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Whether you’re a hobbyist, a budding e-commerce entrepreneur or a seasoned, savvy veteran—there’s one common choice that all must make: which website builder platform do I use?  

Yes, there’s a ton of viable options out there—each with their own pros, cons and quirks. But we on the CIRA team have done the legwork and put together our own quick (and relatively painless) builder comparison guide. So now, let’s dive in, decide and crack on with creating your new website!  

Oh, but before you get rolling…we’ll assume you’ve done the right thing and chosen .CA for your domain, right? Right? If you haven’t yet—don’t sweat it! There’s no judgement here. Let us give you a quick hand.  

All good? Let’s get started into our first website builder contender:  

 

GoDaddy Website Builder  

Ease of use  

Monthly plan cost range 

Pros  

Cons  

Very easy  

$10 – $25 CAD  

  • Possible to get a website live within an hour   

  • Extremely easy to use and cost effective   

  • Good selection of well-designed templates   

  • Good mobile app for website edits and updates   

  • Strong, highly responsive customer service   

  • Ease of use comes at expense of customization   

  • Template selection can be a little repetitive  

  • Could potentially “outgrow” limitations of GoDaddy  

  • E-commerce tools are easy to use but very limited  

The good stuff  

GoDaddy’s Website Builder boasts an ultra-fast setup process, allowing you to get your site built and pushed live in under an hour. From the moment you sign up for an account, you’re guided through a detailed, step-by-step building tutorial. Plus, GoDaddy’s editing tools are intuitive and beginner-friendly, allowing you to customize some 300-plus pre-built templates to suit your content.   

E-commerce integration is straightforward (if not very feature-rich) as well and features the ability to sell unlimited products without getting dinged for transaction fees per purchase.  

GoDaddy also boasts a full-featured mobile app that lets you make updates and edits to your site from a phone or tablet.   

The not-so-good stuff  

  • GoDaddy’s extreme ease-of-use comes at the cost of pure customization. If you’re one of those folks that wants to tweak every little, nitty-gritty aspect of their site’s look, feel and functionality—this may not be the platform for you.   

  • You also can’t switch between your chosen website theme or template without losing all your content. So, have your desired “look” in mind before fully committing.   

  • Lastly, as mentioned before, you more savvy, seasoned e-commerce veterans out there may find GoDaddy’s e-commerce functionality lacking in many of the features that its competitors like Shopify and Squarespace have. 

What it’ll cost you 

Cost-wise, the “standard” plan will set you back $13.99 CAD/month, while the “e-commerce” tier costs $24.99/month if you decide to pay annually.   

Hosting, GoDaddy’s bread and butter, is also reasonable, with the “economy” plan costing $5.99 CAD/month with a free custom domain and SSL certificate bundled in.   

For a more in-depth look at the GoDaddy pros and cons, read our full breakdown.   

 

Squarespace  

Ease of use  

Monthly plan cost range 

Pros  

Cons  

Easy to medium 

$19 – $65 USD  

  • Great selection of gorgeous, professional templates   

  • Fairly high degree of customization  

  • Specifically geared towards creatives 

  • Monthly costs can be pricier compared to Wix and Weebly   

  • Editing tools not the most self-explanatory or intuitive 

The good stuff  

Squarespace’s claim to fame is offering a broad selection of slick, professional looking and fully customizable templates.  

Squarespace is also an “all-in-one” platform that provides website editing tools, content hosting, e-commerce functionality (if you plan to sell online)—and more.   

If you’re a creative—like an artist, clothing designer or blogger—Squarespace’s overall design aesthetic is more than likely going to tickle your fancy. And did we mention Squarespace sells .CA domains?  

The not-so-good stuff  

  • Unlike some of its competitors, there’s no “free,” entry level Squarespace plan. Just a 14-day trial that eventually prompts you to pick a month-to-month annual subscription.  

  • Depending on your desired website functionality, plans can get a little pricey compared to competitor web building platforms. For example, the most popular “business” plan lists out at $33 USD/month. And if you want a break on your subscription rate, you’ll have to commit to a full year. 

  • Another potential drawback is that Squarespace’s editing tools aren’t the most intuitive or self-explanatory for first time builders and can take some getting used to. Fortunately, Squarespace does  
    feature a robust support section filled with resources and tutorials.   

What it’ll cost you  

The basic, hobbyist “personal” plan lists out at $23 USD/month, while the most popular “business” plan will set you back $33 USD/month. However, this tier unlocks several e-commerce features and apps.  

