This post reviews the best website builder tools for small businesses. Many business owners recognise the value of a website as a promotional tool but cannot afford the cost to outsource the build of a professional website.
Increasingly, the do it yourself approach is a viable option and, with the rise in content management systems and standard themes, requires little technical knowledge.
So why have we only considered website platforms with content management systems (CMS)? The answer is simple, a website that is not updated regularly is unlikely to be of use to potential customers over the medium to long term. A website that does not change over time will not rank well in the search engines.
Several years ago website designers made a useful living by charging to make website changes (they held the keys). Although, remarkably still a strategy used by some, current practice is to allow businesses to update their own content and to do this they need a CMS.
As at September 2012 it was estimated that over 30% of existing websites used a CMS. Of the three most popular open source website, blogging and CMS tools that are hosted on web hosting services WordPress is by far the most common at over 50% followed by Joomla and Drupal – both at less than 10%.
Drupal and Joomla tend to be the best choice if an E-Commerce platform, an extranet, community webportal or the ability to organise complex content is required otherwise WordPress is the best choice. It has a number of advantages including
- Easy to set up and maintain
- Free (mostly) standard plugins for SEO and to upgrade functionality
- Huge range of standard base themes
- No technical or coding experience required.
This makes WordPress an excellent choice for small business owner’s intent on building their own website. The wide variety of base themes means that (unlike Yell and 1&1) the website will look and feel different to that of the competition. Websites are easy to build and once in place build upon and maintain. As WordPress was originally designed as a blogging platform it is simple to integrate a blog page into a website.
Some suppliers like to claim SEO is built in to their websites or ‘out of the box’ unfortunately this is misleading (at best). There are a few technical aspects of SEO that can be dealt with via an excellent WordPress plugin beyond that the main issue is to keep adding content to the website and making sure it changes often.
When choosing the best website builder tools WordPress is an excellent choice. The next step is to optimise the website for local search, link it to a Google my business page and use it to deliver useful and relevant content to prospects but more of that in future posts.