Top 5 Website Platforms for Small Business
“Think of [your website] as your store window – it has to represent what a client can expect if they were to walk in the store.”
An easy guide to the top five website builders that are easy to learn & use for beginners.
In Today’s highly digitalized society it is absolutely essential to have an established online presence. Your business’ website now acts as the face of the company, where consumers analyze and critique your organization by the way your website looks and works.
Before choosing the right website platform, you must plan your site’s main goal. There are tons of possibilities, opportunities and choices when it comes to your site. The abundance of options can quickly become overwhelming. What do you want this site to reflect about your business? Clarifying this will keep you focused as you build and develop your business’ website.
Here are some guidelines that can help you to start this planning process:
- Define the overall purpose of your website.
- This step will help you to determine the relevant functions and features that your site needs in order to fulfill its purpose.
- Choose a good domain name for your website address.
- Ideally, your domain name will be easy to remember, unique and very relevant (if not identical) to your brand name.
- Brainstorm ideas for content your website needs to be captivating.
- Think of ways to capture the clients’ attention and reinforce what it is your want them to remember you by. Think about your text, photos, colours, features, etc.
- Create a website outline.
- A layout is essential to plan your site website and refine your ideas. It must be easy to understand and use. Preplanning the design and arrangement of website content will significantly improve your user experience.
Your website MUST reflect your company’s brand. Think of it as your store window - it has to represent what a client can expect if they were to walk in the store. The clothing company Anthropology does a good job of infusing their brand into all of their marketing channels i.e. Website, Social Media, in-store displays and product selection. Your site should be an extension of your brand.
Now that you have gone through the planning process, you’re ready to choose your ideal website platform. Here are 5 popular ones, ranked from adequate to best:
3. SiteBuilder (GoDaddy)
Weebly's platform works well for professional websites with e-commerce requirements. Weebly’s website builder is more challenging than the other options highlighted in this countdown. Weebly is also known for offering far less themes and customizations when compared to the others, which can be a deal breaker for most businesses. Weebly offers website hosting and is known for offering simple e-commerce solutions. They are a popular choice for businesses looking to sell products and/or services online. Their business plan offers everything you need to setup a decent online store.
Weebly’s business plan starts at $30 per month.
Wix is more complex than other options such as SiteBuilder as it offers more advanced features, better e-commerce solutions and includes clean URL’s for all pages. They provide numerous template options and provide a user-friendly drag-and-drop site builder. Wix is good for beginners but with this convenience comes with a lack of ability to customize and control what your site looks like and can do.
Wix offers free plans, but you will most likely need to upgrade to their paid plans, which range from a little over $4 to almost $25 per month. Note that the $4 per month plan does not remove Wix ads from your site, which prompts most users to spend more. Wix can quickly become an expensive alternative and doesn’t allow for unlimited bandwidth or file storage. Many businesses that start with Wix end up switching to other platforms for these reasons. That said, Wix can be a great solution for getting a site up and running quickly if you aren’t too worried about future scalability and don’t mind sticking to one of their templates.
3. SiteBuilder (GoDaddy)
SiteBuilder is simple. They make it easy for anyone to go from the building to publishing stages of the website creation process. Their site builder offers all the tools necessary to have a functioning website, including basic e-commerce features. SiteBuilder also has a large selection of templates and themes to choose from. Be careful not to get too carried away by themes that deviate from your brand image or site’s overall goal.
SiteBuilder offer a free plan without a custom domain name. We recommend choosing a paid plan $9.95 per month as it unlocks all features and allows for a custom domain name, which is far more professional.
SquareSpace platform works best with creative businesses and professions. SquareSpace has numerous website templates aimed at creating attractive portfolios. Their builder usually appeals to photographers, event planners, artists, weddings, and bloggers. SquareSpace’s designs are simple, yet captivating as they are very nicely designed. One of SquareSpace’s limitations is again, it’s customizability. Though their templates are responsive and well designed, deviating from their template can be extremely time consuming and a pain for people that aren’t code-savvy.
SquareSpace sites start at $12 per month for a personal plan and $18 per month for a business plan. They offer a 2-week free trial, which is upgraded to a paid plan once the trial ends.
This brings us to our number one recommendation. Drum Roll, please….
AKA: The Best Website Platform out there.
WordPress is our number one choice for building a website. WordPress is a powerful platform because it has the most amazing selection of plug-ins and templates to choose from, which means you have unparalleled control over how your website looks and what it can do - no wonder most web designers and developers are using it. More than 75 million websites, including 55% of the top 1 million most visited websites in the world run on WordPress.
WordPress is easy to install and is SEO and mobile-friendly right out of the box. WordPress is extremely powerful and can be used to create something as basic portfolio website or as complex as a Fortune 500 masterpiece, take a look at Vogue or Mercedes Benz websites, who (you guessed it) use WordPress. Unlike the other website platforms listed above, WordPress really has unlimited design and functional capacities. This means no matter how much your business grows you will be able to scale your website accordingly, without having to worry about changing over to another platform.
Best of all, WordPress is entirely free to use because its open source. To learn more about building your own WordPress website, you might want to check out the Build Your Dream Website Training, offered by our team at Fortified Marketing. This essential training will teach you how to build your custom and stunningly beautiful WordPress website in less than 8 hours.
We hope that after outlining the top 5 website platforms you’re one-step closer to developing a great website that meets the needs of your business. The process may be daunting but with the right research, planning and building you’ll quickly be on your way to establishing your brand’s online presence.
Meet the author.
Fortified Marketing’s Apprentice, Shereen has a knack for interacting with others and engaging with the community. When she isn’t brainstorming and creating content with Taro she can be found updating her Fantasy Football Team or watching The Lord of the Rings Trilogy for the umpteenth time.
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