Last modified: March 8, 2016

If you were a graphic designer who use a drag and drop vector drawing software such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW, you might think; “If only I could design website layout the way I create graphics in these software”. But sadly any of these software doesn’t have web page building options. CorelDRAW, however, has very basic features to generate web pages that is practically outdated method.

You are already a graphic designer and deep down you wish to become a web designer and earn more profit. But here is the catch: web languages. Definitely, instead of investing a huge chunk of your time to learn web languages, you will want to create web pages in the same way you create graphics at Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW. So, is there any software for Windows that lets you create website pages with drag and drop method? And fortunately the answer is, “Yes. Many.” There are many drag and drop website builder PC softwares floating across the Internet and claiming creation of website without knowing web programming. As far as their claims are concerned, of course they are right in saying zero programming. But what about the quality of code generated by theme and how advanced websites can be created with these softwares? Quality of websites created with these softwares are always challenged. Roughly I can said that 99 out of 100 completely fail to generate standard HTML and CSS and lack advanced website designing features.

So first and foremost we must be familiar with those criteria upon which a website is judged. Here are the standards that are essentially required to design a professional website;

Code quality – Automatically generated code must be well readable by search engine bots and SEO optimized. HTML is written in compact way and have smaller in size. Most of the drag and drop website builders are able to generate poor quality code.

Browsers compatibility – Generated page CSS and HTML should be cross browser compatible. i.e. created website should be viewable in different versions of all popular browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. Browsers compatibility is bafflingly a major issue for many builder softwares.

Advanced CSS styling options – A website creator software is incomplete or altogether incompetent, if it doesn’t have full featured CSS customization options for every site element. Whether it is a text block, image, button or anything else, everything, no matter how trivial it may look, should have its own CSS panel with which user can change CSS properties such as text style, font, background, padding, margin, borders or even add custom CSS code. Does your software have this kind of CSS option panels? At this stage, a majority of web design software more or less lack this feature.

Advanced building blocks – Advanced JavaScript sliders, Audio and Video Player, Social media widgets, Menu bars, Photo Gallery, Portfolio, Flash, Contact Form, Site Search. These are some of the elements that every good website needs. They are crucial for making a website advanced and professional.

Responsiveness or mobile website – Now that mobile mania is at its peak, a large fraction of internet traffic is shifting to smaller displays such as 4 to 7 inches. So to keep up with this trend, our website should be either responsive or we should have a mobile version of it.

Meet Serif WebPlus

Serif Webplus

Pros – Most powerful static website builder, includes stunning tools to create professional looking websites without requiring a prior knowledge of programming, perfect to create small business websites with limited number of pages, mobile site creator
cons – it fails to create responsive websites (however, you can create a mobile version of website with it)

Serif Webplus (latest version X8) is a Windows PC desktop application and the most powerful static website builder tool to date for desktop. Personally, I think that all other website builders in static domain are way behind Webplus, specifically its X8 version. Getting on with Webplus is very easy. Its workspace and designing tools are much similar to Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW. So if you are a hard-core graphic designer who is used to the likes of Adobe or Corel, you can be a master web designer with Serif Webplus. With Webplus you can cut down on the time to be spent in learning web design over 100%. You can be a rock star web designer within 2-3 days (if you are well aware of Illustrator, CorelDRAW or any other grahic design software including PhotoShop.) All you need to do is freewheel with Webplus and on the off chance if you’re stuck somewhere, a comprehensive help manual is at ready.

