January 9, 2023

Free Website Builder for Small Business

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Free website builders are an easy way to take your business online. But the features vary widely. Read on to see which one is best for your business.

There are a lot of free website builders, but some may lack the features you need. If you start with the wrong one, you may waste a lot of valuable time.

Why are you looking for the best website builder?

Others limit you to a free trial period. Then they charge a steep price.

Fortunately, the best builders have a free plan or an unlimited trial. They also offer many features and let you scale up as you grow.

Which is best for you?

Read on to start building your new free site today.

Best Free Website Builders for Small Business

Professionally developed websites can cost from $50 to $5,000. But a website builder can help those with a smaller budget to create a good-looking site.

But not all website builders are right for small businesses. Some are focused on helping individuals build a personal site or blog.

Even if the website builder is focused on businesses, each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some are best for eCommerce and others for content-based sites. Others will help retail businesses move online.

What type of product are you planning to provide?

Can I build a website for free?
Yes, you can. A lot of website builders have a free plan or free trial. The free plan lets you build your website for free with no time limit. The free trial, on the other hand, lets you try out the premium features to see if the builder is right for your business.

We tested the free website builders and found one for every type of small business. After reviewing this list, you should be able to start building your site without worrying you're wasting your time.

Website BuilderFree Plan or Free Trial?Starting Paid Plan Price (billed annually)Visit Website Builder
Squarespace14-day Free Trial$16/mo.
for Personal Plan
Visit Squarespace
WordPressFree Plan$4/mo.
for Personal Plan
Visit WordPress
WebflowFree Plan$14/mo.
for Basic Plan
Visit Webflow
WixFree Plan$16/mo.
for Combo plan
Visit Wix
WeeblyFree Plan$10/mo.
for Personal Plan
Visit Weebly
JimdoFree Plan$9/mo.
for Start Plan
Visit Jimdo
WebnodeFree Plan and Free Trial$4.90/mo.
for Limited Plan
Visit Webnode

1. Squarespace: Best in ease of use

Squarespace is one of the most intuitive website builders. It's great for small business owners without technical skills looking to make their own websites.

There are many templates to choose from, so you can easily build your site within a day. There are templates for online stores, local businesses, blogs, and more.

The drag-and-drop builder is also easy to navigate. And the sections, colors, and font packs will help make your site look professional and aesthetically pleasing.

ProsCons
Intuitive website builderNo free plan available
Can create unlimited free websitesFree site can't be indexed by search engines
Professional-looking templatesFree site comes with commerce limitations
Premium features on the free trial

How does Squarespace's free trial work?
Squarespace only offers a 14-day free trial. But you can create as many free trial sites as you'd like.

You'll have access to premium features and custom codes. It's great for determining if the interface works for you.

Remember that if you create multiple sites, you'll have to pay for each site separately when upgrading. You can also delete a trial site you don't need.

Squarespace Circle members have 6-month-long free trials. The Squarespace Circle is a program for designers who build multiple sites for themselves or their clients.

Ease of Use:
Squarespace isn't overwhelming, unlike some other website builders. The tools aren't openly visible, but you can easily navigate them.

The buttons or sections reveal related tools. And the section templates also make it easier.

It's highly customizable. The drag-and-drop editor lets you place elements anywhere on the page.

What is the easiest free website builder for beginners?
Squarespace tops our list for ease of use. It doesn't have a free plan, but you can get a 14-day free trial to test the interface. It also has a lot of professionally designed templates to help you get started.

Can you hire a professional to build your website?
You can hire a Squarespace expert if you need help. Just go to Squarespace Marketplace to do so. Website designers are also experts by project type.

For example, if you're making an online store, you can hire one with that expertise.

How can you drive traffic to your Squarespace website?
Unfortunately, you can't drive traffic on a trial site. Trial sites are private, so you'll have to provide a password if a guest wants to visit your site.

But you can get the SEO features once you upgrade to a paid plan.

What's the pricing on Squarespace's upgraded plans?
The first two plans are suitable for a simple website and an online store:

  • Personal: $16/mo., billed annually. Comes with a free custom domain, unlimited bandwidth, video storage, and SEO features.

