Professional websites are now imperative to the success of all small businesses. Customers are becoming more likely to look for places to shop online, so your homepage is a chance to make a positive first impression. Whether you’re hiring a web development team or you’re attempting web design yourself, the key is finding the best website builder that fits your needs.

You can spend as much as you want on amenities like SEO tools, social media support and mobile compatibility, or you can have a free simple website that’s supported by outside advertisers. How much you should invest depends on your budget and your industry. Below is a list of popular options with details about their benefits and drawbacks to help you pick the best website builder for your business needs.

Best Website Builder Breakdown

1. Wix

Wix Pros:

– There are about 300 templates to choose from
– Visual interface allows easy point-and-click editing
– Signup and activation are instant
– Affordable ad-free options for just $9.25 per month
– Reliably quick load times

Wix Cons:

– To set up an online store, you need the more expensive package, which is $17.70 per month
– Each email account costs an extra $5 per month

Tons of templates and reasonably priced packages make Wix the gold standard standard for creating professional business websites. Just keep in mind the high cost of maintaining multiple email addresses.

2. Weebly

Weebly Pros:

– Packages start at just $12 per month
– You get one free email address (extras cost 3.75 per month each)
– Instant signup and activation
– Drag-and-drop interface facilitates easy customization

Weebly Cons:

– While there are 80 themes, they are all very basic and look similar
– Setting up an online store that sells more than 25 products requires the $24 per month package
– Despite reliable performance, the site statistic reporting tool is error prone

Weebly is favored for its intuitiveness. Adding images or text can be done in just seconds. Theme and template options are acceptable. Be prepared to have your email inbox flooded with up-sells after you sign up.

3. SiteBuilder

SiteBuilder Pros:

– Comes with a free domain name and one free email account
– Choose from 1,200 unique templates
– Intuitive drag-and-drop interface
– Packages start at $4.99 per month
– “Save history“ feature allows you to review and undo recent changes
– Built-in blogging platform

SiteBuilder Cons:

– Setting up an online store requires a business account, which starts at $17.95 per month
– It can take a few hours after signup for your account to be activated

SiteBuilder offers a surprising amount of features for a very low price tag. The templates aren’t particularly exciting, but they look professional enough.

4. SquareSpace

SquareSpace Pros:

– Dozens of elaborate themes and templates
– Free domain name
– Easy set up for blogs and online stores
– Instant signup and activation

SquareSpace Cons:

– More costly than most at $18.00 per month
– Editing requires a learning curve
– Each email account costs $5 per month

SquareSpace has some of the most elaborate and professional template options. The large amount of freedom comes with a learning curve and a steep price tag, but it’s worth it if you have a lot of pictures. It’s by far the best website builder for professional photographers, but it’s overkill for websites lacking in high-quality image assets.

5. WordPress

WordPress Pros:

– Easy to update for anyone with basic computer skills
– SEO plugins increase traffic by making sites more searchable
– Flexible online stores options
– Mobile optimization
– Built-in blogging platform
– Massive developer support community

WordPress Cons:

– Creating custom layouts can be tedious
– The WordPress software requires regular updates

Two Options: Hosted WordPress vs Self-Hosted WordPress

Many people understandably do not know the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. The former is a platform for building websites hosted elsewhere; the latter hosts basic free websites.

With WordPress.org, which is often referred to as “self-hosted WordPress,” users must install and host the WordPress platform on their own server or find a host like GoDaddy or Bluehost. WordPress recommends using Bluehost, but other hosting services such as GoDaddy work well with WordPress. Developers can add themes, blogs, plugins and customized coding for almost unlimited flexibility.

Hosted WordPress sites reside on WordPress.com. They are free to set up, but they come with advertisements and a subdomain, which makes it harder for customers to find you. Users have free themes to choose from, but few things can be customized. WordPress.com offers premium packages starting at $8.25 per month that permit slightly more options, but it doesn’t offer nearly as much freedom as self-hosted WordPress sites.

Choosing the Right Website Builder for Your Small Business

So, which option is the the best website builder? It’s ultimately a matter of personal preference; the better question to ask is, “What do I want out of an online website builder?” Once you make a list of your desires and compare them to your budget, the choice should be clear.

Once you’ve got your site set up, you may want to liven it up with some engagement to keep your visitors interested. Check out this post to learn more – Easy-to-Implement Options to Improve Visitor Engagement on Your Websites.

 

Sources:

Why You Need a Self-Hosted WordPress.org Site Over a Free WordPress.com Site

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ashley-wren-collins/selecting-the-best-websit_b_7944636.html

10 Best Website Builders Reviewed. I bought & signed up.

Is WordPress the Best Choice for Your Company Website?