The process of launching a new business can be both the most exhilarating and the most challenging. It entails stepping into a new realm of potential while simultaneously handling the technical and creative aspects of creating your own website.
Consider the site's design, the way you'll arrange the items on the page, and the pages and subpages you'll make, for example. You must also make sure that the checkout procedure goes smoothly. In addition to choose a website builder to create your website, that might be a lot to handle.
The good news is that there are inexpensive website builders that cater to small company owners like you, and the process can be as easy or as complex as you want it to be.
What to look for in website builders
There are several website builders available to assist you in creating an ecommerce site for your online store—however, not all website builder software is made equal.
We rated the top ecommerce website builders for small businesses based on four criteria: price, simplicity of use, the number of features, and level of customization available.
These are the most important characteristics to consider if you're just getting started and don't want to be stymied by a website builder with a high learning curve. They're also a strong indicator of scalability—as your business expands, you'll want a site builder that can keep up.
Any software purchase must be affordable, but purchasing software while establishing a new business is extremely vital. After all, you'll need to keep expenses as low as possible during the growth period. The trade-off between free and commercial website builders is constant.
For instance, some vendors charge extra for benefits like premium web hosting and premium themes, while others give away free domain name hosting for the first year and affordable plans provided they are ad-supported.
Ease of use
You might think you know HTML like the back of your hand. Alternatively, you may prefer a drag-and-drop editor that handles all code for you. In any case, website builders should be simple to use not only at the outset but also as you continue to alter the design and content of your site. We looked at how simple each website builder platform makes it to develop your online store, whether you have web design experience or not.
How many extra capabilities does your website builder tool include in addition to the core duties of developing a website?
Make sure to look at the company's customer assistance options as well as how payment processing works. Great customer assistance (a large knowledge base, clear tutorials, or live chat help) can make your website construction experience much smoother, and having a reliable payment processor will enhance sales.
Level of customization
While most website builders provide some amount of customization, many are severely constrained in terms of creative power. This might be difficult for a small business that wants to emphasize its identity. We examined how stiff each website builder is, as well as the style possibilities they provide to make your shop stand out.
The best website builders for small businesses
Let's look at some of the top ecommerce platforms you can use to build a website:
Best all-in-one ecommerce website builder for small businesses
As you begin this process, you may believe that creating a website and selling things online are two separate tasks that require distinct technologies. There is, however, a significant difference between adding commerce functionality (such as selling products, accepting payments, tracking inventory, fulfilling orders, etc.) onto an existing website and employing a website builder that contains these elements natively.
If you are only searching for a website builder, you may not require all of the other commerce options. However, if you want to launch a flourishing ecommerce business from the beginning, Shopify may be the finest site builder for you.
Shopify is a comprehensive subscription-based commerce platform that is ideal for online companies of every size and stage. It's meant to develop alongside you. It assists you in obtaining a custom domain name and web hosting services, offers ample storage and bandwidth, and offers free marketing capabilities like social media marketing, email marketing, website chat, and more. Furthermore, Shopify allows you to sell through online stores, increasing your reach and sales.
Most business owners consider Shopify to be one of the best website builders for the following reasons:
- Simplicity. Anyone can get started with Shopify, and it stays simple to use as you grow. You may go beneath the hood if you want, but you can also manage, personalize, and scale your business without knowing how to code.
- Performance. Shopify’s website building technology offers lightning-fast load speeds and the web's best-performing checkout. You do not require separate web hosting for your domain, nor do you require the integration of a third-party checkout platform. The built-in shopping cart in Shopify is world-class.
- Omnichannel. With Shopify's website builder, you can sell wherever your consumers are. Shopify is always assisting merchants in expanding their product lines into new areas. We have created the TikTok sales channel and have partnered with Facebook and Instagram. There's no need for complicated add-ons or plug-ins.
🎯 Quick facts
- Price: Shopify has a 14-day free trial so you may experiment with their website builder without having to spend anything upfront. Following that, Basic Shopify costs $29 per month (ideal for beginning businesses like yours), Shopify costs $79 per month (great for a developing business with one retail store), and Advanced Shopify costs $299 per month (best for growing businesses with two or more retail shops).
- Ease of use: Shopify's website creation tools are extremely user-friendly, and if you need assistance, you can resort to the large help center, forum, or 24/7 support.
- Features: Excellent customer service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via live chat, phone, and email; over 100 beautifully designed mobile-friendly themes; search engine optimization; inventory management; free SSL certificate; an app store with over 4,000 easily integrated tools; reporting and analytics; and a handy mobile app.
- Level of customization: Each Shopify website design is simply customizable, and if you desire total control, you'll always have access to your site's HTML and CSS.
- Example: Check out Greens Steel Premium Drinkware to see Shopify in action.
