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Creating a Business Website: Tips and Tricks from Industry Experts

In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is essential for any business to succeed. One of the most important aspects of building that online presence is creating a business website. However, building a website can seem like an overwhelming task, especially if you don’t have any prior experience in web development. In this article, we’ll share some tips and tricks from industry experts on how to create a successful business website.

Planning Your Website

Before you start creating your website, it’s important to plan out what you want it to achieve and how it will function. This includes determining your target audience, identifying the purpose of your website (e.g., lead generation, e-commerce), and outlining the content that you will need.

Your website should be designed with your target audience in mind. This means understanding their needs, preferences, and behaviors. You should also consider the devices they will be using to access your site as well as their location.

When planning out the purpose of your website, think about what actions you want visitors to take once they arrive on your site. Do you want them to make a purchase or fill out a contact form? Knowing this can help guide the design and structure of your site.

Lastly, consider what content you will need on your site such as product descriptions or service information. Having all of this planned out in advance can help streamline the development process.

Choosing a Platform

There are several different platforms available for building websites including WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify among others. Each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on what type of site you are trying to build.

For example, WordPress is highly customizable but requires more technical knowledge than some other platforms. Shopify is specifically designed for e-commerce sites but may not offer as much flexibility for other types of sites.

Consider what features and functionality are most important for your site and choose a platform accordingly.

Designing Your Website

The design of your website is crucial for making a good first impression on visitors. It should reflect your brand’s personality and be visually appealing while also being easy to navigate.

When designing your site, consider the use of color, typography, and imagery. Use colors that align with your brand’s identity and ensure that typography is legible and easy to read. High-quality imagery can also help make your site more engaging.

It’s important to keep in mind that the design of your website should be consistent throughout all pages. This helps create a cohesive user experience and makes it easier for visitors to navigate.

Optimizing Your Website

Once you’ve built your website, it’s important to optimize it for search engines (SEO) so that it can be easily found by potential customers. This includes using relevant keywords throughout your content, optimizing images with alt tags, and ensuring that the site is mobile-friendly.

Additionally, you should aim to make your site as fast as possible by optimizing images, reducing the number of plugins used, and using a content delivery network (CDN).

Regularly updating your website with fresh content can also help improve its search engine rankings over time.

In conclusion, creating a successful business website requires careful planning, choosing the right platform, designing an engaging user experience, and optimizing for search engines. By following these tips and tricks from industry experts you’ll be well on your way to building a strong online presence for your business.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


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What types of websites can you build on Wix?

With Wix, you have the freedom to create a website that perfectly fits your needs. You can build business websites for any industry with a whole host of different features. You can sell products with an online store , sell services and take bookings , share your thoughts on a blog , showcase your work with a beautiful portfolio , and much more. Our solutions are built not only for a variety of industries but also for businesses of all sizes, from a personal brand to an enterprise corporation .

How do I create a website?

Here’s how to create your own website in 6 steps:

Plan your website. First, think about the type of site you’re creating and your target audience. With that in mind, you can start mapping out the pages you want to incorporate like the “About” and “Contact” pages, perhaps a blog or a photo gallery, and a page for products or services.

Choose a template. You can choose from  a variety of fully functional templates, all professionally designed with the best site practices in mind. Browse the templates and select the one that best suits your needs, or start designing from a blank template.

Customize your website. Once you’ve chosen a template, you can go in and customize every aspect of your site to match your brand.  Add your products and services as well as your own text and images or even let our built-in AI tools generate them for you. Change the colors, fonts, and layouts, and dive into our advanced design features for unlimited creative freedom.

Get a domain name. When trying to come up with the perfect domain name, you can use Wix to search and register available names, or connect an existing one to your new site.

Optimize for search engines. Use a suite of advanced SEO tools to help you optimize your site and increase organic traffic.

Publish and promote your website. Once you’re happy with your site, you’re ready to hit ‘publish’ and start gaining traffic. Now’s the time to promote your site through built in email marketing and social tools, and then start streamlining your customer management processes with a smart CRM system.

By following these steps, you'll build a powerful online presence that drives business growth.

Can I create a website without knowing how to code?

Absolutely. Wix is for everyone and makes it possible to create a high-quality website without knowing how to code. In the Wix Editor, you can drag and drop any feature you want and customize it to match the look and feel of your site. Of course, if you do know how to code, you can add advanced functionality to your site with Velo.

Should I use a website builder or hire a web developer?

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How do I build and host my site for free?

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How do I create a free website with a custom domain?

You can create a free website with Wix that comes with a Wix domain. To instantly look more professional online, get a custom domain name . It adds credibility to your brand and helps visitors find you online. You can start building your brand by using your domain in a custom email address ( [email protected] ), your social channels, email marketing campaigns and more. For inspiration use our Business Name Generator .

How can I optimize my site for SEO on Wix?

All Wix sites come with best-practice SEO defaults, including utilizing server-side rendering, customizable meta tags for all site pages, structured data markup, dynamic XML sitemaps, and more. Plus, you get a suite of built-in SEO tools to help you compete in organic search. Learn more .

Is my site optimized for Core Web Vitals (CWV)?

Every new feature, component and element that we create is built with performance in mind, so no matter what type of business you have, you can create a high-performance website. Over the past year, we’ve managed to achieve dramatic improvements for CWV and increased the ratio of Wix sites in the Google CrUX report with good scores for all three CWV by over 10x. To learn more about how Wix prepared for CWV, check out this webinar we hosted with Google .

Can I use a website builder to create a landing page?

Yes. You can create any kind of website with Wix. Explore beautiful HTML landing page templates in the landing page builder to get started.

How can I design a logo for my website for free?

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With a free Website.com plan, you'll have the ecommerce tools to set up your online store and add products right away. You have the option to add advanced functionality and marketing features as your business expands.

Here are the steps to make an online store for free with our tools:

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Open the Store Manager in the website builder.

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A domain is the unique web address that visitors can type into the browser to find your website, e.g. www.website.com. A domain name is typically a yearly cost, ranging from around $20/year and up.

Website hosting allows your website files to be stored and seen on the internet. This is typically a monthly ongoing cost, usually around $14.99/month and up.

The website platform used to create a website is another factor to consider. The cost of making a website may vary depending on whether you choose a DIY approach, or hire a web designer or developer. Hiring a web expert can be a significant expense that generally requires an initial design cost and an ongoing maintenance fee.

With Website.com premium plans, everything is included to create your website, including a professional domain name for 1 year, web hosting to host your content, and a website builder with easy tools to create your site, sell products, reach international audiences, and market your online presence. Premium plans range from $3/month (promo price for the first year), which is an extremely cost effective way to own a professional website.

With a free Website.com plan, you can get a free website name and get online entirely for free. Keep in mind that Website.com premium plans include a professional domain name registration, more website pages and advanced features to lend more professionalism to your site.

Your web content will be stored on our secure servers located in Vancouver, Canada.

How easy is it to make a website? Can I make a website without knowing how to code?

