There are currently over 1,865,000 websites, more than 75% of which are “live” (i.e. you can find them online). Many of these live websites were planned, conceptualized, and carefully designed to appeal to their audiences.

But what happens if you can’t code? Can you still design a good website?

The simple answer is a website design software that allows you to create a website without coding or design experience.

However, choosing the right software can be tricky, as there are dozens of options on the market.

In this article, we’ll compare the top website design software options currently available and help you select a tool that will take your website to the next level.

What to Look for in a Website Design Software

Before we start talking about the best website builder options, let’s talk about what web design software is, who it’s for, and how to choose the best tool for you.

Website design software is a tool that people use to design a website without coding quickly. This software is an excellent option for anyone who needs a website but doesn’t have extensive web development or coding skills.

Web design software is great for:

  • Local restaurants and cafes that want to build an online presence
  • Ecommerce stores who wish for an off-the-shelf solution that helps them sell products without building one from scratch
  • Contractors who want to build a portfolio (i.e., graphic designers, copywriters, etc.)
  • Small businesses that need a simple website, quickly
  • Large companies that have a small design department or don’t require a custom website
  • Hobbyists who want to share their passion online without investing in building a custom website

Check out this list of best website design examples from 2021-2022, categorized by industry.

So what are the benefits of a web design tool?

Can you still design a beautiful website... without code? 👩‍💻The answer is yes, with help from these website design tools! 💪Click to Tweet

Why Should You Use Web Design Software?

Web design tools use a “drag-and-drop” format where you select the widget (i.e. text box, image, etc.) and drop it onto your web page. This allows you to build a custom website widget-by-widget.

Naturally, there are many benefits to building a website this way, as it:

  • Allows you to create a website quickly
  • It helps people with no coding experience build a professional website
  • Automates the technical parts of the design process
  • Makes sure your website will work across multiple devices used by your audience (including mobile)
  • Includes templates you can use to create beautiful websites with minimal graphic design skills
  • Allows you to build a website cheaply or for free

While you’ll get these benefits with most web design tools, there are several different types of tools to choose from. Let’s cover those now.

Types of Web Design Software

While we’ll walk you through choosing the perfect website design tool for you in a minute, let’s first discuss the nuances between web design software options.

WordPress Web Design Software

WordPress website design software works with WordPress websites.

You’ve probably heard of these if you have a WordPress site before. The most popular examples include Divi, Elementor, and Beaver Builder.

No Code Web Design Software

No-code web design tools allow you to build a website without coding.

These tools generally include pre-formatted website themes to choose from, so you can simply customize your website to your audience. Two of the most popular options include Wix and Webflow.

Ecommerce Web Design Software

Ecommerce web design software helps you build and run an ecommerce store.

These platforms include website design and shop management in one central platform (though they often integrate with self-hosted websites). Two of the most famous examples include Shopify and SquareSpace.

Open Source Web Design Software

Open source web design tools let you edit and adapt your website’s source code. These options are perfect for self-hosted websites, as they allow you to export your website to your website hoster. The most popular examples include Startup4 or TemplateToaster.

How to Choose the Best Web Design Software in 2022

There are dozens of website designers to choose from in 2022, so how do you select the perfect website design tool for you?

In this section, we’ll show you how to select the perfect one for you in three steps.

Step 1. Learn What Good Web Design Software Looks Like

Good website design generally meets five critical criteria:

1. It’s Open Source

Open source software gives you access to your website’s source code. While you may not want to customize your code today, you’ll always have that option later when you choose open source software.

2. It’s Free or Low-Cost

The saying “you get what you pay for” just isn’t true with web design software. While you can spend big on a great program, there are dozens of low-cost design software options that work just as well for most websites.

3. It’s Exportable to Other Programs

While you may love the design tool you choose today, it may not meet your needs in the future.

To future-proof your website, make sure you select a design tool that allows you to export your website. This will save you from redesigning your website from scratch if you switch hosts.

4. It Requires No Coding

While many top web design tools can function as a code editor, the best tools don’t require it.

5. It’s Responsive

The web design tool helps you build a responsive website.

Step 2. Identify Your Needs

Next, you’ll need to work out what you need a website for. Identifying your needs will heavily influence which software is right for you, as each tool offers different website features.

