BizWebs: Online Store Builder With Simple Blogging Options
When you’re looking to start a small e-commerce store for your blog, you may not know where to begin. Dedicated shopping cart platforms can be too complicated or expensive, but it’s difficult to find a simpler program that isn’t lacking key functions. Add in a free plan as a requirement, and it becomes all but impossible.
But, where there’s demand, a company will rise to fulfill its needs. BizWebs, in operation since 2003, is focused on this niche. They’re not the best-known e-commerce platform, but BizWebs is stable and reliable. Their goal is to give all people — regardless of technical ability — the freedom to build their own website.
A clean, beautiful website builder isn’t all you get. With a free plan that provides a head start into the world of e-commerce, and affordable premium plans with strong features, bloggers old and new will be able to start an online store befitting their needs. But this isn’t a builder that suits everyone; read on to see if this will work for you.
Straighforward Website Builder
Though it lacks advanced blogging features, this builder as a whole has some pretty decent features for brand new stores.
Ease of Use
As a block-based builder, BizWebs is best suited for quick and efficient website creation rather than for full coding customization. You don’t need anything other than basic design skills to get started. Both the admin panel and the builder appear simplistic and easy to understand and they get the job done.
Support is available during business days from 7:30 AM to 12:00 AM EDT. You’ll get an answer within 24 hours via email or live chat. While little else is said about the support, BizWebs promises understanding, helpful staff.
Also note that you can access the site builder via the mobile app for both iOS and Android.
All plans offer unlimited pages, so you won’t be restricted in creating your dream shop. Make use of blocks to customize your website, from simple text to photo galleries. Add side columns, headers, and footers, put in social media buttons, or even allow users to sign up for an account.
While only a few themes are featured, they largely make use of white space, bold colors, and striking photography. These templates will be your building blocks, so select one that suits your image and get to work customizing and tweaking.
As for the e-commerce functionality, it works well. While there is a product limit on most plans, most smaller shops won’t ever need to worry about touching this cap. You can have as many categories and product variations as you want as well as a search bar with filters. Ratings and comments introduce user interaction, which is a definite plus when trying to instill trust in new customers.
You can accept multiple currencies including Bitcoin in your online BizWebs store.
You’ll get fast, stable cloud hosting. Special protections are put in place to prevent outages during times of high visitor volume, such as during the holidays. Though little information is given about the infrastructure, BizWebs promises reliability and constant monitoring.
Overall, many small features come together to make a decent store.
Four Unique Plans
BizWebs runs on four different plans, one of which is (currently) free. Pricing for these is surprisingly low and, should you feel the need to upgrade, the monthly cost shouldn’t exceed more than a small fraction of your income.
To test out BizWebs and build a solid platform for your new store, try the free plan first. While there is a low product limit, it shouldn’t be too restrictive unless you plan on creating a full-blown store. All you’ll need to worry about is storage and bandwidth. While multi-currency is turned off, Paygate and PayPal are already integrated.
Multi-lingual: Your BizWebs website can be set up to appear in multiple languages for users in various countries.
Free website builders often either charge for e-commerce features or have a trial with limited functionality. Transaction fees are especially common. With BizWebs’ free plan, that isn’t a problem. You have enough features to run a respectable small shop. Unless you want your own domain or to sell internationally, you might not need to upgrade at all.
If you do decide to upgrade, you can pick the plan that suits your store’s needs. Premium features include:
- Custom domain
- Multiple languages
- More (or unlimited) products
- Invoicing system
- Multi-language sites
- Email newsletter tools.
Keep in mind that this isn’t just a building tool or even an e-commerce program with a builder. You also get cloud hosting, a free sub-domain, and an SSL certificate. You don’t need anything else, and free or paid, it’s a real bargain.
While BizWebs is most certainly not a traditional blogging content management system, it does allow for blog integration.
In order to set up a blog on your BizWebs site, you’d need to use a block add-on. Once in place, you can then add text, pictures, embeds, and allow users to comment. The rich text editor is sufficient for writing your blog post, but it’s lacking advanced features.
If blogging is not a huge part of your project or you plan on starting a separate one later, then this will work fine. A basic editor is all you’ll need.
E-Commerce Hosting for Startups
BizWebs provides a decent e-commerce platform, but with the lackluster blogging features, you’ll probably want to have a separate website for your blog. If your main focus on on the store, and blogging is an afterthought, then this builder may suit you as well. Finally, if you simply can’t afford anything else, this is a good place to begin until you can afford more expensive WordPress hosting.
If you decide to stay with BizWebs, bigger projects or ones that explode in popularity will have increased bandwidth and storage to support them. No scrambling to find a new host and new software as you can always scale up.
Even so, should you be looking for an e-commerce platform that provides both stellar marketing services and high blogging potential, this is not the correct choice, and you’ll likely have a hard time finding a free solution. If that doesn’t describe you, however, the free plan is worth a look. Give it a try and see if this is the builder for you.