At the top end, the “advanced e-commerce” plan will cost you $65 USD/month.  

For an even more detailed breakdown to Squarespace’s main features and foibles—head over to our full guide.   

 

Wix  

Ease of use  

Monthly plan cost range 

Pros  

Cons  

Easy  

$6 – $44 CAD  

  • Over 500 templates to choose from   

  • Easy-to-use drag and drop editing   

  • Wix AI can design a site for you or build custom logos   

 

  • Limited template customization, no third-party app integration  

  • Your site isn’t transferable   

  • Templates aren’t interchangeable 

The good stuff  

Wix is another “all-in-one” building platform that provides all the basic editing tools, templates, apps and more to build yourself a professional-looking website. Know what’s even cooler? You can now purchase your .CA domain directly from Wix, if you’re so inclined.  

Speaking of templates, Wix boasts over 500 of them! And they’re all completely customizable to your needs.   

Wix’s website editor employs an intuitive, user-friendly “drag and drop” style tool that lets you place photos, copy and multimedia precisely where you want it within your chosen template.   

And if you want to get a taste of what life might be like if the robots take over, you can let Wix use its “Artificial Design Intelligence” feature to design your whole website in minutes. That’s beginner-friendliness to the max!   

Another very cool key feature is Wix’s robust, built-in app ecosystem that offers an easy way to add additional functionality, like payment processing, email marketing tools and more to your site.    

The not-so-good stuff  

  • There’s no way to transfer your Wix website to another platform if you ever change your mind or outgrow Wix. Once you sign on, you’re basically there for life—so to speak!  

  • While Wix’s “drag and drop” editing is great for beginners and those pressed for time…seasoned web builders might find Wix a little too limited on the customization front. You also can’t add in any other third-party plugins or apps beyond what’s provided in the Wix app store. 

What it’ll cost you  

Pricewise, Wix offers solid bang for your hard-earned buck by bundling in a generous number of features without anxiety inducing monthly fees.  

For entrepreneurs and freelancers looking to launch a site, the “unlimited” plan gets you up and running for $20 CAD/ month. For personal or hobbyist use, you may also want to have a look at the “combo” plan at $15 CAD/month.  

For the full details on building your website with Wix, check out our guide!   

 

WordPress.org  

Ease of use  

Monthly plan cost range 

Pros  

Cons  

Medium to hard/advanced 

$0 to $20  

  • Can be extremely cost effective   

  • Open source and supported by a massive community   

  • Nearly limitless customization with thousands of custom plugins and apps   

  • True freedom to design how you want   

  • Learning curve can be steep, making WordPress potentially time-consuming and overwhelming to first-time builders  

  • Very much a “do-it-yourself” environment with minimal handholding   

The good stuff  

Compared to platforms like Wix and Squarespace, WordPress is like one of those old-school choose-your-own adventure novels. To say, “the possibilities are endless” when it comes to building and customizing your site on WordPress isn’t actually an exaggeration.  

You get access and the ability to customize all your back-end code. Plus, you can upload all your own custom themes, plugins and apps. But know you’re on your own when it comes to sourcing web hosting.   

The not-so-good stuff  

  • If you’re going to go full throttle into creating a WordPress site, it’s going to help having at least a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS coding.  

  • You might also want (or need) to consider hiring out the design/development work if you get stumped.  Fortunately, though, WordPress has a massive developer community that has created a how-to resource for virtually any issue you might encounter.  

  • While you can learn to build a WordPress site from scratch, it can be incredibly time-consuming and overwhelming. In other words, WordPress may not appeal to the most time-crunched entrepreneurs out there!  

What it’ll cost you  

Cost-wise, WordPress is open source and free!  

But…depending on the level of detail or functionality you put into your site, the cost to build can add up fast—especially if you hire someone to create a WordPress website for you.   

Sound intriguing so far? Get the full story on building with WordPress.   

 

Weebly  

Ease of use  

Monthly plan cost range 

Pros  

Cons  

Easy  

$0 to $30 CAD  

  • Solid template design and powerful editing tools   

  • Great value for money  

  • App Centre provides additional functionality for your site   

  • User-friendly drag and drop editing   

  •  No automatic backups of your site   

  • Can’t bring in any third-party software or plugins   

  • Blogging experience is extremely limited and rudimentary  

The good stuff  

Weebly’s biggest selling points are its ease-of use, simple and clean-looking website building interface, and powerful editing tools.  