2. Big Cartel
Best website builder for small businesses that don’t want to scale
Big Cartel is for artists who want to sell their work online but don't want to use Etsy since they don't have a custom domain. It's simple to use and set up, and because it was created for artists, the founders have already considered everything you would need to sell your work online.
🎯 Quick facts
- Price: Big Cartel is free for up to five products, so if you're an artist who is just getting started selling your work online, this may be an excellent choice. Following that, Platinum (50 products) is $9.99 per month, Diamond (250 products) is $19.99 per month, and Titanium (500 products) is $29.99 per month.
- Ease of use: BigCartel makes it simple (and quick!) to create your own website. However, if you want to build your business over time, it's difficult to extend this to more media than just the web.
- Features: Customer support is available by email seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET; up to five photos of each product; free themes you can customize (plus code access); make online and in-person sales; use a custom domain; offer promotions; connect to Google Analytics; shipment and inventory tracking; sales tax autopilot; bulk editing.
- Level of customization: Use one of BigCartel's pre-baked themes to quickly set up your site, or create it entirely from scratch with full code access.
- Example: Check out The Feebles Shop to see what a Big Cartel store looks like in real life. Stripe is the Feebles Shop's payment processor.
Best website builder for creating small websites
Wix, a popular website builder, offers a variety of price options based on your needs. It lacks inventory monitoring and many ecommerce capabilities require a plan upgrade to the top tier. Wix ADI, its web design intelligence system, can create a website for you in minutes with just a few details about your company.
However, Wix does support plans, subscriptions, and recurring payments, so if you sell a product that people subscribe to, this builder might be ideal for you.
🎯 Quick facts
- Price: Wix distinguishes between its normal website options and its ecommerce plans. You must choose one of its business plans since you will need to accept and handle payments. Business Basic costs $23, Business Unlimited costs $27, and Business VIP costs $49.99 per month. If you cancel within 14 days of upgrading, Wix will reimburse the cost of any premium plan.
- Ease of use: The user-friendly drag-and-drop editor makes Wix an easy tool to use.
- Features: Wix websites lack inventory management capabilities, so if you know you'll need them, you might want to explore them elsewhere. You'll want to go with the Business Unlimited or Business VIP subscription for complete ecommerce access, as the Basic plan lacks sophisticated features like dropshipping and tax automation. Upper-level subscriptions provide premium features such as a drag-and-drop website builder, recurring payment options, 24/7 customer service, automatic tax, dropshipping, search-engine-optimized sites, and shopping interfaces with Facebook, eBay, Instagram, and Google Shopping.
- Level of customization: Customize one of 800 templates with the drag-and-drop builder. Every piece of each template is customizable.
- Example: Check out Coal and Canary Candle Company.
Best website builder for a professional website
Squarespace, one of the leading website builders, is recognized for its simple, elegantly designed website templates. This is an excellent option if you want to construct a site quickly with minimum customization. If you provide services in addition to physical items, Squarespace is an excellent option.
A day spa, for example, could require a location for clients to book treatments and purchase or subscribe to the goods their therapists use after a session. Squarespace templates are already functional and gorgeous, so you won't have to do any labor to develop a stunning website quickly.
🎯 Quick facts:
- Price: Basic Commerce costs $30 per month, while Advanced Commerce costs $46 per month. By committing for one year, you may save 30% on plans.
- Ease of use: Squarespace is an easy-to-use website builder, and if you need assistance, the firm offers seminars, a support center, and a community forum.
- Features: Sell real items or services; no restriction on the number of products in your shop; product catalogs; post-purchase email sequences; inventory management and low inventory warnings; Stripe and Paypal interfaces; subscriptions
- Level of customization: All templates may be customized using the Squarespace editor, and if you know how to write, you can even alter the code. Keep in mind that if you choose a Squarespace theme, you won't be able to customize down to the page level—the designs you pick will be consistent site-wide, giving you less overall freedom.
- Example: Accessories brand Bembien runs on Squarespace.
Best website builder for reputable web hosting
GoDaddy is a well-known website builder that is used to construct portfolios, ecommerce stores, service-based company websites, and other types of websites. Its user-friendly drag-and-drop builder uses artificial intelligence to swiftly construct your website, using the information you offer to modify your site in minutes.
One disadvantage of GoDaddy websites is that the designs are rather simple. They are all sleek and contemporary, but GoDaddy's UI is best suited to basic designs. If you want to create an online store, you must use a separate online store builder that costs twice as much as the main builder.
🎯 Quick facts
- Price: GoDaddy charges $6.99 per month for a basic paid plan. The standard plans cost $10.49 per month, while the premium plans cost $13.99 per month. If you want ecommerce, you'll have to spend $14.99 each month. By paying annually, you may save between 30% and 40% on your membership.
