we’re smart enough to check the obvious, we looked at each ecommerce platform’s ecommerce features as part of our review.

There’s a similar dynamic here as there is with customization and ease of use.

Some platforms offer a lot of features, but that can make them harder to use for beginners.

Or more expensive.

And maybe you don’t need all those features to get started.

But we know you’re smart, so we won’t try to make that decision for you!

This is why we’ve included ecommerce platforms that have all the features a big online brand making thousands of sales a day might want, ones that just offer the bare minimum so you don’t have a bunch of data/form fields to manage, and plenty in between.

BUT it’s important that any software calling itself an ecommerce platform includes a few basics, so we looked at things like:

  • Product management
  • Order/inventory management
  • Whether they have an app/extension/add-on store
  • Payment platform options
  • Sales and marketing features
  • Shipping tools and calculators
  • Analytics reports

to give you a sense of what’s available and what each platform has to offer.


Like ease of use, this is another essential part of the ecommerce platform experience.

A big part of why you might choose Shopify over WooCommerce is how quickly and easily you can get answers to questions and solutions to problems that come up.

Every platform on our list will offer a Knowledge Base/Help Center/Support Desk…

Whatever you want to call them, they’re places where they have articles answering common questions related to using the ecommerce software or online store builder in question.

So we took a look at these Help Center/places to find answers without talking to a human to see how good they were.

Because maybe you don’t want to talk to a person if you can get answers on your own.

BUT it’s nice to know you can talk to a person when you can’t find those answers on your own (or don’t have the time to dig for them).

So we looked at what “talk to a human” options each ecommerce website offers.

Email is okay, phone and live chat are better.

And 24/7 is ideal though not always available.

Beyond just “taking a gander at what their website says” we also went a level deeper and actually reached out to their support staff (where applicable).

This way we could get a sense of how long it takes them to respond and how helpful/friendly their staff is (because no one wants to deal with an asshole when they’re already having issues).


Finally, we took a look at how much each ecommerce platform costs and rated them relative to each other.

Meaning the most expensive platform gets a lower rating than the least expensive, but on a scale that factors in the general cost of ecommerce platforms on the whole (PERCENTRANK function for the win).

We did not, however, just look at the cheapest plan available.

Because though cheap is nice when you’re a beginner to the online store builder game, we’re also about building PRO websites here at… You get it.

So, for example, if the least expensive plan means you can’t use your own domain name or there will be ads inserted by the platform (not ones you add to your site), that’s not a plan you should get.

Which is why we figured out a plan we feel good recommending to a beginner that, at the end of the day, still wants a professional website.

Then we used the prices for those recommended plans in our rating.

Best Website Builders
The Definitive Guide

Best Website Builders Makers and Creators Featured Image

Dale McManus

Co-Founder & Web Developer

Aug. 29, 2019

Hey, my name is Dale! My partner Alex and I have helped tens of thousands of people build beautiful websites around the world. In this fully-packed, step-by-step guide, you’ll learn what the Best Website Builders are. Let’s dive in!

  • Level of Expertise: Beginner
  • Time To Complete: 45 Minutes
  • What You Get: Working Knowledge

For the record: It’s super important for us to keep this site 100% free for you and 100% high quality. To help us do that, we’ve partnered with some of the products we recommend and earn a commission if you buy through our links. Read our full disclosure and partners list here.

New to website creation? Website builders make it easy to make a pro website fast!

If you’re a beginner who’s a bit intimidated by the whole “website creation” thing, the best website builders provide a great option for getting your website up and running without having to mess with a bunch of technical settings or learning how to code. But in 2020, there are a TON of website builders to choose from to make your pro website. How do you know which one’s best for you? That’s exactly what we’re going to help you figure out in today’s website builder comparison!

Best Website Builders Featured Graphic

The Top Website Builders, Makers, and Creators

Wix Website Builder Logo Wix
4.5 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 5/5
Constant Contact Website Builder Logo Constant Contact
4.5 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5
Squarespace Website Builder Logo Squarespace
4.0 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 3.5/5
  • checkmark Customization: 4/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5 Website Builder Logo
4.0 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5
Duda Website Builder Logo Duda
4.0 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5
Gator Website Builder Gator Website Builder
4.0 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5
Weebly Website Builder Logo Weebly
3.5 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5
Strikingly Website Builder Logo Strikingly
3.5 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 3/5
Site123 Website Builder Logo Site123
3.0 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 3/5

The 9 best website builders, makers, and creators of 2020


The best all-around

Wix Website Builder Logo Wix
4.5 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 5/5

Pros & Cons

  • Tons of beautiful templates to choose from to get a solid start
  • The most powerful design and customization features around
  • Quick and easy answers found in their thorough knowledge base
  • No live chat (but you can call)
  • The editor is a bit harder to use than some – but not by much
  • Not the cheapest

Bottom Line

Wix is what we’d like to call “the website builder’s builder” – it really sets the standard for everyone else. It’s not the cheapest and because it’s so customizable there’s a bit more of a learning curve. But if you’re going to fully dive into the world of website creation, you won’t go wrong here.

Check out our Wix test site.

Try Wix Now

Ease of Use: 4/5

wix best website builder editor

Wix isn’t the absolute easiest website builder to use, but it’s as close as you can get with all of the design and customization features it provides!

Want to edit some text, change a color, make something bigger or move it around?

Just click the thing you want to change and a contextual menu pops up with all the options you need.

Adding new sections, text, images, videos, etc. etc. etc. is also super easy with just a couple of clicks and a quick search from their “add” menu.

Really the only downside is the way that sections and elements are changed/moved – you have to do a lot of manual shifting around and aligning which takes some extra work and might make things slightly misaligned.

Design and Customization: 5/5

wix website builder test site

Wix is the cream of the crop when it comes to design and customization – literally anything you want to do is possible.

Their templates are top-notch and easy to search by category or keyword; find something you like, check out the demo, then click “edit this site” and you’re off to the races!

Once you’re in the editor you can add contact forms, galleries, lists, and more, rearrange and resize anything you’d like, expand your site’s functionality with apps the world of website creation is your oyster with Wix!

Speed: 5/5

wix website builder speed test

Wix has been at the top of the game for a while, and that’s true when it comes to speed as well, with a .3 second loading time.

Support: 5/5

There’s no guarantee you won’t’ run into a problem when building a site with Wix, but you’re definitely guaranteed to find a fast solution!

Wix’s knowledge base is the best around, with hundreds (thousands? We didn’t try to find them all) of super helpful articles on just about everything a website maker like you would need help with.

And if you don’t quite find the answer you’re looking for, you can call and talk to a real human if you’re pressed for time, or submit a support ticket to figure it out later (Crossfit’s at 6 pm, the website can wait – get ripped!).

Price: 4/5

wix website builder pricing

The plan we recommend: Combo

For what you get with Wix, the $13 you’ll pay for their Combo plan (which is more than enough to get started) is nearly a no-brainer.

BUT you can find some solid builders for less, so it’s a strong 4/5 here.

Try Wix Now


The best website builder for photographers and artists

Squarespace Website Builder Logo Squarespace
4.0 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 3.5/5
  • checkmark Customization: 4/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5

Pros & Cons

  • Beautiful, highly refined templates give your website instant class.
  • Their website builder isn’t the most powerful, but it has everything you need and makes it hard to make a mistake.
  • The best support experience in the industry – loads of helpful articles, videos, and live chat people that actually think about what you need.
  • The editor is a bit harder to learn (a lot of options are buried in menus).
  • Some top-notch editor features like mobile site editing, section by section background colors, and free form element placement aren’t included.
  • Their pricing isn’t terrible if you want just a basic site, but you can get more features for your dollar elsewhere.

Bottom Line

If you’re a photographer or artist that wants to create a solid, classy portfolio website, this is your jam (the whole experience feels a LOT like using Apple products). But if you want to build a fully custom, fully functional site with additional apps or e-commerce options, you either won’t find what you need or pay a lot for it.

Check out our Squarespace test site.

Try Squarespace Now

Ease of Use: 3.5/5

squarespace website creator editor

Squarespace’s editor is solid, just not as intuitive as others on our list.

When you click on different parts of your page, you get a few obvious options – you can drag images and text blocks around, adjust font sizes, and write new text.

But we found it hard to select the things we wanted to change sometimes (if you’re editing parts of one section of your page, you have to save or cancel those changes before you can work on another part).

There’s no clear way to undo a change or two you make (which, trust us, you’ll want to do more than once).

And rather than popping up all the options you want and need when you click on an element of your page, a lot of the customizations have to be found in menus that get buried in the sidebar.

Design and Customization: 4/5

squarespace website builder test site

Squarespace is absolutely at the head of the pack when it comes to the quality of their templates.

Simple, clean, elegant is the name of the game here.

They’ve also got the best built-in image editor of any builder we’ve tried; brightness, saturation, contrast, blur – if you didn’t quite get a pixel perfect image the first time (or you’re using stock photos and want to really make them pop), Squarespace has your back!

Once you learn how to use their editor, you’ve got just about everything you need to make your site’s template your own font changes, colors, arranging parts of your page, it’s all there.

But you don’t have quite as many options when it comes to adding things like shapes, changing the background color of parts of your page, or specifically editing the mobile version of your site.

So if you want 100% complete control we’d look elsewhere.

Speed: 5/5

squarespace website builder speed test

Yep, she’s plenty fast. 1.1 seconds isn’t the best we’ve seen but it’s more than enough to keep visitors happy.

Support: 5/5

Best in the industry support comes standard with Squarespace.

Extensive knowledge base? Check.

Super useful video guides and webinars? Yes indeed.

Forum to get ideas and help from other users? Yeah buddy.

Email and Live chat that actually provides useful answers (not just copy/pasting from the knowledge base)? You betcha.

In summary: whether you want to solve a particular problem you’re having right away or want to become a black belt Squarespace ninja, they have all the help you’ll need.

Price: 3/5

squarespace website builder pricing

The plan we recommend: Personal

For getting started, Squarespace’s personal plan offers all the basics you’ll need for just $12/month.

This particular package doesn’t have as many “bonus features” like e-commerce capabilities and advanced website analytics that some other builders offer, but you won’t miss those when you’re just getting started.

Try Squarespace Now


Just… Average

Weebly Website Builder Logo Weebly
3.5 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5

Pros & Cons

  • Their support is solid – phone, live chat, email, and community forums
  • Their editor leaves more to be desired but it’s definitely usable.
  • They’re not missing any of the core features you’d want and need in a website maker.
  • They’re at the bottom of the pack speed-wise
  • Their templates are just meh
  • Their editor was more buggy than the others – we’d prefer to not lose our work.

Bottom Line

If you’re building a site for someone else and they REALLY want to use Weebly, you can do it. If you’re choosing a builder for yourself, we’d look elsewhere as they don’t do any one thing particularly well.

Check out our Weebly test site.

Try Weebly Now

Ease of Use: 3.5/5

weebly website maker editor

Weebly’s editor works well enough to get the website building job done – drag new elements like images and text to where you want them on the page, click on a button or form that’s already there to get some options for changing it.

But it wasn’t as smooth as we’d like (sometimes the editor would get hung up and we’d have to reload, losing some changes).

We had some trouble selecting things (trying to quickly select all the text in one part of the page with ctrl+a lead to the whole page getting selected).

And it was hard to get certain context menus to pop up when we wanted them to (had to click around to find the right spot to change text or background images).

Overall, it’s fine, but where a builder like Constant Contact sacrifices some design and customization for ease of use, while Wix does the opposite, Weebly’s not that great at either.

Design and Customization: 3/5

weebly website builder test site

Weebly doesn’t offer as many templates as other website creators which is okay – sometimes more options mean more time wasted trying to find the perfect one.

But the templates they do have don’t look that great. They’re acceptable, they’re not stuck in 2007, but we like to see sexier, sleeker options here as the better your template is, the less work you have to do to turn it into a stunning, custom site.

It also wasn’t easy to find images through their built-in search, those images weren’t as high-quality as other builders, and we couldn’t easily resize our images if they didn’t match others we added (see the “our services” section in our test site).

Which is a bit of a big deal since images are such a crucial component of a modern pro website.

Speed: 2/5

weebly website builder speed test

Oof, not good. Realistically, you’re probably fine – our test site still loaded in less than 3 seconds (which is what the average web user will give you before they give up and click away from your site).

But at 2.8 seconds for only 2.6 MB of site content, doing anything much more complex than we did with our site would likely push you over that “nah, not worth it” edge.

Support: 4/5

Lack of “wow factor” in their builder aside, Weebly’s support is pretty solid.

They’ve got a community forum which we always appreciate because sometimes you’ll just want advice or feedback from other people building sites just like you.

Email, phone and live chat that’s actually helpful means you can get your problems solved when you can’t find an answer in their knowledge base (which is pretty good).

Those aren’t 24/7 so if you’re cranking away before your day job you’ll have to wait to hear back.

Price: 4/5

weebly website builder pricing

The plan we recommend: Pro

Weebly does offer one of the cheapest plans around…

But don’t go for that $5 “Connect” subscription – you’ll have Weebly ads injected all over your site and that’s just not professional.

That being said, removing those ads means buying their $12 “Pro” plan and that’s not a bad deal in the website maker world!

Try Weebly Now

The best if you just want to blog Website Builder Logo
4.0 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5

Pros & Cons

  • One of the least expensive builders out there
  • It’s just not possible to find better blogging features than king Press
  • Their support is helpful – even with the more technical problems you might face using this website maker
  • It isn’t drag and drop/WYSIWYG (at least with the theme we used)
  • They have a lot of templates but none really wowed us (YMMV)
  • To fully customize your site (or get close to it), you’ll have to learn some code

Bottom Line was built around blogging and they’re definitely the best at it. But, fully customizing your site takes a lot more work than other builders and by the time you do that, you might as well have learned and used So we’d either do that or go with another builder unless you JUST want to make a sweet blog without anything too fancy.

Check out our test site.

Try Now

Ease of Use: 2.5/5

wordpress website creator editor

This site is built on (that’s the free CMS we mentioned earlier).

Most of the sites we’ve built were on

We love WordPress.

But for a beginner looking to get an easier start with a website creator, (which is basically the same as .org, just with hosting included) is not ideal.

We’ve found and used themes and plugins that are drag and drop/WYSIWYG but that wasn’t the case with the theme we found and used to build our test site (though we’ve heard some of the themes do offer this).

Because of that, you’re going to spend a lot more time jumping around to see how what you’ve done actually looks on your site, you’re going to have to learn how all the menus and options work, and to get something to look exactly the way you want it to, there might be some coding involved.

And by the time you’ve done all that – you might as well have learned and used!

