HER Digital Marketing

Choosing the best website builder for your small business

Blog Post Images (2)

In today’s world, having a website is super important for small businesses to establish an online presence and reach more people. But not everyone has the technical know-how or resources to create a website from scratch. That’s where website builders come in handy! These platforms are easy to use and allow you to create a website without needing to know how to code.

Some of the most popular website builders out there are WordPress, Shopify, and Squarespace. Canva is not as popular as the others, but this free website builder is growing in users every day and can be a beneficial tool for a specific set of small business owners.

In this blog post, we’re going to compare and contrast these web builders. We’ll look at their pros and cons, pricing, user-friendliness, community support, and more to help you pick the web builder that’s right for you.

WordPress

WordPress is known for its flexibility and customizability. Plus, WordPress is SEO-friendly, meaning your website has a better chance of ranking higher in search engine results. Another perk of WordPress is its large community support.

However, it’s worth noting that WordPress does have a steep learning curve, so it might take some time to get the hang of it. Additionally, you’ll need to handle maintenance and security yourself, and you’ll have to pay for web hosting and domain registration.

Pros

Customizability

One of the best things about the WordPress website builder is how customizable it is. With thousands of free and paid themes and website builder plugins like Elementor or Divi, you can create a website that looks exactly how you want it to. Whether you’re looking to build a blog, a portfolio website, or an online store, WordPress has the tools you need to create a professional-looking website.

WordPress also has a vast library of plugins, which are like add-ons that can enhance your website’s functionality. For example, there are plugins for adding social media buttons, contact forms, and even e-commerce features. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced website builder, WordPress offers plenty of options to make your website stand out.

SEO friendliness

Another big plus is that WordPress is SEO-friendly, which can help your website rank higher in search engine results. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s all about making your website more visible to search engines like Google. WordPress is designed with SEO in mind, which can help your website rank higher in search engine results. For example, WordPress makes it easy to create meta titles and descriptions for your pages and posts, which are important factors in how search engines rank your content.

Additionally, there are plenty of SEO plugins available for WordPress, which can help you optimize your website even further. With WordPress, you can feel confident that your website is optimized for search engines and has a better chance of being discovered by potential visitors.

Endless Resources

With millions of users and developers around the world, there’s always someone who can offer guidance if you run into any issues. WordPress also has a huge library of resources available, such as forums, documentation, and tutorials, so you can easily find the help you need.

Plus, since WordPress is an open-source platform, developers are constantly creating new plugins and themes to enhance its functionality. This means that there are always new features and tools to explore and experiment with. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced website creator, you can rely on the WordPress community for support and inspiration.

Cons

The learning curve

While WordPress has many great features, it’s important to note that it does have a bit of a learning curve. Since it’s a very flexible platform, it can take some time to get the hang of all the options and settings available. You may need to spend some time learning about things like themes, plugins, and widgets before you can really start customizing your website. However, with a bit of patience and perseverance, you can learn how to use WordPress to create a professional-looking website that meets your needs.

Maintenence and security

One thing to keep in mind when using WordPress is that you’ll need to handle maintenance and security yourself. This means that you’ll need to make sure your website is regularly updated with the latest WordPress software and plugin updates to keep it running smoothly and prevent security issues. You’ll also need to ensure that your website is backed up regularly in case something goes wrong.

While this may seem like a daunting task, there are plenty of resources available to help you with maintenance and security. Additionally, many web hosting providers offer managed WordPress hosting plans, which can take care of some of these tasks for you. It’s important to take maintenance and security seriously to ensure that your website stays up and running and that your visitors’ information is safe.

Hosting and domain registration

Another important thing to consider when using WordPress is that it requires web hosting and domain registration. Unlike some other website builders, WordPress is a self-hosted platform, which means that you’ll need to find a web hosting provider to host your website. There are tons of options to choose from, but my personal favorite is Siteground hosting. It has an easy to use interface and is extremely affordable for such high performance.

