Did you know that building your own website is not only easy, but actually costs a whole lot less than you might think?
At least, it can be.
Since the dawn of always-available broadband and Internet-enabled devices such as smartphones and tablets, scores of people have been flocking online to do everything from keeping in touch with their friends and family to paying their bills, and even making their day to day purchases.
To help businesses, bloggers, and services reach this ever-expanding audience, new tools and platforms have sprung onto the market, making it simple for anyone with even a modest budget and limited technical talent to create their own beautifully designed, highly functional website.
Comparing the best website builders around doesn’t have to be time-consuming either.
Here’s our look at the top five platforms that provide the best value for your money.
Wix has earned itself an enviable reputation as the number one cheap website building platform thanks not only to a seemingly omnipresent marketing campaign, but by positioning itself as the tool of choice for those completely brand new to the world of web design.
Though a free package does exist, it’s not without its drawbacks.
Namely, you’ll find that gorgeous you design you spent hours on spoiled by advertising, and you’ll be forced to direct customers to a Wix URL such as myawesomebusiness.wix.com.
That said, the option to connect your own domain costs just $4, which is the basic Connect Plan. In order to remove Wix advertising, you’ll need to upgrade to the Combo package for $7.
This also includes 2GB Bandwidth, 3GB Storage and a free one-year domain name.
If you ask us, the domain name alone makes this one incredible value for money.
In many respects, Weebly actually offers a better deal than its nearest rival, Wix.
For one thing, there’s no ugly advertising even on the paid plans, and if you’ve already bought your own domain name, you can point it to your Weebly-created website at no extra cost.
If you’re planning to launch a blog, or even an online store, you’ll find plenty of tools are your disposal to help you do just that, all from an easy-to-navigate user interface.
Where Weebly falters, however, is in its somewhat limited choice of templates and design tools.
Still, with so much else included in a free package, it certainly ranks highly among the web’s leading site builders.
Paid plans start at just $5 per month, which is again very affordable.
Moonfruit’s free package comes with an abundance of well-designed templates enabling to you create simple, stylish looking websites that really catch the eye.
More than on most other platforms, you’ll also find a lot of tools to help you with Search Engine Optimisation; driving your site up to the top of search engines for keywords and phrases related to your business.
If you want to use your own domain name, you’ll be looking at a standard package from around $4 per month, which also includes 1000MB of storage space, tools to create an online store with up to fifty products and an abundance of other useful features.
Webs.com is responsible for helping small business owners launch over 50 million – yes, million- websites since it was first founded, so it must be doing something right.
Among its key benefits are a wide range of professionally designed, customizable templates, plus support for eCommerce, social media optimization and SEO.
Though the free plan may be ideal for those who just need to get a website up and running quickly, without any fuss, these sites do come attached with Webs.com branding, hardly ideal if you’re trying to present a professional image to your clients.
To remove that branding, expect to pay no more than around $5.99 per month for a starter package which also comes with a free domain name, email support and the ability to create unlimited pages.
Homestead was formerly known as Intuit Website Builder and was brought to you by the same company who created useful tools like TurboTax and Quicken, so if nothing else, you can trust that it has been created with small businesses in mind.
A basic plan will set you back no more than $7.99 per month and contains everything you’d expect from a good site creation tool, including the ability to use your own domain and an approach to website building that doesn’t require any technical know-how.
Where Homestead let themselves down, however, is in the design of their templates.
As a company, Homestead was launched way back in 1996 and, honestly, it almost looks as though they haven’t bothered to update their website templates since that time.
Why isn’t SquareSpace featured in this list?
Honestly, we love SquareSpace.
If this was simply a list of the very best website builders on the market, we would have no choice but to rank SquareSpace very highly, perhaps even above our number-one-ranked option, Wix.
However, this isn’t a list of the best website builders overall, it’s a list of the best cheap website builders, and in our estimation, SquareSpace is anything but cheap.
Even it’s lowest-priced option starts at $12, with the most expensive option going up to $40.
As you can see, compared to our top-five, this isn’t exactly cheap.
Still, if you’re happy to spend the extra money, we do heartily recommend SquareSpace, particularly over options like Homestead.