Website Builders for Creatives
- The selection of website builders evaluated herein used a simple guiding principle depending on the artist's primary goal. The list includes websites for artists and creatives seeking to sell their work and website builders for artists who want to display their work.
- The main talking points when it comes to selecting a website builder for artists and creatives are affordability, design, and SEO.
There are several website-building tools and platforms catering to the needs of digital artists and creatives. Each platform is unique in how they tailor their services to meet the specific needs of clients. This competitive analysis examines SaaS website-building tools using key talking points, which for artists are affordability, SEO, and design.
Website Building Platforms
- Wix.com is an Israeli software company founded in 2006 and headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel. Its flagship product, Wix, is "a leading website building and development platform with millions of users worldwide."
- The Wix platform is one of the easiest to use, allowing users to "create HTML5 websites and mobile sites using Wix-developed online drag-and-drop tools. In addition, users can add social plug-ins, contact forms, e-commerce, online marketing, and community forums to their websites, thanks to the platform's in-built tools and third-party applications.
- The Wix website builder runs on a freemium business model, only earning revenue through upgrades. It suits artists and creatives seeking to promote their work.
- Revenue — The most recent data indicates that Wix.com earned US$1 billion in 2019. Total equity as of December 30, 2020, was US$20.0 billion.
- Employee size — At last count (2021), the company had 5,000 employees.
- Number of locations — Wix has offices in 19 locations worldwide.
- User base — As of June 2020, Wix claimed to have over 180 million registered users from 190 countries across the world.
- Plans and Pricing — Wix has four premium plans for regular clients, each seeking to cater to a niche group of clients.
• The VIP plan costs $24.50 per month and is tailored for First Priority Support Users.
• The Unlimited plan costs US$12.50 per month and is most popular among entrepreneurs and freelancers.
• The Combo plan is tailored for personal use and costs US$8.50 per month.
• The Connect Domain is the most basic and costs US$4.50 per month.
- Wix also has Business and E-commerce plans.
• The Business VIP plan is a full suite costing US$35.00 per month.
• The Business Unlimited plan costs US$25.00 per month.
• The Business Basic plan costs US$17.00 per month.
- Squarespace is the website building platform developed by Squarespace Incorporated, an American website building and hosting company started in 2003 and based in New York, USA.
- Squarespace is a software as a service (SaaS) platform with in-built website templates and drag-and-drop tools to allow users to create and modify their websites. It is suitable for artists seeking to display their work.
- Revenue — Squarespace earned US$621.1 million in revenue in 2020.
- Employee size — The Company has 1,143 employees.
- Number of locations — Besides its headquarter offices in New York City, Squarespace also has offices in Portland, Oregon, and Dublin, Ireland.
- User base — As of December 2020, Squarespace had over 3 million registered subscribers.
- Plans and Pricing — Squarespace offers a choice of four premium plans that can be paid for annually or monthly. These are:
• Personal plan costs US$12.00 per month.
• The Business Plan is the most popular and costs US$18.00 per month.
• The Basic Commerce Plan costs US$26.00 per month.
• The Advanced Commerce Plan costs US$40.00 per month.
- Wordpress.com is a self-publishing and blogging platform owned by Automattic Incorporated. It was launched in November 2005 and has since grown into a mega website building and hosting platform that claims to "power more than 42% of the web."
- WordPress.org and WordPress.com are owned by Automattic but are distinctly different products. The former is a content management system (CMS) popularly used to create 100% free websites, while the latter is a web hosting service without the added plug-ins offered by WordPress.org.
- In reality, WordPress is open-source, which means the parent company allows independent developers to see the code and contribute to making it better. As a result, it suits artists who want to prioritize creative freedom and customization.
- Revenue — The WordPress Foundation is a non-profit company relying mainly on donations from individuals and corporations who use WordPress. Nonetheless, the company makes money by selling advertisements on people's sites and offering premium subscription services.