Additionally, you’ll need to purchase a domain name, which is the web address that visitors will use to access your website. I recommend Namecheap because it’s, well, cheap. While these may seem like extra steps, it actually gives you more control and flexibility over your website. You can choose a web hosting provider that meets your specific needs and budget, and you can choose a domain name that’s unique and memorable.

Shopify

If you’re looking for an e-commerce platform that’s specifically designed for online stores, Shopify is a great option to consider. With Shopify, you can create a fully functional online store quickly and easily, without needing any web design or coding skills. Shopify offers a range of features that make it easy to manage and sell your products online. From inventory management and order processing to shipping and payment processing, Shopify has got it all.

Pros

User-friendliness

One of the biggest advantages of using Shopify is how user-friendly it is. Shopify is designed specifically for e-commerce, which means that all of its features and tools are tailored to help you sell products online. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced online seller, you can easily create a professional-looking store with Shopify’s intuitive interface.

Plus, Shopify offers a wide range of templates and themes to choose from, which makes it easy to create a store that matches your brand and style. With Shopify, you don’t need any coding or web design skills to create a beautiful and functional online store.

Built-in ecommerce functionality

Shopify is packed with e-commerce features that can help you run a successful online store. With Shopify, you can easily manage your product inventory, track orders, and process payments. The platform also offers a range of shipping and tax options, so you can set up your store to work the way you want it to.

The Shopify platform also offers analytics and reporting tools, which allow you to track your store’s performance and identify areas for improvement. You can also integrate your store with a variety of third-party apps and tools to add even more functionality. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to grow your existing online store, Shopify has the tools and features you need to succeed.

Payment gateway integrations

Another great feature of Shopify is its payment gateway integration. Shopify offers a variety of payment processing options, including Shopify Payments, which allows you to easily accept credit card payments directly through your website.

Shopify also integrates with over 100 other payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, and Amazon Pay, so you can choose the payment option that works best for you and your customers. With Shopify, you don’t have to worry about setting up your own payment gateway or dealing with complex payment processing issues. The platform takes care of all the technical details for you, so you can focus on running your business.

Cons

Limited customizability

One of the potential drawbacks of using Shopify is that its customization options are somewhat limited compared to other website builders like WordPress. While Shopify does offer a range of templates and themes, you may find that your options for customizing your store’s design and functionality are somewhat limited.

This can be frustrating if you have a very specific vision for your store or if you need a high level of customization to meet your business needs. However, for many online sellers, the built-in functionality and templates offered by Shopify are sufficient for their needs. If you’re looking for a platform with more customization options, you may want to consider using WordPress instead.

More expensive pricing plans

Another thing to consider when using Shopify is its monthly subscription fees. While Shopify offers a range of pricing plans to fit different budgets and business needs, the platform can be more expensive than other website builders like Squarespace. Pricing starts at $39 per month for the basic plan and goes up to $399 per month for the advanced plan. Additionally, some of the more advanced features and integrations may require additional fees or add-ons.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that Shopify is specifically designed for e-commerce and offers a wide range of features and tools to help you sell products online. For many online sellers, the added cost of using Shopify is worth it for the platform’s e-commerce features and functionality. It’s a good idea to carefully consider your budget and business needs before deciding if Shopify is the right website builder for you.

High transaction fees

Another potential cost to keep in mind when using Shopify is transaction fees for third-party payment gateways. While Shopify offers its own payment processing option (Shopify Payments), if you choose to use a third-party payment gateway like PayPal or Stripe, you may be subject to additional transaction fees. These fees can add up over time and impact your profitability, especially if you have a high volume of sales.

It’s worth noting that many payment gateways charge transaction fees regardless of the platform you use, so this isn’t unique to the Shopify platform. Before choosing a payment gateway, it’s important to research the fees associated with each option and choose the one that works best for your business.

