If you’re a business owner looking to level up your brand, engage people in your products and services, and expand your reach, put your business up on the internet. As Bill Gates once said, “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.”
Why? Let me tell you the statistics: Fifty-seven percent of the world’s population has access to the internet. And there are over 4.57 BILLION active internet users worldwide. That quantity alone is hugely insane, right? But it’s not just the number, internet users spend an average of 6 hours and 30 minutes online everyday and that is just the average. People spend so much of their waking hours surfing the internet and scrolling endlessly through social media. If you’re not putting your brand out there on the world wide web, you’re losing the game because you’re not reaching them. This is not saying that traditional advertising (print ads, radio, and tv) doesn’t work but it’s enough to say that it’s not just cutting it enough. Ride the trend.
But you’ve clicked this article so it’s safe to say that you are already convinced to make a digital mark, right? The next step then is to ACTUALLY put yourself out there. How do you do that?
There are two options. Digital marketing or advertising leverages several mediums with social media topping off the list as the most popular. Second are websites, then there are email, search engines, mobile apps, and other affiliate programs. Even with the popularity of social media (with 3.98 billion active users as of 2020 statistics by Datareportal), websites remain relevant. As a consumer myself, I think I share this thought with most people that businesses legitimize themselves by having a website. (Although this is not always the case, there is truth in that.)
Building your brand
To build your brand and your website, it’s important that you have already mapped out everything in your head or on paper. There are two main website components: content and design. Content is everything about your business – your name, logo, products and services, contact information. Design is how you deliver that content. No matter how good your content can be, if your design sucks, you’re not going to get any clicks. That’s how important that is.
Building a website can be a daunting task especially if you’re a beginner but luckily there are a lot of resources and platforms that can help you out. And there are two ways to design your website.
Option 1 is easy but can burn out your resource. It’s hiring a website designer which costs a thousand dollars on the minimum and can go as high as eight thousand dollars! If you have allocated a budget for your website building and you really want it customized up to the tiniest element, this is your option. Especially if you don’t have time to build one yourself. The downside of this aside from being expensive is that it can get more expensive with changes that you would like to make over time. Since designers work on projects, changing on a whim under time pressure is not feasible all the time.
Option 2 is the more popular approach in designing websites. This is through the use of numerous website builders. Templates are provided for you and all you have to do is personalize them accordingly. Most of these sites are also made for beginners so you don’t have to worry about having zero knowledge on coding. The only issue with website builders is that you cannot fully customize your site to meet all your requirements but since there are a lot of templates to choose from, you might get just what you need.
You might have heard some of these as they have been increasingly popular over the years with the rise in e-commerce. Here are the top website builders that you can try and explore.
On top of the list is Wix.
Wix is used by over 100 million people across the world mainly because there are no tech skills required to get full creative control of your site! Before website builders, businesses rely on option 1 as designing a website also involves a great deal of coding. Aside from that, wix also provides a wide-range of fully customizable designer templates you can choose from. It is also a feature-rich platform.
Features are important elements of a website which increases the site’s navigation and functionality which is important for businesses. You’re not just out there to inform, you’re out there to sell.
With its wide range, wix is suitable from personal blogs and portfolios to small business websites. The only downside review of wix is that once your site is live, you can no longer switch up templates so make sure you’re 100% set before you hit live.
WordPress has evolved from a simple online blogging platform into a wider framework which caters to a lot of website types including eCommerce. It has customizable online store templates with thousands of plugins and advanced design tools. It is also the most popular website builder.
It’s also worth noting that WordPress is a 100% free platform which is excellent if you don’t have any budget for it but free does have its downsides. You’re not allowed to connect it to your domain and there are the ads. Paid website builders do not have these issues but if you’re good with the downsides then that’s fine. It could be not as professional as you would like it to look but as long as your delivery is good, you don’t have to worry much about it.
Squarespace is known for its award-winning design. Those behind this website builder really know how to stage their product and its builder suit follows through that with hundreds of high-quality templates that you can choose from. It offers enterprise level functionalities with business, basic online store, and advanced online store categories with varying levels of features.
This kind of service, of course, comes with a price. They have monthly prices in a 1 year contract ranging from 2 dollars a month for personal to 40 dollars to maintain an advanced online store. It might be expensive but it is definitely worth it with all the powerful eCommerce metrics that they offer. And being a paid builder site, domain name is included in the cost.
This might not be a popular name among website builders but this is definitely the longest surviving brand tracing its roots way back in 1979. There have been a lot of issues that Network Solutions have gone through but today, it aims to serve a wide range of entrepreneurs coming in. It offers cloud-based hosting plans which specializes in small business plans who are trying to introduce themselves by creating a well-rounded online presence. Like other site builders, it also offers a dynamic and competitive template store with built-in marketing tools and one-click catalog updates. They aim to provide simplicity and flexibility.
Site123 differentiates itself from its competitors by giving the ultimate beginner approach. As a site builder, it asks users to pick their niche and then customize a curated template so you can focus on the content instead and not worry about any designing at all since they’ve done it all for you. It’s simple and easy to use with a good product integration feature.
But it also has its downsides. Though it provides you with an already curated template, it does not assure that this template is to your liking and changing it up involves hassle. And for some this is a big deal as it’s better to do everything from scratch rather than change up an already provided template. It’s also more expensive than its competitors starting at 12.80 dollars per month but it does not give much of the features you can control unlike other paid site builders.
How to choose a website builder
There are factors to consider in picking the website builder fit for you and your brand. First is ease of use. How long does it take to load and how easy is it to navigate through its functions and features? Most sites provide you with a trial and it’s a good idea to take that opportunity to get a feel. Reviews can only give you a bit of an idea of how these things work. Trials can give you a better overview and can help you choose better. Second is template availability and quality. Your design represents your branding so it’s important that you find the design that fits perfectly to that. Third are features which are important components of design that make your website better. And last but not the least is site speed and technical support. Trying out building a website by yourself with website builders does not mean that it will be easy and smooth all the time. There will be challenging technical moments and you will need fast and reliable technical support to ease you from the stress.
There is no best way to design a professional business website, only the right choice that fits your goals, experience, and preferences.