Google is shutting down the Business.Site websites on March 1, 2024. After that, site visitors will be redirected to your Google Business Profile instead — but that is only until June 10, 2024; visitors will get a “page not found” error after June 10th.
If your website is crucial for your business, creating a new one and updating your Business Profile to link to it is the obvious thing to do. What’s not obvious is what platform to use to make a good, future-proof website easily and quickly — and that’s what I aim to solve with this article.
The Best Google Business.Site Builder Alternatives
We’ve been testing website builders for over a decade and know you likely want/need one of these two:
- A full-fledged website: If you are thinking of having a “proper website,” this transitioning phase is a great time. You can use a website builder like Squarespace or Wix to make a great website quickly.
- Something similar to the current Google Business website: If you want something simple and probably free like your current Google Business website, Google’s own Google Sites is a good option. Square Online and Carrd are two other solid, free options.
Squarespace is the best all-around website builder for a “proper website.” It is an excellent choice for all types of websites, including small local businesses (refer small business websites, service websites, and more).
Just like your Google Business Website, a Squarespace website can have text, button, images, galleries, contact information & business hours, reviews, and directions to your business…and in a lot of better ways due to Squarespace’s customizability. Plus, Squarespace offers many more features - blogging, ecommerce, beautiful templates, scheduling software, restaurant menus, etc.
The Best Templates
Squarespace is known for its clean, modern, and mobile-friendly templates. They have nearly 160 of them—all free, all beautiful. I think Squarespace has the best templates of any DIY website builder—\\\\look at them\\
Powerful Features & Functionality
It’s not just beauty! Squarespace has lots of features—many of which are better and more powerful than competitors. For example, Squarespace has the best template customization, blogging, scheduling software, donation system, photo galleries, restaurant menus, podcasting features, and more. Squarespace also has Squarespace Extensions, a marketplace where you can find a select few third-party extensions to add functionalities to your site.
Structured Drag and Drop Editor
The new Squarespace editor, Fluid Engine (launched July 2022), lets you drag and drop blocks anywhere in a section. The blocks snap to an underlying grid. It’s much more customizable than its predecessor yet equally intuitive and easy to use. You can also edit the mobile website using the same editor (just switch to mobile view when editing)
Business and Marketing Tools
Beyond websites, Squarespace also includes marketing and business tools for managing your online presence. For example: scheduling software, email marketing, social media tools, SEO tools, memberships, and more. Having all these tools managed by Squarespace means the integrations work seamlessly.
Easy To Use Ecommerce
The most powerful ecommerce website builder is \\Shopify— but Squarespace is easier to use. Squarespace’s ecommerce is a good alternative for users intimidated by Shopify and looking to build a small-mid-sized online store. \\\\Read our Squarespace vs Shopify comparison\\.
Intuitive Website Building Experience
Squarespace is like the Apple of website builders—it is intuitive and thoughtfully designed. There’s a certain focus on user experience, even with the tiny things. For example, Squarespace includes a handy tool that lets users adjust the focal point of an image. Another example: Squarespace elevates the page by placing the toolbar below, ensuring you have a full view of the web page when editing.
Fast, Well-Versed Customer Support
Squarespace offers 24/7/365 email support and live chat support from Monday to Friday, 4:00 AM to 8:00 PM ET. In my experience and from people I’ve chatted with, live chat support responds almost instantly and is well-versed. I also reached out to their email support a couple of times—they responded in under 30 minutes and gave excellent, detailed answers. In fact, one of the times, they shared a screen recording of them solving a problem on my test site—which was very helpful. They also have super-quick social media support—I was looking at the \\@SquarespaceHelp Twitter replies, and they had replied to each relevant tweet in under an hour.
This shouldn’t be a point, but unfortunately, some website builders have misleading pricing (example: \\Web.com). Squarespace does not have misleading pricing. You should expect that the advertised price is the same price you’ll find on your invoice. I appreciate that.
One way to make software easy to use is to make it simple and not very customizable. That’s not Squarespace. While Squarespace is not “difficult to use”, it does have too many features to be the \\“easiest” website builder— the easiest website builder is \\Square Online which is more simple but also less powerful. You should expect a small learning curve with Squarespace— similar to learning Microsoft Word or Google Docs for the first time.
No Free Plan
Unlike Google Business Website, there is no free Squarespace plan, only a 14-dayfree trial.
Squarespace plans start at $16 per month on annual plans. There is no free plan, but they have a free trial—no credit card is required.
The base plan is perfect for non-business/non-ecommerce websites like personal sites, resume websites, portfolio websites, wedding websites, etc. However, you need to choose a Commerce plan otherwise, which starts at $27/month if you pay annually.
