The 9 Best Website Builders and Ecommerce Platforms 2022

Best website builder UK

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 26 November 2021

Your business needs an ecommerce platform or a website builder – but which one?


Based on our most recent round of research and user testing in 2021, we identified Shopify as the best dedicated online store platform on the market and Wix as the second-best. Plus, Wix came in first place for best all-round website builder, which consiered both the platforms' ecommerce and non-ecommerce offerings.

We recently revisited our research to see how the best ecommerce platforms and website builders have improved – or slipped up – since we first tested them. We looked at the most important areas such as sales features, design functions, value for money, customer support, and ease of use, scoring each platform out of five in those categories.

And the results are in. The most improved platforms are Shopify – improving its user-experience in the backend – and Wix, with its bulked-out multi-channel selling.

For everything else, simply keep reading. We'll first review the best ecommerce platforms, followed by our favourite website builders…


The 5 best ecommerce platforms

Based on our research findings, we know the best ecommerce platforms are:

Ecommerce platform

Starting price (billed annually)Best for

Overall rating /5

 Shopify

£22/monthBest sales-specific features

4.7

Wix Ecommerce

£13/monthBest for user-friendliness

4.6

BigCommerce

£22/monthBest for scaling your business

4.4

Square Online

£0/monthBest value for money

4.4

Squarespace Ecommerce

£20/month

10% off with code EM10

Best for designing your brand image

4.3


Shopify 4.7/5

Would suit your business if you want excellent sales-specific features

Sales features /5

Design functionalities /5Value for money /5Help and support /5

Ease of use /5

4.7

3.93.04.4

3.5

In our latest round of testing, Shopify shot up from 4.2 to 4.7/5 overall. This comes down to its intuitive inventory management tools that pre-empt what you might want to add next, and more comprehensive customer support.  What's more, you can upload single or multiple products, receive daily revenue reports, and use its online invoice generator to make your payment collection days much easier.

It also offers superb multi-channel integration, letting you sell through Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, and other social platforms (which is more than Wix Ecommerce can offer).

However, it’s the only platform to enforce its own transaction fee (2.2% +20p on the ‘Basic’ plan) unless you use Shopify Payments. Shopify also relies on third party apps for much of its functionality, which can see your monthly costs add up quickly.

Pros:

  • Excellent multi-channel integration
  • Provides the best sales-specific features of any platform we tested
  • Strong server response time, meaning your pages should load very quickly
  • Intuitive inventory management features

X Cons:

  • Transaction fees imposed if you don’t use Shopify’s payment gateway
  • Less creative freedom on your storefront than Wix Ecommerce
  • Fewer in-built features than most platforms, meaning you'll rely on costly apps for certain functions

Shopify pricing

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial period plus three core price plans, which we’ve converted from USD to GBP:

Plan

Cost (billed annually)Best for

What you’ll get

Basic Shopify£22/monthStarting a small online store

Sell an unlimited number of products

24/7 support

2.2% + 20p credit card rates

Sell in 133 currencies

Shopify£58/monthGrowing your business

Gift cards

Abandoned cart recovery emails

Five staff accounts

1.9% + 20p credit card rates

Advanced Shopify£219/monthLarge online stores

Third party calculated shipping rates

15 staff accounts

Sell in five languages

1.6% + 20p credit card rates

Shopify is one of the most comprehensive ecommerce platforms around Try Shopify Free

Wix Ecommerce 4.6/5

Would suit your business if you want a user-friendly platform

Sales features /5

Design functionalities/5Value for money /5Help and support /5

Ease of use /5

3.9

3.54.24.3

4.0

Wix Ecommerce has also improved, increasing from 4.3 to 4.6/5 overall. It now supports Instagram and Facebook integration, while you can also use drop shipping services.

We also liked the SEO Wizard tool, which makes it really easy to improve your store’s ranking on Google’s results pages.

That said, Wix is still your best bet if you want total control over how your storefront looks. With Wix, you can create an online store entirely within your own control, with its flexible creative tools enabling you to build a truly unique storefront. If you're not too concerned about a powerful inventory system, then you'll love using this platform.