Using Website.com is the easiest way to make a website! Our tools provide the freedom to create your free website without any design or coding knowledge. You can even create your entire website, from start to finish, right from a mobile device! Just start with a pre-made layout, add your own website content, and click publish to get your responsive website online. Need a hand? Our team of designers offer design services to help you craft your website on the Website.com editor, so you can have total control of your website after your design is complete.

Why does my business need a website?

Today, 91% of consumers look online to search for goods or services, and 84% view a business with a website as more credible. Owning a website is crucial for small business owners in order to gain credibility and get found by both new and existing customers.

With Website.com, we provide the tools to publish your online presence as fast as possible.

Why is Website.com the best choice to make my website?

With Website.com, experience the freedom to create a unique and professional website on your own. The Website.com website builder is the easiest way to make a website, and you can even create your entire website using your smart phone! You can start with a layout and personalize it, or hire our design experts to make your website for you.

When you choose Website.com, you're choosing the absolute easiest tools to create a professional website: professional layouts, free stock photos, free secure web hosting, and a committed support team. You can even make an online store entirely for free.

With over 1 million websites built with Website.com, you'll be in good company.

Do I need a domain name? How do I get custom domain emails?

Yes, every website on the internet needs its own domain name for visitors to be able to find it. A custom domain name can make your website look professional online. It builds your brand, makes your website more memorable, and helps visitors find you online. With Website.com, you can start with a free website name, and all premium Website.com plans include a professional custom domain name for 1 year at no additional charge!

Domain names are vital to anyone's online presence, but its value is also often undervalued. Problems can arise when domain names are left to expire or become open for anyone to register under their name, from identity theft and impersonation to extortion and malware injection. This is why Website.com offers domain auto renewal feature to help prevent these problems from appearing. Let us know if you are unsure about whether your domain name is set for auto-renewal.

Using your custom domain name in your email address ([email protected]) can further build your brand and create a sense of trust throughout your customer communications. Website.com Elite plans and above include professional emails at your domain name and a mailbox to store your emails. You can read your emails anywhere, or even set up emails to be accessed on your phone!

Can someone make a website for me?

The Website.com website builder is easy to use, and is great for a DIY approach. If you would rather have someone create your website for you, we can take care of it! Our Website.com designers offer web design and marketing services so you can focus on your business. Your website will be published on the website builder, allowing you to easily make future tweaks to your design at no additional design charge. Or, feel free to reach out to our team if you need design services after launch.

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Globally, 62% of users access the internet using a mobile phone, which means having a mobile-friendly website is key for reaching potential visitors. Mobile-friendliness is also a crucial aspect of SEO.

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6 Best Free Website Builders to Check Out in 2023 [+Pros & Cons]

Caroline Forsey

Published: November 21, 2023

In my half-decade as an SEO content marketer, I’ve spent a good chunk of my time either testing or working with any number of free website builders: CMS Hub, WordPress.com, WordPress.org, Wix, Weebly, Webflow, you name it.

best free website builders to create your website

These website builder tools have been essential for me to publish content, either for my current employer or for my side projects. I’ve therefore been able to get well acquainted with their capabilities over time.

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But if you’re new to the website builder game, you might be confused about where to start. What is the best choice if you don’t know how to code ? Which one would give you the most bang for zero bucks? And which options include a good domain name, versus a garbled, messy subdomain?

I’m going to cover that and more, but first, let’s go over the basics.

Table of Contents

What is a website builder?

How i tested the best website builders, best free website builders, website builder features you need.

A website builder is a web-based tool that allows you to create and publish a website online, with various features depending on the provider. Free website builders typically include hosting, branded domain names, visual web page editors, and themes and templates.

If you’ve been considering building a website for some time, then you’re likely familiar with your options. The most common method is buying a web hosting plan and a domain name , and then installing your preferred CMS on your website, such as WordPress.org or Joomla.

From my experience, the problem with this option is that when you install WordPress or Joomla out of the box, it doesn’t come with a handbook or page content. With this method, my websites started as blank pages, which meant that unless I hired a developer or spent a lot of time building it, the result would look unfinished and unprofessional. 

When testing out free website builders such as CMS Hub or WordPress.com, I found that I could shorten my workflow considerably. For instance, the themes came with placeholder text and images making my website feel more complete than if I’d started with an out-of-the-box CMS.

When trying to find the best website builders for this post, I considered workflow to be the most important factor. Is it easy to set up a website from the start, or do you need extensive time and experience to do it?

Chances are, if you’re looking for a free website builder, you’d like the set up to be painless and seamless. For that reason, I chose tools that had:

  • The standard required features: placeholder content, blogging tools, SEO tools, mobile-optimized and responsive, and templates and themes
  • A fully free option with strong capabilities out of the box — no need to upgrade at every turn
  • A relatively easy workflow from signup to completion

With that, let’s go over the absolute best website builders I’ve used and tested before.

  • Best for Growing Businesses: HubSpot
  • Best for Beginners: WordPress.com
  • Best for Ecommerce Websites: Weebly
  • Best for Web Developers: Webflow
  • Best for Local Business Owners: Wix
  • Best for No-Fuss, Short-Term Websites: Google Sites

1. Best Free Website Builder for Growing Businesses: HubSpot Drag-and-Drop Website Builder

best free website builder: HubSpot

Get started with HubSpot's free drag-and-drop builder!

I use HubSpot’s drag-and-drop website builder (inside CMS Hub) as a content marketer on the HubSpot blog team and have used it for two of my side website projects.

Hands down, this is one of the best website builders available for free — not only because of the ease of signing up, but also because it includes built-in tools for a handful of other functions, such as marketing and sales.

The website creation process is so easy, anyone could do it — mainly because the setup dashboard includes an interactive checklist for you to build your site step-by-step. I loved this signup workflow when I was building a few side projects. It’s one of the best in terms of user- and beginner-friendliness.

best free website builder: HubSpot full checklist

Once you install a free theme, you start customizing the site right away with your preferred colors and fonts. The bar at the top of the page shows you where you are on the setup workflow, which is supremely useful for skipping between tasks. Note that this is only active during the onboarding phase.

best free website-builder: husbpot task

After you’re finished, you’re taken right back to the user guide, where you can begin exploring HubSpot’s suite of tools for business. You also have the option of connecting a custom domain, which is free. All you have to do is buy the domain through a domain registrar such as GoDaddy, and then go through the domain connection process.

This might be the most difficult part of signup due to the verification step. But you can always move forward with a free HubSpot domain name, which looks like this:

[randomly generated token].hs-sites.com

It’s not beautiful and is definitely my least favorite feature, so I’d recommend moving forward with a custom-branded domain.

best free website builder: HubSpot checklist

Now, it’s time to edit our site. The website editing process is a little more compartmentalized than in other tools. Others might take you to the page editor right away, but HubSpot takes you to the entirety of its suite dashboard, allowing you to access its marketing, sales, and service tools in addition to its website tools (located under the “Marketing” menu).

To access it, simply go to Marketing > Website > Website Pages .

best free website builder: hubspot menu

Then, click Create . Something I loved here was the option to create either a website page or a landing page . This makes HubSpot a great fit if you’re using your site to drive leads in any capacity.

best free website builder: creating a new page in HubSpot

After you create your first page, the process is then easy and familiar. You can choose a template, but be sure to install a theme first (which is part of the setup workflow).

