The internet is a normal part of daily life and plays a huge role in how people do their shopping. And yet nearly a third of small businesses still don’t have a website, according to SmallBusiness.com.
At this point, a website isn’t optional. The web is one of the main places people go to learn about new businesses and products. A website shows potential customers that a business is legitimate and established.
No matter what industry you’re in, a website both helps more customers find you and gives you a chance to earn their trust.
But we get it. If you’re an entrepreneur with limited time and zero coding skills, designing a website is intimidating. You don’t even know where to start. It’s easier to sit on your hands and keep hoping you can get by without one.
You can’t. You need a website sooner rather than later, but creating one really isn’t as daunting as it seems. You just need to find a good small business website builder.
What is a Small Business Website Builder?
You may be wondering, “What is a website builder?” A website builder is a digital tool that makes it easy for anyone to create a website – even without any knowledge of coding or graphic design.
Typically website builders supply a number of templates or themes you can choose from to have an easy starting point. Then using their intuitive website editor, you can customize the template to make it into a website unique to your business.
A good website editor will make it easy to:
- Create new pages
- Determine your website’s organization and menu
- Change the background and colors of the different parts of a page
- Change fonts and text formatting
- Move the elements of the page around (drag-and-drop functionality makes this particularly easy)
- Upload and position your own images
- Fill in your own text with personalized content
- Add features important for business such as a map for local businesses or a contact form for service providers
- Add media such as video and music to your website
- Easily add a blog to your site
If you decide you want to sell products directly through your online store, then the best website builder for your small business will also include eCommerce features that allow you to easily add a shopping cart and check out functionality.
Most importantly, what a website builder is for you is the path to finally getting a website up for your small business and creating an online presence to attract potential customers.
Why You Should Use a Website Builder for Small Businesses
If you’re still not sure you’re ready to get your website up and running with a good website builder, here are a few of the main benefits of doing so.
1. You can get a website up faster.
Every day you don’t have an eCommerce platform to improve your online presence, you’re losing money and customers. It may not feel that way right now, but that’s only because you can’t track the users who aren’t finding you now.
The fact is, if you don’t have a small business website up already, you’re behind and it’s hurting you.
You need to release a professional, well designed website out into the world sooner rather than later. But with a website builder, this doesn’t have to be a project that eats up your time for weeks or months – you could have your website created and ready to go within hours.
You’re busy and any company that provides a website builder for small businesses knows it. That’s why small business website builders are purposely built to make the whole process of creating your website fast and easy.
2. It costs less than a designer.
If you have the budget and time, there can definitely be benefits tohiring a professional website designer to build your website for you. But if you had the budget and time, you would already have a website that did what you needed it to.
Hiring a professional designer typically costs in the range of $3,000-$6,000, but could cost less or more depending on your particular needs and who you hire. That’s a pretty big line item to add to your budget for the year.
In comparison, some website builders are free, some cost $5-$40 a month, and some come free with other website services you need, such as hosting. In any case, the cost of a website builder is easier to fit into a tight budget than the cost of bringing on a skilled professional.
3. You have control over the look and feel.
When you create a website yourself, you get to choose the overall look and feel. With a designer, you can describe what you have in mind and hope for the best, but at the end of the day you could end up with something that doesn’t really match what you wanted.
A website builder puts the tools to create your website in your own hands so you can choose the layout, colors, and style of the website all yourself.
4. You don’t have to learn to code.
This was probably one of the big hurdles that caused you to wait this long to begin with. Learning to code takes time that you just don’t have when you’re out running your business day after day. And if you don’t have the budget to hire someone with the skill, then it’s too easy to procrastinate figuring it out yourself until you realize years have passed and you still don’t have a website.
Procrastinating something that you know will eat up hours of your life over several weeks or months is understandable. But once you know you can create a website in a matter of hours over a day or two, getting it onto your to-do list suddenly doesn’t look so hard.
Stop worrying about finding time for a coding bootcamp and use a tool that cuts coding entirely out of the process.
5. A website builder is easy for beginners to use.
Even if you’re basically a luddite and have a hard time figuring out any new tech, a good website builder shouldn’t require much of a learning curve. Website builders are specifically made to be easy to use.
