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How to Create a Small Business Website for Free

How to Create a Small Business Website for Free

If you are at the stage of choosing a website building platform, you are already aware of all benefits that a small business website has. It is about not only online representation and growing sales. A solid website is not just the face of your business. It comes as a powerful promotion and marketing tool to let you move forward.

Apart from obvious advantages of having a small business website such as reaching a worldwide audience or having your customers aware entrepreneurs get a full access to a fully customizable platform with featuring flexibility in the face of the latest mobile technologies.

Thanks to innovative website builders and CMS platforms, you do not need to be a web design expert or coder. They are easy to use letting you come up with a solid online representation within a couple of hours.

Wix – The Best Small Business Website Builder

Product Name:WIX
Official Website:wix.com
Complexity:Very easy
Free Plan:Unlimited
Premium Plan:from $13/mo
Founded:2006
Headquarters:Israel

Wix – is a multi-purpose website builder that is perfect for newbies with no technical skills. It offers an array of stylish and responsive templates for small business and eCommerce. They are easy to edit or customize with a set of built-in features and integrations. The platform comes with extra SEO and marketing tools to promote your business, integrations for page customization, and AI-drive technology to create ready-to-go projects in minutes.

Wix Features

  • Wix Ascend CRM – a tool for business marketing and customer management. It offers instruments to capture leads and turn them into paying clients. Users will be able to improve customers’ loyalty and manage business communications via LIve Chat, effective SEO strategy, and other built-in features to engage with the target audience.
  • AI-Based Website Builder – the platform follows the latest technologies and offers its AI-driven solution. It is able to create a ready-to-go website in less than 10 minutes. It will have all the necessary integrated options following your business niche and preferences.
  • eCommerce Features – those who want to sell products online, will appreciate a set of Wix merchant tools. They include eCommerce-oriented templates, seamless payment integration, intuitive product management system, instruments to create special deals and promotions.
  • Wix App Store – an ultimate marketplace for users who need to connect third-party services that may include email marketing tools, analytics and metrics, security features, image galleries, user acquisition forms, and more.

Wix Design

Users will be able to choose from more than 550 different templates. All layouts are mobile-responsive. They look pretty stylish in addition to web design tools to change background colors, fonts, element dimensions, etc. The editor has a mobile preview option letting you not only check how the website will look like on different devices but also edit the layout.

Users can create different layouts and use them any time you need thanks to Wix Dynamic Pages. For example, you can create a template for the product page and use it for various items over and over again without manual editing.

Wix Pricing

Wix has an unlimited free plan, which is great. You will have a chance to test the editor and some other baseline features. But it will never work for a live and long-running project, as it has a limited tool option without a chance to connect your own domain. So, to launch a solid website, Wix offers several types of plans depending on your needs.

Website Wix Plans

  • Combo ($13/mo) – absence of system ad banners, free hosting and domain connection;
  • Unlimited ($17/mo) – 10GB storage space, unlimited bandwidth;
  • Pro ($22/mo) – integrated statistics collection tools and Google Analytics, 2 hours of video storage space;
  • VIP ($39/mo) – professional logo, first priority support etc.

Business/eCommerce Plans

  • Business Basic ($23/mo) – online payment acception;
  • Business Unlimited ($27/mo) – eCommerce platform, business development tools, applications for entrepreneurs;
  • Business VIP ($49/mo) – unlimited bandwidth and video storage space, complete Wix Suite;
  • Enterprise ($500/mo) – end-to-end business solution that provides the highest functionality and maximum amount of tools.

To make the plans more affordable to new subscribers, Wix frequently offers discounts and special offers. The system makes it possible to save up to 50% of the initial cost of its plans when signing up from Tuesday to Thursday on a weekly basis. If you are not satisfied with the selected plan for some reason, there is the 14-day money back guarantee.

Summing Up: Wix was designed to create websites of any type. It is a good solution for small business sites as well as offering a whole pack of features and editing tools for non-technicians.

WordPress – Free CMS for Small Business Website

Product Name:WordPress
Official Website:wordpress.org
Complexity:Above average
Free Plan:Unlimited
Premium Plan:from $2.95/mo
Founded:2003
Headquarters:Worldwide

WordPress – is one of the most popular platforms over the years. It boasts millions of websites across the globe. They include blogs, small business sites, digital stores, etc. The system is very easy to use though customization still requires at least basic HTML skills. However, it comes as a flexible solution considering a selection of plugins and integration capabilities.

