The Best Drag and Drop Website Builders for Beginners (that aren't WordPress)Website Builders
When you need a great-looking website, but don't have a lot of time or skill for the venture, why not try a website builder? There are many sites out there now with easy 'drag and drop' or other simplified features that let you set the site up however you want it without knowing much (or any) code.
And the best part it is — some of them are even free! We've explored the top names among them and came up with the best drag and drop website builders for beginners. Check it out!
The most popular site for easy website building (aside from WordPress) currently has to be Wix. Offering a wide array of customizable features that beginners can use to create their own websites, Wix starts off the site-making with 500+ original, eye-grabbing templates to choose from:
At the very beginning, Wix asks you a few questions about your goals in making a website and how comfortable you are with web-building. Do you need to create a blog? A portfolio? An e-commerce site? All of these and more can be done via Wix.
I thought it'd be fun to play with, so I decided to make myself a Wix website. I answered Wix's questions and they offered me a few templates they thought matched my interests:
So I went with this one:
Sharp, huh? Now I've got the framework for a website and Wix added all the features I'll need to create a blog, chat box, and more. It says I can customize colors and images, etc., now by hitting 'Edit Site'. So, let's try it and see what happens:
When you click 'Edit Site', all sorts of options pop up. And when you hover over each one, a menu appears to give you choices on what to do next — so I can work on each section as I wish, or leave it as is.
There's actually so much to choose from, I can't decide what to do next. I can see from this screen, though, that I’ll need to come back later and play with more options. With the image editor, social buttons, site blog, animations, and other tools, I could easily spend an entire afternoon on this. So let’s skip forward a bit and examine some of the most pertinent details.
Free for certain limited features and one of the cheapest website builders, Wix requires no coding to create your free account — or to upgrade.
To connect your domain, it’s $5/month. eCommerce is $17/month. ‘VIP’ is $25/month. The most popular option is ‘Unlimited’ at $14/month. View their plans here. The free and $5 plans have Wix ads featured throughout, just FYI. You can choose from regular Premium Plans or Business Premium Plans, each with details listed under their headings here and here.
Is Wix easy for beginners?
Yes. Within just a few minutes, even the most novice level website-creators can walk away with a professional looking homepage, contact page and service page without a second thought.
- Easy sign-up process
- Websites can be made free of charge (or very affordably)
- Simple editing
- Lots of great-looking templates for just about every type of business or event
- Features to help you understand SEO and get yourself found on the web
- Free and cheaper site options feature Wix ads (I don't mind, but some might)
- Customer service not easy to reach unless you sign up for a paid plan
Wix should definitely be the first stop for beginners to try. With all the creative options and helpful hints along the way, we think it'll likely be all you need to create your site, regardless of why you need it. If not, it's a lot of fun to play with and familiarize with the process!
Now let's check out some of the other top website builders for beginners:
Next stop on our tour of easy website builders is 1&1. With some similar features to Wix, we get started with a choice of brilliant ready-made templates for our site:
Then. 1&1 leads us thru the process of editing and enhancing our site as we wish with no background in coding or site-making needed.
What held us back from trying out a site on 1&1 was this: there's no free plan. There is, however, a 99 cent/month basic plan, good for a year, which includes a free domain and email address - and they back it up with a 30-day money back guarantee — as well as a couple of fairly cheap personal and plus options.
That looks great, but we prefer free website platforms for beginners, so we can see what it's all about before purchasing anything. Additionally, while their no-fluff approach is time-saving and businesslike, and their features are impressive, they didn't really pull us in or make us want to play with the tools and editors. And when we checked out what others experienced with the site, a few things really stood out.
In a nutshell, their customization options are okay, but somewhat limited, i.e. you can drag the edges of content blocks and images to more personalized positions and sizes, but not as fluidly as some of the other website builders, like Wix. You can also switch up to a new template using your same content, but may have trouble editing text.
On the plus side, some of their features are optimal for business, like their add-on options which can include a nifty translator tool, attractive image slider, or interactive contact forms to your site - and their super simple blog-maker can import your posts from another blog easily and quickly. These are nice features indeed.
Overall, you'll need to opt for the $10/month package or higher to access all of 1&1 most impressive features. You can start that process here by picking your own domain.
There are also some nice options to transform your site with code, if you know any, but since we're rating usability for beginners here, those aren't particularly relevant. So let's wrap it up:
The basic plan is 99 cents/month (for now), the personal plan is $2.99/month and the MyWebsite Plus package is $9.99/month (and this last one has the best features - including a free SEO optimizing tutorial). Check details on the plans here.
Is 1&1 easy for beginners?
