In an era where social media is the trendiest thing, small business owners may regard having a website as an unnecessary expense.
But, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Creating a business account on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter is a breeze. Still, you need a platform that ties all these social accounts together, that is, a website.
According to a survey conducted by Astound Commerce, up to 59% of customers prefer to use a brand manufacturer’s website to research products. It shows how merely having a website for small business can put you ahead of the curve.
Not sure of how to get started on creating a website? We’ve got you covered! Here’s a comprehensive guide to building your first business website.
Which Website is Best for Business?
The secret to having an effective website for small businesses is the first to examine your needs. This is to help you decide the specific type of site that will help you address those needs.
That said, there are three main types of websites you can pick from:
The whole concept behind having a service-based website is to make the most of conversions. In case this term sounds a little foreign, it merely refers to how well you’re able to transform your website visitors into customers who will pay for your service(s).
To boost your chances of getting a conversion, ensure that every element on your website prompts the visitor to sign up for your service. Whether they’re browsing through your FAQs or pricing section, the sign-up tab should always be in the field of view.
In many ways, an eCommerce website is similar to a service website. However, an eCommerce website is better suited for small businesses selling multiple products- as opposed to convincing visitors to sign up for one all-encompassing service.
There are many variations of eCommerce websites. It could be a:
- Business-to-Consumer (B2C)- facilitating sales transactions between businesses and consumers
- Business-to-Business (B2B)- to facilitate the exchange of goods and services between businesses.
As implied in the name, this is simply a digital version of a printed brochure. In other words, it’s designed to help a business advertise its products and/or services.
But unlike an eCommerce website, it does not facilitate actual online transactions. Instead, it only showcases what your brand/business is offering.
Where Can I Build a Business Website?
Once you’ve determined the type of site to work with, the next step is to choose a website builder. But with so many options available, the majority of which require a year-long subscription, selecting the best website builders for small business can be daunting.
The tools we recommend to help you create a small business website design include:
Is this your first time creating a website? Consider Wix, a leading website builder that has over 160 million users.
There are several reasons why we recommend it. One, it doesn’t require any coding knowledge. Two, it offers a high level of customization. Choose from over 500 templates spread out across all niches. Whether you’re a vintage car dealer or a beautician, you’re sure to find a suitable theme.
The hosted version of WordPress is another building tool suitable for small business owners. It’s completely free, allowing you to learn website hosting and designing without paying a penny. More importantly, the technical bit of developing a website is entirely handled by the WordPress team.
A cloud-based website builder, Squarespace prides itself on one thing- simplicity! It offers a wide range of web design tools to make the process a breeze. These include content management, analytics, website hosting, blog management, among others.
Can I Get a Free Website for My Business?
Here’s the hard truth, no company is eager to give away anything for free. So while some website builders purport to offer free services, these come with limitations.
These limitations come in many forms. For instance, you’re likely to have to include an ad along the footer of your site. Also, very few allow you to connect a custom domain name when they’re offering a website for free. That said, it’s not entirely impossible to find a free website builder that meets your needs. Here are a few to consider:
Wix is one of the most prominent website builders, and for good reasons. It offers a ton of features and very few restrictions on their free plan. For instance, you’ll have access to all of Wix’s templates, and they are pretty impressive too.
You’ll also have complete control of the drag-and-drop feature and many marketing tools at your disposal. The one small downside is they place an ad at the top of your website. On desktop computers, this ad is very noticeable, but on mobile phones, it’s slightly less visible.
If you’re looking for a free website builder that lets you connect your domain name, Ucraft is your best bet.
What’s more, they offer a dozen other features that you’d have to pay for if you were using a different platform. These include items like Google Analytics, SSL security, and visibility settings. Even if you decide to upgrade to their paid plan, you’ll only part with $10 a month for the next best package.
Which is the Easiest Small Business Website Builder?
Developing a website for a small business may seem like an enormous task, especially for first-timers. Luckily, some website builders provide an array of tools that make the whole process a lot easier. The most user-friendly website builders are:
This website designing tool is perfect for novice users. It offers an AI-driven automatic website creator, which means a user doesn’t have to do much on their part.
If Wix doesn’t live up to your standards, Weebly has an equally intuitive user-interface.
Their drag-and-drop feature is incredibly handy. All you need to do is pick an element that you’d like to incorporate on your page, drag it to where you want, and voila! It’s done.
Creating a website for small businesses is no different. Pick and customize a template from a library of more than 50, press on ‘publish,’ and it will appear online.
