Having a website today is one of the necessities in running a successful business today. A website is regarded as an online address for any business. It is through the website that your customers, associates, and clients learn more about what your business offers. It is also through the website that they get in touch with you. If you do not have a website for your business, then you are definitely going to miss a lot of business which would have otherwise made a lot of difference for you.
Getting a website for your business means that you have to spend a good amount of money hiring a web developer. Most small businesses have limited financial capabilities and cannot afford this. This is one reason that only a small percentage of small businesses have a website. However, small businesses can now rely on website builders to get a website for their businesses. These website builders are easy to use and do not necessarily need a skilled website designer to use them. They are also relatively cheap compared to hiring a website designer.
What is a Website Builder?
A website builder is a tool or a program that helps one create a fully functional website without manually writing a single line of code. They are designed to enable anyone to create a functioning website as fast as possible using an easy to use drag and drop editor. With a website builder, a person can build an entire website by dragging and dropping elements onto the desired locations without having any web development skills.
Therefore, small businesses have two options when it comes to building a website for their businesses;
- Hiring a web developer.
- Using a website builder.
Hiring a web developer comes with its pros and cons. It is also not for every business because of how expensive it can get. Most small businesses do not have the financial muscles to do this. However, this does not make website builders the go-to option to build websites. Before a business decides on whether to use a website builder or to hire a website developer, they need to understand how much money and time each will cost their business. Sometimes, using a website builder could end up costing a company a lot of money in wasted man hours compared to if they hired a web developer.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Web Developer
Full Control over your Website: With a web developer or designer, you can go to them with a visualization of how you would like to have your website look like. A good developer or designer is always in a position to get you exactly what you ask them for, with everything at the right places that you wanted them to be.
Time-Saving: A website developer will basically do all the work for you as you concentrate on running your business, hence saving you a lot of time.
A unique website: A good website developer will get you an interesting and unique website design that will stand out from your competitors. Today, most websites have a similar design due to the use of templates and having a website developer do the work for you will help your business get noticed easily.
Expensive: Hiring a website developer will cost a lot of money. Small businesses would rather invest this money in something else or even money that they do not have.
Time Consuming: Some developers spend a lot of time on a website that your business might need it before it’s done. Business owners might as well ask for complicated websites that could end up requiring a lot of time on the side of the developer.
Hidden Costs and Website Control: Some website developers might add some hidden costs. This might require you to spend more money on them over small issues. Others might develop websites that are too complicated for you to even make the smallest of changes, meaning that you will always need them for everything.
Pros and Cons of Using a Website Builder
Ease of Use: Most business owners are too busy to get any time to learn how to write code. Also, it would need quite a lot of time to do so. Website builders solve this problem by giving business owners an easy time because they can easily create a fully functional website without writing a single line of code.
Affordability: Most website builders a very affordable and any small business can spend on them without feeling a pinch in the pocket. Some actually come with free plans that might only require you to spend money if you wanted to have a custom domain name.
Websites are not Unique: Almost all website builders offer templates that look almost the same in design. This means that your website will most likely look like a couple of other websites.
It also requires a lot of dedication and personal effort from the business owner since they will be doing all the work by themselves.
Who should use a Website Builder
Any person that wants to use a website builder to build their website can do so without any issues. However, there are people I feel (not unless they have a lot of money to spend) should not hire a website developer when we have so many website builders that can do an amazing job for them. Such people may include:
- Those who are looking for a simple platform to share their passion online.
- Startup, small and unfunded businesses should also be comfortable spending some time with a website builder to get a website for their businesses.
- Bloggers who are just starting up and do not have an established audience for their posts.
- If you have an amazing idea that has not been proven or tested, you might consider having a website designed with a website builder to start with.
- Non-profit organizations that do not care a lot about funds but care about their work can also use a website builder effectively.
However, as an entrepreneur, you should know that hiring a website developer should pay for itself. If your business does not generate enough money to pay for the work, then you are better off using a website builder.
What to Consider When Choosing a Website Builder
When choosing a website builder for your business, there are a couple of things that you need to consider before settling on any of them. They include;
Ease of use: The sole purpose of a website builder is to get one a functional website easily without any struggles. When choosing one, make sure that you get the one that suits you the best and that is easy to use.
Availability of templates: Most website builder users do not have web development skills. Therefore, make sure that you choose a website builder that has templates. Templates will get you started quickly and easily.
