Which website builder is best for your business? 

February 9, 2022 in Ecommerce Tips

Previously setting up an online website would require tech wizardry and extensive computing know-how, but thankfully in 2022 there are a multitude of website builders that do the hard work for us. These services are invaluable for creating slick, mobile-friendly websites in minutes, opening any business up to better branding, quality customer service and a more authoritative ecommerce presence.  

With the power of building your perfect online store and many website builders to choose from, picking the right one can be daunting. To help save you time, we’ve had a look at the best website builders for ecommerce businesses in 2022 so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.  

 
Squarespace 

Squarespace is a great all-rounder; for creatives, businesses and everything in between. Squarespace offers design-led websites that can reflect any profession. Although suitable for all businesses’ sizes, Squarespace sits slightly on the side of the technologically minded, so can be slightly more complicated than other website builders. However, it also enables several admins to access and edit your store, which could be useful for large-scale companies.  

Pricing 

Squarespace doesn’t offer a free plan, but it does offer a 14-day free trial which can be used to give their services a try before subscribing. 

Squarespace monthly subscriptions plans range from £13 for a Personal plan to £37 for their Advanced Commerce plan. As it states on their website ‘only pay for what you really need’, each plan has a range of features to support sellers of varying needs.  

Pros 

  • Excellent range of templates: having made a name for themselves due to their expansive template bank, Squarespace offers a large variety of categorised templates so users can easily browse for their own specific industry. Plus, they offer 60 free themes for basic subscription users.  
  • Marketing features: included in most of their subscription plans, marketing tools such as scheduling software, email marketing and social media integrations to manage your online presence in a singular area.  
  • Excellent customer service: it can be said that Squarespace has many features that can often be overwhelming when setting up. To combat this, their team of customer service agents are on hand 24/7 to answer questions you may have.  
  • Our API: If you’re selling or holding stock cross-border, you may need to register for VAT. Our easy-to-integrate API is all you’ll need to keep your Squarespace store compliant! 

Cons 

  • Challenging to navigate: although having lots of features to choose from could be a pro, for new users this can be equally difficult to get around. As website builders go, Squarespace can take a little time to get the hang of but is a powerful tool once you’ve got it down.  
  • Slow page loading: Squarespace can perform quite slowly, meaning loading times can be longer for both mobile and desktop. This can be a big issue for businesses as slow websites decrease SEO ranking, cause poor customer experience and increase bounce rate. 
  • Limited payment plans: Squarespace favours Stripe for checkout, although it does support Square for in-person sellers. This could potentially be limiting for businesses with complex finance systems.  

Shopify 

Fast becoming a favourite in the world of website builders, Shopify now has over 1 million stores online. With excellent functionality Shopify is popular amongst ecommerce sellers, as it easily gathers the various elements sellers would need to consider into one place, be it shipping, fulfilment or even discounts.  

Pricing 

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial that doesn’t require you to add a credit card. After this trial period ends, you will, however, need to select a plan, or you won’t have access to your website:  

To subscribe to a plan, Shopify pricing ranges from £20 to £56 to £211 per month, which is quite a bit more expensive than many of the website builders we’ve come across. It does, however, indicate the capabilities of the platform, so depending on your business’ margins Shopify could work for you.  

Pros 

  • Extensive integration: Shopify has brought lots of platforms together to make ecommerce selling even simpler. Partnering with Google, Facebook and even Spotify, brands can streamline their processes and sell across the web via a single store. 
  • Wide range of tools: if you can think of a function your business needs, it is more than likely Shopify have it. From live chat, delivery route planning or product reviews, the tools are endless.  
  • App store offering: within Shopify’s own app store, users have access to over 6,600 apps and plugins that can be used to customise your store, like Etsy Integration, which can cross-post your Shopify products straight to Etsy.  
  • Another API of ours: once again, we have an excellent API to streamline your Shopify stores VAT obligations, so that you can continue running your business stress-free like a pro! 

Cons 

  • No drag and drop editor: unlike most website builders who allow users to drag and drop content into their site, Shopify’s page editor is more akin to editing a Word document and can be difficult to use.  
  • Limited free themes: Shopify only offer 10 free theme templates that can be used to design websites. If you want another theme you will have to pay extra for it. This can make it hard to find the exact aesthetic or design you’re after.  
  • Costly: for larger businesses with more needs and professional functionalities, the advanced subscription plans can be considerably more expensive. If this is your business, you may need to weigh up whether the pricier plan is worth it for the features you can access! 

 
WooCommerce 

Consistently topping the charts for ecommerce website builders, WooCommerce runs over 26% of all online stores worldwide! As an open-source WordPress integration WooCommerce is popular for editorial, blogging and portfolio websites, but is increasingly used for commerce also.  

Pricing

WooCommerce itself is free, but you will need to buy a domain name and hosting service to use its features. WooCommerce also includes optional costs for themes, plugins and extensions, as well as developer fees if these are what your business needs.  

