How to create a business website

Creating a website for your business is cheaper and easier than ever. Find out how to make the most of a website builder, from sorting a domain to choosing a template.

Our research

When reviewing website builders, our expert team of writers and independent researchers focuses in on the most important factors for small business owners. We look at the range of templates and designs available to choose from; how easy it is to get started building your site and customising it; the help and support options available; the range of available plugins, apps and extensions; the ability to customise a mobile design, and above all, the value for money – including any hidden pricing, ongoing fees, and initial setup costs.
Written and reviewed by:
Henry Williams headshot
Robyn Summers-Emler Grow Online Editor

Our independent reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers.

There are three main ways to create a website for your business:

  1. There's the quick and easy option of using a website builder to get online in minutes
  2. Alternatively, you can work with an expert web designer to create a complex website that's truly bespoke
  3. You can also take the DIY approach of using your technical skills to create your site in WordPress

This quick guide will take you through all three options. It will explain what to consider when using an elite web builder like Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify, demonstrate how to work with a designer to create a dazzling online home for your business, and give top tips on using WordPress to build your business website from scratch.

7 Best Website Builders for 2024

  1. Wix – Best all-round website builder for small businesses
  2. Squarespace – Best for design flexibility & businesses looking to scale
  3. GoDaddy – Best for ease of use and simplicity
  4. Shopify – Best for dedicated sales features when selling online
  5. Hostinger – Best cheap website builder
  6. 1&1 Ionos –Best for internationalisation
  7. Jimdo – Best for creating a website in under an hour

If you’re not sure where to start, then help is at hand. Just fill in our quick and free questionnaire, and we'll help you work out which option is best for you. It'll then match you either with one of our top-ranked web builders or an uber-talented web designers that can bring your vision to life.

How to create a website using a website builder

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Wix

Squarespace

GoDaddy

Shopify

Hostinger

1&1 Ionos

Jimdo

BEST FOR

Best all-round website builder for small businesses

BEST FOR

Design flexibility & businesses looking to scale

BEST FOR

Ease of use and simplicity

BEST FOR

Best for dedicated sales features when selling online

BEST FOR

Cheap builder

BEST FOR

Reliable servers

BEST FOR

Creating a website in under an hour (thanks to its ADI platform)

Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
4.8
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
4.6
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
4.4
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
4.0
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
3.6
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
3.5
Overall Score
Based on our in-depth research and user testing
3.3
Price
Price

£12-£35 per month, billed annually

Use code “SU10” to receive a 10% discount on all Squarespace plans

Price

£6.99-£12.99 per month, billed annually (first term discounts available)

Price

£5-£259 per month, billed annually

£1 for first month

Price

£2.59-£8.99 per month

Up to 81% discounted with code “STARTUPS”

Price

£10 – 28 per month

Price

£9-£39 per month

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Try Wix
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Try Squarespace
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Try Jimdo

The key steps to creating a website with a web builder are:

  1. Choose a website builder
  2. Create your website builder account
  3. Pick a domain name
  4. Choose a template and start editing
  5. Create an online store
  6. Publish your new website

1. Choose a website builder

Finding the right web builder for your needs is really important; you want to make sure that it’s easy to use, has the features you need, and has good support for when you get stuck. There's plenty of options out there that are completely free or paid, which means you can find an option that fits your budget and that doesn't require you going to a professional designer or web developer.

Thankfully, we’ve done the hard work for you and have conducted in-depth testing on the leading options to see exactly how they stack up.

After this extensive process, Wix came out on top as our top overall web builder for small businesses, just a hair ahead of Squarespace. Although both website builders earned a 4.8 out of 5 overall score, Wix inches ahead thanks to its extensive website features, superior value for money, and ease of use.

So, let’s take a quick look at these two.

Wix

4.8 out of 5
  • Website Features
    4.9
  • Design Functionality
    4.4
  • Value for money
    3.4
  • Help and support
    4.8
  • Customer Score
    4.8
  • Ease of Use
    4.4

Wix is our top choice because it has:

  • An incredible number of templates
  • Huge range of features
  • First-class design tools
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Wix ADI, an AI function that lets you build a website in a matter of minutes
  • Google Analytics integrations, which lets you track your website's performance

To learn more, check out our comprehensive Wix web builder review.