Design and Customization: 3/5

wordpress website creator test site

WordPress offers a lot of theme options at 300+ pre-built themes.

From what we saw in our search, most looked fine but nothing really stood out to us as “this is amazing, I really don’t have to customize it that much.”

And since you will have to customize it, it’d be nice to have lots of features to support that.

They’ve got the basics for sure – you can change colors and font sizes/styles, add and arrange images, etc.

But since this isn’t a true drag and drop builder, you’re pretty limited in what you can do (without having to use some code, which is not what you’re looking for in a website builder).

Speed: 4/5

wordpress website creator speed test

Speed’s not a problem with WordPress. Our test site loaded super fast at just over half a second, even though it doesn’t have the highest performance grade thanks in part because the page size was so small.

Which confirms our instinct that WP is solid IF you just want to make a relatively simple blog site.

Support: 4.5/5

WordPress’ knowledge base has plenty of helpful articles for problem-solving and troubleshooting when you need it.

They also offer support tickets and live chat powered by people that really know what they’re doing, so if you get yourself into some weird, deep, web building territory they’ll help you find your way out.

And they’ve got loads of helpful tutorial videos that help shorten the learning curve their more hands-on platform has.

Price: 5/5

wordpress website creator pricing

The plan we recommend: Premium

If you’re really strapped for cash but fully committed to jumping in the website making game, WordPress is one of the best spots in town.

Even though we don’t recommend their “wow I can’t believe how inexpensive this is” $5 Personal plan because you don’t get access to all their premium themes, at $8 their Premium plan is well worth the price of admission.

Try Now


Great for building a website with and for other people

Duda Website Builder Logo Duda
4.0 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5

Pros & Cons

  • Their editor is freaking awesome – strikes the perfect balance of easy to use yet supremely powerful
  • Their templates are pretty mighty in the looks and functionality department
  • Nice set of extra functions like popups and notification bars built-in
  • One of the most expensive builders on our list for the plan we recommend
  • A lot of their unique features are geared towards people working in teams
  • No domain included – you’ll need to buy one somewhere else and do the technical setup work

Bottom Line

Duda is one of our favorite builders when it comes to the editor itself – it’s damn near the perfect mix of easy to use and fully customizable. But we firmly agree with the headline on their homepage “The Web Design Platform for Scaling Your Agency…” It’s really best for when you need to work on a site with a team, especially at these prices.

Check out our Duda test site.

Try Duda Now

Ease of Use: 4/5

duda website builder editor

If you’re looking for an easy to learn yet fully capable website maker – Duda’s a go-to choice.

They really nail it with their context menus that let you edit everything about an image, piece of text, or background color by a right or left-click.

For example, left-clicking text lets you change the font size, family, color, etc, while right-clicking lets you change design elements like the background color of just that piece of text, the padding and more.

Plus, when it comes to adding and rearranging elements like contact forms, buttons, and images, just click and drag from one part of a page to another or from the “Widgets” sidebar and everything snaps in place along a pre-aligned grid for the perfect combo of flexibility and low risk of creating a messy design.

The only reason they didn’t get a 5 is that, like Wix, because they’re so customizable you’ll have to spend a bit more time learning how to use all their controls.

Design and Customization: 5/5

duda website maker test site

If you want to do it, Duda will let you.

Add animations to your text or images, shapes, icons, audio or video, they even let you edit the HTML/CSS of each element you add (not something you want to do as a beginner BUT this comes in handy further on in your journey.

On top of that, they have a ton of template options and they’re some of the best around – not quite as polished as Squarespace or as extensive as Wix but more than enough slick options to get a solid head start on any kind of site you want to build.

And they have some advanced features like site-wide business info (so any time you add a social follow button or section for your phone number it’s automatically correct), easy to add anchor links (for one-page websites or longer, more complex pages) and popups and notification bars.

So as you learn how to do more complex work in the website making game Duda will be there for you.

Speed: 4/5

duda website maker speed test

Speed is solidly on the higher end of our tests – you’re good to go here!

Support: 3.5/5

Duda’s knowledge base is loaded with helpful answers to the most pressing questions, and when you need more their email support team has your back too.

But they lose points for not offering live chat or phone support for the plan we recommend.

They do offer both but only in more expensive plans which, if you’re going to use Duda with a team you’ll need to get anyway, but don’t add enough extra value if you’re just building a site for yourself.

Price: 2/5

duda website maker pricing
The plan we recommend: Basic

Duda’s a really great builder in just about every way except price – even for their Basic plan, which has just about everything you need (besides live chat/phone support) to build an awesome pro website, you’ll be paying top website creator dollar.

Try Duda Now


Building multiple sites? Strikingly is a great option.

Strikingly Website Builder Logo Strikingly
3.5 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 3/5

Pros & Cons

  • Their prebuilt themes and layouts make it easy to customize your site without having to do everything yourself
  • Free domain and SSL included
  • If you’re building multiple sites they’re one of the cheapest builders
  • If you’re just building one site, they’re super expensive
  • While easy to use, they’re not as flexible as a builder like Wix when you want to do something really unique
  • Speed is fine but we’d like it to be faster

Bottom Line

Strikingly leans towards ease of use but for how easy it is there’s a ton of useful customization you can do – more than other super easy builders on our list. BUT, in order to remove their custom branding to make a truely pro website, you’re going to spend a lot more than other builders. However, that plan includes 3 websites (whereas with other builders, the price you pay is for just one). So if you know you want to build a few sites in your day and don’t think you’ll need complete control, go with Strikingly.

Check out our Strikingly test site.

Try Strikingly Now

Ease of Use: 4.5/5

strikingly website maker editor

Strikingly’s editor is probably the best for how much you can customize with it.

You can easily rearrange the sections on your site by dragging them up and down the sidebar.

You can also choose from a variety of pre-built sections, each of which has a handful of pre-designed layouts.

Need a features section with titles, descriptions, and images? Well, there’s a section for that with 5 ways of arranging those.

When it comes to editing the parts of that section, just click what you want to change and you can customize as you would expect.

While you don’t get as much freedom and flexibility as you do with other builders of this class like Wix, the fact that so much is done well out of the box makes this one a good choice when you want to build fast!

Design and Customization: 3.5/5

strikingly website creator test site

Strikingly offers a solid set of templates to choose from – they all look pro from the font and color choices to the modern layouts and design elements.

We also really like that it’s easy to manage your site styling from the sidebar – in one place, you can set all your fonts, colors, sizes, and page-wide animations.

But as with a few other builders on our list, easy to use comes at the sacrifice of control.

For example, you can only choose from a set of pre-selected color themes – every color you use on your page has to be from the palate that Strikingly creates from the “secondary color” you choose here.

And their prebuilt sections and layouts are great, more than enough for a beginner like you to create an awesome site with.

But if you want to do something fancy and really one-off as you learn more, you’ll be locked into the options Strikingly provides.

Speed: 3/5

strikingly website maker speed test

Speed is fine. They’re right at the limit of 3 second load times but you’ll still be able to get by the “this is taking too long” radar.

Support: 4.5/5

Strikingly support is fast, with a live chat button right inside the editor so you can quickly get your questions answered right when you need them to be.

And they’ve got helpful forums and a thorough knowledge base for when you want to figure it out on your own.

In our test their support was helpful enough, they went beyond simply copy/pasting knowledge base questions, but we felt like solving more complex problems might have taken some escalation and a bit more effort to talk with them on our end.

Price: 2/5

strikingly website creator pricing

The plan we recommend: Pro

The $8 “Limited” plan is great, definitely enough for any beginner website builder; we really wanted to recommend it.

Until we found out that eight bucks doesn’t remove the “Built with Strikingly” branding from your site, which by our standards is a must since we’re aiming for “pro.”

That means paying for the “Pro” package, which at double the price makes this the most expensive builder on our list for the plan we recommend.

However, you get 3 sites included with that (or $5.33 each) – whereas for other builders the price just includes one.

So if you’re for sure building multiple sites, they’re actually one of the cheapest builders.

Try Strikingly Now


Fine, but we’d use another builder instead.

Site123 Website Builder Logo Site123
3.0 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 3/5

Pros & Cons

  • They cover the site builder bases
  • You can make a website that looks and functions alright
  • People will be able to visit the website you create with Site123
  • No template to choose from – you just tell them what your business is about and they autogenerate a not so hot looking site for you
  • Support people seem fake and aren’t super helpful (they just copy/paste answers, the photos seem stock)
  • Their builder is kind of confusing to use – where and how you change things is all over the place

Bottom Line

Just like Weebly, if you’re building a site for someone else and they won’t budge, you’ll be able to get by with Site123. Other than that, the only real saving grace here is that our test site loaded fast, but we’d honestly use Weebly instead.

Check out our Site123 test site.

Try Site123 Now

Ease of Use: 3/5

site123 website creator editor

Site123 is not NOT easy to use.

But compared to other builders we’ve used and tested for this site, it felt a bit confusing.

To its credit, the fact that you can’t just click on something to move or edit that thing – text, images, little “services boxes” – means you’re less likely to accidentally screw something up.

And once you figure out you have to click the little black “page” or “color palate” icons to make changes, you’ll get the hang of it.

But then you’ll be treated to a bunch of nested boxes that cover up what you’re working on so when you add text or images, you won’t see how they look on your final site.

That being said, while we didn’t like how their website creator felt, we were able to get our test site built in about half the time as many of the other website makers on our list, so we put our feelings aside to give them a solid 3.

Design and Customization: 3/5

site123 website maker test site

When you visit Site123 before you sign up, you’ll find a bunch of template options to choose from.

When you go to make a website with Site123, you don’t get to choose those.

Instead, you tell them what kind of site you’re building (restaurant, portfolio, professional services, etc) and they automatically generate something for you.

This is an up and coming website builder feature – Wix has something called “Artificial Intelligence Design” (ADI) that does the same thing.

And it’s great to save some time trying to find the perfect template.

Site123 has some work to do, though, because what they gave us was lackluster. Not what we’re going for in our pro websites!

Once you’re in, they use a pre-selected layouts system for each section like Strikingly – easier to use compared to “do it all yourself”, not so great for customization.

But they had all the basic features you’ll need, and the final result isn’t terrible. 3 stars.

Speed: 3/5

site123 website maker speed test

Site123 blocked the speed test tool we used for all the other builders…

This isn’t necessarily a malicious thing, tools like the ones we use do take up server resources and could slow down their websites.

So this one looks different (thankfully, there’s more than one tool out there).

While the scores are a bit different, they basically tell us that Site123 speeds are fine.

Support: 2.5/5

We read through some of their support articles and they seem helpful enough.

But we had a heck of a time finding anything because the search function of their knowledge base was broken.

Ah, perhaps that’s what the live chat is for!

It is. That’s about all it’s for because, while the live chat was super convenient to access right inside the editor, they really only seemed to be able to copy/paste answers from the knowledge base.

Based on that and the fact that “Chris,” “Dennis,” and “Devin” all had headshots that looked suspiciously stock photo-esqe, we have a hard time believing we were even chatting with real people.

Price: 3/5

site123 website maker pricing

The plan we recommend: Premium

Well, there’s only one paid plan and so that’s the one we recommend!

At just over $12, Site123 is right in the middle of the pack pricing-wise, which is… fine.

Try Site123 Now

Gator Website Builder

The cheapest… and that’s not a bad thing!

Gator Website Builder Logo Gator Website Builder
4.0 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5

Pros & Cons

  • By far the least expensive builder…
  • But that doesn’t mean their editor sucks – just the opposite, it’s powerful and easy to use!
  • Lot’s of extra features like built-in analytics and advanced elements that are missing or cost more in other builders
  • Templates could use some work – they look fine but aren’t amazing out of the box
  • The knowledge base needs more useful articles and a less buggy search function
  • Website speed could be faster

Bottom Line

We fully believe a good website maker is worth paying for… especially when it’s less than $4 a month! Gator is certainly the choice for the price-conscious website building beginner, but it’s also powerful and easy to use so you won’t be disappointed as you become a website creation wizard looking for a website creator you can grow with.

Check out our Gator Website Builder test site. Try Gator Builder Now

Ease of Use: 3.5/5

gator website builder editor

We were surprised to find that Gator’s website builder was almost as good as Wix.

Not that it shouldn’t be, just that Wix has been dedicated to website building for a long time and Gator is relatively new – to see them so close to matching one of the best is fantastic and we’re fans.

Add elements, rearrange sections, add pages, blog posts, change your website’s colors and fonts – all of it’s easy to find and modify in the sidebar.

When you click on a section, there’s a little sidebar that pops up with options so your controls are right there, same when you click on a piece of text, image, or another widget.

And, like some of the more restricted builders, Gator also has pre-built section layouts so you can get started fast – but then you can customize those layouts exactly the way you want which is a combo that knocked us out!

The only things holding it back from 4 or 5 stars are:

  1. Because it’s fully customizable, there is more work involved in making your site just right (same challenge Wix faces).
  2. Because we didn’t find exactly what we needed in their templates (which wasn’t the case with Wix, we found a near-perfect template in a couple of minutes), it took us longer to build our test site.

Design and Customization: 4/5

gator website builder test site

You want design and customization options?

Gator’s got them!

Everything we wanted to change – from the exact position of elements, to colors, our header menu, text sizes, and fonts – it’s all there, along with some unique and cool elements like video galleries, social media feeds and shapes.

Add in color palates and site-wide font size and style definitions that keep you on track BUT are fully customizable (unlike some of the other builders that are easier to use but give you less control) and well, Gator’s a go-to builder for sure.

The only reason we didn’t give it a 5 is that we feel their pre-built templates are only so-so in the looks department; they’re good enough to give you a solid foundation but you’ll need to put in a bit more work to get them looking absolutely eye-popping.

The good news: with Gator’s complete suite of customization features, you can!

Speed: 3/5

gator website builder speed test

Don’t let Gator’s average speed and performance keep you from using them. Sure, it could be faster, but it’s more than good enough to use for your site!

Support: 4/5

Support is solid with Hostgator – they’ve been at it a long time with their domain and hosting services.

You’ve got their knowledge base of course, along with email, phone, and chat support.

Bonus points for chat being available 24/7 unlike a lot of other builders (even the big boys like Squarespace have limits on that front) – so you’ll be able to talk to a real person to solve problems any time of day/night.

We would like to see a bit more from them before giving it 5 stars, though.

Main issues we had were that searching the knowledge base didn’t work so well – sometimes the search just didn’t load and when we looked for “how to add a facebook pixel” (not the most common question but definitely not a super-specific one) they didn’t have any relevant results.

