Whether your small business has been running for a while or is just getting started, you might wonder why it is so important for your business to have an online presence. Research shows that a staggering 93% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year and that 87% of consumers read reviews for local businesses. This means that having a website is a non-negotiable since it opens your business up to more potential customers, as well as offers you greater flexibility and control over your brand’s online presence compared to social media, increasing its credibility.
While building a website can appear to be a complicated and expensive exercise, requiring coders and designers, that doesn’t have to be the case at all! A number of tools have sprung up over the years to reduce the complexity and costs associated with creating and hosting websites, allowing even laypersons to put together simple websites that can be used as a customer touchpoint without the need to know how to code. In fact, with a bit of extra work, many of these tools allow one to build powerful websites that include functionality such as e-commerce using nothing but drag-and-drop editors. Given the number of options available, it’s a more cost-effective option for entrepreneurs to build their websites themselves, instead of paying someone else to do it for them. Here we look at a number of features to help you decide which website builder is right for your small business.
Costs: Although we can’t stress enough how important it is for your business to have a website, it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to create and host a professional website for your business. It’s important to check what can of payments you can expect because while most providers bill you monthly, some offer reduced rates if you pay annually.
Ease of Use & Support: Considering that you’re building the business’s website yourself to save costs, the solution should be easy enough that you don’t waste time trying to bring your ideas to life and end up frustrated. The ideal tool shouldn’t require any knowledge of coding, offer professional templates for you to base your designs on, and, should anything go wrong, provide you with personalised support no matter the time of day.
Features: As a small business, there are a few basic features that you’ll need in order for your website to appear professional and offer the core functionality that customers require. These include being able to link your own custom domain name and hosting your website. Some tools offer the ability to integrate plugins into your website, increasing the features available to you. While certainly powerful, they are not necessary for a basic business website. In fact, if your business has grown to the point where the website requires such advanced features (like comprehensive e-commerce functionality) – then it may be better to consider an outright e-commerce platform like Shopify, or you may consider hiring a professional to manage your website.
Reviews: Reviews are a great way to see what other users think about your chosen website-building platform. Here you’ll be able to quickly gauge how easy users find the tool, as well as the pros and cons they’ve found while using it, a great help in the decision-making process.
All above data sourced February 2021.
* Estimate calculated at an exchange rate of R15 to $1
As an entrepreneur, you’ll want to spend as little time and money as possible on building your website. This means that you’ll need an easy-to-use platform with simple, yet powerful features to allow you to build a professional website. While your website may need more advanced features later down the road – like complex e-commerce functionality, payment gateways, or courier integrations, it usually doesn’t warrant the investment from day one. At that point, using an outside professional or e-commerce specific solution like Shopify may be the best use of your resources. If you’re still in the early stages of your business website then it makes sense to focus on a tool that gets you online easily and looking the part.
While WordPress is powerful, it has a steeper learning curve than Wix or GoDaddy due to its use of a “WYSIWYG editor”, which allows you to further customise your website through the use of code. This means you can easily go from building a simple website to a more complex one down the line using the same platform. Still, the interface can take a bit of getting used to before one feels comfortable in the environment. Email is not included and you’ll need to pay for a hosting service. WordPress has the largest array of plugins and third-party tools available – but if your goal is to get a great functioning website quickly, then WordPress requires more time and know-how than most entrepreneurs would care to invest themselves.
On the other hand, Wix – the one from all the Youtube ads – is very beginner-friendly with its drag and drop editor, as well as offering useful features such as a huge, customisable template library and a powerful web app repository. Wix includes useful SEO tools from the basic plan and is a good option if you envision your businesses needing to sell products/services directly from your website in the future. However, while they offer an online support center, live support is only available on paid plans and because they don’t have any local presence, support is done through international channels. You’ll also need to upgrade to the Wix R128 p.m. plan to remove Wix advertising from your site and Wix doesn’t include site visitor analytics on the basic plans.
It is for the above reasons that we’re selecting GoDaddy’s website builder as the best website-building platform for entrepreneurs and small businesses. With a simple, yet powerful drag and drop editor (similar to Wix’s), the ability to build and edit your site on a mobile device, a number of professional themes, and local phone support available to even free users, it is the perfect tool for entrepreneurs to create a professional website for their business. The real kicker is that GoDaddy throws in some particularly useful tools alongside – like Over, Godaddy’s social media creation and management tool, and an integrated email marketing feature. It’s also incredibly easy to link social media and Google profiles, essentially allowing the business to manage everything in one place (without worrying about which plugins work with others or are preferred for their needs like in WordPress). What it lacks in advanced features such as plugins and full e-commerce functionality, it makes up in ease of use. For most entrepreneurs, their website serves as an advert/portfolio for their business, and a window for customers to make contact. In that respect, GoDaddy’s website builder gets you up and running fast and gets you back to running your business rather than building your website.
At getlion, it’s our mission to see entrepreneurs succeed. We start by helping them make the best decisions for their business, and sort through the clutter of offerings out there! Beyond that, we’ve set out to build South Africa’s leading one-stop mobile app for entrepreneurs, boasting education, rewards, funding, an online B2B marketplace, and more. We’ve also partnered with the country’s leading companies to ensure that our users have access to the best (and often discounted) solutions. Visit getlion.co.za and download the getlion mobile app to enjoy offers from leading partners like GoDaddy and others.