Category Archives: E-commerce Operations

10 Top Builders For Small Business Websites

In today’s market, it’s common for even the smallest companies to conduct at least some business online. And whether you own an ecommerce store or need to allow for online bookings, you can’t really have an online presence without a website.

But if you’re not tech-savvy and you can’t afford a freelance web developer with all your other startup costs to cover, are you out of luck?

Definitely not. There are a variety of website builders that help small business owners build a powerful and well designed website—at low costs.

Here are the 10 best tools to use to build your small business website on a budget.

The Top Website Builders for Small Business

The best way to build a small business website varies from business to business.

When you’re searching for a website builder, think carefully about what you need for your small business website. If you think you could fully customize your small business website to your needs with a given tool, then that’s probably the best tool for you.

While searching for the best tool, you want to find a balance: The perfect platform is one that has a broad set of functionalities but, at the same time, is easy and intuitive to use.

In general, a good website builder:

  • Helps you easily choose your domain name.
  • Offers a variety of website templates.
  • Has mobile design capabilities.
  • Makes photo uploads and gallery uploads easy.
  • Offers a shopping cart service (if you’re selling products online).
  • Syncs with your social media accounts.
  • Gives access to an attentive customer support team.
  • Has a pricing structure that doesn’t break the bank!

Because there are many tools for building a small business website these days, we’re here to help you filter out some of the noise. 

These 10 tools are a great fit for building a small business website on a budget.

1. Wix

If you’re looking for a host with a large (very large) array of design templates, then Wix might be the small business website builder for you.

Wix offers hundreds and hundreds of free design templates that work for just about any type of business. Sort through their templates by category: business, photography, videography, restaurants and food, design, and so on.

This builder has an easy-to-use template that allows for drag-and-drop creation of your website—making the actually building part of creating a website easy and painless. 

And they also offer mobile capability and free and secure online web hosting.

Wix offers hundreds of templates, unlimited pages, and web hosting for free. But they also offer premium subscription levels, with the eCommerce (best for small business) and Unlimited (best for entrepreneurs and freelancer) at $8.50 per month and $7 per month respectively.

2. Squarespace

Squarespace is a small business website builder largely known as a service for creative industries and ecommerce companies. However, Squarespace still has something to offer for most small businesses.

Squarespace has a wide variety of beautifully designed templates—if you want your small business website to have real visual appeal, a Squarespace website will really wow your customers.

Due to the visual aspect of these perfectly templated Squarespace websites, this service won’t allow as much customizability as other small business website builders will. However, if you’re looking for an easy way to craft a professional-looking website, Squarespace is a no-brainer. 

While Squarespace isn’t the cheapest website builder on this list, they do offer a very simple pricing structure: The Business plan comes at $18 per month, with a wide array of features suitable for most businesses.

3. Weebly

Weebly is another small business website builder that has been around for a while (since 2007) and has remained popular with small businesses.

Weebly is a free creator that works for businesses that need websites, online stores, or blogs.

It has a powerful drag-and-drop editor, making it one of the more customizable (but easy-to-use) services available to small business owners. You can also use their App Market to customize your web development in any way you want.

This small business website tool also goes beyond just website building, offering email marketing services, SEO functionality, ecommerce services, and blogging capabilities.  

The free offerings from Weebly are especially good compared to other competitors, but the paid subscriptions start at $8 per month and offer you more functionality.

4. Duda

Duda provides an easy small business website building solution that’s an especially good service if you’re looking for desktop, tablet, and mobile capabilities. With Duda, you can convert your standard desktop website into a mobile site or build a mobile site from scratch.

But Duda isn’t just for mobile; they also help small business owners create well-designed desktop sites with their easy-to-use site-builder interface.

As a plus, Duda comes with an intuitive social media integration and a helpful built-in analytics system.

If you want a website that’s responsive on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone, the Business plan is $7.13 per month for a year (if you score their summer 2017 sale!). Mobile-only functionality comes free, or with a Premium plan on sale for $3.60 per month for a year.

5. WordPress

WordPress is a small business favorite, but its reach goes far beyond the small biz category: 1 in 5 websites are built using it.

WordPress offers one of the easiest website and blog building platform for beginners. So if you’re just starting your business and need an easy small business website service to use, WordPress is a safe bet.

There are more than 350 applicable templates for small businesses, and you can customize each template to make it your own—with your own fonts, images, logo, colors, and just about anything else with CSS.