It's okay, but has some features which are useful only if you know code.
- Nice templates, but not quite as stunning as some other website builders for beginners
- Customer service is accessible via the Help Center, by phone, Live Chat, YouTube, or their Twitter feed - or, for some packages, even remote support
- Sites have mobile-ready appearances, especially helpful for businesses - and you can check out how they'll look on mobile devices via preview
- No free plans (they do offer a 30-day money back guarantee, though)
These are nice, with some impressive features, especially if you're running a business. In some ways this website builder is better for those with some knowledge of code under their belt, however, so it's not as optimal for the newbies as it could be.
For our 3rd stop on the voyage to find WordPress alternatives for website builders with no coding involved, we arrive at:
With over 30 million current users, Weebly is the website home to multitudes of business owners, bloggers, photographers, eCommerce shops, and more. But what makes it unique? Let's find out.
Your first choice when you enter the site is ‘Online Store’ or ‘Website’, so you must select which of those you're interested in making right off the bat. We chose 'Website' for our purposes today.
Then you choose from another wide assortment of attractive themes. We chose the 'Hugo', and liked the preview, so selected 'Start Editing'- now it's time for some 'onboarding'.
As you can see, the left side margin has all sorts of tools to play with and there are more choices to work with across the top of the main image.
You can edit text, change the background image, create a gallery, insert a slideshow, contact form or map, or even embed code (if you know any). Fun!
We decided to come back another day to play with some more tools, but here's our summary of our Weebly exploration:
It's free for basic use, $4/month if you want a domain, $8/month for personal use, $12/month for 'Pro' level use, and $25/month for Business use. Looks like you can choose to pay monthly or be billed annually. Read the details on each price package here.
Is Weebly easy for beginners?
Yes, each tool shows how it can be used and where it will appear on the site
- Reasonably priced
- Easy for beginners to learn
- Lots of attractive themes
- Nifty features like 'adding a footer', add a widget, newsletter making, etc.
- Weebly branding on the free sites
- Does have some coding options for customization which beginners may not understand
- No undo feature for larger site changes; only text
Weebly lets you create a nice-looking website with lots of extra with no knowledge of code necessary - and even a full eCommerce store if you're into it - and you can import products from other sites like Etsy and accept a variety of forms of payment, too - even Apple Pay. They'll guide you through it!
Next up for the tour is Squarespace, where they immediately offer us a Free Trial.
We promptly accepted, and they led us here:
You can see a list of their popular categories for site building along the left, which includes popular choices like online stores, music, health & fitness, and the list goes on.
What's especially fun about Squarespace? You can actually preview each template before you choose it to see what it's all about. We liked previewing Ishimoto:
You can flip through the carousel gallery to see how the images are showcased:
And, you can check out how the site would look on a mobile phone:
We decided to use the Ishimoto template for our site today, so we created an account, and voila! Today kicks off our 14 day free Squarespace trial!
Now let's get started!
First you give your site a title, then add a little description.
Then, it takes you a video which outlines how to use each tool to build each website section:
We decided to come back another time to finish playing with our site, but here's a wrap-up of what we found out about Squarespace:
The first 2-week trial is free (if you take it), and then the Personal package is $12/month if you opt to pay annually; $16/month otherwise (but includes up to 20 pages on your site). The Business package is $18/month if paid annually; $26 otherwise. Basic is $26/month annually; $30/month otherwise. Finally, the Advanced package is $40/month annually; $46/month otherwise (unlimited bandwidth).
Is Squarespace easy for beginners?
Yes, and the video helps by showing you exactly where things are and how to get started.
- Over 91 gorgeous customizable templates to choose from, with new ones added each year
- Lets you see desktop and mobile previews of how your site looks
- Excellent blogging and SEO features to make your site stand out
- Their YouTube channel shares lots of free how-to examples, including a few amusing ones on how Keanu made his Squarespace site - and afterward, if you spend a little time back on Squarespace, you can wind up with a truly stellar-looking website like these featured customers did
- Nothing is free after the first 2-week trial
- Some pricing packages are expensive
Squarespace is a fantastic place to start if you don't know what you're doing yet, and continue once you do. Their platform holds a 4.7 out of 5 star rating on Website Planet, where it's described as an, "incredibly polished, yet easy to use website builder with functions and features appealing to a very broad audience." Whenever you're ready, you can start your free trial today.
Next we head over to check out Duda, which is said to be an excellent platform for beginners to build a website without any code. When we scrolled down the opening page and clicked on 'Website Builder', we immediately got the option to choose a free trial, which, of course, we did. Then were asked to create an account (which will get you a 30-day free trial):
Fantastic! Another website building newbie adventure awaits, so let's dive in:
To get the party started, a friendly chatbot named Stephanie opened up a chat box to inform me of the following:
She also hooked us up with a customer service link for any questions we may have along the way.
