TOP 10 Website Builders To Create Your Small Business Website [UPDATED 2020]Written by Uwe on November 04, 2013
Nowadays it’s quite difficult to imagine a business without a website. Every entrepreneur or business owner needs to grasp the importance of building and optimizing a website in the 21st century.
As more and more people look for information about products and services on the internet, a website that actively promotes your brand is essential for acquiring new customers. However, it’s completely understandable that not everyone will have the required time and/or know-how to create a stellar website.
That’s where website builders come in.
What is a website builder?
Think of it as a program or tool that helps you build a website without the use of manual code editing. Think of it as the ideal solution for small businesses looking to design a website without hiring a developer.
Website builders usually take the form of user friendly drag-and-drop customizable software with a wide variety of web page templates for the tweaking. Depending on your needs, there are both online and offline formats available.
Online builders work via internet browser and are viewed as the more dynamic option. All you need is a reliable internet connection and you’re good to go. Plus these tend to come with built-in hosting services, making it the more easy-to-use option ideal for newbies.
On the flip side, offline builders are downloadable software programs which can be used on or offline. In this case your computer will need to host files until they’re ready for upload to a separately purchased web host. If you want to have complete control over your website and you’re not a complete beginner/ stranger to coding, then this might just be the preferred choice.
To help you decide which website building tool might be the best for your small business marketing, we now explore 10 top website creator tools along with their respective advantages and disadvantages.
WordPress is a super popular website building tool that’s lauded for being extremely flexible. In fact, it’s arguably the world’s most popular site builder powering over 33% of all websites on the internet.
You can use it to start a blog, make a small business website, create an online store, build a membership site, sell online courses, run a marketplace and lots more. A big selling point is the fact that content can be added regardless of the design used and designs can be modified without touching content.
WordPress.org, the focus of this overview, is open-source and free for anyone to use.It’s also known as self-hosted WordPress because you’ll need your own domain name and web host. WordPress.com, on the other hand, is much more limited and a good choice mostly for hobby bloggers.
- Pick the hosting partner that best suits your needs
- Highly customizable themes and designs and plugin functionalities
- Able to incorporate third-party tools to create the website you want
- Can make money from your WordPress site by running your own ads
- Vast amount of knowledge available from online community of users and developers
- Requires technical knowledge to manage hosting from setup to security
- Need coding knowledge to troubleshoot issues and customize certain design aspects
- Web hosting costs tend to raise as traffic increases
- Responsible for doing your own backups (but there are plugins that enable the setup of automatic backups)
Though WordPress is technically free for you to use, the cost of your website will depend on which web host, theme, plugins and technical support you spring for. Realistically speaking, you could build a basic website for as low as $50 per year. But if you desire a portfolio, eCommerce store or premium templates, the expense can run into the thousands.
Jimdo is a great website builder for small businesses that want to create an online shop. It’s very easy to use and has great features. It comes with standard layouts, but has a flexible style editor that is mobile optimized for all devices. The strong e-commerce editor allows you to manage just about everything you could ever need: Confirmation emails, order processing, shipping costs etc.
- No coding knowledge needed
- Easy to add custom address to your website
- Access to Image Library with copyright-free photos
- Ability to link your Dropbox account with Jimdo
- Offers large community forums in multiple languages
- Ads on the free platform
- Not a drag-and-drop user interface
- Limited number of ready-to-use templates
- No third party apps available
They offer four website plans: Play ($0 /month), Start($9 /month), Grow ($15 /month) and Unlimited ($39 /month). The Jimdo Free account offers 500 MB of storage, 2GB bandwidth and 5 website pages whereas Jimdo Grow offers 15 GB storage, 20GB bandwidth, 50 website pages, smart technology that optimizes SEO settings, the ability to track and analyze website traffic and more.
Squarespace has a reputation for being great at showcasing portfolios and is currently one of the easiest and most complete web builder tools out there. Templates are customizable to fit your style and professional needs. It takes an all-in-one approach and hosts your website on its own servers. It also offers in-depth analytic tools that provide great insights on website traffic and visitor interactions.
- Templates are contemporary and beautifully designed
- Extremely user-friendly content management system
- Eye-catching video backgrounds feature
- Comes with built-in email marketing tool
- Zero coding knowledge required
- Lack of an app store makes you reliant on in-built features
- General absence of advanced marketing tools
- Editor prompts you to save work after each change, but no autosave feature
- No immediate phone support option
Squarespace offers 4 plans starting from $12 per month to $40 per month. All packages offer a 14-day free trial. The cheaper plans are best for personal or basic business sites, whereas the more expensive plans are tailored for online selling.
Weebly is another favorite website builder. The interface is easy to use and every button seems to have a purpose. While it’s easy to use and doesn’t require any prior coding knowledge, there’s also a built-in coding editor that allows for more in-depth customization and creative freedoms.
It should also be noted that Weebly was recently acquired by Square, the famous financial services and mobile payment company. This has translated into seamless integrations that make this website builder an excellent option for both brick and mortar and ecommerce stores looking to expand online selling.
- Modern design templates that are mobile responsive
- Extremely helpful SEO guides are included in the help and support center
- Easy integration with other apps and add ons
- Drag-and-drop customization is limited and code editor requires proficiency at coding
- No option for making personal backup of the site
- Limited selection of free images for educational use
Weebly offers three paid plans at the moment: Personal for $9/month, Professional for $16/month and Performance for $29/month. There’s also a 100% free plan that’s a great practice option for you to explore while feeling out Weebly, but be aware of the fact that you won’t be able to use a custom domain, adverts will have to be displayed on your site and features like storage are limited to 500MB.