While the exact layout and features included in a website builder are different for the various options on the market, any website builder made for small businesses should have an intuitive design that you can figure out with a few minutes of playing around in it.
6. You still have a lot of flexibility and options.
You don’t want your website to look like everybody else’s. Even though you’re working from templates other small businesses have access to, you have lots of options for customizing your website to make it all your own.
In addition to choosing from a number of starter templates, you can also decide on:
- Color options
- The placement of different elements the page
- And what elements to include on each page (images, text, buttons, shapes, forms, maps, mailing list sign ups, videos, social share buttons, etc.)
Even working within a pre-designed template, you can create something wholly unique that represents your brand effectively.
7. Your employees can make website changes without needing training.
Your website will need to be updated from time to time, even when it’s just a matter of making small tweaks to make sure the information remains accurate. For a small business owner, it makes your life easier if you don’t have to go in and make those changes yourself every time you want to alert visitors to upcoming holiday hours or a change in offerings.
Website builders are easy enough to use that all you have to do is provide your employees with login information and they should be able to make any requested changes for you.
When it’s easy for anyone in your company to make needed tweaks to the website, doing so becomes much more efficient.
8. You can make site updates from anywhere.
Another convenient feature of many small business site builders is that they live online. That means that anytime you have access to internet, a browser, and your login info, you can make updates to your website.
If you realize you need to make a change while on vacation, no problem. If you want to ask an employee who works from home to make a change from their device, easy. You don’t have to worry about sharing the right files that live on one main desktop or server.
Anytime someone needs to update the website, they only need to know the address of the website builder and how to log in.
9. Pre-designed templates incorporate business best practices.
Learning website design isn’t just about learning how to code. Good website designers also spend time studying web design best practices that create a positive user experience and increase the chances of getting visitors to take the actions you want them to.
That’s another part of website design that would require a big time commitment to learn well if you were trying to build a website on your own from scratch, but when you choose the right small business website builder, you can trust that the templates they offer have been designed by people who have already done that work.
It doesn’t hurt to still spend a little time learning what design practices work best for small business websites, but you don’t have to go too deep here. The templates provided should help you start from a place of good business web design and build out from there.
10. Your site will look good on your smartphone.
For a long time, the most important way for small businesses to stay up-to-date in the tech world was to create a website. Now, it’s just as important to make sure your website is mobile friendly.
Within the last couple of years, mobile internet usage has become even more common than desktop. A lot of the users you want visiting your website will be doing their web browsing on mobile devices.
That means you don’t just need a nice looking, professional website – you need one that looks good and works well on mobile devices as well.
One of the best ways to create a mobile friendly website is to make your website responsive. When hiring a designer, that could mean paying extra. But when working with a website builder software, it’s mostly a matter of making sure you choose a responsive template.
Starting with a responsive template will do most of the work of making your website mobile friendly for you, but go ahead and test out your website on a mobile device before you publish it. You want to make sure all your text and links are easy to use on a small device.
11. Adding media features is intuitive.
Creating a blog or adding an embedded map of your store can get complicated if you’re trying to figure out how to do it in a coding language. But a good website builder will make those updates as simple a few clicks of your mouse.
You can select the type of media (such as your social media or content pages) you want to add, upload it through the editor, and drag and drop it to the spot in the page where you want it. As with all the other changes you make to customize your website, including media is fast and easy with a website builder.
12. Including ecommerce elements is simple.
If your website will just exist to send people to your storefront, then you don’t need to worry about this benefit. But if you want to increase your profits by selling items directly through your website and adding eCommerce functionalities, then this will make a big difference.
Selling products with your website requires having a shopping cart functionality on the website and a secure way for customers to provide their payment info. A good small business website builder will make adding that functionality simple and intuitive.
You can quickly and easily get set up to allow purchases on your website and be confident that you’re providing enough security to keep your customers safe.
It’s Time to Build Your Small Business Website
You’ve waited long enough to get a small business website up and running. Chances are, any excuse you have for not getting it done can be addressed with the right website builder software.
No more excuses, it’s time to make your small business more accessible and successful with a good website. Start building with HostGator today!
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.