Customization options: There would be no need of having a template that you cannot customize to meet all your requirements. You need to make sure that the website builder that you choose gives you all the customization options that you need.
Affordability: All these website builders have different paid plans. You need to make sure that you choose the one that fits your budget.
Features: Different website builders come with different features. Some have an app market while others have their own apps that allow you to extend the functionality of your website. You need to make sure that the website builder that you choose has all the features that you need for your website.
Customer Support and Documentation: If you are doing this for the first time, chances are that you will most likely face a few problems or might need help to do something. Make sure that you choose a website builder with good customer support or at least documentation that can help you.
In this article, we are going to talk about some of the best website builders that small businesses can use to design their own websites.
Best Website Builders and Pricing
|Website Builder||Free Plan||Basic Plan Pricing Per Month|
Wix is the most popular website builder today with over one hundred million users and an amazing app market that allows one to add extra functionality to their website. Since it comes with an easy to use drag and drop site builder, it is easy for everybody to create a website. To make sure that Wix users do not struggle getting started, they offer up to five hundred templates that are well designed, modern and clean. These templates can be easily customized to match the requirements of any small business website.
Wix also provides its own web hosting and domain names. You have a choice of a free domain name or a paid one. With Wix, any small business can get a modern website that competes fairly with other businesses without hiring a web developer or spending as much as they would when hiring a developer.
Easy to Use: Wix provides a drag and drop editor that is easy to use. This allows the website builder to simply drag and drop any element at the preferred locations on the website editor. It also allows one to move the website elements around to make sure that they all fit and meet their requirements.
Flexibility: Wix allows you to completely move all the elements on your website to any locations that you want. This is not a common thing with other website builders that limit the extent to which elements can be moved.
Amazing Templates: Wix provides up to five hundred pre-designed templates that can be used when starting to design your website. These templates are beautifully designed, employing modern design techniques and can be used to design a website for a business in different industries.
Wix App Market: Wix has an amazing app market that allows you to integrate apps to your website to add to its functionality. This is an amazing tool since you can add something to your website that would have otherwise required a skilled developer to do. However, be careful when using third-party apps that might bring issues to your website later.
Automatic Backups: Wix automatically backs up your website during the development process. You can even roll back to certain points from the backups. This is essential since a developer can easily roll back to get rid of any errors.
Artificial Design Intelligence: Wix has an artificial design intelligence feature that asks you a couple of questions then designs a website template for you. This is an amazing feature that is not found in other website builders.
Template Change: After choosing a template and starting designing your website with it, you cannot change to an entirely new template. The closest you can come to is changing the template design but within the template.
Website CSS: Some developers might want to edit a website CSS to change some things that cannot be changed from the website builder editor. Even though most beginners will not want to do this, it is necessary and Wix does not allow you to do that.
Affordability: Wix offers a free plan that has a lot of advertisements. If you want to get a premium plan to get rid of the advertisements, the cheapest plan costs $ 13 per month, which is a little bit expensive compared to other website builders that have cheaper plans.
Wix pricing is classified into Website and Business & eCommerce as shown below;
|Website Plans||VIP||Unlimited||Combo||Connect Domain|
|Price per Month||$ 24.50||$ 12.50||$ 8.50||$ 4.50|
|Business & eCommerce Plans||VIP||Unlimted||Basic|
|Price per Month||$ 35||$ 25||$ 17|
Squarespace is a popular website builder that is giving Wix and the other popular website builders a run for their money. It comes with an easy to use block-based editor that has two sections – the website canvas and the settings sidebar. The blocks are predefined and allow you to add elements such as sliders, galleries, buttons, calendar and maps among others.
It also comes with a large collection of themes predesigned for you. These themes are modern, responsive and can easily be customized to match the requirements of your website. You can even switch themes in the middle of your website development, something that is not possible to do with Wix. Squarespace is one of the website builders that will get a small business a website without much struggle.
Templates: Squarespace offers a number of beautifully designed and responsive templates to use to make sure that a beginner does to struggle to start from scratch when designing their website.
Easy to use editor: Squarespace editor is fairly easy to use but the fact that is is block-based might pose a problem for some beginners.
Powerful image management: It provides one of the best image management tools that allow you to easily upload, crop, resize and save images to use later during website development.
Template change: Squarespace allows you to change your template even during the process of building your website without losing your content.
Blogging: If you are looking for a website builder that allows you to integrate a blog into your website, Squarespace is one of the best you will get. It offers modern and powerful blogging features compared to other website builders.