And while the people in our support chats were helpful, we got the feeling they’d be stumped on medium-difficulty problems (which we trust would get solved, it’d just take more time).

But, it’s a relatively new builder so we’d bet they’ll improve this in due time!

Price: 5/5

gator website builder pricing

The plan we recommend: Starter

Oh, the price. Jaws dropped on this one.

Under $4 for one of the best builders around, there’s no freaking way!

Gator is by far the cheapest builder in town and that doesn’t mean they’re the worst to use either – far from it!

Start with the Starter plan (you’ll be fine without priority support) and you’ve got yourself an amazing tool for the price of one coffee a month.

Yes, that’s a cliche pricing comparison (everyone seems to think in terms of coffee), but since no other builder on our list can say it, we think it’s worth mentioning here. 🙂

Try Gator Builder Now

Constant Contact Website Builder

The best website builder for small business

Constant Contact Website Builder Logo Constant Contact
4.5 out of 5
  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 4/5

Pros & Cons

  • Their editor is the perfect combination of easy to use yet customizable for those who want an amazing website without spending a ton of time to learn how to build them.
  • Price, speed, and support are all top-notch
  • They’ve got some super sweet extra features like a built-in logo maker. Freaking A!
  • Can’t fully customize your site, great for people who just want a quick site but you’ll want more if you really want to dive into the website building game.
  • Knowledge base is good but needs more articles and better search
  • Their blogging tools could use some work

Bottom Line

Constant Contact makes it super easy to make a professional website that looks great, with just enough customization to make your site unique without extra features that take time to learn.

Combine that with one of the best email marketing platforms around and a $10/month price tag and you’ve got a website creator perfect for a small business owner who wants a solid website without having to spend a lot of time or hard-earned cash!

Check out our Constant Contact test site.

Try Constant Contact Builder Now

Ease of Use: 5/5

constant contact website builder editor

Oh, boy was Constant Contact’s website maker easy to use.

Clean and easy to understand, when we wanted to edit something, we clicked on it and options appeared in the sidebar on the right side.

Adding pages, changing theme colors and fonts, rearranging sections, changing section layouts – all just a click or two away, accessed from logical places (the top bar menu, sidebar menu, and little blue buttons at the top and bottom of a section that appear when you click on that section).

AND they place just the right amount of limits on these to make things easy without leading us to feel we weren’t in control.

As an example, section content can only be arranged in one of a few layouts – but some like the “About Us” section had as many as 10 different options, and that’s on top of being able to add or own images and play around with the background (we added a cool little topographical design to it) to make something unique but slick – fast.

Design and Customization: 3.5/5

constant contact website creator test site

No, it’s not a solid 4 or outstanding 5 here, but don’t let that hold you back.

Constant Contact’s templates are super sleek and we’d be proud to use them on a site for our small business (if we weren’t in the website making business, where we’ve got to go all out on customization to stand apart from the competition).

They just weren’t quite as awesome as top-notch competitors like Wix and Squarespace.

And their builder doesn’t give you full control, so we’ve gotta take some points off there.

But again, we think that tradeoff is definitely worth it if you’re more interested in building a site for your business rather than getting into the business of building websites.

Speed: 5/5

constant contact website creator speed test

Oh, she’s got speed – you won’t be losing visitors because your site didn’t load fast enough with Constant Contact!

Support: 4.5/5

Yep, basics covered: knowledge base, chat, email, and phone.

And we were really impressed with their chat support – they seemed professional, competent at solving problems, and super helpful when we talked with them.

The only reason for the not-quite-perfect score is that, like Gator, they’re new-ish to the game and so they need to add some more articles to their knowledge base to cover a bit more than just the basics (which are firmly covered).

Price: 5/5

constant contact website builder pricing

The plan we recommend: Starter

Oh, and it’s all only $10 a month? Sign us up!

Grab the Starter plan to get rid of ads and you’ve got one of the best website creation tools out there.

Try Constant Contact Builder Now

What is a website builder?

Essentially, website builders are a kind of software that makes it easy to create a website – without learning how to code HTML/CSS (the two primary languages that are used to program websites). With one of the best website builders in your toolkit, you can make an awesome website in under an hour – which is something people have been dreaming of wanted to do since basically the beginning of the internet. See, it used to be that you had to know how to program in order to build a website – in the early, dark days of basic text sites of the late ‘80s/early ’90s. That all started to change with the birth of old school favorite GeoCities in 1994, which made it easy for people with basically 0 programming skills to publish content on their own little plot of the internet.
geocities homepage
Then came a wave of downloadable software that embraced the idea of What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG pronounced “wizzy wig”), led by companies like Microsoft and Adobe. These tools were still took a lot of learning to use, but at least you could see what the heck you were doing! Thankfully for everyone, the 2000s rolled around and brought with them many of the online, easy to use, website builders we know and love today like Squarespace and Wix.
the original squarespace

Two big upgrades here:

  • Templates, which make it easy for you to choose a pre-made website design that’s “close enough” to what you want so you don’t have to start from scratch.
  • Drag and drop interfaces, which let you not only see what you’re website will look like in real-time (thanks WYSIWYG!), but also simply “drag” things like buttons, text, and images to where you want them on the page and “drop” them in.
At this point, basically everyone – even the world’s best web developers – use some form of software that at one point would have been called a “website builder.” There’s just no sense in trying to write thousands of lines of code to make a website when there are so many awesome tools that do it for you!

Types of website builders

Website builders can be divided into four main categories:

  • Proprietary Online Builders: These offer the kitchen sink of website building, including the builder itself, templates, hosting, and in most cases a domain name – sign up and get creating, the rest is handled for you! These are what most people think of when they say “website builder.”
  • Hosting Company Website Builders: While companies like Wix and Squarespace started with website builders from the beginning, other companies started with hosting (which lets anyone share files and websites on the internet). There are some solid builders out there in this category (including a couple in this post), though in general, these tend to have more limited template and customization options than their pure-bred competition.
  • Content Management Systems (CMS): These kinds of builders sit in between a full-fledged builder and hand-coding a site. They offer a ton of flexibility and control (more than most builders) and are usually free. But you’ll have to pay for hosting and they’re harder to learn and use. Examples of CMSs include WordPress and Webflow.
  • Offline Website Builders: These are downloadable pieces of software you install on your computer to build websites before uploading them to your hosting account/the internet. They let you work on your website without an internet connection and might be a bit more secure, but mostly no one uses these anymore; they’re just as complicated as using a CMS, you still have to pay for hosting and you have to pay for the builder software too. Examples include Dreamweaver and Template Toaster.

How website builders work

Website builders are designed from the ground up to be easy to learn and use.

While there are lots of little differences between builders, there are a few features you’ll find in just about all of them like:

  • Zero knowledge of coding required.
  • Hosting and a domain name are included.
  • WYSIWYG, drag and drop website editors.
  • Tons of themes and templates.
Creating an entire website from scratch takes a lot of time – not just in the actual building, but in the years and years and let’s throw in some more years it takes to learn how to do it well. With website builders? If you can drag files around on your desktop, you can build a website following a super simple process.

1. Choose your template

wix website builder choose a template

All of the top website builders (including the ones on our list) make it easy to get started fast by offering a ton of website and web page templates.

Templates are basically like the “outline” to your websites “research paper” (making a website is way more fun than that, though, we promise!).

It’s one of the ways they help beginners make awesome websites, because learning how to lay out a website – where to put all the buttons, what colors to make everything, how big the text should be – that’s an art in and of itself.

With templates, spend a few minutes looking through starter designs made by pros, choose one that you like, and get creating from there.

2. Customize your site

squarespace website builder editing
Once you’ve got the bare bones of your site figured out by selecting an amazing template to start with, it’s time to make it your own. Here you’ll have tons of pre-made site elements like text, buttons, shapes, colored backgrounds, image galleries, contact forms, navigation menus, etc., etc., etc. to choose from – just drag something you like to the place you want it on your page, drop that bad boy in, maybe change the color, size or shape, good to go.

3. Publish that beast

weebly website builder published
This is where that “what you see” part of website builders comes into play – as you were building, you already saw exactly what your site was going to look like. So when you’re done? Just smash that “Publish” button and you’re on the web baby!

Who are website builders for?

Website builders are all about making it easy for beginners to create their own, super badass website.

Some of the key reasons people choose website builders instead of other options include:

  • You don’t have to know anything about coding – no years spent learning HTML/CSS and other languages.
  • Web hosting is included – no need to learn how to set up and use web servers.
  • Updates to the software are automatically included – no getting hacked because you forgot to install the latest security patch.
  • Most come with a free domain name – one less thing to pay for.
  • You don’t need to install anything on your computer – one less thing that might break.
  • You can work on your website anywhere that has an internet connection – hello Hawaii.
  • There are templates and features for any kind of site you want to build – bloggers, restaurants, photographers, ecommerce, you name it.
That being said, we want you to make the best decision for you, and there are alternatives to website builders. Is one of them better for you and your site? Let’s find out!

Website builders vs. coding

Website builders vs coding

For most people, the choice is definitely website builders.

They’re waaaay less technical, so you can focus on being creative when building an amazing site that looks and functions just the way you want it – rather than making sure you’ve included quotation marks in all the right places and didn’t forget to close that <div> tag (seriously, these are things you have to worry about with coding).

Website builders are also way faster to use, even if you become a super sweet coder, which means you’ll get the satisfaction of having a beautiful, finished site sooner.

Plus you’ll have way more time for building your business, hanging with friends, and Netflix.

And you’re just going to have way fewer headaches with website builders; even the best coders make mistakes, and no matter how good you get it’ll take a long time to get your site working well on every device and browser when you code it by hand.

But, learning to code isn’t without its upsides.

Even if you don’t ever build a website entirely by hand, those skills can come in handy when it comes to tweaking your site to look and feel exactly the way you want it (most builders don’t let you code anything, but CMSs like WordPress do).

And programming can be a fun hobby and is a valuable skill – so there could be a future business idea in there!

Website builders vs. WordPress/CMSs

Website builders vs WordPress CMSs

Content Management Systems like (different from, which is one of the website builders we reviewed below) or Webflow have a lot of the same features as web builders – they make it a lot easier to make a website as you don’t have to literally learn how to program everything from scratch.

But, they require more technical knowledge and skill.

At the very least, you’ll have to learn how to set up hosting, your domain name, and install the CMS yourself.

But, to get your site to look exactly the way you want, you might need to learn a bit of coding.

That being said, while a CMS like WordPress won’t come out of the box with a drag and drop editor, there are themes like Divi and plugins like Elementor that give you some of the same functionality as traditional website builders.

Plus, you have a lot more control over your site (because you’re less limited to the terms and features website builder companies have) and they’re free (you’ll just have to pay for hosting – which is cheaper than just about any website builder account).

The main trade-off here: CMSs are more flexible and can be cheaper, but they’re harder to learn and use.

Website builders vs. hiring a web developer/designer

Website builders vs hiring a web developer designer

If you’ve got a really unique, complicated website project you want to create, hiring a pro web developer from a site like Fiverr might actually be your best bet.

They’ll be able to literally create anything you want, no limitations like builders and CMSs.

And they’ll save you a ton of time – they work on your site while you work on other parts of your business.

Keyword there being “business.”

If you don’t already have a business that’s making money and absolutely needs something super special or just has enough cash flow for you to justify spending money on a pro, this just isn’t for you.

A solid website from a pro designer/developer will likely cost you thousands of dollars to build (though you can get some pretty solid stuff for much less from Fiverr web developers), and you’ll have to keep paying them to update and maintain your site.

Website builders are a couple of bucks a month to get started.

And you can’t really put a price on the satisfaction of learning to build a site brick by digital brick with your own two hands!

So… should I use a website builder?

Bottom line: If you already know HTML/CSS or want to build Facebook, don’t use a builder.

But if you’re a:

  • Small business owner
  • Photographer
  • Artist
  • Writer
  • Blogger
  • Musician
  • Freelancer
  • Graphic designer
  • Wedding planner
  • Restaurateur
  • Hotelier
… that wants to build a have fun building a site fast and cheap? Website builders FTW!

What to look for in a website builder

What to look for in a website builder

So creating a website using one of the top website builders is your best bet.

How the heck do you decide which one is right for you? Well, we’re diving into our website builder reviews below to help you out. But first, a few basic tips to help you in your search.

Tip #1: Free trials are your friends

These days, finding the best website maker for you is pretty much risk-free since they all offer either a free trial, money-back guarantee or even a free plan. Somehow found a website creator that doesn’t offer some sort of free trial or free plan option? Don’t do it. There are plenty that do. So when you’re sorting out this phase of your website creation journey, pick 2-3 of your favorites and give them a try. With a word of caution: don’t be tempted to choose a builder just because it has a free plan; will explain below.

Tip #2: Easy to use is the name of the game

This is probably the biggest thing to keep in mind as you’re choosing a website builder.

Do you find it’s actually easy to use?

They’re all built to be easy to use, sure, and they’re all easier to use than coding and (for the most part) CMSs.

That doesn’t mean they’re easy for you to use.

Yes, there are prices to compare, there are bells and whistles to ring and chime, and no matter how good a builder is, you’ll have to spend some amount of time and effort to learn how to use them.

But when you’re starting to build your first website, the easier it is, the faster you’ll get that bad boy up and running, the faster you’ll be able to keep making the world brighter.

So when you’re trying out builders, make sure the one you pick is easy to use.

Tip #3: Got features bro?

Every website builder you look at is gonna have two basic things:

  • Premade themes/templates
  • A WYSIWYG drag and drop editor

That’s what makes it a true, proper, legitimate website builder!

After that, they’ll start to vary in the details, but here are the most important things to look at.

  • Drag and Drop Editor: Does the editor let you add spaces, dividers, background images, custom menus and headings, change colors, fonts, and text easily?
  • Themes/Templates: Do these not only look amazing but also include the pieces and parts you need out of the box? A good editor will let you add things like banners, image galleries, and contact forms but if a theme already has them ready for you, that’s a whole lot less work for you.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: As of 2019 48.71% of website traffic is mobile, worldwide. Bottom line: your sites gotta look great on phones, so your builder should automatically “respond” to mobile devices by scaling your website so it still looks and works properly. Bonus points if they let you manually adjust the mobile version of your site to your liking.
  • Domain Name: Just about every website builder will let you buy a domain name when you sign up; you’ve gotta have one to make your site live. Some include a domain name for free and that’s gravy on the potatoes in our book.
  • SEO Tools: There are a lot of ways to get traffic to your site, but Search Engine Optimizations (ranking in Google searches) is still a cornerstone for most sites. Explaining SEO is a whole video in and of itself, for our purposes here you’ll just want to check and see if the builder lets you add alt-text to images, meta descriptions to your posts and pages, and change your URLs as needed (eg so they’re not automatically the same as your page/post title).