Read Full Wix Review

Pros:

  • Lots of creative control to help you build your brand
  • Add product videos to help improve the customer experience
  • Wix has everything a small business would need already built-in

X Cons:

  • The sheer amount of creative freedom can hinder ecommerce best practices
  • Only supports multi-channel selling via Instagram as an in-built feature
  • Could be easier to sync physical inventory with your new Wix store

Wix Ecommerce pricing

Wix offers a 14-day free trial on its premium plans, with three ecommerce-specific plans to choose from:

Plan

Cost (billed annually)Best for

What you’ll get

Business Basic£13/monthSmall businesses looking to sell online

Accept online payments

Unlimited bandwidth

20GB storage

Free domain for one year

Upload up to 5 hours of video

Site Booster app

Visitor Analytics app

£75 Google Ads voucher

Sales analytics and reports

Business Unlimited£17/monthGrowing businesses

35GB storage

Upload up to 10 hours of video

Professional logo

Pro ecommerce features such as automated tax sales

14-day free trial£22/monthMedium to large businesses

50GB storage

Unlimited video hours

Priority response on the Wix Answers page

VIP support

Wix is our top choice for small businesses looking to get online TRY WIX FREE

BigCommerce 4.4/5

Would suit your business if you want to scale to new heights

Sales features /5

Design functionalities /5Value for money /5Help and support /5

Ease of use /5

4.6

4.23.04.5

3.3

BigCommerce is big on built-in features. It has everything you need to grow your business already available at no extra cost – unlike the other platforms, such as Shopify, which rely on third-party apps.

We found BigCommerce’s multi-channel selling particularly impressive – enabling you to sell via social media and grow your audience with ease – and loved its SEO features, which can help your online store to appear high up on relevant search engine results pages. 

Again, unlike Shopify, there is no transaction fee to worry about, which can help you save enormously in the long run.

While it’s still the least user-friendly platform we've tested (scoring 3.3/5 for ease of use), BigCommerce is brilliant at helping you to manage your entire business processes, not just sell products.

Pros:

  • Excellent SEO features, including onsite prompts and hints when adding products
  • Widest choice of in-built features of any platform on the market
  • Multi-channel integration across social media
  • No transaction fees, unlike Shopify

X Cons:

  • Interface could be more user-friendly
  • Would be quite overwhelming at first for tech beginners
  • Relatively restrictive template design

BigCommerce pricing

BigCommerce offers a generous 15-day free trial period, and three core price plans in USD, which we’ve converted to GBP:

Plan

Cost (billed annually)Best for

What you’ll get

Standard£22/monthStarting a small or medium-sized online store

Sell an unlimited number of products

Multichannel selling

Coupon creation

Reporting tools

Plus£59/monthGrowing your online store

Abandoned cart recovery emails

Customer loyalty programmes

Store credit card payment details

Pro£220/monthScaling your business to new heights

Filter products through size and colour variants

Dedicated SSL security

Google reviews

Big ambitions for your business? BigCommerce might be right for you Try BigCommerce Free

Square Online 4.4/5

Would suit your business if you want value for money

Sales features /5

Design functionalities /5Value for money /5Help and support /5

Ease of use /5

3.7

2.64.74.1

3.9

Square Online lets you build a website and sell for free. That's by far its biggest selling point. While it could massively improve its design flexibility (scoring a measly 2.6/5), and offer better reporting features, it's still one of the quickest and most affordable ways to build an online store.

We recommend Square Online for small online stores – it has all the essentials you need to start selling online for free, including multi-channel integration, and it doesn't overwhelm you with data fields like BigCommerce does.

The transaction fees are relatively high, and the overall layout could be more intuitive, but Square Online is an excellent no-frills approach to selling online.

Pros:

  • Ability to sell for free
  • No bells and whistles platform – simply the essentials
  • Easy to get your store up and running

X Cons:

  • High transaction fees which could impact growing businesses
  • Overall layout could be more logical
  • Restrictive design tools

Square Online pricing

Square Online has four price plans to choose from:

PlanCost (billed annually)What you’ll getTransaction fees

Free

£0 per monthSell unlimited products

Instagram and Pinterest integration

1.9% for European cards

2.9% for non-European cards

Professional£9 per monthUse your own domain name

No Square branding or ads

Free custom domain for one year

1.9% for European cards

2.9% for non-European card

Performance

£19 per monthHave customer reviews on your site

Recover lost sales with abandoned cart emails

1.9% for European cards

2.9% for non-European card

Premium£54 per monthSave with lower card transaction fees

1.75% for European cards

2.9% for non-European cards

Square Online is the best value for money platform we've tested Try Square Free

Squarespace Ecommerce 4.3/5

Would suit your business if you want a stunning online store

Sales features /5

Design functionalities /5Value for money /5Help and support /5

Ease of use /5

3.1

3.94.24.2

4.2

Squarespace is the best website builder that offers ecommerce functionality on the side, impressing us with its intuitive inventory management, visual marketing approach, and improved ease of use going from a 3.4 to 4.2/5 score since our previous testing. In fact, it's now the easiest-to-use platform on our list.

