How To Build A Wix Website In 6 Easy Steps

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The Complete Guide To Maryland Payroll

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The Step-By-Step Guide To Building A Website With Weebly

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How To Choose The Best Ecommerce Website Builder for Small Business

This post originally appeared at How To Choose The Best Ecommerce Website Builder for Small Business via ShivarWeb

How To Choose The Best E-Commerce Website Builder for Small Business

Choosing the best e-commerce website builder for a small business can be challenging, especially when you consider the variety of options available. By doing a little reading and research before committing to a website builder, you can make the best possible choice for your small business.

Summary – Best Website Builder if you want…

Based on my experience working with many website builders, there are a few that are a good fit for most people. They all have free trials available.

  • Simple Ecommerce
  • Quick Setup
  • Focus on Simplicity
  • Small Site Appeal

Weebly

Weebly
View Plans
  • Robust Ecommerce
  • Full Platform
  • Focus on Features
  • Ecommerce Appeal

Shopify

View Plans
  • Lots of Options
  • Drag & Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Broad Appeal

Wix

Wix
View Plans

Focused on something specific?

WooCommerce is a plugin / plan for WordPress that has some learning curve, but also infinite versatility for content-heavy for business websites. (see review). View plans.

We’ll discuss all of the factors you need to consider when choosing an e-commerce website, including what features to look for from a website builder. And after you’ve perused our tips and tricks, you’ll be able to confidently select the best e-commerce website builder for you and your business.

Primary Considerations

To help you come away with the best possible chance at finding the e-commerce site builder that works for you, we’ve provided an in-depth look at everything you may need to think about before laying claim to a domain.

Inventory

Not all website builders allow users to host an unlimited amount of products. Some have inventory maximums that can potentially limit a business’s commerce.

Understanding how many (and what kinds) products you can advertise on your website can help you choose an ecommerce builder that works best for your business.

If you work with a small amount of inventory, or products that are constantly changing, you may not necessarily benefit from using a website builder that offers infinite inventory options. However, if you intend to list hundreds of items (or more), springing for the unrestricted inventory space can be a massively beneficial move.

Because website builders often offer multiple pricing plans, you may be able to select the precise features that work best for you and your business without spending extra on unwanted functions or apps. 

Always be sure to check for inventory limits on your favorite building plans, and while you’re there, also check commission fees.

Commission

Some ecommerce website builders may charge commission fees on products sold online, typically at a percentage of the total cost of the item. Though this is a small price to pay, it does accumulate over time, especially for businesses that find sudden or rapid success. 

Business owners hoping to diminish profit losses of any size or amount may want to choose a website builder that charges zero or minimal commission on sold goods and items. Of course, it’s worth mentioning that the cost of commission is negligible when compared to other types of common costs, including shipping and handling.

Still, it is crucial to be aware of potential commission losses when deciding on a website builder. It’s also essential to become familiar with different pricing plans.

Price

The cost to own and run an e-commerce site varies based on the exact services provided. Many website builders offer a wide range of potential plans, each with a monthly or annual price. The free or low-cost plans tend to be the most basic and feature the fewest options, templates, or capabilities. 

However, that doesn’t mean that a basic e-commerce site isn’t a valid option. The perfect e-commerce website builder for you is one that meets your needs, doesn’t go over budget, and allows for future expansion. When it comes to pricing, it’s often better to start with the less costly, simpler plans.

You can always choose to upgrade to a more comprehensive plan in the future, and you won’t be paying extra for features you don’t want or need. Besides, starting with a low-price plan allows you a little time to try a website builder. 

You could have a feature-packed, unlimited inventory, affordable builder but not understand how to use it. Having a little time to practice with a site builder can help you discover how right it might be for you and your business. This can prevent ease-of-use issues that might develop later on down the line.

Ease of Use

An ecommerce website builder that is confusing or difficult to master can feel endlessly frustrating. If you’re not comfortable with a builder’s design or user interface, you may end up needing to hire a web designer to help you finish your site. This is an additional cost that can help you arrive at a better final product, but it’s not completely necessary.

The best e-commerce website builders for small businesses are easy enough for anyone to learn and use. They don’t require excessive HTML knowledge or design experience. If your preferred website builder is giving you a headache every time you attempt to work with it, it’s probably time to consider a different service.

