With our advanced technology, a brick-and-mortar store is no longer needed. Are you looking to create your own online store website but unsure which builder is right? With so many options to sell online now, it can be hard to choose the best one.
There are, of course, free website builders for ecommerce and paid ones. As the name suggests, an ecommerce website builder usually has features specifically designed for ecommerce and selling online for purposes. However, even a regular website builder can be turned into an online store with the right knowledge.
The paid ecommerce site or online store builder naturally has more advantages than a free one. It all depends on you, the buyer, and your circumstances.
To better understand the things revolving around the free ecommerce platform and the paid one, the following points have been listed to explain them.
Important Factors to Consider
When it comes to making an online store, an e-commerce website builder can be immensely helpful. The best builders are designed to help people create a website that has a professional look that perfectly aligns with their business goals. As such, there are certain things to be aware of when assessing what website builder is the best for your needs.
Ease of Use
Many platforms offer various services for those looking to start their online store. Still, it is crucial to narrow down the options and find one that takes care of your website-building needs with minimal effort.
An online store builder should make your website building experience enjoyable, offer customization options that allow you to incorporate features like payment processing and product pages tailored to your business, and provide helpful support so you can make progress quickly.
With a website builder that gives optimal convenience and reliability, businesses can create e-commerce websites quickly.
Additionally, customer support should be top of mind – website-building platforms should have a reliable phone and live chat services if any issues arise. Any website builder you choose should be able to provide quality customer service when needed.
For an online store, you need a website builder that has comprehensive online technical support and telephone support in case any issue arises with your website. Without exemplary customer service, website issues can become much more complicated and expensive to solve.
Furthermore, website builders often offer webinars and resources to help their customers, just like having an in-house website designer or IT consultant.
Every online store builder offers different features and advantages, and it is vital to consider the cost of each before making a decision. In most builders, more costly options come with more optimized updates and multiple website options, giving you more room for functionality and customization.
Even if you don’t have an unlimited budget for website building, there are still online store builders that are budget friendly with the same type of customizations and website management tools. By researching and comparing website builders, you can determine which is the best fit for your purposes, time frame, and financial constraints.
What Do Website Builders Offer Nowadays?
Nowadays, they offer a lot. Some common ones that can be found among many tools are as follows:
Easy-to-use website-building tools
Gone are the days when website building was limited to those who understood HTML and CSS coding. Thanks to website builders, you don’t have to hire experts in the area and face hefty bills.
With them, anyone can set up a website or blog (or an online store, in this case) hassle-free while customizing its contents and design elements according to their needs and preferences.
Ability to customize website features
Many website builders also offer the ability to customize website features, so users can tailor their website to fit their exact needs and preferences. From drag-and-drop page editor tools to template designs and premade elements, website builders allow website creators the flexibility to give their website the look and feel of their design.
Reliable customer support services
Website builders offer reliable customer support services to ensure that website owners have the best possible website experience. Reliable customer support services enable website owners to quickly get answers to their website-related questions and issues so their website-building process runs as smoothly as possible.
Additionally, not only can website owners get help from website builder’s customer service teams when they need it most, but website builders often provide helpful tutorials that enable website owners to troubleshoot potential issues on their own.
Affordable website options for tight budgets
By using website builders, website owners don’t need to hire an entire website development team or spend a large part of their budget on website design services. Instead, website builders offer quick, easy, and relatively affordable website options for those with tighter budgets.
Website building allows website owners to customize their website without needing technical development skills – many website builds come with pre-built templates that only require minimal customization to suit the website owner’s preferences.
With website builders, website owners have control over their website goals and objectives without breaking the bank.
Optimized updates for improved performance
Website builders provide optimized updates to ensure website performance is of the highest quality. Your online store is still a website with a custom domain, which requires proper treatment to run properly. They continuously improve their software and features, taking website optimization into account.