- Nevertheless, a 2012 article showed that Automattic made US$45 million though it is noteworthy that this money came from the wide range of publishing platforms run by the company. Its market valuation was US$3 billion in 2019.
- Employee size — Automattic's employee size is estimated to be 1,259 as of July 2021.
- Number of locations — The company operates from its headquarters in San Francisco, CA.
- User base — WordPress claims to power 42% of the web. It is not immediately clear how this translates into precise numbers but back in April 2012, close to 70 million websites were developed on the WordPress platform, a 50% increase from the previous year.
- Plans and Pricing — WordPress has four premium plans:
• The Personal Plan is billed US$4.00 per month.
• The most popular Premium Plan is charged US$8.00 per month and is tailored for freelancers.
• For small businesses, WordPress offers the Business Plan at US$25.00 per month.
• The eCommerce Plan tailored for Online stores is billed at US$45.00 per month.
All plans are billed yearly*
- Competitive advantage — the WordPress platform is open-source.
- Ideaform Inc., the private company behind Format.com, regards its platform as the "best portfolio website solution for the international photography community." The platform focuses purely on providing "the photography community with the tools and resources they need to share their work and grow their business."
- Format.com is for artists and creatives who want to showcase their work.
- Revenue — The company is believed to make roughly US$200+ per day and over US$3000 monthly. Its estimated annual revenue is over US$9,000. However, data from zoom.info indicates format.com makes approximately US$17 million in annual revenue.
- Employee size — Format.com has 54 employees.
- Number of locations — Format.com operates from its headquarters in Toronto, Canada.
- User base — Format claims to have "thousands of photographers across 190 countries" but offers no precise figures to back up this claim.
- Plans and Pricing — the company has four premium plans:
• The Basic plan for Starters is billed at US$7.00 per month.
• The Pro Plan is billed at US$15.00 monthly.
• The most popular Pro Plus plan is billed at US$25.00 monthly.
• The Premium Plan for established businesses is billed at US$40.00 per month.
- Competitive edge — Format.com purely caters to the photographer community.
- GoDaddy is owned by GoDaddy Inc., a publicly-traded American company headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, founded in 1997 by Bob Parsons. It is the "largest services platform for entrepreneurs" and offers a constellation of web-based services, including website building, domain naming, and website security, among others.
- The company prides itself as the market leader in providing web-related services thanks to nearly 20 years of experience in the industry. As a result, GoDaddy is regarded as the go-to place for artists who want to get started quickly with minimal fuss.
- Revenue — the company generated US$3.32 billion in FY 2020. Its market capitalization stands at US$14.25 billion (as of July 2021), making it one of the most valuable companies by market cap globally.
- Employee size — GoDaddy has over 7,000 employees worldwide.
- Number of locations — the company operates from its headquarters in Tempe, Arizona.
- User base — the company claims to have over 20 million customers worldwide.
- Plans and Pricing — GoDaddy has four premium plans.
• The Basic Plan costing US$9.69 per month.
• A Standard Plan that goes for US$13.85 per month.
• A Premium Plan billed at US$20.79 per month.
• An eCommerce Plan that goes for US$27.72 per month.
- All plans are inclusive of a one-month free trial period, after which billing is done annually.
- Competitive advantage — this website builder's competitive edge lies in the wealth of experience it brings to the table and its wide range of products and services. This essentially makes it a one-stop-shop for individuals and business entities as far as web products and services are concerned.
- This website building platform is owned by the Endurance International Group, a huge conglomerate in the field of website building and hosting. Founded in 1997, the parent company is headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, USA.
- Sitebuilder.com was launched in 2014 and offers products and services similar to its competitors. It sells itself as a website builder that allows users to "build compelling and attractive websites within minutes." It is suitable for complete beginners on a budget.
- Revenue — Sitebuilder.com earns approximately US$4.7 million in revenue annually. Additionally, data from Zoom.info indicates that this website building platform makes roughly US$4 million annually.
- Employee size — The platform has 25 employees.
