Starting a small business website can be both exhilarating and terrifying. You get to delve into a whole new world of possibilities while managing the technical and design aspects of creating your own website. How exciting!
But wait, there’s more! You also need to consider how your site will look, how to organize your products, and what pages and sub-pages to create. Oh, and don’t forget to ensure that the checkout process runs smoothly. No big deal, right?
Luckily for you, there are website builders out there that cater to small business owners just like you! And the best part? The process can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. So, buckle up and get ready for the ride of your life as a small business website creator. Let’s dive in.
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What to look for in a website builder
Congratulations on taking the first step towards building your very own ecommerce site! Now, let’s talk about the not-so-fun part: choosing a website builder. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to determine which one is right for your small business. But fear not, we’ve got you covered.
Money, money, money. It makes the world go round, right? Well, when it comes to website builders, price is definitely a factor to consider. Don’t break the bank just to build your online store. Look for a website builder that offers affordable plans without sacrificing too many important features.
Ease of use
Unless you’re a coding genius, you’ll want a website builder that’s easy to use. Drag-and-drop editors are great for those who don’t want to bother with HTML or CSS. But even if you’re a coding pro, you don’t want to spend hours trying to figure out how to use a clunky website builder. Choose a platform that’s user-friendly, even for beginners.
You want your website builder to have all the bells and whistles, right? Well, not necessarily. It’s important to look for a website builder that has the features you need but not so many that you’re overwhelmed. Consider what kind of customer support options the company provides and how payment processing works. You don’t want to be left in the lurch when you need help or when it’s time to process payments.
Level of customization
Your small business has a unique brand, and you want to show it off to the world. But not all website builders allow for a high level of customization. Make sure the platform you choose has enough design options to make your store stand out without being too rigid in its templates. After all, you want to be able to express your individuality, even in the world of e-commerce.
Best for advanced users.
Ah, good old WordPress. Whether you’re a coding genius or not, you can take control and build your website from scratch. With constant upgrades, WordPress is always on top of its game. Plus, you can even sell products by adding a Shopify Buy Button to your WordPress website.
Price: WordPress offers a free version, but if you want full ecommerce functionality, you’ll have to cough up some dough. The Business plan is a mere $33 per month, and the ecommerce plan is $59 per month. You can get a discount if you pay annually, but who likes to save money, right?
Ease of use: Let’s be real, WordPress has a steep learning curve, so it might take you a while to get the hang of it. But once you do, you’ll have a ton of customization options, especially if you have a blog. It’s just a matter of how much work you’re willing to put in upfront. So, if you’re not tech-savvy, good luck!
Features: To get all the e-commerce features you need, you’ll have to set up an ecommerce plugin like WooCommerce, which is free (thank goodness). The ecommerce plan includes fancy features like integration with Google Analytics, over 50,000 plugins, shipping carriers, marketing and SEO tools, and payment options in 60+ countries. Want more details? Check out our Shopify vs. WooCommerce comparison.
Level of customization: If you’re a coding master, you can create your own WordPress site. But if you’re like most people and don’t know HTML, basic customization might be a bit tricky. Sure, you can add your logo, brand colors, and font easily, but other changes require HTML knowledge. And let’s be honest, it’s easy to break WordPress websites if your code isn’t perfect. WordPress is probably the most customizable tool out there, but if you’re not code-savvy, you’ll likely have to pay someone to create a website for you. So, start saving up!
Best for e-commerce stores.
So, building a website and selling products online may seem like separate tasks, but there’s a big difference between adding commerce features onto an existing website versus using a website builder that includes these features natively.
If you’re just looking for a website builder, you might not need all the bells and whistles of e-commerce tools. But if you want to create a booming online business right off the bat, Shopify is the way to go. It’s an all-in-one commerce tool that can accommodate businesses of any size, complete with a custom domain name, web hosting, marketing features, and more.
Plus, it helps you sell on other online sites to expand your reach. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me!
Here are just a few reasons why it’s considered one of the best site builders out there for most business owners most of the time:
- Let’s start with simplicity – because who doesn’t love a good easy-peasy setup? With Shopify, anyone can get started and maintain their store without needing to learn how to code. And for those who do want to get their hands dirty under the hood, they certainly can.
- Performance, baby! Shopify offers some serious website building technology that’s lightning-fast and provides the best-performing checkout on the web. No need for separate web hosting or third-party checkout tools – Shopify’s built-in shopping cart is where it’s at.
- Omnichannel capabilities. With Shopify, you can sell wherever your customers are, whether that’s TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, or beyond. No need for extra add-ons or plug-ins – Shopify’s got you covered.
