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If you own a small business, you must establish a web presence for yourself. A small business website helps you promote your business and enables you to reach new customers. It also allows you to connect with customers you may already have to keep them updated on new products and news about your business.

While there is no question a small business website is necessary, if you’re a small business owner, it can be costly to hire a web designer, especially when you’re just starting. That’s why more small business owners are electing to build their websites themselves.

It’s less expensive, and there’s a variety of website builders out there that can help you create a professional-looking website for less than if you were to hire a web designer. However, not all website builders are created equal, and depending on your business needs, certain website builders may work better for you than others.

Below is a round-up of the seven best small business website builders we’ve found depending on your small business needs.

What is the Best Website Builder for Small Businesses?

  1. Weebly – Best Overall
  2. Wix – Best for Growth
  3. Blue Host – Best Value
  4. SiteBuilder – Fastest Option
  5. WordPress – Best for Blogs
  6. Squarespace – Best Templates
  7. Shopify – Best Support

At first glance, many of these website builders have similar features, but it’s in the smaller details that these website builders vary greatly. It’s essential to pay attention to these more minor details, especially if you’re planning on keeping your website builder long-term.

How easy it is to edit, what kind of customer support you get, and where you get the best value for your money are all factors you need to consider when choosing a website builder. If you’re planning on selling products online, you need to look at what e-commerce features the website builder includes.

Below we will break down each of these website builders into their smaller details so you can feel confident that your choice will be the best choice for your personal needs and expectations.

1.   Weebly- Best Overall Website Builder

Weebly and Wix give each other stiff competition. Both have similar plan options and similarly priced plans. What gives Weebly the edge over Wix is the ease of use, and you don’t have to worry about making sure your site looks good on different size screens. Weebly’s templates designs keep screen appearance in mind.

Pros

  • Online App store with all plans
  • Easy to use
  • Good for blogging

Cons

  • Limited design flexibility
  • Only allows for online payment methods
  • More restrictive headline tags for SEO

Ease of Use

Weebly is easy to use and doesn’t require much of a learning curve, which is useful if you need to get your website up quickly and edit easily. However, a large part of why it’s easy to use is that it has fewer options than other web builders. It has a smaller range of templates than some of its competitors, and everything is on a grid layout.

Like many website builders, Weebly uses a drag and drop design interface, but the drag and drop design for this particular website builder is highly intuitive. They do offer tutorials if you get stuck, but you probably won’t need them since everything is pretty obvious.

Design Flexibility

Weebly offers about 50 professional looking design templates to choose from that look good on any device screen. They aren’t as customizable as other templates, but they give you enough options so that it doesn’t look completely cookie-cutter.

If you need to build a more extensive, more complex website for your business, Weebly will give you 50+ pages and unlimited sub-levels so your customers can quickly navigate specific pages. Weebly shines if you need something more artistically designed and allows more creative license you might want to look at other options.

Website Features

  • Blogging Tools- Weebly offers great blogging tools to maintain a blog on your site. You can add text, images, and videos, but you can also add forms, and image galleries and everything else you get with the chief website editor.
  • App Store- Weebly offers 300 different apps that you can use to customize your website for ecommerce, social media, communication, and so on. You can easily install the apps with one-click. Some apps are free some you have to pay for, and Weebly creates some while a 3rd party creates some.
  • SEO- Weebly offers a free app that lets you add h1 to h6 headlines, but be careful since sometimes the headlines will throw off your formatting. Weebly enables you to customize URL, Title tags, and meta-descriptions. If you have images you want to rank, Weebly allows you to customize Alt text for your images.
  • Ecommerce- All Weebly’s plans include an option for an online store, even the free one. If you have a massive shop with a lot of different products, you might need more features and functions than Weebly offers, but for a small to medium-sized shop, it’s great.

