Best website builder for makers, sellers and doers.

A sales funnel only works if people actually enter the sales funnel. To get those people, you either need an audience (your email list, blog readers, podcast listeners, social media followers, etc.), or a willingness to hustle and/or spend money on ads to get people into the funnel. Until you get people into your sales funnel, it won’t convert anyone.

Maybe just like you, at first we didn't have a darn clue about how to build a website, nevermind write half a line of code if our life depended on it! We wanted to build a website to start a side business, and felt overwhelmed, confused & scared about how to actually do it, which builder to use, and making wrong decisions. After years of trials & errors using different website builders, we're here to share our experiences with you.
But we cannot deny that the end result is great once you get the hang of it. Being an all-in-one platform, WordPress has its pros and cons. If you are focused on a specific purpose then too much of WordPress features might just get you all jumbled up. So today we wanted to give out options that are similar in features but are concentrated more on a specific purpose like blogging, eCommerce, or simply website creation!
We’ve built highly optimized funnels for hundreds of businesses, using dozens of rounds statistically-driven A-B testing that have increased website revenue from existing traffic in some cases more than 10-fold. In one recent case a small affiliate business incorporated several of our sales funnels on their website and grew revenue from $2500/month to more than $29,000/month in just over a year.
In a nutshell, when it comes to WordPress it is an all in one platform which helps in creating a website, blogs and manage content. It has its advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to specific projects or sites which are to be created it may have pluses and minuses. It depends on the project, user and his requirements and strategies which define which application is to be used. There are many WordPress alternatives with different features.	

Not having a sales funnel for your online course is the equivalent of setting up a lemonade stand in the middle of the desert where no one will ever find it. Sure, it may be super hot outside. Sure, your lemonade may be delicious. But if you’re not giving people a clear path to follow and that leads to your lemonade stand, they will never find it. This “build it and (hope) they will come” approach rarely translates into sales and enrolments, at least in the real world.
If Wix does not make to your cut, then Weebly is also an awesome WordPress alternative for you. It is a fully hosted online site builder that enables the users to easily create and build the ideal site. Much like WordPress, Weebly also has a selection of tools built-in that helps with various features. However, where it differs is that while WordPress has a huge range of third-party software and plugins, Weebly is not as competent. However, it does make up for it with the stunning and excellent design structure. The Drag and Drop Page builder makes the process as easy as a breeze.
What Is The Best WordPress Page Builder - Beaver Builder, Divi, Elementor, Thrive Architect Compared

I use ExpressionEngine for most of the professional sites I’ve developed over the past 10+ years or so (I think Craft is based off EE, or developed by one of the EE programmers — I forget the details). Started out with that one because it’s easy to create templates and you know exactly what’s going on under the hood. WP was not an option earlier because it was an easily hackable mess. I finally took another look at WP because 1) I’d seen so many complex, well-crafted sites and 2) ExpressionEngine got too pricy for many of my non-profit organization clients. I just wish WP code wasn’t so convoluted — it’s not elegant code, but any means, and there is way too much stuff loaded that doesn’t serve any purpose. I guess I just have to get used to it.


