After consolidating all of my WordPress blogs to this one blog, I found myself with several web domains that I want to put content on, but not in the form of blog content. I haven’t done any real web development in years. All I want is a quick and easy way to create beautiful but simple informational websites. Nothing fancy. Nothing complicated.
Often the simplest solution is the best option. I went into Google Docs, picked out a beautiful template, typed a few things, and then downloaded it as a web page. The results looked nice, except for a few deal breakers. Every link in the document referred to Google for redirection. Links attached to pictures disappeared. And it would prove annoying to have to download the file again, unzip it, and upload it every time I need to make a minor change. I needed new software.
Dreamweaver has been the gold standard for web development applications for as long as I can remember. But to buy Dreamweaver just to put together a few basic informational pages would be overkill to both my time and my wallet. The thing costs $15.99 per month.
So here are my criteria:
- Free (or I might as well just use Google Docs, warts and all)
- WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get)
- Actively developed (so it stays current, and bugs get fixed)
- Quick and easy to use (I don’t have a lot of time to figure it out)
After some research, a few installations, and poking around, I found four editors that meet my criteria.
Last year Google quietly released a surprisingly robust web editor. Google Web Designer is targeted towards creating interactive HTML5 advertisements, but the drag-and-drop interface also makes designing general web pages easy.
WebDwarf provides another free drag-and-drop web page builder. The Free Web Page Maker gets the job done for simple web pages. They also sell a more feature-rich version called SiteSpinner that provides features for managing larger more dynamic websites.
Sleek and modern-looking, openElement is powered by Google Chrome’s rendering engine. It has a drag-and-drop interface, extensive feature set, large free template library, and classy interface.
BlueGriffon provides its WYSIWYG capabilities using the Gecko rendering engine, the same engine that powers Firefox. It focuses on providing w3C web standards-compliance. The web editor itself is free, but most add-ons cost money. They updated the software in 2017 with and ePUB editor. I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks good.