How To Choose a Website Builder for Small Business
What is a web builder? How does it work? How to choose the right one? Are there alternatives? Discover the answers.
Today, shoppers expect businesses to have an online presence. Whether it’s a social media market like the Facebook Marketplace or a full-fledged website that tells the story of the business and provides useful information. If you too have a business you want to bring online, you might have already wondered what the best website builder for small business is. This might not be the easiest of questions to answer, but we have some good insights.
- A website builder can help inexperienced web builders and businesses that operate on tight budgets; however, they come with significant limitations.
- Even popular web builders have cons that should be considered along with pros, which is why website owners often choose to pay for expensive web design services.
- It is possible to have a website designed professionally without making an investment, which is what the WAcademy internship program facilitates.
First things first: Do you need a website?
If you’re still wondering whether you need a website at all, you have to assess your business needs carefully. Sure, social media platforms might suffice some business operations, but, for the most part, they help connect with customers and tell a brand story.
A website, on the other hand, can offer much more than that. It is accessible to everyone, makes you visible online, and allows the potential customer to navigate and find all information about your services and products in one place.
Of course, a successful business needs both a social media presence and a professional website. However, while most people know how to create a business profile on Facebook or Instagram, not everyone has the knowledge required to build websites from scratch.
The good news is – that’s not necessary. Today, there are plenty of website builders that can make the process quick and easy. So, how do you choose a website builder for your small business? And which one is the best website builder?
What is a website builder?
A website builder is a tool you can use to build a custom website for your business without needing to understand code. This is what makes this option attractive to people who do not have extensive experience or knowledge required to build a website from scratch.
Needless to say, different website builders have different sets of features and designs available, but most are flexible enough that you can customize the website to fit your brand. So, depending on what you need (e.g., free domain, customizable templates, advanced shipping configurations or built-in SEO tools), your best website builder software might not be the right fit for another business.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular site builders on the market and analyze the pros and cons of using each one. Only by assessing advantages and disadvantages can one decide which the best website builder is.
Wix.com introduced one of the first drag-and-drop website builders out there. At first, all that Wix offered was a website building feature. Today, the company offers many more features that, for example, cover social media marketing and online payment management.
- Affordable pricing: Wix offers an affordable website builder option for new and small business owners trying to set up their online presence.
- Drag-and drop-design: Wix website builder is easy to use, and no prior design or coding experience is needed to build a website for your business.
- Upgrades: Wix offers different plans for different business needs at different price points, and it is easy to upgrade plans and add features as the business grows.
- Ads: Your website will display ads, and you have no control over that; unfortunately, your customers might find that irritating and leave your website because of it.
- No access to Google Analytics: If you intend to use content marketing, you will need to pay for Google Analytics separately.
- Limited design options: While Wix’s drag-and-drop editor is easy to use, it is limited, and you might find it difficult to create the website of your dreams.
- Time-consuming: Creating a fully functional website can take weeks or even months of full dedication, which is a luxury most business owners do not have.
Squarespace is a modern website builder that has gained popularity due to its elegant designs and a global influencer marketing campaign that allowed the company to reach global audiences. As Squarespace offers templates that look great and cater to all kinds of businesses, it is no wonder it is so popular among younger website builders.
- Modern website templates: Squarespace offers a library of pre-made templates that are elegant, modern and easily customizable to fit your business needs.
- Custom domain and SSL certificate: Squarespace plans include a free custom domain for one year and an SSL certificate.
- Unlimited bandwidth: All Squarespace plans offer unlimited bandwidth, which means that users do not need to worry about scaling websites or file storage caps.
- Mobile-optimized: Squarespace templates are designed to fit different mobile devices flawlessly, which means you do not need to think about it separately.
- Expensive: Squarespace is in the higher price range on the list of the best website builders, which can be an issue if you’re on a strict budget.
- Unintuitive: The crux of a good website builder should be an intuitive interface, but some users agree that Squarespace does not have the most intuitive website builder.
- Design limitations: Just like with every website builder, design limitations exist, and you might have a difficult time getting exactly what you want and need.