One more important note — Europe recently released their GDPR law, which affects your site visitors’ privacy. It affects you no matter where your website is located, since chances are, people from Europe will hit your site at some point. It basically requires you to get explicit consent from your lead opt-ins. All Sumo opt-in forms come with a GDPR compliant opt-in box you can add to your forms, so you don’t need to worry.
Although not so popular among the users, Craft CMS is an effective content management system. Some major examples of this are Netflix and Salesforce websites. It is a much more complex and developer friendly CMS platform that provides exclusive back-ends for your websites. Unlike WordPress, it does not provide front-end themes that you can use. Instead, you can use their templating system that is powered by Twig to design it yourself.
When it comes to themes, although the market is not as huge as WordPress, Weebly has a decent amount of amazing themes to choose from and customize. The tools are all super user-friendly and easy to follow. Simply put, Weebly makes a pretty great alternative for WordPress and is suitable for smaller websites. Although not as flexible as WordPress, if you are aiming for minimal and simplistic sites, then it is definitely a good start. To give you a bit more insight, here are some pros and cons of using Weebly!
It is more developer friendly. The project structure is very clean, easy to configure and deploy. Using flat files instead of a SQL database might be limiting for some, but it's perfect for most standard sites like blogs, agency websites and even E-commerce. Twig for templates leads to cleaner code and a better separation of concern (Almost impossible to mix business logic in your templates). I guess the only downside is lack of plugins and templates for now. Guest • Jan 2018 • 1 agrees and 1 disagrees Disagree   Agree
Being extremely flexible as well as user-friendly, it enables any entrepreneurs to focus on their products and it’s promotion. It is relatively easy to manipulate and use and offers hundreds of free and premium themes to choose from. What’s great is that Shopify also offers the user the option to sell their products through social media, by integrating a Buy Now button or even using the POS system.
The best CMS software knows they are only made better by expanding their basic offerings. For true customization and full ability to meet your unique needs, there should be some level of add-on you can integrate. Each website is going to be a little different, and you’re going to have specific functionality needs, so having access to apps and extensions that make those needs possible is key.
Joomla is one of the more popular WordPress alternatives, and it’s easy to see why. The platform gives you a great deal of control over content workflows and template layouts, which dictate the appearance of your Joomla site in a similar fashion to WordPress themes. Another popular feature of Joomla is its built-in Access Control List (ACL), which makes site administration and granting contributor access an easy process.
I won’t get into too much detail here, because we do have an entire article on how to sell your course on live webinars (see link below). But the basic premise is to invite your email subscribers to a live webinar where you will share some of your best advice upfront before presenting your course. The great thing about hosting live webinars is they allow you to spend some time educating and interacting with your prospective students (which helps them get to know, like and trust you) before you invite them to sign up for your course.
I am a Blogger to Joomla to WordPress user and I can definitely say that WordPress is the Big Boss of the lot. I am a web designer who started with HTML and no PHP knowledge, but got hooked to WordPress due to its ease of use and simple learning curve. Even a novice with basic knowledge of html and php can find it easy to adapt quickly to WordPress. I am here to stay with WordPress 🙂
Magnolia CMS is a big one. It’s best suited for large scale enterprises, as not only is the functionality massive, but so is the price tag, which is revealed only after a consultation. However, if you need a large site or something that can handle a lot of functions and capabilities, this is a top choice. If you’re only looking for a simple WordPress replacement, though, this may be too much.	

Do a Google search to find the top blogs, forums, and publications about your course topic. Read the most popular articles on those sites (as shown by the number of comments and shares on social media). Then, read the comment section of those articles. You’ll often find feedback (positive and negative) in the comment section, along with questions that were asked by people in your target market.
Finally, get on the phone with your existing and/or past clients and customers. Tell them you are doing some research to help create additional content and resources to help them, and ask them for 10-15 minutes of their time to learn more about their specific questions and challenges. You’d be surprised how much people are willing to open up when you simply ask them to.
Dear Jeremy, Your list it very interesting and really helpful for non technical website creator, all your suggestion like wix, weebly, shopify dont need html or other coding skill you can create website easily within few clicks also benefits are to choice ready to use design and no major thinking require for hosting provider selection etc. But in the other end wordpress become very huge, recently i find very interesting statistics for wordpress market share in website developer compare to other CMS, see https://blogs.perceptionsystem.com/infographic/wordpress-cms-in-2016/ Year 2016 out of 100 domain in USA 20+ website build with wordpress...and as per wordpress community it will increase lots.
Thanks, Jeremy, for your excellent article, but I still have a couple of questions. We use Dreamhost for our website, which was built in 1999 (seriously) and we keep it semi-current using SeaMonkey's editor. Last year we added an ECWID shopping cart to replace the really difficult to use PayPal shopping cart system, which has helped, but a replacement website that's easy to change is what we really need. It seems that all of these site builders want to host us, when what I need is a program I can use to create the new site and replace my existing one. Is there a standalone site building program you recommend? How about an easy to use interface to put between me and Wordpress? (That seems like it would be an excellent tool for someone to develop.) Or should I just buy a copy of Wordpress for Dummies and start fresh? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Since being acquired by Square in early 2018, Weebly has shifted its focus to e-commerce. Unlike Shopify, Weebly is a website builder with e-commerce capabilities. This makes it much easier to build and design a website without requiring any code. Weebly’s designer is slightly more flexible than Squarespace but definitely less than PageCloud and Wix. Weebly is much more affordable than Shopify, but doesn’t have the same number of features. So, if you’re looking for an easy way to sell a few simple product online, Weebly may be for you.
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As the Weebly team states, the idea behind the platform is to make website creation available for everyone — not only programmers. Weebly remains one of the easiest-to-use site-building solutions out there. It delivers great tools for creating straightforward sites that serve specific purposes. Weebly is another hosted solution, which means that it takes care of housing your site and all the technical details related to it.
This funnel uses the “Urgency Principle” highly effectively, in this case using Scarcity (the page offers a limited number of vouchers and updates the number as it decreases in realtime) rather than Urgency (a countdown until an offer expires). Scarcity and Urgency are among the most effective tools for inducing rapid action on the part of a customer. When there’s limited numbers of a product its perceived value increases. This principle is evokes the powerful emotion of fear – in this case the fear of missing out on a good deal.	

