Site builder criteria, comparing features  

  • Site builders vs. HTML - what's more productive?
  • Leading site builders: feauture comparison
  • What means easy-to-use actually?
  • Old-school "monolithic" vs. modern CMSs and site builders

Site builders vs. HTML - what's more productive?

There are many website formats, let alone special applications like landing pages, shops, blog articles, mobile formats. During the old (pre-mobile) Internet a site builder was expected to be a jack of all trades.

HTML coding Frameworks Site Builders

The two top front-end frameworks for responsive web design are Bootstrap (created at Twitter by @mdo) and Foundation (by Zurb). Both are open source.

  • Bootstrap
  • Foundation

Framework add-ons

  • Icons of Font Awesome are used throughout this site - see icons above - Font Awsome icons play well both with Bootstrap and Foundation

Framework site builders

  • For Bootstrap: LayoutIt (unfortunately Bootstrap 3 only). "It keeps the UI simple and uncluttered so I can just stub out a layout, dump it to my editor, and modify it as needed.
  • Due to the popularity of Bootstrap (Bootstrap 4 since mid 2015, though still alpha), there are lots of visual editors, on cssauthor.com (2015) or agriya (2016). Bootstrap Studio is special in that there is a vivid BSS community of Studio users.
  • Foundation, joeworkman.net offers package to build greater units on top of Foundation's code snippets.

Bootstrap and Foundation can help both web design newbies experts get better and precise results in less time than with just using an HTML editor. Experts can focus on specialties knowing the the HTML standard staff (layout, grid, responsive elements) is handled. Beginners enjoy great results from the beginning and learn a lot on designing with less effort than by studying the HTML5/CSS3/JS science. For all users, communities are here to help, such as Boo

Markdown

Popularity

Wix is search much more than Squarespace


Leading site builders: feature comparison

Switching templates

  • Strikingly, though a modern single-page site builder, does not allow template change (or all data are lost).

Overall ratings and comparisons

  • Weebly: in general, the site builder dinosaur's recurrent attributes are: well-structured, easy-to-use
  • Strikingly vs. Weebly. Conclusion of superbwebsitebuilders.com: "Weebly seems to be a safer option, as it lets you add multiple pages at any time, at a lower price".
  • Strikingly vs. Weebly for single-page sites: for this format Strikingly specialized and superior to Weebly.

Code editablity

Website builders often indulge the user with great visual effects minutes after signing in. However, most realistic projects (and in all client projects of a web designer), sooner or later the designer would like to add custom HTML. At that point it turns out if a site builder fits to the author's needs. Website creation software normally offers an HTML editor. What differs is the extent to which HTML can be added, for instance, when it comes to external scripts or meta tags.

  • Wix in principle offers external HTML. However, appearently there are still problems, even with embeds. Wix and custom HTML does not fit together well. Wix does a good job with a vast number of templates (of which many are not responsive, though) and typical Wix users are non-coders. Additionally, Wix is more an app builder than a site-with-pages builder - and coding is for page content in the first place.
  • Weebly off

Code quality and code readability, code quality

A clean code may not be necessary for a perfect display. However, sites with a messy, broken code (let alone semantic) mark-up cannot be evaluated as easily, and it's not only about Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex. Or, for instance, if meta tags are missing or poorly assigned (Open Graph, Twitter Cards), a page won't as shareable.

Loading time

  • Squarespace boasts excellent load times, often way below two seconds.

What means easy-to-use actually?

Old-school "monolithic" vs. modern CMSs and site builders

Most searched-for site builders

  • Wix, initially infamous for its non-SEO Flash pages, has improved a lot and offers shining and trendy templates
  • Weebly, one of the dinosaur site builders, never highly innovative but improving (mostly concerning custom code), maintains its level
  • Joomla, once very popular and award-winning, continually decreases over the past five years

Omitted (negligible figures on this scale): drupal site builder, squarespace site builder, strikingly site builder

What sitebuilder offer additional to site building

"It's marketing, stupid" (according to Bill Clinton)