  • Business: $23/mo., billed annually. Comes with personal plan features, premium integrations and blocks, professional email from Google, and fully integrated eCommerce features.

Your eCommerce store will come with a 3% transaction fee. This fee is removed on the Commerce plans, which start at $27/month.

2. WordPress: Best for content-driven websites

CREDIT: WORDPRESS

With WordPress.com, you get a hosted website builder with a free plan. It's the easiest way to build a site with the mega-popular software from WordPress.org.

We'll focus on WordPress.com in this article. It's popular for bloggers, small businesses, and even large and established companies from the Fortune 500.

It has professionally designed themes you could use as templates. It's also best for content-driven sites, given the available storage and upload features.

ProsCons
Free plan for lifeComplex website builder
Flexible website builderPlugins only available on expensive plans
Hundreds of free themes
SEO features on the free plan

How does WordPress's free plan work?
WordPress.com comes with a free plan for life. There's no pressure to figure out the interface quickly. It's helpful, given that it has a steeper learning curve.

You'll get access to free themes that are mobile-friendly. You'll also have Jetpack's essential features, such as basic SEO, site stats, and social media sharing.

Keep in mind that you'll be using a subdomain with the free plan. You're also limited to 1 GB of storage.

Is WordPress still free?
The WordPress software has always been free from WordPress.org. WordPress.com offers a free plan for life. You don't need to worry about time limits or pressure to upgrade with WordPress.

Ease of Use:
Although there's a steeper learning curve, WordPress is pretty easy to navigate. You just have to allow yourself some time to get familiar with it.

WordPress works with blocks, so elements are easy to move around. But it's not as flexible when compared to Squarespace.

A paid business plan will help you work with plugins that can make your work easier. There are over 59,000 plugins from the repository created by WordPress developers.

Which factor is the highest in your priority?

Can you hire a professional to build your website?
You can hire a WordPress developer from Built by WP. You might be struggling to move around the interface. Or you could prefer a unique website instead of using a template.

The team of WordPress developers can help you out with whatever website idea you have.

How can you drive traffic to your WordPress website?
You'll get basic SEO features from Jetpack essential features. This includes downtime and uptime monitoring and brute force protection.

You'll need to upgrade to a paid Business or eCommerce plan for more.

What's the pricing on WordPress's upgraded plans?
Two starting plans are suitable for a simple website and an online store:

  • Personal: $4/mo., billed annually. You can connect a custom domain or use the free domain you get for a year.

    It comes with 6 GB of storage, unlimited email support, and you can upload audio files. The WordPress ads are also removed.

  • Business: $45/mo., billed annually. You'll get premium plan features with 200 GB of storage. You can also use plugins, third-party themes and codes, SEO tools, and Google AdSense.

WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin for WordPress. It's free and lets you turn your simple or business website into an online store.

3. Webflow: Best in design flexibility

credit: webflow

Webflow is one of the most popular website builders. Over 3,500,000 designers use it. It works with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but you don't need to know how to code to use it.

You can design your website in any way that you imagine - that's how flexible the editor is. You can keep your website true to your branding.

It's great for building a content website or an eCommerce store. You can also monetize members-only content with it.

ProsCons
Free plan availableSteep learning curve
Website interactions/animations availableUp to 2 static pages only (free plan)
Two-factor authenticationLimited monthly site visits
A crash course on the interface is available from Webflow University

How does Webflow's free plan work?
Webflow has a free plan with no time limit. You can use it to create a general website but not an online store.

You'll use a subdomain, and a Webflow badge will be shown on your website. You're also limited to 1 GB of bandwidth and 2 static pages.

However, you can have up to 50 CMS items and 20 CMS collections. You can also receive up to 50 form submissions in a lifetime.

The free plan's CMS actually beats the paid Basic plan's CMS. Unlike the free plan, the Basic plan does not come with any CMS items. That said, each plan is suitable for a specific purpose. Check out the details of the Basic plan below.

Ease of Use:
Webflow isn't the most beginner-friendly. But it beats the other website builders with its flexibility.