Trial Usage

Some website builders allow users to experience a free trial period, while others are a little less accommodating. If you’re new to e-commerce website building, it may be helpful to try several ecommerce builders and see which one works best for you

Trial periods typically last anywhere between seven days and a full month. Most allow users to explore basic features or plans, with the option to upgrade to a more comprehensive range or plan in the future. Choosing to engage in trials can ensure that you invest in the best e-commerce website builder for your small business.

Secondary Considerations

In addition to the factors laid out above, there are also a few features to keep in mind while browsing through e-commerce website builders. Inventory options and commission percentages are vital, but it’s also wise to keep an eye out for specific, potentially helpful features. 

For example, website owners can benefit from having access to tons of templates or design options. Individuals interested in an e-commerce site can also benefit from using a website builder that allows clients and customers to utilize multiple popular payment options.

Let’s explore some of the most crucial features to look for in an e-commerce website builder. Doing so will help you decide which features to focus on, and which you can live without.

Templates

When website builders offer dozens or hundreds of design templates and options, users can customize their site and make it unique to their brand. Rather than wishing that your cookie-cutter site had a little more flair, you could quickly and easily make it yours with the help of pre-set templates and design features.

If you enjoy the creative aspect of website design and creation, you’ll definitely want to choose an e-commerce website builder that allows you to express that creativity. Some builders may also allow users to upload music (and sell it on the site), videos, and photography. 

With the right blend of media and inventory, you can attract the right clients and customers to your business. Of course, it also helps to have multiple payment options available for patrons to use. 

Payment Options

When a customer is ready to purchase a product online, they must choose among a wide range of payment options. While credit and debit cards are fantastically common and familiar, there are several other payment options that are quickly becoming just as popular. 

For example, while debit cards and major credit cards are generally accepted everywhere, alternative forms of payment like PayPal can provide greater accessibility to a wider audience. Many e-commerce sites opt for payment plans, too, so consider whether those options would be beneficial to your consumers.

Staying ahead of the curve means embracing “the new,” and website builders must stay competitive with their payment options if they’d like to attract the most customers and clients. Restricting payment options to standard debit/credit can be harmful to a small business. 

Opening up your payment options can help you reach a greater variety of customers and clients, resulting in more sales and a boost in your audience’s reach. If you’re not familiar with some of the newer payment options, you may want to reach out for a little support and guidance.

Support

When you’re building a website, you might occasionally run into a few trouble areas or issues. It’s normal to have questions or require a little technical support from time to time. 

However, not all website builders offer 24/7 assistance and chat support. Some customer and client support systems are massively lacking, resulting in slow results for both users and customers.

Choosing the best e-commerce website builder for a small business often means choosing one that offers consistent and reliable technical support. Always check to see if your preferred builder offers anytime-anyplace support, or if they require more rigid reporting to help solve issues.

Though technical support might not seem like a huge deal before you invest in a website builder, getting stuck with poor support can be a huge detriment to the site-building process. It can also lead to feelings of frustration that inhibit you from finding success online.

General Tips

Starting a website doesn’t have to be a time-consuming challenge, especially when you have the right information at your disposal. By taking the time to educate and prepare yourself before committing to a specific service or builder, you can increase your chances of success. 

The following tips and tricks may help you expedite the website building process, find the best possible e-commerce builder, and save a little money.

Compare Your Options

Before you decide on a website builder for your small business, it’s wise to take a moment and compare all potential options, their prices, and their features. Though this particular process might take a little time and forethought, it can be significantly beneficial. 

Getting to see all of your choices compared against one another may help you choose the option that is best for your budget and preferences. You can even use Excel spreadsheets to help you gather and organize your information.

Choose Zero Commission

Whenever possible, always choose the lowest commission. While this might seem like an obvious tip, it’s entirely possible to forget about commission percentages when you’re busy comparing pricing plans and additional features. 

Always double-check your preferred plan’s commission fees before making a final decision or payment. You may be thankful that you saved yourself from paying 5% of every sale toward the website builder or hostsite. Additionally, it may be wise to try as many free trials as possible before committing to a specific website builder or plan.