DudaOne
"Best SEO practices to make your site super Google-friendly / Strategies for maximizing site visitor engagement and conversion / Suggestions on how to build and own your brand online
Strikingly
Connecting your own domain, adding HTML and apps / adding custom code / images and videos / collaboration

References on Single Page and Multi Page Web Applications

Multi page web applications vs. single page web applications by Serge Shimanovsky on July 9, 2015
About SPA and MPA
Single-Page vs. Multi-page UI Design: Pros & Cons
The trend to single page sites is fueled by a very justified quest for simplicity and speed. Simple one-page sites are also great for responsive design, serving all devices equally. Of course, sometimes a site absolutely needs more pages.
Single Page Application (SPA) versus Multi Page Application (MPA).
Focusing on AngularJS in a context of Single Page Application (SPA) versus Multi Page Application (MPA).
The disadvantages of Single Page Applications
"Javascript is never going to beat the browser at what it does best - browsing. You can still have beautifully rich, enhanced experiences without cramming an entire site into one document."
Why Responsive Design Support is the Most Important Feature You Can Add To Your Website
Most importantly: Having one website to manage and one place to manage that site from will make it easier to keep the site updated.
The Importance of Responsive Design for New Websites
One of the best ways to reach your customers and show them you care is by redesigning your site using responsive web design. Responsive web pages automatically adjust themselves to any screen size and reorder content based on the device. Responsive design is about enhancing the users' experience by anticipating their needs.
8 reasons to have a responsive web design
1. Mobile usage is on the rise 2. Shopping on mobile devices is steadily growing 3. Social media increases mobile visitors 4. Improving SEO rankings 5. Adapting to multiple devices sizes 6. One site is easier to manage 7. Better user experience

Site builder criteria

3 Simple Criteria To Help You Choose Your Perfect Website Template Design
Content width, boxed width. "Full-width content for creative, contemporary designs. Boxed-width content for traditional, business-oriented designs."
Home Page Header Layout. A)Static header image with / without content. B) Slideshow header with content. C) Video background header D)
Also from websitebuilderexpert.com: How to Choose the Best Website Builder for You With 9 Simple Questions
Menu bar design "The menu bar might not look important, but it actually impacts how your visitors perceive you and your brand." - fixed position / top or bottom horizontal / side vertical / logo positioning
Finding the best website builder for building websites without writing a single line of code
"We read over 30 reviews and guides, surveyed 449 people, and spoke with nine web marketing professionals. We learned that the DIY website-building industry is highly competitive, but there are only a few website builders that deserve your time: Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix.
The Best Website Builders for 2016 (published September 2016
Mobile site creation, web store, free version, blogging tool, download selling, basic image editing, site portability, add custom HTML, domain registration,
Addtional to the usual "Big Three" (Weebly/Wix/Squarespace), DudaOne is rated high (4/5), who offer a resposive and a mobile website builder as well as site personalisation tools. "Say goodbye to Wordpress" - they claim many professionals switch from Wordpress to the DudaOne suite.
comparison Wix vs. Weebly - an excellent and very detailed report, 500+ user comments, select aspects and finings:
Weebly has more basic templates, Wix currently offers new and trendy templates
Wix is pure drag-and-drop. But the trade-off is: Wix is the land of no return, the user cannot change designs without information loss "the fact that Wix has a pure drag and drop interface may have prevented it from allowing you to interchange template designs." In a nutshell: visually oriented users are likely to be fond of Wix's design variety whereas content oriented users (plus those planning ahead) are likely to prefer Weebly's greater flexibilty

New relevant site builder criteria

Learning curve
Challenge and level of command of web services: mostly "ease of use", but today are more sophisticated evaluation is neede to select a site builder
"No coding skills required" Well, it is not to create a complex thing like a website by just avoiding any skills. Hence, without coding, learning the method is required. For instance, learning WordPress for professional work takes months. For instance, DudaOne, a really modern site builder ("Pure drag-and-drop"): you still have to learn how to use a vast number of options.
Control of content and formats, customizability
To what degree can I create designs beyond the available templates
Adding other web services
How well does it play with external services and apps?
How proprietary are the editing tools?