An easy-to-use, do-it-yourself small business website builder is what many busy entrepreneurs, who don’t have the budget for hiring a pro, are looking for. Unfortunately, there are so many online website builders claiming they serve small business owners.
Are they really website creators for small business? What are the characteristics of a good small business website maker? How do you find the right website creator for busy small business owners?
In the last 3 days I have played around with several free or free-trial website makers. Here is what I found…
Most of the website creators are targeting wide audiences. If you want to decipher who the main customers are just look at their about us page. Even though most of them tell us they are for small businesses, only a few really understand the needs of small business owners.
To separate the website creators that are good for small businesses and that are not let’s set the criteria for picking a small website business builder.
Criteria for Picking a Small Business Website Builder
1. Ease of use – A good small business website builder must be really easy to use. It means anyone with no or limited experience can build a website in just 2 – 3 steps. It also means services with too many design’s bells and whistles are usually less preferable than ones with limited options.
2. Fast to launch – Quick to publish is one way to make website building a rewarding experience. Launching a site quickly and with minimal efforts are fun and encouraging you to learn more about it. You want to pick a business website builder that allow you to publish your webpage in one hour or less.
3. Free version availability – Yes, we want free versions and not free trials. Free is the norm. We don’t want to pay for a service, even one with money back guarantee, until we’re sure it’s right for us. We want to make sure the product works for our particular requirements before we go on with a paid service.
4. Small business friendly – This is especially true for business owners who are struggling to get their businesses online. If you’re one of them you don’t want to deal with too many options to choose from. You also don’t have the time to learn the complex technology, let alone the limited budget for implementing it.
5 Small Business Website Builders That I Tested
1. Onepager. This small business website builder is easy to use. After creating an account with the site I could fill in my company name, tagline, upload logo and briefly write the “about us” page. Once finished with that I picked a free plan and customized onepager website address. The one page website finished in about 30 minutes.
2. Strikingly. I started building a one-page website by creating an account. There were options for changing background, font size and colors, change template, and other features. Compared to the Onepager, Strikingly put emphasis on mobile-optimized and offered more options for customizing my webpage. I managed to build my site in about 40 minutes.
3. Yola. Yola is one of the many website builders that offer a free website builder option. Once I signe-up with Yola’s free site builder I could add a business name and a category. Customizing my site with writing content, choosing fonts, and uploading images are the last step. I launched the webpage in slightly less than an hour.
4. Jigsy. This builder also offered a free version. I had to select a theme, created a website address and then signed up an account with Jigsy. Following the guide I made a webpage with Jigsy in about 50 minutes.
5. Kickofflabs. This one is more advanced than the rests. Using Kickofflabs I created a webpage containing a form for capturing visitor’s information. First I named my landing page and pick a theme for lead generation. I was then directed to a designer page for uploading a logo and other images and wrote a simple copy about my offer. I created the page in an hour.
There are online discussions about small business website builder services like this one. Some of the comments came from business owners who didn’t own a website and they just wanted to create an online presence the easy and quick way.
If you’re one of them and you just want a website maker with limited e-commerce functionality, the above small website builder sites can help.
And here is how to pick the best one…
The Best Small Business Website Builder and Hosting
All the website builders have their own pros and cons but most of them meet the above criteria. However, before picking one for making your website you’ll need to set your goals, budget and your web building skills. What is your specific situation?
You have a micro or small business with limited growth potential because you don’t have a website and you have no experience in building a website?
Just play around with Onepager because catering small businesses is their specialization. You can easily get your website up and running and quickly too so you can tell people what you have to offer.
You have a small business and you know that a business website can streamline your sales and marketing processes but you haven’t built one?
Try to go with the specialist, Kickofflabs. Landing pages are what separate Kickofflabs from others. They don’t just offer it as a feature, they specializes in it. The lead generation example is just one of many possibilities. You can also use it for new product launch, sales pages and contests.
This is not a comprehensive review but it shows my personal experience with the small business website builder tools.
What is Your Favorite Small Business Website Builder?
What is the best tip you have for people who are creating their first website? If you have any experience with one or another website building services…
…leave a comment below to share your own experience.