This supports faster website loading times, increased website stability, and better website responsiveness for visitors across all devices. By focusing on website optimization when offering optimized updates, website builders give their users more control over how their website works and a platform where they can easily drive growth in website traffic and conversions.
Payment processing integration with ease
One attractive feature website builders often offer is payment processing integration, allowing people to set up various payment methods on the website quickly and securely, such as credit cards and PayPal.
This makes it simple for website owners to start selling products or services immediately without needing to learn how to code or hire an external developer. Payment processing integration with website builders can save website creators lots of time and money as they don’t need to manually input each transaction into their website.
Additionally, payments can be processed automatically and be made directly into the website owner’s bank account — another significant benefit that website builder users enjoy.
What Do Free Ecommerce Website Builders Offer Nowadays?
Free ecommerce website builders to build an online store do exist, and they offer pretty great features, such as the following:
- Easy-to-use website-building tools
- Ability to customize website features
- Reliable customer support services
- Affordable website options for tight budgets
- Optimized updates for improved performance
- Payment processing
What Do Free Ecommerce Website Builders Not Offer Nowadays?
The following points are features that are exclusively available only to the paid version of website builders:
All website customization options
Paid plans offer all website customization options to help you make your online store look how you want. You can change the colors, add pictures and videos, and choose the best fonts for your store. This helps make creating an online store that looks perfect for customers easier.
Free ecommerce web builders tend to have minimal customization. There’s a selection of free tools, but they are pretty limited.
Optimized updates for improved website performance
Another benefit of using the paid plan of a website builder is having optimized updates for website performance can help make your website load faster, be more stable, and work better on different devices. This can help people find and use your website more easily. If it’s easy to use, they will likely buy things from you!
On the other hand, you simply can’t ask much from free plans of free website builders. The developer will likely keep updating but do not expect the best site’s performance.
Payment processing integration with ease
The paid plans also provide payment processing integration, which allows you to quickly and securely add ways for customers to pay. This makes it easier for people to buy from your website, which can lead to more sales.
Free ecommerce platforms provide several payment methods, but they tend to be limited.
Comprehensive domain setup and hosting services
Complete and custom domain setup and hosting services can help you create an online store, another privilege of paid plan users. They provide website-building tools, customization options, and customer support to simplify website building.
Most of the time, free web hosting platforms won’t let you create your custom domain. The free domain will usually include the builder’s name after or before the name of your online business, unlike a custom domain, which does not.
Ability to upload media files directly to your website
The ability to upload media files directly to your website can make website building more accessible. It is convenient for ecommerce because it makes adding pictures, videos, and other things you want people to see on your website faster and simpler.
Unlike paid plan users, free plan ones have a limitation to only uploading product pictures.
SEO optimization tools and resources
Paid plans also provide SEO optimization tools and resources to help your website grow. They can help make your website appear higher in search results, which means more people can find it when they are looking for things online. This helps get more people to visit your website and see what you have to offer!
There are free ecommerce platforms that also offer SEO features. However, they’re not the best tools; thus, you can’t expect much from them.
Advanced analytics tracking capabilities
Advanced analytics tracking capabilities help website owners to understand how their website is doing. They can track website visitors, where they come from, and what they do while on the website. This helps website owners better understand what people are looking for when they visit their website so that it can be improved to attract more visitors and grow.
You may expect some analytics on free platforms, but more data is kept behind the paywall.
Increased website security features like SSL certificates
Increased website security features like SSL certificates can help keep your website safe. They can help protect the website from hackers who try to get access to your information, like passwords and credit card numbers. The certificates make sure that only people you want to have access can get into your website.
This doesn’t mean that free platforms have weaker security. However, having more features does add more convenience and reassurance.
Automated backups of the website
Automated backups of the website can help you to save your website information. If something goes wrong, like if your website gets hacked or something is deleted accidentally, you can use the backup to get back all of the website’s information quickly.
You can, indeed, have a manual backup of your website should you use the free builder. However, having an automated one does save more time and energy.