Squarespace

Squarespace is a popular website builder that’s known for its sleek and modern design aesthetic. It’s a versatile platform that can be used to create a variety of different websites, from blogs and portfolios to online stores and business websites. Squarespace is designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, making it a great choice for people who are new to website design and development. With Squarespace, you can create a website quickly and easily, without the need for any coding or technical skills.

Pros

Ease of use

One of the standout features of the Squarespace web builder is its user-friendly interface. The Squarespace platform is designed to be easy to use, even for people who have no experience with website design. Squarespace offers a range of customizable templates and themes, which you can easily modify to build a website that fits your unique style and brand.

Squarespace is also a drag-and-drop editor, which means you can easily add and arrange content blocks to create your ideal layout. This user-friendly approach makes Squarespace a great choice for anyone who wants to create a beautiful website without having to spend a lot of time or money on development.

Great templates

Squarespace is also known for its collection of professional and stylish templates. The platform offers a range of templates and themes to choose from, each with a modern and polished design aesthetic. These templates are designed to be customizable, so you can easily make changes to fit your brand and style.

Squarespace templates are also optimized for mobile devices, which means your website will look great on both desktop and mobile screens. This professional and polished design aesthetic is one of the reasons why Squarespace is such a popular choice for creative professionals, artists, and photographers who want to showcase their work online.

The Shopify platform also offers analytics and reporting tools, which allow you to track your store’s performance and identify areas for improvement. You can also integrate your store with a variety of third-party apps and tools to add even more functionality. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to grow your existing online store, Shopify has the tools and features you need to succeed.

Built-in ecommerce and scheduling tools

In addition to its website building features, Squarespace also offers built-in e-commerce and scheduling tools. With Squarespace, you can easily create an online store to sell products, services, or digital downloads.

The platform offers a range of e-commerce features, such as inventory management, order tracking, and shipping and tax calculators. Squarespace also integrates with a variety of payment processors, including Stripe and PayPal, so you can accept payments from customers all over the world.

With Squarespace Scheduling, you can set your availability, accept appointments or bookings, and send automatic email confirmations and reminders to your clients or customers. These built-in features make Squarespace a great choice for businesses or individuals who need an all-in-one platform to manage both their website and e-commerce needs.

Cons

Limited design options

One potential downside of Squarespace is its limited customization options. While the platform offers a range of templates to choose from, the degree of customization you can make is somewhat limited compared to other website builders. While you can change certain aspects of the templates, such as colors, fonts, and images, you may be restricted in terms of layout and functionality.

This can be frustrating for more experienced designers who want more control over the look and feel of their website. However, for those who prioritize ease of use and professional design, the pre-made templates will work just fine.

Few integrations

Another potential downside of Squarespace is its limited integrations with other tools and services. While Squarespace does offer a range of built-in features and tools, there may be some specialized tools or services that you need to integrate with your website that are not available on Squarespace.

The limited integrations can be a challenge for businesses or individuals who rely on specialized tools or services to run their business. But Squarespace does offer some integrations with popular tools like Mailchimp, Google Analytics, and Acuity Scheduling. So, while the integrations may not be as extensive as other website builders, there are still options available.

Requires a monthly subscription

While Squarespace offers a range of features and tools, you do need to sign up for a paid plan, which can be a cause for concern for small businesses or individuals who are just starting out. The entry-level plan starts at $16 per month, while the advanced e-commerce plan can cost up to $49 per month.

While the higher price point may be a turn off for some users, it’s worth noting that Squarespace’s plans do come with a range of built-in features and tools, which can save you money in the long run by not having to purchase additional third-party tools or services. Additionally, Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial, so you can test out the platform before committing to a subscription.

Canva

Canva Websites is a free website builder tool created by Canva, a popular graphic design platform. Canva Websites allows users to create their own professional-looking websites using customizable templates and drag-and-drop design elements. The platform is geared towards individuals and small businesses who want to create a website quickly and easily without the need for extensive technical knowledge.