SEO: Although Squarespace provides a number of features to optimize your website for SEO, the features are a little bit limited.
Online Marketing: Squarespace supports the use of MailChimp for use with the form blocks and the newsletter. If you need to use any other product, you will be forced to use the Zapier integration.
Free plan: It only provides a free trial but no free plan.
|Plan||Personal||Business||Basic eCommerce||Advanced eCommerce|
|Price per Month||$ 12||$ 18||$ 26||$ 40|
Weebly is one of the most famous website builders for building small business websites. It comes with a drag and drop editor that makes it easy to use and a wide range of apps and features that gives you an opportunity to make sure that you get exactly what you want with your website. These features allow you to build a stylish, simple and functional site that meets all your requirements.
Weebly offers seamless drag and drop editor that is very easy to use. The editor is logically structured, well designed and very clear to use. This allows you to make sure that you can get your desired result since you to make use of Weebly’s versatile and extensive features and organize them in your desired combinations. Weebly uses a block model meaning all your content will fall to specific boxes or containers when you drag it to the page.
Easy to use: The process of building a website is very easy for anyone because of Weebly’s easy to use drag and drop editor.
Templates: Even though Weebly offers a limited number of templates, their templates are among the best employing modern web design techniques. They are also very easy to use, only a few tweaks to get you the website that you are looking for.
Weebly Mobile App: They offer a fully functional mobile app with a drag and drop editor that allows you to work on your website from mobile devices such as tablets and iPads on the go.
Website Analytics: Weebly offers free analytics for your website to allow you to determine the number of people visiting your website, the content most visited and when your website is mostly busy.
eCommerce: Weebly comes with a rich collection of eCommerce features. Therefore, one can design an online store without a lot of struggle.
Hosting: Weebly offers hosting for all websites designed on their website builder and has reviews of fast and secure speeds. All their websites are optimized for their own hosting.
Pricing: Weebly advertise their plans with monthly billing but when you sign up, you will realize that you are locked for six months billing.
App Collection: Weebly offers a number of apps that can be integrated into your website. However, if you compare this with other website builders, you will find that they are a bit limited for advanced website functionality.
Rollback: Weebly does not have an undo effect when building your website. You will, therefore, need to be very careful to avoid making errors that might make you spend more time than you anticipated.
Weebly pricing is classified into websites and online stores as shown below:
|Price per Month||$ 0||$ 5||$ 12||$ 25|
|Online Stores Plan||Pro||Business||Business Plus|
|Price per Month||$ 12||$ 25||$ 38|
Ucraft is one of the newest website builders we have today. It comes with a number of templates and an easy to use drag and drop editor. As a result, the process of creating a website suits all and sundry. Ucraft comes with a host of features to make sure that one can create different types of websites. A small business owner can take advantage of this to design a website, a blog or even an eCommerce site for their store.
Ucraft comes with a free plan that has features like their website logo maker and designer tools. These are features that are not available in the other common website builders. However, it falls short in matching features found in other popular website builders such as Wix, making it only ideal for small websites that do not need a lot of functionality.
Ease of use: Ucraft comes with the drag and drop editor that makes the process of building a website a simple one. It comes with blocks such as headers, footers, contact blocks among others already made for you. You will find it very easy to add these blocks to your website.
Template designs: Ucraft has a collection of themes tailored and classified into different industries to make the process of getting the appropriate theme easy. The themes come in full-screen formats with amazing design features and are responsive.
Media management: It comes with a powerful image management tool that allows you to upload images easily. It also provides free images using Unsplash.
Logo maker tool: Ucraft provides a free tool that you can use to design a logo for your website. Again, this is good news for beginners because the tool is very easy to use and has fairly good customization features.
eCommerce: Ucraft has an extended eCommerce functionality that allows you to build a fully functional eCommerce store with amazing features without writing a single line of code.
Limited block editing: Ucraft does not allow you to make the blocks around if you wanted to. The only thing you can do is editing the elements within a block.
Backup: Ucraft does not back up your website during the building process. This means that you can not roll back in case of errors – you will have to manually make changes to correct the errors.
Image management: Even though Ucraft has a good image management tool, you can only upload and store images with it. You cannot do simple things like cropping or rotating an image.
