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How to Choose the Best Site Builder for an Online Store

14 min read

Your online store’s success hinges on the foundation you set. For small business owners taking the plunge into the digital market, it means finding the perfect platform to build their ecommerce empire. But with a sea of site builders promising the moon, where does one start? And which choice ensures that your online presence is not just launched but thrives?

This comprehensive guide dissects the site-building process for small business owners looking to launch or revamp their digital storefront.

We’ll explore the best site builders in the market, including a deep dive into the bespoke Ecwid Instant Site, designed to cater to online retail’s demanding needs without coding complexities. Plus, we’ll uncover the virtues of integrating ecommerce into a custom site.

Ready to hit “publish” on your digital dream? Read on!

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Why Use Site Builders for Your Ecommerce Journey

Before we launch into the specifics, it’s crucial to understand why opting for a site builder can benefit your online store.

Modern site builders are not just about dragging and dropping elements; they are scalable and offer immense flexibility. They handle the nitty-gritty details of hosting, domain management, and security, leaving you to focus on what truly matters — your products and customer experience.

For small businesses, the efficiency and affordability of site builders are unmatched. You can create a professional-looking site without an extensive investment in development or design. Updates are typically easy to perform so that you can adapt swiftly to the market’s demands.

Ready-Made Templates

Pre-designed website templates act as a framework that you can customize to fit your branding.

They take the legwork out of layout and web design so that you can quickly build off a pre-established format. Without a template, building a website can be a significant time investment with a hefty price tag.

Customizing a ready-made template is much easier than creating a site from scratch

Mobile Optimization

Site builders also work well because they offer mobile-friendly designs that accommodate the growing number of mobile users.

In January 2024, mobile devices (excluding tablets) accounted for almost 60% of global web page views. Data shows that mobile usage outpaced desktop usage — and it continues to do so. With this in mind, it’s important to approach web design with a mobile-first mentality to cater to the online preferences of your audience.


Most site builders offer hosting as part of their packages — which means your website is securely hosted by the site builders’ servers, and you can purchase a custom domain.

The beauty of this is that you can often manage your website hosting right within the site builder — no need to go through an external channel that adds another step to the process.

Search Engine Optimization

If search engine optimization (SEO) is a priority for you, some site builders offer templates created with this objective in mind.

Choosing an SEO-friendly template makes it simple for you to optimize your site content and copy to help you achieve your optimization goals. Again — you get this benefit without having to hire external developers.


Site builders are an affordable option for ecommerce retailers because they typically offer different pricing packages based on the size and needs of the business.

This allows business owners to select the pricing plan that best fits their budget and will enable them to select only the features they need.

It also creates an opportunity to scale the services of the site builder up or down as the business evolves.

While some online retailers may decide to hire a designer to help with elements of a website created through one of these platforms (like customizing a template, graphic elements, etc.), using a site builder can help make the process faster and more affordable as opposed to starting with a custom-made website from scratch.

Also: How to Create an Online Store Without a Website

Overview of the Most Popular Site Builders for Ecommerce

When it comes to site builders for ecommerce, one size does not fit all.

Numerous site builder options exist, but our attention will be on the more popular platforms consistently used to construct online stores.

Here’s a quick review of the most popular site builders and how they stack up.

Ecwid Instant Site

For those seeking a straightforward, user-friendly path to an ecommerce site, Ecwid Instant Site is a game-changer. It embraces a code-free build, ensuring that anyone can easily set up a polished, feature-rich site.

An example of an Instant Site

Ecwid Instant Site includes professionally designed layouts and content, as well as free pre-designed templates tailored to different niches, such as apparel, home, electronics, services, food, and more. It takes the stress out of decision-making, and you can easily customize the design and layout to match your brand’s unique visual identity.

Choose from 40+ site templates tailored to various niches

Ecwid Instant Sites are optimized for mobile and include a free SSL certificate, which is a must-have for online stores.

Plus, you can buy a domain through Ecwid, too, and it will be set up automatically — even less manual work for you!

Since Ecwid Instant Site was created with ecommerce in mind, it ensures that any site built through it comes with a built-in online store. So, you don’t have to use any integrations or add-ons to add an online store to your website — it’s already there.

Specializing in ecommerce, Instant Site integrates with nearly a hundred payment methods and effortlessly connects with shipping providers.

If you’re concerned about your site’s discoverability, Instant Site has you covered. Some SEO tasks are taken care of automatically, like website robots.txt files and sitemap.xml, alt-tags for product images, clean URLs for products, and more.

Best of all, since Ecwid Instant Site is free, you can experiment and build your site without any upfront costs. Plus, you can sell a limited number of products for free for as long as you like.

Learn how to create an ecommerce website using Ecwid Instant Site in the article below:


WordPress powers an incredible number of websites on the internet, and its extensive plugins make it a go-to for many online sellers. The platform offers a high degree of customization and has a supportive global community.

However, its open-source nature can mean that the responsibility for updates and security falls squarely on your shoulders or your developer’s.

What if you prefer using Ecwid for your online store but wish to create your website using WordPress?

