Top 10 web design packages for small business

10 options to build your business an online home

If you've worked with websites before you'll like the fact that Weebly allows HTML/CSS access so that you can make changes to the code – adding affiliate links and ad banners for example. You can use your own domain name – which will cost you extra – or get a free weebly.com address.

Upgrade from the free to the Premium version (US$3.99 per month payable a year in advance) and you can embed videos and documents as well as being able to build up to ten sites per account. You can also remove the discreet Weebly advert that appears in the page footers.

Website Maker MX offers an Assistant to help you design your site in simple steps
Website Maker MX offers an Assistant to help you design your site in simple steps

4/ MAGIX Website Maker MX

Web: www.magix-online.com

Price: £0 to £4.99 per month

If you're a complete newcomer to web design and want something that's quick, simple and cheap then this could be the tool for you.

MAGIX is a company better known for its desktop software but Website Maker MX is a cloud program that runs in your browser. It's easy to use, starting with a template and allowing you to drag in your own images and text. There's a choice of navigation styles and the Website Assistant will take newcomers through creating a page in easy steps.

You can use Website Maker for free although it will constantly bug you about features that are only present in the paid version. If you decide to upgrade it's cheap at £4.99 a month for the Deluxe package but you have to pay extra to set up your own domain.

It's worth a look if you're a first timer or need only a simple web presence. If you want anything more sophisticated though you're likely to outgrow it fairly quickly.

WebEasy has a wide choice of templates tailored to different businesses
WebEasy has a wide choice of templates tailored to different businesses

5/ WebEasy Professional 8

Web: www.avanquest.com

Price: £40.84

If you have a slightly larger business or you want to take more control over the design process then you'll need a package that you can install on your PC. This gives you the flexibility to design and preview the site offline and upload when you're ready. Bear in mind though that you will incur hosting and domain costs in addition to buying the software.

WebEasy Professional 8 uses a simple three-step design process. You select from one of 500 templates, add customisation and features then publish it to the web. Built in eCommerce tools allow you to create a PayPal shopping cart and make eBay compatible store pages.

There are options to make photo galleries and blog pages, plus the program includes a wide choice of clip art and buttons to help you personalise your design. Three month's hosting is included in the package price.

There's a Platinum edition available with extra features and a year's hosting for £102.12.

Social media gadgets can be added in Serif simply by dropping them onto the page
Social media gadgets can be added in Serif simply by dropping them onto the page

6/ Serif WebPlus X6

Web: www.serif.com

Price: £81.69

Serif has long been a champion of affordable software and its latest WebPlus X6 product offers a step up from the cloud offerings. The £81.69 price tag includes 30-days free hosting (or a full year if you buy the boxed version from Amazon or PC World).

Like the cloud tools you start with a template – there's a good choice including ones for mobile sites – you can then move things around on the page and drop in your own content. Even clever features like rollovers (where buttons change as you move your mouse over them) and social media widgets can simply be dropped into place.

WebPlus has a useful Site Structure view that lets you see how all of your pages link together and there's a clever Colour Scheme Designer that helps you pick matching shades and apply them across the site.