Which Is Better for Creating Your Small-Business Website?
Establishing an online presence is essential for the continual growth and success of any small business. A study found 72 percent of small business owners who chose to have an online presence preferred to represent their company online using a website over social media.
The number of businesses with social media pages keeps increasing. Many small business owners prefer to establish an online presence via a platform that provides more control and flexibility with branding, like a website.
A website allows you to distinguish yourself from competitors and market your small business to customers who primarily use the internet to search for products and companies. Google increases the visibility of business websites that feature quality content and provide a good user experience.
How Do I Build a Website for My Business?
Building a website generally involves these steps:
- Choose a Domain Name
- Create a Business Email Address
- Select a Website Building Software
- Get Website Hosting
- Select a Website Template Design or hire a Website Designer
- Create a Business Logo
- Monitor your website traffic with Google Analytics
You would generally need to complete most of the steps above in the creation of any business website. Still, there are services out there that can speed up the process or even take care of some of the steps for you.
You can build your business website using services like Shopify, Wix, or GoDaddy to speed up the process. The goal of these services is to make it easier for you to build and maintain the operation of a fully functioning website for your business without possessing any coding expertise.
Learning and understanding the critical features of each service can be essential to help you decide which one is best for your small business needs.
Shopify is an e-commerce website builder that enables you to build your own online store. You can choose to sell your products directly in multiple marketplaces, as well as on social media.
This is a good option for business owners looking for an easy way to set up an online shop without prior knowledge of website-building and coding. Shopify offers a clean and fairly easy-to-use interface that makes setting up an online store a breeze.
You’ll need to follow these steps when you’re setting up an online store with Shopify:
- Sign up with Shopify
- Begin setting up your online store
- Select the Theme or Layout
- Customize your theme
- Add your products to your online store
- Set up a payment gateway
- Go “Live” with your online store
- Add a domain name
It’s a quick and somewhat simple process with many customization options that allow you to pick the style that reflects your business and products best. It should be noted that Shopify charges a transaction fee if you opt to use a payment gateway other than Shopify’s own Shopify Payments.
Shopify offers reasonable plans that are scalable depending on your budget and business needs. Their main ones are as follows:
- Basic Shopify: Their cheapest plan for building and running your own store. It costs $29/month, along with a 2% transaction fee.
- Shopify: Includes added features such as gift cards and the generation of professional reports. It costs $79/month, along with a 1% transaction fee.
- Advanced Shopify: Includes added features such as advanced reports and third-party calculated shipping rates.
If you’ve begun setting up an online store for your business, it might be worth starting small. Sign up for the Basic Shopify plan, before scaling up to their other plans as you look to expand your online presence.
The drawback of using Shopify is its price. The price plan for even basic services is higher than that of competitors like Wix and GoDaddy. Coupled with the added transaction fees (which some competing services do not charge), it may not be the best service for business owners on a tight budget.
Shopify’s inventory management system is excellent for businesses focused on e-commerce. The added ability to sell your products on multiple channels such as eBay, Amazon, and Facebook also makes it a good choice for small businesses.
Wix is currently the most popular platform for designing websites for those without coding experience. It allows users to customize their site using a fairly versatile template editor and provides a broad range of style options than other do-it-yourself platforms. Wix offers over 500 templates to meet your unique needs for a business website, as well as a drag-and-drop editor.
The steps for setting up a website with Wix are as follows:
- Sign up with Wix: Choose one of 8 pricing plans that range from their bottom tier Combo Plan at $17/month to their Business VIP plan at $56/month. The higher-priced plans offer the ability to list and sell more products and also include priority customer service options.
- Select your template: Select from over 500 available website templates.
- Fill out your business details: Provide an overview of your business and the products they sell on your homepage. You can include images here too.
Customize your background: Easily customize your page’s background with the extensive toolbar options.
- Add other pages: Create additional pages that include details about the business as well as contact information.
- Add apps: You can add apps such as a booking calendar or a live chat service to enhance customer interactions with your website. These require an additional fee.
- Set up your online store: Set up an e-commerce page on your site. Extra fees for e-commerce.
- Select a domain name: On the premium plans, you can use any available domain name. On their free plan, you’ll be required to use a domain name with a handle formatted as www.yourname.wixsite/yoursite.
- Go Live: Preview and publish your website to make it live. You have the option to edit and re-publish the site if you’d like to make any changes.
Wix templates are an inexpensive way to get started on creating a website for your business. The customization options it offers makes it somewhat easy to fine-tune the look of your site to suit your design preferences.