Help and Support

It’s easy to get help with Weebly. The contact information is clearly displayed, and it offers live chat support. Weebly provides a FAQ page and helpful tutorials, so you may need to go no further than there for assistance. They also have some great articles in their knowledge base that you can read.

If you need further assistance, Weebly also offers phone support, email support, and an online forum you can check out. You can also contact them through social media.

Value for Money

Weebly offers a free plan, and even with the free plan, you can have an online store, but it is ad-supported, so it won’t look very professional. Weebly gives you a free domain name for the first year, but then you have to pay for it.

If you want to upgrade to an ad-free plan, you’ll need to upgrade to a professional plan for $16 per month with a monthly plan or $12 a month with a yearly plan. The professional plan gives you access to all features, and for most small businesses, that’s the only plan you’ll need.

They do offer a performance plan which gives you priority assistance if you need help, and it is a good idea if you’re planning to do a lot of ecommerce for $29 a month of a monthly contract or $26 a month for a yearly contract. For what you get, Weebly’s prices seem very fair.

2. Wix-Best for Growth

Wix is great if you’re more creative, and you want more design flexibility. Wix offers 100s of professional-looking templates and gives you full design control. Wix’s tricky thing is that more options give you a little more complicated design editor to get used to.

They don’t use a grid layout so you can put elements wherever you want but proceed with caution. Make sure you have a good eye for design, or you might find the ability to put elements wherever you want makes your site harder to navigate. Also, be careful because sometimes, depending on how you place features, they won’t always align properly on a smartphone screen.

Pros

  • A large variety of templates to choose from
  • Full design flexibility
  • Automatic site back-up

Cons

  • Slightly harder to navigate
  • Only offers one sub-level navigation
  • Can’t change to an entirely new template

Ease of Use

While Wix’s site editor is not quite as simplistic as Weebly’s, it’s still not difficult. Another beautiful thing about Wix is that it offers a Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) feature.

All you need to do is answer a series of questions, and Wix will produce the first draft for your website. It will take information from online content you already have, such as social media channels, to input the data for your site. This feature gives you a basic design in minutes that you can then tweak.

Wix also offers a Site History Function to go back to previous versions of your site if you were playing with it and don’t like the results.

Design Flexibility

When it comes to design flexibility, it’s hard to beat Wix. They have a vast range of templates and tons of tools you can use to edit and tweak your design. You can use the drag and drop feature to place elements wherever you want. You can also customize fonts, colors, add animations, videos, images, and more.

Wix lets you customize your site even further with Wix’s incredibly comprehensive App Market. The great advantage with Wix’s App Market is that it features over 80 in house apps, so you don’t have to worry that somewhere down the line, a third-party app will no longer work on your site.

Website Features

  • App Market- The Wix App Market is one of the best ones out there. It offers apps for almost any function you can think of some which you can get for free, some of which you pay for.
  • SEO Tools- Wix has undergone some significant SEO improvements over the past several years. Wix has a lot of built-in SEO tools. It also offers an SEO Wiz tool that helps you create an SEO plan tailored for your website by asking you a series of questions. They also give you a checklist; you can follow step-by-step to put your SEO plan into action.
  • Wix Ascend- Wix offers a complete marketing package that allows you to create personalized messages, post on social media, and send out marketing emails.

Help and Support

Wix designs help you solve many of your problems without speaking to a customer service representative. They have a solid Knowledge Base where you can find a lot of answers to your questions. They also have some helpful tutorials and an online forum you can check. Wix pages also offer help buttons you can click on for reference as you work.

Wix doesn’t have a live chat option, but it has a phone and email support, though response time can be slow.

Value for Money

Wix does offer a free plan, but it features ads. For most small businesses, the Wix combo plan will work. It will give you access to all features and cost you $13 a month; however, if you are looking for a site to do e-commerce on, you’ll have to upgrade to at least the Business Basic Plan for $28 a month. Still, Wix is a solid choice, and you do get a fair value for the features you get with it.