Why Webplus stands out from all other PC based static website builders

  • Powerful graphics designing tools – Webplus workspace is greatly inspired by the popular graphics editing softwares like CorelDRAW, Illustrator or Photoshop. If you are a graphics designer, there are little chances that you face any difficulty understanding shape tool, typing tool, gradient tool, pen tool, transparency etc. Photo retouching and cutout tools are also available.
  • The code written by Webplus is 100% W3C valid and HTML5 compliant.
  • Generated code is fairly search engine friendly and optimized for speed
  • Every page comes with its own on-page SEO options
  • Create a desktop site and then easily create a mobile website by re-sizing and rearranging site elements. Desktop site is redirected to mobile site automatically if opened on a device having a smaller display size.
  • Smart Objects – It is a very special feature hosted by Serif. With the help of Smart Objects, you can add blog, forum, login, booking system, dynamic site search and much more to your website. This way your can make your static website work like a dynamic CMS website.
  • Advanced content sliders – Adding a slider with multiple layers is an easy task in Webplus X8. You can discover one of the best slider creator tool working with Webplus X8.
  • Create advanced effects with panels – Panel is a specialized module of Webplus that lets you show hide content, hover effect, tabbed content etc.
  • Integrated CSS option for every module – Either HTML text box, image or slider, every module has its own separated CSS option panel with which you can customize all CSS properties along with adding custom CSS code.
  • Attach your own custom HTML if desired – With the help of this option, you can wrap an HTML element with your own custom HTML element such as div, ul, ol, span etc. You can also define a CSS ID or class for a particular HTML tag.
  • Master page – Master page is the page that if you select for A, B, C pages all the three pages will have the content of that master page and if you make any change in that master page, all the three pages will reflect the the same change. Master page concept saves tons of time, by getting around the updating of pages one by one.
  • Outstanding menu bar creator – Webplus navigation bar creator module includes several readymade menu templates. Either you can create a navigation bar with custom links manually added by you, or you can let Webplus generate menu bar based on your site pages tree. Menu bar comes with a navigation-button-style editor and a button creator as well.
  • eCommerce ready – In spite of being a static website builder, Webplus comes with the tight integration of PayPal and you can create product pages with Webplus that are set to be sold via PayPal.
  • Booking system – Booking system is a hosted service by Serif and free for Webplus users. To add a booking system, you need to drag and drop booking system smart object to the page. Webplus will ask you to create a web resources account. Finish the sign-up process and you will be provided with a web-based login to manage your bookings and other smart objects related data.

Webplus X8 Features chart

Drag and drop functionality 10 Points
The most powerful drag and drop website builder. Create websites as if you are creating a layout in a graphics editing tool.
Graphics editing level+10 10 Points

Advanced graphics creation tools just like in Illustrator and CorelDRAW.
Draw shapes, create logos using pen tool, advanced transparency and gradient tools.
Cutting edge image editing tools including image cut out studio.

Graphics Library 10 PointsThousands of ready to use vector graphics are available to add in pages
CSS Styling options 8 Pointsextensive CSS options, suitable for both advanced users and beginners. Every element comes with its own detailed CSS option panel.
Responsive design/mobile site 4It doesn’t create responsive websites. But it has native mobile site redirect option. Create a mobile version of the site set redirect option in desktop pages in page properties.
CMS (Blog, user login, page editing online) 8 PointsSerif offers its own hosted service named Serif Web Resources. You can embed blogs, CMS, Booking system, polls etc in your created Webplus pages.
Cloud editing of design 0No
Global changes via master page 10 PointsYes
SEO Options 10 PointsYes
HTML access 10 PointsYes
Custom CSS 8 PointsYes
Compatible Operating systems 8 PointsWindows
iOS App for created websites 0NO
Android App for create websites 0NO
Contact form designer 10 PointsYes
Contact form PHP integration 8 PointsYes (via Serif Web Resources)
Content Slider (layered slides with text, images or anything) 10 PointsYes, Extremely advanced and customizable
Photo Gallery/ Slider 10 PointsYes
eCommerce basic 10 PointsYes
eCommerce online management with login (database integrated) 0NO
Readymade Templates 8 PointsYes
Menu bar creator 10 PointsYes, Extremely advanced and customizable
SEO Assistance 10 PointsYes
Total number of Widgets 40+

Xara Web designer Premium

Xara Web Designer

Pros – Easy and powerful drag and drop website builder for desktop, creates responsive websites, cloud editing of created websites
Cons – No access to HTML source, customizable CSS options are limited

This software is very much like Webplus and has originated from Xara Graphics Designer software. Xara has merged its graphic editing tool into its web designing tool. Just like Webplus, it comes with a workspace and a tool similar to that in CorelDRAW, Illustrator or Photoshop. However, there are some very unique advantages of using this software such as its cloud site editor that lets you edit your clients’ website layout from anywhere. With Xara Web Designer, you can create a responsive website in a virtual way. It gives you an option to create multiple versions of a single page for different display sizes that are combined in a single HTML file. (We get different page versions of a website corresponding to the display size of the browser window. Similarly, when website is opened on a mobile or a tablet, we get the version set for mobile or tablet. This software has made the website designing easier than ever. You’re just playing around with the software and lo, a full-fledged professional website is ready. However, On the face of it, making a responsive website may appear a little tricky and trying as you have to prepare two or three versions of each page. yet for all practical purposes, it’s surprisingly easy. First design the desktop page and that’s all because after that you just have to truncate the size of the desktop page according to the (small) display size.

