Creating an online presence for your business is no longer an option; it's an expectation! The same is true even if you're doing exceptionally well in your brick-and-mortar store. Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is growing in popularity. In the United States alone, digital buyers have skyrocketed from 246.9 million in 2019 to 266.7 million in 2022. One way to expand your business online is by creating and maintaining a website.
A 2021 survey by Top Design Firms found that 28% of small businesses in the US didn't have a website. However, almost half of those without a website plan to have one in the future. If you don't have a website yet, there's a high chance you're missing out on the following benefits:
"But I'm not tech-savvy!"
Actually, you don't need to be an expert in IT to build a website. If you're wondering how and where to start, let the following steps guide you:
An essential step in building a website is selecting a website builder platform. However, it can be overwhelming to choose from over a hundred website-building platforms available on the internet. To make that decision easier, pick one from the ten best website builders today:
Wix is a perfect website builder for startups. It's best known for being easy to use. For example, it utilizes a drag-and-drop format that's perfect for beginners. Plus, it offers over 800 design options and templates.
However, Wix shouldn't be your first choice if you're looking for a website with optimal loading speed. Also, it's a bit costly for e-commerce.
Weebly is proof that you don't need to be an excellent editor to build a website for your brand. It has various templates, designs, and simple editing features. It also offers a free plan.
However, Weebly's free plan only gives you storage space, a Weebly subdomain, and a free Secure Sockets Layer. You need to pay to access its phone support. Also, it has limited blogging tools.
As one of the top web hosting providers, Hostinger now offers its in-house website builder. It's a simple and easy builder to make your own website, like Wix and Weebly – only with good website performance. It offers a suite of AI tools. For example, its heatmap highlights the areas of your most visited pages, allowing you to understand how users interact with your website and make the necessary improvements.
However, Hostinger Website Builder has limited customization. It doesn't allow you to switch templates or designs once your website goes live. In addition, the process of connecting a custom domain name takes effort.
GoDaddy is a suitable website builder if you're indecisive but in a hurry. It doesn't require you to choose a template and make the necessary edits until you get the design you want. Instead, it builds the template and design based on your answers from a quick survey.
However, GoDaddy's internal speed isn't always the best. Also, it takes up to 48 hours to get a response if you have a problem.
Squarespace is ideal if you're aiming to build an aesthetically pleasing website. It has the best modern and elegant designs and templates. Besides the look, it's effortless to implement and offers superb features, such as SEO tools and domain transfer.
However, Squarespace's e-commerce capabilities are subpar compared to other website builders. It also requires a business plan to activate powerful features, like custom code to add event countdown timers.
Duda is a combination of Wix and Squarespace—that is, it's easy to use and offers aesthetic templates and designs. Another advantage is that it allows you to upload photos, change links, and make corrections from your mobile phone. Equally important, it has exceptional customer support.
However, Duda doesn't offer a free plan, and its paid plans are pretty expensive. Its SEO tools aren't as expansive as other website builders.
HostGator is the appropriate website builder if you're particular about time. For one, it has a fast server response time with an average page loading time of 234 milliseconds. Apart from website building, it also provides a hosting solution.
However, HostGator isn't free. Neither does it offer a free trial. Moreover, its backups, SEO tools, and SiteLock feature cost extra.
Shopify is a website builder with a sharp focus on selling online. As such, it has more advanced e-commerce features. It can connect to over a hundred different payment gateways. It also offers dropshipping, which allows you to purchase products from a third party and deliver them directly to customers. It also has a wholesale marketplace that doesn't charge any listing and selling fees. A new online marketplace by Shopify called Shopify handshake where you can sell wholesale products for free.
However, Shopify doesn't offer heavy customization. You need to hire a web designer to make significant changes to the look and feel of your website. Plus, it can be expensive since you need to pay a transaction fee for each sale you make.
HubSpot is ideal for growing and scaling businesses. Besides ease of use, it has plenty of other benefits. It offers a seven-day free trial, user education, and a place for all your tools. You also get these functions for free.
However, HubSpot's pricing plan can be very steep and doesn't cover technical support. Also, its contract requires a lock-in period of twelve months.
WordPress.com is the right website builder if you want complete control. It doesn't only help you start your website, but it's also content management software. It allows you to create forums, membership sites, portfolios, and blogs.
While WordPress is highly customizable, it's also easy to mess up. In addition, plugin versions often don't align with the WordPress version and aren't available for users of free plans.
Having a website alone doesn't guarantee a strong online presence. You need to maintain it to be visible. Here are some ways to go about it:
Having a website is beneficial for brands, both small and big. It makes you more accessible and credible and provides easier and faster communication. Before building a website, you need a domain name and have it registered. Once done, you can now design your website with a reputable website builder. Make sure you choose the right one. Remember that growth opportunities await you with the right website builder. Good luck!
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