Try a Free Trial

If you can take advantage of a free trial, you should. Not only will you be investing zero capital to try out a potentially advantageous website builder, but you’ll also get to change your mind with absolutely no risk. Starting with a free trial can help you avoid buyer’s remorse as a result of a poor builder choice.

To make matters even sweeter, most website builders that offer free trials also allow users to upgrade those trials to full-fledged paid accounts at any time. So, if you find something that you like and you’re interested in getting a little more from it, you can turn that free trial into a long-lasting smile.

The Next Steps

Now that you’re aware of which factors to consider and what features to look for, you can select an e-commerce website builder that’s ideal for your small business. Taking the time to consider potential inventory limits, commission payments, and the long term costs associated with an e-commerce website builder can allow you to choose an outstanding-quality service.

  • Simple Ecommerce
  • Quick Setup
  • Focus on Simplicity
  • Small Site Appeal

Weebly

Weebly
View Plans
  • Robust Ecommerce
  • Full Platform
  • Focus on Features
  • Ecommerce Appeal

Shopify

View Plans
  • Lots of Options
  • Drag & Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Broad Appeal

Wix

Wix
View Plans

Focused on something specific?

WooCommerce is a plugin / plan for WordPress that has some learning curve, but also infinite versatility for content-heavy for business websites. (see review). View plans.

Choosing website builders that offer plenty of attractive templates, payment options, and customer support features can help your new site reach audiences and keep them coming back for more. 

But overall, comparing your options and trying several potential builders is one of the most effective ways to find the best service for your business.

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How To Build A Squarespace Website For Your Business The Easy Way

The post How To Build A Squarespace Website For Your Business The Easy Way appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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How To Calculate Payroll For Your Small Business’s Employees

The post How To Calculate Payroll For Your Small Business’s Employees appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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How To Choose The Best Ecommerce Website Builder For Beginners

This post originally appeared at How To Choose The Best Ecommerce Website Builder For Beginners via ShivarWeb

How To Choose The Best Ecommerce Website Builder For Beginners

The Internet has changed dramatically in the past 10 years for anyone who wants to sell a product online. In many ways, it’s easier than ever for beginners to sell online. However, the sheer world of options makes choosing an ecommerce website builder difficult in different ways.

Even though selling online should be approachable, it can be daunting. Here’s how to choose the best ecommerce website builder for beginners so that you can get started for less money and fewer barriers, but also build with confidence.

Summary – Best Ecommerce Website Builder for Beginners

Based on my experience working with many website builders, there are a few that are a good fit for most beginners.

  • Simple Ecommerce
  • Value Pricing
  • Focus on Simplicity
  • Small Site Appeal

Weebly

Weebly
View Plans
  • Built-in Features
  • Drag + Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Broad Appeal

Wix

Wix
View Plans
  • Affordable Option
  • Future-proofing
  • Focus on Versatility
  • Budget Appeal

NameCheap

NameCheap
View Plans

Focused on a long-term project?

Shopify is the most robust ecommerce platform on the Internet. It has a learning curve, but has the most comprehensive setup for a full-featured online store (see review). View plans.

Who Needs a Website Builder?

If you have the technical know-how, the website building process might not seem so daunting. For those of us who aren’t web developers, fortunately, there’s a workable solution: a website builder. With the right website building program, you don’t have to understand complex web development principles or know coding languages.  

Most e-commerce site builders are as simple as drag-and-drop. A good website builder should be easy to use, even for a complete newbie who only knows how to check email and post pictures on Facebook. 

The very best site builders don’t require you to start from scratch. By providing you with a set of features and templates that you can customize to meet your needs, these website builders reduce the amount of work you have to do to get your website running. 

These templates and features typically already incorporate best practices for web design, giving you a head start in building a professional-grade website for your e-commerce business.

The tradeoff you should be thinking of is whether using a website builder will be better than hiring a professional web designer or developer. For most small businesses and beginners, the decision is a no-brainer. A web developer will not do much that a site builder cannot do. 

Sure, a pro developer will do the job, but you might end up spending a lot for a small return on investment. Meanwhile, a website builder gets the job done just as well for only a fraction of the price.

They are also not incompatible. Many developers have expertise to build on top of an existing platform. That’s one consideration to think about – whether you want to be able to grow your features as your revenue and experiences increases.