Squarespace

4.6 out of 5
  • Website Features
    4.0
  • Design Functionalities
    4.7
  • Value for Money
    3.6
  • Help and Support
    4.8
  • Customer Score
    4.3
  • Ease of Use
    4.4

Squarespace boasts:

  • Over 100 flexible, design-focused templates
  • Excellent support options
  • Powerful analytics and reporting features
  • Easy to use drag-and-drop editor

For more info, head to our dedicated Squarespace web builder review.

To see exactly how the leading web builders compare, check out our guide to the best website builders for small businesses.

2. Create your website builder account

This is dead easy – you generally don’t even need to supply credit card details until you sign up for a paid plan.

3. Pick a domain name

A domain is the unique address you give to your website. In other words, it's how you're presenting your brand to the digital world.

The key to getting it right is to keep your branding consistent. Avoid changing the spelling of your business in the URL, or naming it something that isn't strongly connected to your brand. The right name will help you reach higher spots in the SERPs, which translates into more clicks and potential customers.

As you brainstorm ideas, make sure you're still thinking about SEO:

  • Try to go for traditional top-level domains like .com or .net. Although they might be slightly more expensive domain names, it pays off in terms of how easy it will be for customers to find you
  • Ensure your URL includes keywords connected to your business
  • Make it easy to spell!
  • Keep it short and sweet
  • Double-check it's not in use already – you don't want to have customers guessing which business website is the one they're actually looking for

Once you've chosen your name, you'll need to register with a domain registrar. To do this, you can go on Domain.com or Network Solutions.

The other part of the puzzle you'll need is a hosting provider. To make this part easier, you can resort to an all-in-one solution like Wix or Squarespace. The great bit is that they both have SSL certificates, which basically means your and your customer's information are kept secure as they connect to your website.

4. Choose a template and start editing

Professional website templates for under £100 per year

If you're after a slick website that will impress your customers and build trust in your business, then paying thousands of pounds to a website developer isn't necessary. Thanks to modern, professional-looking website templates, you can create one of your own in under an hour, and the ongoing costs are remarkably low – typically under £100 per year.

Business Website Template

At Startups.co.uk, we test and rate website builder tools, and we've identified Wix as one of the best you can choose for creating a business site. Wix even has a selection of custom website templates designed specifically for small businesses – you simply drop your own company information, wording and preferred imagery into your chosen template. Better still, it's completely free to try for yourself.

Picking the right template is a crucial decision and you should have plenty to choose from – Wix has over 800 templates to suit practically every industry you could think of and Squarespace has over 100 design-focused templates to peruse.

However, if your business wants to create the ideal online shopping experience for your customers, one of the strongest options you can for is Shopify. The ecommerce-centric web builder is one of our favourite web builder to build an online store with, scoring an impressive 4.6 out of 5 in our research overall.

Whatever it is you're after, web builders tend to make the process of choosing a template very easy. You will normally be asked to select your industry, and then you’ll be presented with a selection of recommended templates based on that.

Once you’ve picked one, you can start editing, using a web builder’s tools to move things around and add images, text, video, and anything else your website needs.

shopify themes

Or, if you’re really in a hurry, then some web builders (including Wix) let you create a site in minutes with an ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). Essentially, you just enter some key info, make a few design choices and, hey presto, you’ve got a website. You can then tweak it to your liking, or just get it live.

As you're building your site, make sure you're covering all the necessary bases so that your customers can find all the information they need. For instance, make sure you have enough subpages so they can learn more about your mission, your inventory, or get access to thought leadership blogs. As an added bonus, make sure it's easy to find the ‘Contact Us' page as returning customers might want to get in touch to provide feedback or report an issues with your product or service.

Don't forget about SEO!

As you start filling your template with your brand's identity, keep in mind you want to rank as high on the SERPs as possible. This requires you thinking carefully about how you're presenting your content and how you're writing it.

Make sure to:

  • Sprinkle keywords and phrases (terms that describe the content on your page or post best) throughout your website. Make sure that it still feels natural, you don't want to overuse it to the point that it reads forced.
  • Stay active on your website! Whether that's publishing updates about your latest funding round or writing thought leadership blogs, fresh content tells Google you're trying to stay relevant and add value to the user journey.
  • Ensure your content is optimised to ensure that visitors that access the site from mobile devices have an experience customised to their device.

5. Create an online store

If you want to sell online, that’s easy too, as long as the web builder platform you have chosen offers ecommerce functionality, which Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify all do.

Our top pick if you want to sell online, though? Shopify. Especially if you have any aspirations to grow your online store offering over time.

The ecommerce behemoth has created a web builder platform for small businesses, that enables you to build a site dedicated to making the purchasing process as simple, and streamlined as possible. Sales features include abandoned cart recovery, unlimited product pages, and CRM integrations to improve the post purchase customer experience.

