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How to easily build a beautiful website for your product or service

The days are over for waiting for your web designer to finish your website.

I’m not here to talk you out of hiring me, but I understand the cost of paying a designer to build your website can be too high when you’re just starting out. There are so many tools out there to help you build a beautiful website on your own, and most of them are quick and easy to learn, as well. Here are a few of the best ones.

Shopify

Do you want a storefront with a wide array of payment processor options, add-ons, and great support? Shopify is the best platform for ecommerce websites, so if that’s what you’re building, look no further than this powerhouse website builder.

 

Pros:

Shopify is one of the most widely used sales platforms. In fact, it powered purchases by over 100 million shoppers in 2016.

It’s easy to use and setup, with lots of different add-ons, including email marketing tools, SEO checkers, social media sharing options, shipping solutions, and more. They also offer hundreds of templates that you can choose from to make your shop match your brand and style. In addition, they have great phone support. You can call them and get assistance anytime, day or night.

Shopify also integrates with over 70 different payment processors, so whether you use Stripe, Paypal, or another service, you know they’ll have you covered.

With so many robust options for expansion, it allows you to grow your website and add functionality as your business grows. Unlike with WordPress (the last option I’ve listed below), you can do the upgrades yourself, meaning you won’t have to shell out money for a developer, either.

Another great thing is that the Shopify platform is white labeled, meaning your website won’t look like it was built on Shopify. Instead, it will look entirely unique to you and your brand.

 

Cons:

While Shopify is the most robust sales platform here, it is pricier than some of the other options listed below.

 

Cost:

Shopify charges a monthly fee that ranges anywhere from $29-$299/month.

 

Websites built on Shopify:

42 Dubonnet

A Book Apart

Chalkd

 

Squarespace eCommerce

If you’re looking for an ecommerce platform that’s simple and beautiful, and you don’t need all of the extras offered by Shopify, you may want to check out Squarespace eCommerce.

 

Pros:

You can choose from dozens of gorgeous templates that will make your website look clean and professional. Squarespace eCommerce allows you to sell physical, digital, and service-based products (like photoshoot sessions, for example).

While you won’t find the myriad of add-ons offered by Shopify, Squarespace eCommerce does integrate with Mailchimp so you can easily grow your email list and do email marketing to your current and potential customers. Simple social media sharing is built into the platform, so you don’t need to worry about adding them.

Squarespace eCommerce also gives you much-needed features like an intuitive checkout page, abandoned checkout recovery, enhanced shopping tools like product image zoom, and end to end security so all of your transactions will be secure and worry-free. While you can’t integrate a Squarespace eCommerce site with every payment processor, it will integrate with Stripe, Paypal, and Apple Pay.

 

Cons:

Squarespace eCommerce doesn’t offer as many payment options or add-ons as Shopify. It’s a more stripped-down platform, and it won’t work for you if you need a lot of additional features.

 

Cost:

Squarespace eCommerce costs $30/month. At this price, you won’t pay a transaction fee to Squarespace – you’ll just have to worry about the transaction fees from Paypal and Stripe (2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.

 

Websites built on Squarespace:

Mario Hugo

Let’s Move Active Schools

Rodarte

 

Wix

Do you want an easy to learn drag and drop interface, lots of options for added functionality, and a robust support library + phone support? Check out Wix.

 

Pros:

Wix offers an easy drag and drop interface, but stands apart from other drag and drop website builders because of its great templates and ever-growing app market.

You can choose from over 500 professionally designed templates when setting up your Wix website. The templates are organized by business type. Whether you’re selling makeup, jewelry, or homemade cookies, Wix has a template designed specifically for your business.

The app market provides endless opportunities to expand your site. You can add customer reviews, chat with visitors, and even create a birthday club with customers. Most of the apps have a free option, and many of them offer premium versions in which you pay a small fee each month for additional features.

Wix’s support is also top-notch, with an extensive help center that has videos on everything from setting up your ecommerce site to setting up your site for SEO. From Monday through Friday from 6am to 5pm PST, you can also submit a support ticket and request a call from a support agent.

 

Cons:

Wix has less store functionality than Shopify and you have less design control than you would with the other platforms.

 

Cost:

Prices range from $16/month-$40/month, depending on the features you’re looking for.

 

Websites built on Wix:

The Darzi Clothing Company

Good Feeling Goods

Beacha Swimwear

 

WordPress with Woo-Commerce

Are you a tech-savvy content creator? If so, you may want to go with WordPress with Woo-Commerce as your slates platform.

 

Pros:

WordPress is an open-source website platform that is free of cost. To build a WordPress website, you need to pay for website hosting separately (which can cost as little as $3/month) and then upload the WordPress interface onto your website. You can then add Woo-Commerce, a free eCommerce platform, onto your WordPress site.

When you build a site on WordPress, you can choose from thousands of different website themes, sold on a variety of marketplaces. There are also thousands of apps, known as plugins on WordPress, that will allow you to do email marketing, optimize for SEO, and perform a myriad of other functions on your site.

Woo-Commerce offers extensions like Amazon fulfillment and checkout, shipping rates from FedEX and UPS, and currency conversion widgets. While many of the extensions are free, many of them require a yearly fee. Yearly fees range from $30-$70+.

WordPress is also a great platform for content creators. If you plan to have a blog or put out regular content, WordPress makes it very easy to create new content and then share it far and wide.

 

Cons:

While WordPress is less costly than the other options listed, the down side of WordPress is that there is no phone or chat support, so you have to figure more things out on your own. Also, unlike on the other platforms ,there is no one marketplace for WordPress themes, so you’ll have to weed through more options to find what you are looking for. There’s a steep learning curve, and it could take you a longer time to understand how to fully use the platform.

 

Cost:

Prices range from $3/month for a cheap hosting plan with a free theme and free plugins to $500+/year for a premium theme and paid plugins/extensions.

 

Websites built on WordPress with WooCommerce:

Forage & Graze

Cupcake Studio

Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.

 

The bottom line

No matter what your needs are, there’s an eCommerce platform that’s right for you.

If you want a platform that has everything in one place, lots of payment processor options, and great support, go with Shopify. Shopify is also a great option for business owners that plan to expand and grow, and that want to be able to easily implement tools to grow your website as your business grows.

If you’re looking for a simple and beautiful interface with a handful of apps, go with Squarespace eCommerce.

If you want a drag and drop interface with lots of apps and you don’t care about limited design control, go with Wix.

If you are a tech savvy content creator who wants thousands of options and has the skills to navigate issues on your own, go with WordPress with WooCommerce.

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