Are you planning to sell online but are not really sure how to go about building your own website? You know how expensive it is to hire a web designer for a small business owner such as yourself but you are also aware that having a website is the first step to establishing your online business. So what do you do? The good news is that you do not have to spend a fortune to be able to come up with a website of your own. If you spend considerable time online, you may have come across tools that are called website builder software, after all, YouTube is littered with advertisements of these products that let you build your own site from scratch.
Yes, you do not need vast technical or coding knowledge to be able to create your own site as these apps provide you with all the tools needed to get your website up and running in no time. Here, we present you with a list of the top 3 website builder software solutions currently in the market as agreed upon by our experts. Their features, functionalities and unique selling points will be discussed along with a detailed comparison of the products. By the time you’re done with this reading, you should have sufficient knowledge of these solutions and even be able to choose the right one for your business.
Websites have become an indispensable part of every business. They have allowed companies to reach out to a wider audience and enter new markets. However, websites do not always work as they should. This is, more often than not, due to poor web design–something that website builders are made for. Website design has become more important than most people think. An increase in loading speed, for instance, has been found to prevent a 7% loss in potential conversions. Of course, this doesn’t pose any problem for website builder platforms. These tools bring with them benefits that many companies and individuals need that millions of people use them. Using these programs in conjunction with good web design methodologies, are bound to result in interactive websites.
Founded in 2009 with headquarters in Austin, Texas, BigCommerce is among the best ecommerce solutions in the world. Constant improvement to the software through a series of important updates and upgrades, along with astute acquisitions throughout its operations, has propelled the application to the top with other leaders in the industry. It started as a simple hosted shopping cart platform but has since evolved to incorporate contemporary design tools, robust payment options, powerful shipping arrangements, sales and marketing-friendly tools, mobile implementation and extensive integration with major third-party applications—all the elements that are essential to running a modern online store.
BigCommerce is particularly strong in shipping and payments, two areas that are of critical concern to your online business. Its tight integration with the powerful shipping application, ShipperHQ, not only gives you the most advanced shipping rate calculator and rules engine in the world, but it also spares you the cost of overpaying for misquotes in your shipping rates.
If you want to check this eCommerce platform’s range of features you can easily sign up for BigCommerce free trial here.
As for payments, BigCommerce conveniently lets you sell in more than 150 countries using both local language and local currency, giving you an unlimited source of potential revenue. Its implementation of PayPal, Worldpay, Stripe and 2Checkout is powered by Braintree, a clever tool that lets you display local currencies on your website.
With these BigCommerce advantages in mind, and after our thorough review of its adaptability to various online selling scenarios, the platform merited the top position on our list. But if you are a small business owner who wants a much cheaper alternative, you can opt to go for free eCommerce tools, which abound in the market.
Next on our top 3 website builder software list is Wix, a software founded in 2006 in Israel. The application is noted for its freemium offerings, where you start with a free plan and pay for upgrades as you go. It’s proving to be an excellent option, gauging by how the company has grown over the years. It is undoubtedly one of the robust free website builders out there, ideal for companies on a tight budget. Also important for you to know about Wix is its use of HTML5, a powerful coding tool that becomes handy if you are already familiar with it. You can add more functionalities through it, including email marketing, community forums or social plug-ins, among others, and make your store interface responsive to various device displays.
Wix first gained wider user acceptance through its ingenious design platform, which gave already design-proficient users just the tool to come up with elegant, professional-looking landing pages, and non-experts stunning templates to rival their more visually gifted counterparts. Online stores designed through Wix are typically visually arresting, which gave shoppers a charming online shopping experience and businesses a pleasant way to grow their revenues. Wix is not resting on its laurels, too, with its 2017 acquisition of the online artist community DeviantArt, a sure sign of its intention to remain as the most compelling solution in the design department. Finally, Wix now provides an AI-powered tool that presents you with a complete website after you answer a few questions.
You can check the solution closely when you sign up for Wix free trial here.
While design remains Wix’s strongest attribute, Wix also lets you translate all that design masterpiece into a revenue-generating showcase right inside its own Wix Stores, which is available in the eCommerce (US $16.50/month) and VIP pricing (US $24.50/month) packages or as a paid add-on. Its set of other core features, including an advanced chat tool, store manager and loyalty programs, shipping and payment tools, contact management and deep analytics, all contribute to a well-rounded application for your eCommerce requirement.
A part of the Zoho suite of productivity tools, Zoho Sites is a website builder that can be used for free. This easy-to-use software is designed to help both companies and individuals make appealing and highly-interactive websites easily even in the absence of IT and coding knowledge. This is made possible with the software’s drag-and-drop functionality and the platform’s easy-to-navigate interface.