The free themes and templates are very good, and the HubSpot marketplace offers plenty of options. That said, most themes are business-oriented; if you’d like to build an artsy or eclectic website, other website builders include more "fun" designs.

best free website builder: HubSpot themes

One thing I loved was that you can switch between themes and mix and match them. Other tools don’t allow you to use different themes on the same site, so CMS Hub is a great choice if you’re concerned about limited design options.

Once you’ve chosen your template, you’re ready to begin editing. CMS Hub pulls in demo content so you can see what your page will look like when you’re finished. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve used a template on WordPress, only to get a fully blank page with the “Hello World!” heading. The demo content is a definite plus.

Finally, the drag-and-drop page builder is nothing to scoff at. The page builder works based on modules, which you drag onto the page. It then creates a live element you can edit directly, allowing you to see your changes in real-time, instead of to having to open a preview tab.

best free website builder: HubSpot page builder interface

Another thing I loved is that it’s easy enough to use for a beginner but also gives developers the ability to create advanced custom modules and tinker with the site’s source code. For instance, you can upload a custom CSS stylesheet in your settings.

best free website builder: HubSpot developer customization

Here’s the impressive part: For all of its simplicity and user-friendliness, HubSpot’s website builder is more than equipped to handle business-level demands, with marketing , sales , and service software already built-in. Most of those are free to use at the basic tier, allowing you to send an email a month, for example, and use HubSpot CRM without paying a single cent.

Of course, it comes with everything you need to build a website, including content management system (CMS) tools , themes and templates , security features, and a built-in content delivery network (CDN) to ensure pages load quickly. Overall, I can’t recommend this tool enough for any type of business that wants more than a basic website builder.

Core Features

  • Themes and templates
  • Built-in security features ( malware scanning , website monitoring , and web application firewall )
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Ability to connect to a custom domain
  • Includes web hosting
  • Personalization (thanks to HubSpot’s CRM)
  • Responsive themes and templates


  • The free version displays HubSpot's branding
  • If you want to build custom modules and templates, you’ll need to learn HuBL, HubSpot’s templating language

A limited free plan is available. The premium CMS plans with additional features start at $23 a month when billed annually.

Brands Using HubSpot

  • Eternal Works

2. Best Free Website Builder for Beginners: WordPress.com

best free website builder: wordpress home page

I can’t count the number of WordPress.com sites I’ve built for fun. It’s easy to sign up, it’s free, and its included domain name is not as ugly (and more recognizable) than others on this list. “Brandname.wordpress.com” has a nice ring to it, right?

First, though, I’d like to point out that WordPress .com is different from WordPress .org . WordPress.com is a free, fully-hosted website-building service, whereas WordPress.org is a content management system you can install on your website.

If you’re looking for a simple free website builder, WordPress.com is the way to go. But if you have a little bit of website development knowledge and are willing to learn the ins and outs of WordPress hosting , WordPress.org is a great choice.

For this list, though, I recommend WordPress.com. Why? It’s an all-in-one option that doesn’t require you to buy separate WordPress hosting or test out different WordPress page builders .

It’s not as customizable as WordPress.org, but it’s more than sufficient for beginners, bloggers, and hobbyists. Due to the free tier’s limitations on bandwidth and lack of CDN , business owners should probably consider another tool.

Just like CMS Hub, setting up your website on WordPress.com is very easy. As it guides you through the setup process, WordPress will ask you about your goals and immediately prompt you to choose a free theme for your website.

best free website builder: Wordpress themes

The themes are modern and mobile-optimized — I was surprised to find that I liked quite a few of the designs. When I’ve used WordPress in the past, I found the themes lackluster, but it seems to have updated its library.

From there, WordPress will take you to an abbreviated checklist that’s similar to HubSpot’s. By the time you’ve picked your theme, you’ve already completed the first three steps. All you have to do is publish your first blog post, edit the website’s design, and launch your site.

best free website builder: wordpress checklist

Keep in mind that the site is still in the bare minimum stages — you still need to go into the dashboard and add pages and content. Unfortunately, on the free version, you can’t install plugins, including the HubSpot WordPress marketing plugin .

Now, let’s talk about the drag-and-drop page builder. WordPress.com’s is much more minimal than other options on this list, and that’s because it primarily includes plain content formats such as paragraphs, headings, lists, and tables. A drawback for me is that it’s not a live editor, so you can’t see your changes on the page without previewing it on another tab. If you want live changes and previews, I’d recommend looking into a free website builder with a WYSIWYG editor like Webflow (discussed further below).

That said, its simplicity makes it a great option for beginners just starting to build their first website — no need to fiddle with complicated modules.

best free website builder: Wordpress editor interface

  • Large collection of themes
  • Mobile-friendly and optimized for SEO
  • Managed website hosting and security
  • Customizable
  • Mobile and desktop apps available
  • The free version displays ads
  • More limitations compared to WordPress.org
  • Although intuitive, it’s more difficult to learn than other drag-and-drop builders

A limited free plan is available. Premium plans start at $4 a month when billed annually.

Brands Using WordPress.com

  • Anytime Fitness Australia
  • Activity Hero Blog
  • Outsource School

3. Best Free Website Builder for Ecommerce Websites: Weebly


Weebly is a classic website builder that offers a unique bundle of web hosting, domain registration, web design , and built-in ecommerce functions. This last feature is of note because, with other tools on this list, like WordPress, you’d have to install an ecommerce plugin to start a shop, and even on CMS Hub, you’d need a third-party integration.

On Weebly, you can open a store as part of the sign-up process. Because of this, I highly recommend it if you’d like to build an ecommerce website . This website builder already integrates with Square, a popular online payment gateway .

As part of my test, I created a website for an online store. What I liked about this part of Weebly’s setup is that it’s so simple — you don’t have to go on and on about your goals or the type of website you’d like to build.

During the next few phases, you’ll choose a name for your store and designate the type of products you’ll be sell. I’m not sure what this step is for — it must be for metadata or for Wix’s tracking purposes, but it’s good to fill out either way.

best free website builder: weebly store questionnaire

As with CMS Hub and WordPress.com, you’ll be prompted to choose a theme. If you’re setting up an ecommerce website, Weebly will automatically sort the themes so that you get storefront options first — no need to go hunting for them.

I found the theme selection a little less diverse than other options on this list, but the options are reasonable free ecommerce site builder.

best free website builder: weebly store themes

While testing this website builder, I also found that it offers a nifty product listing tool that allows you to set up your inventory for sale immediately. I loved how easy and simple this was, and it's a great fit for someone who’s trying out ecommerce for the first time.

best free website builder: weebly product builder

And, great news: Weebly, like the previous tools, includes a checklist to work through to set up your store correctly. 

best free website builder: weebly checklist

I’ve used Weebly before and have abandoned it due to a laggy page editor. During my test this time, I found that the drag-and-drop editor is still somewhat laggy but more serviceable than when I was using Weebly for fun.

best free website builder: weebly page builder interface

It includes the standard text, image, and rich content modules, with more variety and complexity than WordPress.com’s options. It also features helpful SEO tools and resources to get you started with an SEO strategy , which is a crucial and unavoidable part of having a website because, without it, people might never know your page exists.