- Price: Oh, let me tell you about Shopify’s pricing because who doesn’t love paying for things, right? But hey, they do offer a free trial, so you can dip your toes in without reaching for your wallet. Basic Shopify starts at a mere $39 per month, perfect for those of you just starting out. If you’re feeling fancy, Shopify is $105 per month, great for growing businesses with one retail shop. And for those ballers out there with two or more retail shops, you can go for the Advanced Shopify at $399 per month.
- Ease of use: Shopify’s website-building tools are incredibly intuitive, and if you need help you can turn to the extensive help center, forum, or 24/7 support.
- Features: You’ll have access to top-notch customer support around the clock via live chat, phone, and email. And don’t even get me started on their more than 100 gorgeously designed mobile-friendly themes – talk about eye candy! Plus, Shopify will help you get noticed by search engines with their built-in search engine optimization. Need help keeping track of your inventory? No problem, Shopify’s got you covered. They even throw in a free SSL certificate to keep your site secure. And if you’re looking for even more features, their app store has over 4,000 tools to choose from. Oh, and did I mention their reporting and analytics tools? They’ll help you stay on top of your game. And finally, for all you busy bees on the go, there’s even a handy mobile app. Impressive, right?
- Level of customization: So you’re a control freak when it comes to website design? No worries, Shopify’s got you covered. Each website template is easily customizable, and if you’re really picky, you can tinker with the HTML and CSS to your heart’s content.
3. Big Cartel
Best platform for small businesses
Oh, so you’re an artist looking to sell your work online but don’t want to be limited to Etsy? Well, look no further than Big Cartel! It’s a website builder made specifically for artists, so they’ve got you covered when it comes to selling your masterpieces on the web. Plus, it’s super user-friendly and easy to set up.
- Price: For those aspiring artists out there looking to sell their work online, Big Cartel has got some pricing options for you. First, let’s talk about the free plan which allows you to sell up to five products. Then, if you want to up your game, you can go for Platinum for $9.99 per month and sell up to 50 products, or Diamond for $19.99 per month and sell up to 250 products. And for all you overachievers out there, there’s the Titanium plan for $29.99 per month, which allows you to sell up to 500 products.
- Ease of use: Setting up a website with BigCartel is a breeze, but if you’re hoping to expand your business beyond the web, you might hit some scaling limitations.
- Features: You get customer support by email seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET – talk about dedicated! Plus, you can upload up to five photos of each product – because let’s be real, one angle just isn’t enough. And the best part? Free themes that you can customize (yes, even with code access). But wait, there’s more! You can make sales both online and in person, use a custom domain, offer promotions, hook up Google Analytics, track shipments and inventory, put sales tax on autopilot, and do bulk editing. Whew, that’s a lot of features!
- Level of customization: If you’re feeling lazy, BigCartel has some pre-made themes ready for you to use. But if you’re a control freak (we won’t judge), you can design every little detail of your site with full code access.
Best builder for creating small websites.
Ah, Wix. The website builder with so many pricing plans, it could make your head spin. Just watch out, though, because inventory tracking isn’t Wix’s strongest suit. And if you want to access all of its ecommerce features, you’ll have to shell out for the highest tier of plan.
But hey, at least Wix ADI is here to save the day! With just a few tidbits about your biz, it can whip up a website in mere minutes. Plus, if you sell subscriptions, Wix has got you covered with plans and recurring payment options.
- Price: If you want to sell something on your website, you’ll have to cough up some dough for one of their business plans. Business Basic will set you back $23 a month, Business Unlimited costs $27 a month, and if you want to go VIP, you’ll have to pay $49.99 per month. Oh, and if you change your mind within 14 days of upgrading, they’ll refund your money.
- Ease of use: Wix has a drag-and-drop editor that even a toddler could use. So, if you’re technologically challenged and don’t have the slightest idea what you’re doing, this website builder might be perfect for you.
- Features: Wix is not the best option if you want to manage your inventory. You’ll have to upgrade to the Business Unlimited or Business VIP plan for full ecommerce features, as the Basic plan doesn’t cut it with advanced stuff like dropshipping and tax automation. But hey, if you’re willing to pay up, you’ll get some fancy features like drag-and-drop website builder, recurring payments, and 24/7 customer care. Plus, you can integrate your shopping with Facebook, eBay, Instagram, and Google Shopping. So, go ahead and splurge if you want all the bells and whistles!
- Level of customization: With Wix’s drag-and-drop builder, you have the ability to be a true artiste and make your website one-of-a-kind! Choose from a whopping 800 templates, and then go wild with customization – no element of any template is safe from your creative touch!
Best website builder for a professional website
Oh, Squarespace! So easy and convenient, you won’t need to customize much to get a beautiful website. It’s perfect for those who sell services along with physical items, like a day spa that needs a spot for customers to book appointments and purchase products used in treatments. With Squarespace, you can quickly build a functional and stunning site without breaking a sweat.
