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Whether you want to create a lifestyle blog, eCommerce store selling your own products, a dropshipping store or a print on demand focused site, choosing the right platform to build your website on is an important first step.
Your site acts as your platform to prospects and customers, displaying your value offering.
However, to custom build a website, you require design and development skills.
As a result, many of users turn to design professionals to build their site, costing them hundreds or thousands of dollars in design and development.
What if there was an easy and affordable way to build your website?
Website builders offer you everything you need to develop and launch your site today.
What Is a Website Builder?
A website builder is a software tool that helps you build attractive, functional websites without any development skills.
Website builders feature intuitive, user-friendly tools that help you manage every step of the design and development process.
You get access to pre-made templates and drag-and-drop functionality for building out your templates and adding content.
It’s a fast and effective way of setting up your site, and most builders let you finish your site in a few hours.
Many website builders offer you a free domain and include hosting as part of your package, further reducing your startup costs.
A web builder is the ideal choice for anyone looking to move fast, lowering barriers to entry.
5 Best Website Builders
Squarespace is great website builder to use if you’re looking to launch your portfolio site or online store.
You get a selection of easy-to-manage, beautifully designed responsive templates that you can choose from.
Squarespace offers a hosting solution, unlike WordPress, where you need a custom domain and hosting.
With Squarespace, you get flexibility in your site design, and there are options for building an eCommerce store, a blog, or an information site.
Best of all, Squarespace scales with your business as you grow.
You can migrate your subscription, allowing you to customize your site’s features and help it handle higher traffic volumes.
Squarespace permits custom domain names and accepts the .ca domain and is in compliance with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation when it comes to sending emails.
You have options to run your store using Canadian or US Dollars.
There are also options to add retail tax modules for HST, GST, QST, and PST.
Control your sales tax per province, and automate your emails after your customer makes a purchase.
With Squarespace, your customers can see details like product dimensions and weight in metric terms.
You get options for connecting to PayPal and Stripe to enhance your payment offering and options to choose from between free, flat-rate, or weight-based shipping.
You get a complete range of marketing tools, including easy post-purchase follow up with your customers.
Use the “Triggered Sends” function to automate your email campaigns, with options to add prospects to your mailing list through opt-in tools and from your customer list.
Squarespace offers the following plans and pricing in USD.
Free Trial – Squarespace offers you a free trial of the platform for 14-days.
- Personal: Monthly $16 (Annual equivalent $12)
- Business: Monthly $26 (Annual equivalent $18)
- Basic Commerce: Monthly $30 (Annual equivalent $26)
- Advanced Commerce: Monthly $46 (Annual equivalent $40)
Weebly is another great choice when looking for a website builder.
This platform offers you basic eCommerce tools for logistics and inventory management.
Weebly is the ideal choice for those looking to go full tilt into eCommerce.
You get options to use custom domains like .ca, and you can run your store using Canadian currency.
Add your preferred sales tax module, and control your sales tax provincially.
You get real-time shipping rates through Canada Post and automated emails compliant with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation.
Weebly connects you to Google G-Suite email services for $7.80 per month. With this service, you can add as many email accounts as you like to run your business. You get customer support available Monday to Friday during office hours (9 AM to 9 PM EST).
Square recently acquired Weebly, so you have the option of using Square as a payment method, along with PayPal and Stripe.
Weebly offers you a free trial of its platform, but if you want to use a custom .ca domain, you’ll need to take one of the three subscription packages. In Canadian dollars.
- Personal: $7 per month ($84 per year)
- Professional: $15 per month ($180 per year)
- Performance: $30 per month ($360 per year)
Wix is a great option for design-heavy sites.
With Wix, you get beautifully-designed templates for free, with customization options.
This web builder scales with your business, but it doesn’t have options for custom domains like .ca.
However, you can purchase a custom .ca domain from another registrar and link it to your Wix site.
However, you do get options for metric and currency conversions into CAD and the metric system.
With Wix, you get 20GB of cloud storage, unlimited bandwidth, an online storefront, and customizable favicons.
You get custom options for selecting sales tax modules and a provincial setting for preferred sales tax options.
With Wix, you have options for list building and automated email campaigns that meet Canadian Anti-Spam legislation.
Wix offers payment processing options from credit and debit cards, as well as PayPal.
If you want to ship locally in Canada, you’ll have to connect your Wix account to the ShipStation service at an additional fee.
With ShipStation, you can automate your shipping and logistic process and create custom packaging for your products.
Wix offers you a free plan, but it comes with ads. If you want an ad-free experience, you’ll need to take on one of the subscription plans. In Canadian dollars.
