Website creation: Free / low-cost options | BDC.ca

Free and low-cost website creation tools for your business

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Did you know that it's possible to create a professional-looking website for your business with no experience, no programming knowledge and no investment other than time? All you need is a website creation tool, also known as a website builder, and you can get started in minutes.

How do website creation tools help?

With so many free and low-cost tools available, there is no excuse for a business not to be online. Here are a few things you can do with a website:

  • showcase your products and services in a cost-effective way, 24/7
  • expand your reach
  • build credibility
  • increase brand and product awareness
  • close deals faster by centrally tracking key information
  • decrease the cost of advertising and distributing marketing material
  • integrate all your online and offline marketing activities, and
  • capture visitors' contact information.

What do webpage creation tools do?

Website creation tools are user-friendly, web-based tools that allow you to create web pages by dragging and dropping different page elements (images, text, etc.).

Most of the tools featured in the selection below would host your website on their own servers, but if you want to keep control of data and where it resides, you may prefer a tool that gives you the option to self host your site on your own server or with the hosting service of your choice.

In addition, you’ll have to consider how your audience accesses your website. These days, more and more people use a mobile device, and Google has updated its algorithm for mobile search queries, generally referred to as “Mobilegeddon”. Although this change won’t affect search queries on desktop computers and tablets, it means that Google will use a site’s “mobile-friendliness” as a ranking signal. To be mobile-friendly, you can either build a dedicated mobile version of your site or opt for a responsive design. With a mobile version, you can customize the mobile experience and decide to add or remove features, whereas a responsive theme “instructs” a mobile device on how to display your site optimally on screens with various sizes and resolutions.

You also need to think about what you want your website to do. Do you need a standalone website or an e-commerce platform? We have also reviewed some e-commerce software applications. The following section focuses on website creation tools.

Free and low-cost website creation tools

If you are looking for low-cost or free tools, you may want to consider the following. (SaaS refers to “software as a service.”)

Revised July 2017

This table lists applications alphabetically and isn’t exhaustive. Hyperlinks to external sites do not constitute endorsement by BDC of those websites or any information, opinions, products or services expressed or described on them. Furthermore, the list is only a starting point and excludes applications that are not available either in English or in French, or that are neither low cost nor free. When evaluating intranet and website creation tools for your organization, you will probably consider many other factors. BDC will review and edit this list regularly. If you provide website creation tools and would like us to consider adding your solution, please contact us.

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