It's almost impossible to maintain a successful business without a fully functional, responsive, SEO-compatible website -- but you don't have to shell out the big bucks to afford one.
There are plenty of options for building and designing a website for free, many of which require little to no coding knowledge. And these website builders are often comparable in quality to their paid alternatives, particularly for small businesses or personal brands.
The free website builders we're sharing today offer SEO benefits, embedded analytics systems, mobile optimization, and professional-looking templates. If you're on a tight budget and can't quite swing the paid builders, these are the next best thing.
Read on to check out 11 of the best free website builders, so you can build a website for free without forfeiting quality.
Wix is one of the most popular free website builders out there, with 110 million users. The fully hosted platform offers an easy drag-and-drop editor, and a large collection of professional-looking templates that are well-suited for small businesses, online stores, restaurants, or personal portfolios.
Wix supplies built-in Google Analytics to monitor your site, and even offers additional apps for individual preferences. If you want, Wix can even design your site for you. The biggest downside of Wix's free version is it doesn't come ad-free, and each page of your site will have a prominent Wix ad. Ad-free is only an option if you pay for the premium version.
This open source SaaS offers web hosting, domain registration, web design, and even ecommerce functions, making it suitable for businesses and startups. Weebly's a particularly flexible website builder, compatible with every device and platform, and easy to use.
Like Wix, Weebly has drag-and-drop functionality, as well as an integrated CMS solution, and hand-coded HTML files. The in-house editor comes with SEO tools and Google Analytics. With PayPal integration, an automatic tax calculator, digital gift cards, and more, Weebly is a smart choice for ecommerce businesses. And unlike some of its other free competitors, Weebly is ad-free.
WebNode is a popular choice for both personal brands and professionals -- it's easy to use, and you can create a website in a different language or on a different platform to suit your business's needs. WebNode supports ecommerce stores, and the sites are compatible with Android, Mac, and IOS devices. WebNode will provide statistics to track your site's success, free of charge, and even with the free version, you won't have ads.
Based in Germany, Jimdo is a valuable option for international companies, with options to create a site in more than nine different languages. The builder is compatible with smartphones and tablets, and there's a mobile app you can use to build a mobile-optimized site, as well.
With no page limit and 500 MB of space, you'll likely have more than enough space to build your site, and it even provides HTTPS/SSL encryption, meaning your visitor's information will be kept safe. Plus, you're able to integrate your site seamlessly with social media accounts. If you do decide to use Jimdo, beware of one thing: the builder prevents free websites from being indexed by search engines.
One of the biggest selling-points for this Latvian-based company is the builder allows you to create a multilingual site for free -- something unmatched by other website builders.
Mozello's features include a blog, online store, SEO options, and 500 MB of storage. There is an advertisement, but it's just a link in the footer, so most visitors won't see it. The only drawback is the drag-and-drop system isn't as intuitive or complex as some other options, and there aren't a ton of design customization options.
With a wide collection of beautiful templates and a user-friendly drag and drop functionality, WebStarts makes building a website as simple as possible: best of all, whatever you see when you're designing is exactly what your visitors will see when you publish the site. This can take some of the guess-work out of the process.
While most of the other builders in this list are for people without a ton of coding knowledge, Webflow is specifically for designers and agencies who build sites for clients -- this means the HTML and CSS is entirely in your control.
After you've built a site on Webflow, you will need to transfer it to a content management system. There are some features, like drag-and-drop widgets for adding social components, maps, and videos, that don't require coding knowledge. But if you want the full benefits of Webflow, you'll need to know HTML or CSS. There's a limited set of themes, a responsive interface, and your Webflow site can be customized for desktop, tablets, or smartphones.
Apart from the necessity of knowing code, one other drawback of Webflow is you can only have two pages, and there's a limit of 500 visits for free users.
With more than 11 million sites built on IM Creator, it's a popular option for a few reasons: there's an easy point-and-click interface, an extensive range of templates and images, and unlimited web hosting and domain services. Plus, the platform is scalable, and you can have either single or multipage layouts. This builder is unique for its built-in ecommerce tools, and offers SEO and Google Analytics to fully optimize your site for search engines.
Arguably one of the most flexible and easy-to-use builders, Site123 lets you customize anything and offers a one-click installation wizard with graphics and templates. Site123 stands out as particularly helpful with its free images library, professional fonts to add visual elements to your site, and creative DIY plans for creating multiple pages (which are unlimited). Plus, since it offers web hosting domain registration, 500 MB storage space, Google Analytics, and is ad-free, you won't feel pressured to switch to a paid plan.
Strikingly prides itself on helping its users build a website with no programming skills required. Thousands of sites have been launched through this website creator, and users can start designing their own by selecting from countless templates contributed by site owners around the world. You can find website designs suited for startups, ecommerce stores, blogs, events, product launches, and personal branding.
Strikingly's free offering comes with unlimited free sites but a modest 5 GB of monthly bandwidth. You're also limited to a strikingly.com domain unless you upgrade to a paid plan, which starts at $8 per month.
Duda is a feature-rich website creator with numerous site widgets and media files, allowing you to piece together a website to fit your specific needs. On top of site templates and a lengthy content library, Duda comes with a team-collaboration tool and basic analytics to show you how visitors are engaging with different parts of your website.
Duda offers a free trial, as well as plans that start as a low as $14 per month billed annually.
There you have it! Since all of these website builders are free, try out a couple if you're unsure of the best fit. In particular, take note of what you really want to get out of your site to ensure your needs will be met by one of these free builders.
Originally published Nov 7, 2018 5:47:00 PM, updated November 08 2018