In this 6-minute read:
- What are the top options for creating a business website?
- Make your own website with a website builder
- How to get started
- Some caveats to using DIY website building sites
In order to keep up with the competition and remain relevant in today’s increasingly digital world, your business needs to have a website. This is how you get found online and share more information with your customers. You can also add online sales channels and drive more revenue.
The great thing about creating a website today is that it can be a relatively easy process. There are tons of options out there to get a professional-looking website up and running in no time.
With Womply Reputation Management, you can read and respond to all your online reviews in one place with one login, and get new reviews from your happiest customers. Learn more when you sign up for Womply Free!
What are the top options for building a business website?
There are a few different ways that you can go about creating your business website:
- Use a website builder
- Hire a professional web designer and/or web developer
- Create a free website (with Google My Business or a free option from the popular website builder platforms)
The easiest way to get a professional-looking website on a budget is to go the website builder route. These are sites like Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix that allow you to build great-looking, functional websites without knowing a lick of code.
The other two options have their advantages too, but if you want a cheap, quick, functional, and professional-looking website, a website builder is probably your best route… if you’re on a tight budget and/or don’t want to pay a professional to design and build one for you.
Check this out: 5 best DIY websites for small businesses on a budget
Make your own website with a website builder
If you aren’t confident with HTML and other programming languages, a website builder is the perfect solution for you to create your own website. Most website builders have dozens of starting templates for you to choose from and then you can select different elements to drag and drop into the site, and upload your own images and content to make it uniquely yours.
Some advantages of website builders:
- Low cost
- Easy to build
- You get complete control over the look and feel
- Professional-looking website with minimal effort and zero HTML experience needed
- Integrated domain hosting/management is generally available
How to get started using a DIY website builder
To create your own website with a website builder, all you need to do is create an account on the platform you choose and then start building.
You’ll choose the template that you want and then you can start loading your content into the site. These website builders are all “in-browser,” so you can easily edit your website from anywhere, as long as you have a compatible device and an internet connection.
Once you have your look down and the website created, you can usually purchase a domain for your site through the website builder. You may also have additional fees depending on the template you choose, the options you select, and the level of support that you need from your website builder platform. For example, some offer integrated online stores/shopping carts for an additional fee.
What are some good website builders to start with?
There are a lot of website builders out there, and it can be difficult to know where to start. You’ll definitely want to find a solution that fits your level of skill and the needs of your business the best. We’ve listed a few popular options for you. (Please note: prices and features may change without notice.)
WordPress is by far one of the most common platforms used for building business websites. We’re using it! However, this platform is easier for people who have a little better understanding of coding languages and the plugins that it uses.
But even if you aren’t familiar with code you can still get by with creating your own site via WordPress. You just may not be able to use the platform to its full capabilities.
One advantage of WordPress sites is that it is an opensource platform that you can add virtually any kind of functionality that you’ll need: online booking, slideshows, SEO capabilities, and more. You can add plugins to your WordPress site that help give you this functionality. But this is where that extra knowledge of how plugins work with the site helps because some plugins aren’t compatible with each other and may do more harm than good.
If you choose to go the WordPress route, we recommend finding someone to help that is familiar with the platform.
Cost of WordPress
WordPress has a couple of different pricing options. You can pay through their platform and get web hosting for $7.99/month and a domain for $14/year. Or you can pay through BlueHost (a website and domain hosting platform) and get your domain for free and pay only $2.75/month.
There may be additional fees for premium templates and plugin options too.
Squarespace is a great all-in-one website builder that provides tons of unique templates for you to get started from. Once you choose your template, you can easily drag and drop the features that you want on your website and start building out your pages.
Some features of Squarespace websites include:
- Free domain
- SSL certificate
- Unlimited storage
- Features to help with SEO
- 24/7 customer support
- Tracking metrics
- Business plans come with free professional email box on G-suite
Cost of Squarespace
Squarespace has four different subscription plans to choose from if you want to use their platform:
- Personal: Starts at $12/month if you pay annually and $16/month if you pay monthly
- Business: Starts at $18/month on an annual payment plan or $26/month when you pay monthly and allows ecommerce capabilities with a 3% transaction fee
- Basic Commerce: Starts at $26/month when you pay annually and $30/month with monthly payments and allows ecommerce capabilities with no transaction fees paid to Squarespace
- Advanced Commerce: Starts at $40/month when you pay annually or $46/month if you pay monthly and includes the ecommerce capabilities of Basic Commerce. Additional features of this plan include ability to sell gift cards and subscriptions, offer advanced discounts, advanced shipping calculations, and more
Wix is another template site where you can drag and drop the elements that you want into each page of your website. They have pre-built templates that you can choose from.
You can customize your colors and fonts to reflect your brand and add your content right into the editor with ease.
Cost of Wix
Wix does have a free plan that you can choose, but this doesn’t allow you to have a custom domain and naturally the free option means that Wix will include ads on your site. For a professional business site, we recommend choosing one of their paid plans.
Their four premium plans include:
- Combo: Starts at $13/month
- Unlimited: Starts at $17/month
- Pro: Starts at $22/month
- VIP: Starts at $39/month
Each additional tier comes with advanced features and better customer support options.
Some downsides and caveats to using easy website builders
It’s not all beer and skittles, as my grandpappy used to say. There are always tradeoffs with anything, and the primary price you pay for the low cost and ease of use with some of these sites is your webpages may load more slowly and be less visible in search results than if you hire professional web developers and and SEO optimization team to build a custom site from scratch.
To make the software easy for non-savvy people to use, website building sites have to make certain sacrifices in online performance. This is not to say that you can’t build a very successful site using the tools above—you definitely can. Some very successful companies maintain websites built on these platforms.
However, once your site is up and running, you need to read up on local SEO, on-site optimization, and page performance so you know your site is running as quickly and showing up as well in search results as it possibly can.
You might even consider hiring a professional web developer to look at your site performance and get everything loading quick and running the best it possibly can within the platform’s constraints.
Womply can help you show your best side online
When you build a strong online reputation for your business, everything about you performs better, including how your website and online listings show up in local search results.
With Womply Reputation Management, you can read and respond to all your online reviews in one place with one login, and get new reviews from your happiest customers.
Womply also offers business intelligence, customer relationship management, email marketing, payments, and a dynamic customer directory that updates automatically with each transaction.
Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!