WordPress features

  • Thousands of Themes – the software boasts the widest selection of themes with thousands of templates to choose from. It can be either a small business or eCommerce mockup with options that refer to any industry or niche. Most of these themes are free to use and customize.
  • Customization and Design – as an open-source platform, WordPress ensures endless web design and customization capabilities with a chance to modify any template. Users are free to develop and add scripts of their own, have a piece of code embedded to their websites, add extra functions, site elements, and components to stand out. However, you are supposed to have at least a baseline coding experience.
  • Plugins and Integrations – from eCommerce plugins to analytic tools, forms, ad banners, security widgets, and thousands of other add-ons are available for WordPress users. You can seamlessly integrate third-party services for email marketing, SEO optimization, reporting, and more.

WordPress Design

The CMS platforms offer a wide selection of different templates that are mobile friendly. Some templates are free while some are paid. Free themes generally look the same with some slight differences. However, you will hardly find it difficult to customize them in case you have a deep HTML or PHP knowledge. Premium templates are more versatile and unique though they also require some slight customization.

WordPress Pricing

Initially, you do not have to pay for the CMS itself. Users may access it and start building a website at no cost. However, you are supposed to have a domain and hosting to keep your website files. Also, users will have to pay for premium templates in case they want to use an exclusive theme while some plugins and extensions are also paid. The best solution is to opt for a WP-optimized server solution with all settings and integrations already included in the plan along with a domain name. Bluehost is yet the best option offering seamless WP integration, access to WP plugins and themes, great performance, and advanced security starting at $2.95 per month.

Summing Up: Although WordPress may not be the best option for newbies if compared to website builders, it delivers endless customization and design capabilities, in addition to endless plugins. The platform certainly serves well when it comes to small business websites.

SITE123 – Easy Way to Build a Free Business Website

Product Name:SITE123
Official Website:https://site123.com
Complexity:Super easy
Free Plan:Yes
Premium Plan:From $10.80/mo
Founded:2015
Headquarters:Israel

SITE123 – is a fast and easy way to build a free business website from scratch. The system has distinguished itself as one of the simplest and most affordable platforms for DIY website creation. It is known for its intuitive web design approach, abundance of free templates and multiple high end design customization tools to give your project personalized look. What’s important, the website builder does not require an obligatory coding background yet it works great for starting all types of web projects, including small business websites.

SITE123 Features

  • App Market – The website builder makes it possible to choose from multiple free and paid extensions available in its collection. There are multiple business apps you can integrate into your website to give it the required niche focus. These include Analytic Tools, Online Forms, Live Chat Support, Social Marketing Tools, Galleries, Booking etc. Use the search filter option to simplify the choice of the required app.
  • Multilingual Tool – The tool allows creating websites in different languages to make them accessible to international users. Depending upon the terms of your pricing plan, the number of languages you can use for your website can be up to 5, which increases your project performance.
  • Blogging and eCommerce – With SITE123, you can set up and manage quality blogs and online stores, depending upon your business specialization. It takes around a few hours to get started with your project here.
  • Logo Maker – The platform allows designing your own business logo (if you don’t have the one) and integrating it into your website for maximum brand promotion.
  • Customer Interaction Tools – SITE123 grants access to multiple customer interaction tools, which matters a lot for managing different types of businesses. The most popular features include Schedule Booking, Restaurant Reservations, Ticket Selling etc.

SITE123 Design

SITE123 has quite an extensive collection of templates, all of which are free and responsive.they are divided into several niche categories based on the topics they tackle. Each category includes up to 10 designs. Availability of flexible customization tools allows giving your project a touch of personalization.

SITE123 Pricing

The website builder has a free plan, which works great for testing its baseline features. To get access to more advanced tools and features, you will have an opportunity to upgrade to one of premium subscriptions. There are 4 of them here, namely:

  • Basic ($10.80/mo) – 10 GB of storage space, 5 GB of bandwidth, free domain name connection;
  • Advanced ($16.80/mo) – 30 GB of storage space, 15 GB of bandwidth, up to 50 products per month;
  • Professional ($22.80/mo) – 90 GB of storage space, 45 GB of bandwidth, 500 products per month;
  • Gold ($28.80/mo) – 270 GB of storage space, 135 GB of bandwidth, unlimited products per month.