Once you understand the interface, there are many things you can do with it. You can move blocks around or use trigger-based animations to make your site dynamic.

You can add custom codes and scripts (with paid plans) if you have coding knowledge. You can apply them to your entire site or individual pages.

Can you hire a professional to build your website?
Yes, you can hire a Webflow expert to help you build your site. Webflow partners with freelancers, digital studios, and agencies to help you out.

You can hire an expert for custom codes, rebranding, marketing, and more.

How can you drive traffic to your Webflow website?
You won't have SEO features for a free plan, but you can have up to 1,000 visits per month. This is unlike Squarespace, where your free site is private to you.

What's the pricing on Webflow's upgraded plans?
For content-based websites, you can choose from the two basic plans:

  • Basic: $14/mo., billed annually. For simple websites. Connect a custom domain, receive up to 500 monthly form submissions, and have up to 50 GB of bandwidth.

  • CMS: $23/mo., billed annually. For content-based websites. Connect a custom domain, have up to 2,000 CMS items and receive up to 1,000 monthly form submissions.

    You can also have up to 3 guest editors for your content. Your site is limited to 200 GB of bandwidth.

If you need an online store, you can start with:

  • Standard: $29/mo., billed annually. For new businesses. List up to 500 items. It includes all CMS plan features. Keep in mind that there's a 2% transaction fee.

4. Wix: Best for AI-designed websites

Wix is another great website builder with over 900 free customizable templates. They're suitable for different industries, and you can select one that fits yours.

You can set up an online store, a blog, or an events page. It uses a drag-and-drop editor and AI technology to help you build your site.

If you prefer, Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) can create a website for you based on your personal preference or business information. It does so in a couple of minutes only.

ProsCons
Professionally designed templatesSlow loading speeds
Free to use AI technologyCan't switch templates
Accessibility tools

How does Wix's free plan work?
Wix has a free plan that includes free web hosting. You'll be using a subdomain and their favicon in the URL.

Your site will have Wix ads and won't be able to accept online payments. You're also limited to 500 MB of storage and bandwidth.

Is Wix completely free?
Wix isn't completely free, but there is a free plan available. However, it's best to upgrade to a paid plan for a more professional website. You'll get more features, such as connecting your own domain and removing Wix ads.

Ease of Use:
If you're choosing a template, keep in mind that you can't switch later on. But the interface is intuitive, and you can move things around to match the look you want.

Wix Editor also auto-saves your progress. If you've made unwanted changes, you can revert to a previous version of your site.

The mobile editor also helps you get the exact look you want on people's mobile devices.

Can you hire a professional to build your website?
You can hire a professional agency or a freelancer through Wix Marketplace. If you prefer, they can design the entire website for you.

But they can also perform specific tasks, such as those needed for online stores or marketing.

How can you drive traffic to your Wix website?
What's great about Wix is that, unlike its competitors, you can access the SEO features even with a free site.

It integrates with Google Search Console and Google Analytics. You can also use AI on your Facebook and Instagram ads.

What's the pricing on Wix's upgraded plans?
The basic plans for both simple websites and online stores are:

  • Combo: $16/mo., billed annually. Connect a custom domain, get a free SSL certificate, 2 GB of storage, and 2 GB of bandwidth.

  • Business Basic: $27/mo., billed annually. Suitable for eCommerce stores. Take payments, set up customer accounts, connect a custom domain or get one free for a year.

    You'll also get unlimited bandwidth and 50 GB of storage.

Which is better: Squarespace or Wix?
Squarespace tops our list over Wix because of its ease of use. Wix also tends to have slow loading speeds. But both have professionally designed templates and great features to work with. Overall, the experience is better with Squarespace.

5. Weebly: Best in value

Weebly is a simple website builder that lets you have an online store for free. Because it's part of the Square product suite, Square takes care of the payments for you.

With its eCommerce features, you can sell unlimited items, manage inventory, and use coupons and Square gift cards.

It's one of the most popular website builders used by over 50 million people globally.

