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

The post The Step-By-Step Guide To Building A Website With Weebly appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

“”

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.

“”

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.

“”

How to Choose the Best Free Website Builder for Your Website

This post originally appeared at How to Choose the Best Free Website Builder for Your Website via ShivarWeb

How to Choose the Best Free Website Builder

Thanks to free website builders, creating a webpage has become something that almost anyone can do. Because there are so many options out there when it comes to finding a website builder, though, it can be challenging to know which one is the best choice for your future website.

Because different websites need different things, there is no “one size” fits all for website builders. Different products offer various features, especially when working on their free plans. Since the free option of a service can have limitations, you want to make an informed decision before starting work on your site.

Summary – Best Free Website Builder Options

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 plans available with a variety of limits.

  • Google Product
  • Easy Setup
  • Focus on Simplicity
  • Quick Site Appeal

Google Sites

View Plans
  • Built-in Features
  • Drag + Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Growing Site Appeal

Wix

Wix
View Plans
  • Lots of Options
  • Future-proofing
  • Focus on Versatility
  • Content Site Appeal

WordPress

WordPress.com
View Plans

Focused on other free options?

MailChimp is email & digital marketing software with a bundled website builder that’s free up to 2,000 contacts (see review). View plans.

And Weebly has the best ecommerce options with their free plans (see review). View Plans.

To help you learn how to choose the best free website builder, we’ve gathered together the factors you should consider when comparing your options.

Primary Considerations

With so many free website builders out there, it’s not so surprising that some are of better quality than others. No matter what you plan to do with your site, here are some things that you’ll want to look for in your options.

Ads

Some free website builders keep themselves operating through the income of paid membership users. However, a much more common approach is for them to place ads on free plan users’ sites.

That said, these advertisements come in many forms. Some are obtrusive and distract visitors from your content, while others are much more subtle. The less space a required ad takes up on your webpage, the better it will be for you.

Domain Name

The domain name is the part of the URL that indicates your website. Having a custom domain name makes it easier for potential visitors to navigate to your webpage—which is essential if you want to attract business and hits.

Many free website builders will give you a customizable section that is part of your larger domain name—take yoursite.wix.com, for example. This structure is most common and is simple enough that it won’t get in the way of visitors remembering your site.

On the flip side, some free website builders have complicated domain names that aren’t very user friendly. While rare, some products will allow you a wholly unique domain for free, though you will still need to pay to obtain your custom domain.

Upgrade Cost

For some people, a free plan will be all they ever need. Much more likely, though, is that an upgrade will be necessary for the future. Though you may not be starting with a paid plan, it’s good to consider the cost of upgrading—and the features that are available for the price.

With this bit of groundwork, you can save yourself the hassle of moving your site to another builder if you don’t like the upgrade options.

Security (SSL Certificate)

Cybersecurity is essential, and an SSL certificate is a part of what keeps your website safe. Unfortunately, not all free website builders have this feature as a part of their free plan.

Without an SSL certificate, your website may be left open to attacks that can impact you and your visitors. While you don’t want to go without one generally, you should always have an SSL certificate if you plan to conduct ecommerce on your site.

Storage and Size

The amount of storage on your website will ultimately impact how large your site can be. In particular, sites that plan to host a lot of videos or photos will need high amounts of storage space.

You should also consider how many pages your site needs, as some free plans put limits on this capability. If you only need a one-page website (and there are some excellent options explicitly geared towards this out there), it won’t be an issue. If you want a large site with multiple pages, check these limitations before you commit.

Bandwidth

Similarly, bandwidth refers to how much data your site can transmit over a given amount of time. In the context of a free website builder, you don’t want this number to be too low. If it is, it can potentially impact the amount of traffic that your site can handle, impacting your visitor’s experience.

Mobile Responsiveness

Computers are not the only way that we access the internet anymore—a majority of activity comes from mobile phones, tablets, and other devices. For your webpage to operate well between these different devices, it will need to have a responsive design—and this capability shouldn’t be optional.

Confirm that your website builder of choice allows for the creation of a mobile responsive page before committing. If not, you’ll be better off with another product.

Ease of Use

Even if a free website builder has a lot of promising back end features, it’s still critical to pay attention to what it’s like to use.

The entire point of using one of these platforms is that you don’t have to build a website from scratch, so you want the process of creating your desired site to be simple.

Many free website builders will use a drag and drop approach, making it easy to put everything in its place—though some are more beginner-friendly than others.

If nothing else, one of the benefits of a free plan is that you don’t need to pay any money upfront, so you can try different options to see which one is the most intuitive for you to use.

Customization Level

When considering design aspects, you will want your website to have enough creative freedom to stand out online. One area to pay close attention to when looking at website builders is to see how many templates you have access to on the free plan.

Some will let you access the complete library, while others will only give you a partial selection. Also, check the available designs. An outdated looking template can reduce the traffic that comes to your site and stays there.

While you can customize a lot with website builders, there are some restrictions. Some platforms will allow you to have higher levels of customization, though you’ll need some coding knowledge to pull it off. Consider what skills you’re willing to learn before you make your final selection.

Features

Some free website builders are flexible, while other brands have specialized in providing for a specific audience. If you’re planning to set up a blog, for example, you want to ensure that the website builder you choose can set up a blog.