- Ease of use: For novices with no coding skills, GoDaddy's website builder offers a pleasant and simple editing experience.
- Features: Over 100 mobile-friendly themes; interfaces with social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook; different payment methods such as Google Pay and Venmo; and integration with Square POS (point of sale) to link retail and online enterprises.
- Level of customization: All templates are customizable. GoDaddy's designs are simple and cannot be fully altered to provide distinct online experiences.
- Example: She Moves Mountains Apparel is built on GoDaddy.
Best website platform for design-focused builders
Duda is a design-forward website builder for folks who desire a visually appealing website without relying on templates. You can quickly develop webpages, add widgets, and brand your site. Duda is a tad more pricey than the ordinary site builder, with monthly subscriptions beginning at $14.
Duda was initially designed for agencies, but it has recently included capabilities that everyone may use. For example, you may use a variety of free widgets or create your own to add unique functionalities to your website. Each template offers a considerable level of creative freedom, which is beneficial for novices who are unsure of their website-building abilities.
🎯 Quick facts
- Price: Duda's price is divided into three tiers: Basic ($14 per month), Team ($22 per month), and Agency ($44 per month). When you pay for your plan yearly, you may save 25%.
- Ease of use: Duda is simple to sign up for and begin using. It has a drag-and-drop builder that allows you to change your template without any technical skills.
- Features: Duda has a plethora of design capabilities, including an in-app picture editor and over 100 font variations. It also allows you to construct widgets that provide personalized experiences for visitors. Pop-up messages and promotions may be readily triggered depending on numerous parameters such as location or behavior.
- Level of customization: Its website builder is designed to be quick. However, you cannot make too many customize outside of your template.
- Example: Japan Mobility uses Duda as a content management system for its website.
Best website builder for designers and creative professionals
Webflow is a robust DIY website builder with professional-level customization features. Webflow, which is frequently mentioned as a superior WordPress alternative, offers several features aimed to get you up and running with a flexible, completely personalized website. You are not limited to its pre-designed templates, which provide extensive functionality to developers and web designers that wish to construct without constraints.
🎯 Quick facts
- Price: Webflow allows you to create a website for free, but to go live, you must purchase a plan. It has site plans starting at $12 per month and ecommerce plans starting at $29 per month.
- Ease of use: After you sign up, you'll have access to over 25 handpicked templates. You can select the finest one for your business kind. It is really simple to add material to your website. When you're ready, you may publish modifications with a single click. Webflow offers live previews to ensure that there are no surprises when your site is released.
- Features: Allows you to interact with peers on any website design; monitors version history so you can see who modified what and when; and can be SEO optimized without the need for any additional plug-ins.
- Level of customization: There are no restrictions on what you may design in Webflow. Visually create website interactions, page transitions, and animations. Webflow is the website builder to use if you want to venture outside of your comfort zone.
- Example: Shift runs on Webflow.
Best free website builder
Some small company owners seek free website builders to assist them to cut expenditures. Weebly is one of the few site builders that offers a fully free plan with a free domain, so if you don't need your own domain and don't mind advertisements, this is the ideal option.
Weebly is a simple website builder that may be used to create personal blogs, freelancer portfolios, or simply shopping carts if you wish to sell items. If you do decide to upgrade, Weebly features reasonably priced options that are simple to use.
🎯 Quick facts
- Price: Weebly offers a basic ecommerce account for free. The Personal plan costs $9 per month, or $6 per month when paid annually. The Professional plan costs $16 per month, or $12 if paid annually. The monthly cost of the Performance plan is $29, or $26 if invoiced annually.
- Ease of use: Weebly makes it simple to create and modify a website, and no prior technical experience is required.
- Features: Drag-and-drop interface; adjustable themes; bulk product editing; coupon generator for promotions; mobile optimization; real-time shipping rates; advanced inventory management; product search; PayPal, Stripe, and Square interfaces; auto tax tool.
- Level of customization: The drag-and-drop builder on Weebly makes it simple to start with a theme and modify it with your brand's colors, unique fonts, video backdrops, and animation. If you want to get inside the code, you may do so by experimenting with HTML and CSS.
- Example: To see Weebly in action, visit the watercolor store Case for Making. CFM's website is built with Weebly, and its payment processor is Square.
Best website builder for quick online store setup
If you prefer a no-frills setup procedure and don't mind using a predefined template, 3dcart will allow you to rapidly set up your online store. Its templates are also mobile-friendly, making setup a breeze.
The disadvantage is that if you want to alter anything, the learning curve requires some HTML expertise. The advantage is that 3dcart is search engine optimized and offers good SEO features, making it easier to get your store to rank higher on Google.