Thus, SITE123 plans are all reasonably-priced and you can pick any of them to start your small business project with regard to your current niche requirements and business goals.

Summing Up: SITE123 works equally great for non-coders and web design pros. This is a nice pick for small business websites due to the availability of niche tools and features.

IM Creator – Free Website Builder for Non-Profit Business

Product Name:IM Creator
Official Website:https://imcreator.com
Complexity:Easy
Free Plan:Yes
Premium Plan:From $8/mo
Founded:2011
Headquarters:United States

IM Creator – is a free website builder for non-profit business project creation. The system makes it possible to launch and customize websites for creatives, entrepreneurs and artists as well as for users, who intend to use it for non-commercial goals. The DIY web design platform is intuitive and understandable for all user categories, including non-coders. It grants access to a set of powerful integrated design customization tools and features that make the process of website development effective and hassle-free.

IM Creator Features

  • Blogging and eCommerce – IM Creator comes with powerful integrated blogging an eCommerce engines, which allows starting and managing feature-rich blogs and digital stores without using any programming skills.
  • Code Integration – If you are a coding pro and have an intention to launch a truly unique and feature-laden project, the website builder lets you integrate codes for deeper personalization.
  • Powerful Integrations – The platform allows connecting social media profiles and “widget” stripes for better website performance. These include SoundCloud audio player, OpenTable reservation form, Google event schedule list, PDF viewer and more.
  • Multilingual Websites – The system includes a built-in multilingual support tool, which can be used to create several versions of your project in the languages of your choice. No extra plugin integration is required to do that – so easy and understandable the system is.

IM Creator Design

IM Creator lets you choose from numerous mobile-ready designs, which are free and niche-specific. The designs are fully-customizable and they don’t require any coding background to let you create a unique website. Availability of the integrated WYSIWYG editor makes it possible to control the website development process in progress, which matters a lot for beginners.

IM Creator Pricing

IM Creator offers versatile pricing to fit any budget and requirements. The system is free for non-commercial websites as well as for artists, creatives and students. A free plan grants access to unlimited hosting, domain connection feature, rich choice of templates, integrated eCommerce tools and it doesn’t include an ad banner. If you intend to launch a small business website, you’ll have an opportunity to upgrade the premium plan:

  • Premium Account ($8/mo) – offers the terms included in a free plan and requires one time annual payment that constitutes $96/mo;
  • Unlimited License ($350/year) – offers the above listed features plus SSL Certificate connection, special features for resellers and organizations along with extensive White Labeling options.

The website builder also has three White Label plans, namely Standard, Host It Yourself and Servers Control plans. Their cost constitutes $350, $2500 and $25000 per year correspondingly.

Summing Up: IM Creator offers multiple features and tools that are required for small business website development. The website builder targets entrepreneurs, artists and creatives, providing multiple pricing options for each user category.

uKit – Easiest Small Business Website Builder

Product Name:uKit
Official Website:ukit.com
Complexity:Super easy
Free Plan:14 days trial
Premium Plan:from $4/mo
Founded:2015
Headquarters:Russian Federation

uKit – is one of the cheapest and simplest website builders. It was developed to help newbies build responsive small business sites, professional portfolios, and attractive landing pages. The software has a baseline eCommerce functionality as well. Although it hardly works for huge digital marketplaces, it will meet the needs of small online shops.