Essentially, every aspect of Shopify's web builder platform has been designed to suit the needs of businesses that want to sell online. But, it's of course not the only one on the market.

Whether you choose to go for one of our recommended e-commerce platforms or not, there's a couple of things you want to make sure your site does. We would recommend placing your Call To Action buttons strategically throughout your site to maximise your chances of conversion, and safeguarding the speed of your site so customers don't get frustrated and flock to the competition.

For more information on these providers, visit our dedicated review of the top ecommerce platforms for small businesses.

Whichever builder you go with, you will have to check if it offers both ecommerce and non-ecommerce plans, and then make sure you're on a paymet plan that allows you to sell online (like Wix's Business Basic or Business Unlimited plans). Once you're on an ecomerce plan, the in-platform prompts and support should make it clear how to design and set up your store with products and a sufficient payment system.

6. Publish your new website

To actually get your website online, you’ll need a domain name (i.e. the www.xxx.com bit). Many web builders give you a free domain name for the first year, and you’ll then need to pay a set fee per year to keep that domain. For lots more info on how the whole domain process works, take a look at our guide to buying a domain name.

As you can see, using a web builder is a quick, easy and affordable way to get your business online, making it a great fit for most small businesses.

Did you know?

50% of consumers believe that website design is crucial to a business's overall brand. Therefore, you want to make sure the website builder your choose has plenty of customisation options so that you have enough flexibility to build your brand identity.

How to create a website with a web designer

Using a web designer is the perfect option for your business if:

  • You want a bespoke, one of a kind website to truly wow your customers
  • You have complex technical needs that can’t be met with web builders
  • You want to outsource most of the work
  • You’ve got the budget to pay for it – this process can often cost thousands of pounds, plus more for ongoing maintenance

In short, it’s a complex, involved and lengthy process, but you can end up with something truly special.

But, to make it work, it’s crucial to approach things with the right mindset.

How to work with a web designer

When thinking about web design, you need to always remember that, whether you're creating from scratch or redesigning an existing site, this is a collaborative process.

You don’t just hire a company, tell them what to do, and then get a website a month later.

No, it’s more like working with an architect to design your dream house (with the key difference being your web design both designs and builds your site).

Choosing a web designer

This is a big decision, so make sure you take it seriously. You need to find a designer that has experience in your industry, has a track record building websites like the one you have in mind, and is easy to work with. Look at who designed competitor websites and try to contact previous clients if you can, to get a real idea of what they’re like to work with.

For loads more great tips, take a look at our guide to finding a web designer.

When you start

At the outset, your web designer needs to know:

  • What kind of site you want and what you need it to do
  • What you like about competitor sites
  • If you have any branding ideas or an existing colour scheme that needs to be reflected
  • What is the deadline
  • What is the budget

Before you sign anything, you need to make sure that there’s a shared vision for your website, and agreement on how long it will take and how much it will cost.

The contract

Like any contract, read your web design contract carefully.

It needs to set out exactly what you are (and aren’t) paying for. Quite simply, anything that you need doing that isn’t in the contract is going to cost you extra, so make sure you’re clear about what each stage of the process involves.

One crucial point is that you normally need to supply the website text yourself, everything from About Us to product descriptions. If you can’t or don’t want to produce this in-house, then consider hiring a freelancer to produce sparkling copy that’s perfect for SEO.

The design process

As your website is designed and built, it’s going to come back to you at various stages for feedback.

If it really doesn’t match what you had in mind, then make sure you say so, trying to endlessly tweak it is just going to cause lots of friction as time goes on.

But, and this is just as important, try not to nit-pick, moving elements around by a few inches is unlikely to make much difference to anyone and will simply annoy your designer.

Testing, testing, testing

Once your website is designed and built, then it’s time for testing. Every link, every form, every site pathway, everything a user could do on your website needs to be checked. Oh, and go through the text with a fine toothed comb to spot spelling and grammar errors too.

Working with a web designer can produce a truly spectacular website for your business. However, you need to be prepared to play an active role in what is a lengthy and expensive process.

Did you know?

The average e-commerce conversion rate on mobile is 2.49% while desktop conversions are 5.06%. This tells you that customers make purchases on both phones and computers, so you want a website builder that will display your site correctly on both formats.