Salient Features of Xara Web Designer Premium

  • Extensive graphics editing options just like major vector and raster tool

Drag any object anywhere

Not surprisingly this software, like Serif Webplus empowers you with the powerful graphics editing tool and it’s no less than a boon for those who are already in the profession of graphics designing. A great number of desktop publishers wish that there would be some way like Photoshop so that they would be able to change desktop design into website design. So the straightforward answer is like Serif Webplus, Xara Webdesigner is a novel desktop software for creating professional websites just with the help of mouse or keyboard and without requiring any prior knowledge of programming. Unbelievable, isn’t it?

  • Create responsive websites in a whole new way

At one time creating responsive websites seemed almost next to impossible. Things were quite murky. As a matter of fact all desktop website builders uses absolute positioning in creating layout grid, which renders the creation of the responsive website a practical impossibility. Now the obvious question is: Why only absolute positioning? So let me explain it this way: Drag-and-Drop-way method uses only this positioning. But as the mobile users were growing fast (as of now they have outnumbered the desktop users) a mobile friendly website or to put it another way a responsive website was need of the hour. Need for a mobile-friendly website had become a necessity. Xara, found an innovative way to crate a responsive website and finally beat to it. Xara web designer premium though cannot create a true responsive website, yet you can have a website that responds to the display size of the device. We can check whether a website is responsive or not by resizing the browser window. A website is said to be responsive if the website layout keeps adjusting itself according to the size of the browser window.

so how exactly Xara nailed it? With this software we can generate multiple size variants of a page, say, originally created as 1200 px width desktop page. When the website is imported, all these variants are merged in a single HTML page so that there is a separate variant for each display size. In one way we can say that this method is better than setting up a mobile site separately because when we make a change in the desktop site, all the (size) variants of the page automatically are updated. On the other hand, if there is a separate redirect-kind-of mobile website, a change made in the desktop website will not appear in the mobile site unless made seperately. So in this regard, Xara Webdesigner triumphs over Serif Webplus.

  • Several web modules are available

Xara designer provides a vast array of website modules provide karta hai like audio/video/flash player, PDF import, Google Map, AdSense, Bing Map, External website ember, Web RSS, Nabble Forum, Table, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Addthis, YouTube, Dailymotion, Flickr, Picasa, PayPal, Amazon Widget, Charts, Sliders, Contact Form, Navigation bars, Buttons etc.

  • Cloud editor makes it enable editing your website on the go

The cloud editing feature of Xara Web designer Premium, which is now in its beta version, is also a big attraction. In a way, this feature transforms your website into the content management. No matter where you’re, just log in to your Xara cloud account and make the required change. Admittedly at this moment this editing seems to be too limited as it only allows to edit only text and the images, but we expect new and exciting features to be added to Xara cloud designer over time. .

Xara Web Designer Premium Features chart

Drag and drop functionality 9A powerful drag and drop website builder. Create websites as if you are creating a layout in a graphics editing tool.
Graphics editing level 9Advanced graphics creation tools just like in Illustrator and CorelDRAW.

Draw shapes, create logos using pen tool, advanced transparency and gradient tools.

 

Graphics Library 9Yes
CSS Styling options 4Limited
Responsive design/mobile site 8 PointsVirtually Yes. Create mobile and tablet variants of the page and the software will combine all variants into a single page. Appropriate variant will be load on appropriate display size.
CMS (Blog, user login, page editing online) 0NO
Cloud editing of design 9Yes
Global changes via master page 0NO
SEO Options 8 PointsYes
HTML access 0NO
Custom CSS 0NO
Compatible Operating systems 8 PointsWindows
iOS App for created websites 0NO
Android App for create websites 0NO
Contact form designer 0NO. (only 3rd party form builders can be added as a widget)
Contact form PHP integration 0NO
Content Slider (layered slides with text, images or anything) 0No
Photo Gallery/ Slider 8 PointsYes
eCommerce basic 10 PointsYes
eCommerce online management with login (database integrated) 0NO
Ready-made Templates 10 PointsYes
Menu bar creator 8 PointsYes. But not so advanced as Webplus
SEO Assistance 0NO
Total number of Widgets 10 Points40+

Website X5

WebsiteX5

Pros – Creates true responsive websites, create custom page layouts, drag and drop builder, CMS, eCommerce site builder
Cons – Graphics editing capabilities are limited, you can’t move elements freely using mouse.

