We are living in an era that almost everything is online. We can not hide from the simple truth that we need the internet as much as we need food. I know many would agree with me. If you run a business, then there’s no better person than you, who knows the necessity of the internet. This is where you are going to find answers to one of the hottest topics ‘How to build a small business website.’ Yes, that is one of the highest search terms on the internet. And if you look closely, you will find a lot of answers as well.
Build a small business website as a newbie
Building a website back in 2000 or maybe in 2010 is a difficult task, compared to the way things work these days. Yes, I know this by experience. I started my freelancing career back in 2010, and I needed to create a website for me to use as a portfolio.
And trust me, it was too difficult to create a website. The first thing was, by the time I’m not into web design or HTML or anything related. I was a total rookie, and it was super hard. Then I started finding someone campable. I found a bunch. And nothing comes free these days, and it is true and correct for all the past time and all the time to come.
The web designers I found needed a price, which was fair. The problem was I was on a super tight budget. I didn’t have any money to spend on a website.
WordPress, almost everyone knew, but me.
WordPress is the most famous, widely used content management system (CMS).
1/3 of the blogs these days are running on WordPress.
It clearly shows how popular WordPress is. If you know what you do, WordPress is one of the best solutions to start your small business website.
It requires a little bit of HTML skills. Not all the time. But, it is necessary to know a few things before you start your business website with WordPress.
In this article, I’m not planning on explaining how you create your small business website on WordPress because it requires extra time and effort if you are new to this.
The cheapest way to build a small business website
The first thing is you need a domain name for your small business.
IMPORTANT i.e. yourbusinessname.com
There are many domain name providers. I usually do all my domain and hosting with Namecheap. Buying a dotcom domain cost you $8.88/year.
Then you need hosting space.
If you are still not sure what is a hosting space, think like this.
Your website is a collection of files. When someone visits your site, they are reading these files.
To access those files, they should be online 24/7. If not the person who visits will not see your website.
Hosting space is where you store all your files. These hosts are computers with huge data storage. Hosting providers are selling these disk spaces for a price.
Either you are going to use WordPress or any content management system, the most affordable way of doing your website it, purchase your own hosting. There are several hosting providers and some are expensive, and some are cheap.
At this point, you should consider thinking of a reliable hosting provider with a standout reputation.
I use Namecheap for all my hosting purposes.
They may not be the best in the business if you are looking for the fastest servers.
But, they are the best in customer service. I have used several web hosting services from time to time for hosting my business websites.
By far Namecheap is the best when it comes to customer support.
And I should say their hosting plans are the most affordable ones you find with such a reputed hosting provider.
I’m using their ‘Stellar Plus’ plan, which allows me to host unlimited domains. And you can purchase it for as low as $29.28/first year.
If you don’t plan on going for hosting more than three websites, you should go for ‘Stellar’ hosting plan and it will cost you just $17.28/first year.
If you do the math, it will cost you $26.26/year to run a business website. And if you go for three websites, then it will be $44.02/year for all three websites. That is less than $50/year for running multiple business websites. Building a small business website couldn’t be affordable than this.
The Rise of Drag and Drop website creators
If you check online, you will find there are several ‘drag and drop’ website creators. Even for WordPress, you will find such visual creators like Elementor, Bakery Builder, etc
Again, even though those are Drag and Drop visual website builders, they still need WordPress installed in your hosting space and do some Installations of plugins, widgets, etc
If you are new and looking to create your small business as do it yourself mode (DIY), then forget about WordPress.
In here, I’d love to focus your attention on drag and drop website creators, which don’t need WordPress or any coding. And of course, I’m talking about having a business website without spending a lot of money on it.
There are different providers, which will help you setting up your website at ease. But, almost everything comes with a higher cost. If you are an established business, then you should be okay with spending some money on your business website, which you should do. But, if you are new and on a budget, spending a considerable chunk of money just for a business website may give you goosebumps.
