For many small businesses, especially those with a brick-and-mortar model, having a website is an afterthought. That perception has been changing over the past few years, and the current situation has accelerated the need for companies to get online. If you are strapped for cash but still need some online presence to take advantage of the roaring e-commerce business, some good website builders are available in the market to get you started.
When trying out something new, the temptation for small businesses is to go for a vendor who offers the product or service for free. In the case of website building, there are such offers from some companies, but you have to be careful because you will get exactly what you pay for. A free website builder can be plagued with limited functionality, few template options that are not suitable to your business, and the live website may be filled with banner advertisements that you don’t get any revenue from.
This doesn’t mean there are no good options out there for small businesses. Here are five top websites that offer website building services for free or for a small fee.
WordPress has been around for a long time. It is a trusted software, and bloggers swear by it. If you want a simple website with a lot of content and a few pictures, this is the platform.
You can download the software for free from WordPress.org. You will also need a custom domain name and a service provider to host that website on a server. Depending on the services you choose, you should get your website up and running in well under $100.
If you plan to join the e-commerce revolution but don’t know where to start- BigCommerce is the best website builder you can try. This website builder has multiple built-in sales tools, and you can easily scale your business without too many complications. The service also includes SEO to help you execute your strategies to get more organic traffic and drive sales.
Social media is fast emerging as the place to be to find more customers and sell to them directly. One of the best features of BigCommerce is the integration with popular social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
The only challenge with BigCommerce is that it can get a little technical for beginners to understand. You may need the assistance of a professional to use the advanced features of this website builder.
Weebly, with its drag-and-drop approach, is a popular choice among beginners. There are more than 40 themes to choose from, and you also have the option of adding an e-commerce store to the website.
One of the biggest advantages about Weebly is that the design is so intuitive that you will understand and use all the features there quickly. This service is a good option if you are a bricks-and-mortar company.
There is a free plan for absolute beginners, and the professional version is also relatively inexpensive with a $12 per month price tag. Once your company grows a little, and you can afford to hire a developer, the customization that Weebly offers can help you build a great website to get your customers excited.
Squarespace doesn’t really have a free option, but its 14-day free trial should be enough to convince you about its capabilities. With stunning templates and beautiful design, this website builder is eye-catching.
If you are in a business that requires you to showcase your work in the form of a portfolio, then Squarespace is perfect. Architects, interior designers, photographers, food stores, and other professionals can use this website builder to showcase their talent to the world in style.
Squarespace is not exactly complex with all its features, but you may take a while to understand how it works. Prices start from $12 per month, and you can take advantage of their impressive 24/7 customer service.
Wix is a well-rounded website builder that can be a good starting point. You don’t need to know how to code, which makes it easy to use. It is scalable, has good features, and has a knowledge bank that helps new users understand the basics.
If you are a small business like a restaurant and need a website that your customers can access using their cell phones, then Wix is a good solution. It has built-in marketing tools that cater specifically to the needs of small and medium-scale entrepreneurs. Once your business grows, you can always move on to your own custom website with a dedicated and professional marketing team, but Wix will do the job until then.
Creating a website using Wix is free, but it comes loaded with ads. The premium plan is $29 per month, where you can connect to your own domain, and there are no ads. You can try the premium plan for free for 14 days and get a full refund if you don’t like it.