Gone are the days when one had to depend on hoardings and billboards to market a product. Why spend a fortune on brand promotion when you can do it for free online. Yes, it is easy to create a low-cost website using free website builders and expand your enterprise globally. You can reach out to clients worldwide, increase your sales and reach out to more people. Here is the ultimate guide to help you set up an e-commerce website along with some of the top 5 business website builder tools that you can get your hands on;
Step 1. Register your Domain
First things first, you need to find a good name for your website. A domain name and URL form the basic identity and address of your website. It is the name via which your customers or web browsers can find you online. There are several domain registration platforms like GoDaddy and BlueHost where you can register the domain name at an affordable price. Some website builders also offer domain registration services for free.
Step 2. Find a Web Hosting platform
Another important aspect that comes right after domain registration is getting your website hosted online. A web hosting service is a medium that connects your website to the main server. If the domain name is your website’s identity, a web host determines the space you occupy on the server. Most domain registration platforms offer web hosting services as well. You can even get web hosting services from website builders at a nominal price.
Step 3. Choosing the Right Website Builder
Once you have a unique domain name and a web host for your website you can actually get down to the nitty-gritty details of how it should look and operate. That’s where a website builder comes in. A website builder is the foundation stone for any website, the framework upon which it is built. We have discussed some of the best free website builders below that might interest you.
Top 5 Website Builders To Create A Small Business Website
Wix is one of the most advanced website builders for small business and startups. The builder comes with a drag and drop interface and a live editor that allows you to make real-time changes to your website even after you have published your content. The WYSIWYG editor also gives you a live preview of how the content would appear on the user-end browser. The ADI framework further simplifies matters for developers, automatically generating a website based upon their preferences.
Moving on to the features, Wix is loaded with customization tools and free themes. There are numerous readymade layouts and templates, each compatible with mobile devices. Plus, you also have a bunch of free color schemes, fonts, third-party apps, and widgets. E-commerce features allow you to build product catalogs, add multiple payment gateways and manage shopping carts.
SITE123 is perhaps the easiest and quickest of the website builders we have reviewed. Everything is automatic here. Once registered, users would be redirected to the templates section. Upon choosing the template you can move it to the editor and customize it to your liking. The drag and drop interface comes with a live preview option that lets you see how the content is shaping up before you actually publish it online. You can also make some real-time changes to your content after you have it on the server.
The free version of SITE123 offers free domain registration and web hosting services. Here, you will also find effective SEO enhancement tools, e-commerce solutions, and powerful CMS support. The extensive collection of themes and professionally designed templates is also very impressive.
Weebly is one of the easiest and most user-friendly platforms on our list and for good reason too. For starters, the website builder comes with a WYSIWYG interface that allows live previews. The responsive editor lets you drag and drop elements and edit them all in one place. Also, there are loads of free perks like elegant themes, responsive e-commerce solutions, and stunning graphics. You can insert images, text, videos and more in a matter of minutes. What’s more, Weebly even automatically generates a mobile-friendly version of your website for you.
Weebly offers excellent SEO support, ensuring a solid web ranking and web presence. The App Market is another interesting platform here where you can find a host of useful business focused apps and plugins for free or at a very nominal price.
1&1 website builder is a platform that is tailor-made for professional services and enterprises. It best suits growing start-ups and individual set-ups of accountants, lawyers, and entrepreneurs. The interface is minimalistic, interactive and very easy to work with. The drag and drop editor comes armed with a loaded dashboard, scalable tools and a host of templates and graphical options. You can even access the HTML core codes and CSS stylesheets if you have the required coding skills.
1&1 also has excellent e-commerce support. Users can sell multiple products have multiple product catalogs, set up reliable payment gateways, manage abandoned shopping carts, add newsletter options, take care of shipping and a lot more.
Squarespace is the safest option for entrepreneurs who want a professional and elegant website or web store for their business. The builder has an intuitive interface, dashboard full of powerful tools and premium quality templates that you get your to site up and running within minutes. The platform does require a bit of technical knowledge and has a steeper learning curve than most other names on our list, but it would be fine once you get used to it.
Squarespace comes with some pretty good social media integration tools that would allow you to market your products and services across various networks easily. Here, you get a collection of images, templates, and themes that are optimized for mobile phones, aesthetically appealing and easy to customize. The e-commerce functions include MailChimp integration, Google Analytics tools, and other third-party extensions.
When it comes to e-commerce, having an e-store or a website is your best bet to establish a solid web presence. We recommend platforms like Wix and SITE123 to newcomers while those who want a more professional platform can check out the likes of Squarespace and Weebly. But of course there are much more free website builders. Check a review: http://www.beautifullife.info/web-design/15-best-free-website-builders/ where you'll find 15 best free website builders and their comparing table.
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