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Comparing DIY website-building tools

This page is free to all

There are lots of online website builders. Use this comparison page to find the best one for your organisation. You won’t need to learn coding or language programming.

Knowing what you are looking for

Before you choose your website builder you need to spend some time working out what you need it to do.

If you haven’t done that yet read our page Before you start a new website project.

Then you need to determine what skills you have in your organisation.

  • Who will create the website? How long will they be involved with the organisation? What skills or knowledge do they have?
  • Who will add blogs, pages or posts (content) to the website? Do you need to be able to change anything else over time or just add new posts? What skills do those people have?

Once you’ve thought about those things, you're ready to start comparing tools.

We have compared six tools. We’ve focused on how easy they are to use, and given starting point information about costs.

Just because a tool is included in this list doesn’t mean we recommend it for you. We’ve tried to cover a mixture of new software and big brand names most people will have heard of.

There are lots of other free and low cost website building tools online. If you're keen to use one of those, ask yourself the same kinds of questions we've covered for the tools in this comparison. If you choose a free tool, make sure you know what limitations it has.

You also need to think about digital accessibility. Some of the website building tools make this easier to get right than others.

Find out more about this in our introduction to digital accessibility.

Carrd

Carrd is one of a new generation of website builders that are very easy to use. It creates a website as a single page.

Our verdict

Perfect for getting started. You can do a lot in a single page. If the people you support prefer using social media to websites, Carrd is useful for you. You can focus your efforts there, but still have a single place to show funders who you are.

It's the cheapest option.

Templates and building blocks

Pages feature several different elements. Building blocks make it possible for you to add:

  • a logo
  • a strapline of text
  • an embedded video or podcast
  • a block of text
  • a form for people to complete such as an email sign-up
  • a place to put feedback, quotes or reviews with words and images
  • an embedded link to podcast
  • a footer to put closing information.

Blogging and creating pages

You can’t use it for a blog or add additional pages. You can only adapt the one static page. You can change the content on it as often as you like.

Taking donations

You can’t do this on the page. You can have a link to your page on a fundraising platform such as JustGiving.

Limitations

  • Carrd does not register custom domains (your own choice of address) for you. In the free version you use the address they give you. At higher prices you can use a custom domain but must register it yourself.
  • Need to link to other tools for additional features such as donations or events calendars (this can be a positive — mix and match so you get the best tool for each job).

Pricing

  • Free version has very limited features.
  • Around £14 a year ($19). This gives you a Carrd domain name and the right to change it to a custom one, as well as features like a sign-up form.
  • You may also want to register your own custom domain (website name) - prices start around £10 a year.

Useful links

Carrd

Squarespace

Squarespace is one of the most popular online website builders.

Our verdict

Squarespace is great for many charities’ projects. It stops you making mistakes that make your website hard to use. It restricts what you can do, but it does those things beautifully. It's easy to learn to use. If you need a simple website and have never built one before it is a great option.

Using Squarespace, it's easy to guarantee that:

  • your website will work well when viewed both on mobile phones and computers
  • you will meet basic accessibility standards.

Templates and building blocks

Squarespace has less than 100 templates to choose from, but they all work well. They work on both mobile and desktop. They use colour combinations and font sizes that meet accessibility standards. They include the ability to embed video or sound files as well as images and text.

Blogging and creating pages

Simple to use. You can see what the page will look like as you build it (unlike some systems where you need to go to a different screen). Squarespace makes it easy to add new pages. You can also add blog posts with comments and discussions.

Taking donations

Squarespace has an option to create a donation block.

This system:

  • gives donors suggested amounts (best practice for charities)
  • emails receipts to your donors
  • takes payment using Paypal or Stripe (for card payments) - fees apply and you will need an account
  • allows you to view donors online or export them as a CSV (spreadsheet) file
  • the donation system is separate to shopping systems.

Limitations

  • You can’t tweak the templates to put images and text exactly where you want them.
  • May not be able to try out new ways of doing things - you can only have two layers of menu for example.
  • Not easy to do things like directories or forums but you can link to other tools that do those things.

Pricing

  • £10 month including domain name registration and hosting.
  • £15 month also includes the ability to take donations.

Useful links

Wix

Wix is another of the most popular website building tools on the internet. We don’t think that it's as useful for charities as some of the others on this list.

Our verdict

Wix offers a huge choice of templates. It's enjoyable to use if you like creating things by dragging and dropping. Its design flexibility means you need to have a lot of time to spend on testing and checking. It's harder to make Wix sites work on different devices (phones and computers) or browsers. It's also harder to pass accessibility tests.

Templates and building blocks

Wix has thousands of templates to choose from. Many of them are free to use. It also has plenty of different building blocks you can add in for things like video content and images..

Blogging and creating pages

You create new pages by duplicating existing pages or using templates and blocks. Wix does not have quite as many features for managing adding posts and pages as some of the other similar tools.

Taking donations

Wix doesn't have a donations system. You can add links to PayPal Donate.

Limitations

  • You need to test with care to meet basic usability and accessibility standards.
  • You need to link to a third-party donations system if you want to take them.
  • Can’t move the site to another system easily later.

