There was a time when Do-It-Yourself website creation software was a joke, but that’s not the case anymore. Geared towards a regular customer, modern code-free platforms offer all of the power of content management systems wrapped in a user-friendly interface.
Sure, high-end web development is still necessary, as someone has to build the code-free tools for a start. But the average business doesn’t see the need to have its website created as a technical gem. Business owners simply want to get their site up and running with minimal investments or frustration that hiring a web design agency or a developer entails.
One of such budget and intuitive website building solutions is uKit. After studying tens of the top options based on ease-of-use, price, functionality, and customer service, I think it’s safe to say that uKit is a great place to create a website for a small business.
In order to prove my point I invite you to join me in exploring uKit in detail to see what makes it different from the competitors
#1 Ease of Use
The builder is meant for those of us who aren’t technical. It’s easy-to-navigate, fun, and modern. uKit has a sleek drag-and-drop editor that allows you to easily customize your template of choice.
Whether you’re adding a widget to the page, creating a new blog post or attaching a custom domain, everything is as easy as possible. uKit is logically divided into two areas: the Dashboard and Builder. The latter has three working areas: Site Pages, Builder, and Design.
The builder comes with a preview option which lets you see all your changes in action immediately. Additionally, you can preview your work any time by clicking on the Preview button. When previewing your website you can switch between different devices: desktop, tablet, and mobile. This will give you a realistic impression of what your site will look like across different devices.
The Dashboard lets you manage your sites’ main settings: connect analytics, view visitor statistics, get advice on promotion, enable ‘under construction’ mode, upload a favicon, view notifications, get help and more.
#2 Feature Set and Flexibility
As with any drag-and-drop site builder, uKit has a toolbar containing various web design elements and widgets that you can drag to the page. These include content blocks, titles, sliders, separators, pop-up windows and images, among others.
If you need to have two or more pages with the same layout and set of blocks, use the Duplicate page feature.
Besides creating pages and adding elements to them, uKit offers a variety of dynamic features, including blogging, eCommerce, and different interactive widgets such as a live chat.
Blogging. uKit provides an easy way to add a blog to your site. When adding a new page, simply select ‘News’ instead of ‘Page’. This will give you a clean and clutter-free blogging experience.
The blog editor lets you show/hide the date and author name, ‘read more‘ button, enable comments and social media buttons for individual posts. Also, you can choose the number of posts displayed per page.
To enhance your audience engagement, each blog post can be accompanied with visual material such as an image or a video. For the video content to be inserted into the post, it should be hosted at YouTube or Vimeo.
For every post, the system lets you replace auto-generated URLs with the custom, search engine friendly ones, as well as specify page title, keywords, and description.
If you are short on time focusing on your business affairs, uKit offers an auto-post feature that allows to schedule blog posts to automatically publish themselves at a fixed time and date in the future.
eCommerce. The uKit team partnered with Ecwid, a powerful eCommerce platform, to let its customers easily integrate an existing Ecwid account into their site or create a new one, directly through the uKit Builder.
This partnership allows users to sell globally with multi-currency support, over 40 payment options and support for 45+ languages. Ecwid and uKit are a natural fit: each being an easy-to-use platform, they provide an outstanding usability, power and flexibility to small businesses.
Here are some other widgets that you can incorporate into your uKit website simply by dragging them onto the page:
Timer. This widget perfectly complements an online store or any other website as it counts down time to any event, such as a promotion expiry date, start of the discount, wedding, product launch, and more.
LiveChat. This is an important asset to any business site. It lets you quickly troubleshoot your visitors’ issues, increase engagement, and sales.
Callback widget. Use this widget to receive callback requests from your website visitors and contact them at the scheduled time. All requests are sent directly to your mobile phone in the form of a text message. You can configure the request form to have customers provide the details you need. The time zone information is collected by default.
SoundCloud. This widget lets you easily add audio tracks to your site and let your visitors enjoy the functionality of SoundCloud through your site.
MailChimp. This widget helps you create newsletter lists and gives you tools to create sign-up forms for your site.
SlideShare. Adding a SlideShare presentation to a uKit site is a matter of drag-and-drop. Select the widget, drag it to where you want the presentation to appear and add the link to the chosen SlideShare post.
Other widgets include Google Maps, Instagram feed, email forms, and more.
Speaking of search engine optimization, the code uKit generates is standards-compliant, semantic, and optimized for SEO.
To help beginners optimize their sites for search engines, uKit developed the Promotion tool that analyzes your site’s performance and tells if it’s ready to be promoted or not. The website analysis is carried out according to 4 main criteria: Text, Images, Widgets and Domain. If it indicates that your website could use some work, you’ll get a detailed breakdown on the areas where you can improve.