- Connect Domain: Monthly $9.52 (Annual equivalent $6.80)
- Combo: Monthly $19.04 (Annual equivalent $13.60)
- Unlimited: Monthly $21.76 (Annual equivalent $19.04)
- VIP: Monthly $47.60 (Annual equivalent $39.44)
Square recently acquired Weebly, but it runs a separate dedicated web builder platform that’s slightly different from Weebly.
With Weebly, you can build any type of site, but Square focuses solely on creating eCommerce storefronts.
With Square, you get a free subscription, with no monthly cost for your business, saving you on startup costs.
However, to compensate, Square charges you a transaction fee of 2.9% + $0.30 on all transactions.
With Square, you get one platform offering you everything you need to design and develop your website.
Square also comes with a range of tools to help you manage every aspect of your eCommerce business in one platform.
Square integrates with other popular web marketing tools like MailChimp, Xero, and WooCommerce, giving you a comprehensive eCommerce solution for your business.
With the in-house Square API, you have the option of scaling your business while mitigating payment risk.
Shopify is another excellent option for eCommerce entrepreneurs with the bonus being that it’s a Canadian company!
They offer a turn key solution designed to help you start selling online fast. You get everything you need with your monthly subscription to get your business up and taking orders.
Shopify offers a few free templates and a range of custom template designs available at a cost between $29 to $59.
You get a mobile-friendly template with compatibility to Canadian markets.
There’s a wide range of payment options, including PayPal and Stripe.
You can use a custom domain for your site, and you get a host of free basic marketing tools to help you drive traffic to your store.
However, while Shopify does offer a blogging feature, it’s mainly for online stores.
Therefore, if you’re looking at starting a lifestyle blog or authority information site, Shopify wont work for you.
Shopify might be one of the leading online eCommerce storefront platforms, but look to Squarespace or Weebly if you want to start a blog or portfolio site.
- Shopify Lite: Monthly $9
- Basic Shopify: Monthly $29
- Shopify: $79 per month
- Advanced Shopify: $299 per month
How Is a Website Builder Different from WordPress?
WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS), and it’s quite different from a website builder.
WordPress is the most popular CMS for building websites and in its self-hosted version additional tasks such as setting up web hosting, working on the layout to get your desired look and adding plug-ins to get all the functionality you need are required tasks.
In contrast, website builders offer you an easy setup, with no coding needed to get your site ready to take orders or publish blog posts.
You drag and drop images, video, and content into your templates, giving you freedom with managing your content strategy.
However, this comes at the cost of having less flexibility in terms of functionality and layouts as you’re tied to what is being offered by the website builder.
WordPress definitely has a learning curve for anyone new to the platform who’s looking to get the most out of the functionality it offers.
There is a huge developer community building plug-ins that extend the functionality of WordPress to pretty much anything you can dream.
While it has a more comprehensive suite of functions and features, it’s going to take some time to learn how to manage and maintain the site correctly if you have no experience with the platform.
Website builders might be more simplistic, but they offer you everything you need to start a blog or build an eCommerce store.
6 Advantages of Using a Website Builder
1. No Coding Needed
As mentioned, you need no design or coding experience to set up your site.
2. Drag-and-Drop Functionality
The drag-and-drop functionality allows you to populate your site with beautiful content from various sources.
3. Ready-Made Templates
There’s no need to spend money on design work for your site.
With pre-made templates, you pick the template you like and apply it to your site with a click of your mouse.
Some web builders allow you to make custom changes to the template if you have coding experience.
Keep in mind that if you do wish to engage a designer to create a custom template, that’s also possible.
The easy design process and simplistic backend make it easy for anyone to build a website.
5. Reduced Startup Costs
Website builders offer newcomers to online marketing the chance to reduce startup costs.
There’s no need to hire coders or developers, allowing you to bootstrap your business.
6. Fast Development
Most website builders have a clean and efficient interface, allowing for your website’s rapid construction.
You get all the tools you need to build and market your site, included to create amazing landing pages and storefronts.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best website builder?
We recommend going with Squarespace for your website builder. They have a user-friendly interface, affordable pricing, and premium web building tools included with your subscription.
What is the easiest website builder?
We like the drag-and-drop functionality of Weebly. The user-friendly dashboard offers a clean and uncluttered look with all the tools you need to create your site readily available.
What website builder is best for SEO?
Squarespace and Shopify are both set up to help you succeed in terms of driving traffic to your site by SEO, allowing you to control titles, metas, URLs and more to ensure your on-site optimization is perfect. They both also pay attention to load speeds and mobile friendly design.
Do website builders include email marketing capability?
We suggest pairing an email marketing service with the website builder that you choose, our guide here takes you through 8 of the best platforms.