Wix Review – 90%
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Wix is our favourite website builder, and it’s the perfect way to get your business online. It’s simply unmatched for the amount and quality of the features it offers – everything from SEO tools, to accounting and invoicing apps and excellent online store tools.
Wix offers a range of great-looking website templates, all of which are mobile responsive – crucial for this day and age. As most internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, this is a big deal for any small business.
It also offers a great variety of pricing plans, which makes it an ideal website builder that will scale alongside your business as it grows. Wix price plans typically cost between $5 and $25 per month. The eCommerce plan, which gives you access to an online store for $18 per month is a great choice for anyone in the retail industry.
Weebly Review – 77%
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Weebly can’t quite match Wix, but it is still an excellent website builder. Creating an account and starting to create your website is incredibly straightforward and fast – you can even sign up with a Facebook account alone. You’ll then be able to take a look at the excellent website templates, which – unlike with Wix – can be changed later after you’ve first published your site.
As with Wix, there’s a great variety of apps – everything from Facebook Messenger chat boxes, to product review widgets. Integrating these apps into your site is straightforward and you won’t need to add a single line of code. These will help to enhance the usability and usefulness of your business’ website, and should keep customers coming back for more!
Weebly also offers a free version, which you can use indefinitely. However, business users will prefer to pick one of the four paid versions. The Business plan costs $25 per month, and gives you functionality for hosting an online shop for ecommerce. The Pro plan costs $12 and is great for service businesses such as construction companies or restaurants.
What to Look for in a Website Builder for Businesses
Of course, different types of website require different features. As you’re running a business site, a platform that’s great for blogging isn’t likely to be at the top of your list of priorities. However, easy-to-use contact forms might be. Below, we run through the most important website builder features for businesses.
Choice of Templates
First impressions count, and if your website looks great, customers will likely think that your business is great, too.
This means you’ll need to find a builder with a good range of template designs and, hopefully, ones that are tailored for the industry you’re working in. This should make things far less stressful when it comes to building and running your website. For instance, many web builder platforms have excellent templates for restaurants, or for building firms.
If your business sells products, you’ll need an eCommerce function. Most website builders offer the ability to let you sell products on the site you’re building. However, some do it better than others.
Wix’s eCommerce package is great value for money, but you’ll have to do a fair amount of manual setup. However, Site123’s package takes care of everything apart from adding your products. Website builders often add fees per transaction on cheaper eCommerce plans – if you’re selling in high volumes, or work on low profit margins, you’ll want to read the small print.
Tracking and Analytics
These might sound complicated, but it’s basically the way to track how customers come to, interact with and leave your website – the same way you’d want to know how many people come into your store every day.
This will help you work out whether you need to change your design, move things around or change the tools you use. It’ll also help you understand how customers arrive on your website. Are they searching for businesses like yours on Google, or are they coming straight to your site? This type of information will help you adapt your website and pick up customers you might be potentially missing out on.
Most website builders will offer some analytics software baked into your package. However, these can be a bit limited, so look for ones that will allow you to install a Google Analytics plugin – this is really the gold standard for analytics tracking.
A website builder needs to have a good app selection if you’re planning to create a business website. These apps can help turn your website from a boring, bland text fest into an all-singing all-dancing clickable extravaganza.
Contact forms, appointment or reservation booking, coupon codes, gift cards, chat bots and more can all be added to your site – if you pick the right website builder.
You might have spent years building up your brand’s name and logo recognition – and the last thing you want is to have a website covered with someone else’s branding. Or, even worse – someone else’s adverts.
Most website builders will remove adverts when you sign up to a paid-for package, but not all of them will remove their own branding from your site. Make sure the website builder you choose will keep your branding front and centre – not someone else’s.
How Much Does a Website Builder for Businesses Cost?
The good news? Probably less than you think. This doesn’t mean that you’ll get the same value for money with all website builders, however.
We rate all the website builders we review on their relative value-for-money – so you’ll be able to see at a glance which ones offer the best true value for the features and functionality you get in return for your money.
Make sure you go with one of our top picks, so you’ll be getting your money’s worth. Most website builders start at around $5 per month for the basic paid-for plans. These plans will often retain the builder’s branding and might not allow you to add an ecommerce option.
The most expensive plans tend to cost between $25-40 per month. These often allow you a full gamut of features, with no limits on bandwidth or storage, extensive eCommerce options and the removal of transaction fees or adverts.
Of course, these expensive packages aren’t for everyone. If you’re not using your website as an online store, it’s unlikely you’ll see the full benefit of the most expensive packages.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that some website builders offer better support if you encounter technical problems. Some, such as GoDaddy, like to shout about their 24/7 on-the-phone customer and technical support.
However, GoDaddy lacks other support options that have become commonplace, like a knowledge base filled with tips and tricks, or forums where users can share expertise. Wix and Squarespace, for example, both have a litany of support options, which can make finding the solutions to any problems you encounter straightforward.
Should Businesses use Free Website Builders?
If we’re honest, no. There are simply too many downsides to using a free website builder for your business for us to recommend this as a smart business decision.
If you opt for a free website builder, it’s likely that your site will be covered with adverts for the website builder you’ve used, or even worse, other companies. This won’t make your business look particularly trustworthy nor professional.
It’s also likely that you’ll still have the website builder’s name at the end of your site’s URL – so it would read like “yourbusiness.weebly.com”. Again, there’s a reason the biggest businesses in the world don’t do this.
With a free site, you’re won’t have access to the same roster of features as you would with a paid-for package. This can leave you missing out on analytics, or even ecommerce features.
This might mean that you could miss out on potential customers as you won’t be able to optimise your site to give them the best experience.
Not all website builders even offer free packages. Big names such as GoDaddy completely eschew a free version in favour of giving their paying website owners access to 24/7, on-the-phone support in case they have any problems – useful if your site goes down in the middle of the night just before Thanksgiving.
Even popular services, such as Squarespace, offer limited time free trials (typically between a week and a month), so you might not be able to access the service you want for free, anyway.
Overall, if you’re serious about your business, you should be serious about its website. Opt for a paid-for package, rather than a free one and you won’t regret it.