What is the Best Website Builder for a Small Business?
In my Local Business Gold course I focus early on about building a platform and brand, and choosing good domains that work with their brand. The next phase is to talk about website design software, content management systems (WordPress, Blogger) and try to determine the best website builder for small business owners they can use when establishing their online presence. Though we are talking about “affiliate marketing”, this course is designed for those that own small businesses or even large ones that want to learn how to market their business effectively.
That being said, we’re going to be discussing the best website builder for small business owners for certain types of businesses and budgets. The best website builder for small business owners (if they’re doing some of the work themselves) is one that you can actually use and not get frustrated when doing so.
We’re going to compare a few free website builder options, content management systems, E-Commerce platforms that work well, and a hybrid of all the above if you want to take your web presence to another level. I’m going to tell you the most popular platforms, and which of a handful I would even consider using. A well designed site with quality content your visitors want to read will help you substantially with leads and conversions on your website.
What is the Most Popular Website Builder for Small Business & Affiliate Marketing?
Most internet marketers online today, and many web development companies, use the WordPress content management system (blog platform). Obviously WordPress can be used as a website builder for a small business or affiliate marketing purposes (I use it on most of my sites), but sometimes it is difficult to master for beginners if they don’t plan on updating the content on their website often.
For the purposes of establishing the best website builder for small business owners, I want to break down what those entrepreneurs are looking for in a website in several categories.
- Informational Website – I hear this all the time from small business owners is they want to post some information online for their customer base to get documents, learn about what they do, and provide basic contact information to reach them if they are interested in doing business with them.
- Affiliate or Niche Marketing – There are millions of bloggers and internet marketers promoting products of other people that get paid an affiliate commission for doing so. I make a decent living doing the same by providing value-added content to my visitors. Most of them use WordPress as well, but some use TypePad, Joomla or Blogger which I don’t really like.
- E-Commerce Websites – Companies today have realized that the old days of print advertising, radio, billboards and other media just don’t have the power of the internet and the worldwide exposure it can offer. The line of “I just want an informational website” is pretty lame these days and savvy small business owners are investing their marketing dollars and efforts into building a profit generating E-Commerce website. It works…big time, but there are so many marketing agencies that charge so much, and deliver so little, when it comes to building an effective E-Commerce site.
- Hybrid Small Business Websites – Small business owners are desperately searching for ways to “tell their story” and sell their products in an ultra-competitive economy. They want to have good content, or information about their business, but they need a way to convert those visitors into prospects to market to, or customers that are ready to buy right now.
What is My Criteria for Choosing the Best Website Builders for Small Business Owners?
- Scalable – Your small business can grow into something more customizable & robust later, but for now, each of these website builders will do the job.
- Attractive Designs – Content is still king online, but an attractive website design has its advantages. You have .7 Seconds to make a first impression, in person or online, so minor tweaks can make a big difference. Some website builders look like they are still stuck in the 90’s, and I would stay far away from them.
- SEO Friendly & Why – You may not understand SEO yet, but ranking in the search engines is the primary battle for getting found online. Most web design companies make “pretty websites” but have no clue on how to get traffic, leads & conversions themselves 99% of the time. Zero. Crazy huh?
- Content Management System – You can no longer simply put up a website, add some content and expect to get any traffic at all. You need a CMS that can add fresh content that Google loves these days. We’re going to teach Video SEO, back links and more later, but you need to grasp early on that new content is THE best way to beat your competitors online.
- E-Commerce Options based on Niche – Most small business owners truly just need something “decent” for the company to display what they offer. There are ranges of what is available for selling products online, and most are easier to use than you think.
- Ease of Use of All the Above – I work with small business owners to develop successful strategies very affordably, and it makes a lot of sense for them financially so they can focus on what they do well. However, many small business owners today are wanting to create content themselves (highly recommended) and post it onto their website personally.
My Picks for the Best Website Builder for Small Business Owners (Varies again on Application & Scale)
(Note: I don’t have IM Creator, Jimda, Typepad, GoDaddy, etc because I don’t think they are as good as the ones I have listed for very specific reasons. I simply can’t recommend them)
- Weebly – Weebly is a good website builder for a small business in that it has some attractive themes to choose from, built in SEO that is easy to implement, E-Commerce options for smaller operations, huge library of images, a blogging option (a must for any business imo) and an extremely simple drag and drop editor that anyone can use in minutes. They have some attractive templates, though somewhat limited in number. Focus is on quality not quantity, but you can add custom code to their sites if you want to pay a designer to help you with small improvements. It’s a great starter option
- Wix – Wix has done a really nice job of creating polished themes and a larger selection for a variety of businesses. They have a solid E-Commerce option for small businesses, blogging feature, more SEO features than Weebly, huge library of images, and actually quite scalable for future growth. I put Weebly and Wix on about the same level honestly. I would simply say it depends on which themes you like from both website builders and start building your site. We use them both website builders for small business owners as they are very affordable, and you can have a great looking site up in less than an hour. You can have an E-Commerce and good content loaded very quickly as well.