Which is the Cheapest Small Business Website Builder?
As a small business owner, the last thing you want is to end up trapped with an inefficient year-long website builder because you’ve paid a fortune for it.
When designing your first website, start small. In other words, go for a cheap website builder as you learn the ropes of website development. The most affordable building programs to create a website for small business include:
The Personal plan from WordPress costs as low as $4 per month. This plan offers up to 6GB of web storage and unlimited pages. The best part is, you’ll get an additional discount if you pay a direct fee for the first two years.
The only drawback is that it comes with a footer ad. However, this is a small trade-off considering the features you get.
Here’s a rundown of other WordPress packages:
- Premium: $8/ month
- Business: $25/ month
- eCommerce: $45/ yearly
Although Ucraft offers a free plan, their paid plans are just as cost-effective. We recommend the paid packages if you’re looking to get something a little more from a website builder.
When paid annually, the Pro Website costs $10 a month, and it includes:
- Ability to add a custom domain
- Built-in SSL security
- Unlimited pages and bandwidth
- Both primary and advanced elements
- Visibility settings
- SEO tools, Designer tools, and Blogging tools
Another cost-effective tool to help you develop a website is Weebly. Here’s a breakdown of their pricing options:
- Personal – goes for $6 a month and lets you connect a domain name.
- Professional – includes extra elements like video & audio players as well as mobile phone support. It’s also ad-free
- Performance – going for $26 a month, this package offers additional eCommerce features.
Which Small Business Website Builder Has the Best Templates?
One of the greatest benefits of investing in a website hosting and designing tool is the accessibility you get to readymade website templates.
If you’re looking for a website builder that offers top-notch templates, consider:
What we like most about Squarespace templates is that they’re authentic and share a reasonably similar design and feel. The majority offer you a lot of whitespaces, and ample room to showcase your photography.
We’ll start by saying that Jimdo is not for everyone. This is because they offer just a small selection of templates on their free plan. Be that as it may, their templates are completely compatible with tablets, smartphones, and other devices. There are only a few other builders that offer such responsive templates for free.
It comes as no surprise that Wix has some of the best templates. Not only do they offer a broad selection of themes to pick from, but their templates are also mobile-responsive (depending on the plan you’ve paid for).
Which Small Business Website Builder is Best on Mobile?
It’s an indisputable fact that the number of mobile users has been increasing with each passing day.
From booking appointments to purchasing products, a mobile phone has become a handy device. For this reason, your website for small business must also be mobile-friendly. Here are some tools that can help you with that:
With Wix, the website builder automatically designs a version of your website that is mobile-friendly. The best part about this is the flexibility you get to tweak your mobile site’s from your desktop. Just go to the mobile Editor, and customize the features you want.
As a small business owner, Squarespace is one of the best website building tools for you. Why? Because they have a wide selection of really stylish templates, all of which are mobile responsive.
The developer designs your website in such a way that it automatically reacts and adjusts to screen size. So, whether you’re launching your site on an Android phone or iOS device, Squarespace themes will adjust automatically.
Weebly now offers a dedicated mobile editor. This feature lets you preview the look of your newly-developed business website. It also automatically optimizes the website for you.
Unlike other website builders that require you to create a different site, Weebly doesn’t. But, there’s one drawback- the mobile-optimized website is not flexible. This means that you won’t be able to customize your visitors’ mobile experiences.
How Long Will It Take Me to Build My Own Small Business Website?
Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward answer to this question. The duration depends on several variables, including the website building tools being used, the time being devoted, the level of expertise of the creator, and more.
You can spend as little as 2 hours if you’re using intuitive web builders like Wix or Squarespace and creating just a simple website. Or, you could take up to 2 years if you’re making a super sophisticated e-commerce site that has multiple categorization levels. For professional website design, most individuals spend an average of 3 to 4 months.
Whether you’re designing the website yourself or have chosen to hire a website developer, don’t rush the process. Dedicate enough time for each stage of the website design process, from discovery to delivery and testing.
Your website is the best shot you have at reaching potential customers. It’s like the front door of a brick-and-mortar store. Once a customer steps into the store, they’ll usually look around to get a first impression. If the place lives up to their expectation, they’ll go ahead and make a purchase.
Similarly, a website helps you make an excellent first impression of your small business. This way, visitors are convinced to buy from your brand, and ultimately, become loyal clientele.
So what are you waiting for? Choose one of the best website builders and boost your online presence!