Pricing

  • £6 per month for the most basic package.

Useful links

Wix

WordPress

WordPress started as a blogging platform. You can also use it to build websites and manage content online. Wordpress.com is the online version and is entry-level. Developers use Wordpress.org to create websites and content management systems. It has more flexibility.

If you want to know about the full wordpress.org have a look at our page comparing content management systems.

Our verdict

If you already know WordPress, then it is fine to carry on using it. It works well once you're used to it.

Many people like the way it allows for adding news content, blogs or project updates. If the person doing the initial build understands WordPress well, others can then use it to add extra pages.

You can upgrade later, moving your website from the online platform to a more complex site.

Templates and building blocks

WordPress has thousands of templates to choose from. Many are free to use. It also has thousands of plugins that add extra functions. From a Twitter feed to a security certificate, all these things use plugins. Some of these work from the wordpress.com site. Others need you to be using the wordpress.org installation on your machine.

It can be hard to work out which is which. It can also be hard to work out which ones 'just work' and which ones need a little bit of coding skill to get going.

Blogging and creating pages

This is what WordPress was created to do so it is where it works best. It also has more menu options for pages than other similar tools. Although the number of menus you can use does depend on your template.

Taking donations

Choice of many different plugins to do this.

Limitations

  • Developers use WordPress to create complex websites and content management systems. So it can be difficult to work out what's possible with free or low-cost online templates.
  • Using a donation plugin can be more complicated than simply linking to a site.

Pricing

  • £3 per month for most basic packages.
  • £20 per month for a package that comes with online support.
  • You can buy custom domains (website addresses direct through the site).

Useful links

Wordpress.com

Webflow

Webflow is a relatively new no-code tool that allows you to build multi-page websites with ambitious formats from scratch.

Our verdict

You can use Webflow to create complicated but easy to use websites that look stylish. And you don't need to use code. It has some of the same strengths as the systems that developers use to build websites. It's flexible, and provides a content management system that makes it easy for your teams to update. This makes it particularly good for organisations that want to add content regularly.

It does take some time to learn the basics. So it's particularly good if you have a volunteer or staff member interested in website design or development.

Templates and building blocks

Webflow helps you build using blocks and elements visually and automatically creates the CSS and HTML (coding languages) that those blocks and elements are built with. It makes that code visible to you. Most of the other platforms hide this and do it where you don’t see it.

In addition, there are lots of templates that you can copy and re-use (clone) as a starting point.

Blogging and creating pages

Webflow is great for creating pages simply. Its content management system makes it easy for people to use and stick to the layouts and templates set by the designer. You can easily choose different content blocks for different things in the editor.

It doesn't allow you to create blog posts that have comments and discussions.

Taking donations

There are a range of plugins to make this possible.

Limitations

  • You need time and a bit of technical ability to learn how it works to make the site (but not to create new pages and posts once it's made).
  • Pricing plans that allow you to use donations and other features are more expensive.

Pricing

  • $16 (£12) per month (paid yearly) for a site with a good content management system.
  • $36 (£26) per month (paid yearly) to add options like a donation system.
  • Prices allow for custom domains (website addresses) but these need to be bought.

Useful links

Webflow

Glide

Glide covers just one part of a website that your organisation might need and it does it well. Glide makes it easy to view directories or collections of resources or services. It's an app that you can link to from your website. It can’t be directly embedded.

Our verdict

Use Glide to help your website visitors find something they want among many options.

For example:

  • signposting to frontline support organisations
  • halls to hire
  • leaflets to download and print.

It's a good alternative to website pages with long lists of links. You no longer need a developer to build directories with specific layouts, filters and searches. You can use Glide instead.

Templates and building blocks

You can choose the colour scheme, logo and size of images if you use them. Everything else is set by Glide.

You focus on choosing what data the pages display, how it is structured and how users navigate through it.

Below are some of the main choices.

  • Whether to display information on a map or a directory (or whether to let people switch between the two).
  • Whether to let people update or rate listings.
  • How to deal with items that are in sub-categories or multiple categories.
  • Whether to have extra information only pages (like About).
  • Choice of whether to require people to sign in before they use it

Blogging and creating pages.

In Glide you're creating entries. You simply add the data to a Google Sheet. This works nicely, as it makes it easy to give colleagues the right permission to keep it up to date.

Limitations

  • Glide’s set up interface takes a bit of getting used to, but once you understand it, it really makes sense.
  • The Glide team have put all their energy into the mobile experience. The web experience is an afterthought, just a window into the mobile site. It looks a lot better on a phone.
  • Creating a printable version from Glide is not an option at the moment.

Pricing

  • Free version has all the features for many purposes but will use a Glide web address.
  • $12 (£9) price point allows custom domain names (website address) but you need to register your own domain.

Useful links

Glide

Further reading

Want to work with developers rather than building your website yourself? Learn more about content management systems (the way most websites are built) so you can understand how the developer or agency might work.

Choosing a content management system or website framework.

Last reviewed: 02 March 2021

Help us improve this content

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 02 March 2021

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