As a creative business owner, it’s essential to have a professional-looking website that showcases what you do. If you’re just starting out, you may not have much budget to hire a website designer, but the great news is that you can build a website yourself easily enough using a web builder platform.
There are many website builders to choose from nowadays, each offering different features, pricing, user experience and customer support. We’ve whittled down the best platforms for creatives that need a brochure website, online portfolio or blog.
Squarespace is an all-in-one platform with features like design templates, hosting, SEO, blogging tools and security built-in. Its drag and drop interface makes building your own website a piece of cake, however, it lacks a little in flexibility; there are limits to the amount of customisation you can do. And be aware, that any changes you make go live immediately, there’s no chance to preview beforehand.
- Ideal for: creatives showcasing a portfolio – you can create password-protected pages to share private projects with clients.
- Pricing: starts at £10 per month (paid annually) and you’ll get a free custom domain for the first year.
Wix is very similar to Squarespace in that it’s easy to use and has the same sort of features. With a stack of beautiful templates and app integrations, Wix is highly flexible and customisable. It also has a backup tool, allowing you to revert to previous versions of your site should something go wrong. You can preview your site before you hit publish.
- Ideal for: complete beginners – its interface is even easier to use than Squarespace.
- Pricing: the package best suited to entrepreneurs and freelancers starts at £8.50 per month.
WordPress.org gives you full control over your website – although you’ll have to source your own hosting, domain name and WordPress plugins (which add site functionality and security protection). There is no support option. If you run into technical troubles, it’s up to you to fix them, either yourself or by hiring a developer.
WordPress is something of a learning curve. You don’t need to be an expert at coding, but it pays to know a bit about HTML. However, once you get to grips with WordPress, there is plenty of scope for an all-singing, all-dancing website. There are thousands of free and premium WordPress themes available, and each one can be edited to make it truly bespoke.
- Ideal for: bloggers and other creatives that want full control and management of their website, who are happy to learn the software.
- Pricing: WordPress is free open-source software. You’ll just pay for hosting (there are some great deals out there for under £5 per month) and your domain name. Many WordPress plugins are free.
Strikingly is a great alternative to WordPress when it comes to blogging. Its blogging tool is packed full of features like analytics, a comments section, display categories, an RSS feed and a subscription service. In terms of website functionality and design, the platform offers somewhat basic features – there are tons of stylish templates to choose from, but there are limits as to what you can do with them.
- Ideal for: creatives that need an off-the-shelf solution with good blogging capabilities.
- Pricing: starts at $8 (just under £6) per month and that includes a free custom domain for a year.
A veteran in the web builder industry, Weebly has been around since 2007. The platform currently powers more than 50 million websites around the world. There aren’t masses of templates to choose from, but each of them is mobile friendly (whereas some of the Wix templates need tweaking to make them responsive). The blogging tools on Weebly are fairly basic – you can’t showcase related posts, for instance. However, the platform is really easy to use.
- Ideal for: those with very small budgets that won’t be doing a lot of blogging.
- Pricing: you can build a small site for free with Weebly, although it will come with a Weebly domain and branding. You can connect your own domain for $5 per month (paid annually).
Another long-serving website builder, Jimdo is aimed at small businesses and entrepreneurs that need a speedy and simple website solution. Complete beginners can get online in just a few minutes using Jimdo’s ‘virtual setup wizard tool.
Some of Jimdo’s features are on the basic side, for instance, there’s no blog or external app store to help you improve site functionality. You can play around with Jimdo for free to see if you like the platform.
- Ideal for: creatives who need a basic website, fast.
- Pricing: paid plans start at £9 per month (paid annually) and for this, you’ll get a free domain and adverts removed.
With Webnode, you can add different languages to your website in a couple of clicks – no coding or plugins required. And like most major web builders, Webnode has plenty of ready-made templates you can use. These can be tweaked via a visual editor, but you can’t make any custom CSS or HTML changes. It doesn’t have an app store to help you integrate different elements easily.
- Ideal for: creatives needing a straightforward option to create a multilingual website.
- Pricing: £4.90 per month for the MINI plan, which gives you a free domain and one email account.
Another option to consider if building a multilingual website is Voog. Although it’s beginner-friendly, it’s also ideal for advanced users – it has a suite of developer tools and an API to help you fine-tune your design. In terms of features, there are simple design templates, a powerful editor, a file manager, social features, SEO tools, SSL security and more.
- Ideal for: those needing a multilingual website or those wanting to take advantage of the developer tools to create a bespoke design.
- Pricing: you can take advantage of a 30-day free trial and then move to a paid plan if you want to continue. The most popular package is the Plus plan at €13 (£11) per month.
Duda is a website builder focused on agencies. The platform offers advanced team collaboration tools, lots of apps and widgets, and a good level of creative control (within the limits of each template). Speaking of templates, there are plenty of polished themes to choose from.
- Ideal for: creatives offering website design services for clients.
- Pricing: the basic package costs $14 (£10) per month.
10. Adobe Portfolio
If you already have access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, you can create a beautiful portfolio website really easily. It’s a great solution for photographers who may be using Photoshop and Lightroom already for their work. It’s perfect for displaying photos and videos.
- Ideal for: photographers, artists and anyone with a Creative Cloud subscription – you can’t pay for Adobe Portfolio as a stand-alone software package.
- Pricing: accessible via the Photoshop and Lightroom plan which costs $9.99 (around £7) per month.
We’ll be posting another article in the near future about the best e-commerce website builders for creators wanting to sell online – watch this space!
In the meantime, check out the related articles section over on the right, or if you’re an internet creator, read this article about online tools to help you create, grow and get paid.
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