Best website builders for small businesses

CallRail Quick Takes

  • Regardless of the goals of your business website, your website-building platform should offer the features you need at a price and level of convenience you can afford.
  • Wix is the best overall deal for cost and functionality for beginners.
  • Squarespace is best known for its sleek website designs and helps users build beautiful websites in a pinch.
  • Shopify is the best retail-focused website builder and serves both online and brick-and-mortar retail stores.

If you run a business, you need a business website. Today, a business website is an essential tool that helps potential customers discover and evaluate your company.

Whether you use this website to sell products, field inquiries, generate sales leads, or simply share basic information about your business, you’ll have to build a business website on a platform that offers the features you need at a price and level of convenience you can afford. A number of website-building platforms have sprung up to manage this growing demand from small-business owners. Here’s a look at leading website builders, along with the pros and cons of each.

— The winners circle —

Wix: Best for beginners

wix Price: $13-$39 per month

Wix is a popular website builder for two key reasons: the simplicity of starting up a website and the relatively low cost of maintaining one. With drag-and-drop design features, Wix is ideal for users with limited tech savvy, which can be a benefit to small-business owners who are trying to build and manage a website on their own. Wix makes it easy with a large library of templates and reliable website security.

Pros

Cons

  • With the starter plan, places ads on your website
  • Lacks robust SEO tools and may require supplemental tools to track and manage efforts

Features

✓ Domain hosting (with SSL included)

✓ JavaScript/HTML (additional tools needed)

✓ E-commerce

✓ Customization

✓ Templates

✓ Ad-free (with certain plans)

✓ SEO (but limited)

✓ Contact form

✓ Newsletter

✓ Storage space (500-plus megabytes, depending on plan)

✓ Backups (view and restore saved versions of your site, external backups not available)

✓ Support

Weebly (owned by Square): Best for e-commerce

weebly Price: $0-$26 per month

One of the leaders in the website-building space, Weebly is targeted to any small business, but especially ones that want to start an online store. The Square point-of-sale (POS) integration streamlines the process of setting up a store, and the website-building guides created by Weebly offer a wealth of resources and information to help first-time website builders create a new online home for their business.

Pros

  • Excellent template options for creating a slick website
  • Building tools that make it easy to prioritize SEO
  • A wide range of features that allow you to add customizations to your website
  • Ability to choose from drag-and-drop editing or use code to expand editing options

Cons

  • No artificial design capabilities, which other leading website builders offer
  • Limited drag-and-drop features
  • Blogging experience and blog editing that leave room for improvement
  • A worse customer service experience reported by some users since Square took over

Squarespace: Great for blogging and SEO

squarespace Price: $13-$39 per month

Best known for its sleek website designs, Squarespace helps users build beautiful websites in a pinch. It also offers excellent e-commerce integration and great responsive designs that are easy for users to navigate. For website owners seeking a quality user experience, this is a great website builder to consider.

Pros

  • Domain hosting available at an added cost
  • Large library of customizable templates
  • Easy and reliable SEO tools
  • High-quality features for a website-building platform
  • Not the cheapest option, but offers excellent value
  • App for mobile editing
  • Free logo maker

Cons

  • Requires some coding to add certain features
  • A website-building interface that can be confusing to new users
  • Doesn’t offer an app store, which limits website capabilities

Features

✓ Domain hosting (with SSL included)

✓ JavaScript/HTML (some functionality is considered part of the “Premium Features” available only in business and commerce plans)

✓ E-commerce

✓ Customization

✓ Templates

✓ Ad-free

✓ SEO

✓ Contact form

✓ Newsletter (“Email Campaigns” are an additional $5-$48 per month)

✓ Storage space (unlimited)

✓ Backups (done automatically and regularly with the ability to export XML)

✓ Support (available 24/7)

Constant Contact: Good for quick setup and easy email marketing integration

constant contact Price: $10 per month

Constant Contact offers a website builder that advertises the use of artificial intelligence to help users quickly build their own personalized website. The platform offers many of the basic tools users expect when looking for a website builder. One benefit to those interested in this platform is that it offers a free trial that doesn’t require any credit card information.