Tip #4: Call in some support

Since you’re just starting out, it’s 87.54% likely you’ll have a question about how to do something with your website builder at some point.

We try to have your back with tons of awesome tutorials and guides here, but we can’t cover everything.

So at least look into what kind of support each builder offers to see if they’re actually helpful when you’ll need them to be.

A couple of things to check/look for:

  • A Knowledge Base: This is basically just a mini-Wikipedia with articles on how to do all the basic things with the builder (usually you’ll find these at the “support” link in the header or footer menus). Every builder will have one, some are way more helpful than others.
  • Live Chat/Phone/Email: When you can’t find an answer in the knowledge base, you’ll have to turn to a real person. Live chat is the fastest way to get help if a builder offers it, phone support is second best, if they only offer email it could take a minute to get your problem solved. On top of how fast you can get an answer, helpfulness is important too; sometimes those support people just copy/paste stuff from the knowledge base – not good. As you’re testing out builders see if you can think of a question, try to find it in the knowledge base or ask support so you can see how helpful they’ll be.

Tip #5: Price is kind of last

Yes, we know.

Especially if you’re starting a new online business venture that has 0 cash flow cost matters.

But just about every one of the best builders costs between $8-12 a month for a starter plan, which in the grand scheme of your world takeover, isn’t a huge difference.

If you happen to like a less expensive builder, go for it, save yourself some hard-earned cash.

But if you really like a builder that’s a bit more expensive, don’t be afraid to spring for it – in the long run, having more fun and saving more time while you’re building and updating your site is well worth it.

The problem with “free” website builders

The problem with free website builders

Speaking of cost, we’re almost positive you’ll think (if you haven’t already thought) about going with one of the free website builders options out there.

Make a website for free, sounds fantastic, right?!

Hold up just a second, we’ve gotta drop some wisdom first.

Just like there are no free lunches when mom’s not buying, no free Hawaiian vacations without someone trying to sell you a timeshare, no free candy unless you get in the strange man’s white windowless van, “free” website builders are just too good to be true.

Three main problems you’ll run into here:

Free website builder problem #1: No custom domain name

You’ll spend hours making a super custom, super pro website to get it pixel perfect and ready to launch.

When that time comes, you’re gonna need a domain name for people to find you on the web.

The pro version of this looks like [yourbusiness].com

Or something pretty close (there are a ton of domain name squatters out there, sometimes you’ve got to do a little dodge, duck, dip, dive, doge to get something that’ll work).

What do you get with a free plan from a website builder?




Pro-style? No, it is not.

Unique style? Nope.

Gangnam style? Not that either.

Assuming you’re building your website for some sort of professional reason (like making money with it), you’re just not going to get the credibility you need with a free plan and non-custom domain.

Free website builder problem #2: Ads

For a lot of free website creators, the money is made with ads.

Fair enough, makes sense.

Also, if you’re looking to build a pro website for your business, not something you want.

For one, you won’t have control over the ads they display, so who knows what they’ll place there.

They could be totally irrelevant and distracting, or they could be your direct competition.

For another, you won’t have any control over where they place those ads.

So they might be big and bold at the top of every page.

And they might get slapped in on one of you big money pages – the ones where you sell your products and services and want your visitor’s full attention on those.

Free website builder problem #3: Plan restrictions

If those weren’t enough reason to steer clear of the free website builder trap, the final nail in the coffin is the restrictions you’ll have with a free account.

Want more than 5 pages on your site? How about $10 a month for that.

Want contact forms or videos? Gonna need $12 from you.

Oh, need a bit of help and support? Great, we’ll give you some live chat help for $8.

Ecommerce shop?

More than 10 themes to choose from?

Site Statistics?

Storage and bandwidth to support more than a handful of visitors?

Yep. Paid.

Some website builder features will always cost you more (in a lot of cases, e-commerce isn’t included in a base paid package).

But usually, you’ll get most of what you need in one of the low-cost plans, while you won’t in the free version.

So we recommend investing in yourself, your business, and your website.

It’s well worth it!

Our website builders review process

review process graphic

We covered the basics of what to look for in a website creator above.

But for the sake of transparency (all about it here at CaPW) and giving you an even more perspective into what you’ll want to look for in a website builder, here’s what we did to review each builder and rate them for this website builder comparison.

The CaPW Website Builder Challenge

The CaPW Website Builder Challenge

There are over 420,000,000 search results in Google for “best website builder.”

Most of those posts and guides suck, largely because of one dirty little secret: they didn’t actually use the builders they talked about.

Which we get; it takes time to get your hands dirty with them, there are a lot of people searching for that term, and plenty of websites would love to get a slice of that search engine traffic pie.

So they’ll take a quick look at the features lists, maybe poke around the site, see what others have said about each builder, then whip something up, post it and pray.

Not how we do things here at CaPW.

There’s a lot of crap out there, but there are also a lot of solid website builder reviews as well.

Our aim: be the best. Live up to the “Definitive Guide” title.

So we came up with a little something we call “The CaPW Website Builder Challenge.”

Simple idea, really, but one we haven’t seen anyone else do.

Really just two steps:

  1. Sign up for each website builder we review.
  2. Time how long it takes to build a website with them, using the same general text and design for each.

Now, we’ve got a good bit of website building experience here and we built sites as examples, not to really work effectively as the digital home of an online business.

So don’t expect to take the relatively short amount of time we did for our sites.

But, this process helped us really put the “ease of use” aspect of these builders to the test.

And from that experience and a bit of further digging afterward, we came up with an overall rating for each builder based on the following criteria.

Ease of Use

Like we said above, this is #1 in our books when it comes to things to look for in a website builder because no matter how awesome and near-perfect the template you pick out is, you’re going to need to do some customization and setup.

So this was the main thing we were testing in the “how fast can we build it” part of our challenge.

Sure, we were moving quick and dirty, and we’re more familiar with builders in general than you probably are.

But the easier it is, the easier it feels, the faster we were able to create a site – well all of that will translate to your experience too.

To test this as part of our challenge, we made sure we did all the basic things you’ll want to do with your site to make it yours, including:

  • Adding text
  • Adding images and video
  • Adding buttons and contact forms
  • Adding social links
  • Changing font sizes and styles
  • Changing colors
  • Image sizes and arrangement
  • Moving sections around on the page

Design and Customization

If Ease of Use is king when it comes to making your site look good and work well, Design and Customization is queen.

It should be easy to get a website up and running with a website builder.

But making that site yours is also super important – which is why we looked at how good you can make a website look using each builder and how much you can change to work in your special sauce.

For this, we looked at things like:

  • How spicy good do the templates out of the box?
  • How many template options are there to choose from? Are there templates that will work for a variety of sites (restaurants, photographers, ecommerce sites, etc.)?
  • What can and can’t you change? Colors, fonts, adding text of course, but can you add videos, layout sections of your page in different ways (one column, 2 column, etc), or add shapes?
  • Do they have basic editing tools like autosave and undo/redo?


When you’re just getting started and have little traffic, speed isn’t a number 1 concern, most builders should be fine.

But when you’re in it for the long haul, having a site that loads quickly is important for 2 reasons:

  1. If it takes too long for your site to load, people will leave before they even see it (according to Google 53% of mobile users will leave your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load).
  2. Because of this, Google takes loading speed into account when ranking pages and sites (so there’s SEO traffic at stake).

Bottom line: the faster, the better in the website world.

So once we built our sites for the Challenge, we tested their speed to see who’s the best.


Whatever website builder you choose, at some point your gonna have questions – how to change something on your site, update your plan or billing info, etc.

When that day comes, it sure is handy to get an answer fast so you can move on with your day (instead of waiting anxiously for a response).

That support usually comes in one of 4 forms:

  1. A knowledge base where you can look up and find answers for yourself, no other people required.
  2. Live chat right on the website (usually the fastest way to get answers you can’t find in the knowledge base).
  3. Phone calls.
  4. Email

When we were evaluating builders on their support, we looked for all of these – if they didn’t have a knowledge base, that’s definitely points off because sometimes you just need to quickly learn how to do something, it’s not a complicated problem.

For more complex problems, we definitely want live chat for a fast response, though phone calls are okay. Just email? Well, that’s acceptable but those can get confusing and hard to follow fast.

Beyond how fast we got answers, we also looked at the quality of those answers.

To do that, we searched through the builder’s knowledge bases and Reddits to find questions newbies like you might have that aren’t easy to find online, then rated how helpful the responses were.

Because if all support can do is copy/paste answers from their website, that’s not very helpful.


Finally, we looked at how much each web builder costs and rated them according to where they fall relative to other builders.

Important note here: we didn’t just look at the cost of the cheapest plan, but for the plan that is actually worth paying for.

While some website builder pricing plans are only a couple bucks a month, if that plan doesn’t do things like remove ads and allow you to publish more than a couple of pages, it’s not enough to build a pro website!

Also, we based our pricing rating on how much each website builder costs when paid annually – you’ve gotta pay for your domain name for a year anyway, so you might as well save some $$ and get your website builder for a year too!

Website Builder FAQ

What are the pros and cons of using website builders?

We covered this above in our “what is a website builder” and “who are they for” section, but for you TL;DR folks the basics are this:

Website builders make creating a website fast and easy without any coding or technical website setup knowledge.

But, they cost more than other options like getting hosting and using a CMS like WordPress, and you don’t get as much control over your website as you do with those other options.

Can I trust your reviews are honest?

Glad you asked!

We’ve worked hard to make our reviews as legit and honest as possible.

As possible? So you did slant things!?

Nope, not as much as we can help.

The reality is, we’ve used a lot of website builders and made a ton of sites – both for this post and outside of it.

So, like any human being, we have our opinions and preferences based on that experience.

But we knew going into this thing we needed to try to combat that as much as possible so we could deliver you the real, the helpful, the most objective info possible for you to make the best decision.

That’s part of why we created the website builder challenge – to get a sense of “Ease of Use” outside of our personal preferences, to really get in-depth with each builder (instead of just reading a list of features and making something up), and to get some real-world speed tests for each builder.

For the naturally more subjective “Design and Customization” category, we tried to include some hard facts like number of templates available to measure something more than our personal impressions.

Pricing was literally just a statistical comparison of each builder’s price (using the PERCENTRANK function for you spreadsheet geeks out there).

And for support, we used the same set of questions for each builder when we put them to the test.

In short: we worked hard to make our ratings as objective as possible.

Now if you’re a bit more savvy about how the online business game works (or just read our disclosure above), you’ll know we included affiliate links for most of the builders – so if you purchase a plan through our link, we’ll get a bit of a commission.

This doesn’t cost you anything (in some cases, you’ll even get a discount for using our link).

And we did not change our ratings to make the builders that pay more rank better.

We have our preferences in which builders we like to use, some builders pay us more, but we put that aside to make sure this definitive guide was the most helpful it could be for our most important customer: you, the reader.

If you have any questions about our website builder reviews and process, feel free to contact us and we’ll happily share more details!

Are website builders good for SEO?

For a beginner? They’re good enough!

SEO is a giant subject in and of itself, people make entire websites, companies, and careers out of learning every last detail of what does and doesn’t help a site rank higher in Google.

But if you’re looking to build your first (or one of your first) website using a builder, you really just need the basics, which include:

  • The ability to edit title tags, image alt text, and page/post meta descriptions
  • The ability to customize your URLs (to include keywords and make them human-readable eg “” instead of “”
  • Automated sitemaps

Good news: all the builders we reviewed had them (for the plans we used and recommend), so no matter which you choose, you’re covered on the SEO front!

Should I buy my custom domain name through my website builder?

We think yes!

Buying your custom domain name is usually a part of the process of signing up for your website builder and the builder will automatically set it up for you.

So it’s really the easiest option compared to buying your domain name separately and having to figure all that technical stuff yourself.

And some builders offer a free domain name too – so you can save some $$!

That being said, it’s important to know that in most cases, you’ll have to pay for your domain name after the first year and that might be more expensive with your website builder than through another domain name registrar (the company that registers and manages your domain name for you) – typically you’ll pay $12-15/year through them.

But, domain names are transferable, so you should still get it from your builder for the first year to make things easy – then you can transfer it somewhere else and learn how to reconnect it later if you want to save some cash!

If you do think you’ll want to buy your domain name separately or transfer it later, we recommend using Namecheap (the cheapest in the game!).

Can I move/export my website builder site once it’s made?

No, you can’t.

It’s kind of a downside but not really.

Modern websites are way more complex than ones in the past – they aren’t just HTML/CSS but also include more complex code like Javascript and AJAX.

So with any website you make, there’s a lot of work involved in moving them, say, from one host to another.

CMS like WordPress (not the website builder but which is the CMS version) do make the process of moving websites easier.

Because a lot of the technical backend stuff is the same from one installation to another, you can download/upload and restore pretty easily.

For beginners, we don’t think this is much of an issue.

But if you think you’ll want to move your website for some reason and don’t mind a steeper learning curve, take a look at building your website with a CMS like WordPress (tutorial here) instead of a website builder.

Can I really build my first website by myself?

You can – but you don’t have to!

Website builders make it really easy to make an eye-catching website with no background knowledge.

With a bit of time and the right builder, you can definitely do it yourself!

That being said, we know it’s nice to have a helping hand.

Which is why we have a whole Youtube channel filled with tutorials and guides to help you out with anything and everything website creation related!

How much does building a website cost from start to finish?

Well, if you’re talking about having a site that looks good and includes functional things like contact forms, there are three main things you’ll have to pay for:

  • Your domain name.
  • Your hosting.
  • Your website building software.

With any website builder on our list, you’ll get the last two; with most, you’ll also be able to get your domain name for free.

If you decide to go with a monthly plan, you’ll have to buy a domain name for about $12 plus the cost of the builder, which is about $15 for your first month – so around $30 to get started plus the ongoing monthly builder costs.

With the discounts and free domain names you’ll get when you buy a builder for a year, you’ll pay about $100-200.

How do I choose the best theme for my website?

This is mostly down to personal preference and a bit to do with what you want your website to do/be about (as we cover in our how to design a website guide here).

To choose the best website creator theme for you, start by figuring out two things:

  1. What your website is about/for (is it a health and fitness blog, restaurant website, photography portfolio, small business site, etc) – which you’ve probably already done lol.
  2. What you need your website to say/do (talk about you or your team, have contact forms, share portfolio items, etc). If you’re not sure here then you can go ahead and move onto your search and see what each builder has to offer and pick one that makes sense.