Pros

Easy to customize

Canva Websites stands out for its user-friendliness, making it easy for users to create professional-looking websites. The website platform features a simple drag-and-drop editor that allows users to add and customize various design elements, including text, images, videos, and more.

Users can choose from a wide variety of pre-designed templates that they can customize to their liking, or start with a blank canvas to build a website from scratch. Additionally, Canva Websites have an intuitive interface that guides users through the website building process, making it accessible to beginners and experienced designers alike.

Quick to design and launch

Designing a website with Canva Websites is fast and efficient due to the platform’s user-friendly interface and pre-designed templates. Users can quickly create a stunning website without having to spend hours designing it from scratch. Canva’s pre-designed templates provide users with a starting point that they can customize to their liking, further speeding up the website creation process.

This streamlined approach can be especially beneficial for small businesses and individuals with limited time and resources, allowing them to quickly create an effective online presence.

Built-in hosting and analytics

One of the key benefits of using Canva Websites is that it is hosted within Canva’s ecosystem. This means that users can easily integrate their website with other Canva tools and services, such as the Canva graphic design platform. This integration allows users to easily incorporate their branding and design elements into their website, as well as access a range of design assets such as icons, images, and fonts. Canva also has a built in analytics tool, so you can monitor your website traffic without having to leave Canva.

Cons

Limited functionality

One limitation of Canva Websites is their limited functionality compared to more robust website builders. While Canva Websites offer a range of useful features for building a basic website, it may not be the best option for users who require more advanced capabilities such as advanced ecommerce functionality, membership portals, or complex automation workflows.

Additionally, while Canva Websites offer some integrations with external tools and services, its integration options are very limited compared to some other website builders, which may limit its usefulness for users who rely heavily on external services for their online presence.

Not ideal for blogs, shops, or portfolios

Another limitation of Canva Websites is the lack of page templates specifically designed for subpages. While the platform offers a range of beautifully designed templates, there are currently no templates available specifically for blogging, online shops, or portfolios.

This can make it challenging for users who want to add these features as part of their website to design. While it is technically possible to add multiple pages to a Canva website to add blogs, case studies, or product pages, you would have to design each page from scratch.

The limited integrations can be a challenge for businesses or individuals who rely on specialized tools or services to run their business. But Squarespace does offer some integrations with popular tools like Mailchimp, Google Analytics, and Acuity Scheduling. So, while the integrations may not be as extensive as other website builders, there are still options available.

Minimal SEO capability

Canva Websites are also limited in SEO capabilities. While the platform provides some basic tools for optimizing website content, such as adding a page meta title and description, it lacks more advanced SEO features such as image alt text and title tags This can make it difficult for users to fully optimize their website for search engines and potentially limit their ability to drive organic traffic to their site.

While Canva Websites has basic SEO features, it does not offer advanced SEO analytics features such as keyword tracking or backlink analysis. Therefore, users who prioritize SEO as a key component of their online strategy may want to consider other website builders with more robust SEO capabilities.

Summary and Final Thoughts

In conclusion, choosing the right website builder for your needs requires careful consideration of various factors. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to evaluate them based on your specific goals, budget, and level of technical expertise.

WordPress offers unrivaled flexibility and customizability, making it an excellent choice for users who are comfortable with web development and want full control over their website.

Shopify is a great option for those looking to start an online store, with its powerful e-commerce features and seamless payment gateway integration. And Squarespace offers gorgeous templates and built-in e-commerce and scheduling features, but with limited integration options.

Canva Websites, while a newer player in the website builder market, offers a fast and user-friendly way to create professional-looking websites, with a wide range of pre-designed templates and the benefit of being fully hosted within Canva’s platform.

Ultimately, the best website builder for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences, and taking the time to research and evaluate each platform can help ensure that you make the right choice for your small business.

Book a call for...