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What is a website builder?
A website builder is a platform that a creator or developer uses to create a website from the ground up. It typically offers templates to select from that give sites different looks, features, capabilities, and further opportunities for customization as well.
Many website builders offer a free level of access for basic website creation, plus higher-tier plans with more premium features or and add-ons, like custom domain names.
There are many, many website builders on the market today to choose from. WordPress is the most established in the industry, while Squarespace is popular with creatives. Meanwhile, Shopify serves e-commerce businesses, and Mighty Networks has features optimized for online communities and courses.
Is building a website difficult?
Website builders like Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, and Mighty Networks make it very simple to start building a website, even for those with minimal website design experience. Most offer templates that can be modified and personalized, as well as basic features that align with the goals of a website. For an additional fee, creators can add on features to their site, like forums, customized domain names, or an exclusive members area for membership sites.
Website builders often offer these free plans to get a basic website up and running. But if your needs are more complex, you’ll likely need the help of a developer or expert to achieve the functional and aesthetic results you want.
Some platforms, however, are more specifically tailored to certain functionalities. Website builders like Squarespace and Mighty Networks, for example, eliminate the need to hire a developer to create and maintain a website by offering elegant, customizable features: SquareSpace makes the process of building a portfolio streamlined and easy, while Mighty Networks takes the hard work out of building a robust online community from scratch.
What does it cost to build a website?
Developer-designed custom websites are definitely pricey. But even if you choose to utilize a website builder, some brands are more expensive than others. To give you an idea, we’ve listed the pricing of the most popular website builders below.
We’ve found that typical pricing for bespoke WordPress design and development starts at $15,000 and goes up to $50,000. From there, you’ll have to plan a bit more to access ongoing development and maintenance for the site, like maintenance and bug fixes, as well as new feature development. These recurring costs tend to run between $5,000 and $12,500 each month.
Pricing for a Wix depends on whether you’re building a personal site, a business site, or an ecommerce site. And while Wix is somewhat light on features, all of its plans are pretty affordable: no matter the tier, expect to pay a maximum of $50 per month. Users who need more than that can explore the option for a custom priced, enterprise solution.
Squarespace is another affordable option in the website builder space. Overall, the site is a little more robust than Wix, and much more aesthetically pleasing. Similarly, you’ll pay at max around $50 per month for an e-commerce website, but you’ll have to pay more for add-ons—think community capabilities or online courses— outside of Squarespace
Mighty Networks is an online community builder that comes with membership, subscriptions, events, and courses in mind. At its most basic level, you’ll be able to build your membership website for free with features like direct messaging, personalized activity feeds, dynamic articles, and more.
For more advanced features—like paid groups and course functionality— users can also utilize Mighty Network’s premium plans. These plans cost less than a developer, deliver robust results at less than $100 a month, and let users charge for a fee for access.