3.   BlueHost – Best Value

If money is tight, there are some very reasonable website builders out there, but you get what you pay for. Many of these inexpensive sites offer limited features and can breakdown a lot. Blue Host, however, is a dependable choice, and while it doesn’t have an extensive offering of features, it will get you started.

Pros

  • Reliable server
  • Very reasonable prices
  • Great Customer Support

Cons

  • A small amount of storage for basic plans
  • Not a lot of basic features

Ease of Use

Blue Host is easy to use with a drag and drop interface and gives you a decent number of templates. Blue Host also offers free back-up for your information so you won’t lose everything if there’s a problem.

Blue Host’s design is beginner-friendly if you don’t have a lot of knowledge of web design. However, Blue Host likes to upsell it’s users, so you spend a lot of time deselecting add-on features they want to add to your site.

Design Flexibility

You don’t have a huge amount of customization options, but it’ll get the job done and give you a starting point. You can’t expect a lot of options unless you’re willing to pay for higher price plans.

Website Features

  • SSL Certificates- Blue Host offers a secure connection and keeps sensitive data protected.
  • WordPress Optimization- If you are looking to blog Blue Host is powered by WordPress, and so it’s blogging capabilities are pretty solid.
  • Domain Registrar- Blue Host isn’t the least expensive Domain Registrar, but it allows you to buy a domain directly from them, which is convenient.

Help and Support

Bluehost offers 24/7 support via live chat and telephone. However, response times are a little slow, so while they’re always available, you may find yourself waiting up to 20 minutes to get a response.

Value for Money

While the basic plan leaves a lot to be desired, even their advance plans are reasonable. Their first year prices are very low, and while their renewal prices increase substantially, they remain more economical than many other site builders. Their second most advanced plan, the Choice Plus plan, unlocks many extra features and costs a reasonable $5.45 per month for the first year and a renewal price of $16.99 per month.

Just be aware Blue Host has many unnecessary features that you can pay to add on, so choose wisely because many of them you don’t need.

4.    SiteBuilder- Fastest Option

SiteBuilder is excellent if you want to get a website up fast. It is effortless to use and is a good option if you’re not too concerned with doing a lot of customization for your site. The editor is very straightforward, and the templates are pre-filled so that all you do is edit for your website, so you don’t have to think about layouts or possess any coding knowledge.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Fast way to build a simple website

Cons

  • Templates are not able to be customized
  • Only Basic Features

Ease of Use

When it comes to ease of use, SiteBuilder shines. You pick your domain, plan choice, and payment details in a couple of clicks. Once you confirm your purchase, you can hit the ground running. When you open the editor, you get a quick guided tour, so you don’t have to experiment with the editor on your own to see how to do things.

It gives you a layout to work worth that you edit accordingly using the simple drag and drop design. SiteBuilder offers a lot of free stock images, or you can very easily upload your pictures, and there is a photo editor built right into SiteBuilder. The website builder saves all your pictures, so you only have to upload them once.

Design Flexibility

If you’re looking for a lot of design flexibility, you’ll be disappointed with SiteBuilder. You cannot customize layouts. You do get a lot of templates to choose from, but they aren’t nearly as exciting or visually appealing compared to other sites. Like everything else on the website, the templates are simplistic. Another thing to note is that you can’t change your templates once you’ve chosen one. If you’re looking for something that’s hands-off it terms of design, this is a good choice.

Website Features

SiteBuilder only offers basic features that, while good initially, don’t leave a lot of room for your website to grow.

  • Online Store Creation- SiteBuilder does offer a quick option for online store creation. However, it isn’t as powerful as those available on other websites and is only available through the ecommerce plan.
  • Free Domain with an Annual Plan- If you choose an annual plan, you get a free domain for the first year.
  • Limited App Store- While SiteBuilder does offer some apps, they don’t provide the variety or power of other site App stores. Also, the app store is all 3rd party apps, so they could stop working without you realizing it.