Overall, this is a nice, low-cost option, but if you want more extensive ecommerce capability in the long run, you should look elsewhere.
🎯 Quick facts
- Price: 3dcart offers a free premium subscription if you use the Shift4Shop payment processor. If you don't want to use that payment processor, 3dcart offers a 15-day free trial and monthly options starting at $29.
- Ease of use: 3dcart is simple to use, however, there is a learning curve. The website builder might be difficult to use.
- Features: Customer service through help center and chat; adjustable themes; mobile-friendly design; synced inventory across other sites such as eBay and Facebook; support for numerous delivery methods (such as dropshipping and downloads); real-time shipment; more than 160 payment choices; financing.
- Level of customization: 3dcart offers several free and premium themes that may be customized. However, some HTML expertise is essential if you truly want to make the site your own. Unlike other website builders, some updates will necessitate the usage of HTML.
- Example shop: Take a look at Too Cute Beads for an example of a 3dcart shop in the wild.
Best website builder with zero transaction fees
Volusion offers excellent data insights on how your store is working. It has its own analytics tools built in and can link with partners like Fullstory and Google Analytics to provide you with all of the information you need to build your business.
🎯 Quick facts
- Price: Volusion offers a 14-day free trial period. Plans are then billed every three months after that. The Personal plan costs $26, the Professional plan costs $71, the Startup plan costs $161 per month, and the Business plan costs $269 per month.
- Ease of use: Are you going to use one of Volusion's pre-made themes? The web builder will be simple to use. However, if you wish to experiment with any design components, Volusion may rapidly get difficult.
- Features: Customer service through help center, phone, and chat; drag-and-drop builder; mobile-friendly designs; custom discounts and pricing for unique items; payment connections with Apple Pay, Stripe, and PayPal; ongoing membership price; bulk order processing; no transaction costs; interaction with critical technologies such as Google Analytics, Fullstory, and Pinterest.
- Level of customization: Volusion has solutions for everyone, regardless of coding experience. Choose from premium and free themes and tweak them down to the page level. The drag-and-drop editor allows you to personalize the page layout.
- Example: Antonelli's Cheese Shop runs on Volusion.
Best website builder for advanced developers
What makes WordPress so strong is the amount of creative control you have. If you know how to code, you can build the entire thing yourself. Because WordPress is open-source software, it is regularly improved, so you can expect it to run optimally at all times. You may also sell things by adding a Shopify Buy Button to your WordPress website.
🎯 Quick facts
- Price: WordPress offers a free version so you can see how everything works, but you must pay to have full ecommerce capabilities. The monthly fee for the Business plan is $33, while the monthly fee for the Ecommerce plan is $59 per month. If you pay annually, WordPress will give you a monthly discount.
- Ease of use: WordPress has a high learning curve and might be challenging to use at first. Once you've mastered it, the amount of customization you can do with it is limitless, especially if you have a blog—it all depends on how much effort you're prepared to put in upfront.
- Features: To get all of the ecommerce features you require, you must also install a free ecommerce plug-in such as WooCommerce; live chat customer support; an ecommerce plan that includes features such as integration with Google Analytics, over 50,000 plug-ins and shipping carriers, marketing, and SEO tools, and payment options in 60+ countries. For a more in-depth analysis, visit our Shopify vs. WooCommerce comparison.
- Level of customization: If you choose, you can code your WordPress site, but this takes a thorough mastery of HTML. Basic customization is a little tough if you're not computer savvy: you can quickly add your logo, brand colors, and brand font, but additional modifications take HTML understanding, and incorrect coding may easily ruin WordPress websites. WordPress is undoubtedly the most flexible platform available, but if you don't know how to code and want a more personalized result, you'll have to pay someone to build a website for you.
- Example: The House of Whisky is built on WordPress.
Find the right website builder for your specific needs
You'll use your website builder to create your online presence, whether it's a basic portfolio or a full small company website with ecommerce features. Just like when looking for a place to live, you'll need to pick a home for your online store that meets your present demands while avoiding future issues.
A free website builder may be ideal if all you need is a landing page with your business hours and phone number. However, if you want to start an online business where you can engage with clients, you need to start with a solid foundation.
Best website builders FAQ
1. Big Cartel: Best for artists
2. Weebly: Best for portfolios
3. Wix: Best drag-and-drop builder
4. Volusion: Best for data insights
5. WordPress: Best for creative control
6. 3dcart: Best website builder for SEO
7. Squarespace: Best pre-designed templates
8. Shopify: Best for your all-inclusive commerce needs
Because it provides an all-inclusive commerce solution for businesses of any size, Shopify is the finest overall website builder for ecommerce.
Shopify's user-friendly platform makes it simple to use even for people who are new to website building.
Weebly offers the best free website builder.