The best website builders for small businesses

Superscript
11 October 2021
11 minute read

Gone are the days when the only way to have a website for your business was to hire a developer or learn how to code. These days, there are loads of website building platforms that make creating your own website super easy, with intuitive interfaces and customisable templates.

This article will run through the best website builders in the UK today, including their features, prices and pros/cons so you can decide which one is right for you.

But first, it’s worth asking...

What do you want to do with your website?

Before you start shopping around for a website builder, it’s a good idea to think about what you want your website to do. This could include:

  • Sell items
  • Sell a service
  • Start a conversation
  • Write your thoughts
  • Showcase your work
  • Allow customers to make appointments or book a service
  • Connect to your audience

Of course, you don’t have to choose just one. But narrowing down what you want your website to do will help you decide which builder has the components you need.

It’s also worth thinking about where you see your business going in future and how this will change your website, so you can ensure the builder you pick has the capabilities to handle this.

The best website builders

Most of the platforms included have pre-built components that you can add to your site depending on what you want it to do. Some have more customisation than others.

As standard, all of these web builders offer the below features:

  • Domain setup
  • Web hosting
  • Business email address
  • Email marketing
  • E-commerce capabilities
  • SEO tools
  • Professional and industry-specific templates
  • Blogging
  • Stock photo gallery (in case you don't have your own images)
  • Social media connection
  • Analytics

What really changes between them is the design of the pre-built templates, the pricing and the unique features.

We've scored various factors of each web builder out of 4 stars:

Website builder Features Support Customisation From price
Squarespace **** **** *** £10
WordPress.org **** ** **** Free
GoDaddy **** **** *** £6.99
Wix **** **** **** £6.50
Shopify *** **** **** $29

Skip ahead:

  1. Squarespace
  2. WordPress.org
  3. GoDaddy
  4. Wix
  5. Shopify
  6. Ueni

1. Squarespace

Once reserved for creatives because of its beautiful pre-made templates, Squarespace has become a great all-rounder website builder for anyone who wants to build a website. Customers can choose from the many templates available based on what their business does and then customise from there.

The pre-built components within the builder are highly customisable, but for those who want to go further, there is an option to free code, however, coding knowledge is recommended for this.

Due to its design flexibility and range of features, Squarespace is considered to be one of the best website builders for small businesses.

Pros:

  • Great for beginners
  • Easy to get started
  • Has capabilities for businesses who want to scale
  • Affordable
  • If you have third-party hosting, you can leave it registered and hosted with its provider and connect it to your Squarespace site

Cons:

  • Not as easy to use as some of the other options
  • Less features than other builders
  • The personal plan doesn’t let you adjust CSS and Javascript

Support options

  • No phone support
  • 24/7 email support
  • 24/7 chatbot support
  • 24/7 Twitter support
  • Weekday live chat
  • Community forum

Unique features:

  • Video creation app – allows you to easily create and share videos
  • Members-only area - add paid areas to your site and create content for members
  • Connects to Google, Apple Pay, Stripe, Paypal, OpenTable, Amazon
  • Tons of third-party extensions including tax, dropshipping, stock syncing and fulfilment automation

Pricing

The different pricing options reflect not only how basic the level of features will be but also gives you an indication of who the plans are suitable for. E-commerce builders will need the commerce plan but a freelancer who’s showcasing their work will probably suit the personal plan.

For Squarespace,there isn’t a free option, but there is a 2-week free trial to allow you to play around before you purchase. Here are the prices if you choose an annual plan (which saves you money):

  • Personal: £10
  • Business: £15
  • Commerce: £20
  • Advanced commerce: £20

These are based on an annual plan. Squarespace charges more for monthly plans, which can add up over time. For instance, a personal plan goes up to £13 if you choose a monthly plan. This equates to an extra £36 a year.

2. WordPress.org

There are two different types of WordPress site: WordPress.com and WordPress.org – we’ll be focusing on the latter. This is because the .org platform is more suitable for small businesses. Wordpress.com is great for bloggers who aren’t that interested in making money from their site or for those who don’t want to spend too long creating a website.

