The notion of community website builders encompasses blogs and forums – platforms for niche user communication. These are comfy thematic resources to share experience, opinions, post comments and just to spend time in the circle of like-minded people.
These can be fan websites, blogs focusing on breeding rare animals and cultivating plants, Go game enthusiasts, wood carving pros, collectors or the fans of extreme sports. In other words, these are websites that unite people based on their interests in multiple niches.
Social networks may also reckon among community websites. They cannot be created with website builders, so, we won’t include them into this notion. The specifics of their development differs a lot and, that is why, this is the task of programmer teams, but not of web design amateurs. We’ll better focus the attention on blogs and forums.
What platforms work best to create these types of community websites?
There are two perfect solutions:
- Wix is a convenient service for most users.
- uCoz is a professional web building environment, which implies the development of websites that are technically complicated from the points of view of design and functionality.
What service should we go for?
- Wix will ideally come up to the needs of newbies, who plan to create and manage their personal blogs with forums.
- For those users, who intend to launch powerful niche blogs or clear forums devoid of any add ons, uCoz will be a decent solution.
General characteristics of both services are summarized in the following chart:
|Required Expertise Level||Newbie and higher||Advanced users|
|Responsive Templates||Mobile-ready||Integrated responsive templates,|
Premium themes are available
|Design Customization Level||High||Very high|
|Integration with External Services||Available via widgets, code integration and apps||Yes|
|Extra Functionality||AppMarket, Wix Code||Scripts, short codes, uTemplate web store|
|Availability of a Free Plan||Yes||Yes|
|Tech Support||Contact form, phone||Contact form|
|Tutorials||Support Center, Blog||Knowledge Base, forum|
|Cost of a Minimal Plan Without Discounts and Special Offers||$4.5/month||$2.99/month|
If you wish to explore the entire feature set of the services, go ahead to read the detailed Wix and uCoz reviews. We’ll, however, focus the attention on functionality required to create blogs and forums in these services. Let’s briefly describe each of them now.
Wix – The Best Community Website Builder
Wix comes with nice blogging and forum engines realized as applications. Both of them are developed by the Wix team and available in the AppMarket for free installation.
This is also the place, where you will find reviews, descriptions, demo versions and a long list of options. Right after you install a forum, the corresponding page will be automatically created at the website. Having added a blog, a separate tab with its settings will appear in the editor.
To launch forum settings, you need to click the working area of the editor, where an access button will appear in the context menu. This is where you will be able to set up the sections, layout, design and general forum parameters (theme, language, login availability, a list of spam and unwanted words).
Apart from that, you can add a new blog post feed to a web page – such integration will certainly come in handy. Generally, clear forum creation is not quite a reasonable idea, when it comes to Wix. However, it will have decent look as a blog add-on.
Forum structure can be customized by selecting one of the layouts and formats of section cards, setting up header height or removing it at all. You can choose fonts and header/notification colours for each blog (header, posts, icons and buttons), define the background opacity and select a colour from the palette for it.
The restriction on the amount of sections added are absent – a forum may be quite bulky, featuring lots of subcategories. You can assign access rights for each of them (for reading or posting), fill out SEO meta tags and set up the product card preview. Generally, you get a full-featured, convenient and appealing forum.
The same is about blog management. Right after the installation of the app, its settings will be transferred to the editor menu. These include post creation and editing, blog feed selection (5 variants) and adding a block with recent posts.
You can insert a blog feed into any web page as a block, but it is also possible to assign a separate page for it. All publications are displayed in the post editor in the chronological order. When creating a new post, you can choose a publication date, a section, URL type and fill out meta tags for the search engines.
A text editor is ergonomical and pleasant. It allows formatting new posts in a quick and appealing way, adding media files to them.
By clicking the blog working area in the editor, you get access to layout settings (8 variants), design for each area (menu, header, posts, button and background), a list of available sections, an opportunity to create new ones as well as to add new posts and user pages to the blog feed.
What’s more, it is possible to enable post creation for all registered users in the settings section. This is how you can launch a team blog. You can also select information displayed in the post, such as author name, date, reading time, post view counters, comments and likes.
Wix blog looks appealing, if not even impressive. It features contemporary blog feed layout design, convenient commenting options, nice post design and perfect readability granted that you have selected the right fonts.
There is enough functionality to manage a personal or a niche blog both for newbies and more advanced users. Combined with a forum, you get a perfect community website from the point of view of design and technical parameters.
uCoz – Community Website Builder for Professionals
Blog and forum are realized as specialized modules in uCoz, which can be activated during the web development process or afterwards. The service works great for both purposes. It is a nice choice not only for non-techies, but also for web design pros.
A forum, just as a blog, will look and function well as it is. To enable the feature, you should access the settings and make one of the modules – a blog or a forum – a home page. The combination will also work great for a gaming community website or for that of Stephen King fans, for example.
A blog module allows creating categories of materials, filling them with posts and setting up the news feed design, display parameters and posts design as well as defining general characteristics for all images used in a blog (width/height of miniatures and full versions, compression quality).
It is possible to enable a post rating option and email comments notifications, select presentation format (category, name, author, date, image etc.), use extra fields, define the amount of displayed posts on all levels (home page, categories, RSS feed, ratings) and select a sorting option by default.
When adding a new post, you can personally disable comments, images or close access to it. A text editor is convenient and allows completing all basic formatting operations. However, it is desirable to possess HTML skills, if you wish to gain better result. Generally, uCoz blog is quite mature and it doesn’t lag behind specialized platforms in terms of its feature set.
By the way, much depends upon a template chosen – it is better to use a suitable premium design from a brand store of the service.
When it comes to realization, uCoz forum is also quite powerful. It allows adding the unlimited amount of categories and sections as well as assigning author rights to each of them.
It is possible to set up the number of themes for one page, status display and view option as well as the period, when a user can delete/edit a topic.
If you need, you can additionally specify the number of messages displayed on a page and their maximum length in symbols, set the restrictions on file uploading, image sizes, their quality as well as the detailed notification display option etc.
With such a versatile assortment of community website builders, Wix and uCoz seem to be the most reasonable solutions. The services don’t have anything in common and are interesting for different categories of web developers ranging from newbies and up to professionals, who design unique custom made websites from scratch.
Blogs and forums frequently combine well in terms of one website, which makes communication between users convenient. Thus, they may all read the posts to further discuss them on a forum or in the comments section, share the experience, clarify the most burning problems. Both uCoz and Wix work great for these types of websites. It is simpler to set up the design and add specific features by means of installing Apps in a WYSIWYG website builder. Much is done through code editing in uCoz, while the simplest way to get stunning design here is to buy it in uTemplates.
Generally, both engines reveal themselves from the best side, when it comes to launching community websites.
If you decide to use Wix, you don’t have to possess coding skills even on the minimal level. You can get a blog and a forum with impressive design in one evening here. This platform will appeal to designers, writers, photographers and other creatives as it is pleasant and simple to manage a personal blog here.
When it comes to uCoz, you can avail more diversity from all the points of view, if you possess coding basics. This is a platform for experienced users, who create powerful and large custom made or personal websites with further monetization goal. If you plan to launch a blog with a high publication frequency and multiple sections, then you won’t find a better website builder to reach this goal.