- Price: Well, it looks like Squarespace isn’t too shy about the price tag for their commerce plans. The Basic Commerce plan will set you back a cool $30 per month, and if you want to upgrade to the Advanced Commerce plan, be prepared to cough up $46 per month. However, if you’re willing to make a long-term commitment, you can save a whopping 30% on plans by committing for one year.
- Ease of use: Oh, so you’re looking for a website builder that’s easy to use? Look no further than Squarespace! And if you happen to run into any issues, they’ve got you covered with webinars, a help center, and a community forum.
- Features: Wow, Squarespace really knows how to pack in the features! With their drag-and-drop builder and customizable templates, you’ll have no trouble creating a stunning website. And it’s not just pretty – Squarespace also offers inventory management and low inventory notifications, so you’ll always know what’s in stock. Plus, with Stripe and PayPal integrations, you can easily accept payments for your products or services. And let’s not forget about subscriptions – Squarespace has got you covered there too!
- Level of customization: With Squarespace, you can customize any template using their editor, and if you’re a code wizard, you can even tinker with the code. But, beware! Choosing a theme means you’ll have to stick with consistent styles site-wide, so if you’re looking for more control, you may want to look elsewhere.
Best builder for reputable web hosting
GoDaddy is a website builder that promises to create your website in minutes using AI. While it’s true that their drag-and-drop builder is easy to use, their website designs are nothing to write home about. Sure, they’re clean and modern, but don’t expect any fancy bells and whistles. And if you’re looking to build an online store, be prepared to shell out double the price for a separate online store builder.
Price: If you’re looking for a sweet deal, GoDaddy has got you covered with their basic plan for just $6.99 per month. But hey, if you’re looking for a little more bells and whistles, their standard plan is only $10.49 per month, while the premium plan comes in at $13.99 per month. And if you’re feeling fancy and want to sell stuff, their e-commerce plan will set you back $14.99 per month. Oh, and don’t forget to commit for a year and save between 30% and 40% on your subscription. Savings, baby!
Ease of use: The drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to create a website without the need for any technical know-how.
Features: With over 100 mobile-friendly templates, you’ll definitely find something you like with this website builder! And if you’re into social media, you’ll be happy to know that it integrates with popular sites like Instagram and Facebook. Want to give your customers more payment options? Go ahead and add Google Pay and Venmo. Plus, it connects with Square POS (point of sale) so your retail and online businesses can work together seamlessly.
Level of customization: GoDaddy’s templates are like those in the thrift store: they can be customized, but don’t expect them to make a fashion statement. While you can tweak them, they don’t have the flexibility to create truly unique designs.
Best for design-focused builders
Duda is a website builder for those who want a design-forward site and aren’t afraid to shell out some extra cash. Starting at $14 a month, Duda may cost a bit more than your average builder, but it offers some sweet features, like access to free widgets and the ability to create your own. Duda’s templates provide a decent amount of creative freedom, perfect for beginners who aren’t exactly website-building wizards. Originally built for agencies, Duda has since expanded its reach to anyone who wants a stylish website without spending hours tinkering with code.
Price: Let me tell you about Duda’s pricing. The Basic plan is a steal at only $14 per month, the Team plan is $22 per month, and the Agency plan will only set you back a measly $44 per month. But wait, there’s more! If you pay annually, you can save 25% off your plan. Hallelujah!
Ease of use: Duda’s sign-up process is so quick, you’ll barely have time to grab a cup of coffee. Its drag-and-drop builder makes customizing templates so easy, even your cat could do it. No technical knowledge required.
Features: Duda is perfect for those who love to design websites. With over 100 font styles and an in-app photo editor, you can create stunning visuals without breaking a sweat. Duda even allows you to create custom widgets for a personalized experience. You can use widgets to display targeted pop-up messages and promotions based on visitors’ location or behavior. It’s like having a personal web designer in your pocket!
Level of customization: Its website builder is made to design fast. But you can’t customize too much outside of your template.
Best builder for designers and creative professionals
This DIY website builder is no joke. Forget about WordPress – Webflow is the real deal for anyone who wants professional-grade customization options. Not only can you choose from its pre-designed templates, but you can also go crazy with complex functionality if you’re a developer or web designer. The sky’s the limit, baby! So go ahead, break free from the confines of boring templates and create something truly unique with Webflow.
Price: Ah, Webflow, the generous website builder that lets you build your site for free…but wait, you can’t actually go live without buying a plan. And what do these plans cost, you may ask? Site plans start at $12 per month and ecommerce plans start at $29 per month. What a deal!