Most builders have their themes organized by category, so start with whatever’s closest to what kind of website yours is.

Look at the templates they offer and choose a few that look good to you – just go with your own preferences instincts – they’re probably right!

Then, look at each theme a bit more closely – does one look better than the others? Does one have certain page sections or features like a contact form and image gallery that you’ll need? Does one have an out of the box website color scheme that’s damn near perfect for you?

Based on that, pick the one that you think looks best/has what you need and customize from there!

What is bandwidth and do I need it?

Bandwidth is the amount of data your website can send and receive at any one time – which basically translates to how much traffic it can get before it temporarily crashes (until the amount of people trying to access it drops).

The more visitors you get, the more bandwidth you’ll need, especially if your builder hosts the videos you added to your site or you have a lot of high-quality images.

That being said, when you’re building a new site, it’ll be a while before you start to max out the bandwidth that comes with any of the plans we recommend.

So don’t worry about it for now and if it becomes a problem – good for you, you’re successful enough that it’s time to upgrade your plan!

What is the difference between web hosting and website builders?

Web hosting is when you pay for a place that holds your website online – if your website is a house, hosting is the land that house sits on.

Website builders include hosting but also include all the tools and materials you need to build your website house!

In the past, web hosting companies and website building companies were two separate things, but these days, web hosting companies like HostGator and GoDaddy (which we reviewed above) are starting to offer website builders as well.

How to Create an Online Store (eCommerce Website)
Step-by-Step Guide To Creating An Online Store

How To Make An Online Store Featured Image

Dale McManus

Co-Founder & Web Developer

Jun. 11, 2019


Hey, my name is Dale! My partner Alex and I have helped tens of thousands of people build beautiful websites. In this simple, step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to create your online e-commerce store. Get ready for some fun!

  • Level of Expertise
  • Time To Complete
    1 Hour
  • What You Get
    A Working WordPress Slider

For the record: It’s super important for us to keep this site 100% free for you and 100% high quality. To help us do that, we’ve partnered with some of the products we recommend and earn a commission if you buy through our links. Read our full disclosure and partners list here.

As always, here’s the video guide:

If you like the video and want more tutorials on creating a professional website you can also subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Now to the post…

Today we’re going to show you how to make a website with an awesome, sleek design.

We’re also going to show you how to create your very own products to populate your site.

Think of us as your spirit guide through this tutorial where I’m gonna show you step by step what to do to come out of this with an awesome ecommerce website.

How to make an online store
Creating an ecommerce website becomes much easier when you have an action-packed guide for reference.

Step #1: Secure Domain Name and Web Hosting

All right, step number one is to secure a domain name and web hosting

To do this, just follow this link to

It’s my special link just for readers of this blog.

Normally, Hostgator is about $12 or $13 dollars a year but I partnered up with Hostgator and got an awesome discount for you.

It’ll be about $4.99 instead.

I actually use them for all of my websites. I’m not gonna pitch you anything that I don’t actually use myself.

They are quick, easy, and affordable, and they also have great customer service.

Once we’re on this page you’ll see the hatchling plan, the baby plan, and the business plan.

Hostgator hatchling plan

The baby plan is best if you have multiple domains.

The business plan is best for if you’re pulling in a lot of money with your website.

But we’re gonna go ahead and select the hatchling plan.

After that, you’ll see the page where you can enter your domain name.

Hostgator mcmanus

Go ahead and enter your domain name and if you already have a domain name you can just click on “I already own this domain.”

Anyway, I decided to use my last name, which is often used for luxury ecommerce brands.

Unfortunately, my last name is taken.

You’ll see in the image above it’s unavailable and it’ll suggest other domains like .club.

I highly recommend sticking with a .com if you can. It legitimizes your website and a lot of people don’t think to type in .site or really anything other than .com, .gov, .org, or .net.

So my solution today is to simply switch around a few letters in my last name and make it Mcmasun instead.

Hostgator mcmasun

After choosing your domain name and getting that .com (if you can), you want to make sure that “privacy protection” is checked

Hostgator domain protection

I highly highly recommend doing this.

I did not do this on the first website that I ever bought and my phone got bombarded with solicitors trying to sign me up for their plan to design my website and all this other nonsense.

I was getting literally 10 phone calls a day.

It was awful

The privacy protection is only $1.25 extra a month so there’s no good reason NOT to get it.

After that, you’re gonna scroll down to choose a hosting plan.

So the more months that you purchase for the lower the price will be.

Hosting plan

You can see $2.75 a month for 36 months, versus one month which is $10.95.

Now, all of these prices will actually be lower than they are when you use my coupon code: Createaprowebsite.

At the time of this writing, you’re saving about 60% depending on which one the plans you pick.

I recommend going with the twelve months because you’re buying your domain name for twelve months so you might as well buy your hosting plan for twelve months, too.

Then again, if you want to maximize savings and you know your website is in it for the long haul, then commit to the 36-month plan.

Now, you’ll need to create a username.

I just used my name and entered in a simple in.

After that, you’ll enter in your billing info.

Once that’s complete, you’ll scroll down and see “add additional services.”

The top one tells you that you can assure safety to your visitors by including a free SSL certificate.

I highly recommend this.

An SSL certificate is that little secure tab up on the top of your website pictured below.

Ssl certificate

It signals to visitors that your website is safe and that any information they enter on your website is safe, too.

But, you can down and uncheck “protect your site from hackers” and “get your professional email backup” and so on.

You don’t need these things right now.

I have other videos on my site that show you how to get that stuff for free or find a better-paid service.

Once you’re ready to checkout, go down and enter the coupon code: createaprowebsite.

Create a pro coupon code

Full disclosure:

This coupon code gets me a commission which helps fund these free tutorials and videos that I put out. So if you want to support (and get a sweet deal), simply using my coupon code is the best way to do it.

Once that’s done, agree to terms of service and click checkout.

Then you’ll be in the Hostgator customer portal, also called the cPanel.

Then go to the hosting tab and confirm that your hosting account is on your new domain name.

Step #2: Setup and Install WordPress

Next, we need to install WordPress.

But some of you may be wondering…

What is WordPress?

WordPress is just a software that you use to design and publish your website or your blog.

It’s by far the most popular website builder on the market and it powers about 30% of the internet.

WordPress comes with over 11,000 different themes that you can choose for your website and also over 55,000 widgets and plugins to help you optimize the functionality and the tools on your website.

It’s also free and open source.

So there are tons of developers all over the world working on it every day to make it better.

How to Install WordPress

To install WordPress just go over to WordPress one-click installation in cPanel.

Wordpress 1 click install

And now select your domain name. Don’t do anything in the field that says “directory”.

Just click next.

Select domain for install

Now you’re going to give your site a title.

I’ll go with Mcmasun.

For the admin I’ll put in my first and last name and the same email.

Then agree to the terms and click install.

Basic domain info

After WordPress is finished installing, the first thing you want to do before anything else is to copy all of the information under “installation details.”

Copy installation details

Put this info somewhere safe because you’ll need it later.

Now go ahead and click login.

You’ll be brought to a loading page. Hostgator is sending your domain out to the whole world so everyone can find it, and this process takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours.

I’ve never had it take any longer than 20 minutes.

Once it’s complete, you can check out the status of your website by typing in the URL, like

It should say something like “website coming soon.” That means the install and everything was successful.

So now you need to login to your new WordPress powered website.

To do that, type your domain’s URL and after type /wp-admin.

See the pic below for an example.

Mcmasun wpadmin

After typing that in, click enter.

Now you’ll see the login page.

You’re going to need to pull out that crazy long password and username you saved earlier to log in.

Wp admin login

BAM! And you’re in.

You’ll see the WordPress dashboard.

Step #3: Reset WordPress Password

Step #3 is to reset your WordPress password.

This is an important step because you don’t want to use that ridiculous password that you had to save from earlier every single time.

You want to create something that you can remember.

In order to do this just go down to users and click on your name and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and you can see “new password.”

Click “generate password.”

Generate new password

Delete that ridiculously long one that they give you and replace it with one you’ll remember.

Then click on update profile.

Step #4: Active a New Theme and Page Builder

Step #4 is to activate a new theme and page builder.

Real quick, I want to explain the difference between the two because some people get them confused.

What is the Difference Between a Theme and a Page Builder?

A theme is usually just what determines the look and the style of your website, but in this case, we’re using a page builder to edit this homepage.

So really, the theme that we’re gonna get is strictly just for the header – which is the whole white at the top of the page.

The builder builds all of the content below it, all the way down to the footer.

Activate WordPress Theme

So we’re going to be using a free theme called ocean WP.

To get this theme, go over to appearance and click on themes.

Users themes

Then click the big plus button to add a new theme.

Add new theme

To quickly find OceanWP in the sea of other themes, just type it into the search bar.



If you would like to use a paid theme – and they do have a lot of advantages – then check out my video on the top 10 best and responsive WordPress themes.

The one I recommend most highly is called Divi.

Anyway, I spent days combing through free themes and testing them out for this ecommerce tutorial only to find out that there weren’t any good free themes out there that would give you the customization that I wanted you to have.

Which is why I used OceanWP and created a template that you can just download and use.

Install OceanWP

So first, just click install on the OceanWP theme.

Install and activate oceanwp
Recommended plugins

Now it’s activated and you can see there will be a notice at the top highlighted by a yellow bar that says “this theme recommends the following plugins.”  

One of those plugins is the page builder I’m going to show you how to use called Elementor.

Feel free to install the other plugins, too. They’re very useful.

Just click on “begin installing plugins” and it will install all three of them.

Begin installing plugins

Then check all three and hit apply.

Bulk actions apply

And if you want to install more plugins, or were missing the three pictured above, just go to plugins on the left side menu and click “add new.”

Plugins add new

Step #5: Install WooCommerce

WooCommerce is just a plugin that allows you to create products and product categories, set prices, and do all the fun ecommerce stuff.

It’s what adds the ecommerce functionality to your website.

So to plugins and click add new.

Add new plugin

Type in the search bar WooCommerce.

Find WooCommerce and click “install now.”

Install woocommerce

Then click “activate.”

Activate woocommerce

And now WooCommerce is installed and activated. Woo!

OK, next you’re going to click add new plugin again.

This time we’re going to activate Stripe.

Stripe is what allows people that enter their credit card information to pay for products.

I’m going to show you how to set up PayPal and Stripe so that people can pay any way they want.

To get Stripe, type into the search bar Stripe and you’ll see WooCommerce Stripe Payment Gateway. Click install and activate.

Now I’m just going to go through the WooCommerce settings in order to show you everything that you need to configure.

So find WooCommerce on the left side menu and go to settings.

Woocommerce settings

I’m going to walk you through all these different tabs.

First one is general.

Just put in your store address and then decide on what country or countries you’re selling to.

This is up to you, if you can only sell to specific countries or if you want to sell to all countries.

Same with shipping.

I would keep the default customer location as “geolocate.”

And make your decisions for the rest of the options here regarding taxes and coupons and preferred currency, etc.

When you’re done click Save Changes.

Cool, now we can go up to the tab labeled Products.

But the first thing we need to go over is our shop page which we don’t have yet. So let’s go ahead and make one now.

Just find Pages on the left side menu and click add new.

Pages add new shop

Give your new page a simple title like Shop.

Page title shop

Now we’re just gonna scroll down and make sure that our content layout in the ocean WP settings is at full width.

Oceanwp full width

Great. Go ahead and click publish.

Publish shop page

OK, so let’s go back to WooCommerce settings and return to the Products tab and select the newly create Shop page as our Shop Page.

We’ll be able to edit it later.

Then make sure that “Enable Ajax” is selected and “redirect to cart page” is not selected.

Under “Measurements,” you’re gonna put in how you want to weigh and measure your products.

And then enable reviews.

Enabling the star and review rating system lets your customers leave you awesome reviews (because I know your products are going to be awesome) which helps persuade other people to buy your products.

You could enable the “Show Verified Owner Label” option but I wouldn’t. It means only verified owners can leave reviews.

But in my experience, you just want regular customers to have the ability to leave reviews.

Then go all the way down and click “Save Changes.” Very important to always save your changes if they’re not saved automatically.

Now go the tax tab and fill out your tax info.

Now go up to Shipping Zone. Here you can add a shipping zone.

Add shipping zone

Next, go to Payments and determine how people will pay.

This is where I told you about PayPal and Stripe. We’re going to enable PayPal and we are also going to enable Stripe. And remember, Stripe allows people to pay with a credit card instead of using their PayPal account.

Once you’re done, click Save Changes.

Go up to the Accounts and Privacy tab, and this is where you can choose to allow guest checkout – meaning, people don’t have to create an account to buy your products.

You can also allow people to create accounts.

And you can set up your privacy policy. If you don’t know how to write a privacy policy, you can easily Google one for your industry.

You would just need to create a page for it and then select it here.

Step #6: Add New Pages

Step #6 is to add new pages.

In order to add these pages in, we’re gonna have to create them.

Go to pages on the left side menu and select add new.

Title this one Cart. And what we need to do is add a small shortcode here that’ll allow WooCommerce to put in some tools on the cart page for our customer.

Just type this:


woocommerce cart code

Pretty short and simple, right? Wouldn’t really even call that coding.

Now just scroll down and change the content layout from default to full width. 

cart page full width

That’s super important, do not forget that.

Then scroll up and click Publish.

Now to Pages and press Add New again and title this one Account. 

We’re gonna add shortcode in, too. Just type in the following:


my account page shortcode

Now scroll down and make sure you change the content layout to full width. Then click Publish.

Add another page. 

Title this Terms and Conditions. 

We’re not going to get into this page in this tutorial, but it’s good to have it created for the future.

So then click Publish.

Add another page. 

Title this one Privacy Policy. Click Publish. 

Now go back to WooCommerce on the left side menu and go to settings.

Go to the Advanced tab. 

Now you can put in the Cart page into Cart Page and so on. 

Here, you can also force a secure checkout so they need that SSL certificate on their page to be able to check out but I’m gonna leave that unchecked. 

secure checkout unchecked

Scroll down and Save Changes.

Step #7: Customize Your Website

OK, we’re finally into the fun stuff!

Step #7 is about customizing your website to look and feel like a real ecommerce site. 

But before we can customize a homepage, we have to make a homepage.

I’m sure you got this process down by now. Go to Pages and click Add New. 

Call this page Homepage.

Scroll down and make it a full 100% width. 

Then click “header” in OceanWP settings at the bottom there and disable the Display Top Bar. 

disable top barYou’re also going to go to Title and disable the Display Page Title option. 

disable page title

So now go up and press Publish. 

Then find your sites name in the upper left corner of the WordPress dashboard, hover over it, and click “Visit Site.”

