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How we test website builders


Website builders are a great tool if you want to build your online presence, but they can quickly get confusing and complex if you’re not familiar and don’t know what to look for. At Cybernews we seek to remove some of that confusion and aim to provide you with information and actionable advice so you can easily find a website builder that suits your needs and requirements the best.

Our expert research and writer team is dedicated to providing the most accurate and unbiased reviews so you can make informed decisions. In the website builder testing and evaluation process, outlined in detail below, we combine methodological research, personal expert insights, user feedback, and technical tests to deliver comprehensive analyses, reviews, and recommendations.

Why you should trust our reviews

Cybernews reviews are trustworthy sources of information and advice because our expert research and writer teams always seek to ensure that what we say and write is fact-checked, evidence-based, and follows a clear and transparent testing methodology. Here’s more on why Cybernews can and should be your primary and trusted source of information when it comes to website builders:

  • Independent research. Our product research is conducted mostly in-house with industry-approved or self-built testing tools, following a clear and transparent testing and evaluation process and techniques.
  • Expertise. The Cybernews research team and writers are experts in their fields and use the latest available technology and knowledge to conduct product testing, research, and evaluation.
  • User-centric approach. We value our readers’ time and feedback. We continuously improve our testing methodology and update our reviews with information and advice that aligns with real-world, real-user requirements and needs.
  • Credibility of testing methodology. The Cybernews testing methodology follows strict guidelines and evidence-based testing protocols. The methodology is designed to provide an unbiased, accurate, and comprehensive assessment of products and services. We also source knowledge and expertise from industry experts, product resources, and user feedback.
  • Up-to-date insights. We constantly update our reviews to stay on top of the latest industry trends and best practices to help you make informed decisions based on the latest available information.

How we start our research process

Since our main purpose is to recommend the best website builders for your needs, before any individual provider testing, we consider what our audience may look for, and what the website builder market offers right now, whether there are any new developments or providers to keep in mind.

The following step in the process is about selecting the website builders based on specific user needs and what is currently available in the website builder market. We make initial ranking lists for specific scenarios – the best website builders for musicians and artists are not always the best for small businesses or restaurants – to ensure we stay focused on what you as the user might look for.

With the initial provider list, we move on to individual website builder testing and evaluation. During and after this process, the rankings may change based on the offered features, ease of use, pricing, functionalities, and other factors.

Introduction to what we evaluate in web builders

Website builders are meant to help you build the most impactful online presence, catering to your preferences and speaking to your chosen audience. When we evaluate web builders, we have your best interests in mind, thus, the most important elements we look at are ease of use, templates and customization, features, and flexibility. We also evaluate the performance of a built site, consider the overall price-to-value ratio, and last but not least, customer support. Here’s a breakdown of how and what website builder areas we test and evaluate:

Ease of use

Ease of use is one of the most important aspects of a website builder – you want the building process to be as smooth as possible, allowing you to create a compelling website in no time. When we evaluate how easy a website builder is to use, there are several specific things that we look for.

Firstly, we assess the interface: the builder’s layout, logical and intuitive feature menus, and dashboards or control panels that provide comprehensive performance overviews and customization options. Generally, we look for a clean and intuitive interface that allows a user to easily navigate through different sections of the builder.

hostinger website builder interface and layout

Secondly, we evaluate the onboarding process, namely whether there are any tutorials, guidelines, helpful pop-ups with tips and tricks, or maybe even an AI assistant.

Finally, we look at the editor. A drag-and-drop editor is highly favorable in any case, as it allows the user to easily add and rearrange elements on their site pages without any code.

Hostinger template editing

Templates and customization

The heart of a website builder might very well be its template library and customization options, as these features are what allow the user to create a unique website that speaks to their preferences.

Besides the amount of responsive templates (the more the better), we also check whether the website builder offers templates for different niches, industries, or types of websites. For example, templates specifically for businesses, portfolios, blogs, e-commerce sites, restaurants, or other use cases. The different template availability makes a huge difference in whether a website builder is included in our rankings of the best website builders for particular purposes. In terms of template design, while it depends on the subjective taste of the user, we generally look for modern and minimalist templates that align with the current website design trends. Finally, we test the responsiveness of the templates across various devices and screen sizes, such as laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. A demo preview feature for testing the design is highly appreciated in such cases.

hostinger website builder templates compressed

The customization doesn’t end with templates, though; there is much more to look at and evaluate. Some customization options we assess include layout customization, colors, fonts, typography, embeddings, and pre-designed elements like contact forms, event pages, calendars, social media integrations, and others. Additionally, code integration availability is crucial for users with coding knowledge who want to extend the flexibility and functionality of their sites. Finally, if a website builder offers a marketplace with premium templates from third-party designers, we explore and assess it as well.