Ucraft has a completely free plan, albeit with limited features, and a 14-day trial with all the other paid plans. They include;
|Plan||Free||Pro Website||Pro Shop||BigCommerce|
|Price Per Month||Free||$ 10||$ 21||$ 39|
GoDaddy Website Builder
GoDaddy is most known as the largest registrar of domain names in the world. Having done an amazing job in domain registration and hosting, they have gone ahead and built an amazing website builder. Their hosting prices that come with a one month free trial for the website builder are quite affordable for small businesses.
It comes with an Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) that makes the process of building a website even easier and way fast. ADI asks you for information then uses it to create a website for you within a few minutes. In addition to this, it also comes with a drag and drop editor that you can use to customize the website built for you using the ADI. If you do not want to use the ADI, you have a wide variety of templates to choose from. This website builder is one of the best for small businesses since it is cheap and very easy to use.
Templates: It comes with over three hundred templates that are beautifully designed and categorized into different industries to make sure that you can easily choose the one that best suits your business.
Easy to use editor: Like most website builders, GoDaddy employs the drag and drop editor that can be easily used even by a beginner without any problems.
Affordability: GoDaddy has made sure that its hosting plans for the websites are fairly affordable, something that is good for small businesses.
Artificial Design Intelligence: Like discussed above, this is a feature that would help most small businesses get started within a couple of minutes and have a website up and running.
eCommerce: The main site builder lacks any eCommerce features. This means that you cannot integrate an eCommerce with it not unless you use another store builder which will end up costing you up to twice from the closest plan.
Changing templates: Once you choose a template for your website, you are not able to change it to another template without losing the content that you have already worked on.
Suitable for basic design: Although GoDaddy’s website builder comes with so many templates to choose from, most of them have similar features and end up looking almost the same. They are not designed to support the building of large and complex websites.
GoDaddy website builder has four premium plans that come with a one-month free trial. They include;
|Price Per Month||$ 4.99||$ 6.99||$ 10.99||$ 19.99|
Google Sites is a website builder from Google that works almost like the other popular website builders but has limited features. Small businesses can use it to build small websites, wikis and company intranets. It is very easy to use, with a drag and drop editor and a very easy canvas that is straightforward. This makes it very easy to understand and use even for a beginner.
It stands out from other website builders because of the ability to integrate your website with other Google Apps to make your website more functional. Through the editor’s Insert option, you can connect with Calendar, YouTube, Drive, Maps, Slides, Docs, Sheets, Charts, and Forms and add content from them to your website. One of the drawbacks of Google Sites is its themes. The themes only get you a number of headers and do not do a great deal except placing the header image and title onto your site.
Affordability: Google Sites is completely free. All you need to do is use your Google account and then get started.
Google Apps Integration: Google Sites integrates fully with other Google Apps such as Maps, Calendar, YouTube and the others. Your Google Sites website is even stored in your Google Drive account that means you have full access and control over your website.
Easy to Use: It is very easy to use even to a person who has never used a website builder. Everything on the editor is readily available, meaning that a person will not need to spend any time moving around looking for the features and/or elements.
Sharing: Google Sites allows you to share your website with a select number of people for preview or with the public. This makes it one of the most secure website builders we have today.
Custom URL: By default, all Google Sites websites are assigned a URL that follows https://sites.google.com/view/your-name format. Google Sites also allows you to use a custom URL. All you need to do is to assign the custom URL when publishing your website.
Limited Design Features: Google sites has very limited design features compared to other website builders. It does not allow you to add or edit the CSS of your website and this makes it only suitable for small websites.
SEO Features: Google Sites does not have any SEO features. If you need to do any search engine optimization, you might be forced to do that manually which might prove difficult without access to coding.
Blogging: They do not offer any blogging features. This is not good for businesses that would like to interact with their customers through a blog. Although Google has a blogging service called the Blogger, there is no way to integrate it into a Google Sites website.
Google Sites is completely free to use. You will be able to access all features that it offers and still integrate your website with the other Google Apps to add to its functionality.
SiteBuilder is one of the oldest website builders we have today. It is powerful, easy to use and comes with a drag and drop editor that makes it very easy to use. With this website builder, you can get a basic website up and running within a few minutes. Been one of the oldest we have today, it seems like they have stopped updating it. Its performance is a bit poor compared to other website builders and some of the templates are already out of date. Nonetheless, small business owners can use it to build a simple website easily and at affordable prices.
Easy to use: It comes with a drag and drop editor that makes it very easy to use even for beginners.
Templates: Even though some of the templates are not up to modern standards, there are some that small businesses can use to build a website without having to start from scratch.