  • Drag-and-drop editor
  • Integrated CMS solution
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Helpful SEO resource tools
  • Good selection of paid and free apps in the app center
  • The free plan has ecommerce functionality
  • Limited choice of themes
  • The free and basic paid plans display ads
  • Limited SEO functionality

A limited free plan is available. Premium plans start at $6 a month when billed annually.

Brands Using Weebly

  • Caribeans Coffee and Chocolate
  • Argyle Yarn Shop

4. Best Free Website Builder for Web Developers: Webflow

best free website builder: web flow

Webflow is a fantastic free website builder for those with more coding experience and who’d like a more customizable website builder tool. Because of its ability to include multiple workspaces and multiple websites for clients, I especially recommend it for freelance web developers and agencies.

(And if you happen to be a fan of Adobe Creative Cloud, you’ll find that Webflow has a similar UX — another plus.)

Webflow is a winner when it comes to the setup workflow. Straightaway, you’ll have the option to build a website for your company, your clients, or yourself. I chose “Clients” to test its capabilities for freelancers and agencies.

best free website builder: webflow setup

Next, you’ll be asked to identify the type of website you’re building. Blog websites are an option, but if you’re planning to start a blog, I recommend CMS Hub or WordPress.com instead. Both of those offer powerful blogging options and a much more beginner-friendly interface.

I was surprised to see that Webflow includes different workspaces, something I didn’t run across in other tools (except CMS Hub, which allows you to have access to different portals). This makes Webflow an excellent choice for large teams where you might have different workspaces depending on permissions or job function.

best free website builder: webflow workspaces

The free theme selection in Webflow is, though limited, very good. I told the tool I wanted to create a portfolio website, and it automatically suggested a portfolio theme for me to try.

best free website builder: webflow themes

After you choose a theme, you’ll be taken straight away to the website builder. Webflow’s page builder is complicated and the learning curve is steep. While the tool includes a setup checklist, it’s not as simple as others on this list.

For instance, right away, you’ll be prompted to change CSS classes right away — which can be daunting if you’re new to web development.

best free website builder: webflow checklist

The actual page builder, though, is pretty familiar. You can add HTML elements such as sections, containers, divs, lists, buttons, headings, and so on. The tool does include more technical language, so you’ll encounter terms such as “V Flex,” which refers to a vertical flexbox .

I can see this being difficult for beginners and even intermediate users, so if you identify as either, you might want to opt for another tool. (Or you can use Webflow to learn web development terms!)

best free website builder: web flow page builder interface

One thing I loved that does make Webflow a good fit for beginners is its inclusion of “Libraries.” If you’re at all intimidated by the language and the learning curve, you can simply import pre-designed components and sections without needing to tinker excessively with the tool itself.

Webflow includes a free domain for you to use, but it only publishes to a staging environment — another reason this tool is such a great fit for developers. The only thing you’ll need to purchase when using Webflow is a domain you can publish your site to.

best free website builder: webflow publication options

  • A drag-and-drop website builder
  • Widgets to add features like maps and media
  • Third-party integrations
  • Offers complete control over your site’s design
  • Drag-and-drop what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) builder
  • Responsive interface
  • After building a website on Webflow, you need to transfer it to a content management system
  • Requires some knowledge of HTML and CSS to access full features
  • It has a complex free and paid plan structure
  • You need to sign up for both a Site and Workspace plan

A limited free plan is available. Premium plans start at $12 a month when billed annually.

Brands Using Webflow

  • Michael Kors
  • Hologram.io

5. Best Free Website Builder for Local Business Owners: Wix

best free website builder: wix

Wix is one of the most popular free website builders, and probably one of the first options you thought of when you started researching tools. The easy-to-use, fully-hosted platform offers an easy drag-and-drop editor, an extensive collection of apps, and professional-looking templates.

I first used Wix in 2010-2013, when it was still just a simple website builder with a reputation for being laggy and poorly optimized. It’s now turned into one of the most robust options on the market.

Wix’s most noteworthy feature is its focus on providing all the tools necessary for business owners to get their businesses up and running online.

When setting up your site, you can choose the type of business you run. Unlike on other website builders, where this information is used for internal cataloging purposes, Wix creates a customized dashboard depending on the type of business you choose.

I set up a blog, an online store, and a brick-and-mortar shop, and all three had different checklists and integrated apps on their dashboards.

best free website builder: wix setup website type

For this test, I chose to set up a local shop. Instead taking me to the website builder right away, the Wix setup assistant tried to get as much information about “my business” as possible.

I was thoroughly impressed by the effort to get my business information in a beginner-friendly questionnaire. The information would later be used for Wix’s Point of Sale tool and on my website. This makes Wix an especially good fit for local businesses who want to set up an robust online presence but don’t want to mess with different tools to do so.

best free website builder: wix setup

Depending on your answers to some of the questions on the questionnaire, Wix will include different widgets, tools, and checklist items on your dashboard. For instance, below, I told the tool I wanted to accept online and in-person payments, send automated emails, and more—

best free website builder: wix multiple options

—and when I went to my dashboard, Wix created a checklist that helped me through a step-by-step set up process, including signing up on its Point of Sale tool. This is extremely convenient and seamless for a local business owner, but the list can be overwhelming to look at. 

best free website builder: wix checklist

I was maybe half an hour into the setup, and Wix had yet to prompt me to start designing my website. The first few steps in the checklist, in fact, all have to do with internal administration and finance.

That tells me that Wix wants to be the one administration portal for business owners to manage their online presence beyond designing a website.

When you finally begin to set up your site, Wix gives you the option of manually choosing a template or using Wix’s creation assistant. This is a unique feature I’ve yet to run into in my tests, and it can be a game changer for local business owners that are short on time. 

best free website builder: wix creation assistant

I chose to have Wix to create a site for me. It then prompted me to pick a theme and began preparing home page designs based on my preferred aesthetic.

best free website builder: wix homepage generator

Since I chose “Fresh,” it delivered earthy and clean designs. The selection is limited, but good for a local business.

best free website builder: wix site creation assistant

After, you have the option of adding pages to your site with pre-imported demo content.

best free website builder: add a new page to wix

My least favorite aspect of Wix is the page builder itself. It’s cluttered, difficult to navigate, and overly complicated, which could potentially lengthen the learning curve for this tool.

best free website builder: wix page builder interface

Another aspect I found strange is that when you insert a new element, it doesn’t snap to the grid. Instead, it stays right where you place it, meaning it might be difficult to reliably use the exact same amount of padding and margin to align elements on your page. But if you don’t need additional elements beyond the demo content, simply edit what's already there, and it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

  • A drag-and-drop editor
  • A large collection of apps and templates
  • Easy to use
  • Large collection of apps and templates
  • Optimized for mobile
  • The free version displays prominent ads
  • The premium plans are pricey when compared to others on this list
  • The only way to change templates is by creating a new site and transferring your premium plan to it

A limited free plan is available. Premium plans start at $16 a month when billed annually.