Pros 

  • Design flexibility: WooCommerce is known for its design leniency, enabling users to customise and alter every aspect of your online website. Although some technical skills in HTML/CSS are ideal to edit themes extensively, they’re not essential to build a professional website with WooCommerce.  
  • Extensive 3rd party plugins: as WooCommerce works through WordPress it has access to a huge catalogue of plugins which make the pair a powerful content management tool, pairing with the likes of MailChimp and Yoast which can be great for customer communication and SEO.  
  • WooCommerce payments: the integrated payment system enables users to simply pay 2.9% + 20p for each transaction made through your website. This could potentially save you money using an external payment system.  

Cons 

  • Limited user support: although WordPress has a large community of users and customer support, WooCommerce itself has limited direct assistance. If you need help while using the website builder, you will need to search for community forum discussions or look for similar queries online. 
  • Technical knowledge required: a sound knowledge of website building tools and coding experience is needed to set up a well-rounded WooCommerce website for free. There are lots of paid options available for those who don’t so help can be found in this department with a small budget.  
  • Few free templates: for users looking to set a website up for free, WooCommerce doesn’t offer many free templates which can leave businesses with no choice but to pay. These templates can be expensive, but there are affordable options to choose from also! 

Wix 

As a hosted solution, Wix runs on its own servers so it doesn’t require you to buy or install any hosting software. As one of the older website builders, Wix was founded in 2006 and now has over 5,000 employees, meaning you can expect regular feature updates and extensive user support.  

Pricing 

Wix pricing ranges from a £3.50 a month for stand-alone domain connection, to £6.50, £9.50 and £19 for their VIP plan. The main differentiator between these plans comes down to storage space within the website itself. Wix also offers a separate section of ecommerce plans which start at £13 for Business Basic, £17 for Business Unlimited and £22 for Business VIP, which are also differentiated by storage, video hours, and customer priority.  

Pros 

  • Unstructured editor: Wix enables its users to drag and drop elements anywhere on a page which gives you a lot more freedom than other website builders. Without constraints you can bring your website vision to life as you please! 
  • Template customisation: with every template Wix offers you will be able to edit and customise every aspect of it. This means adding any stylistic flare you want, or alternatively it also enables you to create your own template from scratch.  
  • Small business tools: for those who haven’t quite set up marketing tools just yet, Wix offers features like CRM, social post management, email marketing integrations and live chat solutions for a more rounded customer experience of your brand.  

Cons 

  • Bandwidth limitations: each time a visitor clicks on your website and browses through it a portion of your bandwidth is used up. With each plan your bandwidth allowance goes up, but for businesses seeking a more affordable plan, this may cause issues when scaling.  
  • Requires learning: with unlimited customisation comes some bugs unfortunately which will need some prior knowledge to work around, so setting up a Wix website may take slightly longer. 
  • Template quality: although Wix offers over 800+ themes that you can use to build your online website, the quality of these can be very inconsistent which may leave you wanting to create your own and, as mentioned previously, this can be tricky! 

BigCartel 

BigCartel is a cloud-based ecommerce website builder mainly aimed at small businesses, artists and creators selling goods from clothing to music merchandise. It’s budget-friendly and easy to install and start using. If you’re intent on selling around 5-50 products and not looking for an intense website set up, BigCartel is for you.  

Pricing 

BigCartel is one of the few website builders that enables its users to sell for free if you want to sell just 5 products. Their other pricing plans are £7 for their Platinum features which allows you to sell 50 products and £14 for 500 products. All these plans have no listing fees, enable you to use a custom domain and offer discounts and promotions.  

Pros 

  • Simplicity: as the website builder only offers free themes, it’s simple to set up and get your products onto the web. Their templates are easy to navigate and can be customised to an extent to put your brand’s mark on it.  
  • Mobile-friendly: all BigCartel websites are optimised for mobile meaning that now, with more shoppers opting to purchase from their mobiles, your website can be accessed and used on the go.  
  • Affordable: the main benefit of using BigCartel is its affordability. Compared to the other website builders featured here, BigCartel is great for small-sized businesses that want to get started ASAP and aren’t too fussy about aesthetics for now! 

Cons 

  • Theme design limits: although simplicity is great, BigCartel can hold users back from customising basic elements added within their themes. For most templates, you won’t be able to alter the size of images or logos so are at the mercy of the original design.  
  • Product re-naming: once you have selected a product name and created a permanent link you won’t be able to go back and change this without deleting the listing and starting again which can be problematic if mistakes are made or you just want to alter a few things.  
  • Customer service limitations: customer support is only available via email and at that are only contactable from 9am – 6pm EST, which can be difficult for international sellers.  

Secure your online store with SimplyVAT.com 

Selecting a website builder can be a tricky decision. With so many options in 2022 to sell online it can be a close call. Overall, the best decision you can make is to simply get online and start putting your business out there. Ecommerce is only going to become more and more popular among consumers so whichever website builder tool you pick will be sure to open you up to better opportunities and see your business thrive. 

Amongst these tools we at SimplyVAT.com are always on hand to aid our clients with their international compliance; as businesses expand to sell through a stand-alone website, this can create VAT obligations. If you need advice about EU VAT compliance when selling through an ecommerce website, get in contact with one of our friendly experts who can discuss your business’ needs. 

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