To consider your needs, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why will people visit my website?
  • What do I want people to get from my website?
  • What purpose will my website serve?

Then think about the specific website features you’ll need to meet your audience’s needs. Here’s a list of potential features for you to consider:

  • Search bar
  • Testimonials
  • Live chat
  • Ecommerce store functionality
  • Email newsletter pop-ups
  • Website footer features (like social media icons and navigation tabs)
  • Space for reviews
  • An inbuilt map to your business
  • A “contact us” form
  • Blog
  • Blog search function
  • Post commenting
  • Website analytics
  • Inbuilt search engine optimization (an SEO tool)
  • Captcha/ anti-spam feature
  • An SSL certificate
  • Media compression
  • Lazy loading
  • A Content Management System

Once you’ve made a list of the features you need, it’s time to weigh up your options.

Step 3. Weigh Your Options

In this step, you’ll need to gather a list of potential site builders. For each option, you’ll want to consider four key things:

1. Price

As we mentioned in step one, low-cost design tools will meet most people’s needs. Before selecting a design tool, ask yourself: Can we afford it, and is it worth the cost?

2. Ease of Use

Building a website should be a creatively fulfilling process, but the wrong tool can quickly make it frustrating. Before selecting a tool, ask yourself: Can we use the tool to build a website quickly and easily?

3. Mobile Compatibility

In the first quarter of 2021, 54.8% of global web traffic came from smartphones.

As you don’t want your phone-using audience members to miss out on your website, make sure you check if your potential design tools can produce a website compatible with a mobile device.

4. Features

Finally, we come back to features. When weighing up different design tools, make sure you select a tool that gives you the essential features you highlighted in step two.

To help you weigh up potential design tools, we’ll review some possible design tool options in the following section.

Best Free Website Design Software

Now that we’ve covered how to choose the right design software, let’s discuss some potential free options.

This section will review eleven free website builder options, including the best open source, no-coding, ecommerce, and WordPress-oriented design tools.

Let’s dive in.

Best Open Source Website Design Software

Let’s look at three different software best for open source website design.

Startup 4

Startup 4 is a website builder that helps build a website with blocks. StartUp4’s website builder works online, making it perfect for users on Mac, Windows, and Linux computers. The tool is also quite popular and currently has over 27k customers.

Startup 4 website design software
Startup 4 website design software.

To use the tool, you simply grab a widget and drag it into place. Startup 4 also gives you access to several themes, significantly speeding up the graphic design process.

  • Price: Free and paid plans
  • Ease-of-use: Very easy for beginners and experienced designers
  • Mobile compatibility: Yes

Features:

  • Can create websites or single pages
  • Includes 300+ pre-designed blocks (including headers, text boxes, images, etc.)
  • Includes base themes
  • Integrates with email list software
  • Unlimited exports (so you can use the tool to create multiple websites and upload them to your website service provider)

TemplateToaster

TemplateToaster is an open source design tool that runs through a simple desktop app. You simply need to download TemplateToaster, install it on your computer, adjust a theme, and export your website to your website hosting provider.

TemplateToaster includes several fully customizable templates to choose from.

TemplateToaster website builder software
TemplateToaster website builder software.

TemplateToaster is best suited to people who use Windows computers, though it is available on Mac through a virtual machine. TemplateToaster currently has over 1 million users worldwide.

  • Price: Free and paid plans
  • Ease-of-use: Suitable for beginners and experienced designers
  • Mobile compatibility: Yes

Features:

  • It runs through a desktop application
  • Allows you to export your website
  • Includes free templates and themes
  • Works with all major Content Management Systems
  • Can create ecommerce websites
  • Allows you to customize your website by changing fonts and colors

Marvel

Marvel is a browser-based design tool that creates websites. Marvel helps teams who want to design together, though it’s still great for individual designers.

Marvel’s design tool also integrates with tools like Microsoft Teams, YouTube, Maze, Jira, Confluence, Lookback, and Dropbox Paper. This makes it perfect for people who want to enhance their website with these tools. Marvel currently has over 2 million users.

The Marvel website design tool
Marvel website design tool.