Ecwid seamlessly integrates with WordPress, allowing you to turn any WordPress website into an online store with just a few clicks.

An example of an Ecwid store integrated into a WordPress website

The integration connects your WordPress site to your Ecwid account so you can manage your whole ecommerce site in one place.

Also: Why I Use Ecwid for WordPress Ecommerce: Developer’s Review


Wix shines with its intuitive drag-and-drop builder that’s perfect for beginners. The Wix App Market offers a range of add-ons for ecommerce.

On the downside, the number of free apps is limited, and once you choose a template, you cannot switch to another.

Wix is also integrated with Ecwid, making it easier for Ecwid store owners to add an online store to their Wix website.

An example of an Ecwid store added to a Wix website


Weebly is known for its ease of use and the free plan. Its robust ecommerce toolkit allows you to quickly set up an online store with support for digital and physical goods, inventory management, and payment options.

However, its SEO capabilities could be more extensive, which might be a drawback for businesses aiming to build a solid online presence.

An example of an Ecwid store added to a Weebly website

If you have an Ecwid store, you can connect it to your Weebly site, offering a simple way to add an online store.

Joomla & Drupal

More technical than the previous options, Joomla and Drupal are open-source platforms that offer high levels of customization and are suitable for medium to larger businesses.

While they give greater control, they also demand more know-how, and their learning curve might not be worth it for a small business owner just starting.

Ecwid integrates with both Drupal and Joomla to add an online store to your website built with these platforms.


Squarespace is lauded for its stunning design templates and user-friendly design features. It integrates well with third-party platforms for SEO and marketing but has limited payment gateways directly linked, which could be a hurdle for businesses catering to a global audience.

However, if this option appeals to you for your website, consider creating an Ecwid store and integrating it with your Squarespace site. By doing so, you will unlock access to the extensive range of payment options supported by Ecwid, which includes nearly a hundred different methods.

An example of an Ecwid store added to a Squarespace website


Strikingly is perfect for creating a simple website with ecommerce functionality. However, it might not be the best choice for complex websites because of its limited customization tools.

If you want to turn your Strikingly site into an online store, connect it with Ecwid and enjoy the benefits of both platforms.

Adding an Online Store to a Custom Website

While site builders offer convenience and a suite of ecommerce tools out of the box, some business owners may opt for a custom website with an integrated store. This route provides the most control and flexibility but at the expense of time and cost.

With a skilled developer, you can tailor every aspect of your online presence, ensuring it is unique and meets every specific requirement your business has.

Integrating ecommerce into a custom website allows for seamless design and user experience coordination. You can create a tailored ecosystem around your brand that stands out from off-the-shelf solutions.

This option is more popular among brands with an established online presence or those who foresee custom needs that a builder may be unable to handle.

If you decide to go this route, you can add your Ecwid store to a custom website as long as you can add custom codes to the site. This way, you can have the best of both worlds — a unique and personalized website with all the ecommerce features and capabilities provided by Ecwid.

Wrap Up

Selecting the best site builder for your ecommerce store is a decision that can shape the trajectory of your business. Whether you’re attracted to the convenience of an all-in-one service like Ecwid Instant Site or desire the comprehensive control of a custom site, it’s vital to match the platform’s capabilities to your business goals.

Consider your tech-savviness, budget, long-term vision, and any skilled individuals or agencies you can access. And don’t be afraid to test and learn — many platforms offer a trial period or a free plan — before committing. Remember, your digital storefront is not just a place to sell; it’s an online representation of your business, telling your story and connecting you to the world. Make it count.

For a quick, beautiful, and easily customizable option, consider the Ecwid Instant Site. It provides you with an array of user-friendly tools and ecommerce features for creating your online presence.

Whether you need a landing page about your brand, a straight-forward online catalog for B2B partnerships, a professional ecommerce website with an online store, or any other business objective — Instant Site caters to your needs.


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With Ecwid Ecommerce, you can easily sell anywhere, to anyone — across the internet and around the world.

About the author

Kristen is a сontent creator at Ecwid. She finds inspiration in sci-fi books, jazz music, and home-cooked food.

Ecommerce that has your back

So simple to use – even my most technophobic clients can manage. Easy to install, quick to set up. Light years ahead of other shop plugins.
I’m so impressed I’ve recommended it to my website clients and am now using it for my own store along with four others for which I webmaster. Beautiful coding, excellent top-notch support, great documentation, fantastic how-to videos. Thank you so much Ecwid, you rock!
I’ve used Ecwid and I love the platform itself. Everything is so simplified it’s insane. I love how you have different options to choose shipping carriers, to be able to put in so many different variants. It’s a pretty open e-commerce gateway.
Easy to use, affordable (and a free option if starting off). Looks professional, many templates to select from. The App is my favorite feature as I can manage my store right from my phone. Highly recommended 👌👍
I like that Ecwid was easy to start and to use. Even for a person like me, without any technical background. Very well written help articles. And the support team is the best for my opinion.
For everything it has to offer, ECWID is incredibly easy to set up. Highly recommend! I did a lot of research and tried about 3 other competitors. Just try ECWID and you'll be online in no time.

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