Best website builders for small businesses
You’ve got a small business – now you just need to find the perfect website builder to take it to the next level. Read our guide to help you find the right one for your business
We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality.This article was co-authored by:
Did you know over 84% of businesses have a website? If you don’t have one, you risk falling behind your competition.
Thankfully, website builders are on hand to help you create a professional website quickly, and cheaply.
We think choosing the right website builder is a bit like choosing what to have for your roast dinner – not only can the main event differ each time, so can all the trimmings that come with it.
So while you think you’ve found the best website builder for your business, there may be one out there that suits your tastes – or needs – better.
Thankfully, Startups has put together this guide to help you discover the best website builder for your small business.
So without further ado, let’s tuck in.
- Best all-round web builder
- Optimised for mobile performance
- Outstanding customer support
- Stunning templates
- Impressive design flexibility
- Great blogging and ecommerce functions
- Simple to use
- Update website from desktop, mobile or tablet
- One-month free trial
Wix offers more price plans than most other website builders, so you can pick or switch to one that works for you.
You can click any of the plans below to head straight through to the Wix website to start comparing packages.
Wix: the verdict
Wix is an intuitive drag-and-drop website builder that creates beautiful, professional sites. It's also the best rated in the world.
As a professional, flexible and easy-to-use website builder, we cannot recommend Wix more highly to our readers. It has over 510 stunning templates, robust ecommerce capabilities, and the best drag-and-drop tool we tested.
That means whether you're completely new to creating websites or keen to customise every inch of your site, we think you'll be chuffed to bits you went with Wix.
Read our Wix review for more information
Squarespace: the verdict
Squarespace is a dream for creative types, especially if you love playing around with style. The templates really are stunning.
But it's more expensive than most alternatives, and we found it gives you less – less control over the look of your site, fewer features and it's much less easy to use.
Read our Squarespace review for more information
Although one of the cheaper website builders out there, it’s a case of ‘you get what you pay for’. Not only does GoDaddy offer less design flexibility than other website builders, its customer service department doesn’t top the rankings either.
However, if you’re looking to get online cheaply and quickly, its Basic and Standard packages will do the trick nicely.
GoDaddy: the verdict
GoDaddy has everything you need to build your own website quickly, with a user-friendly drag-and-drop editor and plenty of features to keep small business owners happy. You can even put its platform to the test with a free 30-day trial.
Although GoDaddy is one of the simplest website builders, its features are all fine-tuned to get your business succeeding online, thanks to its SEO tools, fast load times and marketing campaign functionality.
Read our GoDaddy review for more information
Spend a little more on its Pro plan, and you’ll even be able to upload some snazzy HD videos to your website.
Weebly: the verdict
If you’re looking to get your new website off the ground for very little money, Weebly is your website builder. While the templates are basic, there are lots of apps to add to your site, which give you ecommerce and marketing capabilities, plus integration with social platforms.
Although upgrading to the Pro plan gives you the option to add HD video and audio to your website, Weebly is still behind Wix and Squarespace when it comes to innovative template features.
A little like GoDaddy, Weebly is perfect for no fuss, low cost website building.
Read our Weebly review for more information
Shopify’s pricing is noticeably more expensive than the other website builders on our list – even when you do convert the pricing from dollars to pounds, you’re still paying around £23/month for its basic package.
That being said, we’re looking at a website builder that has been specifically designed for online retail. If you do opt for a cheaper ecommerce package from one of the other providers, the management and analytics won’t be up to the same standard, and there won't be much room to scale your business!
Click on the pricing to find out more about each package. You can also try Shopify for free with a 14-day free trial.
Shopify: the verdict
Shopify is a website builder that has been designed for those who are looking to create a serious online business. With big brands like Budweiser and Penguin Books choosing Shopify to host their retail store, you can tell it has the infrastructure in place to support small, growing, and booming retail businesses.
That being said, Shopify does penalise you if you choose an external payment gateway provider. By adding transaction charges and making its own payment processing the only way for you to take multi-currency payments, Shopify is certainly flying its own flag.
Our verdict: the best web builder
Although all of the website builders that feature on our list have their strengths and weaknesses, it’s Wix that clearly comes out strongest. As a great all-rounder, it offers feature-rich, beautiful website building at a great price.
Weebly and GoDaddy are almost on par with what they offer – cheap websites with no-fuss building. However, if you don’t already have a domain and you’re looking to set one up, GoDaddy offers the cheapest paid plan.
If you’re looking to build an artsy website, Squarespace certainly has the feature package for creative freedom, while those looking for the best ecommerce capabilities should head straight over to Shopify.
Click any of the links below to get started with a free trial of any of these top website builders.
Price is the most important factor for most businesses. You want to know the builder you pick is affordable – and will stay that way as you grow. But most importantly, which provider will create the most value for you? There’s no point cutting costs on a free version that’s keeping you from impressing your customers or achieving those lofty sales targets.
Time is of the essence for both you and your customers. That’s why most first-timers we spoke to wanted a hassle-free, friendly site that is fully optimised for search engines. Thankfully, website builder templates allow businesses to create beautiful websites in a matter of hours.
How do you choose? Website builders come in all shapes and sizes. What do you want yours to do for you? Most people discover companies online, so making that killer first impression is key.
Think – will you be looking for an online store? 24/7 support? What about the ability to grow and customise your site over time? Pinpointing what you want your website to do will help you decide on the best website builder to use.
Website builder FAQs
Here we answer the biggest questions from business owners.
How do free website builders work?
Many website builders like to offer free versions of their software to open the door to as many people as possible. However, these often offer very few features, and hinder your opportunity to really make your business stand out from the crowd.
Here are the main issues small businesses tend to have with free website builders:
- Provider’s branding – Not only will you have your supplier’s domain name attached to your URL, you’ll also have supplier ads sprawled across your lovely design
- Limited storage – With limits to the amount of photos, videos, files, and apps you can upload to your website, you may not have enough storage to really showcase your brand
- Ad after ad – And it won’t just be supplier ads ruining user experience. Your website will also play host to other brand ads too – maybe even your competitors
That being said, the free version of a website builder is a good way to test the waters and find out if it’s a program that you can work comfortably with.
Taking the time to experiment with a few free trials will pay off in the future, because you'll know exactly which website builder offers the features you need now – and for later.
How do ecommerce website builders work?
If you’re really gunning for the sales, you might want to think about using an ecommerce website builder like Shopify. There, you’ll get a dedicated web shopping cart service and plenty of features to help boost your sales.
Shopify also offers features that let you run product promotions, marketing campaigns, and inventory lists from your site.
It’s also worth noting that most website builders make it easy for you to add an online store to your site. At the very least, you’ll be able to process credit card payments online, and add cart and checkout pages.
For more information on payment gateways and online payment methods, take a look at our guide to payment gateways in the UK.
Does my business need a website builder?
Quite simply, website builders are a game-changer for small businesses.
They are made to help people who are too busy running a business to get online. And their popularity is owed to the fact that they’re much less money and effort than hiring an independent website developer.
The best part? The top website builder sites are just as professional-looking and easy to customise as hiring a freelance coder yourself.
With over a third of people looking online before they pay you a visit, websites are essential, whether you’re a king-size company or a small and mighty business.
If you’re not online, you’re really missing out. The main points to look forward to with a website builder are:
Website builder prices start from less than the cost of a coffee a month.
Get online fast
With slick, easy-to-use templates, you can be up and running in minutes.
Flaunt your style
Your online presence is your opportunity to make a real impression on your customers. Without a website, you could be missing out on potential customers and all important sales. Build one today and watch your business grow.
So what are you waiting for? Get your business online today!