uKit features

  • Intuitive Interface – Editing a uKit website is very easy. Based on advanced drag-and-drop technology, the platform lets you easily customize each page, change and remove blocks, add content and media files.
  • Flexibility – Apart from built-in features, uKit brings great integration opportunities. Users can integrate their website with analytic and marketing tools to grow email campaigns. CRM integration feature is perfect for small digital stores whenever you need to track your sales stats. Users can implement such popular services as Google Maps, Analytics, Vimeo, SoundCloud and more to make the site as engaging as possible.
  • uKit Alt – Do you have an existing Facebook page? uKit will help you to convert it into a fully-featured website. It uses API to generate necessary info from the page along with content and images and import the data directly to the web page.
  • eCommerce – Starting a web store with uKit is super easy due to its powerful integrated eCommerce engine. The system allows doing that in two ways – either by means of ecommerce widget connection or by means of Ecwid plugin integration.
  • SendPulse Integration – With uKit, you can integrate the SendPulse widget to enable push notifications for website visitors. This is done with a few clicks only.
  • CRM Integration – uKit allows for AmoCRM integration. This is the system of accounting potential deals and clients that helps boost profit and keep your sales under control.

uKit Design

uKit delivers a decent collection of templates for different categories of business. All templates are optimized for mobile usage. You can choose from a list of ready-to-use landing page templates as well.

uKit mobile customization feature makes it easy to ensure proper mobile website running. Mobile and Tablet View mode is simple function to fine-tune the way your site looks like on various mobile devices featuring different screen dimensions and specs. Feel free to hide some blocks that might look off-putting from a smartphone or tablet without harming the desktop version.

uKit Pricing

If you want to test the software first, there is a 14-day free trial. Those who are satisfied with the service will be able to choose from 4 different plans that include:

  • Minimal (best to get started with a small portfolio for only $5 per month).
  • Basic (the plan costs $10 per month with more features to create a business site).
  • eCommerce ($13 per month for a small digital store).
  • Pro costs $15 per month feat outsourcing functionality.

Summing Up: uKit is a good software at a reasonable price. It delivers all the necessary instruments to build a professional small business website from scratch. On the other hand, it is good for simple sites that do not require extended features or customization capabilities.

Shopify – #1 Platform to Create an Ecommerce Website

Product Name:Shopify
Official Website:shopify.com
Complexity:Average
Free Plan:14 days trial
Premium Plan:from $29/mo
Founded:2004
Headquarters:Canada

Shopify – is an eCommerce-oriented website builder developed with a focus on merchants. The system makes it easy to create small online shops or huge digital stores with access to such global marketplaces as Amazon. Site owners will get access to a range of marketing and promotion features, eCommerce-oriented templates, advanced product management system, and more.

Shopify Features

  • Product Management – Shopify delivers full control over the product page with advanced management tools. Apart from item descriptions and photos, users can create product categories and featured lists, keep control over customers’ accounts, monitor orders, fulfillments, and products on stock.
  • Integrated Services – the website builder comes with built-in eCommerce functionality that includes integrated shopping cart features, seamless connection with more than 100 different gateways, multilingual website support, tax and shipping calculations, free SSL, and more.
  • SEO and Promotion – each page can be optimized in accordance with SEO requirements. Shop owners can edit meta titles and descriptions for product pages and website sections, add blogging features, use product marketing and promotion tools to offer special deals, promo codes, discounts, etc.
  • Sales Channels – Along with integrated web store creation options, Shopify allows adding new sales channels to increase sales volume and grow profit. Thus, you can integrate your digital store with Amazon and social network accounts as well as with other platforms.
  • POS Software – Shopify comes with integrated Point-of-Sale software, which lets you sell products both online and offline, thus, enhancing your web store potential.
  • App Store – Shopify App Store makes it possible to pick widgets and extensions to enhance your project functionality. There are 12 categories of apps to choose from, including those for marketing, web store security, product management etc. The apps available there are free and paid.

Shopify Design

The software has a range of templates featuring various styles. They are mobile-friendly and look professional. On the other hand, they are pretty basic. Luckily for experienced users, they can access template’s PHP or CSS to implement any style and stand out from competitors.

Shopify Pricing

The platform offers three major plans that cost from $29 to $299 depending on the instruments you look for. The price will depend on the website complexity and features you look for it:

  • Basic Shopify ($29/mo) – blog connection,free SSL Certificate, manual order creation, Shopify POS app, abandoned cart recovery, 2 staff accounts, fraud analysis, sales channels;
  • Shopify ($79/mo) – gift cards, professional reports, 1-5 store locations, 5 staff accounts;
  • Advanced Shopify ($299/mo) – advanced report builder, 15 staff accounts, up to 8 store locations, real-time carrier shipping etc.