  • Price: Free and paid plans (paid plans from $12 a month)
  • Ease-of-use: Very easy to use (but best suited for people with previous design experience)
  • Mobile compatibility: Yes

Features:

  • Can create websites and other digital assets
  • Has in-built user testing
  • Designs are very customizable
  • Includes access to stock images and premade assets

Most User-Friendly Website Design Software Tools

Let’s take a look at three software tools that are the most user-friendly.

Webflow

Webflow is a website design editor that helps people create websites and edit their content continuously.

Webflow website design editor
Webflow website design editor.

Webflow can design a website or manage a website as a Content Management System. You can use two projects on the free website builder plan.

  • Price: Free and paid plans (paid plans range from $12–$212 per month)
  • Ease-of-use: Suitable for beginners and experienced designers
  • Mobile compatibility: Yes

Features:

  • Includes an inbuilt SEO tool
  • Acts as a Content Management System
  • Suitable for teams
  • Allows you to create custom animations
  • Includes over 100 templates
  • Includes 3D editing
  • You can customize symbols and save them to reuse

Wix

Wix is a simple website builder that can create advanced websites.

Wix simple website builder
Wix simple website builder.

You can host your website for free through Wix (provided you’re okay with your domain containing “.wixsite.com”), or design your website and upload it to your website’s hosting provider.

  • Price: Free and paid plans (paid plans range from $10–$38 per month)
  • Ease-of-use: Suitable for beginner designers who want to build an essential website
  • Mobile compatibility: Yes

Features:

  • Includes over 500 templates
  • Provides storage of 500 MB in the free plan
  • Allows customizations with images, animations, video backgrounds, and other widgets
  • Speeds up your website with Wix Turbo
  • Allows you to build web applications

Statamic

Statamic is a website management system that can help you design and publish content quickly.

Statamic website management system
Statamic website management system.

Statamic is suited to both Windows and Mac users, as it provides a desktop app for both operating systems. Statamic is free for one website.

  • Price: Free and paid plans (starting from $259 per website)
  • Ease-of-use: Suitable for beginners
  • Mobile compatibility: Yes

Features:

  • Allows you to track revision history
  • Supports multiple users
  • Includes 40+ field types (i.e., images, text boxes, etc.)
  • Can work as a content management system

Best Ecommerce Website Design Software

Let’s take a look at the two best ecommerce website design software.

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WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that helps people build and run online stores.

WooCommerce ecommerce platform WordPress plug-in
WooCommerce ecommerce platform WordPress plugin.

WooCommerce currently powers 14% of online stores, and over 4 million people have installed it. This tool is best suited for small and medium businesses that need a more advanced store website.

  • Price: Free
  • Ease-of-use: Suitable for anyone with WordPress experience
  • Mobile compatibility: Yes

Features:

  • Includes customizable shop templates
  • Automatically calculates tax and shipping rates for you
  • Open source
  • Handles payments from PayPal, Square, Stripe, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, deposits, and Google Pay automatically
  • Includes a mobile app
  • Works with Jetpack (a security and performance plugin)

Big Cartel

Big Cartel is an ecommerce website builder that builds and hosts your ecommerce store for you.

Big Cartel ecommerce website builder
Big Cartel ecommerce website builder.

It’s free to use for up to five products. Big Cartel is best suited for small businesses that only sell a handful of products and require a simple website.

  • Price: Free and paid plans (paid plans include $9.99 and $19.99-per-month plans)
  • Ease-of-use: Suitable for beginners
  • Mobile compatibility: Yes

Features:

  • Includes customizable themes
  • It shows you real-time website and sales statistics
  • Suitable for online and in-person selling
  • Tracks shipments
  • Works with a custom domain
  • Integrates with Google Analytics

Best Website Design Software For WordPress

Let’s look at the three best software that functions as WordPress plugins.

Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder is a WordPress plugin that builds websites page-by-page. It includes several pre-designed themes and dozens of widgets that will make your website unique.

Beaver Builder WordPress plugin
Beaver Builder WordPress plugin.

The tool is free and extremely easy to use, as you simply “drag and drop” the widgets you want into place. Beaver Builder is suitable for Windows, Linux, and Mac computers as it operates online through WordPress.

