In this article, we’ll show you the top five website builders and ecommerce platforms in 2019
Finding the best website builder for your business can seem like a daunting task. There are plenty of platforms available on the UK market today, but which of them can really help your website stand out from the rest?
That’s where we come in. At Expert Market, we’ve tested a whole range of website builders to help you make the right choice – digging up all the details you need to know when you’re making a website, such as pricing, ease of use, template design, and more.
Keen for a quick overview? Let’s cut to the chase. From our research, we found that Wix is the best overall website builder, Weebly suits small businesses, Squarespace is the king of design, Shopify packs the biggest ecommerce punch, while BigCommerce suits large, fast-growing businesses.
For more detail on each platform, check out our individual reviews below…
Exclusive Black Friday offer! Save 10% on Squarespace with the code BLKFRI10
Top 5 UK website builders: our reviews
Best overall website builder
Wix is the best all-round website builder on the market today, with over 132 million registered users worldwide. But why is it so popular? Simply put, it couldn’t be easier to design your website on Wix. This is thanks to its intuitive drag-and-drop feature, 510+ beautiful templates, and 24/7 customer support. Oh, and it has a free plan.
Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) makes web design on Wix even easier. Simply answer a few questions about your website ambitions, and Wix ADI automatically creates a professional website for you in minutes. What’s not to love?
- Very easy to use
- Excellent value for money
- Superb customer support
- Cannot switch templates after publishing
- Too much flexibility can be overwhelming
- ‘.Wix.com’ sub-domain on free plan
How much does Wix cost?
Wix is so popular because of its generous free plan. However, on this plan you’ll have Wix ads all over your website, and a ‘.wix.com’ subdomain, which doesn’t look professional.
For a few extra pounds a month, you can open up your business to a range of features in areas such as ecommerce, marketing, analytics, and much more. Wix’s cheapest price plan costs just £3 per month, on which you can connect your own domain, while its most expensive costs £22 per month. This plan is suitable for online stores, giving you access to invaluable ecommerce features such as abandoned cart recovery emails, which notify customers if they haven’t finalised a purchase.
Wix’s current pricing plans can be seen in more detail below:
|Free||500MB storage and bandwidth, ‘.Wix.com’ subdomain, Wix adverts||£0|
|Connect Domain||1GB bandwidth, 500MB storage||£3/month|
|Combo||2GB bandwidth, 3GB storage, free domain||£6/month|
|Unlimited||Unlimited bandwidth, 10GB storage, free domain||£8.50/month|
|Business & Ecommerce||10GB bandwidth, 20-50GB storage, free domain, online store (100% commission free), £75 ad vouchers, and more||£13-22/month|
|VIP||Unlimited bandwidth, 20GB storage, free domain, online store, email campaigns, priority response||£18/month|
▶ Read more: Best Free Website Builders in 2019
Best for small businesses
Weebly is a popular drag-and-drop website builder, just like Wix. It’s really simple to use, has some handy tools to help create a professional-looking website, and also offers a free plan. It’s perfect for small businesses thanks to its corporate and ecommerce-focused features and apps, and it has some really helpful SEO (search engine optimisation) guides to help your website rank higher on Google.
It doesn’t provide quite as much creative freedom as Wix does, and there is no ADI option, but Weebly still offers everything you need to build a professional website quickly and easily.
- Over 100 sleek templates
- Impressive app centre
- Very user-friendly
- No ADI option
- You cannot restore old websites yourself without the customer service team
How much does Weebly cost?
Like Wix, Weebly offers a free package that gives you access to its basic features, letting you publish as many websites as you like. You can benefit from Weebly’s full range of features and premium customer support from just £4 per month, with the other three plans costing £9, £18, and £28 per month, when paid annually.
Check out our table for Weebly’s current price plans…
|Free||500MB storage, Weebly.com subdomain, free SSL security||£0|
|Connect||500MB storage, free SSL security, connect own domain||£4/month|
|Pro||Unlimited storage, basic ecommerce tools, remove Weebly adverts, site search||£9/month|
|Business||Advanced ecommerce tools, pop-up notifications, integrated Facebook ads||£18/month|
|Business Plus||Abandoned cart recovery emails, real-time shipping updates, email campaign tools||£28/month|
Best for design
Building a website on Squarespace is the closest you’ll get to professional web designer quality. Its templates are simply sublime, and the design tools it offers are the most complex on the market today. In short, Squarespace can help your website stand out by a mile.
With such creative power comes more design responsibility. Squarespace is harder to use than Weebly or Wix, but after the initial learning curve, you’ll find it’s a dream to work with. Squarespace is ideal for those in the creative industry, and you can ‘try before you buy’ with its 14-day free trial.
- Best-designed templates on the market
- Powerful design features
- Offers lots of creative control without coding
- Tricky to use at first
- No app store
Exclusive Black Friday offer! Save 10% on Squarespace with the code BLKFRI10
How much does Squarespace cost?
Squarespace has four price plans to choose from. When paid annually, these are:
- Personal (£10/month)
- Business (£15/month)
- Basic Commerce (£20/month)
- Advanced Commerce (£30/month)
Squarespace’s Personal plan is designed for building beautiful websites, while the other three packages open up your ecommerce possibilities – giving you access to a range of sales tools that grows broader the more you pay.