The price of their services is also reasonably competitive, given the wide variety of features they offer. Their e-commerce services are easy-to-use while also providing more advanced tools and features for inventory management.
GoDaddy provides a variety of services, such as website hosting and domains. Their most popular service is its website builder. GoDaddy’s website builder is among the most efficient available and is best suited for creating simple sites for businesses looking to go online as quickly as possible. It also includes a handy set of marketing tools for assessing the reach of your online presence and tracking your growth.
The steps to build a website using GoDaddy are:
- Select your site type: You can choose to set up an online store or a regular website that doesn’t feature a payment portal. You also can change your website type in the future.
- Start a free trial or select your price plan: You can sign up for a one-month free trial or choose one of their four paid plans priced between $10/month and $25/month. The basic $10/month plan provides essential features such as SSL security and social sharing options. The more expensive plans include additional features such as SEO tools and shipping and inventory management.
- Select your industry and website title: GoDaddy automatically creates a sample page once you select your industry and write the title for your website.
- Customize your site: You can pick between different themes. Each features a different look and layout.
- Add more content: You can add custom images or browse a selection of stock images for your site. You can fill in the text using text boxes or even add new sections to your site.
- Manage your site settings: You can then change your business category, or use SEO optimization tools to improve your site’s traffic.
- Add other features: You can add additional features like appointment calendars to your site.
- Preview your site and go live: You can then view a preview of the site you’ve created before publishing it.
GoDaddy is suited for building a variety of website types such as blogs, businesses, e-commerce, and personal portfolios. Although, some of their features may lack depth given that their platform is known for its simplicity and affordability.
GoDaddy’s inclusion of limited SEO tools makes it a bit more appealing than other services if you’re interested in monitoring and fostering the growth of your business site. However, if your main focus is on e-commerce, GoDaddy’s allowance of only 1500 products may be limiting for you.
The service is best suited for small business owners looking to get online as quickly as possible with a simple easy-to-navigate website without the bells and whistles offered by other website builders.
Small business owners often prefer to hire a professional web designer and developer to build their website when they don’t have the time, knowledge or experience to handle website complexities.
Professional web developers can create website designs that look more professional and are easier to navigate than those made by other website building services.
Site visitors who experience an enjoyable browsing experience are more likely to have a better impression of the business whose website they just visited. This, in turn, can boost the reputation of the business and increase web sales.
Some professional web developers work as part of a web agency that may include SEO specialists who can provide customized online marketing strategies to improve traffic to your business website.
Additionally, web designers and developers may include copy writing and content creation services as they know the correct and proper verbiage that will sell your services or product and gets results.
They will also be able to provide graphics, photos and videos that meet and do not violate copyright infringement laws. This can be done by creating original works or purchasing and coordinating stock footage licenses.
Web developers are also skilled at resolving problems promptly and are efficient at creating the website design you’ve envisioned. They are also experienced at suggesting design edits to improve the look and feel of your site.
Custom website building services offered by web designers and developers do come with a higher price as compared to pagebuilder services. This is because you would be hiring a designer with specialized skills to create a one of a kind website, not a cookie-cutter website, specifically created for your unique business needs.
Web developers can also guide you in the best online practices for your company, as they are likely to have worked with others companies in your field and know what works and doesn’t work.
Web developer pricing varys greatly based of your specific needs or because of the web designer/developer’s own level of experience, the services they will be providing and the amount of time they estimate it will take to complete.
It’s easy to underestimate the amount of time it takes to completely design a professional website. On average a very basic website can take at least 2 to 3 weeks to create. Using the current US national minimum wage the total would be $870. But, how competent would you expect a developer to be who charges minimum wage with the experience and time it takes to learn and become expert in coding languages?
Most professional designers use a project management system to track and monitor the progress with access by the client to provide transparency of the entire process with signoff authority.
Average hourly basis ranges from $25/hour to $150/hour. Many designers will charge a flat rate to develop a site. This works to incentivise the designer to keep the project on track and assures the buyer they’re not surprised with run away costs.
Many developers/designers will separate the total amount into payments. Usually there is an initial deposit equal to half of the total amount in order to begin work and the final amount upon completion. If the client is unknown or located in another town the designer may require the full amount in advance.
At Nelg Digital we have worked with lots of clients who started with a Wix, Shopify or GoDaddy websites and later realized that although it initially worked it also came with limitations. As the company grew they often needed a professionally designed website to fully handle their online marketing needs. And, they simply didn’t have the time it takes to update and properly manage a website themselves.