It supports multi-channel selling, the ability to create and brand your Instagram story posts, and built-in social media live feeds on your website – something that costs extra on the other platforms. Squarespace has also increased the number of integrated payment processers from two to five.

Space for improvement? Sure. It has limited stock monitoring capabilities and a relatively poor site speed performance, meaning you risk your customers waiting for some pages to load. For a platform focussed on design, we were disappointed to find a limited number of ecommerce-specific templates, too.

Pros:

  • Excellent value for money
  • Easiest platform to build an online store with, providing prompts to support your experience
  • Real focus on visual marketing, helping you build more than a website

X Cons:

  • Relatively limited stock monitoring functions
  • Poor site speed performance
  • Very limited ecommerce-specific templates to choose from

Squarespace pricing

Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial period and has two ecommerce-specific price plans to choose from. Also, don't forget you can save 10% on Squarespace by using code EM10 at the checkout.

PlanCost (billed annually)Best forWhat you’ll get
Basic Commerce£20/monthSMBs looking to sell online

Point of Sale app to help you sell in person

Sell on Instagram

Limited availability labels

0% transaction fees

Advanced Commerce£30/monthMedium-sized ecommerce businesses

Abandoned cart recovery

Sell subscriptions

Advanced shipping features (including a real-time cost calculator)

Squarespace can help you design a store that really stands out from the competition Try Squarespace Free

The 4 best website builders

From our independent research, we know that the best website builders are:

Website builderStarting price (billed annually)Free plan/trial?Best forOverall rating /5
Wix£6.50/monthFree planBest overall website builder4.8
Squarespace£10/month

10% off with code EM10

14-day free trialBest templates4.8
GoDaddy£6.99/month30-day free trialFastest to build a website4.2
Weebly£4/monthFree planBest value for money3.9

Wix 4.8/5

Would suit your business if you want a website built quickly

With over 154 million users in 190 different countries, Wix enables you to build a professional-looking website within a matter of hours, offering 510+ templates and intuitive drag-and-drop design tools. 

Better yet, Wix ADI (artificial design intelligence) can generate a brand new website for you in minutes, after you’ve answered a few questions about the type of site you want.

On the downside, Wix doesn’t allow you to switch templates once you publish your website, which can be quite restrictive.

Pros:

  • Huge choice of templates to help you design the website you want
  • Best website builder for help and support
  • Wix ADI can build a website for you within minutes

X Cons:

  • Cannot switch templates after publishing your website
  • Adding apps can increase your monthly costs

Wix pricing

Wix has four plans that are designed for building non-ecommerce websites. Connect Domain is not a full premium plan – instead it simply allows you to add a custom domain name to your website. For Wix's premium features, you'll need to sign up to at least the Combo plan at £6.50 per month.

Wix also has a free plan, but it comes with Wix adverts on every page, plus a ‘.wix.com’ subdomain, which can make your site look unprofessional. For that reason, we’d recommend the premium plans for building your business website:

PlanCost (billed annually)Best for

What you’ll get

Connect Domain£3.50/monthVery basic websites

1GB bandwidth

500MB storage

Connect your own domain name

Combo£6.50/monthPersonal use

2GB bandwidth

3GB storage

Remove Wix ads

Free domain for one year

£75 Google Ads voucher

Unlimited (most popular)£9.50/monthEntrepreneurs and Freelancers

Unlimited bandwidth

10GB storage

Site Booster app (worth £45)

Visitor Analytics app (worth £45)

VIP£19/monthSmall to medium businesses

20GB storage

Professional logo designed for you (worth £38)

VIP support

Wix is our top choice for small businesses looking to get online TRY WIX FREE

Squarespace 4.8/5

Would suit your business if you want a beautiful website

The best website builder for design, using Squarespace is the closest you’ll get to professional web designer quality. It offers the best-designed templates on the market, and powerful design tools.

Due to this creative complexity, Squarespace is harder to use than Wix. If you struggle with tech or have little interest in spending hours – or days – designing your website, then you should try Wix or Weebly instead.

