Best Small Business Website Builder: The Top Options Compared (2020)
Choosing the best small business website builder can be overwhelming, especially considering most solutions lock you into a year-long subscription. But with the right small business website builder you can get your business online and reach more customers.
In this comparison, we’ll review some of the top small business website builders to help you find the one that best fits your needs. Along the way, we’ll also highlight which website builder is the best fit for different types of small businesses.
The Best Small Business Website Builder
The first step to choosing the best small business website builder is to better understand how you’ll be using it and what features are most important to you. Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself:
- Are you planning on selling a few products or services? Or are you thinking of launching a complete online store?
- How do you plan on growing your small business? Through content marketing (blogging), social media marketing, email marketing, offering discounts, or a little bit of everything?
- Are you planning on selling locally or globally?
Once you have a clear understanding of what it is you’re looking for in a website builder you can explore the best small business website builders available.
WordPress.com is easily one of the most popular small business website builders and content management systems for business owners. It’s a straightforward and flexible way to get your small business website online and start generating income. The platform is perfect for building just about any type of website, whether it’s to sell products, charge for access to exclusive content, or simply have a web presence for your company.
You can choose between five different pricing plans when signing up with WordPress.com. Each plan comes with different features and storage — Free (3 GB), Personal (6 GB), Premium (13 GB), Business (200 GB), and eCommerce (200 GB). Pricing starts at $4 per month (billed yearly). With each paid plan, you get a free domain name for one year and a pre-installed SSL certificate — essential for ensuring the privacy of all traffic to and from your site.
Some of the main reasons business owners choose WordPress.com over other small business website builders are its storage space, plugins, live chat customer support, one-on-one concierge sessions, and refund policies. Put simply: for business owners, it’s the best value small business website builder on the internet.
The WordPress Block Editor
WordPress.com also comes with the WordPress block editor, making it easy to build and customize your small business website. The block editor essentially gives users a website building toolbox that lets you add all sorts of elements to your site’s pages.
For example, you can add Button blocks to create engaging calls to actions, a Calendly block to make it easy for clients to book appointments, Form block to let visitors get in touch with you via contact forms, or a Subscription block to encourage visitors to sign up for your mailing list.
The block editor’s intuitive user interface (UI) means you can click to add page elements to customize your website’s look and feel and move them around the page however you like.
Is WordPress.com the Best Small Business Website Builder for You?
As a small business owner, the most significant benefit you get using the WordPress.com website builder for your website is flexibility and customizability.
This website builder really does come with everything you need to create a small business website, including setting up a custom domain name and accepting payments via popular payment methods like PayPal or credit cards. It also lets you add contact forms and lead generation forms to your site.
You can create professional-looking, mobile-responsive designs for your business website in a few simple steps, straight out of the box. It offers tons of extensibility options, meaning you can install plugins or integrate with third-party tools to enhance your site’s functionality — for example, social media integrations. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that WordPress.com is designed with SEO in mind, which means it’s easier for customers to find you through search engines.
WordPress.com has several plans to choose from, including the Business plan, which is the option for small businesses that are established and looking to grow. For $25 per month (billed yearly), you get 200 GB storage space in addition to a free domain for the first year, priority live chat support, and the option to add any additional third-party plugin you need.
The WordPress Block Editor
The WordPress.com small business website builder comes with the versatile WordPress block editor. As we’ve seen, this is perfect for business owners that need an easy and quick way to build their website’s pages.
The WordPress block editor lets you add Form blocks that are perfect for creating contact forms, subscription forms, and lead generation forms. It also offers a Map block which is a great way for brick and mortar businesses to let people know where their retail stores are. You can use the Payments block to accept payments directly through your business website — fantastic for running a store without having to go through a third-party platform.
Is WordPress.com Business the Best Small Business Website Builder for You?
WordPress.com Business is perfect for small business owners who are looking for a great value product. It offers the complete suite of features you need in a small business website builder, and with 24/7 priority support, help is always close at hand whenever you need it.
The website builder is designed with SEO best practices in mind, and the Business plan gives you access to Advanced SEO tools, so your business has a much better chance of showing up in search engine result pages, with minimal work on your end.
In terms of design and aesthetics, the WordPress.com Business tier gives you access to dozens of free themes, unlimited premium themes, and the ability to upload your own custom themes to your website. This means you can create a bespoke design for your business website that matches your branding.
