When you’re first figuring out how to start your e-commerce business, it’s important to give some thought to what you want your site to do. Do you want a lean website with the main focus on the products you sell? Then, you might consider an e-commerce platform, like Shopify or BigCommerce. If you’d like more content capabilities, like a blog or landing pages, with the store as one of many elements of your site, a website builder is the way to go.
To help you find the perfect solution for your business, we put together the following 2018 website builder comparison, taking a look at Squarespace vs. Wix vs. WordPress vs. Weebly.
Squarespace, for example, is known for supporting beautiful, design-friendly websites for celebrities and businesses of all sizes. Then there’s WordPress, which is an open source platform, so anyone can access its code and create plugins and themes to customize. Wix has a large library of themes to choose from and allows users to drag and drop different elements of a website, making it a great option for folks with less technical experience. Weebly also has an easy-to-use website builder that lets you drag and drop theme elements, plus it offers functionality to help grow and streamline your e-commerce business.
The Side-by-side Website Builder Comparison: Squarespace vs. Wix vs. WordPress vs. Weebly
|Monthly Price||$26 – $40||$14 – $25||Free||$8 – $38 (the $8 plan includes a 3% transaction fee)|
|Domain Name||Included (free for first year)||Included (free for first year)||Not included||Included (free for first year)|
|Themes/Templates||Yes||Yes; plus, Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI)||Basic theme included; can purchase themes from other theme stores||Yes|
Many aspiring business owners are drawn to Squarespace because of its gorgeous websites. Squarespace offers award-winning templates that make it easy for even non-technical users to create visually-stunning sites. Squarespace offers subscription plans specifically designed for online stores, starting at $26 per month and going up to $40 per month.
All Squarespace plans include fully-managed cloud hosting to ensure all websites remain available at all times. The plans also come with a free domain for one year, and you’ll need to pay for the domain each year after that to keep using it. Squarespace includes a free SSL certificate for all of the websites hosted on its platform.
With Wix, you can design your website from scratch or choose from over 500 designer-made templates. You can also use the Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) which will instantly build a website personalized just for you—complete with professional text and images. Wix has also made a lot of progress in recent years to support your SEO efforts in ranking on Google and other search engines.
Wix subscription plans for online stores and entrepreneurs start at $14 a month. This includes a free domain for a year, or you can connect your own domain. All plans include hosting on the Wix platform.
Like I mentioned above, WordPress is an open source platform, which means anyone can access its code and create plugins and themes to customize. In fact, WordPress has more than 45,000 plugins to help your website do exactly what you want it to. While this can be great to personalize for your business, being open source means that the quality of each plugin varies significantly.
If you’re interested in setting up an online store with WordPress, I’d recommend taking a look at its integration with WooCommerce. Both are open-source, free solutions that will help you create a customized online store. WooCommerce also has paid themes and plugins to take your website to the next level.
Keep in mind that when you use WordPress, you’ll need to also purchase hosting and a domain name for your website separately. Many of these tools come with great support teams to help you get the hosting and domain registration set up.
Weebly is an easy-to-use website platform that lets business owners set up their store effortlessly without a technical background. Weebly has a lot of features to help online stores grow and be successful. For example, it helps you manage inventory, surface product reviews, integrate shipping and taxes, offer discounts, and more. Also, look out for Weebly to lead the way in offering omnichannel solutions for brands beyond their website, especially with their recent acquisition by Square.
Weebly’s subscription plans geared towards online stores start at $9 per month and top out at $38 per month. Weebly is currently offering new customers a 25 percent discount on subscription plans for Shippo customers. Weebly will host your website for you, and you can purchase your domain through Weebly or connect an existing domain.
Which is the Best Website Builder?
All of the above website builders are great options for setting up an online store—it just depends on your specific needs. Take some time to write down your goals and objectives to see which tool will support your business the best.
And, before you make your decision, you will want to consider how your e-commerce stack integrates with the other tools you’ll be using. For example, if you’re shipping physical goods, does your website builder integrate seamlessly with a shipping tool to streamline the order fulfillment process? Squarespace, WordPress (via WooCommerce), and Weebly all integrate with Shippo, an easy-to-use, powerful shipping software that can help you print a label in 10 seconds. If you are a Wix seller, you can import your orders to Shippo via a CSV file to streamline the shipping process.