Zoho Sites is mobile-optimized, allowing you to access the system and your projects from virtually anywhere at any given time. You can purchase the system either as a part of Zoho’s business productivity suite or as a stand-alone product. If you choose to, you may also purchase add-ons to extend the solution’s functionalities.
Simplicity is what sets Zoho Sites from the rest of the pack, with the developer putting a stock on the simplification of the user experience. You can edit your web pages easily while its user-friendly interface makes it easy to navigate the system even from mobile devices. But what’s best about Zoho Sites is its price, allowing you to build and design beautiful and interactive websites without investing too much.
Should you want to investigate the platform firsthand, you can easily do so when you sign up for Zoho Sites free trial here.
If you simply want to connect your domain without fussing around about other things, Wix’s most basic ConnectDomain package may be all you need. The package, which costs only $4.50 per month, also entitles you to 1GB of bandwidth and 500MB storage. If you want to get rid of Wix ads, you need to upgrade to higher plans. For example, the one that’s well suited for small businesses, the $16.5/month eCommerce package, not only removes the Wix ads but also gives you unlimited bandwidth, 20GB storage, a form builder and site booster apps on top of an online store. Best of all, this plan gives you your own storefront through Wix Stores, so you can begin selling right away. Beyond this is the VIP plan, at 24.50/month, which additionally gives you priority responses, the same online store just mentioned, and access to 10 email campaigns per month.
BigCommerce, on the other hand, has its Standard package at a noticeably higher price, $29.95 per month. However, it specifically mentions some significant advantages to its package. For one, BigCommerce Standard package does not involve transaction fees. It brings the obvious next question: how much do you get charged on Wix transactions? Wix, for example, charges around indicates zero commission rates, but no other details on other transaction fees. Hence, the safest route is to clear with each vendor about their commission and transaction fees at the onset, so you won’t get an unwelcome surprise along the way.
Additionally, BigCommerce includes unlimited staff accounts, products, file storage and bandwidth in the Standard package. There is also access to Amazon and eBay, Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest and Google Shopping and 24/7 guaranteed live agent support. If your interest lies beyond website building, there are top eCommerce software for you to choose from.
You also need to pay special attention to BigCommerce’s package ladder. What this means is that you only qualify for each package depending on your sales volume. For the Standard package, in particular, the figure is up to $50,000 per year. Beyond that, expect the vendor to prompt you for an upgrade.
Meanwhile, Zoho Sites’ Professional plan is the tool’s most popular pricing package. It comes for $18/site per month with users getting 200 pages, unmetered bandwidth and 10GB of storage and all the features of its Essential plan, which gives you a single page, scheduled blog post, and audio player, among many others.
For enterprise users, the solution also has an Advanced plan, which can be purchased for $28/site per month. This premium plan comes with features such as 2000 pages, 50 forms and 100GB of storage, along with everything in Professional. This package is intended for large companies whose website building requirements require a bit more functionalities.
Of the three platforms, Wix and Zoho Sites are obvious choices for growing businesses who have limited budgets for site building. But for large companies, BigCommerce is the tool of choice as it comes with enterprise-grade features that the other two do not possess.
Customer support is a critical factor when you are considering any software purchase, for obvious reasons. Your online store, for example, cannot afford to have frequent technical issues or significant, intermittent downtimes and get no prompt assistance from the vendor.
BigCommerce excels in this area, providing customers with email, phone, training, live chat and ticket support. Competent agents are constantly on standby to address any issue or concern that users may have with the system.
The same goes for Wix, which has technically proficient staff behind phone lines, live chat and email, with a corresponding ticket system. It provides training too, which should make first-time implementation or migration less of a challenge for you. For wider access to many application and online store resources, Wix comes with an actively supported Wix forum and Wix blog, where you get insights and help that you won’t find anywhere else.
Zoho Sites, meanwhile, lags behind the two in terms of support, which comes in the form of email, live chat and phone. However, this is not to say that it offers support of lesser quality than the two. It is limited only by the accessibility of customer support, which may be improved with additional channels.
With a ladder system applied to its pricing packages, it’s clear that BigCommerce is targeted at companies with a clear vision of their growth potential. Large enterprises with complex transactions will make the most of its powerful shipping and payment tools, while small to medium businesses can use the platform to groom them for success.
Wix and Zoho Suite are equal in this area, with both basic and advanced features and attractive pricing that cater to freelancers and SMBs as well as large enterprises.
If you are thinking big when it comes to your web store, then perhaps among the top 3 website builder solutions featured here, BigCommerce provides the most aggressive routes to walking you to online business success.