WordPress also comes with a strong analytics tool and SEO capabilities—which is great if you’re interested in how people are finding your site, and how it’s performing on the internet.

With WordPress, you can get free plans, or gain more functionality with their Premium plan that’s $8.25 per month and the Business plan that’s $24.92 per month.

A 2017 DevWP blog post asked the interesting question: Do You Need a WordPress Website For Your Small Business? It argues that a Facebook page may be sufficient for some businesses like a hookah bar or restaurant that only require a page that offers their contact details, photos, and reviews. It’s certainly worth a read before taking the WordPress plunge!

6. Yola

Yola is a great website builder for small business owners who want the easiest possible experience. With Yola, you can create a powerful and well-designed site with absolutely no code or tech skills necessary. In fact, Yola claims that you can make one of their free websites in minutes.

There’s hundreds of professionally designed templates that you can customize for your business.

You can start with their free subscription and add on premium features once your business grows. The Bronze level starts at $4.16 per month, the Silver at $8.33 per month, and the Gold at $16.66 per month.

7. Sitey

Sitey is a simple but powerful small business website builder.

This builder offers a little bit of everything for a small business owner who’s looking for a functional and easy-to-use website—you get Google-friendly desktop and mobile development, 24-hour hosting, 100s of templates, e-shop capabilities, and more.

You can get a lot of functionality with their free subscription—50MB of storage, 5MB for file uploads, and 1GB of bandwidth. The most popular paid subscription level is the Pro, which costs $7.99 per month.

8. Shopify

Shopify is probably your best small business website builder if you’re building an online store. 

The platform offers many different ways to sell your product and integrate with other shopping environments—through an online store, Facebook shop, Amazon, and so on.

Shopify also equips your website with different tools that help you sell on the go—at trade shows, different marketplaces, or just about anywhere in person.

All in, if you sell a product and you want to have a major ecommerce presence, then Shopify is probably the best small business website builder for you. 

Shopify comes with a free 14-day trial, but their Basic plan starts at $29 per month.

9. Webs

Webs is another small business website builder that offers all the core functionalities as the top tools available to business owners—many templates, drag-and-drop capabilities, social connectivity, and so on.

But where Webs really shines is its SEO capabilities. If your website is built with Webs, you’ll save a step becoming an SEO expert. Webs guides you through setting your website up for search engine success—letting you customize your website development based on your needs.

Other than that, Webs is one of the oldest website builders in the industry and a solid option for small business owners who need a powerful and intuitive website. Webs starts at $5.99 per month.  

10. Jimdo

With more than 15 million built sites under its belt, Jimdo is another great small business website builder.

Jimdo can help you create a simple, single-page website to a more complex online store—making it a good option for any type of business.

While Jimdo can create a website of any kind, its strength is in online stores. However, you probably have to pay for a subscription service with Jimdo to get functionality that’s as good as the free options with the services listed above.

As a small business or startup owner, you’re always busy. With so many other things on your plate, you need a small business website builder that’s easy to use but fully functional. 

Any of the list above are cheap options for setting up a stellar website, so think through what you need for your small business website, and take the plunge!

Designing A Logo For Your Startup? Here Are 6 Important Things To Consider

You have finally made up your mind to take your startup to the next level. Now, it’s time to design a stunning logo for your business. 

Your logo should be flexible and unique. It should be able to properly define your brand personality. 

So, how do you create the perfect logo? 

Paul Rand, the famous logo designer who designed logo for top brands like IBM, ABC, Morningstar etc. once said:

The principal role of a logo is to identify, and simplicity is its means… Its effectiveness depends on distinctiveness, visibility, adaptability, memorability, universality, and timelessness.”

To create a winning logo for your brand, here are 6 important things that need special consideration. 

1. Don’t Follow The Trends

It has been rightly said don’t follow the trends because trends are short-lived. Following trends is a sheer waste of time. 

A logo design should be timeless and must properly reflect your brand identity, hence it is better to keep away from logo design trends.

A better approach would be to follow technological advancements and make sure your logo remains consistent with them. For example, your logo should work on mobile devices, should look good on different forms of print media etc. 

2. Create a Strong Identity and Mission

Your brand logo must properly reflect your brand mission. There is no need to spend a lot to create a logo that can clearly communicate your businesses goals, values and mission. 

