“Best website to host my business”. If you type that into google, get ready for a lot of information.
There are a plethora of website hosting services available today which can make it difficult and overwhelming for small businesses to determine the best options for their business. However, when choosing the site to build on — whether it’s Squarespace, Shopify, Wix, etc — it’s best to consider the following five conditions so you can make the best decision for your business.
1. Business Model
The first indicator that will help determine the best website is in the business model. If you haven't decided what niche your business will serve, this needs to come first. Check out our tips on starting your business.
A product-centered e-commerce business will do better on Shopify due to Shopify's compatibility with shipping services and ability to scale inventory. If there is a service-oriented small business, there are more options and you can even host your website for free.
Budget is the second most important thing to consider when choosing the right hosting platform. Most hosting business websites have a monthly or annual fee, but some are free. If the website is more informational and a place to host a portfolio and social media links, then a free site with Wix or a beginner's plan with Squarespace, which is $12.00 a month, can be a good starting point.
Squarespace is known for beautiful website templates that eliminate the need for hiring a website developer but have that professional website developer look to them. Sites like WordPress and GoDaddy are cheaper at $4 and $9.99 a month, respectively, but have a less luxurious feel, and might require more upfront design knowledge.
If the small business has a clear aesthetic and user experience in mind, it could be worth seeking out a website developer depending on their budget.
While Wix and Squarespace can support e-commerce businesses, they don't have the capacity to scale quickly. Shopify and BigCommerce support proliferation and are good for small businesses that intend to grow fast. As your business grows, website widget integrations for small business educators, like Sawyer Tools, are important to manage class sign-ups and manage all of the activities you’re offering. Tools like this can be embedded into your website to make for a more seamless experience for your customers.
5. Ease of use
Starting a business is hard enough. And bootstrapping in the early days means that finding a website with a good support team and easy-to-learn features is vital to success. While all of these sites have a learning curve, especially depending on experience—Weebly, Wix, and GoDaddy rated highest on being user-friendly.
So which platform should be used to host your website?
All options presented have pros and cons. If selling a lot of products fast is the goal, check out Shopify. Small businesses looking to advertise a service would benefit from Squarespace's beautiful templates or Weebly, which provides good tools at a very low cost. Hosting sites for blogs or art benefits from a simplified version of Wix or WordPress.
Keep in mind, no matter which platform a small business starts on, there is always an opportunity to upgrade within the platform where you host your website or switch to another hosting service as the business grows. Make sure to check out our growth tips to help land customers on your website.