All annual plans include a free custom domain name for one year. 👍
2. Google Sites
If you don’t care much about your website and think your current Google Business Profile-made website is good enough, you can replicate it with Google’s own site builder, Google Sites.
Google Sites is a 100% free website builder. It has all the blocks needed to replicate your Google Business Profile-made website — text, buttons, images, galleries, contact information & business hours, reviews, map embed — and more.
Connect Custom Domains
It requires some \technical understanding, but Google Sites lets you connect a custom domain name. It’s the only website builder on this list that lets you connect a custom domain!
- Integration With Google Products
One interesting thing is that Google Sites integrates well with other Google products like Google Calendar, Maps, Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Forms. Plus, you can restrict your website to users in your organization.
While most “free website builders” will place an ad like “Made with \[website builder]” on free websites, Google Sites doesn’t. There’s a tiny ‘i’ icon at the bottom-left that reveals the site uses Google Sites if someone clicks it.
Lame Themes & Theme Customization
The title says it all. There are 10-something basic templates you can use to make a lame website. Also, there are some pre-made “themes” that are basically the same layouts with different colors.
No Blogging or Ecommerce
Features that are standard on other website builders are missing from Google Sites. In fact, Google Business Websites has (but soon will not have) a sort of blogging platform; Google Sites doesn’t.
Bad Free Domain
Your website will be on a sites.google.com/view/website/ domain, which isn’t appealing. The current localbiz.business.site domain you probably have is much better. The good news is you can use a custom domain name with Google Sites!
Wix is a direct competitor to Squarespace. In other words, it’s meant for full-fledged website and is a good option if you want to transition from your boring Google Business Website to a “proper website.”
Wix is the most popular website builder by market share. Its unstructured editor is its most defining feature—it allows you to move any element to any spot on a page. This allows for plenty of freedom.
It will work best for users who want to be able to control everything…and are comfortable with the risks that come with control.
If Squarespace is the Apple of website builders, Wix is the Android//PC equivalent. It has more features, but they are not as detailed or polished; you have more control, but it takes away from intuitiveness and ease of use; there are lots of templates, but the average template is not as good; there are lots of apps, but the integrations are not as seamless.
Design-Flexible Drag and Drop Editor
Wix’s unstructured editor lets you drag and drop elements anywhere you want on a page— without constraint. You can see a \\[video explanation here](https://youtu.be/VmNvakQ9kOw?t=54). Almost no other website builder provides a drag-and-drop interface like this— every other website builder has constraints. \\\[Wix also has two other editors: Wix ADI — a very simple editor that builds your website by asking you questions (it’s sort of like a setup wizard), and Editor X — a complex editor made especially for designers and agencies]
Tons Of Functionality
Wix has more features than any website builder: ecommerce, forums, ticket sales, restaurant ordering, music distribution, appointment scheduling, multilingual websites, and more.
Wix offers more themes than most website builders—though the quality is inconsistent. But if that’s not enough, you can also create your own theme from scratch — Wix’s unstructured editor means you can make significant changes to your Wix template.
500+ Plugins & Apps
Wix has an app store and a huge selection of 500+ widgets and plugins to add to your website or ecommerce.
Small Business Tools
Wix includes several small business and marketing tools for managing online presence: CRM, social posts, SEO, email marketing, live chat, and more.
A Free Plan
Unlike the top two on this list, Wix has a free plan. And it is the most featureful \\[free website builder](https://www.sitebuilderreport.com/free-website-builders) plan. However, there are quite a few limitations regarding bandwidth, ads, storage, etc.
Complaints about Wix websites loading slowly and performing poorly were common just a few years ago. Over the last couple of years, Wix has managed to remove a lot of bloat from users’ websites, which has led to a significant increase in performance—\\[more than half](https://lookerstudio.google.com/s/nghFrH6NHts) of Wix websites now pass the Core Web Vitals test.
Unstructured Drag and Drop Editor
Notice what I did here? Wix’s drag-and-drop editor is listed as both a Pro and a Con. Here’s why: while the unstructured editor gives users freedom, it also introduces bugs and workarounds that can get very frustrating. This is a complicated issue, so I’d suggest you read my \\[Wix review](https://www.sitebuilderreport.com/wix-review#the-editor) or look at the videos \\[comparing the Wix editor to the Squarespace editor](https://www.sitebuilderreport.com/wix-vs-squarespace#the-editor) to learn more.
This is a question of tradeoffs. Wix isn’t as difficult to use as Shopify and WordPress, but you should still expect learning Wix to take some time. There are easier website builders out there— but those website builders don’t have as much functionality and freedom as Wix.