- Number of locations — the company operates from its headquarters in Burlington, MA.
- User base — Sitebuilder.com's market share is about 1.36% compared to its competitors such as GoDaddy, Duda, and Dreamweaver.
- According to enlyft, sitebuilder.com is mostly preferred by Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs) with 10 – 15 employees with revenues bases of US$1 — US$10 million.
- Plans and Pricing — Sitebuilder.com has three premium plans:
• The Pro Plan is the most popular. It costs US$5.20 per month (for a 2-year subscription).
• The Premium Plan costs US$6.30 monthly with a 2-year plan.
• The eCommerce Plan costs US$9.40 with a 2-year plan.
- Competitive edge — Sitebuilder.com's competitive advantage is its ease of use and simplicity. It also has a free plan suitable for first-timers.
- Weebly was founded in 2007 by founders David Rusenko, Chris Fanini, and Dan Veltri as a website-building platform for personal websites. It is now owned by Square Inc., an American financial services and digital payment company headquartered in San Francisco, California.
- Weebly offers more than just website-building tools for digital artists and creatives; it also provides services that simplify inventory management, taxation, and shipping processes. As a result, it is best for artists and creatives on a budget seeking to sell their work.
- Revenue — Weebly's annual revenue is estimated at US$25 — US$100 million.
- Employee size — Weebly has 350 employees.
- Number of locations — Apart from its headquarters in San Fransisco, CA, Weebly also has offices in New York, Scottsdale and Toronto.
- User base — This website-building site powers millions of businesses through over 50 million websites worldwide.
- Plans and Pricing — Weebly operates a two-tier plan for websites and online stores.
- For the website category, Weebly offers four plans: a free Basic Plan and three premium plans.
• Weebly's Connect Plan costs US$5.00 monthly, paid annually.
• The Pro Plan, which is tailored for groups and organizations, costs US$12.00 monthly paid annually.
• The Business Plan for small businesses and stores costs US$25.00 monthly, paid annually.
- For Online Stores, Weebly has three plans:
• A Pro Plan for groups and organizations billed at US$12.00 monthly but paid annually.
• A Business Plan for SMBs billedUS$25.00 monthly.
• A Business Plus Plan for Power Sellers billed at US$38.00 monthly.
- Competitive advantage — Weebly's competitive advantage lies in its reasonable Pricing, user-friendly GUI, fast hosting, beautiful modern themes, and a simple framework that makes workflow efficient and seamless.
- This all-in-one platform has some of the best-in-class sales, market, and customer service capabilities. It was founded by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan in 2006. Its wide portfolio of products includes customer relationship management, social media marketing, lead generation, content management, web analytics, customer support, live chat, and search engine optimization.
- The fact that its capabilities are handled from a single database gives marketing, sales, and service teams a smoother handoff that increases efficiency. Customers can feel this through the high-quality digital experiences. Hubspot is for individuals and organizations seeking to grow sales.
- Revenue — Hubspot's revenue has been increasing year-on-year since 2017. The financial results for FY 2020 show it made US$0.883 billion, a 30.85% increase from 2019.
- Number of employees — Hubspot has over 4,500 employees.
- Number of locations — the company operates in 11 locations across the world.
- Customer base — Hubspot has over 113,000 customers spread in over 120 countries globally.
- Plans and Pricing — Its website-building platform has three premium plans:
• The Starter Plan costs US$45 monthly (or US$540 annually).
• A Professional Plan that goes for US$800 per month (or US$9,600 annually).
• An Enterprise Plan that is billed at US$3,200 monthly (or US$38,000 annually).
- It also offers a Bundle Plan for its CRM Suite that is slightly costlier than the standard plans. Under the Bundle package;
• The Starter Plan goes for US$45.00 per month or US$540 yearly.
• The Professional Plan goes for US$1,600 monthly or US$19,000 yearly.
• The Enterprise Plan goes for US$4,000 monthly or US$48,000 yearly.
