There are two generally opposed schools of thought when it comes to free website building tools and services. The first is of the mindset that you get what you pay for; that unless you hire a professional design and development team, your business website is likely to fall short of expectations. The second theory takes a more open approach; that free website builders provide the ideal solution for constructing new sites quickly and without the headaches and costs associated with a typical site launch.
The truth, of course, lies somewhere in the middle. There can be pitfalls, to be sure, but perfectly capable, attractive and user-friendly sites are definitely attainable through the use of free website builders, especially for Web pros who have a little bit of design knowledge and know what they're looking for. Below are some of the top providers in today's marketplace.
Moonfruit You don't have to have any design or development experience to build a successful business site with Moonfruit, but a trained eye will definitely come in handy when perusing the company's massive library of images, backgrounds, templates and animations. Moonfruit gives its clients complete control of the look of their Web and mobile sites, allowing them to lay images on top of one another, crop and animate them, make them transparent and choose from countless fonts and colors. In addition to the free package are basic ($5.40 per month), premium ($10.80), business ($22.50) and reseller ($45) packages.
Yola This website builder offers hundreds of different free styles, navigations, widgets and images, and all Yola websites come with its powerful blogging platform to help clients build and stay in touch with an audience. Yola's free package comes with an array of easy-to-use, drag-and-drop sitebuilding tools, unlimited bandwidth and award-winning customer support, and premium packages range from less than $100 per year to close to $500 per year.
Jimdo The free accounts from Jimdo offer numerous designs to choose from, fast customer support, 500MB of storage and PayPal, SEO, blogging, Flash and RSS Feed functionalities. The Pro account is $5 per month and includes a domain, email, 5GB of storage, meta tags, a logo and newsletter system, while the $15 per month business account features two domains, 20 email accounts and numerous other premium features.
SnapPages All the SnapPages applications are created with a user interface that makes all of the core functions easily visible and obvious to use, and everything is stored online so that clients can access the tools from anywhere. The free account is called SnapPages Personal, but the Pro account starts at $8 per month and includes unlimited pages, custom domain names, 10GB of storage and advanced analytics and SEO tools.
Wix Wix is another do-it-yourself free online website building tool that lets users create and customize their own professional sites. Built with a powerful, user-friendly interface, Wix gives clients total control over their designs without having to be fluent in coding or programming. The free account comes with a domain and $125 worth of Google and Facebook advertising vouchers, and the premium accounts range from just over $4 per month to about $16 per month.
vFlyer Designed for the less technical professionals among us to create and showcase their marketing content to promote residential homes, apartments, vacation rentals, autos and services listings, vFlyer's fill-in-the blank template approach has enabled tens of thousands of people to create single-listing websites, email flyers, print flyers and Craigslist ads, and vFlyer automatically distributes the ads to leading marketplaces such as Google Maps, Yahoo Real Estate, Hotpads, Oodle, Trulia, Zillow and more.
CurationSoft This service reduces the time it takes to find, review and include content from sources in blog posts and on social media. Most marketers find that they can post more often, gather more search rankings and increase the size of their audience through the use of CurationSoft.
I am a longtime content specialist with vast experience in ideating, creating and editing articles, infographics, books, ebooks, white papers, insights guides, corporate POVs, video scripts and more for omnichannel promotion and distribution on behalf of publishers, brands and creative agencies. My areas of expertise include financial services & fintech; retail & ecommerce; CPG marketing, sports, technology, lifestyle and more.