Then we got started by clicking on 'Create a Responsive Website', and up popped this lovely page for template selecting:
They have a lot of beautiful templates to choose from, like these:
Plus, there are many already set up for whatever your interest, craft, or business may be.
We chose the colorful 'Creative Portfolio' theme:
and opened it up for the starting page:
And it gave us this guidance:
While you create, you can switch to preview mode to see how your website looks on a tablet:
and on a mobile phone:
We're impressed, and definitely have this in our planner to revisit ASAP! But for now, here's what we enjoyed the most and least about the Duda website builder:
The Basic plan is $14.25/month, and the Pro plan begins at a monthly $9.75 fee and adds a $250 annual fee (for the use of the platform). To convert an already existing site to mobile view is $7.20/month, and there's negotiated pricing for Enterprise plans. Details can be viewed here.
These prices are available after your free 30-day trial (during which you can actually use as many pages and as much bandwidth as you like, as well as selling up to 10 products).
Is Duda easy for beginners?
Yes. Each tool is explained and the left sidebar features everything you need to design a basic website (i.e. color choices, theme options, text editing, navigation, adding/managing pages, etc.)
- Can pull images or other content directly from other sites onto your Duda page
- Undo and redo buttons can restore or delete whatever you just did so that newbies can feel free to play around
- Helpful chat feature is easily accessed with a click in the lower right corner (It's that helpful Stephanie again)
- Can't easily switch templates later customizing
- No free plan after first 30-day trial
Duda has some impressive templates and easy-to-use features for beginners. The chatbox for questions as you build your site is really nice. We think beginners can build top shelf websites in a jiffy with this one. A+, put it next to Wix.
From here we headed over to Jimdo, which with over 20 million users so far, is said to be a gem for beginners at site building.
They asked us to create an account, which required us to go into our email for a login link, so we did (although it's an extra step the others didn't require, it only took a few seconds). Now that we're back in, they ask us what type of website we want to build:
So we chose website, of course, and we then saw this:
We chose 'new website' to get these very interesting options:
We like the way this AI web designer on the left sounds compared to 'building our site from the ground up' (that sounds like a lot of work, doesn't it?) - and having our site ready in 3 minutes is exactly what we're looking for! So we're going with the Dolphin option, for sure. We click the left blue button, and see this:
You can just skip the choice here if you like, so we did. Then we're asked to name our project and select what our goal is from these choices:
We chose 'Get Hired', or attract new clients, and it asked us what our site was about:
Next, it offered us a drop-down menu of choices, from which we selected 'Portfolio/CV', and then were asked:
You'll notice that at any point, we are able to 'skip this step' for these as well (in blue at the bottom).
We choose to skip Instagram options offered next since our work isn't saved there, and then they ask us to select a style:
We think 'Minimal' looks fresh and simple, so we go with that one, and then we're offered the option of a custom domain. We skip that step for now, and this pops up:
A few seconds later - here it is!
Interesting looking page, we think. You can scroll down from here for instructions on what type of info to include on your 'About' and 'Contact' pages, as well as some other helpful info.
It's really extremely simple and creates a polished-looking site for even the least tech-savvy among us. The last part you can add is a map to your location, too. Nice!
Plus if you click the blue circle below the first image, you can open up options to edit on the left side, like this:
You can change the layout, add columns, and more, and upload your own images as well!
It's really fun and easy to play with, especially for those unfamiliar with website building. Plus if you need help, you can click the blue bubble on the lower right and find it here.
The site we made is free with the option to upgrade as we wish. Here are all the plans and their prices:
Is Jimdo easy for beginners?
Quite so. Every step is explained and simplified, with undo and redo buttons all the way from start to finish.
- Free and cheap versions cover all basic necessities of a website
- Excellent customer service and community forum
- Available in over 9 languages, as is site support
- Fewer template choices than some others
- Limited eCommerce options
For our purposes, Jimdo seems to be the easiest website builder yet for beginners with no knowledge of code. There are fewer bells and whistles, it's true, but you'll get the meat and bones for a sweet price (like free), and be on your way to a decent website. Some say it's worth a visit to their site just to check out Dolphin.
Moving along, it's time for our next stop at the Shopify website builder, for a place to set up shop if you've got stuff to sell.
While Shopify may seem new, it's already quite popular worldwide with plenty of online sellers - with over a million active users!