Work with a clear focus in your mind and strive towards achieving a specific goal. This will help you to create a strong identity and mission in your logo. 

Your visual design strategy must connect the dots between your mission and your target audience. You must explore the competition, extract the information, translate it for your audience and execute it in your design to leave an everlasting impact.

Follow the below essentials when designing your logo in order to make sure that your design clearly reflects your brand mission:

  • Take a look at your competitors logos and list the elements in your logo that you want to differentiate from those of your competition. 
  • Define your target audience and keep their likings in your mind when designing your brand logo. If your target audience likes businesses using green in their logo and if you are using red, then you might go wrong.
  • Get your USP in the logo. It should be in the form of a symbol or a text but it must be unique in relation to your competition. 
  • Your logo should be scalable, neat, distinctive, functional and memorable.
  • Define your brand mission and identify your brand personality.
  • Do not use clip art. Instead, use your own unique art that sets you apart from competition.
  • Identify your emotional appeal and use it in your logo so that it is able to leave a lasting memorable image in your customers mind.

3. Check the Logo in Black and White 

Always check your logo in black and white because if your logo does not look good in black and white, then you won’t be able to use it in advertisements where colorful ads are not permitted. 

It is recommended to start the design of your logo in black and white because it will help you to solely focus on the design. 

Black and White logos are monochrome versions of your colored logo. Have a look at the below set of logos to get an idea:

A Black and White logo is useful in many cases:

  • When you are using the logo for 3D printing or textile printing.
  • While scanning or faxing a monochrome version is preferred because it doesn’t fade out.
  • When you are partnering with other companies, they might ask for a monochrome version of your logo instead of a colored one.

4. Follow a Minimalistic Approach

Minimalistic design refers to a design where the work is reduced to its necessary elements by maximizing simplicity and capitalizing on space.  Adopting a minimalistic design makes your brand stand apart from your competitors who might have clunky and gaudy designs in their logo. 

Here is an old logo for Ford Motors in the early 1990’s. At that time, logo design was nothing but the brand name in fancy fonts.

But, as time passed, Ford adopted a minimalistic style and revamped its logo. Here is Ford’s new logo which was designed in 2003.

Here are some tips to create a minimalistic logo:

  • Stick to a geometric shape since these are the most recognizable. You can start your logo with a circle, square or a rectangle and then add more elements to it. 
  • Try and design your logo with a pencil in one go without stopping. If you can do it, the design will be 100% minimal. 
  • Keep the design simple and make sure your logo gets identified at a glance. 
  • Embrace efficiency and don’t be afraid to break the rules.
  • Explore the depth of symbolism with your design. You can opt for an object and the things associated with the subject. 
  • I recommend using a minimum of 1-3 fonts to keep your design to minimum.

5. Harness the Power of Color Psychology 

Color plays a key role in logo design. Colors help to convey messages and evoke emotions. A brand gains visibility and recognition by the choice of colors it uses in its logo.

Here are some of the main colors and their meaning in logo design:

  • Red – Raises the energy level and conveys excitement.
  • Orange – Depicts confidence and youthfulness. 
  • Yellow – Conveys optimism, clarity and warmth.
  • Blue – Conveys trust and dependability. 
  • Green – Depicts peace, growth and health.
  • Purple – Depicts creativity and imagination. 

The image below published by 99 designsdepicts the brand personality traits to colors meaning you can pick your choice of color for logo design depending on the personality of your target audience.

6. Keep an Eye on The Font

You definitely want your logo to be easily readable. A tough to read logo will be unable to reach the masses. This is where a good font comes into play. A font is one of the most crucial elements of your entire business identity. 

Here are some of the important font types:

Serif: These fonts are easier to read and are often used by male dominated products.

Sans-Serif: These fonts are extremely simple and are associated with practicality. 

Script: These are elegant, formal and stylish. These pair well with both Serif and Sans Serif. 

Slab Serif: These are bold and trendy and pair well with Sans Serif.

Here are some tips to choose the best font for your logo:

  • Keep it simple, clean and elegant.
  • Analyze your competitors and choose a font that reflects your brand identity.
  • Always take into account your product and service and choose a font that perfectly fits your niche.
  • Do not use too many fonts. One or two top fonts should be your preferred choice.

Conclusion

The startup culture is moving quickly and a professional logo is what your business needs. Always remember the top 6 things as discussed in this article and you won’t go wrong with your logo design.