Ease of use: Webflow is feeling generous with over 25 templates to choose from, how thoughtful of them. You can choose the “best” one that fits your business type, just like picking out the perfect outfit for a night out. And hey, adding content to your site is so easy, even a caveman could do it. When you’re finally satisfied with your masterpiece, you can publish it with one click. And the best part? No surprises thanks to Webflow’s live previews, so your website won’t be a complete disaster once it’s out there for the world to see.
Features: Not only can you build a website with it, but you can also collaborate with your colleagues on the design. Plus, you don’t have to worry about losing track of changes because it conveniently tracks the version history for you. And get this, it can even optimize your site for SEO without any pesky plug-ins.
Level of customization: If you’re feeling a little adventurous and want to push the limits of your creativity, Webflow might be just what you need! With this website builder, you have complete freedom to customize your site, from the smallest interactions to the boldest animations, all without having to write a single line of code. So go ahead, break out of your comfort zone and unleash your inner design guru with Webflow!
Best free website builder
Oh, so you’re too cheap to pay for a website? No worries, Weebly’s got your back. With its completely free plan, you can enjoy a basic website builder and even a free domain! Just be prepared for those pesky ads. But hey, it’s perfect for personal websites, like blogs or freelancer portfolios, or if you’re just selling a few things online. And if you eventually decide to upgrade, Weebly’s affordable plans make it an easy transition. Plus, it’s super user-friendly.
Price: Weebly offers a free basic e-commerce account – just what you always wanted, right? But wait, there’s more! The Personal plan is a steal at only $9 per month, or $6 per month billed annually. Feeling fancy? The Professional plan is a whopping $16 per month, or $12 per month billed annually. And for the ultimate in overpriced website plans, the Performance plan is a mere $29 per month, or $26 per month billed annually. Aren’t you lucky?
Ease of use: It’s easy to set up and customize a website on Weebly, and no prior technical knowledge is necessary.
Features: You can create your online store using a drag-and-drop interface and customize your theme to your heart’s content. Plus, you can edit your products in bulk and create coupons for your customers to keep them coming back for more. And don’t forget about mobile optimization and the shipping tool that gives you real-time rates. Weebly even has advanced inventory management and a product search feature. And if that’s not enough, you can integrate with PayPal, Stripe, and Square, and let Weebly’s auto tax tool handle the boring stuff.
Level of customization: With Weebly’s drag-and-drop builder, even someone with no coding experience can make a website that looks almost decent. And if you do have some coding chops, you can play around with HTML and CSS to make your site even more unique. Plus, you can add some fancy touches like custom fonts, video backgrounds, and animation to really make it pop.
Best builder for quick online store setup
Oh boy, do I have news for you! If you’re looking for a quick and easy setup process, 3dcart is your go-to online store builder. Just choose from one of their premade templates, and voilà! You’ll have a mobile-friendly website up in no time.
Now, don’t get too excited. If you want to make any customizations, you’ll need to have some basic HTML knowledge under your belt. But hey, at least 3dcart is search engine optimized and offers solid SEO tools to help you rank higher on Google.
Overall, 3dcart is a decent and affordable option, but if you’re looking for more powerful e-commerce functionality in the long run, you may want to explore other alternatives.
Price: 3dcart is pretty generous with its free plan, but be warned, it comes with a catch: you have to use their preferred payment processor. If you want to use a different one, you can try out the 15-day free trial, but after that, you’ll need to pony up at least $29 per month to keep your store up and running.
Ease of use: With 3dcart there is a slight learning curve. It’s not the most user-friendly option out there, but it gets the job done. Just be prepared to spend a bit of time figuring things out, especially when it comes to using the website builder.
Features: With their help center and chat customer support, you’ll never have to suffer alone. Plus, their customizable themes will make your site look like a million bucks (even if you’re on a tight budget). Oh, and did we mention their mobile-friendly design? Because let’s be real, nobody’s browsing on a desktop anymore.
But wait, there’s more! With 3dcart, you can synchronize your inventory across other sites like eBay and Facebook, making your life a whole lot easier. And if you’re into multiple delivery methods (like dropshipping and downloads), you’re in luck! They support that too. Plus, with over 160 payment options and financing options, you’ll be able to take money from just about anyone. Sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it?
Level of customization: Oh, you want to customize your 3dcart site? Sure thing! They’ve got plenty of themes for you to choose from, both free and paid. Just keep in mind that if you really want to make it your own, you’ll need to brush up on your HTML skills. Unlike other website builders, some changes will require some HTML know-how.
Well, it looks like you’re ready to build your online presence. Just like when you’re on the hunt for a place to live, you’ll need to find the perfect home for your online store. If you’re just looking for a basic landing page, a free website builder should do the trick.
But if you want to create a real online store where you can connect with customers, you’ll want to invest in a solid foundation from the get-go. Don’t skimp on the essentials, or you might find yourself dealing with headaches down the line. So choose wisely, my friend.