Once upon a time, when I was living in London and working for a fast-paced marketing agency (and drinking way too much coffee), my job was to manage digital projects for some pretty big-name clients.
One of the project requests that frequently came in was landing pages. My clients were regularly running big-budget email marketing campaigns and, logically, needed landing pages to drive prospects to.
As with most client requests when you’re working for an agency, they usually needed them done urgently. And they were prepared to fork over thousands to make it happen.
You read that right. Thousands of dollars, often on just a single landing page.
Now, I’m not saying that amount isn’t justified. Good landing pages often need a lot of thought, and a skilled team of designers, developers, and project managers behind them.
That’s fine if your company is a well-known brand with that kind of budget to throw around.
But it’s not exactly realistic if you’re a small-to-medium business, with just as legitimate a reason to need a landing page.
Thankfully, things have evolved a lot over the past few years. Thanks to online tools such as email marketing software and website builders, it’s now possible to build landing pages even on shoestring budgets.
Or, as we’ll see in this post, completely for free.
Let’s take a look at which free landing page tools will let you do that – and the pros and cons of each one.
Table of Contents
Here’s our list of features to look for when assessing free landing page services. Some are essential for lead generation, while others are nice-to-haves that can help to optimize your campaigns:
There’s a massive benefit to using email marketing software to build your landing pages. After all, having all your contacts, landing pages and email campaigns in the one place definitely makes things easier to manage.
MailerLite is an email marketing tool that’s something of a favourite at EmailToolTester – we love its simplicity and usability. Luckily, it offers a free plan, which includes an unlimited number of landing pages and up to 1,000 subscribers.
What we liked: MailerLite’s landing page editor is both flexible and easy to use – you can adjust your design by dragging and dropping content blocks as you like. Form fields can be easily edited, and form submissions go straight into whichever list you select. Social sharing buttons are included, as are options to edit SEO settings (including whether or not you want your landing page to be indexed). Plus, you can trigger some nice automations for new contacts, including welcome and drip email campaigns.
Where they can improve: Funnily enough, on MailerLite’s free plan, you get more templates for landing pages than you do for actual emails. There aren’t any email templates included, which means you’ll have to build your own (although this can be easily done through their visual editor). You also get a generic domain to host your page (www.subscribepage.com/yourpage), although this isn’t uncommon on free plans.
Who is it suited to? Both beginners and experienced marketers alike. MailerLite offers one of the better free landing page tools, with nice templates, plenty of flexibility and some pretty handy options for managing automations. Its advanced form options are especially useful for GDPR-conscious businesses who serve European clients.
You may (or may not) be surprised to know that the world’s most popular email marketing software lets you build landing pages too. These are available on MailChimp’s ‘Free Forever’ plan, which lets you send 12,000 emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers.
What we liked: Like MailerLite, MailChimp’s landing page editor is easy to use, with lots of options for customization. You’re able to add tracking for Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, or MailChimp’s own tracking. You can also trigger automations, although their automation editor isn’t the most user-friendly.
Where they can improve: You only get five templates to choose from, although the designs aren’t bad. You’re also not able to customize your thank you/confirmation page, and there are fewer options for editing form settings than there are with MailerLite. By default, your URL will be on a MailChimp domain – to use your own, you’ll need to pay $99/year.
Who is it suited to? If you want an email marketing service with an inbuilt landing page builder, but find MailerLite’s 1,000-subscriber limit a bit restrictive, MailChimp might be a better option.
It may not be quite as well-known as MailChimp, but this ecommerce-focused email marketing provider also includes a landing page builder. And with its free plan allowing for up to 3 landing pages, 15,000 emails per month, and unlimited subscribers, Omnisend definitely earns a place on this list.
What we liked: I have to say, Omnisend’s landing pages look very nice, with minimalist and modern designs. But they are on the simple side, and aren’t ideal if you’re looking to fit in loads of content (which, to be honest, isn’t something you should really be doing on a conversion-focused landing page anyway). You have options to edit confirmation and error messages, and add GDPR fields.
