Did you know that there exist open source website builders? Meet Berta.me, a DIY site builder that you can either download or use online.
This site builder was created by a team of designers who needed the builder themselves. When the platform proved successful, they decided to make it available to everyone.
If you want to host and maintain a website on your own server, download the builder via Github. You can use and modify Berta as you wish, as long as you keep the original footer line ‘Built with Berta’. Berta is free, but it’s prohibited to sell modified versions of the software. You’re welcome to share your modifications or templates through submitting them to Github.
If you’re far from being tech-savvy, you can sign up to the hosted version of Berta – it’s comparatively easy-to-use and requires no software installation.
#1 Ease of Use
Compared to the competition, Berta has a very different control panel. While the Berta homepage is vivid and easy-to-navigate, the builder itself is less convenient and bright. Therefore, we highly recommend that you watch their introductory video before you start editing your website. We tried to do that relying purely on intuition. It was difficult.
Once you’ve learned the basics of working in Berta, things get less complicated and more logical. So take your time and watch that video.
#2 Feature set and flexibility
The process starts with defining the structure of your website, specifically, creating and naming website pages. When the pages are ready, you can add entries – image galleries, text blocks, products, titles and more.
Berta has its own eCommerce system allowing users to create simple webstores where shoppers can pay with PayPal or credit card. Here’s a video on starting a Berta webstore.
There are four templates that define the structure of your website. But these don’t have any content. Once you’ve chosen a template, you can configure the following settings:
- fonts (add Google fonts, set the color, style and weight);
- hyperlinks (link color, visited link color, link color when hovered etc.);
- background (alignment, tiling etc.);
- page layout (width of the content area, page margins) and more.
You can also add custom CSS code.
#4 Customer Support
There’s a forum and extensive knowledge base. They also have a YouTube channel where you can find many helpful videos on how to fine tune your website. There’s also email support.
#5 Pricing Policy
The downloadable version of Berta is free. The hosted one is paid. There are three plans: Basic, Pro and Shop. Ad-free sites start at $8.99/mo. You can try any plan free during a 14-day trial.
There are no ready themes. The platform is unreasonably expensive, compared the competition. Non-techies will find it complicated.
Berta.me Review: Conclusion
Berta is the only open source website builder I know. This is its greatest advantage. But in terms of ease of use it’s less attractive than its competitors. More importantly, it makes you commit to the Pro plan ($8.99 – $9.99/mo) for features you’d normally get with other site builders for free or within a basic account.
As I see it, Berta is primarily meant for creatives who want to build a simple portfolio with the ability to sell their artworks online.