One of the reasons people (especially the tech-savvy ones) don’t take online website builders seriously is that most platforms have mediocre feature sets which limit you to creating a website only using their ready, predesigned building blocks. While many are satisfied with that scenario, others need the freedom to go beyond these blocks to be able to design whatever they want.
Just in case it has slipped past your web radar, DIY site builders have changed dramatically over the last few years, morphing from simple page construction kits into complex systems that can compete with WordPress. One of these is uCoz website builder.
Actually, uCoz has been a unique site builder ever since its launch in 2005. Unlike the competition, it targets both end users and web professionals (designers, developers, entire agencies), as its feature set includes both the DIY and ‘professional’ editors.
#1 Ease of Use
uCoz offers a quite user-friendly control panel. However, compared to Wix and Weebly, it could be simpler. There’s definitely a slight learning curve. uCoz doesn’t offer a pure WYSIWYG/drag-and-drop editing experience, yet this shouldn’t scare you away – millions of users have managed to build their websites on uCoz :).
At first glance, it looks complicated, but once you understand its logic, you’ll realize how smart and flexible the platform is.
#2 Feature Set and Flexibility
Now we’re getting to the juicy stuff. uCoz opens up some of the technologies that in most site builders are hidden from the user-side of the system, providing full control over the HTML and CSS. On one hand, you get more control over your work, on the other hand you can easily mess up your site.
However, just because uCoz opens up the codes doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use this option. The system has enough ready solutions that you can easily modify to a certain extent. Specifically, there’s a list of modules that you can enable and turn off anytime.
For example, if you’re looking to build an e-shop, you need to enable the E-shop module. If you feel that your shop lacks a blog and/or forum, nothing stops you from activating additional modules, like Forum, Mini Chat, GuestBook, Polls etc. The only paid paid module is the E-shop, the rest are free.
There are three options: you can design your own theme, use one of the free themes or purchase a premium one. If you feel that the chosen template isn’t the best option, you can easily switch it midway through the editing process.
Another good news is that uCoz designers are now hard at work creating new free responsive templates. I viewed two uCoz-powered websites on my mobile phone and noticed that Google labels them as Mobile-Friendly. Great job!
#4 Customer Support
The system has 16 full-fledged language localizations. Support is provided in English, Russian, French, German, Romanian, Spanish, Ukrainian and Arabic via a ticketing system and through the Community Forum. There are also many video tutorials and step-by-step guides covering all the stages of website building with uCoz.
#5 Pricing Policy
uCoz has a free version and 5 paid packages ($2.99/mo – $15.99/mo). Free version doesn’t require entering your credit card data and it never expires (in case you update your website on a regular basis). The free version offers a very rich toolset including the ability to use your own, previously bought domain name.
However, with the free plan you’re forced to display the system copyright and a rather noticeable advertisement. In case you use uCoz to build a non-profit website (school website or website for a charity organization) you can remove the ad free – just contact their support. To learn more pricing details, please visit the official Pricing Page.
There’s a slight learning curve; the banner in the free plan.
uCoz Review: Conclusion
uCoz is one of the rare website builders that let you get under the hood. For this very reason I use it to build websites for my clients. It gives me full control over the site I’m working on, so I rest assured that I’ll be able to implement literally any idea my client suggests.