Multiple user accounts
Having multiple user accounts can help you manage your website and business. You can permit different people to do various tasks on the website, like adding products or managing payments. This way, everyone can help keep the website running smoothly!
Free ecommerce web builders, however, tend to limit you to one user only.
Examples of Ecommerce Website Builders
To help make your decision easier, we’ve compiled a list of e-commerce website builders for 2023. Warning: prices may change, so you should check the website we’ve linked on each name.
|Name||Monthly fee range||Annual fee range (per month)||Availability for free plan|
|Squarespace||$23 – $65||$16 – $49||X|
|Square||–||$29 – $79||✓|
|Shopify||–||$19 – $299||X|
|Hostinger||$1.99 – $3.99||–||X|
|Wix||$75 – $150||–||X|
|Weebly||$13 – $29||$10 – $26||✓|
|Ecwid||$19 – $99||$14.08 – $82.50||✓|
|Bigcommerce||$39 – $399||$29 – $299||X|
The Best Free Ecommerce Website Builder
Of course, different people have different circumstances that only certain website builders can fulfill. However, Square seems to be an option fitting the title of one of the best free ecommerce website builders.
Square Online’s free plan provides SEO features, the ability to sync with Square POS, and more access to pickup, local delivery, shipping, and multiple payment methods. For something free, the free plan of Square Online is worth a lot.
Once again, some people might need more or even different features for the business, so Square might not be your best option. However, the features listed above are certain to benefit an online business.
Thus, researching is a must when it comes to choosing your ecommerce platform since there are a lot of free ecommerce platforms.
The Best Paid Ecommerce Website Builder
Once again, we remind you that businesses have different demands that only some website builders can fulfill. However, should you wish to pay your way to create your online business, Shopify can most likely satisfy you.
Shopify is famous for a good reason: the website builder offers an all-in-one ecommerce solution with a wide range of website building, product managing, payment processing, and other features. With Shopify, website owners can quickly and efficiently create a website while customizing it to fit their needs and preferences.
Ultimately, free ecommerce website builders will always be inferior to paid ones, naturally. A paid ecommerce website builder has many advantages, including a custom domain, multiple sales channels, the ability to have unlimited products, the ability to create multilingual websites, and so much more.
Our version of the best free ecommerce website builder is Square. For something free, Square has some generous offers.
Meanwhile, our version of the best paid ecommerce website builder is Shopify, and it’s been praised for many good qualities.
If you’re seriously considering building an online store as a business, that doesn’t mean you should neglect the free website builder. Give them a try. Most popular website builders often have free trials or offer a pretty decent free plan. That way, you can get a taste before swiping the card.
Frequently asked questions
Is a free ecommerce website builder worth it?
Yes, free ecommerce website builders can be worth it, depending on your website needs. Many free ones are robust and feature-rich enough to create a professional website for small businesses or personal projects which requires an online store.
However, the features may not always be as comprehensive as those found in paid website builder plans. You may need to upgrade to a premium plan if your website requires more advanced features or functionality. Give the free trial a try to have a taste.
What do free versions of Web Builders lack?
The features available in the plans may not be as comprehensive as those found in paid website builder plans. Free online store builders typically lack advanced features such as abandoned cart recovery and a wide selection of app or plugin integrations.
They may also be limited in scalability and customization options, making it challenging to create a unique website design or add custom features to your existing website already.
What is the need for website builders?
An ecommerce website builder is an excellent tool for creating an online store. The website builder provides an easy and convenient way to create a fully hosted ecommerce website without coding experience. It offers access to hundreds of website templates and powerful features such as payment processing, inventory management, website analytics, website optimization tools, and more.
Many also offer access to app marketplaces with apps and plugins that can be used to extend the functionality of one’s website. Free website builders can be an excellent option for those just starting their online presence or looking to save money on website development costs.
However, free ecommerce web builders have minimal features. Some plans may require an upgrade for advanced features or unlimited scalability options.