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Free Website Builder and Domain for a Small Business
There are many free website builders that are user friendly and effective for building an e-commerce site or a professional service site.
Today, every business needs a website to make it more visible and to reach customers.
Making a website using one of the free builders is easy and you don’t need any coding skills. You can also create an online professional portfolio using one of these site builders.
Even though many sellers opt for using an established platform like Amazon, Shopify, eBay or Etsy for selling their goods, others want more control over the platform.
These sellers usually want to develop their own e-commerce site with a self-hosted service or use a free site builder.
Click here to get your own domain <<<Self-host your website with your own domain name
If you can spend a bit of money this is an optimal choice for maintaining the control and appearance of your site.
Self-hosting is a great choice to age your domain for potential sale in the future.
It also looks more professional because you get an internet address with your site name on it. Example, www.yoursite.com, instead of having the free builder’s name in the url in addition.
You can optimize your site easier using SEO when it’s hosted on a paid server and built on a CMS (content Management System)
Businesses that can benefit from using a free site builders include;
Crafting business, selling things online, selling handmade products, professional service sites like photography, artists, dog walker, restaurants, cafes, graphic designers, SPA, Hair salon.
Checklist for a New Website
Every website needs some basic elements in order to run smoothly and to handle growth in traffic and transactions. Here a some of these elements.
- Create a mobile-friendly website – responsive on mobile
- Optimize your site for search engines like Google
- Make navigation simple and helpful
- Add contact information
- Use an easy to to update and manage CMS
- Add an About page
How to Start a Free Website
If you decide to use a free platform for your site, here are the basic steps you need to start it.
- Sign up for a free website builder, see below for two of these
- Pick a name for your business
- Choose a template from the free site
- Upload your designs
- Publish your website
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Free Website Builders to Create an e-commerce Site
Note that the free site builders also offer paid versions with more functionalities for your site. If you are just looking for a simple easy to manage site, a free builder will do the job.
Wix Free Website Builder
Wix offers a free site builder to create small websites or a professional portfolio.
This builder is easy to use and coding skills are not needed. It offers free site templates, apps and other tools to get the ground running.
The menu is based on visual drag and drop tasks for beginners.
This builder also offers website backup.
Wix free version is mainly suitable for smaller websites and once your site grows you may need to spend money on other Apps for advanced functionalities.
Wix paid services starts at $23 per month for a professional site and $27 a month for an ecommerce site.
Webnode Free Builder
Webnote has become a very popular site builder. It offers tools to develop a business, personal and commerce sites.
This builder makes it easy to create a platform by providing tools to move content around and have a fully functionally site.
Webnote has some unique features like help with SEO and support for multi language sites. The free version of this builder is however limited.
Pricing for the paid version starts at $3.95 per month for one user site.
So, if you’re starting out and don’t mind the limitations of a free builder Wix or Webnode will do the job.
But, if you’re serious about your business and want to make it as professional as possible go for a self-hosted site. Also, you can sell it more easily later on. You’ll need a bit of money to pay for hosting.
Self-hosted Site to Host your e-commerce Platform
A self-hosted site is recommended if you like to maintain control of your platform in order to add more friendly features. Also, for a potential sale later on the secondary market using places like Flippa.com.
A self-hosted site is also more responsive to engines optimization. And, if you want your url to look more professional than one from a free builder, a paid domain and self-host is the way to go.
With self-hosting you’ll also need a CMS. The host provides the server where your data resides and the CMS is used for the visible structure (template) of your site.
The CMS is where you build the site and upload your designs and where you can control customizations.
What you’ll need
- Sign up for website hosting and buy your domain name
- Install WordPress at no cost – to build an ecommerce website on WordPress
- Select a WordPress theme
- Create your About page, add your designs, add Contact information
- Publish your site
Bluehost is a server hosting company that works with WordPress/Woocommerce to build websites.
Bluehost has different plans depending on if you chose a private server or shared space. The cost for a free domain (first year) and monthly hosting plan is $3.95 per month.
Disclosure: I’m an affiliate of Bluehost. This means I receive a commission when you sign up with the company using my link. This doesn’t cost you any additional money. You’ll get affordable pricing and a free domain name with my referral link.
You can read more on installing WordPress to Bluehost in this guide.
Building a site from scratch comes with many options. Depending on your priorities, you may want a free site builder or a paid self-hosted site.
The main free site builders provide basic website services and tools like free Templates and domain names (non customizable). However, there are limitations to a site that’s developed using free platforms.
If you’re thinking of creating an e-commerce site or a shop, it’s worth considering your options. Free site builders vs a self-hosted site with your own domain name, is one of those considerations.