Getting your new business website up and running can be a rather intimidating prospect if you don’t have a designer on your team with the talent and vision you need. Then there’s so much to consider when it comes to actually managing/growing the company website once it’s made!
In this guide we’ll introduce you to a number of places you can go to get a professional, responsive business website built for less with all the helpful bells and whistles – analytics dashboard, stunning themes/templates, amazing support teams, free/subscription widgets, and the whole nine yards. Enjoy!
Over the last few years Wix has catapulted to one of the most well-known and widely used business website builders, so they’re safe and secure in that respect (no funny stuff). There’s ample reviews online to browse, including ours linked below, with tons of social proofing as well.
To put it short, there are close to 100 million websites designed through Wix because they have wonderful templates with 100% drag & drop customization (pixel perfect) that non-designers can work with. Great customer service, a fabulous app store with easy integration, your site will be extremely flexible (can’t change themes once chosen though) and the many upgrades (no ads, custom domain, etc.) are all priced competitively.
Weebly is another titan among the more popular business website builders primarily because of their great customization (mostly code-free drag and drop like Wix) non-designer-friendly features, inexpensive monthly plans and their steady flow of new templates.
From HD video backgrounds and unlimited storage with paid plans, to advanced analytics dashboards and a huge assortment of apps Weebly is worth investigating. The only challenging part can be tweaking the code for ultra-specific modifications. Sure, you can build a new site from scratch right on the screen but if you want something far outside the basics of their templates you’ll need to adjust the actual coding. Still, with close to 50 million sites they’ve come a long way.
Right, so Squarespace has curated their platform into the most design-orientated (arguably) of the popular business website builders. Meaning you have an enormous amount of flexibility and what you end up with is a business website that’s clean and responsive and looks like it cost you a pretty penny (sleek & sophisticated!).
That being said, we should mention that as of the time this is being written Squarespace only works with one payment processer (Stripe) which some feel is a bit constricting (they offer both regular sites as well as ecommerce). Though if you represent a visual platform where a polished stunning template will work wonders, it might be worth a looksee.
First thing you should know is that Shopify is easily the most popular of the ecommerce-only business website builders. So, you must be selling something on the site – physical or digital. To help you bring in the revenue though are 100+ templates and 1500+ apps to integrate into a one-stop-shop for everything from a solopreneur platform to a large retail store bringing their inventory online.
However, outside the core design-functionality if you want to tweak something specific in your store you’ll likely have to work with either Shopify-savvy 3rd party designers or experts who specialize in Shopify’s coding language called Liquid. It’s hard to beat their new POS (point of sale) system though, along with their truly incredible customer service.
Okay the two areas where we (and many others) believe Jimdo shines is a) SEO – or optimizing your site’s meta-data for search engines, and b) because of the ultra-fast editor Jimdo is considered one of the easiest to use. Another big upside is their global presence, meaning you can work with customer service teams in multiple languages rather than purely English.
Their iOS/Android app is above average, as is their ecommerce functionality, and it’s hard to beat their small business-friendly apps/widgets. Another thing, it’s pretty neat that they take care of hosting even if you’re currently taking advantage of their free platform.
Typically, FAR less expensive than hiring a professional (freelance) designer to build your business website.
Apps, widgets, and built-in dashboards (can) make managing your website a lot less demanding and more productive vs. trying to integrate tons of 3rd party or opensource options.
The customer service is immense, from forums and live chat to direct numbers where the reps you talk to are friendly, savvy, and know their platform well.
If you’re selling physical or digital products website builders can make the entire process much easier.
In most cases the templates they offer are somewhat constrictive in that if you want to change something or add a unique style component, you either can’t or will need to adjust the HTML/CSS/Liquid coding.
For some the sheer amount of app/widget options can be intimidating, for example trying to decide which of the 100 “contact form” widgets is best.
To be perfectly honest, ideally you’ll take advantage of their free trials and mess around with each platform until you find the business website builder that works best for you specifically.
They all have their upsides and challenges depending on your needs – for example there’s a big difference between a single page website, an agency-style site or a comprehensive ecommerce store.
Take your time, don’t be hasty. If this is all completely new to you there’s going to be a lot to absorb. And while in most cases you don’t need to be a web designer, there will still be somewhat of a learning curve as you get used to their user-interface.