As a small business owner, you need a website. It really is that simple. The days are gone when you could just hand out business cards and flyers and hope to get the word out about your company and the services you offer. Chances are that you have heard of at least one web hosting service, and are familiar with the pros and cons of it.

If you haven’t already chosen the service you will use to host your website, we have the pros and cons of the most popular. There are literally dozens of hosting sites to choose from, and there are benefits to each. There are also drawbacks to each. The first step is, of course, knowing what you need and what you want. You’ll next need to know the different services that each company offers.

While we can’t provide you with a review of all the hosting companies that are available, we can discuss the most popular — including our favorite, Weebly.

1. WordPress

WordPress is, without a doubt, one of the most popular web hosting sites out there. That said, there is a bit of bad that comes along with the good. First, the good. WordPress has transparent development, meaning you can easily and freely utilize the Open Source code. The community behind WordPress is huge, making it easy to find exactly what you need within its ecosystem. The hosting site is easy to install, easy to use and regularly updated.

The not so good. Visual design can be difficult. There is no drag and drop feature, meaning you may have to have a bit of experience under your belt to design a great site. WordPress is somewhat restrictive when it comes to its content model. Scalability also takes a lot of behind the scenes work to make sure your site can handle all the traffic you need.

2. GoDaddy

According to users, GoDaddy is dependable, having very little down time. It’s easy enough to use, and customer service is rated as excellent. The purchase of products are easily purchased and installed, without the need for a dedicated IT professional on your staff. If you are looking for a do-it-yourself hosting platform, GoDaddy might be a great choice.

Reviewers also say that while GoDaddy can do everything, this may be its downfall. Others say that hosting is slow and can ruin their customers’ experience on their site. More than one reviewer has complained of a lack of speed within the hosting platform, so that is something to seriously consider before choosing GoDaddy as your host.

3. Wix

Wix may not be as popular among the general public as it is among business owners, but it’s a good one. Wix has moved away from Flash, making it more popular than it has been in the past. Wix offers a free option which may be a bonus for the small business owner setting up their website for the first time. That said, Wix is generally thought of as only for the first-time owner who doesn’t need the bells and whistles just yet. That said, that is also a drawback of Wix.

If you are a professional developer, chances are that you have shied away from the product as being too simplified. There is a certain amount of convenience in using Wix, but it comes with the trade off of having full autonomy in designing your site. There will be ads on your site if you choose the free model, something which most business owners preferred didn’t occur. Moreover, search engine optimization work on Wix sites is difficult, to say the least.

4. Squarespace

Squarespace is one of the best known brands out there. It is quickly taking over WordPress in terms of popularity. The templates available within the hosting site are amazing. With little to no experience you can create a website that looks quite professional. This is a definite plus. The ease of using the platform is one that can’t be denied and a definite reason that it has gained so many users.

When it comes to pricing plans, Squarespace is more expensive. The couple of dollars more a month may not be a big deal to you, then again it might be. You’ll have to decide that for yourself after researching the different platforms. Many marketing tools on the platform seem to be missing or require workarounds that the average person won’t understand how to complete. People won’t show up on your site by magic, so this could be problematic.

5. Weebly

When it comes to hosting, Weebly provides the best in speed and security, both of which are important to the small business owner. Weebly pricing is another benefit, being free if you don’t mind your site being on a subdomain.

If you don’t want your site on a subdomain, Weebly’s pricing is competitive with other all-in-one platforms. There are no caps on storage space, meaning your site can grow as your business does. This is a definite bonus as you won’t have to move platforms or rebuild your site later.

There are a few drawbacks to Weebly, despite how good it really is. Content management can be a challenge for an inexperienced user. Adding advanced marketing tools can be difficult and should you ever need to move to a new platform for whatever reason, it can be difficult to do so.

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If you are going to design your own website, do some research into what is going to work for you. We suggest looking closely at Weebly first and then looking at the competition. It’s what we use to host our clients’ sites, and we highly recommend it.

If you’re in need of a new website for your small business, can help. We’ve created effective, dazzling sites for many of our clients before, and we can build one for you too. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your small business thrive, or to start your risk-free account.