- Squarespace – Squarespace is one of the newest website builders for small businesses and I actually like them a lot. The themes are more limited, but they are very polished. They aren’t as “whimsical” as some of the Weebly and Wix templates if you’re looking for something fun and creative. They have excellent SEO features, beautiful designs, and the software is fairly simple to use. One weakness though is there is a small learning curve that isn’t as easy as Wix or Weebly. For that reason alone, I don’t always recommend this for beginners. Their domain hosting options could be a little simpler imo, but it’s a solid choice.
- WordPress – WordPress is probably the leader for me if you have a budget to pay a designer to build something attractive or if you purchase a nice premium theme, and you are committed to putting up consistent content on your site. Hosting really matters with WordPress too, and I highly recommend Bluehost Hosting beginners, but also larger sites because they can scale with dedicated hosting options not available on GoDaddy, Host Gator or other cheap hosting companies. WordPress is what most serious marketers use when they launch affiliate marketing sites, blogs, hybrid E-Commerce sites, and many top companies use the WordPress content management system for their sites. There is a huge learning curve however when it comes to learning how to use plugins, which plugins to get, email forms, and it is a pretty big process to get started. We build nice WordPress sites for people for $299 and up depending on what all they need, but I recommend hiring someone to build the frontend of WordPress for design (if you’re new and have a small budget to work with) and then start posting consistent content on your site. There are thousands of themes to choose from, thousands of plugins for flexibility, and WordPress is built to scale for any size business. Very important note: If you’re not committed to posting consistent content or not willing to hire someone to post updates for you, WordPress isn’t the best option. There’s simply too much to learn to have an effective, nice looking website that will help you get results in my opinion.
- Shopify – Shopify is primarily an E-Commerce solution, but also has a built in blogging platform and the ability to create new webpages. Blogging is a must these days for SEO and ranking in the search engines, and one key to all the website builders I’ve mentioned is their ability to blog and use key SEO components such as Titles, headings, descriptions, etc. Shopify is extremely robust for an E-Commerce solution and will scale to any size company. However, it is an awesome E-Commerce solution for a small business as they have great looking themes, it helps you manage your E-Commerce solution in many locations online such as Ebay, Shopzilla, Amazon, Facebook (all managed in one place), has a POS you can even use in an offline store, it’s simple to use and you get a free trial to check it out. They have true 24/7 support, and Shopify is just an amazing website solution for a small business. It’s more monthly than the above options, but imagine if you sold $2K a month online. Do you mind spending $29 to $79 a month to get an E-Commerce solution you don’t have to worry about? Shopify is awesome, though getting some help from a designer on the front end to make your site look good (ask me about that) is recommended. Get a Shopify Trial Here
- Big Commerce – Lastly, Big Commerce is an incredible E-Commerce option for small business owners that takes all the hard work out of building a robust shopping experience for a small business website, or ANY size business for that matter. Big Commerce runs over 50K store owners, and have reasonable plans from $34.95 a month for Silver to $79.95 for the Gold version. Like Shopify, you can sell online in multiple places such as Facebook, Ebay, Amazon, Nextag etc and manage those sales from one easy to use portal. Big Commerce has over 150 apps for full flexibility and scalability and gorgeous themes that are best in class in my opinion. Big Commerce has a built-in blog, and can scale to the largest of companies with loads of features. They even have affordable consultants that can help you set up a game plan for your business to get you selling online. You can try out Big Commerce for a Free Trial Here. It’s an incredible E-Commerce solution for any small business.
So these are my best recommendations for the best website builders for small business owners. With websites, and how profitable you want them to be, you can start small with either Wix or Weebly as they do a great job for most small businesses that want to build their own websites. I use their software too to make some nice sites for clients that they are very happy with as am I.
WordPress is a step up in functionality in my opinion, but much tougher to manage if you don’t want to learn how to use WordPress for posting blog content, specials, updates, or videos. It’s manageable however if you will hire someone like our our small business marketing company to help you get it designed on the front end. That will take most of the frustration out of WordPress, and I have tons of WordPress training on my Youtube channel as well as my website DeanEthridge.com.
Shopify and Big Commerce are just amazing E-Commerce solutions for small businesses as well as being functional blogs. My preference is to work with a small business that sales unique products is to design their site with these two options. That are just extremely scalable and will help you make more money. Period.
If you have any other suggestions on a good website builder for small business websites please leave a comment down below. Also please like or share this post with your network. You never know who you might help that is looking for a good website solution for their business.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]