Help and Support

SiteBuilder isn’t the best for support. Their knowledge base is a lot less comprehensive than other sites. It does offer 24/7 live chat and phone support in the US, which is helpful, but answers can be kind of vague, and unlike other live chats where you simply ask your question, SiteBuilders live chat makes you fill out a form before you get an answer.

Value for Money

You don’t get a lot of value for money with SiteBuilder. It does offer 50% off your first payment plan, but after that, the prices go up. For a Pro Plan, you’ll pay $9.98 per month, $12.98 per month for a Premium Plan, and $24.98 a month for an e-commerce plan.

While these rates aren’t terrible and similar to other sites, the lack of features, even with the more advanced plans, makes it not the best value for your money.

5.   WordPress- Best for Blogs

WordPress is the leading site if you’re looking to create a professional and engaging looking blog for your website. In fact, other site builders will use WordPress for their blogging capabilities. WordPress’s design focus is blogging, which is great if that’s what you want; however, it’s very limited in other respects.

Pros

  • Exceptional blogging tools
  • Annual plans offer great value at a low price

Cons

  • Too complicated for beginners
  • Limited Plugins and SEO tools

Ease of Use

WordPress is designed dominantly as a blog builder, so while it’s great for that specific task, it’s pretty difficult to do anything else with it. It does have a bit of a learning curve, and you can’t do much in terms of customization without coding knowledge. It’s not a good choice for those new to website building.

Design Flexibility

WordPress does give you a lot of nice-looking designs, but you have to do a lot of work. You can choose from 100s of themes or upload your own themes. If you have coding knowledge, WordPress will tweak your site exactly to your liking, but if you don’t, you will find a minimal amount of pre-made designs. With a basic plan, you don’t get a lot of customization features you need to have a business plan.

Website Features

WordPress features are optimal for blogging.

  • Social Media Integration- WordPress lets you automatically publish blog content on social media and has add-ons that users can click on and bring you directly to your social media platforms.
  • Powerful SEO Tools- WordPress offers great SEO tools, but you have to purchase their most expensive plan to get them. However, if SEO is essential to you, it might be worth the price because it takes care of most of the mechanics of SEO.

Help and Support

WordPress has an extensive Knowlege Base. With paid plans, you get access to live chat and phone support. It offers several online forums that you can look at as well.

Value for Money

In terms of value for your money, WordPress gets a high score. If you want an impressive looking blog, you will get it and at a very reasonable price. All paid plans feature custom domain names, email, and live chat support. A premium plan will only cost you $8 a month billed annually. You get unlimited themes with the premium plan.

You also get advanced design customization, 13GB storage space. The Business plan gives you all the other features and unlimited storage space, access to live courses, SEO tools, plugins, uploadable themes, and Google Analytics integration and all for a very reasonable $25 per month.

5.   Squarespace- Best Templates

Squarespace may not be as easy to use as Wix, but if you’re looking for the best templates and excellent image quality, you can’t beat Squarespace. Squarespace also offers great support and good blogging tools.

Pros

  • Beautiful Templates and a wide variety to choose from
  • Great Built-in functions for an online store

Cons

  • Not the best for search engine optimization
  • Not as beginner-friendly

Ease of Use

Squarespace is not challenging to use, but its editor is not as intuitive as other sites. It does use drag-and-drop design, but sometimes you have to look around to find specific features, so it slows the process. Once you figure out the different drop menus, however, it’s reasonably straightforward if you use the Squarespace built-in content blocks, then you don’t have to worry about how it will appear on a mobile device.

Design Flexibility

Squarespace has 28 themes to choose from, and you can change them when you want. While it’s not as many themes as other sites offer, each theme is exceptionally well-built and aesthetically pleasing. It offers 100 templates to choose from, but they do use a grid, so while you can move elements where you want, you have to keep it within their grid designs. Squarespace offers a lot of customization options, as well.