WordPress.org is self-hosted, meaning users need a domain name and hosting to use it, and it uses open-source software, which allows users to have complete customisability over their site. Because of this, many consider WordPress.org to be the best website builder. While this is true, those who are building a website for the first time, or are unfamiliar with hosting sites vs. self-hosting, may find WordPress.org tricky to use.

Pros

  • Create a site from scratch or modify an existing template exactly how you want to
  • Run ads and receive the revenue yourself (some builders run ads through your site and keep the revenue)
  • Access to hundreds of plug-ins, from both WordPress and individual developers
  • Use of the WordPress software is completely free (but bear in mind you’ll have to pay for your own hosting)

Cons

  • Requires installation, but there are plenty of online resources and how-to videos that show you how to do this
  • Requires you to shop around for a hosting provider and connecting the two (most builders have hosting included but that means you’re effectively renting web space from that platform and your site is connected to that company)
  • Requires you to buy a domain name and connect it to your site
  • There’s a steeper learning curve – if you’re not used to changing source codes or optimisation, it may take some researching and learning to get up to speed. This could also be seen as a positive – once you have learnt, you’ll have this as a new skill
  • There aren’t many support options compared to the other builders

If you’re a bit worried about your technical abilities for the last two points, don’t worry. Because of how many people use WordPress, there are tons of useful resources out there to help you set up your site through WordPress.org.

Support options

  • No phone support
  • No email support
  • No chatbot support
  • No Twitter support
  • Community forums

Unique features

  • Ability to create a members site, where users can pay extra for content, exclusive access to a community or courses
  • You can upload your own theme or buy a theme and add it to your site and then edit it

The other unique features are really up to you! With access to so many different plug-ins, there really is no limit to what you can do with your site on WordPress.org.

Pricing

This is up to you really – as WordPress.org itself is free, the price depends on how much you decide to pay for your own hosting and domain name. This can range anywhere from £30-£150 a year.

3. GoDaddy

As of 2021, GoDaddy powers over 80 million websites. It’s one of the most well-known and popular web-hosting and building platforms in the world – and for good reason. GoDaddy offers a complete suite of hosting, building and domain services.

Due to its fast setup, large number of features and guidance through the builder process, it’s a top choice for many small businesses.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to manage
  • Lots of features and integrations like SEO, social media and email marketing
  • High uptime – this is the opposite of downtime and means that websites with GoDaddy will be least affected by issues such as malware making the site go down for periods of time

Note: If your website suffers an outage that affects your online shop, your business insurance should cover this. At Superscript, this is covered as part of our cyber insurance.

Cons

  • Limited in customisation – doesn’t give you complete control over the functionality and design
  • Its e-commerce functionality is not as good as some of the other platforms out there
  • Their customer service doesn't get the best reviews compared to other platforms

Support options

  • 24/7 phone support
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • 24/7 WhatsApp support
  • Community forum

Unique features

  • Answer a few questions and someone will build a custom site for you
  • The dashboard gives you insight into how your website compares to competitors and provides tips on how to boost it
  • Create your Google My Business profile from your dashboard
  • Connect your Instagram account and monitor stats from your dashboard
  • Publish a message across several accounts, like Facebook and Google My Business, from your GoDaddy account

Pricing

Similar to Squarespace, GoDaddy offers monthly and annual pricing plans, with users being able to save when choosing the latter. The platform also offers a one-month free trial.

Here are the prices for the annual plan:

  • Basic: £6.99 per month
  • Standard: £9.99 per month
  • Premium: £14.99 per month
  • Ecommerce: £19.99 per month

4. Wix

Another popular web builder known for creating clean, creative sites is Wix. With hundreds of templates and a super customisable drag-and-drop editor, Wix is the choice for many people who don’t want to code but do want their site exactly how they want it.