Mobirise is what you need
Mobirise is the easiest and most cost-effective website creation tool I ever encountered. It is purely a ‘Drag and Drop’ website designer, and it is FREE. It does offer some paid themes. In my opinion, you don’t need any of their paid themes to create a professional small business website.
As far as I know, Mobirise is a simple platform with huge potential. If you need to set up a good looking business website, you can do it in a matter of minutes. Yes, it doesn’t take hours or days to figure out what you should do.
Mobirise has already pre-built templates, and you can customize them to your choosing.
Also, you don’t need any coding knowledge to create a stunning business website. Because the Mobirise team already did the heavy lifting for you and all you have to do is add some of your creativity to the pre-built themes.
Build a small business website without the internet
You don’t have to be online when creating your business website with Mobirise.
They offer a standalone app that works on both Windows and Mac.
All you have to do is, download the app/software based on what operating system you are on.
Install it and start creating your stunning small business website.
Step by step guide to build a small business website with Mobirise
Let me walk you through all these super easy steps in creating your small business website.
1. Install Mobirise
Follow this link and download the latest version of Mobirise website builder and Install it on your computer.
Based on what operating system you are on, you will have to select which do download. I’m doing this on my PC. So I have installed Mobirise for Windows
2. Select a free theme to create your website
I would always go for an AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) theme. Because these themes optimized for better user experiences, and Google loves them.
3. Start adding ‘blocks’ to build your website
Mobirise is a drag and drop website builder, and all you have to do is drag and drop the blocks based on what you need as your small business website. Mobirise has different blocks for different elements of your website.
i.e., title/menu bar, Header area, Content, Contact page, Social icons, Footer, etc
4. You can edit all the blocks
Once you complete the basic structure of your business website, you can start editing all the blocks.
It is crazy easy to edit a block. Click on what you need to edit and edit what you want.
It is that simple.
5. Changing the background image of a block
Whenever you need to change the background image of a block or do some additional changes to a block, you should click on the gear icon on the block. It will open new settings, and you can simply change the things.
6. Check all the changes you made to your business website
Since Mobirise is a standalone application, you can check all the changes/updates you did to the website directly from your web browser, before uploading it to the hosting server.
All you have to do is click on the ‘eye’ icon on the top right corner, and it will open the website from your default browser.
7. Import the files of your small business website
Once you are happy with all the edits, then you can start importing your website to your web host. Before that, you should import all your website’s files to a different location/folder. Then you can upload these to your web host.
Click on the ‘Publish’ icon on the top right, and there you can select which folder you need the website files should import.
Once you published all the files, this is how the folder looks.
You should upload these files to your server and that’s all. Your website is ready.
At your first attempt, you may feel that it is difficult. Just play around a bit, and you’ll see.
All blocks and elements are following one simple rule. If you need to edit an element on a block, click on it. You will find options to change almost everything.
And if you need to make any changes to a block, click on the Gear icon. Each block acts as a different unit. Therefor one edit you do a block will not affect all the other blocks.
That’s about Mobirise, and there are more drag and drop website builders. They may not as economical as creating a small business website with Mobirise. But, they do exist.
Drag and Drop website builders.
Like I told you earlier, there are several providers. As you already know that Mobirise is cost-effective and easy to build a small business website there are many competitors, you should know what’s out there and the cost of running a small business website on those platforms. Then let’s get back to it.
Wix is one of the most famous drag and drop small business website creator. Wix can be used not just for your small business, but they have plans for bigger enterprises.
And the most important thing is, Wix has a free plan as well. But, when it is free, there’s always a catch.
If you are on board for a free Wix plan, then you will not be able to custom domain. Let me explain it a bit more.
Let’s say your website is companyname.com
And if you are on Wix’s free plan, you can use your domain as it is. Instead, you will have to use the domain name with Wix in it.
Here’s the basic URL structure if you are Wix free plan user
As you can see, it is not professional to have such a URL for your business website.