Ecommerce (Optional)

Ecommerce functionality will allow you to accept payments through your site and to set up an online store.

In comparison to a paid plan, though, ecommerce features will generally be on the limited side with a free option. That doesn’t mean you can’t find some good options out there, just that they’re hard to come by.

If you don’t plan to build an ecommerce-capable website, you don’t need to worry about these features.

However, if this is your focus, starting out searching for worthwhile free ecommerce plans will save you a lot of hassle and significantly narrow down your options.

Support

In case you run into a technical issue, you’ll want to have support to help. Some website builders will have libraries of videos and articles on how to work the platform, while others will provide live support.

Note that if a website builder is popular, you may be able to find help from the community as well.

Secondary Considerations

While we’ve covered the basics of what to look for in free website builders, you’ll also want to make specific decisions depending on the type of site you plan to use. It’s always best to understand what tools and features you’ll need, then narrow your search down to the website builders that offer those features on their free plans.

For Photographers & Artists

If you plan to use your site to promote your photography or art, you’ll need a lot of media space available. While lower quality images take up less space, they’re not the best decision for promoting yourself.

To ensure you can keep a high-quality archive, your website builder should have a high data limit. While rare, some free plans will allow for unlimited storage space.

For Nonprofits

When setting up a nonprofit organization website, you’ll need a website that can accept donations directly or direct visitors to the appropriate donation links.

Even if they don’t have a built-in donation function, see if you can embed codes on the site (like a PayPal button).

For Classrooms & Teachers

Building educational websites can require some specific features, but you can get a lot of use from free website builders.

Factor in features like templates, site designs, forums, and log-in features for students in your search. Privacy functionality is also essential for protecting the information of any students

For Small Businesses

Some small business sites will focus on promoting their services, but you can also set up a website to sell products. For those who wish to do so, having ecommerce functionality is going to be an essential feature.

Free ecommerce features tend to have strict limits on how many products you can sell at a time, while other free plans may not include any ecommerce functionality. Know that, in time, you will likely need to upgrade to a paid plan to take full advantage of ecommerce tools for your business.

General Tips

Want some extra tips? Consider these before you start your free website builder hunt:

  • Plan your site before you search. If you know what you want your website to be like, you can make a more informed decision when comparing options.
  • Consider if you need third-party extensions. If you want to connect content from YouTube onto your site, can the builder handle it?
  • Think forward. A successful website will eventually grow. If you foresee yourself ultimately growing out of the free plan, do you like the options that the paid plan offers?
  • Make sure there’s a free plan and not just a free trial. Some popular website builders, like Squarespace, only have a free trial in place, and you’ll have to pay to maintain service. If keeping things free is your goal, then confirm the service plans before you commit.

Next Steps

Now that you know how to choose the best free website builder to meet your needs, you may be wondering what comes next. Naturally, you’ll need to compare free website builders and pick the one that meets your needs. After that, follow these steps to get your website off the ground!

  1. Sign up – Go to your builder of choice’s website and follow the steps to sign up. You’ll need to provide an email and a password. The platform may also ask you to create a username.
  2. Begin the design process – What this looks like can vary between website builders. Some will have you fill in a design quiz to make a starting point for you, while others will drop you straight into selecting a template.
  3. Add your content – After you have a base to work with, you can begin updating any placeholder content (such as text or photos) to your site’s information. As you go, you can tweak elements of the already existing design, such as colors, layouts, and more, depending on what’s available.
  4. Go live! – After you’ve completed all the design work, you can press “Publish” and let your site out into the world for people to visit. Note that some website builders won’t allow you to update your site after it’s gone live, so be careful once you’ve chosen to do so.

Wrap Up

Since different websites have different needs, there’s no “one size fits all” solution available. Here’s a summary of the best options that I’ve found for most readers.

  • Google Product
  • Easy Setup
  • Focus on Simplicity
  • Quick Site Appeal

Google Sites

View Plans
  • Built-in Features
  • Drag + Drop Design
  • Focus on Usability
  • Growing Site Appeal

Wix

Wix
View Plans
  • Lots of Options
  • Future-proofing
  • Focus on Versatility
  • Content Site Appeal

WordPress

WordPress.com
View Plans

Focused on other free options?

MailChimp is email & digital marketing software with a bundled website builder that’s free up to 2,000 contacts (see review). View plans.

And Weebly has the best ecommerce options with their free plans (see review). View Plans.

With the variety of options out there, there’s a free website builder that’s perfect for your needs. All you need to do is use the factors and tips we’ve provided to find which one is best for you!

“”

How To Create An Online Store Through Square

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

“”

What Is Shopify Plus?

The post What Is Shopify Plus? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

“”

The Business Owner’s Guide To Selling On Facebook

The post The Business Owner’s Guide To Selling On Facebook appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

“”

What Is Venture Capital & How Does It Work?

The post What Is Venture Capital & How Does It Work? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

“”

The Complete Guide To Fattmerchant Fees & Pricing For Small Businesses

The post The Complete Guide To Fattmerchant Fees & Pricing For Small Businesses appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

“”

(Re)Open To The New Normal: La Petite Tattoo Experiences Business Surge Amid COVID Economy

The post (Re)Open To The New Normal: La Petite Tattoo Experiences Business Surge Amid COVID Economy appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

“”