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The Best Website Builders for Small Business - 2023 review

A honest review of popular website builders for small businesses and e-commerce, based on community feedback.

This post was last updated on November 4, 2023

In this guide

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The method you choose to create your small business website should align with your specific business needs. A website is not merely a luxury but an essential component of your business. It's worth noting that website builders come with a lock-in – once you've built your site on a particular platform, migrating it to another hosting service can be challenging.

There are several approaches you can consider:

Cheap and easy

If you require an informational website quickly and are operating on a tight budget, consider user-friendly website builders like Square or Wix. These platforms allow you to easily construct your website by dragging and dropping elements into place.

Keep in mind that while these website builders offer simplicity and cost-efficiency, the end result may not be exceptional. As your business grows, you might eventually need to rebuild the website from the ground up. Despite their limited flexibility, these website builders do not demand any web tech expertise.

The sustainable way

For more intricate websites, you can turn to advanced website builders such as Squarespace and *Webflow. While these platforms don't necessarily require coding skills, dedicating time and effort to the process is important. Having prior experience with website building can significantly contribute to achieving professional results.

When it comes to e-commerce websites, Shopify is the top choice, offering a robust solution. However, it can become costly due to the necessity of additional add-ons that aren't included in the base price. An alternative is Big Cartel, which provides a more cost-effective option for creating online shops. Squarespace, a versatile website builder, can also serve as a platform for online shops at an affordable price.

The Best Simple Website Builders for Small Businesses

Square - The Best Free Website Builder

Square is the ideal choice for those seeking an easy-to-use website builder without spending money. Square's free plan includes some ads, but they are not overly obtrusive. It's important to note that Square and Squarespace are products from different companies.


  • User-friendly interface.
  • The "free" plan is genuinely free.
  • Use domains like ""
  • E-commerce and SEO tools are available for free.
  • Minimal ads on the free plan.
  • No limitations on the number of pages in the free plan.
  • Integrated Point Of Sale (POS) system.
  • Phone support is included in the free plan.


  • Square's feature set may not be comprehensive enough for businesses with expanding requirements.
  • Limited customization options.
  • In my opinion, the paid plan may not be worth the cost; consider using Squarespace if you're willing to pay for a website builder.

Wix - Easy Drag-and-Drop Editor

Wix is the most popular website builder and a solid choice if you need to quickly and effortlessly create a basic small business website. Wix has a more opinionated approach to website structure, which can help you achieve results rapidly but may limit customization when more tailored layouts are required.

Price: Starts at $16 per month.


  • Arrange all website elements with a simple drag-and-drop editor.
  • Offers good out-of-the-box configuration.


  • Can sometimes be buggy, particularly when creating mobile websites.
  • Changing themes can be challenging.
  • Lacks a built-in search feature.

Squarespace - The Best All-Around Website Builder

Squarespace strikes a balance between easy builders like Square and advanced options like Webflow. Squarespace has a bit of a learning curve because not everything is drag-and-drop, but it can take your business a long way. Squarespace supports various forms of transactions.

Squarespace is also known for its beautiful themes and offers an extensive range of features at a reasonable price.

Price: Starts at $16 per month.


  • Offers numerous features and extensions, including analytics, forms, mailing lists, social media selling, maps, and more.
  • User-friendly and intuitive.
  • Features a drag-and-drop editor.
  • No coding required.
  • Provides beautiful themes.
  • Transparent pricing.
  • Highly robust and reliable.


  • Squarespace is a feature-rich website builder that may require some time to master. It might not be the right solution if you've never used it and need a website quickly.
  • Limited customization options for more advanced use cases.

Webflow - the Ultimate Customizable Website Builder

*Webflow is renowned as the premium no-code website builder, ideal for web designers and experienced users. It boasts an exceptionally advanced graphical interface, albeit with a learning curve somewhat akin to Photoshop. You don't need to be an engineer to harness Webflow's power, but having a grasp of HTML and CSS can be quite beneficial. *Webflow is the ultimate solution for businesses anticipating growth, willing to invest some time in their website, and seeking a flexible website builder for highly customized websites.

Price: Starting at $14 for regular websites and $29 for e-commerce. Prices remain the same when billed in Euros.


  • Unmatched customization without needing to delve into code.
  • The most versatile website builder available.


  • The learning curve is steep.
  • May be excessive for basic informational websites.

The Best Website Builders for E-commerce

In addition to essential website features, e-commerce-oriented website builders offer a range of features, such as:

  • Product Management: Simplifying the addition, editing, and organization of product listings, including images, descriptions, and prices.
  • Payment Processing: Providing support for multiple payment gateways and secure transactions.
  • Shopping Cart Functionality: Offering a well-designed shopping cart to streamline the checkout process.
  • Inventory Management: Equipping you with tools to track and manage product stock levels.
  • Order Tracking: Enabling customers to check their order status and receive updates.
  • Shipping Options: Giving you the capability to provide various shipping methods and real-time shipping rate calculations.
  • Membership and Subscription Support: Allowing you to offer subscription-based products or membership services.