Brands Using Wix

  • Cotton’s Restaurant
  • Cau Steakhouse
  • P.S. & Co.

6. Best Free Website Builder for No-Fuss, Short-Term Websites: Google Sites

best free website builder: google sites

Google Sites is Google’s proprietary website builder and absolutely worth a spot in this list, if only for its ease-of-use and for the fact that it’s 100% free — no upgrade required. You can use it just as you would Google Docs, Google Sheets, or Google Slides. Simply go to sites.google.com, choose a template from the list, and start editing.

best free website builder: google sites home

Google Sites offers templates for employees, individuals, and students. Even though you could use it for a business website, I wouldn’t recommend this website builder for any type of business, whether freelance, local, small, or enterprise, because of the limited features and lack of integrations. Google Sites is simply too limited for a business’ demanding needs. 

If you’d like to build a website for any other reason, though — for a project, a personal update, or an FAQ — Google Sites is a fantastic choice. For example, it’s a great option for a job seeker looking to create a simple portfolio to attach to job applications. Once you choose a template, you’re taken right to the editor, where you can start editing the demo content.

best free website builder: google sites interface

The interface is as seamless and familiar as you’d expect from Google. No overly complicated jargon and no overabundance of options, but still exactly what you need to build a strong site with a mild learning curve. 

(In fact, the learning curve is so mild that I would actually not recommend this as a learning tool for those building a site for the first time. To truly learn how to create a website, consider a more robust tool that includes traditional web design elements.)

As with any other Google tool, you can collaborate with others and limit permissions. That makes it a great option if you need to build a team site for any reason.

Once you hit publish, it will be published to a subdirectory of a subdirectory on Google’s domain. For instance, here’s the URL I published my site to when I was doing my test:


You can't connect a custom domain through the Google Sites portal, but you can always purchase a custom domain (I recommend using Google’s own domain buying service, domains.google.com) and setting up a 301 redirect .

  • The traditional Google Workspace interface
  • Analytics and reporting (through Google Analytics)
  • Very, very easy to use
  • Simple to set up for current Google users
  • This is a limited tool for any sort of business need
  • The templates skew toward outdated
  • Custom domains can’t be connected via Google Sites; 301-redirect needed

Brands Using Google Sites

No brands that I know of use Google Sites — this tool is best for personal projects.

Choosing a website builder tool is easier when you know what you're looking for. Here are the features to look out for.

1. Themes and Templates

website features: hubspot theme marketplace

The above drag-and-drop themes are available in CMS Hub — sign up for free .

Having an assortment of fully customizable themes and templates on the website builder’s theme marketplaces makes it easier for users to change their site’s look.

In that sense, website builders should have theme options that cater to specific niches so users don't waste time creating new templates from scratch. For example, the website builders on our list have options for blogs, portfolios, ecommerce websites, and more.

Templates should be pre-structured and pre-populated with images, text, and other elements commonly found on websites. For example, every site needs a home page, about page, and contact page. All you need to do is pick one and replace the sample content with your own.

Themes and templates should be easy to customize — with multiple options for backgrounds, layouts, fonts, and colors.

2. Media (Video, Photo, Audio, and Graphics)

When browsing online, I find websites filled with text incredibly dreary and bad at grabbing my attention. Unless I’m on a text-based website, like a blog or, say, Wikipedia, I expect to see multimedia elements that break up text or at least make a website more interactive. 

Solely having text on your website can be monotonous, so including different forms of media helps break up text and can help information stick. I suggest filling your website with highly engaging multimedia content and graphics to support vital information and engage users.

You can easily bring your website to life using visual aids and mediums like stock photos, vector images, background images, stock video footage, sound effects, and video editing templates. There are tons of websites that provide media resources that are free to use for content.  Freepik is a well-known website that provides illustrations and images.

Many sites also incorporate icons within the call-to-actions and resources sections.  Flaticon is a great source of icons.

These resources will transform your website into something memorable and visually appealing, while also providing a user-friendly experience.

Some website builders offer more robust media capabilities, with multiple gallery layouts, customization options, and editing features.

3. WYSIWYG Editor

website WYIWYG editor: cms hub

Besides an assortment of themes and templates, I think the best website builder tools make it easy for users to customize their websites with drag-and-drop tools and what-you-see-is-what-you-get ( WYSIWYG) editors .

It’s great for beginners because you don’t need to learn how to code — simply design your site in a few clicks by dragging and dropping elements onto your page and see how it will look. 

I also predict that you’ll spend a lot less time making changes after you publish your site by using a WYSIWYG editor because you can see how everything will look while you’re designing your site, so it’s an important feature to consider when choosing the best website builder for you, choosing a website builder that meets your needs.

4. Malware Scanning

Security is a top consideration when choosing a website builder.

Security features vary depending on the website builder tool you select, but consider it a keeper if it offers  malware scanning . Automated malware scanning allows you to address threats before they progress into something catastrophic.

5. Web Application Firewall (WAF)

A web application firewall (WAF) is another must-have security feature.

WAFs sit between your web server and the internet to protect your website from common attacks. You’ll be able to avoid SQL injections (where a hacker gets the ability to view your site database and access secure data) and cross-site scripting (XSS) (when a hacker injects malicious code into your site) by filtering, monitoring, and blocking malicious traffic from entering the network.

WAFs can come in the form of software-as-a-service (SaaS), and you can customize them to meet your website’s unique needs. If you create your website with HubSpot, you’ll get access to 24/7 enterprise-grade security tools like malware scanning and WAF .

6. Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Besides site security, I strongly recommend optimizing for page speed .  The amount of time it takes for your site to load significantly impacts customer experience, conversions, and revenue, and whether your site is even usable on mobile devices.

According to Portent , a site that loads in one second has a conversion rate 5x higher than a site that loads in 10 seconds.

There are many ways to improve page speed, and a  content delivery network (CDN) is one way to do so. CDNs store heavy and static content on distributed servers located worldwide and load the cached content from a location nearest to the user to speed up its delivery.

7. Web Hosting

What good are website builders when they can't get your website online?

Some solutions only offer website builder tools to make your site. You have to pay separately for  web hosting services to get your site online.

The best website builders make it convenient to start your websites by offering web hosting. Free website builders offer limited bandwidth and storage just for personal use. You can upgrade to shared, dedicated, or managed hosting for an additional fee.

Web hosting provides two services: bandwidth and disk space (or storage).

Most free website builders offer ample (limited) storage for a beginner site but require you to purchase additional storage should you need it.

People often confuse websites and blogs with each other — they're similar but not the same.

A blog is a type of website that contains information about different topics. They're often updated with new articles or posts, while websites only receive updates when needed. In a nutshell, all blogs are websites, but not all websites are or have blogs.

Organizations build websites for different reasons: to sell, showcase a portfolio, or inform — and for those reasons, a  blog can be helpful.