Custom Domains: All the plans with SiteBuilder include domain registration and hosting and, therefore, you will not need a third party to register your domain name.
eCommerce: They offer eCommerce features that a small business can use to start an online store. However, the features are limited compared to other website builders and not suitable to build medium to large stores.
Limited Features: SiteBuilder can only be used to build basic websites. If you need more than that, there are many other website builders that can do the job better.
Updates: The platform rarely receives updates so one needs to be very careful with it if they want a fully functional website.
Free Plan: They do not have any free plan. Instead, they offer a 14-day money-back guarantee on all of their plans.
SiteBuilder has quite affordable plans when billed in two years. The plans’ price doubles with any other billing that is less than two years as shown below;
|Price Per Month(With a 2-year plan)||$ 5||$ 6||$ 9|
|Regular Price Per Month||$ 10||$ 12||$ 18|
Site123 is one of the fastest-growing website builders we have today. It is built with small business owners in mind to give them a chance to easily and quickly develop a website for their businesses. Site123 comes with an intuitive dashboard that only contains useful options and features that you will need when developing your website. The editor screen does not come with a drag and drop editor as we have seen with most of the other website builders. On the contrary, the builder allows you to make your changes and edit your website through the sidebar settings. You can see these changes in the real-time mode. It also supports the creation of modern blogs and eCommerce websites without a lot of struggle.
Email Accounts: Site123 allows you to freely activate domain-related accounts. This is very important when running a business to make sure that your communication with clients is official.
Ease of Use: Although Site123 does not use a drag and drop editor, it provides you with a template based on the industry you choose that you can easily customize using a menu of page elements.
App Integration: Site123 offers a number of apps and plugins that you can integrate into your website to make it more functional.
Use of App Integrations: Site123 allows the use of app integrations only on the paid plans. This is a limitation especially for small businesses with budget limitations.
Drag and Drop Editor: As discussed above, Site123 does not use the popular drag and drop editor which is the simplest to use.
Pricing: Site123 is a little bit more expensive compared to other website builders such as Wix and even offers fewer features at high prices. For example, you will not get any plan with unlimited bandwidth.
Switching Templates: Once you choose a template to use, switching the templates is a problem. You will end up losing all your content, meaning that you are basically starting afresh.
Site123 offers a free plan and three paid plans as shown below;
|Price Per Month||$ 0||$ 10.80||$ 16.80||$ 22.80||$ 28.80|
Jimdo is a popular website builder that comes with two website editors; the Jimdo Creator and thee Jimdo Dolphin. The Jimdo creator is the classic editor that is comfortable with everyone. It allows you to completely customize and edit your website by resizing and adding content as well as moving content around to meet all your requirements. The Jimdo Dolphin is designed to be used by those people who are on a tight schedule and would want a website up and running in a couple of minutes. It is more of an artificial intelligence (Artificial Design Intelligence), website builder that gets almost everything done for you within a short period of time. It also offers a number of templates, categorized into different industries, for you to choose from and get started. Jimdo is one of the easiest website builders we have today.
Jimdo Mobile App: Jimdo comes with a mobile app, among the best in the market, that allows you to design and edit your website on the go on mobile devices.
Ease of Use: It comes with an editor that is designed to accommodate the requirements of every person that uses Jimdo, whether a pro or a beginner.
SEO Optimization: Unlike most of the other website builders, Jimdo gives one full control over their SEO optimization to make sure that they get a fair ranking on all search engines.
Customer Support: Jimdo has one of the most responsive and straight to the point customer support personnel that will make sure that you are not stuck at all when building your website.
Templates: Most of Jimdo’s templates are poorly designed and limited to a similar design. Eventually, all websites designed with Jimdo will be similar.
Backups: Jimdo does not save any states while building your website. This means that if you make any errors, you will have to manually correct them.
Ecommerce: Even though Jimdo comes with amazing eCommerce options, the payment methods are limited to PayPal and Cash.
Jimdo has a free plan and four other premium plans as shown below;
|Price Per Month||$ 0||$ 9||$ 15||$ 19||$ 39|
Small businesses should not have any excuse as to why they do not have a website for their business because the website builders above are easy to use and relatively cheap, with some even having free plans. They do not even need to hire a web developer to do the job for them. However, when choosing a website builder for your small business, make sure that you get the one that is most likely to suit your business and get a website that meets all your requirements.