Do You Need a Website for Your Small Business?
The Small Business Startup Guide
While you don’t necessarily need a website for your business, having one can certainly help you get more sales. If you plan to operate in an e-commerce environment, then having some sort of web presence where you can conduct transactions online is a must. The good news is that you don’t need to fork over thousands of dollars to have a website built. There are many online web services companies such as Wix and Squarespace that make the process of creating a website fairly simple.
It is also relatively easy to build your own website using WordPress. With WordPress, you will need a reliable hosting company, but those are plentiful. While WordPress gives you more control over your website and provides other advantages (especially if you plan to grow from a small business to a big business). It does take a little more knowhow vs. Wix, Squarespace, and other hosted website building platforms.
If you don’t want to bother creating a website yourself, you can always use freelance marketplace services such as Upwork to find an affordable web designer.
Below is a list of website builder platforms that will work well for any small business
WordPress.org is the most popular self-hosted website building platform in the world. WordPress is a free open source website builder. In other words, you have more control over design and functionality than you would with hosted platforms. But mastering WordPress may take a bit more time and effort. Fortunately, there are thousands of pre-designed themes and plugins to choose from depending on your business needs. If you choose to go with WordPress.org (note: WordPress.com is a different hosted solution) you will need to sign up with a hosting company (see below) which will cost you around $10 per month. The majority of hosting companies will have easy solutions for WordPress installation.
Wix.com is a leading cloud-based development platform with millions of users worldwide. Wix provides its own web hosting as well as domain names (free and paid). Users can add social plug-ins, e-commerce, online marketing, contact forms, e-mail marketing, and community forums to their web sites using a variety of Wix-developed and third-party applications.
Squarespace is a drag and drop, visual website builder. From designers creating the next generation of web and mobile experiences, to anyone managing their own online presence for the first time, Squarespace provides elegant solutions that set new standards for online publishing.
Weebly is a website and eCommerce service founded on the belief that anyone should have the tools to take their business from idea to launch to growth. Weebly’s powerful tools make it easy to build a professional, mobile-optimized site and grow your business with integrated marketing and advanced analytics. They also help you tackle the hassles of running a successful online store by simplifying shipping, taxes, and inventory management.
Shopify is a cloud-based eCommerce website platform designed for small and medium-size businesses. Shopify powers more than half a million businesses with 1 million active users. Shopify features an intuitive drag and drop interface, making it easy to create a full-fledged ecommerce store. Shopify offers a professional online storefront, a payment solution to accept credit cards, and the Shopify POS application to power retail sales. Shopify is compatible with most third-party web hosting providers and several credit card processing gateways.
BigCommerce is a fully-hosted leading ecommerce platform. Optimized ecommerce themes and point-and-click design features make it easy to build a gorgeous site without any design or technical skills, while powerful built-in marketing and conversion optimization tools help you promote your store and sell more. BigCommerce integrates with all popular payment gateways.
Gator by HostGator is a fully-hosted easy to use drag and drop website builder. Gator comes with 200+ professional website design templates with simple customization options that you can configure. All of Gator’s paid plans include a free custom domain name for your website. An eCommerce plan is also available, allowing you to easily setup an online store and sell your products online.
GoDaddy’s hosted Website Builder solution features designer-made templates that make it easy to create the site you’ve always wanted, while built-in marketing tools help your business get found in all the right places. It comes pre-loaded with several ready to use blocks that you can drag and drop to build different layouts.