Traffic

Create the perfect website for your online business

When it comes to building an online business, your website is critical to your success.

Why?

Because it’s the first impression people have of your products, services, and brand. Think about it: someone arrives on your site, fishes around for a few seconds, and quickly decides to stay or go.

You have to capture them immediately. Otherwise, they might never come again.

But thankfully, you don’t have to spend $5k on a professionally developed site. Instead, on your own you can start planning how your site will look, what features it should have, and the best ways to convert visitors into paying customers. (After all, a pretty site is worthless if it doesn’t actually drive revenue.)

I’ll get you started with the first step in that process: choosing the perfect online service to build your website. That way, you’ll have a site that looks and feels exactly how you want, gives you the features and flexibility that matches your experience level, and offers plenty of room to grow. Get this right in the beginning and it can save you hundreds of hours later on.

(Then I’ll share with you the five things every site needs to succeed, no matter which website builder you use.)

5 tools to build your perfect website

When it comes to building your website, there are many different options. I’ll breakdown five of the most popular ones, explain the advantages and disadvantages of each one, and show which site builder is right for you.

WordPress – The world’s most popular site builder

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Price: Completely free

WordPress.org is the most popular website builder on Earth. It’s the engine behind everything from the New York Times, which get millions of visitors every month, to tiny personal blogs, which barely get any traffic. (In fact, 48% of Technorati’s Top 100 blogs are managed with WordPress.)

(But before I explain it further, I want to make an important distinction: there’s WordPress.com and WordPress.org and they are NOT the same thing. WordPress.com is a blogging platform that requires no software installations or downloads; just sign up and start using it. WordPress.ORG, however, is blogging software that must be installed into a web server, but allows for full customization. For more information on the differences, check out this guide.)

What I Like

Flexible

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– ­­ You can create virtually any feature you want for your site with plugins; just download them and they work automatically
Customizable

– ­­ Thousands of themes so you can customize the look of your site
 
– ­­ You can edit the code (HTML/CSS) to construct your own website
Perfect for blogs

– ­­ Offers the best features to make the perfect blog for your audience
 
– ­­ Great SEO abilities so you can increase the number of people who view your site

 

What I Don’t Like

Very technical

– ­­ WordPress may be too advanced for beginners because it requires some technical knowledge to get the look you want
Incomplete

– ­­ You have to find your own domain from another provider
 
– ­­ You’re responsible for your own security, maintenance, and backups
Potentially expensive

– ­­ WordPress is free, but there are hidden costs: for example, you might spend extra money on themes, plugins, and domains

 

SquareSpace — Breathtaking imagery

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Price:​ SquareSpace does not offer any free plans (only a free trial), but offers three plans with varying levels of e-­commerce services and features.

  • Personal Plan: $8/month
  • Business Plan: $16/month
  • Commerce Plan: $24/month

SquareSpace offers a host of elegant themes and allows users to build crisp, modern designs into their websites. It’s perfect for any online business that centers around image­-driven content (such as food blogs and fitness).

What I Like

Lots of features

– ­­ Offers tons of features, even if you’re not tech-­savvy
 
– ­­ You can easily add social sharing tools to make it easy for visitors to promote your content and bring people back to your site
Easy to change

– ­­ Their Style Editor lets you to quickly customize colors, fonts, widths, and images without fumbling through code and CSS
Everything is included

– ­­ From hosting to traffic stats, it’s all bundled together on one platform, which makes things less complicated to manage

 

What I Don’t Like

Relies on images

– ­­ If you don’t have crisp images or an advanced camera, you won’t be
able to take full advantage of SquareSpace
Limited blogging

– ­­ Limited compared to WordPress
 
– ­­ Lacks management options and a content­-organizing system
Harder to customize

– ­­ Because you can’t edit code as with other website-­building options, that could cause problems if you want to add custom features to your site

 

Shopify — The ultimate online store builder

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Price: ​Shopify charges higher rates than other websites and e-commerce platforms, but compensates by being an extensive e-commerce solution.

  • Basic: $29/month
  • Professional: $79/month
  • Unlimited: $179/month

Shopify is an awesome e­-commerce platform for an online business’s storefront. Hundreds of thousands of merchants use this software as a way to grow their businesses and customer bases.