When you sign up for the WordPress.com Business plan, WordPress.com footer branding is automatically removed from your site’s front-end, making your site look more professional.
WordPress.com Business also comes with the functionality to allow you to install plugins on your business website — to extend the core functionality on an as-needed basis. For example, you could install a plugin that lets you integrate your WordPress.com Business website with your preferred CRM or email marketing solution. In addition to this, you also get Google Analytics integration out of the box which helps you better understand visitor and customer behavior on your own website.
The WordPress.com Business tier is great for all types of small businesses, including physical stores and location-based service businesses such as accountants, hairdressers, and coffee shops. Business plan subscribers that want to take the DIY route can install the WooCommerce plugin to their website to create an eCommerce store.
The WordPress.com eCommerce tier is the best website builder for small businesses that need to sell different types of products — such as physical or digital goods, services, subscription products, or variable products.
The WordPress.com eCommerce small business website builder has a price point of $45 per month (billed yearly) for 200 GB storage space as well as priority live chat support and personalized expert support sessions. This dedicated help team is particularly useful if you’re new to eCommerce, or you don’t feel you’re particularly tech-savvy.
The WordPress Block Editor
As an online store owner, you’ll need a small business website builder that lets you create different types of eCommerce pages such as a shop page, category pages, checkout page, and shopping cart page. In addition, it’s also good to have additional pages that let you draw attention to specific products on your eCommerce store. For example, you might want to create a page for your best-selling products or new arrivals.
The WordPress.com eCommerce small business website builder comes with the WordPress block editor that makes this super easy. For example, you can use the Payments block (or Pay with PayPal block) to accept customer payments made via credit card or PayPal directly on your site’s pages.
The WordPress block editor also offers a collection of different WooCommerce blocks when you sign up for the WordPress.com eCommerce tier. You can use these to add your best-selling products, newest arrivals, top-rated products, and products on sale to your store’s pages. There’s even a block available that lets you add hand-picked products that give you maximum flexibility over the products you choose to showcase on the front-end.
Is WordPress.com eCommerce the Best Small Business Website Builder for You?
WordPress.com eCommerce is the best small business website builder for anyone who’s looking to launch an online store. It comes with the WooCommerce plugin (WordPress’ most popular eCommerce solution) pre-installed, which means you can start selling products and services right away.
WordPress.com eCommerce small business website builder integrates seamlessly with WooCommerce giving you access to tons of new blocks. This lets you add neat features to your online store’s pages without having to install plugins or integrate third-party tools or apps. It’s quick, easy, and doesn’t affect your online store’s performance.
WordPress.com eCommerce is perfect for any online store that’s looking to sell multiple products. For example, if you’re a coffee shop that wants to sell coffee beans and related accessories (such as mugs, coffee grinders, and glass pour-overs) then this is the best small business website builder for you. It’s also great for businesses that sell subscription-based products such as memberships or subscription boxes.
Subscribers on the WordPress.com eCommerce plan can accept payments in over 60 countries using PayPal, Stripe, and other payment processors, and integrate with major shipping carriers like UPS. The plan also offers advanced eCommerce marketing tools like social media and email integration (via Mailchimp).
Other WordPress.com Plans
WordPress.com also offers Free, Personal, and Premium plans which are great for businesses that are just starting out as well as established SMBs.
WordPress.com Free is the best free small business website builder. It offers 3 GB storage space and comes with Jetpack essential features (for spam prevention, site performance, and SEO) as well as a pre-installed SSL certificate. This is the bare minimum you need to get your small business website online.
WordPress.com Personal (6 GB storage space) and Premium (13 GB storage space) are perfect for individuals and freelancers. The WordPress.com Premium plan includes premium themes, Google Analytics integration, and the ability to schedule social posts. It’s a good value plan for established and growing SMBs.
The WordPress Block Editor
WordPress.com Free, Personal, and Premium plans also use the WordPress Block editor. This gives you access to a wide range of page elements and features that you can add to your small business website.
For example, you can add Form blocks to create contact forms, registration forms, appointment forms, or feedback forms. These are particularly useful for businesses in the service industry. The File block lets you drop download links to documents and files in your pages.
Design your website your way using a variety of design blocks that give you more control over your site layout. For example, the Columns block is perfect for creating multiple columns on your to list services or subscription product features, and the Reusable block lets you save a block (or group of blocks) to use later on. This speeds up the site design process.