Blogs can help your website by:

  • Increasing visibility through SEO.
  • Generating new leads.
  • Building trust and loyalty.
  • Creating brand awareness.

Most free website builders come with basic blogging tools and post creation and comment management features.

10. SEO Capabilities

website builder features: seo recommendations inside cms hub

According to our 2023 Web Traffic & Analytics Report , organic search is the second-highest driver of website traffic. With this, I can’t stress enough the importance of SEO optimization—

If you want to bring in more traffic and views, your website needs to be search engine- ptimized.

Most website builders help with technical SEO by offering free SSL certificates and supporting  schema markup and  XML sitemaps . They also support on-page SEO by allowing you to enter and modify URLs, meta tags, and image alt attributes.

11. Customer Support

I ran into a few issues while testing the website builder tools listed above that I couldn’t troubleshoot on my own, which leads me to my next point: choose a tool that offers customer support . 

Customer support assists you with anything you need help with — technical, sales, billing, payments, or experiences. Depending on the website builder, assistance can come in any (or a mix) of the following channels:

  • Chatbot support.
  • Live support.
  • A knowledge base.
  • Video tutorials.

The best website builders keep a mix of channels and answer inquiries promptly.

12. Ecommerce Capabilities

Are you planning on selling physical or digital products in the future? Consider choosing a website builder with ecommerce capabilities.

There are dedicated ecommerce website builders, but these are often paid solutions with robust functionality such as apps for payment and shipping.

Free website builders often integrate with a third-party ecommerce application or support a simple built-in store.

13. Third-party Integrations

There’s nothing worse than realizing your existing tech stack doesn’t work with the website builder you chose. Thus, it’s crucial to consider whether a website builder allows third-party integrations.

Your website builder should integrate with external tools, such as email marketing, ecommerce, and social software, so you can add any functions you need, like live chat, to your website. HubSpot, for example, offers 1,400+ third-party apps and tools for integrations , and WordPress.com offers extended functionality for your website in the form of Plugins. 

14. Analytics and Reporting

Your website builder should also have a web analytics and reporting function to measure important metrics like the site’s popular pages, bounce rate, average duration per visit, and more.

Alternatively, you can track your website metrics in an analytics and reporting tool . When you bring your web analytics together with other key funnel metrics like trials or activation rate onto a dashboard, you give everyone on your team the ability to explore your data and uncover insights.

Picking Your Website Builder

There you have it! Since most 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 builders.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2018 but has been updated for comprehensiveness.


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The 7 best free website builders in 2023

Hero image with the logos of the best free website builders

If you want people to find you online, you need a website. But most smaller businesses don't have the budget to hire an expert developer. That's where free website builders come in: these tools make it easy to build a website for free.

These apps do the heavy lifting: you don't need to know what CSS is or how to tinker with HTML. I spent a few weeks testing all the free website builders I could find, and these are the seven best.

The 7 best free website builders

Weebly for simple, no-fuss websites

GetResponse for email-focused businesses

Wix for an all-around site builder

Dorik for more experienced creators

HubSpot CMS for growing businesses

Webflow for advanced designers

What makes a great free website builder?

How we evaluate and test apps.

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There are plenty of lists of the best free website builders, so what makes this one different? I didn't just read customer reviews or the marketing materials for these website builders. I spent dozens of hours researching the best free site builders that users love—and then tested them myself. 

I've always used WordPress to build sites for myself, so I was keen to see how these tools stacked up. For each one, I signed up and created a site from one of its templates—adding pages, adjusting copy, exploring SEO features, uploading my own images, and trying the various design elements.   

I eliminated any website builders that were too hard to use or didn't offer valuable free plans and then re-tested the remaining ones until I settled on the best of the best. Some are perfect for building basic sites with no design experience at all, while others are ideal for creating commercial sites but have a steeper learning curve.

As I was testing, I was focusing on the following criteria:

Ease of use. Is the website builder easy to use, or do you need to be a junior dev to add a form? All the site builders on this list will be relatively easy for most users. I've mentioned which ones are newbie-friendly and which are better for those with more design experience. None require coding knowledge, but some do let you access the code. 

Customization options . Not all of us want a one-page website. I assessed how easy each builder is to customize, including the number of templates, if they offer drag-and-drop features, and whether you can adjust styles, colors, and elements. If there's a trade-off between ease of use and customization, I've tried to make that clear. 

SEO tools . Building a site is just half the battle—you also need to rank on search engines. I looked at the SEO tools each website builder offers, such as the ability to adjust page titles and meta descriptions, add alt tags, and upload a site map. 

Value of free plans . Is the free plan really free, or does the builder ask you to upgrade every time you make a change? I made sure I was only looking at truly free options. Of course, there will always be features you'll need to upgrade for, but all of these tools let you launch a website for free.

Primarily a website builder. Some website builders are actually another tool with website-building capabilities. Although some of these tools are part of a suite of other marketing tools, they can all operate independently.

A quick note on domains: Most free website builders come with an ugly-looking free domain—like azaharmedia.hubspotpagebuilder.com—but allow you to purchase or add a custom domain . In my experience, I've always found it preferable to buy a domain independently on a site like Namecheap. This gives you more flexibility if you decide to move from one platform to another; e.g., if you purchased a domain on Weebly and wanted to move to Webflow, it could be more problematic.

Best free website builder for basic sites (without SEO)

Google sites.

Google Sites, our pick for the the best free website builder for basic sites

Google Sites is a basic site builder with limited customization options and zero SEO tools. That's fine if you're a beginner or just want to test the waters, but don't expect to conquer the search engine results.

You can choose from a dozen templates or a blank canvas to get started. And then refine the look-and-feel (style, color, and fonts) with a choice of six themes, or again, create your own. If you choose a standard theme, you're limited to what you can edit. For example, if you want an orange button, you have to change the theme color, which may impact other color settings. And you can't change the button size––everything is predefined. If you want to bypass the restrictions, you'll have to create a custom theme.

That said, Google Sites is easy to use. In many respects, it's like using Google Docs: everything gets saved to your Google Drive before you publish your site, and you can share it with collaborators. I did find it strange that there were no SEO settings, but you can set a custom path for each page. (Maybe you have to trust Google will handle the SEO, but all the same…)

Google Sites pricing: 100% free; no paid plans. 

Ease of use: Easy to use. Similar to using Google Docs.  

Customization options: Limited. Choose from 12 templates and 6 themes for the look-and-feel of your site. Ideal for someone who doesn't have a ton of website experience. 

SEO tools: Non-existent, surprisingly.   

Value of free plan: Limited. Suitable for beginners, hobbyists, or dabblers, but not as good as Weebly or Wix. 

Best free website builder for simple, no-fuss websites

Weebly, our pick for the best free website builder for simple, no-fuss websites

Weebly is Square's free, more limited website builder. It's ideal for simple websites, like a portfolio or blog—but you can't do things like sell online or easily connect it to your social media accounts.

When you sign up, you'll be presented with a page asking if you want Weebly (personal websites) or Square Online (business websites). If you choose the personal option, you'll get the bare bones you need with a really easy-to-use builder.

