Best website platforms for small business

It’s essential for every business whether big or small to have a digital presence to help achieve its goals. But with a myriad of DIY website platforms out there that help you put a website together – it’s hard to know where to start!

Here’s my guide on the top three best website platforms
I use the most which are perfect for small business.


Squarespace

Squarespace Website Designer Melbourne - Crystal Oliver

What’s the dealio?

Squarespace has been kicking around for a while since 2004 but don’t let that fool you as it’s one of the most leading and innovative website building services. Squarespace is known for its wide range of website templates that you can customize to fit your needs. It promises to help make your idea stand out! For that reason and more, I believe it to be one of the best website platforms for small business.

Pros:

  • Easy to edit templates – drag and drop function. This also allows you to create new pages, create your own blog posts quite seamlessly.
  • Dynamic layouts – something for everyone with built-in templates and different styles to choose from. 
  • Marketing tools all in one place with plenty of automation options (provided you pay for the additional subscription)

The Design Decision/The Designer’s View:

So if this platform is so good already, why would you pay for a web designer to design your website on Squarespace? Whilst it’s easy to learn, if you are not a designer, you will at some stage need to work with someone to help you, even with a DIY tool. 

Every great website needs the following key ingredients to make it stand out:

  • consistent branding
  • readable typography with a hierarchy
    (headlines, sub headlines, body copy font that feels nice to read)
  • a great colour palette
  • a balanced design layout and more.

I have 10 years experience designing using this platform and am proud to be an official Squarespace Partner. I also thrive on designing out of the box and creating thoughtful customer journeys so your vision, Squarespace and my skills could be the perfect recipe for success!


Here’s some rad websites I designed using Squarespace

Website Designed for Righteous PR by Crystal Oliver - Brand Designer Melbourne

Righteous PR – PR services for rebels with a cause!

www.righteouspr.com.au

Designed by me, for The Who Photography & Design

Website Designed for Uptown Words Squarespace Website by Crystal Oliver - Brand Designer Melbourne

Uptown Words – Copywriter helping business, brands and creatives craft words that WOW

www.uptownwords.com.au

Designed by me, for The Who Photography & Design

Good Golly Cheesecakes Website Designed by Crystal Oliver Melbourne

Good Golly Cheesecake – Vegan Cheesecakes in Melbourne!

www.goodgollycheesecake.com

Squarespace Subscription costs:

Squarespace Pricing Block - Web Designer Crystal Oliver

For more info on pricing click here


Showit

Showit Website Designer Melbourne Crystal Oliver

What’s the deal?

Showit boasts of being a drag-and-drop website platform to provide creative freedom when designing websites – all without a single line of code. 

Pros:

  • Great for custom designed websites
  • Extensive gallery of templates
  • Popular with photographers and creative professionals
  • Mobile site design-friendly

The Design Decision/The Designer’s View:

As a web designer AND graphic designer – this platform is like heaven for me! I can basically create to my heart’s content, without any limitations. For a non-designer, non-techy person, however – I would advise you to either purchase a really great template and replace the design with your own images or copy – or hire a designer who is great with the platform (to avoid any headaches!).


Globally, 68.1% of all website visits in 2020 came from mobile devices. As a designer, you also have full control over the mobile site – which is a huge advantage! You can essentially create a whole new experience.

Design tip: If you are DIY’ing your website in Showit, be aware that if you move something on the desktop platform, you will need to design the mobile version separately – or it will become a dog’s brekky!


Some examples of websites I have created in Showit are:

Suz Chadwick Website Designed by Crystal Oliver Melbourne

Suz Chadwick – Business Coach and Speaker

https://suzchadwick.com/

Designed for The Who Photography & Design

Coated Australia Website Designed by Crystal Oliver Melbourne

Coated Australia – Premium Chocolate Coated Confections

https://coated.com.au/

Showit Subscription costs:

Showit Website Pricing - Web Designer Crystal Oliver

For more info on pricing click here


Shopify

Shopify website designer Melbourne - Crystal Oliver

What’s the deal?

Shopify is a leading e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems with beautiful, customisable themes. It’s my eCommerce go-to website platform for small business!

Pros:

  • Easy to maintain, once you have your products set up
  • Secure and reliable
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Free and paid themes are available
  • A treasure trove of apps that you can add on.

The Design Decision/The Designer’s View:

The premise of Shopify is pretty simple: to sell products with little or no coding or technical know-how. But is it really that simple?

I would say you can definitely get going and set a site up from a DIY perspective with the help of some YouTube tutorials. Where people struggle is with making the “shopfront” – your Online Shop homepage look AMAZING enough to woo your customers around. All whilst having the tech know-how to actually sell your products. It’s A LOT of work.

From a designer’s perspective, now with 2.0, I have even more to be excited about. When we upgrade to a new 2.0 theme, we now have control over every page. We can create custom templates – where previously we could only edit the home page and then need to invest heaps of money into development!


Some examples of websites I have created in Shopify are:

Deb McNaughton Website Designed by Crystal Oliver Melbourne

Deb McNaughton Artist

https://debmcnaughton.com/

Designed by me, for The Who Photography & Design

Sweater Club Website Designed by Crystal Oliver Melbourne

Sweater Club – Custom Embroidery Melbourne

https://sweaterclub.com.au/

Lordy Dordie Website Designed by Crystal Oliver Melbourne

Lordy Dordie – Artist & Surface Pattern Designer Brisbane

https://lordydordie.com/


Shopify Subscription costs:

Shopify Website Designer - Pricing - Crystal Oliver

For more info on pricing click here

Did you find this article helpful?

What else would you like to know about Squarespace, Showit or Shopify? 

Let me know in the comments or send me a DM on Insta here.

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