Visit site

And then you’ll see the homepage of your site. WordPress automatically creates a basic page for you but we want it to reset to our new homepage. So click Customize on the top of the WordPress menu bar. 

click on customize

Now you’ll see the customizing menu on the left-hand side. 

Click on Homepage Settings.

homepage settings

Tell it to be a static page.

static page

Underneath that, you’ll see “Homepage” with a drop-down menu. Go ahead and select “Homepage” from the options and click publish.

click publish

Install Elementor Page Builder

Now we need to start editing the page using Elementor. 

But we need to install it first. 

All you have to do is upload the template. 

Here’s the link to the homepage and footer template.

And to upload them, click on the little X on the customize menu and go back to the WordPress dashboard. 

Scroll down and find Elementor on the left side menu and go to My Templates.

elementor my templates

Click on import templates.

elementor import templates

Then choose the files you downloaded. 

Here they are again in case you missed them.

Open the files and import Homepage.

homepage import elementor

Then go back up to your site name and click “visit site.”

Then click Edit with Elementor.

edit with elementor

And now the fun really begins!

This is Elementor, a wonderful drag-and-drop page builder. 

You can do a whole bunch of stuff with this.

For example, if you click on the Rubik’s cube thing in the upper right corner of the left side menu, you can add a heading, and change fonts and colors, add buttons and the list goes on.

elementor edit selection

And if you drag elements into the homepage you’ll see a blue line indicating where you will place, inside, above, below, or beside something. 

Pretty cool.

blue line add widgets

But lucky for you, I have everything pre-built. 

So just click on the folder icon – the add template button.

add template button

Then go over to my templates.

my templates

And now you can see the template that we just imported. Click “insert.”

insert template

It’ll ask you if you want to import the document settings. Click yes.

And now you’ll see the page I built for you.

There aren’t any pictures on it yet, but I’ll show you how to add those and replace the text buttons and so on. 

OK, so first, right click inside the main section where the text reads “New Summer 2018 Collection.”

So right click and select Edit Section.

right click edit selection

We’re gonna change the background now, so go over to the style tab.

style tab

And then open up the Background Overlay.

background overlay

Now we’re going to add images. 

If you want to follow along with the images I use, download them here

Then click on the plus symbol in here and you can now upload your files.

Click on upload files, then navigate to the follow along images that you just downloaded. 

navigate to follow along images

Then go to page images.

page images

And then choose the Homepage Background image and click open.

homepage background pic

And then you can click “insert media.”

edit heading

You can even link it if you want to, or change the size of the text. 

Then you have the HTML tag. 

It’s automatically set to Heading 1. 

Heading 1 is the largest heading and it goes all the way down to Heading 6. 

If you have the size already set, changing the heading won’t change the size. But if you don’t have the size set, then changing the heading will change the size. 

But you should keep it as Heading 1, since it is your main heading. The size can vary depending on how you want it to look.

Now we’re gonna scroll down again and add images to the options for Shop Men and Shop Women.

edit image advanced

Changing these backgrounds is going to be a little different.

So just right click and select Edit widget.

Then go to the Advanced tab.

Under Advanced you’ll see Background. Just Background, not overlay.

Now we’re going to add an image here. Select files and upload the Shop Men photo. 

Do the same with the other photo and upload the Shop Women photo. 

Edit Banners

The banners are just headings with backgrounds so they work the same as the button.

Just click Edit widget and then go up to “advanced background” and then just put an image in there.

edit banner images

Go ahead and upload Banner Image. Do the same with the other one. 

Change Video

Right click on the pen tool.

right click on pen tool

Select edit widget and you can change the video URL to wherever your video streams from.

Now we’re going to move on to creating product categories so go back to the WordPress dashboard.

Step #8: Create Product Categories

Now we’re just gonna click on products and then go to categories.

product categories

We’re going to start with men in the name section and the slug. 

So put men and set the parent category as none.

Now go ahead and add the same thumbnail image that we used on the homepage. 

Now back to categories and create a category for women, following the same process and using the image used on the homepage for women. 

Then add another new category called Products. And for the product image, you can add the image of the bracelet. 

Finally, you can create a bunch of subcategories. 

Once you’re finished with all that, you can go back to your website and you’ll notice that if you go the Men’s page, for instance, there’s this sidebar. You want to get rid of this.


Just go up to customize and scroll down to WooCommerce and click on Archives and change the layout to full width.

We’ll start with the header.

Just go up to your website title and go to “visit site” and instead of editing with Elementor we’ll click the customize tab.

So first we’re going to click on Header, and go to General, then to Style, and change it to medium.

Then scroll down and you’ll see elements positioning and we’re gonna change it to “logo first” and then social buttons and then search form.

You can change the padding to 10, 10, which I recommend. 

Then go back and go down to Menus and create a new Menu. You can call it the Primary menu or Header menu.

And just go down and check main.

Next and we’re gonna add some items to this.

So just click the add items button.

main add items

Then search for your product categories.

header menu product categories

Then add men, women, accessories and then all of our subcategories.

After that, close that section and go up to pages and we’re gonna add my account.

So go back to the Dashboard and scroll down to Appearance and Menus.

And then restructure these by dragging and dropping them. 

Then save the menu.

Next, I’m going to show you how to make a logo and put that on the header as well as your site identity.

In order to do this just go to a new tab and head over to 

You can browse by all these different categories of logos and it gives you just almost an endless page of good simple logos. You can also type in any sort of keyword for whatever you’re looking for.

I chose a square mountain wave symbol, and you can resize it by going up to one of the corners and drag to resize.

drag to move

I also added some text by clicking on the T symbol and writing Mcmasun.

add text

Once you’re finished designing the logo, you can save it and you’ll be presented with 2 options.

One where you can buy it as a vector file, which is super high quality. And two, where it’s free but you have to give logomakr credit. 

After downloading it, go back to your site and go to Customize and then to Logo and add the image.

All right, now it’s time to set up our footer.

Create the Footer

Go ahead and download the footer that I created for you if you haven’t already.

And go back to the Dashboard and down to Elementor and My Templates.

Then import a new template and choose the Footer.

From here, we’re just gonna scroll down and go to theme panel and then go over to my library.

Click Add New. 

I just labeled it “create a pro website footer.”

Then make the content layout 100% and “save draft” or “publish” it.

Now go to Edit with Elementor. 

From here click “add template” and import the document settings. Then click publish.

Now visit your site and go to customize, scrolling down to Footer Widgets.

footer widgets

Click select template and go to see APW footer.

To make the footer fit perfectly, uncheck “add container” and change the padding to zero. cool so now if we go

Step #10: Create Products

Now comes the part you’ve probably been waiting for. 

The first thing to do to create products is go back to the dashboard, then to Products and Add New.

You can make 2 types of products:

  1. A simple product (which you’ll make more often).
  2. And a variable product (like a shirt with 3 different colors).

We’ll dive into each below.

Create a Simple Product

Here we’re gonna make a black and white bracelet.

Scroll down and you’ll see a section called Product data.

Make sure you’re on “simple product.”

And for this, I’ll say it costs $24 but it’s on sale for $19. It’ll actually X-out the regular price and show the sale price. 

Feel free to play around with the other sections like weight and dimensions. Moving on over to product image, we’re going to upload the image of the black and white bracelet.

You can also add product tags, which lets people type in words in the search bar and find this bracelet. You could add as many as you’d like.

Then add it to three important categories: Men, Women, and Accessories. Then publish it. 

Create a Variable Product

Go ahead and add a new product. 

We’ll call it Baseball Tee. 

Make sure to change Product data to a variable product instead of a simple product.

Now you can set the price depending on the attributes of the product. 

Go to Attributes and add a new attribute and name it Size. And in the Values section, you can add size like this:

Small|Medium|Large, and so on. Make sure to use the “|” symbol to separate values. 

Then we’ll also add color as an attribute with red|blue|green values.

Now just click on save attributes.

And then just head on over to variations and we’re just going to add a new variation.

Go over to create variations from all attributes and then click on go. 

So now you can set all the information for each variation, including price and an image. Go ahead and save the variations and then set the main Product Image.

When creating categories, it’s important to add it to the Shirts category because it is a shirt, but you should also add it to the main category shirts falls under, like Men or Women.

Then hit publish. 

Now there are a few last things we need to do to make it look good on your website. 

Go to OceanWP settings and then Content Layout and change it to just Full Width. 

And in order to get the different colors to show up, we need to set a product gallery.

So right below Product image is Product gallery. All you have to do is select the other colors of products you’ll be selling. Hold Ctrl when selecting products to select more than one at a time.

Create a Grouped Product 

Add a new product and let’s just say our grouped product would be an entire collection of shirts, so we’ll call it the summer collection. Again, make sure that your settings are on full width, and then change this to a grouped product.

And then you have all the same values as the other products. Pretty simple. 

Publish this page and we’ll add the affiliate link. 

Create an Affiliate Product

Add a new product and we’ll call it Hostgator Web Hosting (which I actually do sell as an affiliate). 

Then scroll down to Product data and change it to External/Affiliate product. You can add in your affiliate link into the Product URL.

Step #11: Publish Your Website

Whenever you’re ready to finally publish on any page, you’ll see the following message that I highlighted below:

your website is coming soon

All you have to do is click “Click Here.”

click here

And that’s how to make a complete ecommerce website!

Thank you guys for sticking around through the whole tutorial. I know it was a long one.

If you found this tutorial helpful be sure to check out our other written guides filled with all sorts of helpful website tips and tricks to help you launch your website!

How to Use Wix Tutorial
A Simple, Step by Step Guide for 2020

How To Make A Wix Website Thumbnail

Dale McManus

Co-Founder & Web Developer

Apr. 20, 2019


Hey, my name is Dale! My partner Alex and I have helped tens of thousands of people build beautiful websites. In this written guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using Wix to make an awesome website. Let’s dive in!

  • Level of Expertise:
  • Time To Complete:
    15 Minutes
  • What You Get:
    A Working Website

For the record: It’s super important for us to keep this site 100% free for you and 100% high quality. To help us do that, we’ve partnered with some of the products we recommend and earn a commission if you buy through our links. Read our full disclosure and partners list here.

As always, here’s the Wix tutorial video:

If you like the video and want more tutorials on creating a professional website you can also subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Now to the post…

Alright guys so in this post we’ve got a tutorial on how to use wix to make a website.

We’ll show you how to change fonts and colors, make sections and buttons, add videos, setup your header menu and footer, make a contact form so visitors can email you…

While we’re definitely NOT going over absolutely every detail you’ll find in the Wix documentation, here we have basically everything you need to know about how to make a wix website!

We’ve got a ton of ground to cover so in the words of everyone’s favorite news Youtuber, let’s just jump into it!

Note: in case it wasn’t obvious, you’ll need to get started with your *FREE* Wix account to follow along with this tutorial.

Wix Website Builder Logo

4.5 out of 5

  • checkmark Ease of Use: 4/5
  • checkmark Customization: 5/5
  • checkmark Speed: 5/5
  • checkmark Support: 5/5
  • checkmark Pricing: 5/5
How to use wix tutorial

Sign Up to Create a Free Wix Account

Alright so the first step is to simply sign up for Wix.

If you use that link above we actually make a bit of commission (no extra cost to you) as a kind of thank you for the tutorial; no one pays us to make these posts and videos so commissions like that are what fuel our ramen addiction

But if you don’t like us and don’t want to use it just head to their site and we’ve still got your back with this tutorial because that’s the kind of people we are.

Either way, get over to Wix and click the start now button. It’ll ask you to sign up, fill out your details and then hit that big Sign Up Button (because signing up is what we’re doing here!).

Choose a Wix Template (Or NOT)

So now Wix will ask you a bunch of questions you don’t really need to answer since you’re following our how to use Wix tutorial here so you can just skip it and save some time.

From here you’ll be taken to a page that offers to create a site using “Wix ADI” – basically building a site automatically based on your responses to the questions we didn’t answer.

SO we want to choose the “Create Your Website with the Wix Editor” option by clicking that “choose a template” button.

Boom, here you’ll see a lot of cool templates, they’ve got tons of great options to choose from but for this Wix tutorial, we’re going to start from scratch so you can learn how to use Wix without a bunch of distractions from shiny awesome pre-built website stuff.

So scroll up the left side menu to find “blank templates” and click the one that says “start from scratch” then “edit.”

Skip the tutorial because we’re doing one here (ours is more in-depth if we may be so bold).

Now we’re inside the Wix web builder.

Using the Wix Website Maker

So really quick let’s go over the interface so you know what everything is.

At the top, you’ve got your current page (“Home”) and when you add more pages you’ll be able to switch to those here.

If you need to add a page, click on the menus and pages button then add a page.

Going back to the top menu, here you’ve got a few more options/tools:

  • Desktop/Mobile views (more on this later, with over half of global internet traffic coming from mobile devices we definitely want to make sure your site looks good on phones).
  • Save, Preview, and Publish Your Wix website.
  • A bunch of other settings (we usually don’t touch these – to start at least).
  • Tools for toggling rules, grid lines, stuff you use when Wix to create a website.
  • Code – don’t worry about it
  • Help – don’t worry about it, we’ve got you
  • Upgrade – more on that later.

Creating Your Wix Website Design

Alright now to the meat and potatoes (kale and potatoes for our vegan friends out there).

Customizing your Wix website design!

For this Wix tutorial, we’re going to make a generic “lifestyle” brand because everyone loves “lifestyle.”

If you want to get real gosh darn deep with how to design a website check out our big ‘ol guide on it!

Sections of Your Wix Editor Pages

So you’ve got a few sections to play with here.

The header is at the top, that’s where your navigation menu will go (see below). The main “page” section is where you’ll put all the images, content, “main sections” of your site, then the footer is down at the bottom “where feet go.”

To start we’re going to add some awesome sauce to the main “page” section.

Adding Backgrounds

So we’re going to start by adding a background by clicking the add button, going down to “Strip,” then picking the style we want for our Wix website.

For this tutorial, we’re going to go with this one that has a little camera symbol, which means the background actually moves.

Click it to add then it’ll automatically appear in the page section.

Then we dragged it up into the header because we’re going to make a semi-transparent header that’s going to go over the top of the page section.

Changing Text

Now to change text just double click it.

From here you can:

  • Write new words.
  • Move the text around
  • Change the font size
  • Change the font color
  • Change font (eg Times New Roman, Ariel, or something way cooler than those because this isn’t a high school English paper)

If you’ve ever used a word editor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, it’s basically the same thing.

You can also add effects like drop shadows which is pretty cool too.