Squarespace - The Effortless E-commerce Website Builder

Squarespace, a user-friendly website builder, provides an easy way to start your online store. It includes various e-commerce features for selling products and services online, including:

  • Digital or physical products
  • Subscription products with recurring charges
  • Integration with Ship Station for printing shipping labels
  • Acceptance of card payments through Apple Pay and Stripe integrations

Squarespace is an advanced website builder that's both cost-effective and less intricate than Shopify for constructing e-commerce websites.

Shopify - The Most Popular E-commerce Website Builder

Shopify stands as a frontrunner among e-commerce website builders. Its checkout process is meticulously optimized for conversions, and it offers a plethora of integrations for various sales channels. Shopify thrives within an ecosystem hosting over 8,000 apps, making it a top choice for selling virtually any product imaginable. It's a platform where beginners with minimal technical knowledge can create visually appealing and unique online shops while effectively managing their inventory.

Shopify's power is undeniable, but it comes at a price. Relying on essential third-party apps, such as payment processors, significantly adds to the base fee. Many indispensable features are locked behind higher payment tiers.


  • Shopify ranks among the most popular choices for building an online webshop.
  • Boasts the best third-party apps ecosystem among website builders.
  • Offers easy multi-channel integration.
  • Excels in inventory management.


  • Costs can escalate due to separate charges for essential add-ons.
  • Lacks a drag-and-drop editor.
  • Imposes transaction fees on top of payment processing fees for lower-tier plans.
  • Doesn't provide domain email service.
  • Limited blogging features, which might restrict businesses reliant on content marketing.

BigCommerce - The Contender to Shopify

BigCommerce proves itself as a formidable competitor to Shopify. Even on its lower-tier plans, BigCommerce offers an impressive array of features:


  • No transaction charges.
  • Unlimited bandwidth, products, and file storage.
  • No limitations on staff accounts.
  • Built-in blog functionality.
  • Multi-currency support.
  • Integrations with Amazon, Walmart, Facebook, Instagram, and eBay.
  • 24/7 tech support via phone, chat, and ticket system.


  • Costs increase with revenue.
  • Requires a greater degree of technical knowledge.
  • Provides more limited shipping options compared to Shopify.
  • Experienced BigCommerce developers are relatively scarcer than Shopify app developers.

BigCommerce may not be for everyone, as beginners might find it more challenging to initiate an online store with BigCommerce compared to Shopify.

Website Builders vs WordPress Builders

WordPress can be transformed into a full-fledged drag-and-drop website builder through the use of add-ons like Elementor, Divi, and Oxygen. However, there exists a trade-off between a clean output and ease of use. Elementor is beginner-friendly but can lead to code bloat, while Oxygen offers a leaner experience but requires a deeper understanding of technical aspects.

Elementor, Divi, and Oxygen can be installed on all self-hosted WordPress websites and some managed WordPress plans. Consult your hosting provider to understand your installation options, their management responsibilities, and what kind of maintainance isn't covered. Managed WordPress packages may not be budget-friendly but spare you from the typical hassles of WordPress updates. A WordPress website without regular security updates is vulnerable to security breaches, so it might be a well-worth investment.

Please read my WordPress article for additional insights.

Is WordPress a Superior Option Compared to a Website Builder?

Opting for WordPress provides you with full ownership of your website, whereas website builders lock you into their service. This means you have the freedom to change hosting providers if prices surge or you become dissatisfied with the service. A self-hosted WordPress installation can be seamlessly moved to another hosting provider.

WordPress powers a significant portion of the internet and boasts a vast ecosystem of themes and add-ons. You can craft a WordPress website tailored to meet the specific requirements of any small business. WordPress affords a multitude of implementation options for various features, unlike website builder services that confine you to their prescribed implementations. While many WordPress plugins are free, some do come at a cost, and professional themes typically require a purchase.

However, building a website with WordPress can be bewildering for beginners due to the myriad add-ons available, and the configuration process can be time-consuming. Website builders, on the other hand, focus on offering well-structured features that cater to the needs of most users. Chances are that your small business website won't have requirements that a website builder can't fulfill. WordPress may be overkill for basic informational websites and is primarily recommended for those with prior website-building experience.

Crafting a Professional Website Using Website Builders

A wise person once said:

Cheap and professional seldom go hand in hand

It's crucial to determine your business website's priority and act accordingly. Consider the hidden costs: how many potential customers do you lose because a poorly designed website fails to inspire trust?

If your business is profitable, consider hiring a professional to create a polished website using WordPress, *Webflow, or Shopify. Time is valuable, and your focus should be on selling your products or services, managing your staff and production, rather than getting entangled in website configuration. The time required to build and configure a website is often underestimated.

You get what you pay for, and this principle applies to website builders, hosting services, and freelancers. Combining a reputable hosting provider with a website built, maintained, and promoted by experts is the recipe for an outstanding online experience that drives sales. However, a basic understanding of your website's administration panel is essential to make minor changes, such as adding or modifying product descriptions.


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