In the UK, nearly 2 million small and medium-sized businesses do not have a website. It is estimated that the cost to each individual business in lost revenue averages at £173,769. If creating a website for your business can boost your profits by nearly £200,000 a year, the only question left to ask is…what are you waiting for?
What is a Website Builder?
A website builder is a tool that allows you to create a fully functioning website without the use of manual code editing. This is the perfect web building solution for those with very little coding experience and a scarce understanding of web development. There are a number of easy-to-use programs available that will allow absolutely anyone to create a web presence, regardless of experience and proficiency.
This is the reason why a lot of small businesses have taken advantage of this technology in order to set up their own online pages. By doing so, they are able to advertise their products and services, offer regular content updates and provide ecommerce functions for their customers to exploit.
How Can a Website Builder Help My Business?
Every business in the world should have a website – there is just no escaping the necessity for online domination these days! The amount of people that use the internet to shop and obtain goods continues to grow as each year passes by. This has been influenced largely by the influx of mobile phones and tablet devices on our technological markets today. All of this means that ecommerce has become big business, whilst the high street shows signs of fading away.
So, we’ve identified the need for a website – now you must build one! This is where amateur web building tools come into play. Here are just some of the ways a small business website builder can help your business:
✔ Improve Credibility and Reputation
This is especially true if your competitors have a web presence and you do not. This will lead your potential customers to question why you do not have a website, which in turn may lead them to choose another service or goods provider. Having a web presence in place provides credibility and enhances your reputation as a professional business.
✔ Provide 24/7 Access
Most physical shops close at some point during the day, usually in the evening time around 6pm. A website stays open all day, every day. It doesn’t matter if it is 1oclock in the morning or the afternoon, anyone is able to access your features online and see what you have to offer.
✔ Highlight Marketing Opportunities
The online world offers tons of marketing opportunities that are extremely cost-effective when compared to real-world marketing techniques. Television adverts and billboard messages are very expensive compared to YouTube videos and blog posts.
✔ Improve Sales
Increased awareness, 24-hour availability and improved marketing opportunities will all lead to a higher number of sales and a healthier bottom line. At the end of the day that is what business is all about, isn’t it? If you don’t wish to make more money then why would you be in business?
With a small business website builder you can create a brand-new company website from scratch that is cheap, efficient and easy to build. Alternatively, if you already have a website in place, you can update it with a fresh new image. Most web builders these days offer a wealth of modern free templates and support networks to assist you along the way.
5 Things to Think About Before You Begin Building
Don’t go rushing off just yet! Building a web presence is easy with a small business website builder – but only if you have a clear idea of what you want first! It’s always best to have a plan in place before beginning any new project and this will be no different. So before you begin, let’s take a look at the five things you should think about first:
- What is your site’s purpose?
- Who is your target audience?
- What is your theme, tone of voice and design idea?
- Have you mapped out your content?
- Which website builder should you use?
The first two questions are required before you even think about building a website. Frankly, if you do not know the answers to these questions beforehand, then it is probably best you wait until you do. Otherwise your site may fail catastrophically! Define what you site is for and who you are aiming it at before beginning anything. You should know this already, as the answers will be based around what you sell, offer or provide.
For example, if you are a retailer of cycle helmets then your site’s purpose is to inform, advise and sell cycle helmet products to cycle enthusiasts in your region. See – easy! After this you’ll need to establish a tone of voice, choose a colour scheme and plan out all of your website’s content. Getting this out of the way early will ensure the building process is quick and seamless. Lastly, it’s time to choose a suitable web builder for businesses. But which one?
Top 5 Website Builders for Small Businesses
Wix is a wonderful small business website builder that contains over 300 templates for users to choose from. This is used by small businesses and freelancers all around the world, with a simple interface and easy-to-grasp controls. The platform is also relatively flexible, allowing you to make significant modifications and customisations to your template design. Wix is highly visual, extremely user friendly and very popular. A great choice of web builder!
This web builder is highly regarded as the ‘go-to’ web builder suitable for countless applications.
Weebly is one of the most cost-effective options out there in terms of the quality it delivers. Account sign-up and activation is almost instant and you receive a free email address with your package. The drag-and-drop functionality of Weebly makes it ridiculously easy to use and understand, offering a range of pre-built features for you to exploit. Again, this is one of the most popular platforms despite a lack of themes and templated options. One important thing to mention is that Weebly is a completely hosted service – so your website has no choice but to sit on their own servers.
This web builder is best suited to those with no existing server or desire to obtain one.
Squarespace doesn’t contain the same level of variety when it comes to templates and themed options, especially when compared to Wix and Weebly. The platform has around 50 templates to select from, but each and every one is magnificently beautiful. These are some of the highest quality designs you’re ever likely to find. You also receive a free domain name and privacy controls, as well as the opportunity to create your own blog and ecommerce options. If you have lots and lots of images to upload then this is the choice of web builder for you.
This web builder is best suited to photographers and artists alike.
This platform provides a complete online shopping solution that will allow you to configure a digital store to sell all of your products. Shopify has been built with ecommerce in mind and the whole sales process is what drives the platform’s design. You can organise your goods, develop your store front, track orders, accept card payments and respond to customers with ease. It’s like having a real-life store but on your computer screen! Shopify also allows third party vendors to integrate their services and products into the platform – making it the one-stop-shop for all of your online shopping needs.
This web builder is most suited to ecommerce websites that sell lots of different products.
Bigcommerce sits outside the top 5 most popular list of web builders – but it is still effective and widely used nonetheless. This platform provides absolutely everything you need to get going and to start progressing your business online. Unlike a lot of other web builders, this one does not provide the option to edit the infrastructure of your site. But you can still alter the design, content and merchandising options as you please. The platform also boasts a comprehensive set of e-commerce tools and a large App Store to take advantage of.
This website builder is best suited to brand names that wish to grow quickly.
Other Small Business Website Builder Options
The list doesn’t stop with these five. There are many more web builders out there on the market for you to experiment with. This includes a number of advanced web building options that provide more design capabilities and increased functionality. One of these examples is WordPress – perhaps the most popular and widely used CMS (content management system) on the market today.
While most people have heard of WordPress the CMS, less well known is WordPress's website builder tool. WordPress.com is a web builder that will allow anyone to create a fully functioning website. This caters for everyone, from the very beginners right up to the most experienced developers out there. There are plenty of themes and plugin choices to select from, with great online support channels to assist with any technical issues. Note that it is much less sophisticated than WordPress.org, the CMS, which is capable of building large and complex websites.
There are other options such as Jimdo and Sitebuilder.com too. The latter allows you to create your own site from 1000s of free templates and offers a simple drag-and-drop interface that is really intuitive and easy to use. Jimdo is a web hosting service that makes use of a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor so that users needn’t have any existing HTML or coding knowledge at all.
The Final Verdict – What Should You Choose?
Ultimately, when it comes down to it, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. The type of web builder you select will depend largely on your own personal circumstances and the requirements of your business.
What are your business objectives? What are you hoping to achieve with the creation of a new website? Do you wish to secure more sales and increase your profit margin or do you simply wish to attract attention and spread your message? Perhaps you need to do both?
Answer these questions carefully and it should start to become clear which choice of web builder is best for you. The purpose of your site, along with your business ambitions, will finalise the decision most of the time.
However, it’s also really important to shop around. Many of these web building sites offer free memberships to begin with – so why not try them all out and experiment with each one? Web building is very much a case of trial and error, even for the most advanced professionals out there.
So go on, try building something, then break it, then learn from your mistakes! Whichever option you eventually decide on, rest in the knowledge that having a brand new or updated website can only have a positive effect on your company and your customers.