A portion of your bandwidth is used up every time a visitor comes to your website. Wix’s cheapest plan (Combo, priced at $16/month for an annual subscription) puts a 2 GB limit on your monthly bandwidth—which is unfortunate. You shouldn’t have to worry about bandwidth in 2024, and every other website builder on this list includes unlimited bandwidth. To put how much 2 GB bandwidth is in perspective, assume Scott Snyder (whose story we featured in the Squarespace section) makes the same 5 MB+ homepage with Wix’s Combo plan. It’d mean the website will reach the bandwidth limit if 400 visitors load the homepage.
If you want better features, you may need to pay more than competitors offering equivalent features. For example, Squarespace’s $16/month plan includes unlimited bandwidth; you’ll need to get the $22/month Wix Unlimited plan for the same. Similarly, Squarespace charges $4/month to send 500 emails through its email marketing platform; Wix’s email marketing tool costs $10/month for 500 emails.
Wix pricing plans cost between $16/month and $159/month—these are divided into four plans. The first two are suited for websites, and the other two are a good fit for business and ecommerce needs. They also offer a free plan (see: free website builders) but no free trials of paid plans—there’s a 14-day money-back guarantee, though.
Annual pricing plans include a free custom domain name for one year. 👍
4. Square Online
Square Online is the best overall free website builder (and the best free ecommerce builder!). It’s better than Google Sites in most ways, but Google Sites has the (poorer) aesthetics sense that are good to replicate the Google Business Website.
Excellent Ecommerce Features
Most website builders lock up critical features like ecommerce on free plans in hopes that it drives users to upgrade. Not Square. Square includes curbside pickup, Apple Pay, digital products, Instagram shops, gift cards, and a shipping calculator in the free plan. Plus, unlimited products.
Easy To Use
Square Online is what I’d recommend to anyone who doesn’t feel tech-savvy. It’s among the \[top easiest website builders](https://www.sitebuilderreport.com/easiest-website-builders). (Demo video below)
Unlike other website builders, Square includes customer support (including phone support!) on free plans.
Sleek Free Subdomain Name
Square’s name.square.site domain looks good and easy to remember, unlike many other website builders’ free domain names. \*\*Note\*\*: No half-decent website builder allows a custom domain name on a free plan; all have some version of their branding in the free domain name.
Square Online pages are built by adding pre-designed sections. You can toggle individual elements on and off but can’t add additional elements.
Square Online isn’t the most comprehensive website builder. You can make a simple website or store with it (for free), but it doesn’t have many advanced features. For example, you can add a blog with its Stories feature, but it is basic to the point that you can’t even properly format the body text of your stories.
Plans & Pricing
If you want to connect a custom domain or use its advanced design and ecommerce tools, you may want to switch to its paid plans.
- Professional: $16/month
- Plus: $29/month
- Premium: $79/month
Carrd is for simple websites that fit on a single webpage. This means if you want to replicate your Google Business Website’s landing page, you can do it with Carrd (for free), but nothing more.
Overall, we like the Carrd-made websites a lot more than the typical Google Business Websites and highly recommend it.
- Very Low Price
Carrd’s themes and features are just for creating one-page websites— there’s a sense of purpose in the interface. You can use other website builders to build one-page websites, but it never feels as intuitive as Carrd.
Slight learning curve
I do find Carrd has a bit of a learning curve if you want more control over design than just using the default blocks. For example, you’ll need to wrap your head around concepts like containers and CSS classes. This isn’t intuitive for users who don’t understand HTML and CSS.
- One page only
Carrd has a great free plan, which would work for most use cases if you don’t mind Carrd branding. Then there’s a Pro Lite plan costing $9/year, but it doesn’t offer that much.
I like the $19/year Pro Standard plan the best — it allows up to 10 websites, custom domain URLs, widgets, and more.
Their most expensive plan gives access to advanced settings and costs $49/year.
Squarespace and Wix fit the first type of Google Business.Site website builder alternatives, i.e., for good, customizable full-fledged website.
Google Sites, Carrd, and Square Online are for the second type, i.e., if you want to replicate the current website on some other platform.
GoDaddy lies somewhere between them.
The GoDaddy website builder has a few good things going for it: It includes a suite of business and marketing tools: appointment scheduling, email marketing, social media management, graphic design, ecommerce, and a simple CRM.
GoDaddy is also very easy to use - you build the website by adding pre-made sections. But it has some MAJOR limitations when it comes to customizing your website, frustrating enough to that I’d only recommend it if you was just a very, very simple website.
For example, you can’t add individual elements to a website, and you’re often not able to make simple style customizations.
GoDaddy pricing is comparable to many similar website builders — plans start at $9.99 per month and get more expensive for ecommerce plans. It also has free plan, which we don’t recommend – see why in our free website builder rankings.