Wednesday, August 10 2022

If you own a business, you may need a website. Sure, you can have a social media account (or more), but a website is your starting point. This is where you showcase your products and services, host your content, gather leads, and really establish your credibility.

That said, one of the biggest issues new business owners face is website design. If you don’t have web design experience or don’t have a kind friend willing to help you, you usually have one of three options: pay someone to design the site, hire a web developer to design and maintain the site or find a site builder online.

Before you dig in, there are a few things to keep in mind. The sites mentioned below are all website builders and designed to be convenient and easy to use. They each offer plenty of features, templates, and apps and are SEO-friendly platforms (a must). That said, good website builders offer users simplicity, but that often comes with a tradeoff – especially functionality and ease of use for control. That said, these are for business owners who don’t have web developers on staff (or equivalent experience and know-how).

Wix.com

Wix has been around for over a decade, and thanks to a strong marketing program, it probably ranks among the best-known site builders. Marketing efforts aside, its brand awareness has also flourished due to the all-in-one factor, making it an easy solution for those who are overwhelmed with website design.

One of the most appealing aspects of Wix.com, at least in terms of overall design, is the extensive collection of templates, themes, and designs (all mobile-friendly), which allow business owners to customize their appearance even if they are not. ‘t build the website from scratch. Users also express a high level of satisfaction with the “drop and drag” feature, which makes designing a site a lot easier. Add in their brand new Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) feature, which makes it possible to customize a site to suit your business type and goals, and it’s easy to see why Wix.com consistently tops the lists. site builders.

Along with great design capabilities, Wix also offers plenty of native functionality, and there are a variety of apps that users can integrate with, though some have found them cumbersome. However, users who encounter issues using Wix, features or otherwise, have access to a comprehensive resource center as well as phone and email support, with a VIP plan (the level premium; $25/month) promising priority support.

Wix offers free site building services, although storage is very limited (500MB), but if the end goal is a business site without e-commerce capabilities (i.e. an online store line), the Entrepreneurial plan ($14/month) may be the right solution; if an online store is in the plans, then the e-commerce plan ($17/month) would be required.

Another thing to keep in mind is site portability. And while Wix is ​​full of solid reviews, portability is a challenge, as exporting data requires MacGyver-like planning. Certainly not a breach of contract, but something to keep in mind.

Weebly

Weebly may not have been around as long as some of the other website builders, but it’s certainly growing fast and claiming a place in the website builder market. Part of that is a continuous effort to improve and refine software and capabilities.

Similar to its main competitors, the design has that great drag-and-drop functionality along with customizable templates and designs. It has a fast loading speed, and many users are satisfied with the onboarding and training process and claim that the site’s resources are reliable and suitable for users at different levels. This comes from helpful on-site integrations as well as reliable and responsive phone, email, and chat support.

One thing that sets Weebly aside is their unlimited storage, which is a step up from many of their competitors. However, while storage is unlimited, business owners anticipating a complex site structure with hundreds of pages may find the Weebly content management system leaves a bit to be desired, although it’s certainly not a decisive factor – there are ways around this problem.

Weebly has a robust enough collection of apps to help users do everything from drive traffic to personalize sales channels, making it a favorite for small businesses that need to integrate sale. However, like many of their competitors, e-commerce functionality is limited to higher tiers. Business owners who need this functionality should consider the Pro or Business plans. It’s worth noting that the Pro plan only allows 25 products – this is certainly not a deal breaker for some industries, but it may be for others.

Finally, when it comes to portability, this can be a challenge.

In a complex world, one size doesn’t fit all, and SquareSpace does. However, for business owners who rely on high-quality images to sell their products or services (photographers, florists, shop owner salons, etc.), SquareSpace may be the ideal solution.

The template selection is slim compared to other site builders, but the ones they have are really clean, well-designed templates with a minimalist appeal, which makes them perfect for, as I mentioned, really showcasing product photos, be it art, photography, food, etc. SquareSpace offers drop/drag and customization opportunities similar to Wix and SiteBuilder, but they’re not as intuitive; although this is easily overcome by spending time playing.

Users who run into problems or have questions, basic or more in-depth, will find a wealth of resources, including videos as well as round-the-clock support via live chat and email support; both of which offer fast response times.

As a bonus, SquareSpace has robust, fully-integrated e-commerce capabilities ($18/mo/yr) that make it a real contender for those looking to showcase and sell their products. Additionally, they also offer one-click data portability for certain data. Granted, it doesn’t include everything, but it’s definitely a click closer than some other platforms.

WordPress

WordPress has been around for a long time, and many of today’s most successful sites got their start on this platform. It is open-source and benefits from continuous innovation (although some may argue that this also leads to broken functionality in apps and features)

Design-wise, WordPress holds its own, providing users with thousands of templates and design customizations. However, if you are looking for native drag-and-drop simplicity, you won’t find it on WordPress. This feature is not available, but if you’re interested, you can purchase and download drag-and-drop page builders, like Divi Builder or Beaver Builder.

Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of WordPress is the fees, which are free. That said, you’ll have to pay for the domain as well as the hosting, although shared hosting can be relatively inexpensive (under $120 per year) and domains generally cost under $15, with some significantly less. Dear.

Since WordPress is not as comprehensive as some of the others above, this also means that users responsible for technical aspects (keeping up to date, backing up your site, etc.) and the security aspects associated with running a website. Again, that’s not to say there isn’t a service that does this.

It might sound like WordPress is a terrible choice based on the paragraph above, but that’s just not true. This site builder has a plethora of features and functionality that allow users to have more control over their site, and although there is a trade-off, if you plan to scale your site or know you host important content, WordPress may be the right choice.

In short, if you want more control over your site, but don’t want to start from scratch, WordPress can be a great option. This is especially true if you plan to expand your staff to include web developer(s).

There are a variety of website builders available to small business owners, many of which have their own unique set of pros and cons, some of which vary by industry and general needs. While these four sites are popular, there are plenty of others, including SiteBuilder, Duda, Yola, and GoDaddy’s GoCentral, and it’s worth including them in your search. Ultimately, it’s best to determine your needs, your business goals (present and future), and take the time to thoroughly analyze the pros and cons of any platforms you might be considering.

This article was originally written on March 5, 2018 and updated on February 2, 2021.

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