Even the entry plan has all eCommerce features you might need. You can switch between plans any time you want.

Summing Up: Shopify is a flexible eCommerce platform that is limited to only digital store web building. Newbies may find the platform a bit hard for the uptake from the start. However, the editing process is still pretty simple. At the same time, it offers some extended features as well as the ability to enter the digital market without actually building a website. Simply go to Shopify Exchange Marketplace where you can buy ready-to-use business to match your preferences and competence. A simple way to start selling products online.

Squarespace – All-In-One Website Builder

Product Name:Squarespace
Official Website:squarespace.com
Complexity:Average
Free Plan:14-day trial
Premium Plan:From $29/mo
Founded:2012
Headquarters:USA

Squarespace – is the all-in-one website builder, which can easily be used by newbies and web design experts. The platform works well for all types of web projects, including small business websites. The use of the service does not imply coding proficiency. However, if you have programming skills, you can use the knowledge to launch feature-rich and quite powerful projects with the system.

Squarespace Features

  • Blogging and eCommerce – The website builder has powerful integrated blogging and ecommerce engines, which let you launch and customize blogs and digital stores. There are multiple niche templates to choose from as well as a diversity of tools needed to update the projects.
  • Unfold App – To promote your small business website in social networks and to drive user attention, you can make use of the Unfold App. It lets you create and post feature-rich stories in social networks. The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store absolutely for free.
  • Integrations – Squarespace comes with a set of integrations, which can boost your project performance. The range of widgets and add-ons includes email management, SEO and analytic tools, location management options, Google Maps etc.
  • Logo Maker – The system allows designing and integrating an advanced Logo Maker, which can add brand popularity and recognition to your business website. Just provide the info the system requests and it will come up with the most suitable solution for your project.

Squarespace Design

The website builder offers quite an extensive collection of templates. They are niche-specific and free. You can pick and customize any design to comply with your needs and business focus. To customize the selected theme, you can make use of Squarespace Page Editor and a pack of design tools. Access to HTML/CSS editing options allows giving your website a personalized look.

Squarespace Pricing

Squarespace has a reasonable pricing policy. There is no free plan here, but you can test the selected plan during the 14-day trial. To proceed to your project creation and customization, you can upgrade to one of premium subscriptions. These are as follows:

  • Personal ($12/mo) – 20 website pages, 3% transaction fee, free custom domain connection etc.;
  • Business ($18/mo) – unlimited number of web pages, 2% sales transaction fee, AdWords credit etc.;
  • Basic ($26/mo) – integrated accounting feature, unlimited bandwidth and disk storage space, product number etc.;
  • Advanced ($40/mo) – real time carrier shipping, label printing, abandoned checkout autorecovery etc.

Each subscription offers free hosting and domain name. If you have the one already, the system allows pointing it to your new project.

Summing Up: Squarespace is a website builder, which was created with business focus in mind. Whatever niche you specialize in, you will surely find tools and features to get started with your new project here.

Weebly – Simple Small Business eCommerce Platform

Product Name:Weebly
Official Website:weebly.com
Complexity:Average
Free Plan:Yes
Premium Plan:From $4/mo
Founded:2006
Headquarters:USA

Weebly – is a simple small business eCommerce platform, which is a great choice for running feature-rich projects without a line of code. The platform comes with a drag-and-drop editor, which ensures hassle-free and easy web design process. Advanced eCommerce functionality contributes to the development of feature-laden web stores, although, creation of other projects is also possible here.

Weebly Features

  • Blogging – The website builder was initially created as a blogging platform, which explains the diversity of tools, designs and features it offers to launch this type of projects.
  • eCommerce – The platform has acquired a strong eCommerce focus after its merge with Square in 2018. It now allows creating small and complex online stores, using a set of integrated eCommerce features/tools.
  • Weebly Marketing Tools – The website builder comes with Weebly Promote Tool, which helps improve your business email marketing campaign. It automatically generates messages, using the data on user activity. The tool has a set of pre-designed templates that can be used for diverse types of emails.
  • Hosting Options – Weebly allows publishing and storing videos in two ways. You can either upload your file to YouTube platform and other video hosting services or add it directly to Weebly hosting, where it will be automatically displayed on your project.
  • App Center – The system grants access to multiple integrable applications and services you can add to your website when required.you can choose from versatile extensions, such as LiveChat, PinPoll, Call-Out-Box and more.