Where they can improve: You aren’t able to really customize the design and layout, other than being able to change the background. You can’t add extra form fields, either (only email address is available). Automations aren’t included on the free plan. And there’s one pretty annoying caveat to using Omnisend – to publish your landing page, you’ll need to connect your account to an online store and sign up to a 14-day trial (after which you can downgrade to a free plan).
Who is it suited to? I wouldn’t use Omnisend exclusively as a landing page builder – instead, I’d recommend it only to online store owners who would benefit from email features like discount codes and sales reports (which come with the free plan). However, the free plan’s 3-page maximum is pretty limiting – at some point, you’d probably need to consider upgrading to a paid plan.
ONTRAPORT is a powerful email marketing service, known for their marketing automation and CRM. They offer ONTRApages as a standalone product that’s available for free and is distinct from the ONTRAPORT inbuilt landing page builder. It gives you up to 10 landing pages, and allows for 2,500 monthly visitors.
What we liked: There are quite a few templates to choose from, and you can build from scratch, too. You get a nice amount of design flexibility, thanks to their block-based approach. Form fields are editable, and you can also view visitor and conversion stats from within the tool.
Where they can improve: The user interface and template designs look a little dated. Plus, not all the templates are completely ‘free’ to use – it seems that a few require you to subscribe to some mysterious third-party mailing lists. The editor can also be a little clunky and dizzying. On the free version, it’s not possible to integrate your landing pages with a third-party email marketing or CRM provider – leads instead get sent to your email address.
Who is it suited to? It’s not exactly a game-changer. But if you’re not expecting large volumes of traffic, are okay with managing leads somewhat manually, and like the idea of accessing inbuilt reports, ONTRApages works perfectly fine as a standalone landing page builder.
They’re known for their slick website builder, but Wix is great for building single-page sites, too. Among their extensive range of modern-looking website templates is a selection of around 30 landing page designs – all of which can be fully edited, and are available for free (provided you’re okay with using a Wix domain for your URL, and having Wix ads on your page).
What we liked: If full design flexibility is what you’re after, Wix won’t disappoint. You have pretty much free rein to place elements as you like, and there are a heap of content types to choose from (galleries, videos, testimonials, maps etc). Submissions get saved to your contact list in Wix, and you can trigger automated emails (e.g. thank you or welcome emails) to be sent from within the tool via Wix ShoutOut. There are even third-party apps that you can add to have contacts go straight to your email marketing tool (e.g. MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber).
Where they can improve: Wix is pretty easy to use for the most part, although their editor can be a little overwhelming at first glance. Since it’s a fully-featured website builder it isn’t the simplest landing page solution though, and might take a little longer to learn. To use your own domain, you need to upgrade to a paid plan.
Who is it suited to? Wix is a solid all-round solution for building landing pages, but I’d recommend it especially to design-savvy marketers who want professional-looking pages and a good amount of control.
Weebly is another website builder that’s often compared to Wix. It’s built a reputation for itself as being one of the easiest website builders to use. While they don’t offer landing page templates per se, Weebly’s collection of decent-looking templates can be edited down to a single-page layout. And like Wix, sites can be published for free as long as you use their domain and are happy to display a Weebly ad.
What we liked: You get a fair amount of flexibility with your site design, with the ability to add multimedia, forms, and other content. You can also add apps to let you integrate with external email marketing tools. Plus, you really can’t beat Weebly for ease of use – it has a much gentler learning curve than Wix does.
Where they can improve: While their templates look nice, there’s not that many on offer. There aren’t any inbuilt options for follow-on automations, and site stats aren’t available unless you upgrade. Once again, you’ll need to pay to use your own domain.
Who is it suited to? If you like the idea of using a flexible website builder for your landing pages, but want something super easy to use, Weebly is your best bet.
Strikingly is a website builder that specializes in single-page websites. The free plan lets you build an unlimited number of landing pages and test out its features, but won’t give you full access to all of them (e.g. adding your own code, defining mobile-specific actions). As with the other website builders, a Strikingly domain and ad also come with the free plan.
What we liked: The template range is decent, with plenty to choose from and some really impressive designs. The editor is straightforward, with several different layout options for each section. You also have a nice preview tool to see how your landing page will display across desktop, tablet and mobile. Analytics such as visitor stats are available, as is Google Analytics tracking. We also found their support to be useful and responsive.
