Whatever the size of your business and its sector of activity, creating a website to present or promote it is no longer an asset, it is a prerequisite. And good news, in 2020, many free website creation services make your task very easy, even without any (or almost) notion of code. But in this jungle, finding the best site creation service can be sometimes difficult, for beginners as for others.
Faced with the multitude of solutions for creating a website, how do you know which one is right for you? Here we will try to help you choose the free website creation service that best suits you, by reviewing the pros and cons of the most popular of them.
How to choose the best website creation service for your needs?
The best site creation software for a company X will not necessarily be the best for company Y. It is therefore essential to first list the 5 essential functions for your activity. Among the other criteria to take into account: your budget, your level of knowledge and the developments envisaged.
One of the most important factors is obviously the price. If you are a small business with limited resources, you will surely be looking for a free solution. The economic interest is certain, but the downside is that you will have to deal with certain important constraints, such as the impossibility of choosing your own domain name, or a limited storage capacity. Note that sometimes spending ten euros more can allow you to achieve a much more professional result.
Ease of use
The best website creation services are those that offer both an easy and simple interface, while offering a wide range of options. Among the criteria that count, services should allow without hassle to add:
The basic web pages you need, such as the home page, the About page, the Services page, and the Contact page. At least.
More complex features like image galleries or a contact form.
Other basic components that some businesses need, such as a blog, reservation or payment system, subscription features, or an online store.
You should also make sure that the website creation platform you choose is capable of meeting your needs as your business grows.
WordPress, the most popular
WordPress.org is the most popular free website creation service in the world. Over 35% of all websites on the Internet are managed by WordPress. WordPress is one of the best services because of its powerful features, scalability and ease of use.
WordPress is a free and open source website creation tool. This means that you have maximum control over your website over any other service in this list. Unlike other turnkey solutions, you will need hosting for your website and installing WordPress on a server (it's much easier than it sounds).
WordPress: the advantages
- WordPress is open-source and completely free, so it is available on most web hosting platforms. For example, OVH, a French web host, offers its installation in one click.
- Designing your site is easy, with thousands of predefined WordPress themes that cover every subject and niche you can imagine.
- WordPress offers tens of thousands of plug-ins to give your website additional functionality. For example, with the right plug-in, you can add customizable forms, create an online store, add a forum, publish online courses, and much more.
- WordPress is fully translated into dozens of languages and can be easily used to create multilingual websites.
- WordPress is also optimized for natural referencing. Plugins like Yoast SEO allow you to verify that your pages are "SEO friendly", enough to put all the chances on your side to gain visibility on Google.
WordPress: the disadvantages
Once WordPress is installed, you are in charge of maintaining your website. This includes backing up your site, updating themes and plugins, and updating WordPress itself if necessary. Some of these operations must be performed manually.
WordPress: how many next?
Note that the use of WordPress is free, but you will still need a server to install it. This means that you will have to buy your own domain name (around 15 euros per year) and subscribe to a hosting package (from 100 euros per year) from a supplier like OVH or Gandi.
Direct link to WordPress.org
WordPress.com: the commercial version of WordPress
WordPress.com is the fully hosted version of WordPress which is managed by Automattic. This is a website creation service created by Matt Mullenweg, the software co-founder open source WordPress, hence the name WordPress.com.
The main advantage of WordPress.com over the WordPress.org version is that you do not need any configuration or server. Just create an account on WordPress.com to create a website in a simplified interface.
WordPress.com offers pretty modern designs, a feature set that has everything you could need, and an e-commerce module if you want to create an online store.
WordPress.com: the advantages
- Access thousands of WordPress themes and plugins
- All update, maintenance and server tasks are managed by the WordPress.com team, so you won't have to worry about the technicalities.
- You benefit from the full power of WordPress as a website designer, with all its customization and functionality.
WordPress.com: the disadvantages
- A little more expensive than other services if you want to create an e-commerce store.
WordPress.com: how many is next?
If you want to create a basic website, you can opt for the free offer, but very limited in terms of functionality. For a more professional site, WordPress.com offers a whole range of more advanced services whose price will vary from 3 45 euros per month, depending on your needs.
Direct link to WordPress.com
Wix: the challenger
Wix is another popular website design tool. This drag-and-drop platform has all the advantages of a professional website creation service: it is easy to use, offers pretty templates and allows you to customize almost every aspect of the site.
However, the free version of Wix is quite limited. To go further, you will have to quickly put your hand in your pocket. So, if you have an ultra tight budget or just want to create a blog, you may need to consider another service from our selection.
Wix: the benefits
Wix provides more than 500 templates. All you need to do is choose the one you like and replace the pre-filled content with your own.
If Wix doesn't have the same advanced customization features as most other services, you can easily customize the pages of your site using the simple drag-and-drop method.
Wix: the disadvantages
Free Domain and Connect Domain plans will display Wix branded ads on your website. You will need to upgrade to their Combo or Unlimited plan to remove these ads.
The free version of Wix does not allow you to use your own domain name.
The free version of Wix is limited to 500 MB of storage and 500 MB of bandwidth.
Wix: how many next?
Wix can be used free of charge, with limited functions. To go further, it costs 4.50 euros for the Connect Domain package, 8.50 for the Combo package, 12.50 euros for the Unlimited package and 24.50 euros for the VIP package.
Direct link to Wix.com
WebSelf: the most generous
Created in 2009, Webself has become, by far, the best website creation system on the French market. Its main asset? WebSelf allows you to use almost all of the service's features with the free version. That means you can try it for free for as long as you want. The only constraint is that you are limited to five pages, and that you cannot use your own domain name. To go further, it will be necessary to opt for one of the paying formulas proposed from 7.95 euros per month.
Webself: the advantages
WebSelf is certainly the easiest service to use. Just drag and drop blocks to build your pages.
With WebSelf, you access templates that the company has already created. New models are added regularly so that you can find the design that matches what you are looking for.
The other advantage is that the company is French, as is its customer support.
Webself: the disadvantages
Webself: how many next?
The free version of WebSelf offers 5 web pages, as well as a type address YOURSITE.webself.net. To go further, you will have the choice between the Basic offer 5.95 euros per month, the Pro offer available 12.45 euros per month and the Business offer 17.95 euros per month.
Direct link to Webself.net
Weebly: modernity, and simplicity
Weebly stands out with templates with a very current design. A very nice solution … provided that you don't need too much options. We appreciate the use of drag and drop, which allows you to easily configure your pages exactly as you want, and its templates by default very well thought out for mobile.
The Weebly platform technically has many tools for e-merchants, but it will then necessarily be necessary to opt for a paid formula. Weebly also lets you manage your blogs, but the results are nowhere near as impressive as some of the other services on our list.
These strengths and limitations make Weebly a good tool for small businesses who need a simple (but attractive) website to direct people to their point of sale.
Weebly: the benefits
Weebly is fully hosted, so you don't have to worry about technical details.
You can easily create your Weebly site with great drag-and-drop reinforcement, by choosing from dozens of mobile-friendly templates with modern designs.
Each Weebly site is designed with built-in functionality for contact forms, photo galleries, etc. This allows you to easily add its functions to your website.
Weebly: the disadvantages
The free version of Weebly offers 500 MB of storage, and you will not be able to use your own domain name.
Weebly charges a 3% transaction fee on each purchase made through your online store. You will need to switch to their Business Plus plan to avoid these additional fees.
Weebly: how many next?
Creating a website with Weebly is free but you have to pay a subscription of 10 euros for the Pro plan. If you want to create an online store, you have the choice between two plans: Business 20 euros and Business Plus 30 euros.
Direct link to Weebly