Are Other WordPress.com Plans the Best Small Business Website Builder for You?
The WordPress.com Premium website builder is perfect for freelancers and entrepreneurs that are just starting out. It gives them a solid platform to set up their business website and try out the WordPress block editor. Individuals that are just starting out can go for the WordPress.com Free plan and upgrade to a paid plan whenever they’re ready.
The WordPress.com Free website builder, as a free option, does have its limitations. Although you’ll get access to a wide range of themes, there will always be small WordPress.com ads and WordPress.com branding on the website, which might not be ideal for the most professional websites.
Anyone looking for a free small business website builder should definitely consider trying out the WordPress.com Free tier. It packs all essential features you need to get your business online and gives you the option to upgrade to a premium plan later down the line when your business takes off.
That said, WordPress.com Premium is the best value plan for freelancers and entrepreneurs. You can accept PayPal payments, earn through ad revenue, schedule social media posts, track website statistics with Google Analytics integration, and much more.
WordPress.org (otherwise known as self-hosted WordPress) is a free, open-source small business website builder that gives you full control over your website. You can install free and paid themes and plugins to customize the look,feel and functionality of your small business website. WordPress.org is similar but different to WordPress.com: you can see the differences here.
The main reason why small business owners choose WordPress.org for their website is ownership. Since the platform is open-source, you own everything on your website including the content, design, and the data you collect from customers and clients.
How Self-Hosted WordPress Compares to Other Small Business Website Builders
Unlike the other small business website builders on our list, self-hosted WordPress.org doesn’t come with web hosting or a free domain out of the box.
This means that to get your small business website set up, you’ll first need to find a suitable website hosting company. In addition to this, you’ll also have to register your own domain name. In this way, self-hosted WordPress isn’t actually free like WordPress.com Free.
Getting started with self-hosted WordPress and maintaining your small business website does require some technical know-how. For support, you’ll have to rely on community support forums to get your questions answered since the platform is entirely open-source. However, if you’re using paid themes and plugins, you can get customer support from the developers. Again, though, this diminishes the advantage you get from self-hosted WordPress being “free.”
Is Self-Hosted WordPress the Best Small Business Website Builder for You?
Self-hosted WordPress is a great small business website builder for business owners that have:
- Someone on their team with the technical knowledge required to set up and maintain a WordPress website.
- The budget to sign up for a managed WordPress hosting service.
As we mentioned earlier, the main benefit of going with self-hosted WordPress over alternatives like WordPress.com or WordPress.com eCommerce is that you have full control over your site’s functionality.
However, this means you’re also responsible for making sure the WordPress core, themes, and plugins are up to date, you’re not using plugins that cause conflict, keeping your site secure — the list goes on and on.
Squarespace is an all-in-one, drag-and-drop website builder for freelancers and entrepreneurs. It’s a great platform for small businesses that need a minimalist website with basic eCommerce features.
Squarespace plans start at $12 per month (billed yearly) for the most basic plan, although for eCommerce features, you’ll need to purchase the $18 per month (billed yearly) Business plan. It’s also worth mentioning that you will have to pay a 3% transaction fee. Store owners on Squarespace’s Basic Commerce and Advanced Commerce plans for $26 per month and $40 per month respectively (billed yearly), aren’t charged transaction fees.
Squarespace’s limited design tools tend to nudge the user towards minimalist, open styles, which can be great for showcasing images or media, although it can be lacking for presenting all the information. Squarespace’s Advanced Commerce plan offers eCommerce features for accepting donations, offering gift cards, and selling subscriptions. You can also leverage abandoned cart recovery features and set up shipping options.
How Squarespace Compares to Other Small Business Website Builders
Compared to the other small business website builders in our review, Squarespace is a relatively high-priced option. The basic plan doesn’t offer eCommerce features — which means you can only use it to create an online presence for your brick and mortar business, or for selling services, rather than a fully-fledged online store.
In addition, there is a bit of a learning curve involved when it comes to building your small business website on Squarespace. It’s not as intuitive or easy to use as some of the other website builders we’ve touched on in this article, and its SEO tools and capabilities aren’t as good as what you get with, for example, WordPress.com.
Is Squarespace the Best Small Business Website Builder for You?