That’s why Wix is recommending you to go for a paid plan, instead of free. When you are on a Paid plan, Wix will allow you to use your professionally looking domain name as it is.
To have your custom domain name, you will have to pay $4.5/month. That’s $54/year. Again, there’s a catch, even after spending almost $60. The catch is, when you are on the ‘Connect Domain’ package (Which is the most basic paid Wix plan), Wix will still display their branding on your website.
If you are okay with that, then fine, but keep in mind that you are promoting Wix, and at the same time, you are paying them $54/year. In my opinion, it is not fair. Again if the price and the Wix branding okay with you, you can use this plan.
If you need to remove Wix branding from your site, then you will have to upgrade your plan. Then you should try ‘Combo’ package for the price of $8.5/month (That’s $102/year)
Even though Wix is a drag and drop website creator, you will have to create your website by yourself (or hire a freelancer). If you hire a freelancer, then your cost will be even higher for having a small business website.
Squarespace is another Wix competitor, and if you are running an online store, Squarespace is the answer. Again, it is not free, and if you are starting your online journey and don’t have a budget, then Squarespace is not the answer you look.
Their pricing starts from $12/month (Personal Plan), and that is only if you go for an annual plan. The same procedure for a monthly subscription is $16. Either way, you will have to pay at least $144/year if you use Squarespace.
And unfortunately, the personal plan doesn’t come with eCommerce integrations. If you need to sell online, then you will have to upgrade your plan to a Business plan, which will cost you $216/year.
If you are starting your business and on a budget, then you should reconsider spending that much of money on a website.
Weebly is a solid Wix alternative. There are over 50 million websites that run on Weebly. And Weebly is a newbie-friendly platform. And it comes with a free plan as well. When it is free, there’s always a catch.
Same as Wix, when you are on a free Weebly plan, you will not be able to use a professional domain. You will have to use a domain name with weebly.com init. When it comes to building a small business website, having that kind of ‘off-professional’ URL is not recommended at all.
If you need to include a custom domain, then you will have to pay $5/month and sign up for their ‘Connect Plan.’ Annually it will be $60, and you can run one website on this subscription.
But, it is not over yet. Even if you sign up for ‘Connect Plan’ and pay $60/year, your website will have Weebly branding on it. As per their pricing plan, you can remove Weebly ads only if you sign up for a ‘Pro’ or a ‘Business’ plan.
And Weebly pro plan will cost you $12/month when paid annually. That’s again around $150 year for you to build a small business website and run it.
How do I create a website for my small business?
First, you need a domain name and a hosting space. Once you have these two in place, you should think about whether you need a dynamic website or a static small business website. If you need a dynamic small business website, then you should try WordPress. Building a website on WordPress requires some additional knowledge and a little bit of time. Or else, you need to hire someone else to do it for you. If you need a static website, then you should go for a free small business website builder like Mobirise.
Can I make a website without coding?
Yes, you can. That is the whole point of this article. If you are on a budget, then Mobirise is the answer. If not, there are other alternatives. All are drag and drop. You can build your small business website in a matter of minutes.
What is the best free website builder for small business?
WordPress is also free. But it requires some specialized knowledge on creating a business website. Therefore the best free website builder I recommend is Mobirise. It is easy, modern and completely beginner-friendly. You don’t have to be an expert or a pro to create a small business website with Mobirise.
How much does it cost to set up a website for a small business?
You can start a website for as low as $26.26/year. That is less than $30/year and by far it is the most affordable option.
A website is a must-have in this new era. If you are a freelancer, a small business owner, or anyone who is selling anything online, you must have to have a website. Earlier, you needed to have a specific set of skills when you need to build a small business website. But things have changed drastically. Now there are free and paid drag and drop small business website builders. With a click of a few buttons and making your imagination into ideas and ideas into creations, you can build your website in a matter of minutes.