Domains. Right after you’ve signed up, you get a free domain name like 9e7p66937.urest.org. Needless to say, it’s no good for long-term use since it’s a technical domain. Still, you can carry on using it during the trial period.
When you decide that you would like to stick with this website builder, you can connect a custom domain or buy one. This can be done in just a few clicks from the Dashboard. The connection usually takes 10-15 minutes. There should be no issue with this.
The uKit team is open to collaboration with software providers, meaning that the website builder will potentially integrate a whole breadth of newf widgets, all developed by best-of-breed companies, while still remaining an easy-to-use web solution.
Before making any serious changes to your uKit site, you may want to create a backup copy to save your works. You can make ten manual backups at any time, and delete them when they’re no longer needed.
In case you haven’t made a manual backup copy, but you need to restore your site, check out the history of automatic backup copies that are generated at particular time intervals (weekly, monthly and quarterly) without any actions on the user’s part.
You can select from a collection of templates that are geared towards small business. What I noticed immediately when testing uKit was the focus on responsive designs. Each template is mobile-friendly. When selecting a template for your site, you can preview its mobile and tablet look.
All uKit templates are created according to the best practices of the web design that help you avoid such frustrating scenarios like mismatched fonts and awkward color combinations. However, you’re not bound to the look of a pre-designed template.
If you’re not satisfied with the design, you can customize it by changing images, background colors, the layout of blocks and widgets, and by choosing the best match from the list of the available color palettes. Also, all of the uKit templates feature an appealing scrollings menu that is fixed to the header while the rest of the page scrolls down.
I can’t say that your style customization options are endless, but you can personalize your site’s look to a certain extent.
Those who are into design will certainly find this limiting, but there’s some strong reasoning behind this. The advantage of this approach is that user sites won’t end up looking like something from the mid-90s.
If you’ve built your website, filled it with content, but at the certain point decided to change its look and feel, or found that a bold, more suitable template has just appeared in the collection, you can easily switch it. It doesn’t sound like a big feature, still some key players in website building like Wix.
For the advanced users who are well versed in HTML and CSS, I recommend upgrading to the PRO plan that grants access to HTML code integration and the custom color schemes. These features will allow for the deepest customization possible.
#4 Customer Support
Should you face any issues, you can go the FAQ section or contact one of the uKit experts via email using a feedback form on the official website. You may also check out the official blog of uKit.
#5 Pricing Policy
After you’ve signed up, you will get a free 14-day trial period to see the system in action. The service’s paid tiers include the Premium Plan ($5/mo) and the Pro Plan ($15/mo), allowing access to advanced features like HTML code integration, and custom color schemes. These prices are discounted to $4/mo and $12/mo respectively when paying for a year.
If you don’t have time to build a business website yourself, you can order a custom ready-to-go website, created by the uKit team and tailored to your business, at just $50. For this you need to:
- Have available funds in your account;
- Fill out an order form specifying your wishes;
- Discuss the order details with the personal contractor via email, Skype, or Viber;
- Describe your website-design preferences.
After 3 days you will get the first copy. Upon review, you can either approve it or suggest tweaks. After 2 days you will be provided with the second copy, improved according to your suggestions. In the end, you will get a fully featured website connected to Google Analytics, a custom domain, and all the necessary widgets. Further, you will be able to independently update the website with new content without resorting to professional services. If you have any questions, the Support Team will assist you.
All in all, if you purchase a yearly Premium subscription and order a custom ready-to-go website, it will cost you $98 to get your whole project up and running. No effort is needed on your end, which makes it a very attractive offer for business
If you are involved in professional website creation, or just like uKit, you can make money promoting it to your friends or customers. All affiliates receive the guaranteed 30% commisssion on all payments made by the users they referred.
uKit does offer photo and gallery display, even a great selection of stock photography you can choose from, but you’ll be out of luck if you wish to touch up images with editing tools such as brightness, rotating, and fading options.
Compared to a generous choice of editing tools that other website builders boast, on uKit it comes down to the only cropping feature. I wish uKit added more basic and advanced options like those mentioned above. Adding stickers, enhancing colors, and Instagram-like filters won’t hurt either.
uKit Review: Conclusion
uKit website builder is a go-to place for a non-technical business person who’s not familiar with the intricacies of web development. The builder lets you focus on the visual side of things where creativity rather than webmaster experience is needed.
One downside about uKit is that, should you want to apply basic editing to your images, not to mention optimize them with effects, you’ll be able to find only the cropping feature.
But for those who rely on the visual material made by a professional photographer, it shouldn’t be much of an issue.