Whether your goal is to create a personal website or start an e-commerce store, there are platforms out there to help you achieve your goals and create a professional-looking website quickly. Even better is that business owners no longer need to spend thousands of dollars to get a site that gives them the tools they need for their online business. E-commerce platform Bigcommerce.com states that e-commerce continues to grow at the rate of about 23% year after year, but approximately 46% of small businesses in the United States are still lacking a website.

Choosing the right platform

Choosing the right platform for building your website can seem daunting with the overwhelming number of choices that are available. Fortunately, there are a few that stand out for having exceptional features and for being exceptionally user-friendly.

Shopify

Shopify is a well-known contender in the lineup of platforms that one can use to create a website. Recently, Shopify reported double-digit gains on earnings due to a smaller than expected reported loss for last quarter, further demonstrating that the company is thriving. Not only do they have over 500,000+ stores, but they offer 24/7 Phone Support, Live Chat, and Email. Shopify offers https domains for their online stores which means your site is further protected via encryption.

With over 70 integrated payment processing options, Shopify can make establishing your payment processing quick and easy. If you use Shopify Payments, you can also get the transaction fees waived.

Shopify is mobile friendly and has an app for your phone so you can manage your store on the go. If you’re the writing type, you can also use Shopify’s email and newsletter integration to reach out to your customer base.

If you are in search of a Point Of Sale system for offline transactions, Shopify is a good choice given the number of payment processors they support.

Squarespace

Squarespace is another well-known entity when it comes to website platforms and satisfied users. During the 2017 Super Bowl, Squarespace had an ad titled “Calling JohnMalkovich.com” where the famous thespian attempts to begin a career in fashion and obtains JohnMalkovich.com for his website URL from an uncooperative gentleman of the same name.

The thirty-second ad in the Super Bowl is really a teaser for a short film where Squarespace helps to redesign John Malkovich’s website as he wanders through the streets of Paris sketching designs. It really highlights the role Squarespace plays for a variety of entrepreneurs and the journey that John Malkovich embarks on.

Squarespace is known for more than their awesome attention to design and brilliant marketing tactics. Their incredible collection of website templates could keep someone busy for hours, and the added Live Chat and 1-hour email response time is a great bonus. As with Shopify, if you sign up for one of their dedicated Ecommerce plans, you can get your transaction fees waived and they offer 2 integrated payment processors.

Squarespace is a great choice for those who want a blend of a personal site and an online store, or just a personal site with the option to add an online store at a later date. Squarespace is also mobile friendly, offers email and newsletter integration much like Shopify, but it does not offer a point of sale system.

Big Commerce

Bigcommerce is another worthy contender with over 95,000 stores and 60+ integrated payment processors. While other platforms such as Weebly may have more stores under their belt, they lack other features such as payment processors and 24/7 support. Bigcommerce is a successful platform for a very good reason. They rely heavily on data, well designed templates, and a pleasant user experience to ensure their continued success.

They have a solid grasp on customer service and it shows in features such as their sites being mobile friendly, having an mobile app available for store management, and email and newsletter integration to help reach out to customers.

Users can expect to pay a little more for these optimized features, and Bigcommerce does not offer a point of sale system to accompany their sites. For bigger businesses though, Bigcommerce could be a successful fit as the company continues to grow.

How do I pick a platform?

Any of the platforms listed here would be solid choices for many business owners interested in getting their websites online in a reasonable amount of time and for a budget-friendly amount of money.

Which platform you choose will depend heavily on what features your business needs most, what you as a user find most comfortable to use, and what fits your business’s budget.

For many businesses, any of these three platforms would work beautifully, which is why it's recommended that potential users browse through the offered templates on each platform, review how the features work, and be ready to fully customize your site to best suit your business.

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