Changing Buttons

With our text all spiffy let’s spruce up this button, so as with the text just double click and we can make some sweet upgrades using the “button settings” like:

  • Changing Text
  • Adding links (to other sites, other pages on your site, emails, phone numbers, anchors on this page of your site – more on the last one later).
  • Making button links open in new window

Once we’re done with that, we can use the little paintbrush to change up the design.

Here you can switch up things like:

  • Kind of button (tons of options here)
  • Button color
  • Button hover color (what color the button changes to when you move your mouse over it)
  • Transparency
  • Borders
  • Round your button borders

We kept ours pretty simple and clean but looking fly:

Adding Sections

Alright, off to a good start but we need some more sections, we’re going to do an About Us because “lifestyle” is all about people and their stories.

So back to the left sidebar, click add again, all sorts of options here but we’re going to stick to the strip because it’s got pretty awesome pre-built stuff for us to play with.

Again, just click the thing you want and it’ll automatically get added below your existing section (our “lifestyle brand” section).

You can also click and drag, which works great for things like shapes (we’ll do one of those later on).

Changing Background Colors

The strip we chose is cool but that green isn’t on-brand for us, so to change it we just click on it then click on “change column background” then select color

You can also add video or image backgrounds, either using free stuff Wix provides or by uploading your own images and videos.

Image Settings

Just like everything else in the Wix website creator, just select an image and you get some settings to do things like add effects and animations or add background colors to darken or lighten the image or just give it a nice hue.

Adding Images and Videos from Wix’ Free Gallery

Continuing to build our page, we added a services section but it came with this blue background that just wasn’t on point with our vision so again, double click and we can change it up.

This time we’re adding a video, so from the background settings we selected video then over to “free from Wix” to grab something awesome and free and no videography work required.

All sorts of awesomeness here, pick what you love.

We found a pretty cool guy running in a field vid but it kind of washed out our text, that’s where overlays come in.

Adding Image and Background Overlays

To add an overlay to make text stand out a bit better, go to settings when you’ve selected a video/image/background color.

You can do a pattern if you want but we want to keep things simple so we just left that as none then choose a gray color we liked and set the “opacity” (how transparent it is – 100% would be all color and no image/video) at 75.


Adding Shapes

While we’re at it, let’s add a shape – back over to the add button on the left side, select shape and for us, this triangle is kind of cool.

But it needs to be a bit bigger and maybe upside down because we could all be more upside down, click on the image and you’ll get familiar little white dots to drag and change the size and a rotate button you can use to flip tha script (shape).

Moving Things Forward and Back in Layers

If for some reason this shape or another part of your site was behind, you can right click on it and go to the “arrange” option to move things forward and backward in “layers” on your site.

Adding/Modifying Social Links

For our meet the team section, we picked one with a social bar, which we can actually change to whatever we want (it started out with just LinkedIn).

So we just click on that social button then click “set social links.”

You can then click “add icons” to select free ones from Wix.

Once you pick the right icon for the social media site you’re linking to, with the right look for your site, you can just add a link to your profile (we went with Insta).

Adding Contact Forms

Our pages is just about ready, need a way for people to contact us though.

We went with a strip that had a form in it, but you can add forms by themselves to any part of your page.

In our case, background, text and social icons all needed changing – done just the way we did it all for sections above!

For the form itself, important to click on it then click “set your email” so that any form submissions get emailed to you.

Side note: if you want a professional email (so instead of [yourname] something like contact@[yourwebsitename].com) we made a separate post on how to get a professional email address for free you can check out!

From here you can set all sorts of options for what form fields (name, email, message, etc) you want to have, and you can click the little * to make that field required.

You can also change what the “submit” button says and what messages appear when they successfully submit or miss a required field.

And as with everything else, use the little paintbrush to change up the design of any/all the contact form elements (field text font/size/etc, field color, any and all of it – that’s the power of the Wix website creator!).

Awesome, now we’ve got the main page of our Wix website created, time to crank out the header, footer, and menus.

Making a Header

So if you click the top/header area it’ll highlight as orange then just click on change header design to make changes.

Here you’ve got all the same options as you did with the sections of the main page, adjust and tweak until you love it as usual.

For ours we also wanted the header to move with us as we scroll down the page, so with our header clicked we then hit the little gear “settings” icon then hit “freezes” to keep the header pinned to the top no matter how far we journey down the page.

From here we want to add things like contact and about us so people can click to go to those parts of our page.

If we had separate pages for each of those sections we could just add a link to those pages, but since we’ve got a one-page design here we need to use anchors to make the page scroll down to the right section when people click on our header menu.

Adding Page Anchors

So to add anchors, once again we head over to everyone’s favorite add button then all the way down to “more” then “Anchors.”

Instead of clicking we’re going to scroll down our website to where we want to add these bad boys then drag and drop them right to where we want them, where the bottom of one section meets the top of another.

Then double click the little anchor tag on your page to give it a relevant name, in our case “About Us.”

After setting up all the anchors for our sections, we need to add those links to our site menu so we can drop links to them in our header.

So we’re going to go to Menus & Pages in the left menu and instead of adding a new page, we’re going to click add a link, select “anchor” and select the right anchor we want this button to go to (About Us in our case).

Hit Done then we can name this “About” (or whatever your section name is).

Rinse and repeat for all our sections then we’re ready to add our header menu.

Creating Menus

So once we’ve got our anchors in place, we’re ready to add our menu to our header.

So head over to our perennial favorite Add button, scroll on down to “menu” and there are a ton of presets we can select from.

For this Wix tutorial, we just went with the standard one at the top, drag and drop over to the header then position to your heart’s content (we did the classic menu-right setup, dragging it over until it snapped and we got that purple line letting us know it’s aligned in the vertical center)

Create and Add Your Logo

[Blog post note]: In the Wix video tutorial we walk through how you can make your own logo for free in 5 minutes, but we’ve already made a separate post for that so check it out here to learn more!

Changing Up Dat Footer

Alright final piece of our basic setup is the footer.

And basically, it’s the same process as the header, just working with the bottom section instead of the one at the very top.

You can do all sorts of things in the footer but some common things to include are:

  • Terms of Service
  • Privacy Policy
  • Social Icons and/or other contact info
  • Copyright notice

Using the Wix Builder to Make Your Website Mobile Responsive

Sweet. Once you’ve set up your basic desktop page, definitely want to make sure that bad boy looks just as slick on mobile devices (it’s where about half of website traffic comes from these days and that’s only growing).

Not sure how to make wix site responsive?

We’ve got you fam it’s super simple!

To make sure your website looks great on phones too, just switch to the mobile view by clicking the button up top to see how it’ll look.

Our tutorial Wix website was not so great…

So we went through and fixed it up to get it looking super spiffy.

All the same rules/tools apply here, and any changes you make in the mobile view will only be applied to visitors who come to your site on a phone (everything will stay just as jazzy as it was for your desktop view).

Some things you should check for/fix in mobile:

  • Font size
  • Font alignment and alignment
  • Button size
  • Anchor placement
  • Adding/Deleting Space between page elements
  • Hiding elements to keep things clutter free
  • Mobile Header Menu Size

Upgrade to Wix Premium and Get a Domain Name

That’s basically it!

You’ve got a website, if you’re good with the free version just hit publish and you’re live.


We highly recommend upgrading and getting a custom domain name.

With a Wix premium plan you’ve got a lot more options, including things like:

  • Higher/Unlimited Bandwidth to handle all the traffic that comes to your site.
  • High storage to let you have more photos and videos on your site.
  • Removing those clunky Wix ads.
  • $$$ in ad vouchers.
  • Some sweet add on apps that normally cost a decent chunk of change.

And if you choose a 12-month plan you’ll get a free domain name and a discount which is awesome, so if you’re ready to do this website thing definitely go for the 12-month option!

Quick note: if you do grab a Wix premium plan and domain name, we highly recommend getting privacy protection for your domain name.

I made the mistake once of not getting this and got bombarded with five or six spam calls a day – you won’t miss the $10/year.

If you go for the premium plan and domain name, here’s how to set up your domain for your site (so instead of [yourusername][yourwebsitename], you can just have [yourwebsitename].com which is way more pro).

Connecting Your Domain Name to Wix

So once you’ve gotten your domain name and upgraded to a premium plan, head back to the Wix website builder, go up to settings and just click “connect domain.”

It’ll ask you if you want to buy a new one but since you’ve got that covered, just click “connect a domain” – just enter your domain and Wix will set up the rest!

Learn the main Wix dashboard

So far we’ve just covered how to create a wix website from inside the wix editor.

At this point you *should* have some good answers for your “how do I edit my Wix site” questions (if we’ve done our job well)!

BUT, no using Wix website tutorial would complete without at least a little bit of a look at the main Wix dashboard, where you can access parts of the wix toolset for managing your domain, some parts of your website(s), your account and billing details, etc.

To get to the main Wix dashboard from the editor, click settings then go to the bottom and click “My Dashboard”

how to make a website on wix getting to the dashboard

A few things you’ll find here:

wix documentation main dashboard

The main sidebar

This is where you can:

  • Manage your products and orders if you have a Wix ecommerce store.
  • Access your Wix business toolset including customer contacts management, marketing and SEO tools to help your site grow, analytics tools to see how your site is performing, and financial tools like invoices, payments, and quotes if you’ve built yourself a Wix lead generation site.
  • Adjust your account settings like contact info, domains, email, etc
  • Add or manage Wix apps
  • Manage dynamic content like contact forms

The main control panel

Here you can:

  • Connect your custom domain, upgrade your Wix plan, add email and more business tools.
  • See a high level overview of your site’s analytics.
  • Access the help center.
  • Get some other recommendations (apps to add, the “getting started” walkthrough, see Wix’s latest blog posts)

Create other pages

In our main how to make a website on Wix tutorial video and written guide above, we *just* showed you how to make a one-page Wix site to help you learn the Wix editor and build something cool – fast.

But maybe you want to toss a few other pages onto your baby.

You totally can!

Some pretty standard pages that many websites (ours excluded because we’re rebels like that) are About and Contact pages.

Adding an About/Contact/Whatever page to Wix

To add any page (about pages included) to Wix, you’ll start by clicking the “Menus and Pages” button at the top of the Wix toolset sidebar, then “Add Page.”

Now we’re right back to where we started at the beginning of our Wix tutorial, a blank page.


So add whatever strips/sections/Wix free images and videos/contact forms you want to create some website design deliciousness in just a couple of minutes!

Sprucing up your site navigation

Wix automatically adds any new page you create to your header menu.

And that might work just fine for you.

Want to change the order of pages?

When you create a new page you can just drag it up and down the pages list to move it around.

If you exited that menu to do some fine website creation work, just click on your header menu and the “Manage Menu” button to get on back there!

You can also add links to other websites using the little “link+” button at the bottom, or add a whole footer menu with the little “folder+” button.

using wix tutorial changing navigation menu

Create a blog

Blogging is a solid way to build a brand and business online (we would know :).

It’s a way to create content to get people to your site through SEO or social media AND keep them coming back.

Starting a blog on Wix is v easy, the toolset is built right into the sidebar buttons!

Just click the little pen tip button the “add now” to get going.

wix seo create a blog

Wix then automagically gets a blog up and running for you in seconds, now all you need to do is click the “Create a Post” button to… create your first post!

Or you can stay on your main blog page and edit it’s design just like any other Wix website page.

wix toolset create a post

Creating a new Wix blog post

Clicking that “Create a Post” button will open up the Wix blog post editor, which works like a fancy Google Docs (or Microsoft Word if you’re stuck in the dark ages), letting you do things like:

  • Write your blog post (duh)
  • Add Wix free images (or other images you upload)
  • Tweak your blog posts’ SEO
  • Add tags and categories to help your readers find more posts they’ll love
  • Create subscription plans for your blog (if you’re getting fancy with some premium content
wix documentation blog eidtor

Create an ecommerce store

Of course, Wix ecommerce is definitely a thing and of course, they make setting it all up pretty darn quick and pretty darn easy.

Some of the tasty treats (features) you’ll find here:

  • Add any/all of the products you want
  • Sell physical or digital goods
  • Track orders and customers
  • Accept online payments
  • Set custom shipping rates
  • Customize your storefront/cart design
  • Sell on Facebook and Instagram
  • Track and manage sales with the mobile Wix App

Adding an online store to a Wix Website

To get your Wix ecommerce journey started, click the apps button on in the Wix editor sidebar and search for “store”.

wix ecommerce online store app

Click the “add to site” button after that, a couple seconds and Wix has your store ready for you to work your magic!

To manage your store and add products, there’s now a “My Store” button with a little handbag icon in the sidebar, which loads a separate interface to let you get everything all nice and set up.

how to make a website on wix ecommerce store manager

Add Wix apps

Wix comes with a whole lot for you out of the box.

But sometimes a whole lot is not enough.

That’s where the Wix App Market comes in!

With over 230 apps there’s a ton here to help you drive traffic, add dropshipping capabilities, get customer reviews, and display media.

Add apps with just a couple of clicks, starting with the aptly named “Add Apps” button in the sidebar.

Click that and you’ll be able to search for anything you need.

Smash the “Add button” on one you like, test out that bad boy and keep on building!

wix tutorial add apps

How to use the Wix ADI builder

Waay back in the good old days (the top of this tutorial) we mentioned starting with a Wix Template rather than the Wix ADI (“Artificial Design Intelligence”).

Getting your hands dirty with the proverbial “nitty gritty” of website building with Wix is what we imagine you’ll want to do, seeing as your interested in learning how to create professional websites and all.

But we’ve all of us only got 24 hours in a day, and time saved is time saved.

And Wix ADI can save you a bunch of it by asking you a few questions and setting you up with a semi-custom site.

In general it’s for less tech-savvy users – think Maybel from “Maybel’s Fine Diner” – she wants a site, doesn’t want to pay someone a lot of dough for it, but doesn’t really want to do more than throw up a couple of pages and not think about it ever again.

But curiosity is a great thing to have as you dive deeper into some good ol’ fashioned website building, so here’s the general process for building with WIX ADI.

Wixi ADI builder step 1: Get started

Back up at the choose a Wix template phase of our Wix tutorial (after you’ve created your 100% free Wix account), choose the Wix ADI option instead of Wix Editor.

Wixi ADI builder step 2: Answer some questions

You’re then going to be asked a few questions to help Wix automatically build your initial site pages and layouts.

