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Which Website Builder is Right for my Small Business

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If you are new to websites, deciding which website builder is right for my small business is a daunting challenge. We'll help you decide which platform to use.

In the pre-digital age, you generally needed a brick-and-mortar storefront to connect with your customers. In the digital age, your website serves as that storefront, showcasing your products and services to prospective customers. A website is table stakes for any small business. No matter your industry, you need at least a basic site to drive more customers to your business.

As a small business owner, especially when starting up, the thought of building your website might seem like a bridge too far. However, several platforms make building basic or complex websites more manageable than you might think.

In this article, we'll cover the various platforms and help you finally answer the question, "Which website builder is right for my small business."

Understanding Your Needs and Skills

Before diving into the different website-building platforms, understanding your small business's unique needs is essential. Are you a local bakery looking to attract more customers? Using a theme from somewhere like Wix might be enough. Or you're an online boutique aiming to expand your e-commerce operations. Shopify is the best for eCommerce. Your business goals and requirements should guide your choice of a website platform.

Additionally, you need to consider your skills and time commitments. With little skill and time, you can use a template from somewhere like Squarespace and get something up quickly. Suppose you have some HTML and CSS experience and want a more comprehensive and unique site. In that case, you can consider something more advanced like Webflow.

We'll review several popular site builders here and help guide you.

Popular Website Building Platforms

Let's begin by looking at some of the most popular website-building platforms.

WordPress

Skill level: Advanced

Known for its flexibility and customization options, WordPress is a top choice for businesses looking for complete website control. It's an excellent platform for content-heavy websites, so if you do much blogging, WordPress can handle it. There's also a vast array of plugins and themes that can help you extend your site. However, the more plugins you use, the more bloat and the slower your website. Plus, they can lead to security vulnerabilities. A bad WordPress plugin caused the Panama Papers leak.

WordPress Pros

  • Flexibility: WordPress.org offers unparalleled flexibility with thousands of plugins and themes, making it highly customizable.
  • Content Management: It's an excellent choice for content-heavy websites like blogs and news sites.
  • SEO-Friendly: You have complete control over SEO settings, allowing for excellent search engine optimization.
  • Scalability: Suitable for small businesses looking to grow over time.
  • Community Support: A vast community of users and developers provides support and resources.

WordPress Cons:

  • Learning Curve: It can be challenging for beginners who need to be tech-savvy.
  • Maintenance: Requires regular updates and maintenance, which may require technical expertise.
  • Costs: While the platform itself is free, there are costs associated with hosting, themes, and plugins.
  • Security: Vulnerable to security issues if not properly maintained.

Wix

Skill level: Beginner

Wix is user-friendly and offers a drag-and-drop interface, making it ideal for beginners. It's a versatile platform that can suit a variety of business types.

Wix Pros

  • User-Friendly: Extremely easy to use with a drag-and-drop interface, making it ideal for beginners.
  • Design Templates: Offers a wide range of professionally designed templates.
  • Cost-Effective: Affordable pricing plans, including a free option.
  • Customer Support: Provides excellent customer support for users.
  • Mobile Optimization: Ensures mobile-responsive websites.

Wix Cons

  • Limited Customization: Less flexibility in design and customization compared to WordPress.
  • Not Ideal for Complex Sites: This may not be suitable for very complex websites with specific needs.
  • Long-term Scalability: Scaling a Wix site beyond a certain point may become challenging.

Squarespace

Skill level: Beginner

Squarespace is known for its stunning design templates, making it an excellent choice for businesses prioritizing aesthetics. It's user-friendly but offers fewer customization options compared to WordPress.

Squarespace Pros

  • Stunning Design: Known for its beautiful and elegant design templates.
  • Ease of Use: User-friendly with a clean and intuitive interface.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Automatically optimizes websites for mobile devices.
  • Managed Hosting: Takes care of hosting and security.
  • Customer Support: Provides reliable customer support.

Squarespace Cons

  • Limited Customization: Less flexibility in terms of design compared to WordPress.
  • E-commerce Limitations: More robust for e-commerce than platforms like Shopify.
  • Pricing: Slightly more expensive than some other website builders.

Shopify

Skill level: Intermediate

If you plan to sell products online, Shopify is a dedicated e-commerce platform. It provides robust e-commerce features and is designed to help small businesses set up online stores quickly.

If your primary business is selling online, you should use Shopify as a part of your solution. It often makes sense to use Shopify in addition to WordPress or Webflow, where you host most of your marketing information and content and then link users to Shopify to sell products online.

Shopify Pros

  • E-commerce Powerhouse: Designed specifically for e-commerce, offering extensive features.
  • Security: Highly secure and compliant with e-commerce regulations.
  • Scalability: Easily scales as your business grows.
  • Payment Options: Supports multiple payment gateways for online transactions.
  • App Store: Offers a vast selection of apps to enhance functionality.

Shopify Cons

  • Cost: It can be more expensive than other platforms, especially for small businesses.
  • Learning Curve: This may require some learning time, especially for beginners.
  • Less Versatility: While excellent for e-commerce, it's less versatile for non-e-commerce

Webflow

Skill level: Expert

Webflow is a modern website builder that stands out for its unique web design and development approach. It combines a visual design interface with powerful code-based customization options, making it a versatile choice for small businesses and designers.

Here at Peak Digital Studio, we're a Webflow shop, which means it's the most powerful, flexible, fast, and SEO-friendly platform. But if you're a small business owner with limited web experience, building something from scratch can be too much.

If you are looking for a great website that helps you do almost anything you need on the web, consider working with us!

Webflow Pros

  • Advanced Design Control: Webflow allows for precise control over design elements. You can create visually stunning and highly customized websites without coding experience.
  • No Coding Required (But Supported): Beginners can use Webflow's visual editor to build websites quickly, while developers can leverage its code capabilities to implement complex features.
  • Responsive Design: Webflow ensures that websites are automatically responsive and optimized for various screen sizes, making them mobile-friendly.
  • Content Management: It offers a built-in content management system (CMS) for managing and updating website content.
  • Hosting Included: Webflow provides reliable hosting, ensuring your site is secure and performs well.
  • E-commerce Features: Webflow's e-commerce capabilities allow you to set up online stores and manage products effectively.
  • Custom Interactions and Animations: You can create custom animations and interactions to enhance the user experience.

Webflow Cons:

  • Learning Curve: Webflow has a steeper learning curve than some other website builders, particularly for those new to web design and development.
  • Complexity for Simple Sites: Webflow might be overkill for basic websites due to its robust feature set.
  • Limited E-commerce Features: While it has e-commerce capabilities, it may not be as feature-rich as dedicated e-commerce platforms like Shopify.

Summary

In conclusion, the right website-building platform for your small business depends on your unique requirements and goals. Be sure you know what you want to get out of your website and what skills are required to build it. If you want something simple, some drag-and-drop builders will work just fine. However, if you want something robust, consider a platform like Webflow and an agency like Peak Digital Studio to help you build a world-class website on your budget.

Matthew Johnson

Founder
Published on

October 20, 2023