- Competitive advantage — Hubspot boasts of some revolutionary products that place it above its competitors. For example, its in-bound marketing concept is hailed for its ability to enable marketers reach highly targeted audiences. Further, the site is equipped with cutting-edge tools that allow marketers to launch ABM campaigns very fast, deliver relevant content, identify target accounts, and measure impact.
- Shopify mostly targets eCommerce companies, though, from an artist's perspective, it is great for growing sales, especially for established businesses.
- Its in-built tools enable customers to sell in-person using the site's POS system, sell online with its online store, or sell through its other online channels. The platform is the property of Shopify Inc., a Canadian global eCommerce company based in Ottawa, Ontario.
- Revenue — Shopify's FY 2020 revenue was US$2.93 billion.
- Number of employees — It had over 7,000 employees at last count (2020).
- Number of locations — Shopify operates from its headquarters in Ottawa, Canada.
- Customer base — The company claims to power "over 1,700,000 businesses in over 175 countries across the globe." It also has close to 46 million small and medium-sized merchants around the world.
- Plans and Pricing — Shopify offers three premium plans: Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify.
• The Basic Shopify Plan is billed US$29.00 per month and suits businesses that occasionally undertake in-person selling.
• The Shopify Plan costs US$79.00 per month and suits businesses selling online or in-store.
• The Advanced Shopify Plan costs US$299.00 per month and is suitable for businesses that need advanced reporting.
- Competitive advantage — Shopify's strength lies in the fact that it is the easiest platform to use and has the biggest app store. The platform maintains basic features that are usually sufficient for most of its customers. In addition, the large app store means customers can add more features when they need to.
- Duda comes equipped with "customizable templates with lead-generating and sales-promoting features." It also has "a wide range of apps to serve a diverse audience through various models." One of the strong selling points of Duda is the prioritization of mobile functionality. As such, Duda sites perform quite well on all device types and screen sizes.
- It is owned by Duda Inc. and was founded in April 2009 by its founders Amir Glatt and Itai Sadan. The Duda website builder targets hosting companies, digital marketing agencies, online directories, small businesses, and web professionals. For artists, its creative templates are a strong selling point.
- Revenue — its estimated annual revenue is US$100k – US$5.0 million.
- Employee size — Duda's employee population is estimated to be 236 as of June 2021.
- Number of locations — The company's head office is located in Palo Alto, California, USA. Besides its headquarters, the company also has offices in Tel Aviv, Israel; Louisville, USA; London, UK; and Florianopolis, Brazil.
- Customer base — Duda.com claims to power over 450,000 businesses through 40+ million websites developed on the Duda platform.
- Plans and Pricing — Duda.com has a choice of four premium plans, each catering to individuals' and businesses' unique needs and budgets. The plans are as follows:
• The Basic Plan costs US$14.00 monthly billed annually.
• The Team Plan is billed US$22.00 per month.
• The Agency Plan is billed US$44.00 per month.
• The Custom Plan, tailored according to the customer's budget.
- Competitive advantage — Duda.com's strength lies in its highly customizable templates. In addition, its full-featured editor differentiates it from other website builders in terms of client experience and efficiency. Notably, its capacity to "offer cloud-based hosting, 99.9% uptime, and real-time status" makes it a reliable and trustworthy website builder with minimal performance security and infrastructure stability issues.
- Like most modern website builders, Strikingly is a platform that enables "users with little or no development experience to create mobile-optimized websites within minutes." Despite its mobile-first approach, the company strives to create websites optimized for viewing on all devices, including tablets, desktops, and smartphones.
- The website builder's beta platform was released in 2012. This free website-building platform comes with built-in SEO features, page analytics, social media plug-ins, and email-collecting functionalities. In addition, strikingly targets complete novices with its budget-friendly plans and products.
- Revenue — The company's main source of revenue is investor funding. It raised US$10 million from its latest funding round, which was in September 2018. Overall, Strikingly has raised US$17.5 million since its founding in 2012. Its main investors include Index Ventures, SV Angel, Infinity Venture Partners, Y Combinator, FundersClub, and CRCM Ventures, among other investors.