Another positive point is that Weebly’s templates and themes are modern looking, attractive and have mobile-responsiveness built-in. Better yet—if you want to switch themes, you can without losing your existing content.   

Similar in nature to Wix, Weebly offers a “drag and drop” editor that involves simply placing different elements, like pictures, text and videos, onto your pages.   

The not-so-good stuff  

  • Weebly doesn’t allow you to bring in any outside software or plugins beyond what’s available through its in-house App Centre.  

  • There aren’t automatic backups of your site—even on higher-priced plans. Luckily, backing up your site content is a fairly simple process, but it’s up to you to initiate those backups manually.   

  • Bloggers may also want to look elsewhere, as the Weebly blog experience leaves much to be desired. Weebly makes it nearly impossible to migrate blog content, there is a very rudimentary default layout.   

What it’ll cost you  

Picking the $15 CAD/month “professional” plan gets you an impressive level of functionality, customization and even e-commerce tools. You also don’t run into limits on storage or the number of web pages. Weebly even throws in hosting as part of the package.   

If you need more advanced e-commerce functionality, the “performance” plan can be had for $30 CAD/month.  

For the full scoop on whether Weebly’s right for you, read our full write-up.   

 

Shopify  

Ease of use  

Monthly plan cost range 

Pros  

Cons  

Easy  

$29 – $299 UD  

  • It’s the e-commerce specialist   

  • Attractive, professional-looking templates   

  • Strong selection of e-commerce apps   

  • Easy to customize and build scalable online stores 

  •  Difficult to export and move site content to another platform   

  • Unless you’re doing serious transactions, hard to justify upper-tier subscription plans   

  • Must use Shopify Payments, or pay transaction fees 

The good stuff  

Shopify is all about offering a solid balance of user-friendliness along with deep customization. Whether you’re super small-scale or looking to move thousands of products per month, Shopify makes it possible to build an easily scalable online store without being a coding whiz.   

Other key advantages? Well, Shopify gives you the freedom to sell products through a host of different channels—e.g., Amazon, Pinterest. Shopify also works well with over 100 different payment gateways worldwide.   

Shopify also serves up an array of useful apps (over 1,200) that help boost your online store’s functionality—from inventory management tools to slick email marketing solutions.   

The not-so-good stuff  

  • Shopify will ding you for transaction fees unless you use their Shopify Payments platform. And while it’s not a horrible system by any stretch, it does lock you further into their ecosystem.   

  • Your monthly costs can quickly add up if you’re not paying attention. Many of the paid apps in Shopify’s store come with their own monthly subscription fees that aren’t part of your overall Shopify plan.   

  • Once you’re locked into the Shopify ecosystem, it can be difficult, if not impossible to move all your website’s content to a different platform.   

What it’ll cost you  

The low-end, “basic” subscription plan at $29 USD/month scores you all the fundamental tools for getting your online store up and running.  

For more advanced features, you’ll pay $79 USD/month.   

Think Shopify might be worth choosing for your burgeoning e-commerce empire? Read our full breakdown now.

 

LiteSite  

Ease of use  

Monthly plan cost range 

Pros  

Cons  

Very easy  

$2.95 UD  

  • Easily create attractive one-page websites   

  • Intuitive editing tool   

  • Competitive pricing   

  • Uncluttered, attractive templates   

  • Any multimedia needs to be embedded and hosted elsewhere   

  • One-page means one page…and you need to be okay with that  

The good stuff  

LiteSite offers five, mobile-friendly one-page website templates that can be easily customized to create anything—from attractive digital resumes and portfolio pages to personal branding sites, or online restaurant menus.  

If all you’re after is a low-cost, straightforward and easy-to-build-and-maintain site, LiteSite could be a compelling option.   

The not-so-good stuff  

  • LiteSite doesn’t offer any e-commerce functionality, nor can you install any custom plugins or apps.  

  • You’re limited to just 5MB of storage space, so any photos, videos or other multimedia content would need to be hosted elsewhere.   

What it’ll cost you  

For as little as $2.95 USD/month, LiteSite serves up its web builder, a free .CA domain and a branded email account.  

If you think you can live within the bounds of a one-page website, read on and see why else LiteSite may fit your web building needs!   

 

We hope this overview of web builders helped provide some valuable insight into each of your options.  

And if you’re still mulling over your choice of domain, might we leave you with five, super-compelling, absolutely undeniable reasons to choose .CA?.  

From the whole gang here at CIRA, we hope you have a productive and frustration-free web building experience!