Squarespace is a solid small business website builder for established entrepreneurs that are (1) looking for an easy way to create a professional-looking website and (2) are content with the “Squarespace style”. If you need basic eCommerce store features for which you can rely entirely on Squarespace Extensions, this small business website builder is worth considering.
The Wix website builder is a viable option for store owners with some web design experience and those that are happy with a basic small business website created by the Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence).
Wix’s most basic plan starts at $4.50 per month (billed yearly) and gives you 500 MB storage space. This is fine for small businesses that need to set up an online presence for their brick and mortar business. However, for basic business and eCommerce features, and the ability to accept online payments, you’ll need to subscribe to one of Wix’s Business & eCommerce plans that start at $17 per month (billed yearly) which gives you 20 GB storage space.
How Wix Compares to Other Small Business Website Builders
The Wix website builder lets you add elements just about anywhere on your pages. This high degree of freedom, however, means that you need some website design experience to be able to create a visually appealing website.
Unfortunately for those looking to set up an online store, Wix isn’t known for its eCommerce features, for which small businesses looking to get into online sales might want to look elsewhere. Wix does let users extend its core functionality by installing apps from the Wix App Market, though it’s not as extensive as some other app stores and plugin directories in this website builder review, such as WordPress.com. For instance, at the time of this writing, the Sell Online category in the Wix App Market has a total of 49 apps. This compares to 49 pages of results for “eCommerce” on WordPress.org, covering all the functionality small businesses need.
Is Wix the Best Small Business Website Builder for You?
The Wix small business website builder software is suitable for businesses that need to set up a simple website for their brick and mortar business, mom and pop shop, or to sell services. However, it’s not the best website builder for store owners that are looking to sell a lot of products online.
Wix comes with hundreds of themes out of the box, although the platform makes it difficult to switch to a different theme once you’ve designed your website. In other words, unlike WordPress.com, you’ll have to edit each page on your site individually if you want to switch to a different theme for your small business website. For this reason, it’s not a great option for anyone looking to build a large online store with dozens of pages.
Shopify is one of the most well-known small business website builders for eCommerce sites and stores. Its most basic plan starts at $29 per month, with an additional 2% transaction fee charged to users who choose to use payment providers other than Shopify Payments.
For brick and mortar stores, setting up the Shopify POS Pro feature, which offers store management tools and omnichannel features, will set you back an additional $89 per month.
How Shopify Compares to Other Small Business Website Builders
Compared to some of the other small business website builders we’ve looked at like Squarespace or Wix, Shopify is eCommerce-focused. This makes it a viable option for small businesses that are serious about launching an online store and established small businesses looking to grow their operations.
In addition to eCommerce features, Shopify also offers a range of marketing (such as email marketing and Facebook Ads) and management (dashboards and centralized fulfillment) features that make it possible for small business owners to grow their bottom line.
Is Shopify the Best Small Business Website Builder for You?
The Shopify small business website builder is a great option for established online store owners that need powerful features to sell products online or through their physical store. It makes it easy for store owners to build a small business website using its drag and drop website builder. The platform comes with over 70 professionally-crafted themes out of the box.
Shopify is great for store owners that need a website builder that’s extendable. The platform’s Shopify App Store features hundreds of eCommerce apps sorted into different categories including sales and conversion, orders and shipping, inventory management, finances, and more.
Although Weebly used to be a robust small business website builder, it has become less flexible since shifting over to its new Square editor, which has hampered some of its original design features.
Weebly plans that are suitable for small businesses start at $12 per month (billed yearly) and let you accept payments through Square and third-party providers.
How Weebly Compares to Other Small Business Website Builders
Weebly’s new page builder lets you add and remove sections to your small business website’s pages. Unlike more flexible website builders, like WordPress.com, you can’t add or remove page elements. This significantly limits your site’s design and, to some extent, its usability.
The Weebly small business website builder also offers some limited email marketing and SEO features. In terms of eCommerce functionality, you can install around 300 apps from Weebly’s App Center to your website. However, some of the other small business website builders in our review, such as Shopify and WordPress.com eCommerce offer access to more apps, add-ons, and plugins for dedicated online stores.
Is Weebly the Best Small Business Website Builder for You?
With Weebly, users get eCommerce features on all of the plans for online store owners. This makes it a viable website builder for anyone who’s looking for a simple and easy way to get their business website up and running.