ProsCons
Free plan with online storeLimited customization features
Simple and intuitive
Free SEO features
Affordable compared to competitors

How does Weebly's free plan work?
Weebly offers a free plan. It comes with free SSL security, which is especially needed for an online store.

It also includes eCommerce features such as quick shop, in-store pickup, item badges, item options, and an automatic calculator.

You can integrate your Instagram feed or place third-party embed codes as well.

Ease of Use:
Weebly is considered a drag-and-drop builder - but not exactly. It has section layouts you can place on top of each other. That way, you can build your website in only a few hours.

You can't move around elements like you can with Squarespace. But you can change an element's layout in just a few clicks.

The editor is easy to navigate and learn.

Can you hire a professional to build your website?
You can't hire a Weebly expert directly from their website. But there are freelancers you can hire who work specifically with Weebly sites.

How can you drive traffic to your Weebly website?
Your free website comes with SEO features that help drive traffic to your site. Some of these are sitemaps, meta descriptions, and SEO-friendly HTML formatting.

But you can also integrate marketing tools. You can set up Facebook ads or automated email campaigns, for example.

What's the pricing on Weebly's upgraded plans?
The starting paid plan with Weebly is the Personal plan.

  • Personal: $10/mo., billed annually. Lets you connect your custom domain. Aside from free plan features, you can sell digital goods, offer a shipping calculator and labels, and use pop-up notifications.

6. Jimdo: Best for starting businesses

Jimdo is another website builder working with AI. You can choose from its predesigned templates or let its AI choose for you.

The AI works by asking you about your business. It can integrate your physical store and social media and ask about your target audience.

But if you prefer to create your own, you can skip the question-and-answer after signing up. Jimdo also has a Creator Editor feature that lets you customize your website with code.

ProsCons
Free online storeFree plan has no access to customer support
Responsive and modern templatesLimited free SEO features
Image library available
Free logo with Logo Creator

How does Jimdo's free plan work?
Jimdo has a free Play plan that lets you have a website or an online store. You can also start a blog with it. But you'll be using a subdomain and will be limited to 5 website pages.

You can sell up to 5 products and set up product variants. You can also offer free shipping and accept PayPal and credit card payments.

This makes the platform great for specialty stores or those just starting their business.

Ease of Use:
The editor is easy to navigate. It won't take long for you to grasp its interface. But it's more rigid compared to competitors.

You can't move elements around flexibly, but you can quickly change their layouts.

Can you hire a professional to build your website?
Jimdo doesn't have a marketplace of experts. But you can always hire third-party Jimdo freelancers.

How can you drive traffic to your Jimdo website?
The free plan has very few SEO features. But you can edit its site title and description. You can also connect your site to Facebook, Instagram, and Google.

It's an edge since other competitors' free plans don't let your site get indexed on Google.

What's the pricing on Jimbo's upgraded plans?
With Jimdo, you can pay monthly, annually, or every 2 years. You can start with:

  • Start: $9/mo. You'll get a free domain and an ad-free website. You'll also have up to 5 GB of storage and 10 GB of bandwidth.[1]

  • Business: $18/mo. You can set up an online store. Includes product variants, social marketing, and social selling. Get up to 15 GB of storage and 20 GB of bandwidth.[2]

Jimdo has a plan dedicated to SEO features if you prefer. It's SEO Plus at $32/mo.[3]

7. Webnode: Best for simple websites

Webnode is the best website builder for making simple websites. You can start with their industry-specific templates, such as business, blog, or online store.

It's a drag-and-drop builder where you can place elements around flexibly. You can quickly build your site without experience, and the undo button is helpful if you make a mistake.

Over 40 million people use the site builder, and for good reason. You can use a tablet or phone to edit and update your website from anywhere.

ProsCons
Professionally designed templatesCan't switch templates
All templates are available for the free planUpgrade needed to sell from an online store
Free trial available for paid plansNo password protection and backups for the free plan
Flexible website builder

How does Webnode's free plan work?
Webnode has a free plan with no time limits. Or you can ask them for a free trial of the premium plans.