  • What type of site do you want to create?
  • What do you need on your new website?
  • What is the name of your website?
  • Do you want to import your images and text?
  • Review and edit your info (add your contact info)
Wix ADI tutorial questions

Wixi ADI builder step 3: Set up your Wix website design

ADI’s gonna do a lot of the design work for you, but you’ve got some customization options available, starting with choosing an overall theme:

Wix ADI tutorial template theme

Then your homepage design:

Wix ADI tutorial choose homepage design

You’ll then be gently laid to rest in a simplified version of the Wix editor that will let you do customization things like:

  • Add pages/sections to pages
  • Change colors and fonts
  • Add images/text/videos
  • Add apps
wix documentation ADI simple editor

Wixi ADI builder step 3: Make it SEO and mobile friendly

Wix SEO and creating your answer to the “how to make wix site responsive” question is easy with ADI.

For the SEO piece, just click the “Pages” dropdown in the header menu, click the gear icon next to any page, then click “Page SEO” to add all the bits and bobs needed to help your site rank in Google.

wix seo ADI editing

Making your beauty mobile responsive is easy…

Because Wix ADI already did it for you!

Just click the little desktop monitor icon in the header menu, click the phone icon, and you can see what your site automatically looks like on mobile.

how to make wix site responsive ADI example

Wixi ADI builder step 5: Choose your domain name and publish!

Once you’re done editing it all to make your Wix website a dream come true, the only thing left is to grab yourself a custom domain and let ‘er loose on the world.

It starts with hitting the “Publish” button at the top right corner of the page.Select “Connect your Custom Domain”, upgrade your plan if needed, find a domain you like, and you’re launched!

How to Use Wix Tutorial: Complete!

So that is how to create a Wix website that looks awesome and can be a great start for your business.

If you found this Wix tutorial helpful be sure to check out our other written guides like the one on Best Website Builders, filled with all sorts of helpful website tips and tricks to help you launch your website!

Wix vs. WordPress: Battle of the Best Website Creators
A Full Comparison of Wix vs. WordPress Website Builders

Wix Vs WordPress Thumbnail

Dale McManus

Co-Founder & Web Developer

Apr. 14, 2019


Hey, my name is Dale! My partner Alex and I have helped tens of thousands of people build beautiful websites. When it comes to building your website, the platform you use matters. In this guide we’ll compare two of the biggest content management systems (CMS) in the world: Wix vs. WordPress.

  • Level of Expertise:
  • Time To Complete:
    15 Minutes
  • What You Get:
    Working Knowledge

For the record: It’s super important for us to keep this site 100% free for you and 100% high quality. To help us do that, we’ve partnered with some of the products we recommend and earn a commission if you buy through our links. Read our full disclosure and partners list here.

As always, here’s the video guide:

If you like the video and want more tutorials on creating a professional website you can also subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Now to the post (including a couple of never-before-seen bonus rounds!!)…

What’s going on guys, in today’s post we’re covering a heated battle between two of the best website builders out there.

It’s the Wix vs WordPress battle royale!

Which is easier to use?

Which is cheaper?

Which is better for blogging and SEO?

Which is better overall?

In today’s match (we know, it’s just a blog post, roll with us here) we’ll find out.

Wix vs WordPress

What is Wix?

wix logo

First, let’s get you up to speed on our two champions.

First up: Wix.

Wix is a complete website platform with everything you need to get started including buying a domain, getting hosting,  and creating your online portfolio, blog, or ecommerce store with their fully-featured website building tool.

Everything you need to get started from scratch, no third parties required, which is a big selling point for going with a platform like theirs.

Wix also works out of the box without any technical setup.

Just create an account and you’re getting going right away, starting by choosing from over 500 website designs that will layout the basic look and functionality of your site in one click.

There’s also the Wix App Market that let you expand your website’s functionality fast, no coding required. Some of these you can grab for free, some are paid.

Wix support is available 24/7, so someone’s always got you if you run into a problem.

Wix plans range from free (with a lot of limitations and some may-or-may-not-be-fine-with-you ads) to $25 a month (more on that below).

Bottom line: with Wix you get everything you need to launch your fully-functional website or ecommerce store with minimal technical setup.

What is WordPress?

wordpress logo

WordPress (.org, not .com) is also an all-in-one package for building websites, but you’ve got to grab the hosting and domain name yourself.

Think of it like this: Wix is kind of like buying a whole laptop, the actual machine and the MacOS (or Windows) that runs all the software. WordPress is like buying just the MacOS/Windows – you’ve got to get the laptop to install it on yourself.

If that doesn’t quite make sense, there’s also the house/address/land metaphor we used in our what is a domain name post.

Basically, you can get WordPress for free, but you’ll need someplace to install it so that people access to your WordPress website from the web – so you’ll need WordPress hosting (our favorite cheap but good option is HostGator).

And you’ll need a domain name for people to type in and link to so people can find/get to your site.

Hosting starts around $5/month and domain names start around $10/year if you don’t get any special discounts.

Depending on the host you choose, you might have to install WordPress yourself (most hosts have a 1-click option, some don’t) and your host may or may not make it easy to buy a domain name when you sign up for hosting.

Once you’ve got WordPress installed, you’ll then need to find and install a theme and some plugins to get the custom design and functionality you’re going for – you’ve got thousands of free and paid options there.

All of that is pretty easy but definitely more work than Wix.

With a bit of learning and elbow grease, you can do pretty much anything that makes your heart flutter with WordPress. And since WordPress is free and open source, there’s not any dedicated support for you but your host might offer it, there are WordPress support agencies, and plenty of website developers that you can reach out to to help you fix any problems that might come up.

If you want to learn more about WordPress, we cover all the basics in our What is WordPress and How Does It Work post!

Wix vs. WordPress: Main Similarities and Differences

Alright, so that’s a bit of background on our contenders, before we get to the main event here’s a bit of that good ol’ pre-fight analysis.

Whether you go with Wix or WordPress, with both you get an online, fully-featured website builder to create your dream site, but WordPress requires a bit more setup.

With Wix, all you have to do is sign up for an account and you’re ready to go right away; with WordPress, you’ve got to get hosting and a domain first from a place like HostGator, then install WordPress on your host and link your domain to it.

That’s the biggest, mainest difference (no, not a word we know).

Where these two are pretty dang similarly:

  • Both are completely capable of running your website.
  • Both let you build a modern, super slick website through customizable themes.
  • Both let you add pretty much any features and functionality you want to your site.
  • Both make it easy to edit text, arrange graphics, embed videos, add pages, etc.
  • Both are responsive (look good on both desktops and mobile devices).
  • Both can be used to build an ecommerce store.
  • Both make it easy to share your content on social.
  • Both help you with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • Both give you traffic stats so you can see where users go on your site.

So obviously there’s no clear winner here (yet)!

This fight won’t be won by sheer competitive advantage alone.

The winner will need courage. The winner will need endurance. The winner will need to win the crowd over with awesome finishing moves and free Chipotle (maybe not that last bit, but in our experience free Chipotle always helps).



Round 1: Ease of Use

round 1 ease of use

Alright, for Round 1 we’ve got ease of use.

Undoubtedly, Wix is designed from the ground up around user-friendly experience, so signing up, choosing your domain name, and designing your website with their sleek and sexy visual interface is a breeze.

Just drag and drop elements on your website wherever you want, create header menus, set up contact forms – it’s all just a few simple clicks away, no web design experience necessary.

WordPress, on the other hand, has a little bit of a learning curve. As we mentioned, most hosting providers make it easy to install in one click, but you have to get the domain name and hosting separate from getting WordPress and installing it.

And there’s not a nice, straightforward walkthrough to get you set up in the beginning like there is with Wix.

BUT there are tons of resources out there including step-by-step tutorials for anything you’d need to do to build your site with WordPress (*cough* like this website*cough*).

With all the helpful resources out there, WordPress really isn’t that daunting but we’re gonna call this round for Wix because their whole system is geared towards beginners.

Winner: Wix

Round 2: Cost

round 2 cost

Next round: Cost!

So whether you go WordPress or Wix, we’re going to look at costs for one year; in Wix’s case, based on their cheapest (no-free) plan.

Why not use Wix’s free plan?

Well, there are a few major downsides that make the free Wix plan no competition compared to WordPress.

  • They add ads to the top and bottom of your site; maybe you want ads for yourself, maybe you don’t, but you won’t get a cut of the ads Wix runs and you won’t control what ads they show.
  • You can’t use a custom, unique domain with Wix’s free plan so instead of “” you’ll be stuck with “”
  • And the free plan doesn’t let you access some pretty crucial add-ons like Google Analytics and ecommerce features.

The reason we chose one year is because, no matter which website builder you choose, you’ve gotta get a domain name for a whole 12 months, so you might as well set up your website building platform based on that same 12 months too.

And, if you haven’t noticed this trend with other online software, things are usually cheaper when you pay for the whole year vs month-to-month. The is true when you’re buying Wix or WordPress.

Paid Wix plans range from $11 to $29 a month when you pay annually, so their cheapest plan works out to about $132 a year. That easy setup and design will cost a pretty penny (worth it? We’ll see!).

WordPress pricing on the other hand… well, the software itself is free.

But to install and use it for your website, you’re gonna need to get yourself some web hosting (whole post on that here) and a domain name (also a post).

We love to use HostGator hosting all our websites and definitely recommend them, which is why we’ve got a special discount for you when you sign up using this here link (you can also buy your domain name with them as part of the signup process to keep things easy).

So, with that hosting discount, a year of WordPress will run you about $78; even if you went with a month to month plan (cash flow, we get it) it’s still cheaper to use WordPress than Wix – so WordPress definitely takes this round.

Winner: WordPress (and HostGator)

Round 3: Customization and Flexibility

round 3 customization

Getting deep into the fight now with round 3 – customization and flexibility.

So when you make a website with Wix, you’ll start by choosing a template from over 500 options.

Once you’ve picked the one that feels right for your site you can start changing out the images, moving around buttons, changing colors and fonts and adding your custom text…

You can pretty much do anything here as far as design goes, and Wix has hundreds of different plugins inside their App Market that allow you to expand the functionality of your website with helpful tools and apps.

But Wix’s selection of plugins and themes is NOTHING compared to what WordPress has to offer.

Because WordPress is open source and has done an amazing job of building a community over the past decade and a half, there are virtually endless possibilities when it comes to quickly adding looks, feels, and functions to your site.

Over 1,000 free WordPress themes and 10k+ premium WordPress themes, some of which even have drag-and-drop builders like Wix.

Plus WordPress has over 29,000 free plugins (and too many paid plugins to count) to help you create an online store, show off your Instagram feed on your site, create contact forms, etc.

So with WordPress, you have 110% control over the customization and complete flexibility with what you want to do to the look and feel of your site.

Which makes WordPress the clear winner of this round!

Winner: WordPress

Round 4: Ecommerce

round 4 ecommerce

Then there’s ecommerce – which is basically just turning your website into an online store to sell products.

Wix does have some ecommerce capabilities, but it’s mainly for small business owners that are looking to start a small online shop or get going as quickly as possible.

Tax and shipping capabilities, the ability to do virtual products, and sales tracking mean the bases are covered.

But if you want to do a lot of volume and really scale that bad boy, it’s missing some key features like multiple shipping methods, ability to accept different currencies, some important inventory management features, etc.

WordPress on the other hand can support ecommerce websites of any and all sizes.

There are a couple of super popular WordPress ecommerce plugins that’s great out of the box for building an online store and features a ton of plugins itself.

But the popularity of WordPress means just about any tool you’d use in your online store – from credit card processing to inventory management to shopping cart – almost certainly has a plugin or some sort of WordPress integration.

So, once again we’ve got to call it for…

Winner: WordPress

Bonus Round 1: Wix vs WordPress SEO

Round 4 is where the video ends, we like to keep those short and sweet because we know the latest PewDiePie video is creeping in the Recommended – so always tons of value there but usually just the essentials because we know there’s plenty to watch.

But for you, the discerning blog reader, we’ve got a bit of extra fire.

Enter bonus round #1 – Wix vs WordPress SEO!

Wix SEO is pretty good compared with some of the other best website builders; it lets you change important SEO page elements like page title, alt attributes, headings, etc.

But the free Wix plan doesn’t let you use a custom domain, which makes it extra hard to rank in search engines like Google.

Wix also automatically gives images you upload weird file names (like 8sadf83t3inakndsf-0344onkalsdf.png) which might hurt image SEO (there’s debate about this and the SEO “rules” are always changing).

And while you can customize blog post URLs, you can’t choose the whole thing. So for example, it’s SEO best practice to keep URLs short and include your target keyword which is why the URL for this post is just “” but on Wix that URL would probably be something like “[date]/wix-vs-wordpress”

WordPress has some SEO options out of the box but there are definitely a few free and paid themes and plugins we recommend to help you get complete control over all the SEO elements you need to adjust to maximize your rankings – Yoast SEO and the Genesis Framework being two of them.

So, once again, we’ve got to go

Winner: WordPress

Bonus Round 2: WordPress vs Wix for Blogging

Wix has some good blog options, letting you create categories, tags, schedule posts, include “related posts” at the bottom.

You can also add images, galleries, videos, GIFs and dividers.

So if you want to create a Wix blog, you’re bases are covered.

But WordPress is built for blogging from the ground up – literally anything you’d ever need for blogging comes baked in or, of course, you can always quickly find a plugin if there happens to be something crazy unique you’re trying to do (we haven’t seen a post that can do a standing double backflip but if you wanted yours to…).

So once again, if you’re looking for a website creator that’s awesome for blogging, it’s WordPress.

Winner: WordPress

Which is better Wix or WordPress?

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the overall winner and recommendation…

It’s been a tough match, both competitors have shown a lot of heart…

It seems like Wix has taken quite a few Ls…

But the winner is….


wix vs wordpress comparison chart

Yes, you read that right folks.

Look, we love WordPress, no doubt.

It’s what we use to build all our websites and we think it’s better than Wix in just about every way.


Wix’s ease of use is undeniable, especially for beginners, especially if you just want a simple site.

Wix makes it super simple and fun to build beautiful sites, so if you just want to focus on design and nothing else, Wix is great and you can get it here!

And if you know you just need to quickly build a portfolio website, personal blog, or an “online business card” for your freelancing business, Wix has everything you need.

Plus, their 24/7 support means fixing any problems with your site is fast and easy.

But, if you want to save a bit of money and aren’t afraid to get down and dirty with a bit of website technical setup, WORDPRESS IS THE CLEAR WINNER!

There are just limitless options with WordPress and cheap hosting like HostGator and it’s so popular there are always tutorials and people to reach out to when you get stuck.

And once you get a handle on the basic setup and tools within the WordPress dashboard, it’s really not that much harder to use than Wix.

That’s why it’s our favorite website builder and the one we would truly recommend for most people.

As always, hope that helps and catch yall on the flip side.