Website Features

  • Good Blog capabilities- You can create an attractive and professional-looking blog with the tools Squarespace gives you.
  • Powerful SEO tools- If you have a basic knowledge of SEO, you can make use of powerful SEO tools, some of which are integrated into Squarespace some you pay for.

Powerful ecommerce solutions- You can sell goods, digital downloads, and services with Squarespace. You can set up Stripe, Paypal, and Apple Pay payment methods. Squarespace also offers abandoned cart recovery features, which can be very helpful and not provided by many other sites.

Help and Support

Squarespace offers great help and support options. You can Live Chat Monday through Friday. You also get 24/7 email and twitter support options. It has an in-depth knowledge base, online forums, and helpful video tutorials.

Value for Money

Squarespace offers four different plans ranging from $12 a month for a personal plan to $40 a month for an Advanced commerce plan. It also has two mid-range plans. The Business plan costs 18 a month, and a Basic Commerce Plan comes in at $26 per month. For a small business, the Business plan or Basic Commerce Plan will be all you need. If you want an awesome looking website with nice templates, Squarespace is worth the money.

6.   Shopify- Best Support

If you plan on doing a lot of ecommerce, Shopify is well- designed for precisely that. Shopify is easy to use and great if you’re launching an online store. Shopify’s focus is definitely on supporting store owners, and for that, their support services are the best available.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • A lot of design flexibility
  • Great Support

Cons

  • Not strong for creating regular content
  • Charges transaction Fees
  • URL structure isn’t ideal for SEO

Ease of Use

Shopify offers a huge variety of features, but they are easy to find and logically set up. Shopify offers a beginner’s guide that makes it easy to get started designing your site. It’s easy to set up something basic, but if you have a little time, you can also have plenty of room to customize.

Design Flexibility

You don’t get much in terms of free templates. You only get about 10 to choose from, but you can get many more if you’re willing to pay. You can pay for themes as well. While Shopify’s themes can be a bit expensive, you have the option of using 3rd party themes with their website builder.

It is straightforward to personalize your templates. You can add or remove sections and move sections around, so if you want a good ecommerce site that offers a lot of design flexibility, Shopify is a great option.

Website Features

  • Phenomenal ecommerce options- Shopify gives you a secure shopping cart and has an abandoned cart recovery feature, and allows you to sell through other channels.
  • Full-Blogging Platform- Shopify offers a decent blog tool that allows you to add SEO content. The layouts aren’t the most flexible, and the editor doesn’t have as many features as other sites, but it gets the job done in a clean, professional, and easy to use way.
  • Shopify Mobile- You can update your store and inventory on your phone for on the go small business owners.

Help and Support

Shopify offers 24/7 support. You can get help through live chat, email, and phone support. The customer support is very friendly and answers questions clearly. You can expect to get an email response within 11 hours of you sending it. It also has a very informative knowledge base that you can find a lot of answers on. Shopify has a lot of helpful videos on its Youtube channel as well.

Value for Money

Spotify is a less expensive way to sell products online. All Shopify plans offer the essential functions you need for e-commerce. It will cost you $29 a month for basic Shopify and is a good plan if you’re just starting your online business. If you want the next plan up, it costs $79 per month. However, to unlock the most desirable features like with all website builders, you need to pay for the higher plans. Shopify’s prices are fair for what you get, but you need to have a little bit of a budget.

Conclusion

There’s no one right choice for picking a website builder. Depending on what you’re looking to do on your small business website will determine what the best choice for you is.

If you plan on adding a lot of content, you probably want a website builder with useful blogging tools like WordPress. If your business is an ecommerce business, you want a website builder that gives you the best ecommerce options, a website like Shopify is best. If you are in a more creative field, you want to look at sites that provide you great templates with lots of room for customization, a place like Wix or Squarespace will best suit your needs. Whichever site you choose, make sure it’s the best one for your needs, especially if you’re planning on using it for the long-term.

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