How to create a website with WordPress.org

You should consider using WordPress.org to create a website for your business if you:

  • Want complete freedom to change and customise your website
  • Have the time to design and build your website yourself
  • Have some level of technical website knowledge

If you tick these boxes, then you can create a bespoke site at a much lower cost than using a web designer, with the obvious downside that you’ll need to do (almost) all the heavy lifting.

There are six basic steps to creating a website with WordPress.org:

  1. Choose a domain name and hosting provider
  2. Install WordPress
  3. Choose your theme
  4. Install the plugins you need
  5. Complete your administrative pages
  6. Publish your WordPress.org site

1. Choose a domain name and hosting provider

As we discussed in the web builder section, every website needs a domain name – it’s the www.xxx.com bit that lets people find you online.

With a WordPress.org site, you’ll also need a hosting provider. This essentially buys your website space on the world wide web, if your domain name is your address, then the hosting provider gives you the plot of land you’re going to build on.

However, not all hosting providers are created equal. There are a variety of options out there, all with different price points, features, and levels of service.

Once again though, we’ve done the hard work for you – putting the leading providers through their paces and finding that Bluehost is the best overall web hosting provider for small businesses.

4.6 out of 5
  • Types of hosting
    4.5
  • Help and support
    5
  • Features
    4
  • Value for money
    4.4
  • Up time performance
    4

An affordable (plans start from just £2.57 per month for 12 months) provider that offers 24/7 customer support, Bluehost also boasts strong server reliability and has specific WordPress solutions.

All this makes Bluehost the perfect partner for your WordPress.org website.

To see how Bluehost's rivals compare, check out our guide to the best small business web hosting providers. Alternatively, if you want to guarantee a low price point, take a look at our guide to the best providers for shared hosting. Shared hosting is the cheapest form of hosting.

2. Install WordPress

Once you’ve got your hosting and domain name sorted, just head to WordPress.org, download and install.

3. Choose your theme

Your theme will dictate the look and feel of your website, so this is a really important decision. There are thousands and thousands to choose from – with prices ranging from free to hundreds of dollars – so make sure you take the time to find a theme that really fits the site that you want to create. If you need help, there are loads of great resources online –like this WP Beginner guide to selecting the perfect WordPress theme.

4. Install the plugins you need

A theme will give you a basic WordPress.org website, but plugins will give you the bells and whistles that really bring it to life. There are plugins that cover almost anything from improving site speed and building web forms, to boosting SEO and adding live chat to your website. Using plugins is a vital part of creating a high-quality WordPress.org website, so make sure to research which are right for you.

5. Complete your administrative pages

One for the “dull but important” category now, as you need to fill out standard pages like About, Contact, privacy and disclaimer. These tell potential customers about your business and protect you and your site visitors.

6. Publish your WordPress.org site

Finally, it’s time to start adding content and get your site live.

Using WordPress.org to create your business site is definitely the DIY option. It’s perfect if you want (almost) complete creative control and have the technical expertise to pull it off. You’ll save money vs using a web designer and, with enough time, effort and skill, you could create the perfect online home for your business.

Verdict

When it comes to creating a business website, you have three main choices.

Using a website builder is a great option for most small businesses – it’s a quick, easy and affordable way to create your site. Top builders like Wix and Squarespace hold your hand through the whole process, with amazing, easy to use templates and excellent customer support.

Whilst web builders like Shopify will equip you with all the tools you need to sell online and scale your ecommerce store.

If you’ve got grander ambitions, then you might want to use a web designer. You’ll be able to create the site of your dreams, but this is generally a lengthy and expensive process so more suitable for larger SMEs.

Finally, business owners with the time and technical expertise should consider using WordPress.org to build their website. You can create a bespoke website that perfectly meets your needs, and save lots of money vs using a web designer. However, you’ll need to do almost all the work yourself, so this option definitely isn’t for everyone.

Struggling to work out which is the best right choice for you? Just take our quick website quiz to find out which strategy meets your needs, and be matched with top web builders and web designers.

Good luck!

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Frequently Asked Questions
  • How can I create a free business website?
    You can choose a website builder that offers a free trial or that has a free plan like Wix.
  • Is it free to have a business website?
    It definitely can be! However, keep in mind that if you choose to build a website for free, your site will have a number of limitations including ads, limited bandwidth, and few customisations.
  • How much does it cost to have a website in the UK?
    It really depends on the type of features you want to have access to and your budget, but generally, building a website with a website builder can range from being free to costing £259 per month.
Written by:
Henry Williams headshot
Henry has been writing for Startups.co.uk since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also acted as project lead on many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Business Ideas, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides.
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