hostinger social media icons

Flexibility

The flexibility of whatever design you choose is crucial if you want your website to look great across a variety of devices and screen sizes. In this part of our website builder testing process, we evaluate the responsiveness of the designs on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

The main things we assess are whether the website layouts and content elements properly adapt to different resolutions and screen sizes. Additionally, for mobile devices, we test whether the site’s layout properly adjusts when users switch between portrait and landscape screen orientation. Furthermore, we test the functionality of interactive elements like buttons, forms, sliders, and input boxes, as well as how well multimedia content like images or videos is displayed and played back on different devices.

Features

For a fully functional and usable website, templates and appearance customization are not enough. You need features for optimizing how your site appears to search engines, tools for marketing campaigns and emails, e-commerce features, and content management systems. Here’s a short breakdown of the features we look for and asses in website builders:

  • SEO tools for optimizing on-page elements like meta titles, descriptions, headings, and alt tags for images. Suggestions for keyword optimization, internal linking, and content quality are also appreciated. Additionally, we check whether automatic XML sitemap generation for search engine indexing is available. We also look for performance-tracking tools like keyword ranking reports, organic traffic analysis, and backlink monitoring. hostinger website builder seo tools
  • Marketing tools like popular email marketing service integration for capturing leads, building mailing lists, and sending email campaigns. Another marketing aspect we assess is seamless social media and web analytics platform integration for tracking website traffic, user behavior, and conversion metrics.
  • Connecting email. We check whether the website builder offers email hosting services, or integrates third-party email providers for custom email addresses. Built-in tools for creating and managing email campaigns. Users should also be able to design email templates, segment email lists, and track email campaign performance.
  • E-commerce features, such as page templates for web shops that make it easy to add, organize, and manage products and services within the e-commerce platforms. Some e-commerce functionalities we check include setting product attributes, uploading images, configuring pricing, and inventory details. Additionally, we assess popular payment gateway integration and tools for managing orders and processing payments. hostinger website builder ecommerce tools
  • Content management systems, in which we assess the efficiency of creating, editing, and organizing website content like pages, posts, articles, and more.
  • Integrations of third-party tools and services, such as CRM systems, booking engines, and online appointment scheduling tools.

Performance

Website builders often are either a part of a web hosting service or offer web hosting services. Testing the performance of these web hosting services is crucial when we aim to recommend a provider that will not only help you build a website but will ensure that your site is available to your audience at all times.

You can read in more detail about how we test web hosting performance, but here’s a short breakdown of what we test:

  • Page loading speeds.
  • Stress testing, or the limits of how much work a web hosting system can do without failing.
  • Uptime and server response time, or overall availability of the site.

Customer support

Even with the most user-friendly website builder, the building process might get confusing, and in such cases, a strong and efficient customer support system is crucial. We assess and evaluate the responsiveness and accessibility of various support channels, ranging from live chats, email, phone, and ticketing support systems, as well as knowledge centers with FAQ pages, tutorials, and informational articles.

Contacting the customer support team of various website builder providers is also a part of our evaluation process. We measure the response time and assess the response accuracy, relevance, and helpfulness. The technical expertise of the support teams is tested by asking complex or technical questions related to website building and any aspect it may involve, as well as troubleshooting.

Price-to-value comparison

The price-to-value ratio comparison is meant to be one of the final steps in the website builder testing process, designed to assess if what you’re getting with a specific provider is worth the price. The assessment includes comparing features, support, functionalities, and additional benefits relative to the cost, as well as in comparison to the market average prices.

We also take into consideration free trials or demo versions, money-back guarantees, added benefits, the worth of long-term commitment to one subscription tier, renewal rates, and potential costs for additional features or services.

Evaluating and determining the price-to-value ratio differs for each use case, as some features and services might be more important than others in particular scenarios. The price-to-value ratio comparison is also the final determining factor in the final website builder rankings.

Neringa Macijauskaitė
Vincentas Baubonis
Nojus Girdenis

At Cybernews, the in-house team of security researchers and technology experts test, review, and evaluate website builders. They regularly test the products by building websites for real-life use cases.

In particular, the research team focuses on evaluating the ease of use, customization, and flexibility of website builders in specific real-life scenarios. They also assess performance and customer support. The expert reviewers also take into consideration user feedback and reviews.

Our technology writers and security researchers work together to ensure that our recommendations are actionable, relevant, and up-to-date. If you notice any inconsistencies, please let us know by contacting us.

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