Benchmark Bytes: Which SMB Website Builders are Most Loved?

After examining SMB website dynamics in our Website Windup series, and in roundtable discussions with thought-leading investors, we decided to go right to the source: SMBs themselves. How do they feel about websites? What features do they want? And do they upsell to adjacent services?

Localogy’s latest Small Business Trends report answers these and other questions across the SMB SaaS product set, which we examine one-by-one in this Benchmark Bytes series. After last week’s installment examined the website builders the SMBs are using, we’ll now dive into their satisfaction.

First, to contextualize these SMB sentiments, we’ll reiterate last week’s data. The top website builders are WordPress (9 percent), followed by GoDaddy (9 percent) and Wix (7 percent), (7 percent) and Shopify (6 percent). 16 percent of SMBs use agencies and 9 percent go the DIY route.

Now, onto their satisfaction ratings. At a high level, 50 percent of SMBs are satisfied with their website provider. Drilling down into individual providers, top marks went to Network Solutions (83 percent), Site 123 (80 percent), Shopify (80 percent), Strikingly (75 percent) and (59 percent).

What Does it All Mean?

Going a bit deeper on the above data points, a few things jump out at us:

— 50 percent overall satisfaction represents good news and bad. Anything that has 50 percent satisfaction is generally deemed sub-optimal, depending on the product. The good news is that there’s lots of head-room for website builders to improve.

— This joins the “headroom” we examined last week for the relatively low website penetration among SMBs.

— Some of the top-performing website builders aren’t “household names,” which comes as a surprise and suggests these are unsung heroes that could improve their brand marketing.

— Conversely, some of the marquee names in the age of drag & drop website builders are in the bottom half of the ratings, including Wix (44 percent) and Squarespace (43 percent).

— Equally surprising is WordPress’s underperformance when it comes to satisfaction. It scored second lowest in these SMB satisfaction ratings.

— This tells us that satisfaction does not necessarily correlate to market share. WordPress is the most prevalent website platform, but clearly not the highest rated (at least among SMBs).

— Some of the highest-rated website builders on this list are recent entrants to the website builder world, resulting from their feature expansions (more on that below).

— These include Shopify (80 percent) and Constant Contact (58 percent), both of which aren’t traditional “website builders” but now offer the function as a bundled component to their presence, marketing suites, and eCommerce suites.

— Speaking of Constant Contact and Shopify, both companies scored high in last week’s ratings of SMB market share. Placing in the top spots of both lists means they’re both penetrating the SMB sector, and doing so with high satisfaction (a proxy for retention).

— Google My Business (GMB) follows the players in the previous bullets with 58 percent SMB satisfaction. This is likewise notable because it’s technically not a website builder.

— Like SMBs that use simpler forms of “presence” (such as a Facebook page), GMB has attracted SMBs that sidestep an actual website. It too scored high in satisfaction as well as last week’s examination of SMB website penetration.

Localogy M&A Roundtable: iHeart, Endurance & eCommerce

Base Ingredient

As we examined in part 1 of this series, websites are the “tip of the spear,” for SMB marketing. They’re often the first foray into online presence as SMBs graduate to higher levels of marketing. This is generally due to the cost/benefit ratio, given the falling cost of web hosting and escalating standards of website builders.

Websites are also the base ingredient of online presence and “table stakes” to get in the game for SEO, social amplification, and other areas. This is the reason many website providers have begun to expand their bundles to deepen SMB relationships with higher-margin products like CRM and eCommerce.

This of course has gone into hyperdrive in the Covid era as SMBs have been forced to accelerate their digital transformation as a survival imperative. This often sends them into the arms of website builders as an onramp to the many other things they need to accomplish… eCommerce being most prominent.

We’ll return in future installments to go deeper on this bundling opportunity, including indications of websites leading to adjacent services. Let us know what additional insights jump out at you from the above data, and stay tuned for more data breakdowns in our Benchmark Bytes series.

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