The Best Website Builders for Small Businesses
A professional website helps new customers to find you and allows you to provide a better service to your existing customers. There are a number of free website builders available.
Having a website which provides a great experience for your customers is essential for any small business operating in 2019, and will be even more important as we move into 2020. A professional website helps new customers to find you and allows you to provide a better service to your existing customers, all of which is essential to the success of your business.
There are a number of free website builders available, allowing businesses to build their own website at little or no cost. Some of these require very little knowledge or experience to use, meaning you do not have to hire a professional website developer in order to get a top-quality website to support the growth of your business.
In this article, we will look at the four leading website builders currently available – Wix, Weebly, WordPress and Squarespace, and what makes them great for small businesses. We’ll also examine the pros and cons of each so you can decide which is best for your business.
Great for: Beginner web designers, those on a budget looking for an all-round business site.
Main drawbacks: The free and lower-rate plans mean you have to have Wix ads displayed on your site.
What Makes Wix Great for Small Businesses?
Wix is probably the best all-round website builder for small businesses. It is very simple to use, making it ideal for people with little to no site-building experience. Wix works on a system of easy-to-use templates – simply select the template which is best for you, and then drag and drop various elements, filling in text and images as you go. The interface is very intuitive and even people with limited technical knowledge and experience will find it straightforward to use.
You can browse and choose from hundreds of templates on Wix.
You don’t have to be worried that you will be limited in your choice of templates, either. Wix has over 500 templates available, meaning you will be sure to find one which suits your needs and your adjust them to make your site do whatever you need it to do, and make your website truly unique. Additionally, Wix offers a high level of support: you will have access to 24/7 live support for any issues you have with your account, or in building your site.
The final factor which makes Wix stand out and makes it a great choice for small businesses is value for money. They have a free option, as well as monthly plans starting at a very reasonable $5 per month. Of course, the more expensive plans give access to more features, better support, and more templates, but overall, each level of plan delivers a lot in relation to the price tag. The only drawback is that the free and cheaper options come with compulsory Wix ads which will appear on your site.
Great for: Beginner website builders who want to get their site p and running quickly.
Main drawbacks: Limited creative freedom, premium plans are quite expensive.
What Makes Weebly Great for Small Businesses?
Weebly is probably the simplest website builder to use and so is ideal for business owners who have very limited technical skills, and/or those who want an easy way to get their website up and live as soon as possible. Like Wix, Weebly has a very easy to use drag-and-drop interface built around structured templates. These are so intuitive to navigate that even people with basically zero technical skills and knowledge will find it easy to create their own site.
Weebly is a no frills, standard-set website builder. This means that there is not a lot of creative freedom, you can build your own site in no time. You may be looking to launch your business quickly and need to get a website practically overnight, or perhaps something has gone awry with your old site and you need to replace it quickly. Either way, Weebly lets you build a new website in no time. There are more than 50 templates, which although a fraction of Wix’s 500, is enough that you should be able to find a layout that will give you the site you need to showcase your business.
The Weebly interface is very simple and easy to use.
If you choose Weebly to build your site, make sure to consider the plans and pricing carefully. The premium plans are quite expensive compared to other website builders considering what is included, so a top-level plan with Weebly is probably not recommended. However, there is a free plan, which although comes with limited features, may be sufficient if you are looking to create a fairly basic site only.
Great for: Businesses which have very specific needs or want unusual features on their website
Main drawbacks: Not the easiest website builder to use, and the free version does not give you a custom domain.
What Makes WordPress Great for Small Businesses?
First of all, if you choose WordPress for your site you will be part of the majority of entrepreneurs and small business owners who use this platform. This is an advantage because it means there is a large community of other business owners that is available to offer advice, guidance and support when you have issues building or running your site. There are a number of WordPress forums and community groups you can turn to for almost instant answers whenever you have problems.
This large community of users has also resulted in there being an incredible amount of plugins available for WordPress. Plugins are extra pieces of software which you can download that allow you to add an extra functionality or feature to your site. For example, there are plugins to help you make your site more SEO-friendly, and plugins to add a contact form, newsletter signup or appointment calendar to your site. There currently a staggering 50,000 WordPress plugins available some of which you need to pay to download, but many are free.
You can add new plugins via your WordPress dashboard.
There are two versions of WordPress:
- com: simpler version designed for amateur bloggers and similar, free to use and has free hosting, but you cannot choose your domain and so will have a wordpress.com URL for your site (for example wordpress.com/brendashardware, instead brendashardware.com)
- org: more complex to use, has more, and you can choose your URL, but you will need to pay a monthly fee.
For businesses, the only real option is the WordPress.org version which not only means you will have your own professional-sounding URL, but also many more features including access to thousands of plugins to be able to create a site which does everything you need it to do for your business.
Great for: Creatives and those in visual-based industries, delivering stunning designs.
Main drawbacks: More complicated to use, requires some technical expertise or the willingness to learn.
What Makes Squarespace Great for Small Businesses?
If you any kind of artist, designer or creative, you really can’t look past Squarespace. Although not the easiest website builder to use, Squarespace arguably delivers the most aesthetically-pleasing and visually stunning websites. Its sleek, modern designs are ideal for graphic designers, furniture manufacturers and software companies, among others. For these kinds of businesses, visual branding is key, and it is essential that you have a website that reflects this. Additionally, once you know how to use Squarespace’s clean and modern interface, it is quick to use and update, allowing you to easily customize your site and set yourself apart from your competition.
Squarespace creates sleek, modern designs.
All of this doesn’t mean that Squarespace is beyond the budget of most small businesses, however. There are no free plans, but the paid plans range from a very reasonable $12 to $40 per month. (As with all website builders, although calculated monthly, these plans are charged annually and upfront, something to take into consideration for your business’ expenses and cashflow)
Squarespace is not the easiest website builder to use, and so is generally recommended for those with some technical knowledge or experience in web design. However, it is possible to learn to use the platform even if you are coming from a place of limited knowledge and experience, if you are willing to put in the required time and effort. If you are looking to learn to use Squarespace, start by checking the wealth of videos, articles and tutorials available online. One of the great advantages of living in this age is that you can learn to do pretty much anything on the internet, usually for free. If you are not sure whether Squarespace is for you, you can always sign up for their free trial to test it out before committing to a subscription. Just remember to set a calendar reminder to cancel your trial and avoid being billed the full amount if you decide not to go ahead!
As a small business, you have a variety options available in terms of building your own site in order to promote your business. Wix is arguably the best all-round option, being easy to use, offering a huge number of templates as well as customization options, and great value for money. Weebly is also very easy to use, a great for business owner who want to get their site up and running very quickly, whereas WordPress has a staggering number of plugins for added features and functionality. Squarespace, on the other hand, is ideal for creatives and visual businesses. Whichever you choose, you will be able to build a website to build your customer base, drive more sales, and foster greater business growth!