Best free and paid business website builders – a guide

Building a business website should be a priority for every new firm – and thankfully, there’s a host of free tools to help you build your site quickly and easily.

Whether it’s Wordpress, Wix, or Weebly, every website builder tool has its own advantages and drawbacks. Here, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular tools to build your business website.

Getting started

Before you start building your business website, there are a few factors that you need to consider.

  • Work out your requirements. Your first step should be to think about what you need from your business website. For example, will it be as simple as an outline of your business and your contact details? Or do you need a full-blown e-commerce solution? Your requirements will determine your choice of business website builder.
  • Think multi-channel. It’s important that your business website sits well with the rest of your marketing channels. Make sure that you’ve settled on branding and identity before you start, and that these elements are shared across all of your communications.
  • Don’t forget about domains and hosting. To build and run your business website, you’ll need a web domain, and a hosting package. Many of the website builders listed below offer these built in for a fee, but if you already have a domain or host you may also be able to carry these over.

The best free website builder tools

There are plenty on the market, but here are four of the most popular tools for building a business website for free.

Wix

Wix is a template-based website builder that offers designs suitable for almost every conceivable business and industry.

Its popular amongst small firms thanks to its simple drag-and-drop interface, meaning that you can simply pull elements of your site around the screen to see how they’ll fit together. Wix has also recently launched its Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) feature, which will design you a personalised site from scratch based on your answers to a series of questions about your business and its needs.

Much of Wix’s functionality is available for free, but premium plans are also available if you want to do things like remove Wix ads and add a customised favicon – the little image that appears in the browser tab.

Weebly

Weebly is another popular drag-and-drop website builder option. However, Weebly sells itself as an integrated marketing and e-commerce platform, offering built-in email marketing and small business SEO tools.

You can also edit your Weebly site from your phone, which is handy if you’re often on the go.

As with Wix, plans for Weebly start from free, but if you want to remove ads or include things like a site search function, you’ll need to pay a small monthly amount.

Wordpress

Wordpress has long been a favourite amongst businesses of every size – indeed by some counts there are around 75 million sites online currently running Wordpress.

Small businesses value it for its ease of use but also its deep functionality. There are thousands of themes available, or if you want to go one step further and have a bit of coding knowledge, you could build your own.

Wordpress is free to install and run, but some themes require payment. Remember that you’ll also need a domain.

Check out our full guide to Wordpress for small business.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy are huge players in the domain and hosting worlds, but they also offer a handy business website builder to their customers.

They claim you can use the tool to build a site in under an hour, and it includes basic e-commerce options including a PayPal integration. There are also additional extras available such as social media integrations and a shopping cart, with paid plans on offer for each of these.

Or if you want to pay a little…

While there are some free options to build your business website, you might find that some of the functionality you need isn’t available with these options. Thankfully, there’s also a large range of affordable paid tools to help you build a comprehensive, beautifully designed business website.

Squarespace

Squarespace is an increasingly popular website builder, especially for the creative industries. It offers a smaller number of templates than, for example, Wordpress, but they are all beautifully designed, responsive on mobile, and easy to customise.

Squarespace is a great option if you’re looking for a website that really shines visually.

Zoho

Zoho offers a free website builder tool, but it also pitches itself as a one-stop-shop for many of your small business needs.

The Zoho ecosystem offers a range of ‘software as a service’ options for SMEs, including a mail client and a CRM, or customer relationship management, tool. There’s also a basic Zoho app development system.

Access to all of Zoho’s tools starts at £30 per employee per month.

And finally…

If you have particular requirements for your website, it might be more cost-effective in the longer term to pay a developer to build you something bespoke.

This will give you much more flexibility over how your site looks and performs, and it will also make it easier for you to change it in the future. There’s also now a range of platforms connecting developers and designers with small business clients – try UpWork and ELance to get started.

How did you build your website? Let us know below.

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