WebsiteX5 is one of those few selected desktop software that are used to set up a responsive website. This easy drag-and-drop website builder comes with a step-by-step wizard that is colossally helpful to build a website. However, it works a little bit differently from other desktop site builders. Now we’ll have a cursory look at how this immensely useful software is different from the others and does its being different really matter? WebsiteX5 offers a drag-and-drop builder canvas but with few limitations. Its page builder canvas allows you to build blocks as in a table. Just like a table can be divided into rows and columns, WebsiteX5 canvas be further delineated with rows and columns. This way we can achieve any kind of combination of rows and columns, leading to the desired layout structure.

This software offers a number of options to style different site elements (however, there is no way to customize CSS thoroughly. Still the given styling options are enough for a non-coder and keep it away from hassles.

WebsiteX5 is a feature-rich website-builder software because the websites created by it are not only responsive but also professional-looking and equipped with the dynamic features. We can add blog, e-commerce portal and even database enabled contact forms to the websites.

Unlike other website builders which offer only one package in their software, WebsiteX5 comes in three different packages; Home, Evolution and Professional. Home plan has only a few features that let us build only a basic kind of website. On the other hand, Evolution and Pro packages have features to help build advanced and dynamic websites. Evolution and Professional versions are packed with responsive design option, e-commerce site building, online site management and much more. The Professional Plan is an upgraded version of Evolution and with it you can handle the order management and content management system of an eCommerce website. Another major attraction of WebstieX5’s Professional package is that you can build iPhone and Android of your websites.

WebsiteX5 Professional Features chart

Drag and drop functionality 6

You can create a custom layout adding different rows and columns to the page. You can drag and drop available page elements and widgets in the layout.

Graphics editing level 6It doesn’t offer tools to create graphics such as readymade shapes, pen tool, lines, crop etc. However, it offers extensive image enhancement options and filters. You can also apply gradient to a block background.
CSS Styling options 6CSS options are not full blown but enough for a person who doesn’t know CSS programming.
Responsive design/mobile site 10 PointsIt is one the handful desktop softwares that have responsive site creation functionality.
CMS (Blog, user login, page editing online) 10 PointsYes
Cloud editing of design 10 PointsYes
Global changes via master page 0No
SEO Options 8 PointsYes
HTML access 0no
Custom CSS 0no
Compatible Operating systems 8 PointsWindows
iOS App for created websites 10 PointsYes (significant advantage)
Android App for create websites 10 PointsYes (significant advantage)
Contact form creation and PHP integration 10 PointsYes (significant advantage)
Content Slider (layered slides with text, images or anything) 0No
Photo Gallery/ Slider 8 PointsYes
eCommerce basic 10 PointsYes
eCommerce online management with login (database integrated) 10 PointsYes
Readymade Templates 10 PointsYes
Menu bar creator 6Yes
SEO Assistance 8 PointsYes
Total number of Widgets 38+

CoffeeCup Responsive Site Designer Pro

Coffee Cup Responsive Site Designer

Pros – True responsive website builder, extensive CSS customization options, creates standard CSS, create custom page layouts
Cons – Not a true drag-and-drop builder, graphics editing options are not available, lacks modules like slider, photo gallery etc.

It is the first desktop software that creates a responsive website in the true sense of the word. But unfortunately it doesn’t work like a graphic design application. It is something like Adobe Dreamweaver but at the same time creating website layout is far easier with it compared to Dreamweaver. This software offers detailed CSS options to create a clean and responsive website. It is genuinely first software to help build a responsive website. To put it another way, CSS and HTML generated by this software is a standard code. However it’s also noteworthy that this software is not so easy-to-use as the ones described above. Unlike above given software, you cannot drag elements freely on page builder. Moreover this software doesn’t offer as yet the advanced web module. And still more, it lacks the slider module.

All things considered, it can be said that as of now the most differentiating feature of this is that it’s the first desktop software that can create responsive custom layouts and any flaw or drawback we can come to face while using this software can be accounted for its being in the initial stage of development and undoubtedly it has a lot of potential to develop in the future.