  • Price: Free
  • Ease-of-use: Very easy (provided you have experience using WordPress)
  • Mobile compatibility: Yes

Features:

  • Includes theme templates
  • You can create custom layouts
  • Works with multiple themes and other WordPress plugins
  • Works on any WordPress website
  • Free on unlimited websites
  • It contains dozens of widgets (including images, videos, text posts, etc.)

Divi

Divi is a WordPress plugin that allows you to customize your website’s pages with pre-designed themes. Divi is a “visual editing” tool, meaning that it displays everything you do in real-time.

Divi customizable WordPress plugin
Divi customizable WordPress plugin.

While Divi doesn’t require coding, you can add custom CSS to your web pages. Divi includes a free 30-day trial but requires a paid plan after that. However, you can use the tool to design your website, then export it.

  • Price: Divi offers a 30-day-free trial and two paid plans ($89 for yearly access or $249 for lifetime access)
  • Ease-of-use: Suitable for beginners and experienced designers with WordPress experience
  • Mobile compatibility: Yes

Features:

  • Allows you to add widgets (including images, widgets, videos, sliders, contact forms, etc.)
  • Includes dozens of pre-designed templates to choose from
  • Allows you to use ‘”bulk editing” to edit multiple widgets simultaneously
  • Templates are fully customizable
  • Allows you to save your designs
  • It saves your editing history so you can “undo” and “redo” actions
  • Allows you to export your website

Elementor

Elementor is a WordPress plugin that lets you build web pages around pre-designed themes.

Elementor WordPress website builder
Elementor WordPress website builder.

The design tool is currently used on over 5 million websites and offers a free website builder. Elementor is also a “visual editor,” making it perfect for beginner designers. Elementor operates through WordPress, making it suitable for Windows, Linux, and Mac users.

  • Price: Free with premium plans available from $49–$499
  • Ease-of-use: Suitable for beginners with WordPress experience
  • Mobile compatibility: Yes

Features:

  • Includes over 90 widgets (including images, text boxes, videos, buttons, etc.)
  • Allows you to customize the colors, sizes, and layout of your pages
  • Includes pre-designed themes
  • Open source
  • Compatible with other WordPress themes and plugins
  • Includes pop-ups

Comparing Website Design Software

Now that we’ve covered eleven potential website tools, let’s compare them.

What Is the Best Website Design Software Without Coding?

This question has two answers. If you are using WordPress, Elementor is the top website design software choice as it’s robust, includes over 80 widgets, and is compatible with all WordPress themes and plugins.

If you aren’t using WordPress, the best “no-code” solution is Statamic, as it is suited for multiple users, works as a Content Management System, and is free for one website.

What Is the Best Free Web Design Software?

The most robust and free website design tools are Beaver Builder, Elementor, and WooCommerce.

These tools work as WordPress plugins. They work seamlessly with any WordPress website. They also include dozens of widgets, are open source, and are customizable. You can also enhance the website you build with other WordPress plugins.

What Is the Best Design Software for Windows?

The perfect website design tool for Windows is TemplateToaster, as TemplateToaster includes a free Windows app that will let you build your website offline.

What Is the Best Design Software for Mac?

The top web designer for Mac is Statamic, as Statamic has a dedicated Mac app. Mac users can also use TemplateToaster through a virtual machine, though this may not work with all computers.

What Is the Best Design Software for Linux?

The top website design tool for Linux is Beaver Builder, Elementor, and WooCommerce. As these design tools run through WordPress, they’ll work just as well on Linux computers as they will on Windows and Mac computers.

If you have a Linux computer and don’t use WordPress, design tools like Startup 4 and Marvel are also great options (as they work through your web browser).

You can see Startup 4’s website builder below.

Startup 4 website builder page
Startup 4 website builder page.

 Want to design a site but don't know how to code? 👩‍💻 Check out these website design software options to get started ✨Click to Tweet

Summary

The perfect website design tool for you will depend on the type of website you need, whether you run your website through WordPress, and what type of computer you have.

When choosing the right software, always shop around and weigh your options to make sure the design tool you choose can design the website of your dreams.

For future-proof results, always choose an open source and exportable tool so you can take your website with you if you switch web hosting providers.


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