Your free site will have a footer banner showing "Powered by Webnode," a subdomain, 100 MB of storage, and 1 GB of bandwidth.[4]

You can also invite other people to edit your site. It's great for collaboration. Remember that you can set up an online store, but you'll need at least a Standard plan to start selling.

The footer banner is also shown in the Limited and Mini paid plans. You'll have to subscribe to the Standard plan to remove it.

Ease of Use:
The website builder is beginner-friendly. The templates make it easy to design the site. You can also drag elements around and aren't limited to fixed section layouts.

But it can take some time to fully grasp the interface. Some buttons or customizations are hidden until you hover over the elements.

Can you hire a professional to build your website?
Webnode doesn't have a marketplace of experts, so you would need to hire a professional from a third-party site. Although the editor is easy enough to use, you can design the site yourself.

How can you drive traffic to your Webnode website?
You'll need to upgrade to a plan to turn on search engine indexing. You can also connect Google Analytics and Google AdSense after.

On your free site, you can edit the title, URL, meta description, and meta keywords. You can also add custom HTML header and footer codes.

What's the pricing on Webnode's upgraded plans?
Webnode has a minimum contract of 1 year. If you decide to upgrade, you can start with:

  • Limited: $4.90/mo. A basic plan that lets you use your own domain.

  • Standard: $14.90/mo. Let's create an online store, set up membership registration, and remove the Webnode branding.

Pro tip: You can hide certain pages from search engines after upgrading. This could be for a page you're still designing or landing pages.

Our Methodology

We identified the website builders with a free plan or extended free trials. Then we compared their free features, so you'll know if it's enough for your business needs.

We also considered that someday, you might plan to hire a professional to help you out. And so we listed their expert marketplaces if any.

You'll need SEO to drive traffic to your website, so we considered the various SEO features.

Finally, if things go well, you may need to upgrade so you'll find the best pricing plans to help your business prosper.

How to build a small business website for free?

Figuring out the business goals for your site will help you understand which website builder is right for you. Let's break down the steps you should take:

  1. Identify your business needs. Are you building a simple website? Do you need an online store? Or maybe your business will post regular blog posts?

    List the things you want to see on your site and the content you'll add.

  2. Canvas the free features of different website builders. Take note if the free plan has features that cater to your content. For example, it doesn't matter if the editor is easy to use if it doesn't allow you to set up your store.

  3. Take note of the upgrades. Your business will grow over time. Your website features should be able to grow with you. Take note of the additional features that come with a paid plan. For example, you may not need an online store at first, but will you want to sell products in a year?

  4. Sign up for your chosen website builder. Some website builders let you easily sign up through Facebook or Google. Credit card information won't be required if you opt for a free plan.

    Does Google have a free website builder?
    Google Sites lets you create a website for free. Just as long as you have your domain. It also has templates you can choose from. It integrates with Google Docs, Google Maps, and YouTube, which is great for showcasing your content.

  5. Choose a template or use AI. Some website builders have more templates than others. And some templates come free, while others are paid.

    Some use AI to create or choose a template based on your business information.

  6. Edit your content. Now comes the heavy part. You'll have to input your content, such as photos, videos, articles, contact information, and products.

    You should also input your terms and policies on the legal pages.

  7. Customize according to your branding. After inputting your content, you can customize each page based on your branding. You could be switching palettes or font packs, for example.

  8. Publish. You're done! But having a website requires maintenance. Be sure to keep updating it, as that will also help with your rankings. But it's also essential for security purposes.

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of free website builders, but some have more features than others. There are those that let your free site get indexed by search engines. Others keep it private.

Some have an AI helping you build your site. Others have easy-to-use templates.

Identifying what your business needs will determine the features you should look for.

Some free plans are intended to help you get started. But there are those you could work with for the long term.

References

  1. ^ Jimdo. Website, Retrieved 12/15/22
  2. ^ Jimdo. Online Store, Retrieved 12/15/22
  3. ^ Jimdo. Creator Editor Plans, Retrieved 12/15/22
  4. ^ Webnode. Paid & unpaid services, Retrieved 12/15/22

Write to Karen Eloriaga at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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