Weebly Design

Weebly offers three web design options to its subscribers. It is possible to use one of the pre-designed themes, select and customize a template on your own or get a brand new template from the system developers. When working on your website creation independently, get ready to use advanced coding knowledge to make it a success.

Weebly Pricing

The website builder has an affordable and understandable pricing policy. Everyone will find a plan to use here with regard to niche specialization, personal requirements and budget. The system has a free plan that works well for testing the system, but it’s still not enough to design more feature-rich projects with it. If you expect deeper flexibility and more advanced features, you can decide to upgrade to one of premium subscriptions listed below:

  • Personal ($6/mo) – pop-up notifications, connected custom domain, shipping/tax calculator etc.;
  • Professional ($12/mo) – branded professional portfolio/small business website, password protection, absence of the system ad banners, free domain connection, advanced website analytics;
  • Performance Plan ($26/mo) – used for scalable business projects with enhanced eCommerce options, shopping cart abandonment tools, product reviews, availability of payment gateway integration, priority customer support etc.

Weebly plans are quite affordable for everyone, especially when it comes to small business website creation.

Summing Up: Weebly website builder boasts a strong eCommerce focus, diversity of templates and abundance of business tools. These features make the platform a great pick for this type of projects, which can be easily created equally by beginners and web design experts.

Bluehost – The Best Hosting for a Small Business

Product Name:Bluehost
Official Website:https://www.bluehost.com/
Complexity:Average
Free Plan:No
Premium Plan:From $2.95/mo
Founded:2003
Headquarters:USA

Bluehost – is the best hosting for a small business and one of the most trusted hosting providers in the world. It has won a positive reputation among its subscribers, offering smooth project performance, high uptime rates and safe preservation of the stored project data. What’s more, the company has been regarded as an official WordPress hosting, which is another proof of its credibility and trustworthiness.

Bluehost Features

  • Extensive Marketplace. The company grants access to the rich and versatile integrated marketplace, which includes multiple extensions, plugins, add-ons and scripts. They contribute to more effective presentation and customization of your small business website.
  • Improved Page Load Time. The hosting provider ensures quality website presentation, taking care of high page load time. This reduces the percentage of web page abandonment rates, contributing to user popularity.
  • Flexibility. With Bluehost, you can seamlessly integrate with external plugins, extensions and add-ons that can notably contribute to traffic growth.
  • High Security Parameters. Bluehost applies a set of tools and special features that help improve the security of projects hosted with it. These include hotlink protection tools, Spam Experts and Spam Hammer to mention a few.

Bluehost Design

As a hosting provider, Bluehost doesn’t have its own collection of templates one can use for customization. It is compatible with any WordPress themes as well as designs used by other platforms it cooperates with.

Bluehost Pricing

The hosting provider does not include a free plan, but that’s not a problem due to the affordability of its premium subscriptions. Currently, the platform offers four types of premium subscriptions. Here they go:

  • Basic ($2.95/mo) – 1 website, 50GB disk storage space, WP integration, free domain for 1 year, free SSL Certificate, 24/7 customer support etc.;
  • Plus ($5.45/mo) – multiple websites, unlimited disk storage space, WP integration AI-driven templates, free CDN etc.;
  • Choice Plus ($5.45/mo) – features included into Plus plan as well as free domain privacy and free automated backups for 1 year;
  • Pro ($18.95/mo) – unlimited websites, optimized CPU resources, free dedicated IP etc.

Bluehost pricing is more than affordable for hosting business websites and everyone will find a package to comply with special needs and budget.

Summing Up: Bluehost is a perfect choice for hosting small business websites. Its functionality complies with affordable pricing, which matters a lot for this type of projects.

Hostgator – Cheap Website Builder and Hosting Solution

Product Name:HostGator
Official Website:https://www.hostgator.com/
Founded:2002
Data Centers:USA
Trial Period:- (30-day money-back guarantee)
Minimal Plan:$2.75/mo
Bonuses:Free domain, SSL

HostGator – is a cheap website builder and hosting solution, which makes it possible to create different types of web projects and store them on its servers. The platform has a handy drag-and-drop editor, multiple themes and a set of tools used to effectively customize a project. Gator works great for small business websites that focus on the promotion of services/products.