Pros

  • Built on the same platform as email marketing tools
  • Easy for beginners to set up
  • Offers a free trial

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer image editing tools
  • Basic blogging tools with limited capabilities
  • Will inhibit your SEO strategy with its limited tools
  • Not a good option for e-commerce operations selling more than three products
  • Lackluster templates
  • No advanced features in the free plan (although the free plan has many features)

Features

✓ Domain hosting (with SSL included)

✓ JavaScript/HTML

✓ E-commerce

✓ Customization

✓ Templates

✓ Ad-free

✓ SEO

✓ Contact form

✓ Newsletter (integrated with Constant Contact email campaign tools if subscription is purchased)

✓ Storage space (unlimited)

✓ Backups

✓ Support

— Runners-up —

Shopify

Shopify Price: $29-$2,000 per month

Shopify is a website builder designed specifically for the retail industry. It is popular among online-only retailers, as well as retail brands that manage both brick-and-mortar and retail stores. Because the website builder is related to the POS solution Shopify is known for, you won’t run into any of the integration issues you might experience when setting up an e-commerce shop somewhere else.

Pros

Cons

  • Being targeted to retail businesses, doesn’t offer great value for other industries
  • Lacks the ability to add custom code for new capabilities — and app fees can add up quickly
  • Limited website templates
  • App and website crashes reported by users
  • Charges its own transaction fees unless you also use Shopify Payments

BigCommerce

Big-Commerce Price: $29.95-$299.95 per month

Similar to Shopify, BigCommerce is aimed at businesses that want to build an e-commerce presence. It offers SSL security, responsive website designs, and a wide range of built-in features to give users control over website customizations. Many of these features are geared toward selling online. In addition, this website builder distinguishes itself by offering additional access to services that support e-commerce operations, such as facilitating returns and providing fulfillment options to small businesses.

Pros

Cons

  • Requires too much oversight by website owners — may not be feasible for small businesses
  • May be more beneficial to midsize e-commerce operations
  • Mixed reviews on customer support
  • Has templates that are not as visually striking as those of rival website builders

WordPress

Wordpress Price: $4-$45 per month (billed annually)

WordPress is one of the most well-known names on this list, and it’s risen to popularity as a blogging platform. The company has since expanded its website-building capabilities and now supports e-commerce. It offers a vast library of both templates and features, but it also requires some familiarity with coding to take advantage of everything it has to offer.

Pros

Cons

  • Requires more coding than rival builders do, making it less user-friendly
  • Can be expensive, depending on the website package you choose

— Not recommended —

Google Sites

Google-Sites Price: $6-$25 per user per month (included in G Suite)

Google’s website-building tool comes with a recognizable name, but it’s short on features that most businesses are looking for. Although the platform is free and does offer some integrations for e-commerce and other features, most business owners will be quickly frustrated by their inability to build a website that fits their branding and can be customized according to their preferences.

Pros

  • Easy to use, and completely free
  • Seamless integration with other Google products
  • Access to guides covering SEO strategy and other useful information
  • Simple functionality for business owners who need only a basic website

Cons

  • You will have to purchase your custom domain using a tool outside of Google Sites and connect once it is verified. Other builders, such as Wix and SquareSpace allow you to do this all in one place.
  • Limited features, giving you minimal control over the look, feel, and function of your website
  • No templates available
  • Not a practical website-building option for most small businesses

GoDaddy Website Builder

GoDaddy Price: $0-$25 per month

Although GoDaddy is better known for its hosting services, the company has recently expanded into website-building services for small-business owners. The company has also paired its website builder with a suite of marketing tools, as well as an intelligent business solution called GoDaddy InSight. However, the relative newness of this product means there is a lack of information on whether this tool is helping businesses grow online.

Pros

  • Makes websites easy to build quickly, especially for beginners
  • Lower costs compared to competitors
  • Helps you keep your business in one place if you already use GoDaddy for hosting
  • Offers 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • Comes with frustrating limitations
  • Limited features available through the platform, limiting your website’s capabilities
  • Basic blogging capabilities
  • Though it optimizes websites for mobile devices, has templates and layouts that are frustrating to use if you have a specific design vision in mind requiring customizations

When choosing a website builder, focus on the features and capabilities that are most important to the goals of your business. A website builder may receive great reviews from other users, but if it can’t deliver the functionality you are seeking for your own website, then you probably need to take your website-building plans elsewhere.