Few successful businesses today operate without a web presence. It’s a key method to increase the exposure of a business far beyond the storefront, and can help entrepreneurs develop a voice and style of their own and reach a customer base not limited by geographic proximity to the business.
You can use a company website to feature sales and special events hosted by your business, as well as content that brings your vision to a wider audience. The days of merely putting out an ad in the local paper are more than a few years behind us, and with some of today’s leading website builders you should have no problem building a great website, no matter if you are a novice or a pro.
What to Consider When Creating a Business Site
Your company’s website is going to be its calling card with the world. It will be the first thing that many - perhaps even most - customers see of your company. Not only do you want to make a good impression, you should make sure anyone visiting your site can easily understand what your company is, and what you’re all about.
You should first explain your company’s values and vision. What does your company stand for, and what makes it tick? This must come across clearly to any visitor to the site. You will need to have great content which clearly conveys your identity to visitors, and is fun, engaging, and informative.
What does a company website need?
- Easy to navigate
- Attractive, clean format
- Company vision and identity is clearly conveyed
- SEO tools
- Great content
The format and design of the site should be clean, attractive, and easy to navigate. All relevant information about your business - your location, hours of operation, menu, products, ect. - should be clearly displayed and easily found by any visitor.
Whatever site builder you use should provide you with extensive analytics so you can see who visits your site and when, helping you better tailor your content to your readers. With SEO tools, your website builder can also help ensure that people find your site on search engines.
And while security is more crucial for those running online stores whose customer data could be breached, if you’re running a company website, you’ll want some assurance that it won’t be vulnerable to attacks.
What should a site builder provide?
- Easy interface that makes web design fun and simple
- Reliable customer service
- Large variety of templates
- App integrations
You shouldn’t need to be a tech wiz to use a website builder. If this is your company’s first website and/or your first foray into web design, you’re going to want a website builder that is simple and intuitive, perhaps even with a simple drag and drop interface like those provided by Wix and Sitebuilder.
Some website builders, like GoDaddy, provide an option for you to pay their designers to craft a site for you, while on any well-regarded website builder you will have access to reliable customer service around the clock in case you’re having troubles.
Finally, a website builder that offers a large variety of templates will increase your odds of finding one that’s just right for your business. Many website builders offer hundreds of free and paid templates that cover almost every type of business, all but ensuring you can find one suited for you.
By taking a look at some of the top options on the market you can get an idea of which website builder to go with.
- Simple, intuitive drag and drop interface
- Hundreds of brilliant templates
- Use the free option to try out Wix for yourself
- Must pay to add Google Analytics if you want to view site stats
- Free site will feature Wix ads unless you pay extra
- Not as customizable as some other sites
An easy-to-use platform with hundreds of professional, gorgeous templates, Wix has become one of the most popular website builders in the world for good reason. The drag-and-drop interface and image editor are both very simple to use and should have you putting together a stunning website for your business in no time.
Wix runs the Wix App market , where users can purchase and download hundreds of apps and plugins made by Wix and third party companies.
For small business owners who want to run an Ecommerce site, there are also two packages - VIP and Ecommerce - which can accommodate this and also allow you to run a Facebook store.
- Templates categorized by industry
- Produces sleek, professional websites
- Ample marketing tools and analytics
- Pricier than some other services
- Techy users may want more freedom to customize
SquareSpace is another website builder that blends simplicity with sophistication.The builder is easy to use and features an extensive template library organized by business type.
SquareSpace offers a drag-and-drop editor that gives you creative control of your website design without requiring mastery in code. The templates are divided into categories that make it easier to pair a layout with an industry type. The local business and professional services categories, for instance, showcase dozens of sleek templates pre-designed to capture the essence of specific business types.
Business owners will find plenty of business-friendly and Ecommerce features as well. SquareSpace offers SEO and analytics, email campaign tools, and social media integration.
- Affordable with flexible service packages
- Easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor
- More than 1,000 templates
- 24/7 customer service
- Editing is limited - you aren’t able to get into the HTML
- SEO tools only available on Ecommerce and premium packages
- Pricing can be unclear with lots of upselling
Like Wix, SiteBuilder found the right recipe of rich templates and a simple drag-and-drop interface. With over 1,000 templates the odds are slim that you won’t be able to find one that works perfectly for your business, and even if you’re a novice at web design you shouldn’t have a problem using the site.
The company lets you add a blog onto the site for free, and in addition to the 1,000+ templates you can also make use of an expansive image library, even with the free plan. That said, SEO tools are only available on the premium and Ecommerce plans, so you’ll have to pay extra for the tools to help your site get noticed. The same goes for analytics, which require an upgrade.
The site builder is a bit limited on storage, but there is always a choice to upgrade if you have the need to host a large amount of high-resolution images or big files.
Finally, if you get to the point where you want to upgrade your company website to an online store, you can opt for the Ecommerce package, which comes with SEO and analytics tools built in.
- Easy, user-friendly interface
- Extensive customer service
- Hundreds of available templates
- Less photo-editing options than other sites
- Must purchase an email through Google
- Migrating your content from Weebly to another platform can be difficult
Weebly has come a long way since it was founded by a trio of college students a little over a decade ago, and today has been used to build more than 25 million websites worldwide.
The platform offers hundreds of free templates split across several different sections, with new ones added all the time. The website builder also makes use of a very easy to use drag-and-drop builder, which automatically resizes and adapts elements to your site.
In 2015 Weebly unveiled Carbon, a revamped version of the company’s interface which gives you a better website dashboard, 21 new responsive themes, a state of the art mobile app, and more.
Not only that, Weebly is also highly affordable, and provides some of the best value on the market considering their ease of use, features, and customer service.
If you’re on Weebly and would like to upgrade to an Ecommerce store, you can do it with the business package at $28.17/month over 6 months.
- Design your own site or pay Web.com experts to do it for you
- More than 2,500 templates
- Analytics and reporting included, low transaction fee with premium packages
- Mobile-friendly site available
- Other site builders are more user friendly
- No live chat customer service option
- Can be pricier than other website builders
Web.com doesn’t have the same easy to use interface as Wix or Sitebuilder, though it's still a solid option for setting up your first company website. If setting up your site is worth the cost and you’re just not sure about going it alone, you can pay $114.95 to have the company design your website for you.
The site builder is best suited for small business owners looking for simple websites they can run themselves without too many bells or whistles.
In what is perhaps its most prominent feature, the company offers more than 2,500 templates organized into around 30 categories. You can also easily switch between different templates. Unfortunately, Web.com doesn’t offer a free option if you’d like to take it on a test drive first, and the monthly costs can be significantly higher than most other industry options.
If you would like to upgrade and run an online store, there are three Ecommerce options available, all of which come with email marketing, analytics and reporting and SEO tools.
With a website for your business you stand to unveil a whole new way to highlight your company, increase your brand recognition, and reach out to customers like never before. It can be daunting at first to get your company online, but with today’s top website builders it’s easier than ever before to design a site that really speaks to your vision. This is a major move for any company and one that with the right website builder should be easy, and the next step to greener pastures for your company.