71 percent of small businesses agree having a website has made it easier for customers to find their business1. More business owners are turning to free website builders as an easy and economical way to bring their business online. Created for the non-technical user, these tools provide easy-to-use templates that let you point and click your way to a new website. Here are three guidelines to help you get started:
Most free website builders are great options if you want to start simple with just a few pages, and offer varying levels of upgrade packages as you scale your website. Here's a list of some features to consider:
|Website Features||Typical Free Website Builder Package||Typical Upgraded Website Builder Package|
|# of pages in website||Usually 1 – 5 pages||More Pages|
|Website storage (for storing web images)||Enough for a simple site||More storage|
|Template & design||Yes||More templates & customization|
|Tools such as online forms, blogs, slideshows||Sometimes||Yes|
|Links to your social media pages||Yes||Yes|
|Video and audio players||No||Yes|
|eCommerce / Shopping cart||No||Yes|
|Search engine submission||No||Yes|
|Mobile device optimization||No||Yes|
Your domain name will be your virtual address, and your online identity, on the web. Some website builders suggest skipping this step, offering to host your site on their domain. We recommend putting your website on your own domain name for the following reasons:
Research, research, research. We recommend taking time to compare two to three different website builders. To find the top options, simply do an Internet search for ‘free site builders’. Not all tools are created equal and this will allow you to choose a tool that meets your requirements while increasing the likelihood you end up with additional free website features. It’s also helpful to understand what the premium packages are in case you scale your website with them in the future.
Download a free checklist for building a website.
1Verisign 2013 Online Survey