Although you don’t get a lot of design flexibility, it does make it easy to start building your website and sell products, subscriptions, and services.
As the name suggests, BigCommerce is a small business website builder with a heavy focus on eCommerce functionality. BigCommerce’s lower-tier plan starts at $29.95 per month (billed yearly) and lets you create unlimited staff accounts, add unlimited products, and pay 0% transaction fees.
The platform’s wide range of features and eCommerce options and capabilities make it better suited for larger businesses and enterprises.
How BigCommerce Compares to Other Small Business Website Builders
Compared to other small business website builders, the biggest disadvantage of using BigCommerce is its price — a subscription is a fair amount more than some of the other options on this list.
In addition, its extensive feature set can pose quite a learning curve for small business owners, especially those that are just starting out and don’t have a team.
Still, one of the main reasons why BigCommerce is a popular website builder is that, similar to WordPress.com eCommerce, it comes with essential eCommerce features. This means you don’t have to worry about installing additional apps to get the functionality you need to get your store going.
Is BigCommerce the Best Small Business Website Builder for You?
In terms of building a small business website, BigCommerce is one of the best options out there. It comes with a dozen free themes by default with an additional 100 paid themes that you can choose to purchase. Plus, the intuitive Store Design visual merchandising tool makes it easy to customize sections on your site’s pages.
GoDaddy Website Builder
The GoDaddy Website Builder makes it easy for business owners to get their small business website up and running quickly without having to code or add HTML or custom CSS. It also offers phone support to help you get started even quicker.
However, the website builder only lets you add pre-built sections to your website’s pages —meaning it’s very limited in terms of customization and flexibility.
How GoDaddy Website Builder Compares to Other Small Business Website Builders
GoDaddy Website Builder offers limited design and customization options. So, if that’s an area you’d like to focus on then you’re probably better off going with a small business website builder that’s more flexible, like WordPress.com Business or self-hosted WordPress.
Is GoDaddy Website Builder the Best Small Business Website Builder for You?
The GoDaddy Website Builder doesn’t pack a lot of eCommerce features and doesn’t give you the option to install apps or plugins to extend its core functionality. So, if you’re looking to sell products online, you’re better off going with a more robust solution, like WordPress.com eCommerce.
However, if you’re thinking of setting up a simple online presence for your brick and mortar business or mom and pop shop (and you want it up and running as quickly as possible), GoDaddy Website Builder is a great, reasonably priced option.
Common Questions for Using a Small Business Website Builder
Here are answers to some common questions readers have about using a small business website builder:
Which small business website builder is the easiest to use?
WordPress.com is by far the best small business website builder in terms of ease of use. It doesn’t require any technical knowledge to get started, and the learning curve is gradual.
Are there any free small business website builders?
For the best, free small business website builder we recommend going with the WordPress.com Free version. It’s the best value offering — with great functionality right from the get-go — and makes it easy to upgrade to a paid plan later on when your business starts to take off, rather than needing to shift to a different website builder at a later date.
Which small business website builder has the best design templates, and looks best on mobile devices?
WordPress.com Premium or higher tiers are solid options for business owners looking for small business website builders with the best website templates and mobile-friendly designs. They come with free themes available immediately and the flexibility to choose from tens of thousands of paid themes to install.
Which small business website builder is best for selling products and services?
When it comes to selling products (digital products, physical goods, or subscription products) or services and accepting payments, WordPress.com Business and WordPress.com eCommerce are the best small business website builders on the internet.
How long will it take to build my small business website?
The small business website builders we covered in our review have intuitive design editors, which means you can build your small business website in a couple of hours without needing to hire a web designer!
Get Started With the Best Small Business Website Builder!
A small business website builder can help you build your small business website and start selling products and services in no time!
Here are our picks for the best small business website builders:
- The WordPress.com Free plan is perfect for freelancers and entrepreneurs that are just starting out and need basic features like the ability to set up forms or create a blog.
- We recommend going with WordPress.com Personal or Premium if you’re looking to build an online presence for your physical store. Both plans offer everything you need to get your small business website up and running.
- If you want to sell products or services and need a way to accept payments, we recommend going with the WordPress.com Business plan.
- And, if you’re looking to sell lots of products (or different types of products such as subscription products, variable products, and digital goods), the WordPress.com eCommerce website builder is the one to go with.
Ready to build your small business website? Get WordPress.com today!
November 15, 2020