Just choose a template, then select different elements to edit. Each theme comes filled with text boxes, images, and named pages. And all of it is adjustable: you can edit everything with a click. Pictures are particularly easy to edit—you can even crop, adjust lighting, and add text right in the editor.

There aren't as many templates as you'll find in a tool like Wix, but the ones there are well-designed. You can add buttons, contact forms, and slide shows, swap out images, insert a newsletter form, and add a map, all with the click of a button. Or you can use the Apps tab if you want to add additional features like Google Ads or forms. Most cost a few bucks, but they aren't subscriptions, which is nice. 

Your site also comes with SSL enabled, which is good for SEO, and Weebly makes it easy to change your favicon, the icon that appears in the browser tab for your website. If you want to view a mobile version of your site, just click the mobile icon in the top navigation. Under the SEO tab, you can add a page title, URL, description, meta keywords, and custom header/footer code, like Google Analytics tracking codes. 

If you choose the free plan, your site will have Weebly branding and domain—standard for free site builders. The paid plans aren't a great deal: just to connect a custom domain is $10/month. So if you need more than this tool offers, I'd opt for one of the next tools on the list.  

Weebly pricing: Free plan available; paid plans start at $10/month.

Ease of use: Very intuitive. If you want to change something, just click on it. 

Customization options: Not as customizable as other platforms, like Wix, but that makes it ideal for someone who doesn't have a ton of website experience. 

SEO tools: Very basic, but better than some site builders that offer almost nothing.   

Value of free plan: Decent, but not outstanding. 

Webnode is a good Weebly alternative. You can choose from over a hundred templates and use the drag-and-drop editor to move elements around. The clean interface is friendly to use, and unlike other site builders, there's no sidebar to overwhelm you. If you want to edit something, just click on it and make changes. It was a close call, but Webnode didn't make the cut because it's not quite as intuitive as Weebly.

Best free website builder for email-focused businesses

  • GetResponse

GetResponse, our pick for the best free website builder for for email-focused businesses

Most of the free site builders on this list are standalone platforms. That's because every tool out there seems to offer a free site builder—but most are terrible. You can throw together a half-decent site, but it won't scale with you and probably won't have the features you need. 

But GetResponse —which is a more generalized marketing tool with a focus on email—offers a free site builder that's pretty impressive. Start by telling it how you want to build your site, choosing a template or using the AI-powered builder. I chose a business template, and it was easy to change all the basic elements like font, size, and images and introduce new sections, such as testimonials. For example, you can change the button shape, size, and alignment and then get into advanced settings, like shadow effects, border styles, and colors. You can even hide page elements on a mobile device with the click of a button.

I was impressed by the features, and it didn't feel overwhelming at all. I didn't have to search for things—just clicked to edit, and everything I needed was right there.  

Oddly, on the marketing side, the tool is pretty bare-bones. You can easily optimize for mobile (there's a whole tab for it), but SEO features are somewhat limited: you can adjust the meta title and description, but that's about it. You can also add custom code, like HTML, CSS, or JavaScript, in the page header element. Still, GetResponse is a strong contender for a free site builder, especially if you already use it for your email marketing or plan to focus on email marketing. 

Want to do more with GetResponse? Connect it to Zapier to automatically add Facebook lead ads leads or PayPal customers to your GetResponse email list—and more.

Add new Facebook Lead Ads leads to GetResponse as new contacts

Facebook Lead Ads logo

Create New GetResponse Contacts from PayPal Sales

PayPal logo

GetResponse pricing: Free plan available; paid plans start at $15.58/month.

Ease of use: Very intuitive, especially for how much you can adjust.

Customization options: GetResponse offers hundreds of templates and easy drag-and-drop features in the templates. 

SEO tools: Limited but sufficient. You can edit meta and alt tags and optimize for mobile.  

Value of free plan: Great. You can build and launch a site, add your own domain, and manage up to 500 newsletter contacts—all for free.

Best free all-around website builder

Wix, our pick for the best free all around website builder

Wix is one of the most popular drag-and-drop website builders on the market—but is it worth the hype? If you're looking to build a straightforward website with a few features, and don't want to get bogged down in decisions, Wix is a solid choice. 

Start by telling Wix what type of site you want, and any additional features you need, such as a blog, chat, forms, or an online store. Next, you can pick a template from over 900 designs, all broken down by type. They all look professional and can be easily adjusted to fit your needs. Or, you can let Wix create your site using the Wix ADI feature. I tried both options but was underwhelmed by the automatic Wix ADI results.

If you choose a template, it loads slowly the first time as it populates information: it took a little over 10 seconds to load the template I chose. But once you get into the template to edit, you'll see why—it's a seriously robust editor for a free website builder. To build your desired site, you can change fonts, add headings, include lists, and even drag and drop sections. No coding, no flipping through tabs. I found it quite intuitive to use (though I have used WordPress site builders for years).

Wix also offers tons of integrations, including email, so you can easily launch a digital marketing campaign right from your Wix dashboard. I was honestly amazed by the amount you can do for free. (Note: You can choose free images from Wix and Unsplash, or upload your own. But some of the available images are from Shutterstock, which you have to pay for.) 

Not a copywriter? I am, but I know it's easy to get stuck writing copy for your website. Wix suggests text, which is pretty awesome. Just tell the AI Text Creator what you want to say, and it'll suggest how to make it sound good. 

Wix also offers detailed SEO features to help you rank on Google; it won't replace hiring an SEO expert, but it's a good leg up. You can even create a marketing calendar and manage ads right inside Wix. That's perfect for business owners who don't have the time or energy to learn a whole host of different platforms. 

Once you've added pages, updated your copy, and made whatever other adjustments you like, it's time to make your site live. For a free site, you'll get a domain ending with ".wixsite.com"—e.g., azaharmedia.wixsite.co—and a Wix logo (pretty standard for free site builders). Of course, if you have your own domain, you can connect it.

As an added bonus, Wix integrates with Zapier , allowing you to add tasks to your project management tool or send email campaigns based on triggered automations in Wix.

Create cards in Trello when new automations are triggered in Wix

Wix logo

Send Mailchimp campaign drafts with new Wix automations

Mailchimp logo

Wix pricing: Free plan available; paid plans start at $14/month. 

Ease of use: Easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor. I found it intuitive, but beginners might get overwhelmed; if so, they also offer a free AI website builder option called Wix ADI.

Customization options: Very customizable—you can add forms, a blog, eCommerce features, and even create custom videos.  

SEO features: Quite a few! Wix also does a good job of explaining what each feature does and walks you through each process, even for off-site tools like Google Analytics. 

Value of free plan: Excellent. While some builders try to make you upgrade on every other feature, Wix includes most features to some degree with the free plan.  

Read our comparison of Wix vs. Weebly for more details.

Best free website builder for more experienced creators

Dorik, our pick for the best free website builder for more experienced creators

Dorik lets you build a fully-fledged website or a single landing page for free and includes premium options if you want to add a blog or a paid membership.

Based on my experience of using WordPress page builders, I found it both intuitive and refreshing to use. Beginners may find it more challenging, but it's easy to access the excellent online documentation.