Where they can improve: Unfortunately there are only a handful of form fields available to choose from. Contacts get sent to a nominated email address and saved within the tool, but there’s no option to integrate them with external tools.
Who is it suited to? Strikingly will let you build more complex single-page sites, beyond your standard lead capture landing page – with minimal effort required. If you wanted to build out a fully-sectioned site displayed on a single page, Strikingly’s templates are built for this purpose.
Website builder Ucraft offers some very sleek and cutting-edge landing page designs. Having the likes of Pharrell Williams and Ice Cube featured on their homepage doesn’t hurt their cooler-than-thou image, either. Ucraft’s free plan lets you build sites with a small ad displayed. Amazingly, it lets you connect your own domain for free (in fact, you need to use your own domain if you’re planning to use forms).
What we liked: The drag-and-drop editor is easy enough to use, letting you add basic elements such as images, galleries, buttons and videos. It’s possible to integrate forms with MailChimp, Google Sheets and Intercom, and it’s super easy to do so too. And no other landing page builder we’ve tested lets you use your own domain name for free.
Where they can improve: On the free plan, you are restricted in terms of which content elements you can drag and drop into your page (so if you want to use a form, be sure to choose a template that already includes one).
Who is it suited to? With their bold designs, Ucraft is probably more suited to those targeting consumers rather than business audiences. Their templates are ideal for brand launches, events, app downloads, and capturing interest in new products. And if you want to use your own domain without paying, it’s pretty much the only option!
They don’t exactly play in the same league as Wix or Weebly, but with 30 million registered users, website builder Webnode aren’t doing too badly. Known for their mastery of multilingual sites, Webnode don’t specifically offer landing page templates, but any of their templates can be customized to a single-page layout.
What we liked: The free plan displays a non-intrusive ad, and their website templates are some of the nicer ones out there. You can also modify SEO settings. It’s possible to build multilingual pages, but you do need to opt for a paid plan in order to access this.
Where they can improve: Webnode is a basic web builder that lacks some of the more advanced customization options offered by other tools. For example, button text can only be edited to display URLs. Form options are also limited. While you can add subscription, reservation and order forms, you can’t seem to add something as basic as a contact form.
Who is it suited to? A bit tricky, as Webnode’s website builder isn’t exactly the most powerful or advanced – nor is it the easiest to use. It is however a solid option for those looking to build landing pages in multiple languages, but bear that you’ll need to pay around $12/month for this feature.
Here’s another new platform making waves in the one-page website market. Founded by a former template designer, Carrd offers some stunning, responsive templates for creating landing pages, profiles, portfolios and other single-page sites. The free plan lets you have up to three sites, although there is a slight catch – it’s not possible to use forms unless you upgrade to a paid plan. With plans starting at $9/year, however, it’s by far the cheapest landing page builder out of all the ones we’ve looked at.
What we liked: You can jump straight into the tool and start building your landing page without signing up, so you can really get a feel for it without any commitment. A big thumbs up for the interface, which is both modern and easy to navigate. I also liked the selection of stylish templates on offer. And integrations with tools like MailChimp, MailerLite, ConvertKit and GetResponse make it possible to route subscribers straight to your email marketing service.
Where they can improve: Formatting text isn’t as straightforward as in other editors – you need to use markdown-like coding to change text styles. Styling also requires knowledge of CSS, and you aren’t able to change fonts. In general, the editor works a little differently to other builders we’re used to – it’s not super difficult to get your head around, but may require a bit of time to get used to.
Who is it suited to? Offering the cheapest plans around, Carrd is the most affordable option if you want to use your own domain and integrate with your email marketing software. Just be aware of some of the styling limitations – it's not quite as flexible as builders like Wix or Weebly.
Building landing pages is no longer the costly exercise it used to be. Thanks to the free tools we’ve listed, marketers now have plenty of options when it comes to creating budget-friendly landing pages for any purpose.
Here’s a quick summary of the free landing page builder that could be right for you:
Tried out any of these free landing page builders, or have any others to suggest? Let us know in the comments below!
01 Feb 2019: Small change in Ucrafts free plan