CoffeeCup Responsive Site Designer Features chart

Drag and drop functionality 6Limited – You can divide a layout in columns and rows and then drag and drop elements into these blocks.
Graphics editing level 0No shape drawing and editing options are available
Graphics Library 0No vector graphics are available. Only some raster images present in Resources section
CSS Styling options 10 Points
extensive CSS options, suitable for both advanced users and beginners. Every element comes with its own detailed CSS option panel.
Responsive design/mobile site 10 PointsOne of the numbered desktop apps that creates true responsive websites. It generates ultra responsive layouts.
CMS (Blog, user login, page editing online) 0NO
Cloud editing of design 0NO
Global changes via master page 0NO
SEO Options 8 PointsYes
HTML access 6Access to head and footer. Full access is not provided
Custom CSS 10 PointsYes
Compatible Operating systems 10 PointsWindows, Mac (OSX)
iOS App for created websites 0NO
Android App for create websites 0NO
Contact form designer 6Yes
Contact form PHP integration 0NO (you need buy it as an additional software)
Content Slider (layered slides with text, images or anything) 0NO
Photo Gallery/ Slider 6Yes
eCommerce basic 0NO
eCommerce online management with login (database integrated) 0NO
Readymade Templates 6Yes
Menu bar creator 0NO
SEO Assistance 0NO
Total number of Widgets 19

WebEasy Professional 10

WebEasy Professional 10

Pros – Real drag and drop website builder, suitable to create very basic websites
Cons – Limited features to edit graphics, lacks slider and photo gallery module, lacks mobile site integration

WebEasy Professional 10 is another desktop website builder software that manages to turn heads. However, it is not so much advanced as WebPlus and Xara Web Designer, but all in all, a good web design tool that lets you create decent looking websites. It offers several web modules to integrate PayPal, YouTube, eBay, Blog, podcast, Picasa, Flickr etc. You can drag elements over page building canvas anywhere.

But if you are thinking of building an advanced website with WebEasy, you are on the wrong track. WebEasy lacks several essential elements and customization options necessary to create an advanced website. It doesn’t have a native option to create sliders or photo galleries and you need to rely on 3rd party services to add these kind of stuff in your website. Coming to mobile website, there is no option in WebEasy to redirect a desktop page to a mobile page ( a page having a different display size).

EZGenerator

EZGeneretor

Pros – A desktop dynamic website creator (database connected) with CMS and eCommerce functionality, design website from desktop.
Cons – Layout editing capabilities are limited.

EZGenerator, one can argue, is not by definition a consummate drag-and-drop website builder, as using mouse we cannot move the elements freely from one position to another over our page. That said, EZGenerator is a powerful desktop website builder that comes with some really unique and fascinating features, prominent among which is its use in building a dynamic website having content management system, e-commerce portal etc. EZGenerator can connect with the database and we can edit the website content like page text, images and eCommerce products by logging in to created website.

Using this approach, We can design the website from desktop with the help of EZGenrator and once the website is uploaded, by means of content management system, we can manage our articles, pages or even eCommerce products too.

Other website building software you can have a look upon them

WYSIWYG Web builderIt is a responsive site creator desktop website builder that includes essential capabilities to build a static website for any kind of need.

NetObjects Website Designer – A desktop web design software with a moderate set of features.

WebStudio – At one point in time, it was a well known website builder. But it seems to become out of the game due to low development rate or we are afraid that no newer versions of it for several years.

Xsite Pro – It is another depreciated desktop website builder, getting no update from a couple of years. There was a time when this software was one of the top site builder, used by people worldwide. But it is a trues fact, “if you can’t live up to the requirements, you will not become a part of the competition.”

SiteSpinnerA very basic and primitive type of software that can create simple static websites.

Webpage Maker – A simple desktop software to build basic static web pages.

About Shams

Shams, a professional blogger, has expertise in WordPress and Web Hosting. He is used to playing around with WordPress plugins, themes, web hosting services and some other innovative stuff regarding web design. He sifts out good stuff for web designers and reviews it to help them choose what they really need.

Being an energetic tech enthusiast, he regularly pens down breaking news and tutorials related to technology particularly Smartphones and other gadgets. Sometimes writes tech tips too. It was the dawn of Internet age when he started dabbling in it and has since been delving into the realm of the internet. He occupies a permanent burrow in virtual world.

He can be reached at.- here

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