You can start from scratch, import JSON, or preview and select one of the 39 website templates. When you first edit, Dorik walks you through the various settings. Essentially, you use the visual drag-and-drop editor to build sections, using 250+ UI blocks (rows and columns) and 20+ elements (text, buttons, icons, etc.) You can position the editor control panel on the left or right side of the screen.

There are a couple of neat editing features worth highlighting. First, there are color differentiators, so you know what you're editing (for example, rows in a purple dashed line and columns in a pink dashed line). Second, there's a Navigation Tree to pinpoint the precise rows to edit. With some site builders, it's easy to mistake the wrong block or element. 

The SEO settings are easily accessible and configurable for each page, from basics like title and description to advanced meta settings like FAQ schema and analytics. Dorik also lets you design for desktop, tablet, and mobile screen sizes if you want to adjust layouts accordingly. 

Dorik pricing: Free plan available; paid plans start at $79/year.

Ease of use: Easy to use drag-and-drop editor. Beginners may get overwhelmed, but there's good online documentation to hand. 

Customization options: Countless choices. Select from 39 templates, 250+ UI blocks, and 20+ elements to create your site. 

SEO tools: Full range including page title and description, no-index/no-follow meta settings, canonical URL, schema, and custom header/footer code.   

Value of free plan: Excellent. Includes unlimited page views, storage, premium templates and blocks, free SSL (HTTPS) certificate, global CDN (to load images faster), image optimization, SEO settings, and integrations.  

Best free website builder for growing businesses

Hubspot cms hub.

HubSpot CMS, our pick for the best free website builder for growing businesses

HubSpot is a popular business software platform for marketing, sales, and service teams, and its free website builder continues in the same vein. I loved the step-by-step plan that guides you through building your website, with percentages on how far along you are.

Start by selecting a theme for your site—you want page templates, modules, and style settings that fit your brand. The marketplace has hundreds (both free and premium) to choose from; I went with the Growth Theme.

Next, customize your theme's settings (colors, fonts, and layouts) to fit your brand. For example, you can modify an existing color scheme or create your own. Then start building your site by setting up the popular pages—home, about, contact, and so on—and choosing a standard header and footer layout. HubSpot even provides a full tutorial on using the drag-and-drop editor. All together, you can choose from 47 modules (elements), including header, text, image, accordion, and CTA. 

You can tell HubSpot CMS is geared towards business sites with its emphasis on creating a blog and robust SEO tools. There's a dedicated setup step to create your blog title, URL, and description so it looks right in the search engines before you even publish individual posts. Then there's a whole raft of general on-page SEO settings to enter, including title, description, URL (and canonical URL), language, featured image, and additional header and footer code snippets. HubSpot also provides SEO recommendations as you add content to your page and highlights what you need to address. HubSpot is all about inbound marketing, so you'll definitely feel like you're in safe hands. Just be sure to address the ugly default URL (yoursite.hubspotpagebuilder.com) with a custom domain. 

And if you use HubSpot for more than just website-building, you can connect it to Zapier to automate all your workflows and put more resources back into your business. Here are some examples of how you can send form submissions where you need them.

Save new HubSpot form submissions to Google Sheets rows

HubSpot logo

Send new HubSpot form submissions an email from Gmail

Gmail logo

HubSpot CMS pricing: Free plan available; paid plans start at $23/month.

Ease of use: Easy to use. Smooth operation. Guided prompts.

Customization options: Select from hundreds of free and premium templates and 47 modules (elements) to build a site that fits your brand style. 

SEO tools: Get SEO recommendations as you create content on pages. Customize further by adding code snippets to header/footer and defining a canonical URL. 

Value of free plan: Great free plan to get started. You probably want to upgrade to a premium plan to remove the HubSpot logo and use a custom domain with a more manageable and memorable URL. 

Best free WordPress alternative for advanced designers

Webflow, our pick for the best free WordPress alternative for tech-forward users

Recently, I noticed more sites choosing Webflow over WordPress, so I was especially interested in trying it. 

Some of the free site builders on this list are super easy to use, with hundreds of templates and drag-and-drop editors. That's not Webflow. Once you create an account, Webflow asks who you are (marketer, website builder, etc.) and if you have experience with CSS/HTML. This is a great way for them to create a platform that's easier for everyone to use—but it seemed to fall short. I tried creating a second account and said I was building a site for myself with no coding experience…and the onboarding was the same. 

They have a few free templates, or you can purchase one that makes your site easier to build (similar to WordPress). Plus, they offer an optional walk-through (and email tutorials) to familiarize you with the platform, which is quite helpful. If you're comfortable with WordPress and the concept of styles and classes, you should be ok. But if you're new to website builders, it might be hard to get your footing.

But there's a reason for that: there are a lot of features and a ton of customization options. You can add containers, adjust the height, change fonts, add buttons, and on and on—center, stack containers horizontally, and much more. 

If you know what to do with SEO, you'll have access to everything you need, including title tags and meta descriptions. But they aren't easy to find: for example, to add the meta description, you have to navigate to the main page panel, click on the page, click settings, and then finally, you'll see SEO settings.  

Another thing I love about Webflow—which also makes it a good WordPress alternative—is the ability to expand site functionality with integrations and widgets for targeting, limiting spam, engaging customers, managing your CRM, and much more. It's not the easiest platform to use, but it's incredibly powerful for a free site builder.

Using Zapier, you can connect your Webflow site to other apps you use. Send new Webflow form submissions to a spreadsheet or email marketing tool, or even send emails when someone fills out a Webflow form. 

Send Webflow form data to Google Sheets

Webflow logo

Send emails via Gmail for new Webflow form submissions

Webflow pricing: Free plan available; paid plans start at $14/month. 

Ease of use: Not easy for newbies. They do offer a walk-through, or you can use a template, but if you're looking for an easy drag-and-drop builder, Webflow isn't it. On the other hand, if you're comfortable with a WordPress page builder like Elementor, you'll be fine.

Customization options: Tons of customization options, but you're building the site almost from scratch. 

SEO tools: You can access everything you need, but they aren't super obvious. Those who aren't familiar with SEO may struggle.

Value of free plan: The free plan gives you access to all features, up to 50 CMS items, 1 GB of bandwidth, and a Webflow.io domain.

Should you use a free website builder?

If you're launching a 1,000+ page eCommerce store or building a fully interactive app, you probably want to hire a developer—or at least pay for a fully-loaded website builder. But if you're just starting out or need to get your business online, these options will get the job done. Dorik and HubSpot CMS have both given me food for thought about whether I should migrate from WordPress. Which website builder will you choose?

Related reading:

The best landing page builders

The best eCommerce website builders

The best blog sites

This article was originally published in August 2018 by Jeff Smith and has also had contributions from Danielle Antosz. The most recent update was in April 2023.

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David Hartshorne

David is a freelance writer for leading B2B SaaS and tech brands, creating detailed, actionable content that resonates with their audience. When he’s not writing, you’ll find him chilling with a thriller or roaring on the Villa.

  • Website builders
  • Wix Automations

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