Craft CMS is a feature-rich, open-source platform. In addition to offering a sleek interface for building HTML and creating content APIs, Craft CMS enables you to preview all changes made to your site in real time. Craft CMS also lets you run and manage multiple sites from a single installation and has built-in localization features for simple site translation.
I am biased towards WordPress, just FYI. I train new bloggers and website owners (non-profits and small businesses, etc) in setting up WordPress.org with an SSL and I do it in an 8-hour class. My point being I recommend you setup: 1) WordPress.org NOT WordPress.com; 2) Go with 1and1.com “Unlimited” + SSL (costs about $62 for 12 months, includes: domain name, SSL Certificate + web hosting). This will get you a web hosting account with a domain name, SSL and 1-year of web hosting for the cost of a SSL Certificate (most are $60+). Why SSL? because your site will display https and you can process online payments using Stripe.com (Payment processor similar to PayPal, Authorize.net, etc). I have setup at least 6 of these accounts exactly like this for attendees and clients. This will work for you and it will not have any ads popping up unless you put them there. Any questions just reply.

Magnolia CMS is a big one. It’s best suited for large scale enterprises, as not only is the functionality massive, but so is the price tag, which is revealed only after a consultation. However, if you need a large site or something that can handle a lot of functions and capabilities, this is a top choice. If you’re only looking for a simple WordPress replacement, though, this may be too much.
The popular streaming site Netflix is another company that hits you with a popup before you ever hit the homepage. Everyone new to Netflix gets a free trial, so they want you to signup before you even see the homepage. You do have the ability to bypass this and get to the site. Once there, what they offer and their prices are clear, along with what shows and movies are the latest and greatest to stream right now. Should you click around and want to view something, you are prompted to log in or signup. Their strategy is clearly working when you see how many people have a Netflix account.
Our Affiliate Survey Funnel sales funnel template has been designed to take advantage of this phenomenon, asking a few simple questions and collecting an email address which can then be automatically sent on to an automated email campaign app such as Drip for further use, before passing them through to a Upsell/Info page for additional engagement. We’ve seen increases in conversions from cold traffic of between 22-36% in A-B testing using this simple interaction funnel.
Another option (instead of hosting a live webinar) is to invite your email subscribers to watch a pre-recorded webinar or sales video that presents your course. If you decide to use this approach, I recommend hosting a few live webinars first to refine your presentation and make sure that it is effective before you start directing people to a pre-recorded video.
Ghost is another popular open-source CMS, geared more towards creating stylish blogs or online publications (as opposed to complex websites). It comes with versatile features for customizing page layouts, scheduling posts, injecting analytics code, and more – all from one streamlined interface. Ghost also makes it easy to optimize and produce content on multiple distribution channels (maximizing your readership in the process).
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