Getting started with many website builders is very fast and easy, and you can get your website up and running in almost no time. 

Primary Considerations: How to Choose the Best E-Commerce Website Builder

You will need to ask yourself some questions to decide which website builder for beginners is best for your needs. 

What’s Your Budget?

A budget should be the very first thing on your list of considerations. Knowing what you can afford helps you narrow down your list of options. 

The trick is to think about all the costs that you’ll incur while building your website. There are things you need to think about outside of making the website itself, such as registering the site’s domain name and arranging for hosting. Most website builders bundle domain name, hosting & software into a single bundle. But it’s still useful to compare apples to oranges.

You’ll also need to invest money in content for your website, including images and sales copy. If you’re planning to do content marketing, you’ll have to invest in developing high-quality content. All of these costs add up, and you should consider them before you pick a website builder.

Most website builders have a free tier or at least a free trial. The paid levels typically range from $5 to about $50 a month for a plan that offers the most useful features for an e-commerce site.

If you have a tight budget, you can save a lot of money by looking for subscription plans that include most of the things you’ll need for your website, such as domain registration, business email address, hosting, and SEO tools. Again, most website builders bundle all these things. But not all do. It’s important to define what you need before exploring what they offer.

Do You Need Hosting As Part Of The Plan?

Speaking of hosting, it is yet another essential consideration you should make when picking a website builder. Some of these services include hosting as part of the package, while others only include a website builder and leave you to handle the hosting arrangement yourself.

Hosting is more vital than you might think, as the right host can make your business and the wrong one can break it. 

Here are some reasons why choosing the right host is paramount:

  • Customers will leave your site if it is slow. Fortunately or unfortunately, our rapidly contracting attention spans and addiction to instant gratification means a significant percentage of your visitors will likely leave your website if it doesn’t load in a few seconds. It’s not just about your customers, though. Google also uses the loading speed of your site as a factor in ranking it, meaning your ranking on search results will be adversely affected. A good host takes care of this by having the capacity to handle traffic spikes that might affect performance.
  • Your site needs proper security. Security is essential for every business, but it is especially for e-commerce. With the prospect of making payments on your website and putting their data at risk, customers will want to know that your website is secure. Many browsers will identify your site as ‘not secure’ if it doesn’t have HTTPS encryption and an SSL certificate. A good web host will include security and encryption as part of its package. You will likely lose customers if you don’t have this level of protection. 
  • A good host minimizes downtime for your site. You will lose sales if your site goes offline for even a few seconds. If your site has a reputation for frequently being down, you could lose both current and prospective customers. While scheduled maintenance is routine for every web host, the best hosts will minimize unplanned downtime, ensuring your site is up more than 99.99% of the time. Furthermore, the host will warn you about maintenance, so you can let your customers know beforehand. 

In summary, make sure to find a host that keeps up with your expected traffic, ensures security for your site, complies with PCI (Payment Card Industry) standards, and can handle your files. They should also offer backups of your website, and do all this for a reasonable price. 

Some hosting services also offer website builders, and some builders also provide hosting. You will need to decide if the convenience of an all-in-one package is worth any extra costs. 

Secondary Considerations: What Are Your Priorities and Needs?

Before you pick a website builder, you should have a good idea of what you want your website to look like and what you need it to do. You will then have a more definite sense of your priorities, and your search for the best e-commerce website builder for beginners will be more straightforward. 

Here are some significant considerations you should make when trying to figure out your needs and priorities:

  • Your level of experience when it comes to design. Most website builders have beginners in mind, and they don’t require you to have any experience with design or coding. However, some will be easier to work with than others, and some may require you to code if you want to customize your site’s look. If you’re starting from absolute scratch, look for a website builder with ready templates and drag-and-drop features.
  • The amount of flexibility you want. If you need to have options to customize your design, then you should pick a website builder with a large variety of templates. You will also want flexible editing features that allow you to customize the design according to your needs.
  • Will the website include a store? If your website will sell things directly online, which is highly likely if you’re building an e-commerce website, then the website builder should allow you to add checkout functionality and a shopping cart. The design should also encourage users to make purchases with features like browsing history, product recommendations, and SEO functions. 
  • The type of media you will include. You need to ensure that your website builder can handle different media types, including videos, images, animations, and other elements such as maps.    