What I Like

Easy for e­-commerce

– ­­ Lots of flexibility in designing your online store ­
 
– ­­ You can easily track inventory, customer orders, and much more
Beautiful designs

– ­­ Offers a lot of great-­looking, pre-­built themes for your online store
Fast Websites

– ­­ ​Offers great page load speeds to keep your visitors’ attention

 

What I Don’t Like

More of a storefront

– ­­ Because it’s designed to be an online store, there are limitations with the type of content you can produce and share
Fees

– ­­ Shopify charges fees for each credit card transaction, ranging from 2.4%-2.9% (plus $0.30) depending on the package you purchase
Expensive

– ­­ Pricier compared to other e-commerce platforms, but it depends on the plan you purchase as well as your volume of sales

 

Wix — Simple and easy-to-use

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Price:​ Wix offers a free plan with upgrades to a variety of premium, paid packages to get even more features.

  • Connect Domain: $4.08/month
  • Combo: $9.25/month
  • Unlimited: $12.24/month
  • eCommerce: $16.17/month
  • VIP: $24.92/month

With over 63 million registered users, Wix is one of the largest website-building platforms in the world. It offers one of the best drag-and­-drop builders available. This is great for anyone who hates fumbling with codes and finding plugins.

What I Like

Great for beginners

– ­­ Uses a drag-and­-drop site builder. It offers easy to see, real-­time changes so you can see edits as you make them to your website
Many options

– ­­ Hundreds of beautifully designed and modern-looking templates
 
– ­­ Offers many free apps to dial in your site the way you want

 

What I Don’t Like

Hard to edit

– ­­ You CANNOT change templates once you create your website
 
– ­­ No ability to change the code to customize your site
Non­-transferable

– ­­ Hard to export data from your site (ex. blog posts, sliders, etc.) If you leave Wix, you could have to start from scratch

 

Weebly — Affordable and easy to set up

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Price: Weebly offers a free plan with simple pricing plans to inexpensively remove ads and get your own domain.

  • Starter: $4/month
  • Pro: $8/month
  • Business: $25/month

With over 30 million users worldwide, Weebly focuses on providing an intuitive site­-building software with a variety of free services.

Weebly is a great option for beginners who want to create a website for their online business as fast as possible. It’s easy to customize WITHOUT spending a lot of money as well.

What I Like

Easy to use

– ­­ Drag­-and­-drop abilities so you can easily modify your site
 
– ­­ Their Site Planner lets you see how the site will look, even on mobile devices, BEFORE publishing content live
Flexible

– ­­ Over 100 themes which you can customize via HTML/CSS
 
– ­­ Unlike Wix, you can switch themes whenever you want
Great value

– ­­ Hundreds of beautifully designed and modern-looking templates
 
– ­­ Offers many free apps to dial in your site the way you want

 

What I Don’t Like

Lacks customization

– ­­ Lacks plugins, which limits the customizations you can make
 
– ­­ While you can customize a site with HTML or CSS, the themes are plainer than other free website builders
Lacks styling options

– ­­ Few styling options. Unless you’re familiar with coding, you’ll be limited with the ways you can make your site stand out

 

Which one is right for you?

OK, let’s do a quick recap to decide which website builder is right for you?

WordPress

Excellent option for bloggers and people looking to grow their business because of the fantastic features and the flexibility of the platform — you can customize it so many ways and even turn your site into a solid ecommerce destination with Woo Commerce.
SquareSpace

Perfect for online businesses who rely on imagery — graphic artists, photographers, culinary experts, etc. — because of the modern style designed to showcase your products and services. Also, because of the drag-and-drop editor, it’s a great solution for creative types who want to avoid hassling with coding or customizations.
Shopify

The top solution for online stores because of their robust platform that handles every facet of ecommerce: you’ll have control over invoices, coupon codes, inventory, and customer interactions at your fingertips.
Wix

Great choice for the novice who wants to quickly create a website and doesn’t want to worry about future modifications. Their drag-and­-drop site­building platform is superior to even Weebly, which makes the design process very intuitive. Once you make it, however, you’re stuck.
Weebly

Great option for the beginner who wants to create a website for their online business as fast as possible and wants flexibility in the future for customizations WITHOUT spending a lot of money.

Turn your audience into paying customers: The five things you NEED

Of course, selecting the right website builder won’t guarantee success. You still need the right elements in your website to attract them, keep them, and make them happy so they’ll eventually turn into customers.

What do most people worry about? Fonts! Colors! Logos! Headshots! Themes! Templates!

The brutal truth is that none of these are important.

No matter which website builder you select, there are five — just five — elements you need for a great online business. Discover what they are in the free video below.

In this FREE video, Ramit Sethi walks you through the five things every website needs. After watching it, you’ll know exactly what to focus on go from no idea to profitable business faster than ever before.