To see why this is so, you only need to look at how, at the outset, BigCommerce provides you with such big player tools like Google Shopping, strong access to Amazon, eBay, and in-app shopping for Facebook and Instagram. Google Shopping ads let you leverage the reach of Google’s search engine by prioritizing the visibility of your products for each related search by the billions of Google search users.
Its superior payment system gives you unmatched flexibility, letting you truly localize your store using the local language of more than 150 participating countries, post prices on your web store using local currency, but still get convenient support for global payment providers like Visa Checkout, PayPal, Amazon Pay, Stripe, Apple Pay and Square among others.
Finally, BigCommerce partners with ShipperHQ to spare your business from paying excessive shipping misquotes. This feature alone more than covers the higher price tag of the software— while giving you access to the most advanced rules engine and shipping rate calculator in the world.
As previously indicated, Wix first came into prominence for its wealth of elegant, attractive and professional-looking design templates, more than 500 of them currently. This effectively provides a creative material catering to any taste, for any kind of product that you want to incorporate in your web store.
What’s more, the application leaves it all to you on how you want to finish your website design. If you are code-savvy, you can opt to put into use your extensive coding expertise through Wix Editor. If you are less confident about your own artistry, you can let the application’s sophisticated artificial intelligence engine, ADI, to make use of what you have in mind and put them into proper visual rendition.
Your design is not limited to static images, too. Wix ushers you to the new age of shopping with full support for dynamic scroll effects, along with video or animation backgrounds. Its galleries also now include videos and gif clips, so you won’t have to go elsewhere for materials. If you just need more inspiring ideas, you can venture over DeviantArt to check out the latest masterpieces from its thousands of active users, most of whom are some of the biggest names in the trade.
Your web store will not just be a desktop magnum opus too, as Wix is fully mobile-optimized, which means that your pages, images, text adjust accordingly depending on the size of the device screen.
In terms of features, Zoho Sites is a mixed bag, depending on what you require in such a system. If you run a small business, chances are the tool’s basic features will be more than enough for you to build a website from the ground up. However, large businesses may require an advanced plan, which houses more robust functionalities.
Zoho Sites is designed to save you time by allowing you to come up with your own websites easily. With this easy-to-use tool, you can edit web pages with ease using its drag-and-drop feature. It has appealing multimedia support, along with slideshows that aid site owners in attracting visitors using demos, visual podcasts and libraries.
The app also comes with eCommerce tools that can greatly help online sellers by establishing two-way communication between sellers and customers. This interaction is rooted in the system allowing clients to review products and post comments. This is further reinforced by the solution’s social media integration. Zoho Suite is also a highly-secure platform, bringing with it numerous page controls that help you manage content.
While BigCommerce, Wix and Zoho Sites are all founded on sound pricing schemes, excellent customer support and closely affiliated and actively supported online community resources, they are clearly distinct from one another on the areas where they really stand above their competition.
For Wix, it’s always been about the most stunning design solutions, with extensive backup from the prolific art community of DeviantArt.
For BigCommerce, it’s about closely monitoring modern trends and integrating most of them in the application. This is evident in the way it pursues the most advanced shipping platform by way of ShipperHQ, as well as the provision of strong local platforms that turn your web store into a local concern complete with local currency support and the native language of the country.
Zoho Sites, on the other hand, capitalizes on making the website building process as simple as possible while offering both small business-friendly and enterprise pricing. It also focuses on customization, allowing users to personalize their sites according to their brand.
In essence, all of ecommerce retailers aspire to grow their online business to its optimal reach, which means BigCommerce, with its robust and expansive package, may be the better choice among the three.
Before you choose any of these top 3 website builder software solutions, we recommend that you postpone diving straight into a deal at least before you’re finished taking into account a number of factors.
First, there is the matter of businesses being targeted by a particular tool. Bear in mind that what works for SMBs most likely will prove ineffective for large enterprises. This is the reason why most vendors see to it that their products can be scaled to accommodate customers big and small. There are a vast array of website builder tools out there, do a little digging and you’ll find what’s best for you.
You should also consider how a platform is priced. Does it come with a straightforward pricing plan or will you be required to pay for say additional hardware or implementation fees? Software pricing should also be flexible enough to let you add features when needed, which can arise from an expansion in your operations.
Lastly, the best thing to do before purchasing a tool is to go for free trials, which many vendors offer. Doing so would enable you to experience all the features of a product, giving you a pretty good idea if a system is right for you. Better yet, you could consider taking our top platform for a spin and see if it fits the bill. You can sign up for BigCommerce free trial here.
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