Hostgator Features

  • App Market – The platform has a rich integrated marketplace of widgets and applications that can be used for powerful on-page project customization.
  • Social Media Embedding – The software boasts an advanced set of social media integrations. This lets you embed content from popular social networks directly to your website.
  • HostGator Hosting – One of the strongest features of the platform is web hosting opportunity available by default. The company offers unlimited bandwidth and storage space, irrespectively of the plan you will go for.
  • Integrated analytics – Hostgator includes a set of analytics tools, which make it possible to track your project performance, including such aspects as conversion parameters, traffic flow, website abandonment rates and more.

Hostgator Design

Hostgator has quite a nice collection of responsive templates, which are free and absolutely customizable. The designs are divided into niche categories based on the type of project you work on. Business themes are available here as well along with multiple customization tools provided by default.

Hostgator Pricing

The platform offers moderate pricing policy to everyone, who intend to use it for small business website development. There is no completely free plan or trial here, so, you will have to decide on the suitable subscription right from the start. Currently, there are three plans to choose from:

  • Express Start ($3.84/mo) – intelligent website builder, free domain and SSL Certificate, 3-product online store, 3 email campaigns per month;
  • Express Site ($5.99/mo) – 5 email campaigns per month, 10-product online store, priority support, appointment booking;
  • Express Store ($9.22/mo) – 10 email campaigns per month, unlimited product online store, no transaction fees.

The website builder frequently offers discounts for its current and potential subscribers. You can always pick the option that suits you most.

Summing Up: Hostgator encompasses a website builder and a hosting provider all in one place. Additionally, it offers a set of tools that matter a lot for small business projects.

Where Сan I Build a Business Website?

As a rule, website builders offer an intuitive interface that is easy to understand. The platforms are followed by detailed tutorials and extended customer support. They proved to be a cost-effective solution as well as offering a simple step-by-step web building process without coding.

Website Builders Pros:
Website Builders Cons:
Simple Editing – they are very easy to use. The software was designed to help non-technicians build a great site at no time at all. Some platforms follow the latest web technologies introducing AI-based instruments.
Great Design – website builders usually come with a diverse selection of templates for any field or niche. Whether you need a stunning portfolio, professional business card or an up-to-date digital store, you will find it here.
Flexibility – a selection of add-ons, widgets and third-party integrations makes the customization process easy and fat. Users can create a unique style for higher customers’ engagement.
Cheap Plans – You can choose from a plan that meets your requirements. Once you have subscribed, you will no longer worry about hosting, domain, security and other issues. You pay once and for all.
Limited Customization Capabilities – the platform comes with some code editing restrictions although some builders provide an access to CSS.
No Import Option – once you have chosen a platform, you need to stick to it for good with no chance to transfer your website to another platform, or CMS.

CMS platforms are programs designed to create functional websites of different types. They let users handle the web building process for different needs including small business or eCommerce. The software is functional enough with an array of functions to implement. Most platforms come with an easy editing process though plugin integration and customization still requires some technical skills.

CMS Pros:
CMS Cons:
Advanced Flexibility – you can choose from hundreds of plugins, modules, and widgets for any taste;
Advanced SEO Features – CMS platforms reserve much space to fine-tune your website’s SEO. You are not limited to meta titles and descriptions only but can work on the content making it more relevant and suitable for search engines.
Extended Editing – a full access to website’s PHP and CSS lets users edit practically each and every element creating a stunning design to stand out.
Affordability – opting for CMS is a more cost-effective decision considering lower hosting and domain costs. The handicap will be terminated once you hire a professional developer or get addicted to paid premium themes and plugins.
Difficult to Use – They are much more difficult to use if compared to website builders. The lack of technical and coding skills may result in serious stumbling blocks.
Not All-in-One – you need to take care of several things at the same time apart from the building process. You need to register and prolong the domain name as well as take care about hosting for the site.

