A common topic that comes up when I’m chatting online with business owners is “what’s the best platform for a small business website?” and we’ve discussed it at length because there’s a lot to it!
I’m hoping from this post you’ll be able to decide what’s the best platform for YOUR small business website and get the ball rolling with more important things in your business – like making money!
What’s the Best Platform for Your Small Business Website?
We’re going to be looking at the top contenders for this guide: Wix, Squarespace, Shopify and WordPress, so if you’re considering using another platform – don’t bother! When considering what’s the best platform for your small business website, these are the top dogs.
These four website platforms are the ones you should be looking at to make your decision because they are purpose built website platforms with lots of money, time and resources pumped into them to keep them at the top of their game. Seriously, don’t use your hosting company’s random website builder!
I can’t stress enough how much that will limit your website’s abilities and success.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at what’s the best platform for your small business website and see if we can make the right decision for your website.
Ah, Wix. I’d be lying if I said that I love Wix. I really don’t.
As a web designer I can always tell when a website has been built on Wix because there’s very limited design choices. This means you tend to see the same five to ten templates replicated on each Wix site you visit.
I try to steer my design clients away from it because I know it’ll hugely limit what we can do in terms of design and functionality for their website – and nobody wants that. So typically I don’t work with clients on their Wix websites.
If you’re not too worried about how your site looks and you want to go with one of the cheapest options then Wix could be a good choice for your small business website. But if we’re looking at what’s the best platform for your small business website, typically Wix won’t hit all the markers you need.
If you’re planning to include e-commerce on your website: Don’t bother with Wix. Whilst it might work for a under 10 products, once you get a good product range going you’ll find the platform largely unsuitable and almost unusable from the backend.
Which brings us nicely to…
Shopify is great for small businesses who want to sell their products online with ease.
It comes with a library of decent looking templates which you can tweak yourself to suit your shop, or you can have a web designer build you a custom look, and it’s easy to manage and organise your shop products.
You pay a standard fee monthly fee and transaction fees so if your shop starts to take off it can get quite pricey.
The biggest downfall Shopify has is the blogging options are limited for your small business website which I think is essential for marketing and SEO. Check out my blog post Should You Start a Blog For Your Business? for more on this!
If you’re looking at what’s the best option for your small business website and you’re planning to include e-commerce I would head straight for Shopify or WordPress (more on WP below!).
Squarespace is a really user friendly platform which is a major plus point for this what’s the best platform for your small business website round-up.
The pricing is reasonable and it’s not geared up to one type of website like Shopify is with e-commerce sites. That being said, their e-commerce options are limited so if e-commerce is a must for you then I would steer clear of Squarespace.
In terms of design it is far superior to Wix, with a user friendly interface and lots of templates available to use meaning you’re less likely to come across another site with the same template as you (although it does happen!).
One downside to Squarespace is that a lot of the templates are image based, meaning if you don’t have high quality images for your website then you’ll struggle to make their templates work. The best option is to purchase a high quality stock image package and work with what you can.
Ultimately you still won’t have that custom website design feel if you choose to work with a Squarespace template and I would always recommend you work with a web designer on your website design to see the best results from your website.
WordPress.org is free which makes it the most cost effective platform to choose from this list however you do need to pay a monthly/yearly fee for your web hosting (usually around £3.99 – £5.99 per month).
What’s great about WordPress is that everything on your website is 100% yours and within your control.
WordPress is open source which means you have endless choices for themes to design your website (check out Themeforest for literally thousands of cheap WordPress themes) or you can work with a web designer to create custom WordPress website design. Alternatively you can try your hand at using page builders like Elementor to create your own custom design.
You aren’t fixed to one type of booking or shop system like you are with the other platforms mentioned in this post. You’ve got thousands of plugins to choose from to suit the needs for the functionality of your website, from contact forms to SEO tools and much more.
WordPress has the most scalability of all the platforms in this what’s the best platform for your small business website blog post, meaning that your business website is future-proof should you decide to expand in the future.
Ultimately, I will always recommend WordPress for small business websites because its the most flexible platform with the best options for unique and custom designs. Not only that, but it’s got the best SEO tools, and with SEO comes traffic from search engines which is a major win.
So, what’s the best platform for your small business website?
For me it’s always been a no brainer that WordPress is the best choice for any small business website. I love the flexibility of the platform and the face it’s constantly growing and adapting to suit so many different business needs.
If we’re looking at “what’s the best platform for your small business website?” from an affordability point of view, you may be tempted by Wix, but you’ll likely regret that decision when you’re 6 months to 1 year in to your business. Ensure you do lots of research into your platform before diving in!
If you want some more advice on what the best platform is for your business, please get in touch and I’d be happy to help.