Shopify is one of the best web-based, fully hosted, eCommerce platforms out there today. You can buy a new domain through Shopify, use an existing domain or use your free .myshopify.com domain. It includes many great features, supports multiple sales channels (Facebook, Amazon, etc) and provides 24/7 support. Not to mention, over 100 payment processors are supported.
- Theme Store offers 70+ premium and free ecommerce website templates
- Unlimited bandwidth and blazing fast servers
- No HTML or CSS is off-limits so you have complete control over design
- Convenient social network integration lets customers share the products they find in your online store
- Customer data is always secure thanks to Level 1 PCI compliance
- No email hosting
- Theme customization can get tricky since they use a self-developed PHP language called Liquid
- Shopify Basic plan only comes with the bare minimum of features
Shopify’s Basic plan costs $29 /month, the mid-tier option costs $79 /month and Advanced Shopify costs $299 /month. There’s also a Shopify Lite option that only lets you add products to any website or blog and accept credit card payments. It costs $ 9 /month. All Shopify plans include eCommerce features like an unlimited number of product listings and shipping label discounts.
GoDaddy definitely offers one of the most well-known website builder tools. Their main business focus is on domain names and web hosting but their website builder is also growing in popularity due to its beginner-friendly nature and mobile-optimized designs. There’s some level of up-selling to put up with, but the easy functions within the website builder make it worth it.
- 150+ domain extensions
- Able to create a website in record time
- Easy domain purchase and management service
- Payment integrations available for online stores
- Limited customization options that can feel a little cookie-cutter
- Doesn’t have the higest rated customer support
There are four plans available to choose from, ranging from £6.99 per month for the basic plan to £19.99 for their ecommerce package. All plans all come with SEO support, a Paypal button, the ability to book one-time appointments online and more. However, a domain name isn’t included in the price.
Wix offers over 500 designer-made templates, personalized SEO plans as well as full online and phone support. They make it easy to start capturing leads, build customer relationships and accept payments via your website.
- Plug-and-play design makes it easy for anyone to use
- Backend interface praised as being intuitive and useful
- Automatic website backups keep your work safe
- Powerful app market
- Must pay to remove Wix ads
- Unable to switch templates after a site is live
- Limits experienced users by preventing them from editing HTML
- Speed performance of websites could use some improvement
Wix offers a free plan if you don’t mind your site address being http://yourwebsite.wix.com/yourwebsite. The premium plans range from $4.50 per month for the Connect Domain option to $24.50 per month for VIP.
The Entrepreneur and Freelancer’s option might just be your best bet and costs $12.50 per month, providing unlimited bandwidth, 10 GB storage, a free domain voucher for a year, up to 1 hour of high definition video playback and more. All plans also have tiered discounts for the longer that you sign up.
Strikingly was launched in 2012 and has been playing catch up ever since. It focuses predominantly on creating single page websites that require no programming skills. Popular examples include: portfolios and product landing pages. You additionally have the option of adding a simple online store and blog. Templates are all optimized for mobile devices and there’s the added bonus of being able to include quick access call and send email buttons.
- Great for creating slick single page layouts
- Easy to use drag-and-drop editor that requires no coding skills
- Endless free plan
- Generous rewards program
- Not convenient for placing a large amount of information;
- Only plans without ads is the Pro and VIP plan
- Limited SEO functions + it can be difficult to make a single page rank well
Onepager is a great simple website builder tool for small businesses. They have a philosophy that it’s better to do less, but well. Onepager believes that website building shouldn’t be complicated and that’s what they tried to implement when they designed their service. They make it easy to highlight your business services by adding a newsletter form and video clips.
- Built-in analytics helps you gain insight into website traffic
- No technical knowledge needed
- Offers 24/7 friendly support
- Includes simple eCommerce integration with PayPal
- Preset designs can be limiting
- Unable to remove onepager ads in the free version
Premium pricing plans start from $8/month for a simple onepager website to $29/month for a premium marketing website for larger businesses and entrepreneurs. The simplest Starter package gives you 1 website, 1 newsletter and 50GB bandwidth & storage. Whereas the $15/month Plus package lets you create up to 5 websites, 20 newsletters and unlimited bandwidth & storage.
Last, but in now way least, Webflow prides itself on being the modern way to build websites. Their webflow designer tool is said to provide the flexibility of front-end coding without requiring any actual coding. It also allows for building custom databases for dynamic content types like online stores.
If you’re a somewhat experienced web creator who values both flexibility and efficiency this might just be the best option. It’s a great hybrid solution once you’re okay tackling a bit of a learning curve in order to wield its powerful and unique features.
- Maximum page load speed and minimum downtime guaranteed due to advanced distributed hosting
- Built-in SSL certificate at no additional cost
- Webflow University is great resource to learn web design and development
- Several free and premium templates to choose from
- No live chat or phone customer support
- Ecommerce capabilities require minor improvements
- Limited multilingual options
You can start building for free as you get a feel for everything, but you’ll eventually need to invest in a site plan to go live and unlock additional features. The two layers of pricing include: Account Plans, which determine how and how many people from your team can use Webflow, and Site Plans, which unlock higher traffic and ecommerce capabilities.
When paid annually, their Basic plan costs $12 /month and is best for a simple site. Next, the CMS plan costs $16 /month and is best for a blog or similar content-driven site. The Business plan, priced at $36 /month is a scaled-up version of the CMS plan andbest for a higher traffic marketing site. You should also factor in that premium templates tend to be in the $49 – $79 range.
And there we have it – InvoiceBerry’s top picks for website builders! Hope you’ve found this overview helpful. Happy building, folks!