As a small business owner, if you’re going to create a website you probably want something that is simple to understand and easy to use. However, you also want to make sure it’s customizable enough that your website will match your brand.
That’s where website builder services come in. Many of these services offer easy-to-use drag-and-drop interfaces, while others have a variety of templates to choose from.
If you’re building a website for your small business, you owe it to yourself to use a website builder. But which one?
We’ll compare several top services in this article. That way, you’ll know the pros and cons and can decide which service is right for you.
One of the most popular website builders is Squarespace. This platform powers over 2.5 million online websites and stores, and is one of the best-known website builders available.
Website is responsive and fast-loading AMP is available
Low-cost business and e-commerce plans
100+ templates that can be customized
Easy-to-use free and paid images available
Third-party integrations available
Squarespace bundles hosting with its websites, which means you don’t have to look for a separate hosting provider. It’s designed for people who want to build a brand-specific website but don’t want to tinker with the details too much.
To use Squarespace, you choose one of their 100 or so templates for your webpage. Then, click on which parts you want to change — you can change text size, font, colour, and much more. Add images, the more professional the better. You can also use stock images from Unsplash (free) or Getty (fee per image) by way of a built-in image tool.
Squarespace websites are already fully responsive to the screen size of your visitors, which is a key search engine optimization (SEO) feature. You can also enable AMP to allow your webpages to load faster, which also boosts SEO.
As a small business owner, you’ll want to choose the Business or Basic Commerce plans. If you plan to sell products and services through your website regularly, Advanced Commerce will give you the features you need to follow up on abandoned carts and more.
For an easy-to-use builder with flexible plans and e-commerce options, Squarespace is a great choice.
Another well-known builder is Wix. Similar to Squarespace, Wix includes built-in hosting so you won’t need to worry about having a separate hosting provider.
Wix focuses on small businesses and solo entrepreneurs more than larger companies. There are around 4.5 million websites powered by Wix.
Website is NOT responsive, although you can edit the mobile version of your website
Business and e-commerce plans available
Point of Sale used with Square allows you to sync online and physical in-store inventory
A variety of third-party payment gateways are compatible (such as PayPal and Square)
800+ templates that can be customized
Easy-to-use free and paid images available
Third-party integrations available using the Wix App Market
Email marketing available through Wix Ascend
While there is a free version of Wix, your website will be covered with intrusive ads, so you don’t want to choose that for your business. As a small business, it’s probably best to choose the Pro plan if you aren’t going to sell through your website directly. If you want to accept online payments, the Business Unlimited plan will have better e-commerce capabilities. (The Business Basic plan doesn’t include tools such as sales tax.)
There are over 800 templates to choose from with Wix. If you use the builder skillfully, it won’t have a DIY feel. You have access to a large library of images for free, along with a small fee per image for Shutterstock images.
The most important drawback to a Wix website is that it is NOT responsive, which means it does not automatically resize to fit smaller screens. Specific elements are responsive, but not the website as a whole. That can have a negative impact on your SEO.
Wix is a good choice if you plan to sell products online, and its Ascend software has some pretty neat email marketing functionality.
Overall, Wix gives you a lot of options for your small business website, and allows you to accept payments from more processors than Squarespace. However, the lack of responsive design is a drawback for SEO.
GoDaddy is a well-advertised website builder that offers an all-in-one service that makes it easy to get your website going quickly. Currently, 18 million sites are built on GoDaddy. However, you’ll find a lot less design flexibility and the websites aren’t as appealing as those from other services.
Cost is lower than many competitors
Website builder is quick and easy to use, responsive, and fast-loading
Design is rigid — very little customization is available, which can make it hard to brand your website
Very limited social media integration
Allows you to sell up to 1,500 products a month with e-commerce add-on
SEO Wizard offers suggestions on optimizing your website
GoDaddy is one of the easiest and fastest website builders available. You simply answer some questions about your business and it creates a website for you. GoDaddy also compares your website to others in your industry and recommends changes that will improve your standing.
With business plans, you have access to an SEO Wizard, which will give you a good start on optimizing your website. As a small business owner, you’ll want to choose the Premium or Ecommerce plan for your site.
You can use social media emblems to direct users to your social media accounts, but your readers cannot share your content to their social networks using a single click, which most other website builders include.
GoDaddy does use responsive design and fast-loading pages, which will help your SEO. There are no third-party integrations — you’ll need to use GoDaddy’s features.
Overall, GoDaddy is popular and well-advertised, but not the best option for a small business.
For the small business owner that has a bit more technical knowledge, WordPress is an ideal way to create your website. It’s known for being endlessly customizable, but there are also templates you can use that make design easy.
WordPress itself is completely free. However, you do need hosting services and while thousands of templates are free, some cost money.
Hosting not included
WordPress is free, with thousands of free templates (Themes) available
Very flexible — you can find templates for almost any business
Design, content, and add-ons are all separate, making it easy to make changes
Thousands of third-party plugins available, including e-commerce, email, and SEO
You’re in charge of backups, updates, and security unless you hire a company to do this
No technical support — you’ll have to look online for answers to questions and troubleshooting
One of the most important things to remember is not to confuse Wordpress.com — which is a blogging platform — with Wordpress.org, which is the free website software.
When you build a WordPress website, you can use any domain registrar and hosting you’d like. Two of the most popular are Bluehost and Siteground. Then you install WordPress on your website free, and start looking for the template — called a Theme — you’d like to use.
You can also start adding content right away using the Block Editor. Add blocks of text, images, and more, and customize them to look exactly the way you want.
Because the design and content are separate in WordPress, you can change your template at any time without losing all of your content. Unlike other website builders, you don’t have to worry about starting over.
A wide variety of add-ons are available and are called plugins. There are over 50,000 plugins available, including e-commerce options, SEO optimization, email, and more. Plugins are one of the primary reasons people love WordPress and choose it over other options.
With WordPress you have complete control over your website. You aren’t tied to a specific company for hosting or service. That means no one sets rules you have to follow (outside of obeying the law, of course.)
The biggest drawback is that you are in charge of all of the technical aspects of your website. You need to perform backups, install security, and update your website. There’s no company to call for technical support, although due to the popularity of WordPress, you can find answers to almost any question online. However, you can hire someone to do your WordPress technical work if you want.
Create Your Website Today!
There are a lot of services available for website creation, but this article looks in detail at four of the most popular. If you’re ready to get started with your website, you now know exactly where to go.
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