That said, you’ll end up with a beautiful website if you stick it out with Squarespace.

Pros:

  • Best-designed templates of any website builder
  • Offers lots of creative control through powerful design tools
  • Mobile app to help you get creative on the go

X Cons:

  • Steeper learning curve than on Wix
  • No auto-save feature while editing your website

Squarepsace pricing

Squarepace offers a 14-day free trial, and has two website builder plans to choose from:

PlanCost (billed annually)Best forWhat you’ll get
Personal£10/monthPersonal use

Free custom domain

Unlimited bandwidth and storage

24/7 customer support

Business£15/monthSmall businesses

Professional Google account

Up to £75 Google Ads credit

Sell unlimited number of products

Sell gift cards

3% transaction fee

Remember that Expert Market readers can save 10% on Squarespace by using code EM10 at the checkout.

Squarespace has the best design tools to help your website shine online Try Squarespace Today

GoDaddy 4.2/5

Would suit your business if you want to get online quickly

GoDaddy is a solid all-round choice for small businesses. It's user-friendly thanks to its ADI feature (artificial design intelligence) and has since improved its design functionality by offering sleeker templates and greater customisation. It's also the quickest and most efficient website building experience.

However, the ADI feature sacrifices originality for time. This means your store will get built within a few minutes but risks looking just like another GoDaddy product.

We were also impressed by GoDaddy's SEO Wiz, helping you optimise your website in order to appear higher in the search engine results pages. All in all, GoDaddy's a safe pair of hands.

Pros:

  • Quickest and most efficient way to build a website
  • Excellent SEO features to increase your site's visibility on search engines
  • Generous free trial period of 30 days

X Cons:

  • Your site risks looking generic due to the ADI function
  • Restrictive design interface

GoDaddy pricing

PlanCostBest forWhat you’ll get

Basic

£6.99/monthPersonal use

Security

24/7 support

Analytics

100 email marketing sends/month

1 social media platform

5 social posts/month

One-time appointments

Standard

£9.99/monthSmall businesses

Everything on Basic, plus:

SEO support

3 social media platforms

20 social posts/month

500 email marketing sends/month

Premium

£14.99/monthGrowing businesses

Everything on Standard, plus:

Unlimited social media platforms

Unlimited social posts/month

Unlimited email marketing sends/month

Recurring appointments

Email and text appointment reminders

GoDaddy is the quickest and most efficient route to building a website Try GoDaddy Today

Weebly 3.9/5

Would suit your business if you want value for money

Weebly is another popular drag-and-drop website builder, meaning you can place elements wherever you like on each page. 

It offers affordable price plans and plenty of apps to help you grow your business, as well as strong SEO features to help your website appear higher up on the search engine results pages, making Weebly great value for money.

It can’t match Wix for creative freedom, and it doesn’t have an ADI option. Also, Weebly’s templates are less impressive than those offered by Squarespace, but it’s a good option for small business owners who don’t have much technical skill.

Pros:

  • Really useful SEO guides and tips
  • Large app market to help you bolster your site
  • Best value for money website builder

X Cons:

  • Lacks the creative freedom found on Wix
  • No ADI feature
  • No personal restore option (the support team will have to restore your site for you)

Weebly pricing

Weebly has three website builder plans to choose from. Like Wix, it has a free plan, but that comes with Weebly adverts on each page, which can make your site look amateurish. We recommend signing up to one of these price plans:

PlanCost (billed annually)Best forWhat you’ll get
Connect£4/monthPersonal sites

Free SSL security

500MB storage

Connect a custom domain

Chat and email support

Pro£9/monthGroups and organisations

Unlimited storage

Remove Weebly ads

Site search bar

Accept payments

Phone support

£75 Google Ads credit

Business£18/monthSmall businesses and stores

Coupon codes

Shipping cost calculator

Automatic tax calculator

Pop-up notifications

Weebly offers superb value for money and can help your business grow online Try Weebly Today

Expert verdict

The best ecommerce platforms are Shopify and Wix Ecommerce, scoring 4.7/5 and 4.6/5, respectively overall in our testing. Shopify is the all-in-one ecommerce solution, ideal for almost any online store, while Wix Ecommerce is the more user-friendly platform, making it easy to build a smaller, brand-focussed online store.

The best ‘generic' website builders are Wix and Squarespace, both scoring an impressive 4.8/5. Wix is ideal for creating professional-looking websites with consummate ease, while Squarespace offers sleek templates and superb design features.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

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