Another thing that should factor into your choice is whether the website builder makes mobile-friendly websites. Websites without mobile-responsive templates should be a deal-breaker in today’s mobile-centric marketplace. 

General Tips: Other Things to Consider When Finding the Best E-Commerce Site Builder for Beginners

Here are some other things to consider when choosing a site builder. 

How Many Themes Are Offered By The Website Builder?

As you build your site with a website builder, you will most likely start with the website builder’s ready-made themes. You will select one of them and then customize it to get your site up quickly.

The last thing you want is a website builder that limits your customization options to a few themes and does not allow you to customize the look or add images or graphics. 

To avoid this issue, you can go for a website builder that not only allows you to customize themes, but also offers a large number and variety of themes. 

Is The Website Builder User Friendly?

Website builders will be much easier than building the site yourself from scratch. 

However, some of them will be easier to use than others. Website builders that offer drag-and-drop options, for example, make the web building process much more accessible than those that require element placement by other means. 

You also want an editing page with an intuitive and self-explanatory layout so that you’re not spending more time learning to use the builder than actually building a website. 

Some builders offer free trials so that you can use them to see how intuitive they are. If there is no trial, you’ll just have to do your research about a website builder’s reputation for user-friendliness from online reviews. 

However, this step is necessary because it will protect you from getting a builder with a steep learning curve that isn’t beginner-friendly. 

Does The Website Builder Have Marketing & SEO Features?

Having a good-looking website doesn’t mean much unless people can find it online. For that, you need to implement some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) best practices. 

These include giving your website a meta-description, including the right metadata for search engines to discover your site and index it. You’ll also need to adjust image sizes and include tags and optimize load times. 

A good website builder should make the task of optimizing your e-commerce site as simple as possible.

The best website builders will give you an easy way to update your site’s metadata and provide search engines with a site map. There is a lot more to effective SEO than this, and a website builder cannot do everything for you. However, a good one will give you a massive head start by handling these basic SEO tasks automatically. 

Does The Website Builder Provide Valuable Support To Users?

Even if you find a user-friendly website builder, you will still need to take some time to learn how to use it. The learning curve can be higher if you go for a website builder with lots of features. 

Ensure that the company you choose has lots of educational resources to make the learning curve easier to negotiate. These features include a knowledge base, informative tutorials, and a large and supportive community of active users who can help when you’re feeling stuck.

Does The Website Builder Have Good Customer Service And A Good Reputation?

Responsive and helpful customer service reps can make using the website builder so much easier than if you’re just left to figure everything out on your own. 

24/7 customer service will give you peace of mind from knowing that you can get instant help whenever you need it. This service is especially vital if you have a builder that also includes hosting services. 

Again, there are no shortcuts here. The best way to discover the reputation of a website builder is from online reviews from other business owners. By seeing what others think of the service, you can get a sense of whether it’s the right choice.

Next Steps

If you are selling online, you will need an e-commerce website. The benefits of having a site instead of only selling on third-party sites far outweigh the costs. 

Based on my experience working with many website builders, there are a few that are a good fit for most beginners.

  • Simple Ecommerce
  • Value Pricing
  • Focus on Simplicity
  • Small Site Appeal

Weebly

Weebly
View Plans
  • Built-in Features
  • Drag + Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Broad Appeal

Wix

Wix
View Plans
  • Affordable Option
  • Future-proofing
  • Focus on Versatility
  • Budget Appeal

NameCheap

NameCheap
View Plans

Focused on a long-term project?

Shopify is the most robust ecommerce platform on the Internet. It has a learning curve, but has the most comprehensive setup for a full-featured online store (see review). View plans.

However, choosing the right website builder to build your site can make it much more straightforward and save you both time and money. By following the tips above, you should be able to figure out how to choose the best e-commerce website builder for beginners.

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What Are Payroll Records & How Long Should You Keep Them?

The post What Are Payroll Records & How Long Should You Keep Them? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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How To Create An Online Store Through Square

The post How To Create An Online Store Through Square appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Half Of Small Businesses Near Closure, Plus B2B Digital Payments On The Rise: Mastercard Survey

The post Half Of Small Businesses Near Closure, Plus B2B Digital Payments On The Rise: Mastercard Survey appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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