If you are looking for the best website builder of 2018, here is a list of the top CMS and development platforms in order of popularity. There are also comments on some of their main pros and cons for different types of user.
It is possible to make your own website these days without any coding knowledge of experience whatsoever. Many of the leading content management systems (also known as CMS) and site builders are suitable for beginners, while others are more powerful and complex tools for skilled web developers.
Nearly 50% of all sites now use a website builder / content management system, the most popular of which by far is WordPress, accounting for 60% of the market for these solutions. Last updated in January 2018, the list below is in order of popularity *:
WordPress – Most Popular Site Builder
No longer just a blogging platform, WordPress is now the most popular content management system, powering 29% of all websites and 60% of those that use a CMS. As open source software, it is a free website builder what you can download, install and customise without any costs or limitations.
However, the easiest way to set it up is often via a hosting company like Siteground that offers 1-click install of the platform, as well as the ability to set automatic back ups and updates to the software.
Pros: A huge global community of WordPress developers are constantly adding new themes that make web design and layouts with the system easy and attractive. They also add new plugins constantly, giving the platform new benefits and functionalities – most of which are free to download from WordPress and activate without leaving your website dashboard. Virtually every city worldwide will now have multiple WordPress web design and development professionals who can help you if needed. This also means that you can change service provider without needing to change CMS.
Cons: As with banking and computing, the biggest names are the biggest targets for hackers, so security tends to be the main argument against WordPress. However, the ease of use and the fact that it is a low cost website builder even if you pay someone to manage it for you, means that you can devote more resource to maintaining security. There are numerous security plugins and frequent system updates to keep your website secure.
Many big-name websites such as Time Magazine, Beyonce and Sony trust WordPress for some of their online presence…
Joomla – Open Source CMS
Joomla’s CMS market share has stayed pretty consistent in recent years due to its established user base, and it powers approximately 3.2% of all websites.
Another open source, free website builder, it has millions of users worldwide.
Pros: Regular security patches, SEO friendly, multilingual, mobile friendly, and an enthusiastic, global community of users and web developers.
Cons: Fewer developers, meaning those specialists that use it are often more expensive than the average WordPress developer. It is perhaps between WordPress in terms of easy of use, power / flexibility and complexity. For some this is a happy medium, while for others this means it sits between two stools.
The easiest way to set up Joomla may be to use the 1-click install offered by top hosts, such as Siteground, who offer specialist Joomla website set up and support plans.
Drupal – Powerful Development Software
Renowned as a powerful web development tool, Drupal is seen as the best website builder by many professionals. It is a true heavyweight in the world of CMS, with major US government websites and some of the world’s most popular social media sites like Twitter and Pinterest are among its users.
Drupal powers around 2.3% of all websites online.
Pros: Hugely powerful and secure when used correctly, making it a top CMS among educational and government organisations.
Cons: Steep learning curve and relatively few skilled developers around mean that it can be time consuming to work with and expensive to engage with Drupal specialists.
You can download Drupal at drupal.org as well as finding advice, documentation, and developer and user community discussions.
Magento – eCommerce Website Builder
Seen as the best ecommerce website builder by many developers, Magento powers many of the world’s leading online stores, and 1.2% of all sites. It has been described by Gartner as a ‘leader’ in the digital commmerce sector.
Pros: Powerful and flexible for those with the skills to use it. As this is open source software, it is a free ecommerce solution to download and use from the Magento website.
Cons: Relatively few specialists mean that specialist Magento web developers can be expensive.
Blogger – Free Blogging Tool
While some CMS started as free blogging platforms and developed into wider use content management systems, Blogger, as the name suggests, is very much a blog creation tool. Now owned by Google.
Pros: Free, very easy to use platform dedicated to just blogging. Easy to switch between pre-built layouts and colour schemes. Reliable and secure as it is hosted by Google.
Cons: Hasn’t seen much development or progression in recent years. Not suitable or future proof for a fully functional business website.
If you want the easiest way to start a blog, then Blogger could be great for you.
Shopify – Easy to Use eCommerce Solution
Growing in popularity as a complete ecommerce solution because it is low cost and easy to use. Complete beginners can create an online store without any previous experience.
Pros: Cheap monthly payment plans, card and PayPal processing built into the system.
Cons: Only set up for use on ecommerce stores. Not open source, so customisation is limited to the options provided by Shopify.
If you want an easy to use way to make your own online store though, then Shopify is a great solution – and future-proof enough to scale up to being a large, successful web based business.
* Statistics from W3Techs Web Technology Surveys.
Further reading – learn about the WordPress CMS at www.wordpress.org