They offer a unique domain name as well as access to hundreds of attractive themes, plus the thorough customization of your web store just as you like it.
Shopify streamlines everything you need to manage your store in one place, so you can do it all easily in one stop.
They promise to provide everything needed for both beginners and experts - and we like that beginner part!
Shopify offers a free trial, so we jumped right in — and they had some questions for starters:
When I admitted I was just playing around, they offered these ideas:
So I checked off 'Help me create my logo' and they asked for my home address and phone number...hmmm. I gave it to them (well, part of it, anyway) and they showed me my store:
We looked around and weren't sure where to start, so we clicked on Samantha Renee's intro video for some clues:
Apparently, Samantha Renee offers courses on Shopify explaining exactly how to do everything necessary to open an run your online store. We love it! However, we don't have time to enroll today, so we'll just explore a little more instead. Here's a link to check it out if you'd like to get registered at Shopify Academy.
We decided to head over to our dashboard and take a peek at our sales figures for the day:
Looks about right. So we browsed around and found some other fun sections to play on:
We can add products, or find some:
Learn about customers, or import our customers from elsewhere:
And write blog posts to get people interested in our store:
There's a lot to do here and we're heading back soon to finish up our new store...as soon as we figure out what to sell. Got any ideas?
Anyway, here's our synopsis of Shopify in a nutshell:
These are the rates for each plan offered:
and here's a link to more details on pricing.
Is Shopify easy for beginners?
Yes, if you're interested in learning. All the tools are available for both beginning levels and expert online sellers to succeed.
- Easy to learn and navigate, with online classes to show beginners how everything is done
- You can cancel, upgrade, or downgrade your account anytime
- Free 2 week trial
- Great customer support
- No knowledge of code necessary
- Advanced plans are pricey
This is excellent to set up for small businesses who like being online only, or who exist as a physical store and want to add an online presence. Easy to set up with no knowledge of code.
Finally, we arrive at our last, but definitely not least, stop - Simvoly. This drag-and-drop website building site prides itself on effortless setup.
The first thing you learn on the Simvoly siteis that they love simplicity — and they beat their competitors skillfully at keeping their site-building methods free of the unnecessary.
They describe experimenting with their design blocks as similar to building with LEGOs. All your creations on Simvoly will automatically fit on mobile devices, and you can easily switch to preview mode for either tablet or mobile phone to check it out and see if you like it or want to change anything before you save it.
You can control your website and even manage your online business from your phone with Simvoly, too.
So we decided to sign up and see what happened!
First you select a template, and indicate whether you're making a website, online store, or landing page. Then you'll choose from the categories presented underneath, such as art, business, consulting, fashion, etc.:
We chose this one ('Remarkable'), and it opened up to our Dashboard to automatically play an introductory video:
The video highlighted all the functions featured along the left margin, and how to utilize each section of the drag and drop website builder.
The demonstration shows how you can add, delete, move, or enlarge boxes, columns, and widgets throughout the website builder. It also shares that the 'Help' button in orange on the bottom left can be accessed anytime for helpful videos and how-to's on various topics if you get stuck.
You can also choose the Simvoly Wizard to build your website for you. You just select how you'd like your page and functions to be aligned from their suggested layouts, and then let the magic begin:
If you don't like the first setup, just hit 'Try the Magic Again' button on the bottom, and they'll mix up some more magic for you:
Still don't like it? Try it again:
When you finally decide you like what they've concocted, you can just hit 'Cool, Start With This Design' on the bottom in blue, and then go on and personalize your site. Simple!
We're enjoying it and definitely will be back. Now let's cover the main points we've learned on Simvoly:
Simvoly starts you off with a 2-week free trial, after which you can choose from their plans. While no free account exists following the trial, there's the Mini account for $5/month if you pay annually, $7/month if you pay monthly.
The Personal account is $9/month paid annually, $12 monthly. Business plans allow you to sell up to 25 products and come with unlimited storage, bandwidth, and pages, at $14/month annually, $18/monthly. E-Commerce plans are $22/month if paid annually, $26/month if paid monthly. Here's a link for some further info on pricing.
Is Simvoly easy for beginners?
Definitely, especially with the Magic Wizard.
- Modern, attractive templates
- Very user-friendly
- Excellent blogging platform
- Frequently updated with new features (over 100 so far this year)
- You can view your site's visit statistics and details on your dashboard
- No photo editing tools, although you can enhance with animations and resize images
- A bit smaller selection of templates than some other drag and drop website builders
This is a very intuitive system with great ease of use for beginners or non-tech types. There's a video introduction plus help along the way if you need it, and the tools available are few enough that you won't get too confused using them.