If you plan to sell products via your new website, you probably have heard of Shopify and its different ecommerce features. This is, undeniably, one of the best website builders for ecommerce. This drag-and-drop builder does not require you to know or use any code. Moreover, it has an array of extensions and third-party integrations available for users.
- Easy to use design tool: Shopify’s drag-and-drop design tool allows you to customize your website and online store to fit your needs.
- Marketing tools: From social media management to email marketing to Facebook ads to SEO tools – you can integrate it all to manage marketing with Shopify.
- Hundreds of apps: Shopify allows you to integrate more than 1,000 apps, which can make your online store easier to manage and, at the same time, more user-friendly.
- Pricing: Shopify is expensive compared to other website builders – the price can go up to $399/month for the Advanced plan users.
- Extra fees: Shopify takes a cut out of the sales you make on your online store, and the percentage can vary from 2.4% to 2.9%, depending on which plan you choose.
WordPress is, hands down, the most popular website builder. Is it the best website builder? How one responds to a question like that usually depends on their experience. In any case, WordPress.com is a managed website builder with Free and Pro plans with different features available. And WordPress.org is open-source software that’s free but requires a hosting plan with a hosting company to build a website.
- Wide knowledge base: Because WordPress is so popular, it is most likely that you can solve problems or find fixes just by typing your question into a search engine.
- Affordable: You can build a website for free with WordPress, and all you need to pay for is a website hosting service.
- Flexible design: With WordPress, the sky’s the limit when it comes to designing and building your website
- Free plugins: Most plugins are available for free, which allows you to add various features without investing a lot of money.
- Coding knowledge: When you build a WordPress website, you might find yourself needing to learn basic coding and how to build blocks.
- Time-consuming: It takes time and commitment to build a WordPress website, so if your project is time-sensitive, this might not be the best option.
Despite the cons, according to W3Techs, over 43% of websites that use content management systems are powered by WordPress. Shopify, Squarespace and Wix follow behind with just 3.8%, 2.5% and 2.1% of usage, respectively.
So, what’s the secret? It all comes down to flexibility. Not only can WordPress be the most affordable option because you get to choose your hosting company at the price that suits your individual business needs, but it also offers tons of features that allow you to build a truly custom website.
Website builder vs. a professionally designed website: Which is better?
In most cases, a business owner chooses to build their own website for two reasons. First, they wish to be in full control of how the website looks and functions, or they are simply interested in the process. Second, they wish to save money due to high web design costs. And finding the right web designer who does not charge thousands of dollars may be difficult.
But did you know you can retain control and save money at the same time? That’s where WAcademy comes in. Our Internship Program trains aspiring web designers, and to offer them practical experience, we work with small and medium-sized businesses that need websites. In the end, WAcademy interns gain the required skills and experience, and our clients get the websites of their dreams.
Once a business owner fills out a simple registration form, we promptly assess the application and check intern availability for the project. We communicate with the client to understand the requirements of the website so we can produce the free web design they need.
It takes just around one month for WAcademy interns to create a small business website design for free, after which the client can ask for changes and fixes before the completion of the website. Once everything’s set and ready, the project is handed over to the client, who is the rightful owner of the website.
Advantages of having a website designed by WAcademy interns
Here are the key aspects that make WAcademy services better than those of independent web designers and even website builders:
- 100% FREE web design services
- Fully customizable designs
- No website building skills required
- Time-saving process
- Up and running website in a month
- An array of additional web services
- Cost-conscious solutions from WAcademy hosting partner
Free website design plus dependable hosting – a winning combination
It is important to note that while WAcademy offers free web design services from trained interns, the website still requires a domain name and hosting, which are services separate from the WAcademy project framework.
Our partner Getspace offers a hosting package that includes:
- WordPress hosting
- Domain name
- Data backup
- SSL certificate
- Professional email inboxes (5 mailboxes)
- Elementor Pro license
Ready to get the website of your dreams without paying thousands for an independent web designer or wasting your precious time with a website builder? Then join WAcademy and more than 30,000 satisfied clients who are already running their businesses on their professional websites designed by our certified interns.
Whether you need an ecommerce website or a small business website, we’ve got you covered!