In theory, it is. But when it turns out to real market conditions, users will clearly understand how free services can be even to the detriment of the project development especially in the long run. The main downsides of using free services to build a business website are as follows:

  • Free Features are not enough – free plans come with baseline options. For example, some website builders limit access to theme collection, add-ons, or even page components. You may not even be able to place a contact form box or Features section to highlight the company’s key benefits.
  • Custom Domain – a fee domain will never let your business grow. Besides, it may have a negative effect on the website SEO and search engine ranks not mentioning users’ recognition.
  • Zero eCommerce Options – you will never find a free plan that offers at least minimal eCommerce functionality. As a rule, selling features are available in premium plans. So, you will not be able to create an online shop with a free plan.
  • Hidden Costs – when you finally realize a free plan will never work out, you will need to pay for a premium plan or even switch to another platform. A few services offer migration services or website export/import. In other words, you will need to do everything from the start.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Website for a Small Business?

Now, let’s have a look at costs required to build a small business or eCommerce website either with CMS or website building platform. First of all, we need to decide what kind of project it is going to be. If it is a shop, what features it should have and how many projects you are going to sell.

If it is a small business site, decide on the promotion and marketing instruments, content type and volume, website structure, blogging section, etc. The price will depend on the website complexity and instruments you need to bring the idea to life. If we consider using any of the reviewed platforms, the average costs are as follows:

Business Website Building Costs, ($ for the first year)

WixWordPressSITE123IM CreatoruKitShopifySquarespaceWeeblyBluehostHostgator
Paid Plan$264$249$273.6$96$120$348$216$144$71.88
Template$0$30$0$0$0$140$0$0$0
Domain$0$0$0$0$10$0$0$0$0
Hosting$0$36$0$0$0$0$0$0$35.4$0
Total$264$315$273.6$96$130$488$216$144$35.4$71.88

Is It Possible to Create a Small Business Website for Free?

In theory, it is. But when it comes to real market conditions, users will clearly understand how free services can be even to the detriment of the project development especially in the long run. The main downsides of using free services to build a business website are as follows:

  • Free Features are not enough – free plans come with baseline options. For example, some website builders limit access to theme collection, add-ons, or even page components. You may not even be able to place a contact form box or Features section to highlight the company’s key benefits.
  • Custom Domain – a fee domain will never let your business grow. Besides, it may have a negative effect on the website SEO and search engine ranks not mentioning users’ recognition.
  • Zero eCommerce Options – you will never find a free plan that offers at least minimal eCommerce functionality. As a rule, selling features are available in premium plans. So, you will not be able to create an online shop with a free plan.
  • Hidden Costs – when you finally realize a free plan will never work out, you will need to pay for a premium plan or even switch to another platform. A few services offer migration services or website export/import. In other words, you will need to do everything from the start.

What Is the Best Platform for Small Business?

Selecting the right platform to build a website is the same as choosing a house for a living. You expect it to be comfortable and durable despite weather conditions. The same thing is to your project. You probably want to start a long-lasting business or online shop that will serve your and customers’ needs round-the-clock.

Users are supposed to clearly understand what they require and what they can expect from a chosen platform. If you need a tiny shop or a digital shelf to highlight a few of your products, uKit might be a good option with minimum cost. If you plan to launch a growing digital store as well as promote and market your goods, you will need a merchant-oriented platform like Shopify.

WordPress comes as a more flexible solution in terms of customization. It will suit the needs of demanding users in terms of customization and those who know how to code. SITE123 is the easiest website builder, which can be used for small business website development, although, it lacks flexibility and integrated functionality to create large-scale projects.

IM Creator allows building free websites for non-profit businesses, while Squarespace works great for all types of projects, including those for commercial use. Weebly mainly targets eCommerce project owners, but it also includes a powerful toolset to run company websites.

Bluehost has distinguished itself as the best, the most trusted and the most affordable hosting provider in the contemporary web design market. Hostgator, in its turn, makes it possible to launch and host business projects all in one place, offering reasonable fees for its services. Wix, however, appears to be the ultimate solution that can meet all requirements despite the project type you want to launch.

Howard

About the Author

I'm Howard Steele, the founder and editor-in-chief of this website. With over 10 years of web building I know how complicated and tiresome this task can be for a non-IT person. Can’t decide which service to choose? Feel free to ask me for advice. Just describe your website needs, and I’ll gladly help you.

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