Pros

  • Intuitive editor interface
  • More templates than most platforms

Cons

  • Templates can’t be switched easily once your site has gone live
  • The amount of features in the editor can feel overwhelming at first

Support options

  • Live chat in certain locations
  • 24/7 chat bot support
  • 24/7 call back service
  • In-editor guidance
  • Help center

Unique features

  • Drag-and-drop editor lets you create your site exactly the way you want
  • Wix Artificial Design Intelligence – the first AI to design a website for you
  • Customise your dashboard
  • Advanced commerce options such as selling digital uploads
  • Answer a few questions and someone will build a custom site for you
  • SEO plan – while most sites offer some form of SEO capabilities, Wix offers a personalised SEO plan

Pricing

Wix also offers annual plans for a cheaper price than monthly plans. Here are their annual offers:

Website plans:

  • Combo (for personal use): £6.50 per month
  • Unlimited (entrepreneurs and freelancers): £9.50 per month
  • VIP (first priority support): £19 per month

Business and e-commerce plans:

  • Business basic: £13 per month
  • Business unlimited: £17 per month
  • Business VIP: £22 per month

5. Shopify

As the name suggests, Shopify is an e-commerce website builder and many consider it to be the best for this particular type of website. As another hosted platform, it allows you to create your own online store, which is perfect for businesses that want to sell their products through a website.

Shopify has a bunch of third-party apps that you can add individually to your site. This keeps the builder clean and filled with only the features that you need.

Pros

  • Clear and easy to use interface
  • Customisable through code with access to CSS, HTML and Shopify’s own template language, Liquid

Cons

  • If you decide not to use Shopify’s own payment gateway, you’ll incur transaction fees
  • Switching templates is possible, but you’ll need to reformat your entire site if you decide to do so
  • There’s a limited trial period which isn’t flexible on design

Support options

  • Twitter support
  • Help centre
  • Community forum
  • 24/7 live chat
  • 24/7 phone support
  • 24/7 email support

Unique features:

  • Shopify augmented reality
  • Shopify fulfillment
  • Shopify payments
  • Shopify POS – a system that can link your online and physical sales

Pricing

Pricing plans for Shopify are shown in dollars. You can also try Shopify for free for 14 days.

  • Basic Shopify: $29 per month
  • Shopify: $79 per month
  • Advanced Shopify: $229 per month

6. Ueni

Ueni is slightly different to the other website builders on this list. It is a website builder, but not in the DIY sense. Where some web builders offer customers the chance to pay someone to build their website for them, Ueni solely offers this service.

Designed specifically for small business owners, Ueni builds your website, writes content for you, sets up e-commerce and gets you up and running quickly just by answering a few questions about your business and uploading some assets.

Pros

  • Super easy to set up – by far the easiest set up out of the options
  • Helpful customer service
  • Affordable
  • A quick solution if you don’t want much involvement in the building process
  • A 30-day money back guarantee if you don’t like your website

Cons

  • Quite limited editing options – this is because Ueni is not a do-it-yourself web builder. if you have something that you want changed and it’s not available to do in the editor, you can contact the team to help you with this
  • If there’s a problem with your site, you might not be able to fix it yourself and will need to go through Ueni to fix it

Support options

  • Live chat

There is an email address and phone number, but customers are encouraged to talk to the team through live chat.

Unique features

  • Designs and builds your site
  • Writes all the content for you
  • Uploads products for you
  • Lifetime hosting and maintenance included

Alongside building your website, they can also connect you with other businesses that will help you set up your business, including company formations, business insurance and accounting solutions.

Pricing

Similar to other plans, they offer a monthly and annual payment option. Paying annually is cheaper and here are the prices:

  • Basic: £99 per year (equivalent to £8.25 a month)
  • Plus: £299 per year (equivalent to £24.91 per month)
  • Reputation: £429 per year (equivalent to £37.75 per month)

Which will you choose?

Even after doing all the research, it can still be hard to pick which website builder you want to use. As so many of them offer free packages or trials, we’d recommend having a play around on each of them to see which one you get on with best.

If you’re shopping around for a website builder because you’ve just opened a business, have you thought about business insurance yet? This is another key step in setting up your company and could really come in handy if a claim was made against you. Like many of these web builders, our flexible business insurance is customisable, so you can choose the cover that suits you most.

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This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer.

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