Don’t feel like committing for a year? That’s understandable, but don’t forget that Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial, so you can test its tools before spending a penny.
|Personal||Unlimited bandwidth and storage, 24/7 customer service, 60+ stunning templates||£10/month|
|Business||Advanced analytics tools, 3% transaction fees, £80 Google AdWords credits, promotional pop-ups||£15/month|
|Basic Commerce||Sell on Instagram, 0% transaction fees, label printing via Shipstation account||£20/month|
|Advanced Commerce||Abandoned cart recovery emails, gift cards, advanced discounts, limited availability labels||£30/month|
Best for ecommerce
Shopify is the best all round ecommerce website builder on the market – it’s intuitive, powerful, and packed with great sales tools. Not only that, but you’ll also have access to over 1,200 apps to help improve your online store in all the key areas for selling online. In a nutshell, Shopify is a one-stop ecommerce shop.
In terms of design, your Shopify store will get plaudits. This builder has 10 free themes and 50+ paid options, all mobile-responsive and created by independent designers. While there isn’t a free plan, Shopify does offer a 14-free trial.
- Very user-friendly
- Brilliant sales tools
- Excellent customer support
- Content doesn’t reformat if you switch themes
- Enforces transaction fees if you don’t use Shopify Payments
How much does Shopify cost?
Shopify has three main pricing plans, all of which are set in US dollars. With an annual subscription, the prices are:
- Social Media Lite ($9/month)
- Basic Shopify ($29/month)
- Shopify ($79/month)
- Advanced Shopify ($299)
- Shopify Plus (Bespoke pricing)
Naturally, you’ll get a more comprehensive selection of sales tools on the higher price plans. Remember, Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, too.
When it comes to online selling, there are always some transaction fees to think about. With Shopify, all transaction fees are waived on their end if you’re using Shopify Payments. This means you’ll only pay the standard credit card rate of 2.2% + 20p per transaction on the Basic plan.
But do note that you’ll have to pay transaction fees on top of the credit card fees if you use an alternative payment gateway, such as Stripe or PayPal.
For more detail on Shopify’s core price plans, check out our table…
|Lite||Sell only on social media, create coupons||$9/month|
|Basic Shopify||Sell an unlimited number of products, 24/7 support, 2.2% + 20p credit card rates||$29/month|
|Shopify||1.9% + 2p credit card rates, gift cards, abandoned cart recovery emails, five staff accounts||$79/month|
|Advanced Shopify||15 staff accounts, third party calculated shipping rates, 1.6% + 20p credit card rates||$299/month|
|Shopify Plus||Advanced Shopify apps, customisable checkout, add a wholesale store, and more||Bespoke|
Best for scaling your business
If you’re looking to build an ecommerce empire quickly, this is the platform for you. We love the sheer number of BigCommerce’s top quality in-built features, which can help your business to reach new, dizzying heights. Unlike Shopify, everything you need for growing a business is already there – there’s no need to search for and install apps.
However, BigCommerce drops points due to its intuitiveness – or lack thereof. In contrast to Shopify, BigCommerce is tricky to use, and has no mobile app to help you sell on the go. However, after the initial learning curve, you’ll find great satisfaction in the platform’s powerful tools. It even offers a 15-day free trial period, and doesn’t impose any transaction fees on any price plans.
- Best in-built features on the market
- Supports lots of payment options
- Sell on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
- Harder to use than Shopify
- No mobile app
How much does BigCommerce cost?
Similarly to Shopify, BigCommerce doesn’t have a free plan. Instead, it offers a 15-day free trial. After that period, you can upgrade to a paid plan, charged in US dollars. When paid annually, these are:
- Standard ($29.95/month)
- Plus ($71.95/month)
- Pro ($224.95/month)
- Enterprise (Custom)
One thing to be aware of is that you’ll need to upgrade to a higher plan if your annual sales exceed a certain amount. For example, if you’re on the Standard plan and your annual sales exceed $50,000, you’ll have to upgrade to the Plus plan, which has a limit of $150,000. The Pro limit is $400,000, and after this, you’ll need to pay an extra $150 per month for each additional $200K in online sales. See our table below for more information:
|Standard||Sell unlimited products, integration with social channels, coupon creation, reporting tools||$29.95/month|
|Plus||Abandoned cart recovery, customer loyalty programmes, store credit card details||$71.95/month|
|Pro||Google reviews, filter products through size, colour, and more, dedicated SSL security||$224.95/month|
|Enterprise||Unlimited API calls, premium account services||Custom|
Deciding on the best website builder can be difficult, particularly with so many great options out there today. That’s where Expert Market can help.
From our research, we found that Wix is the best all-round website builder, Weebly is ideal for small businesses, and Squarespace is a dream for designers. Looking to sell online? Shopify is the best choice, unless you’re running a large, fast-growing business, in which case BigCommerce has all the tools you need to succeed online.
FAQs: what is a website builder?
A website builder is a programme that allows you to create websites without knowing any code. They’re designed to be very user-friendly, and most platforms, such as Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace, use a simple drag-and-drop functionality to help you customise your website with ease.
Website builders are an affordable choice if you haven’t got the resources to hire an expert designer, with Wix and Weebly both offering free plans. These platforms are also time-efficient, letting you create a professional-looking website in a matter of hours.