- Employee size — As of September 2018, its employee population was estimated at 300. However, owler.com puts Strikingly's employee population at about 110. The company's 'About Us' section on its official website does not provide this information.
- Number of locations — Strikingly operates from its headquarters in Shanghai, China.
- Customer base — There are no precise numbers to back up Strikingly's claim that it is "trusted by millions of entrepreneurs and creatives" worldwide. However, customer reviews from various social media sites suggest that this website builder might have a substantial user base though such may also be curated to serve the company's marketing interests.
- Plans and Pricing — Strikingly offers three premium plans - Limited, Pro, and VIP.
• The Limited Plan costs US$8.00 monthly.
• The Pro Plan costs US$16.00 monthly.
• The VIP Plan costs US$49.00 monthly.
- All plans are billed annually.
- Competitive advantage — Strikingly's standout feature is its mobile-first approach to web design. Consequently, its sites are typically optimized to perform on all screen sizes, including tablets, smartphones, and desktops. Further, its ease of use and simplicity makes it perfect for complete beginners.
- Webflow enables "designers to develop professional custom websites in a completely visual canvas." It does not require users to have coding knowledge because it has drag-and-drop tools that make up for this. However, this platform is ideal for people who want to come up with something novel for their sites. Though it has templates, it accords much more freedom to designers to choose from hundreds of templates and customize them.
- Webflow may not suit beginners, but it is great for designers who prioritize flexibility. Moreover, its retinue of in-built tools and features, flexible integrations, and easy content updating capability makes it a good choice for artists and creatives.
- Revenue — There is no data on the revenue Webflow makes annually. Its primary source of money appears to be investor funding. To date, the company has received a total of US$215 million, raising its market cap to US$2.1 billion.
- Employee Size — the company has over 295 employees.
- Number of locations — the company operates from its headquarters in San Francisco, California. In addition, in the U.S., 52% of the company's workforce work remotely while another 21% also work remotely outside the U.S.
- Customer base — Webflow has over 2 million users.
- Plans and Financing — Webflow has two types of plans, i.e., site plans and account plans.
- Site plans are tailored for blogs, personal sites, and business websites, while account plans are designed for eCommerce websites.
- There are four types of site plans — Basic, CMS, Business, and Enterprise.
• The Basic Plan costs US$12.00 per month paid annually or US$15 paid monthly.
• The CMS Plan costs US$16.00 per month, paid annually, or US$20.00 paid monthly.
• The Business Plan costs US$36.00 monthly paid annually or US$45.00 paid monthly.
• The Enterprise Plan has not fixed prices. Instead, it is tailored according to the client's needs and brand.
- The eCommerce plans are Standard, Plus, and Advanced.
• The Standard Plan costs US$29.00 per month, or US$42.00 billed annually.
• The Plus Plan costs US$74.00 per month billed annually, or US$84 billed monthly.
• The Advanced Plan costs US$212 monthly billed annually or US$235 billed monthly.
Account plans are categorized into individual plans and team plans.
- The Individual plans are Starter, Lite, and Pro.
• The Starter plan is free.
• The Lite Plan costs US$16.00 monthly, billed annually, or US$24.00 billed monthly.
• The Pro Plan costs US$35.00 monthly billed annually or US$42 billed monthly.
- The Team package has two plans — Team and Enterprise.
• The Team Plan costs US$35 monthly billed annually or US$42 billed monthly.
• The Enterprise Plan does not have a fixed price. Instead, it is tailored according to the client's budget and brand.
This comparative brief was conducted using a multi-pronged strategy that incorporated searching for the required information directly from credible sources, triangulations, and estimations where the precise data was unavailable.
The comparison has been conducted based on key metric data points, including company revenue, employee population, user base, number of locations, and pricing plans. For most of these data points, the required information was readily available.
The sources used in this research include official company websites, credible third-party sites, and marketing sites.