What Is a Website Builder? A Beginner’s Guide

If you’re getting started creating a website for your small business, you’ve probably considered a variety of methods for achieving this goal. For most entrepreneurs, working with a professional web designer is time-consuming and cost-prohibitive. You may also not want to invest the time it takes into learning how to effectively use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress.

That’s where website builders come in. Website builders are an effective solution for small business owners looking to create a digital touchpoint for their goods and services quickly, easily, and cost-effectively. In this article, we will explore what a website builder is, how much it costs, the pros and cons, and walk you through some alternatives.

Looking to find the right website builder for your small business? Check out our Best Website Builder Review to learn more.

What Is a Website Builder?

Website builders first became popular when platforms like Wix and Weebly revolutionized drag-and-drop technology. As opposed to CMS platforms like WordPress, which require a fair amount of knowledge and experience to effectively use, website builders allow users to start from a premade template and simply point and click to add elements to their websites.

Some of these elements include text, images, call-to-action (CTA) buttons, and a variety of widgets and integrations designed to add functionality to your website. The number of features included with each platform will vary, so it’s important to find one that is able to meet your needs. For instance, in our Best Website Builders Review, we ranked GoDaddy as the best platform overall when it came to balancing its range of features, simplicity, and pricing. 

How Much Do Website Builders Cost?

In addition to being the simplest website creation method, website builders are also the most cost-effective choice for small business owners. They allow you to create an effective digital touchpoint for your website quickly and without hiring an expert. Additionally, cost factors like domain hosting and security are typically included with premium plans, though this will vary by platform and price tier.

In our list of Best Website Builders for Small Business Owners in 2022, we ranked some of the best builders based on overall experience and specialty. In this review, we explored a few options, as well as the pricing and features included with each.

For more information on the cost of website builders, read our How Much Does a Website Cost article.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Website Builders

While the benefits of website builders are immense, they do come with a few drawbacks. Larger companies may find that most website builders simply don’t offer the range of features they require to build their websites to their exact specifications. Some of the pros and cons of website builders include the following:


  • Easy to use, even for beginners.
  • Quick website creation — many platforms let you create a high-performance site in just minutes.
  • Cost-effective, particularly when compared with hiring a professional web designer.
  • Website builder plans often bundle things like secure socket layers (SSL) certificates and all-in-one hosting to allow you to streamline your website creation.
  • Choosing a website with beautiful premade templates allows you to create a gorgeous, professional website at a fraction of the cost of professional services.


  • Most website builders will require you to support ecommerce offerings through a third-party platform, like Shopify.
  • Customization options are severely limited in comparison to professional services or CMS platforms like WordPress.
  • Many website builders do not offer plans that can support larger websites, such as information resource companies.

Website Builder Alternatives

There are two primary alternatives to website builders: WordPress and professional web design services. Both of these options offer a wider range of customization and can offer powerful integrations to create a fully customized website. But, they come at the cost of simplicity — not to mention, your hard-earned money.


For those looking to design their own website, WordPress is a more powerful alternative to website builders like Wix and GoDaddy. WordPress has thousands of templates to choose from, as well as a wide array of powerful customization options and some of the widest selections of plugins available.

That being said, CMS platforms like WordPress are inherently more complex than website builders, which are optimized for simplicity. While the software itself is free to use, the cost of creating a website with WordPress is less predictable than website builders, which typically include the majority of features you’ll need for a flat rate.

For more information on WordPress, read our WordPress vs. Website Builders article.

Professional Services

While working with a professional web designer can enable you to create a website to your exact specifications, it is undoubtedly the most expensive option. You’ll be paying extra for things like maintenance and security, as well as the time of a professional with experience in the industry. 

While companies like Fiverr can connect you with professionals who will build your website for $40 an hour, this rate can vary dramatically — up to $300+ per hour for highly skilled designers, with $75-$100 being the average hourly rate for web designers. 

Depending on how complex the website is, a full design can take as few as 40 hours to as many as 500 hours, with 40-100 being standard for a four to six-page layout.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article provided you with solid information on what website builders are and why they’re one of the best options for small businesses. If you’re not sure which website builder is right for you, we ranked GoDaddy as our top pick overall in our Best Website Builders Review article.

For more information on GoDaddy, read our How to Make a GoDaddy Website and How to Use GoDaddy guides. Or, click the link below to sign up for GoDaddy for free.

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