DoodleKit – is a website builder, which sees its major mission in the development of small business websites ad well as projects for personal use. These include landing pages, portfolios and other types of popular DIY projects. Launched in 2006, the system managed to win its target audience among DIY web designers, but it definitely leaves much to be desired now.
The website builder generally aims at helping users quickly and easily build their projects with no coding skills or web design expertise used for this purpose. This is what initially attracted the attention of entrepreneurs and ordinary users, who intended to establish quality web presence without any professional awareness of the web design process itself.
Considering the fact that niche competition is quite fierce and there are lots of trusted and much more professional website builders out there, DoodleKit seems to lose ground to more aggressive rivals. So, let’s see how it works and if it’s really worth using.
1. Ease of Use
Doodlekit’s interface looks somewhat outdated and you feel that from the very first moment you access the website. However, new and existing users may still find those elements they need to start a project with the system. It should be mentioned that Doodlekit is quite easy-to-use and convenient, which works great for users with diverse web design experience and even for those, who work on their web design projects for the first time.
By the way, Doodklekit has also been included into the list of services that can be mastered and used even by kids – so, there are no reasons to doubt about the simplicity of the platform.
The website builder is well-structured with all the must-have tools, features and elements being at hand. While using the system, you’ll be doing a lot of WYSIWYG editing operations. This also contributes to the system’s simplicity and convenience.
To sign up for the service, you first need to provide your login and password data. As soon as you get to the dashboard, you’ll get access to the website editor. However, as you start exploring it, you won’t overlook the fact that Doodlekit editor is somewhat outdated and even clunky.
You won’t be able to change much here – instead of an opportunity to edit multiple website elements in the menu of the editor, you’ll just be offered to click one of lots of red buttons that will display the available settings presented as a form-based editor.
Thus, it doesn’t make sense to talk about contemporary drag-and-drop website editing principles – Doodlekit is all about editing the form, which comes with the required content. This seems a bit unusual and weird, especially to those users, who has the experience of working with contemporary drag-and-drop website builders. And it’s not what modern users expect from a website builder.
On the other hand, though, such an approach makes Doodlekit quite easy-to-master for everyone. Plus, you won’t have to bother about HTML/CSS coding use or the need to master web design basics.
2. Features & Flexibility
Doodlekit offers a pretty limited set of features that are available in the dashboard of the system – just take your time to explore it prior to proceeding to the website design process. Let’s have a quick overview of them now.
Doodlekit is one of those website builders that support user management option. This means that you can add users with different access permissions (Admin, Privileged, User), as well as create full-fledged forums here. Thus, the website builder works well for teamwork and collaboration approach.
Due to the user management option, you can create a website with secure pages that will be visible to certain members or even different users groups. This adds to website security and confidentiality of data submitted.
Blogging and Social Media Integration
Doodlekit has its own blogging system that lets you build a blog and update it whenever required. What you can do here is adding new posts, updating the existing ones, enabling user commenting feature etc. There is also an opportunity to integrate with popular social media services to further promote your blog content and drive user attention.
The website builder comes with the built-in eCommerce solution. However, it’s not that advanced as compared to most contemporary website builders. You can launch a small web store here and customize its major settings. It’s possible to add product options (model, color, size you name it) and provide users with exhaustive product descriptions (including audio files, videos, tables, albums and custom HTML).
If you have a product that requires deeper customization, you can add a text form to your product form so that your buyers can specify their names or anything else required for creating a bespoke product.
As far as Doodlekit eCommerce engine cannot be considered a full-featured option, it makes sense to underline that there is no integrated payment processing tool here. To make payments, your web store customers will be redirected to the PayPal or Google Checkout account page to complete the deal. This is not quite convenient for ordinary users. So, if you need a large-scale ecommerce website, it makes sense to look for a more eCommerce-focused web building solution.
Contact Form Builder
The website builder comes with an integrated form-building tool that lets you collect personal info of users, who join your websites. You can add and fill out the required form fields to find out the data sent to the system via email, while registering with the service. This info may be further downloaded in the form of the spreadsheet or can be emailed to you right after the submission.
Mind, however, that you won’t be able to use the form builder for email marketing purposes as they don’t integrate with autoresponder services in the automated mode. If you still have the intention to do that, you’ll have to manually upload the required info, which also takes effort and time.
The website builder lets you create and update image galleries to showcase your photos and images. There is also an opportunity to add several albums to each gallery created. The number of images you can upload to your galleries is also unlimited. This creates a perfect opportunity to make slideshows and effective presentations for portfolio websites.
The system allows uploading files that can be further downloaded by website users. It’s possible to upload as many files as you need based on the type and size of your project. This feature works great for creating user manuals, resumes, newsletters, reports, spreadsheets, presentations and other types of websites that imply document uploading.
Doodlekit offers a set of integrated statistics tracking tools. You can monitor website usage stats, the number of visits and hits made by the visitors, locations they come from, their IP addresses and other important data that affect your website SEO positions, traffic fluctuations and ranking.
In terms of designs, Doodlekit provides two options: you can choose a ready theme from the official library to customize it from scratch and add your own content or use a template wizard to put up your site. The wizard will guide you through the following steps: background type > layout > page style > section style > colors & options.
Similar to the control panel, Doodlekit themes are absolutely outdated, although, their number is pretty impressive. Unfortunately, I failed to find any modern designs in their library. The good news is that all the themes are customizable. They are also free and the system makes it possible to switch the templates as many times as you need to find the design that comes up to your web design needs and expectations.
Users can change the core design options including background style and layout, body settings (border size, shadow color, top border effects etc.), icons, banners and logos, fonts (color, style, typeface, header assignments, etc.), slideshows, gallery albums and pages as well as other must-have elements.
Additionally, it is possible to make changes to the header and footer as well as make such minor changes like item price color customization. You can export your theme in .JSON.
If you’d like to visually delineate sections of your site from each other, Doodlekit also allows you to add customized border effects, with your choice of colors, to various elements. You can also add effects such as shadow, three-dimensional impact, and various textures to your customized borders.
For advanced users, Doodlekit offers the Advanced CSS Editor where you can enter CSS rules to override your current code. Should you decide to use this editor, the company is no longer responsible for maintaining browser compatibility.
As soon as you are done with your template customization, you can not only save the result, but also share it with other members of your choice. The website builders lets you export/import the themes you like and that’s another bonus for users that lets them build their own unique website/template libraries.
Finally, it makes sense to mention that all Doodlekit templates are automatically mobile-ready that makes them viewable on all the popular desktop and mobile devices.
4. Customer Support
Doodlekit has a support portal for users willing to find answers to their system-related questions. All the questions fall into multiple categories here based on the topics and niches they belong to. To simplify the search, the service offers the online filter option – a separate field, where you can type your inquiry and wait until the system generates the results.
The website builder also offers an informative blog section with lots of articles and facts about recent updates. If you fail to find the answer here for some reason, there is an opportunity to contact the customer support team by submitting the online request. Just fill out the form available at the website and wait for the feedback. All in all, Doodlekit customer support is not its strong side. You can find only the basic info that can help you solve your problems here, but such modern must-have features like live chat, email or phone support are definitely missing.
5. Pricing Policy
You can create an account and work on your website for free as long as you need without having to upgrade your account. If you want to make your website public, you’ll have to add a valid credit card to your DoodleKit account to confirm your identity. On one hand, this can be annoying, but on the other – such policy helps prevent malicious, harmful and/or spam sites from being created. Important note: your credit card won’t be charged.
DoodleKit follows the standard freemium business model offering the following plans:
Instead of entering your credit card data, you can use your cell phone to verify your website. This will send a 4-digit code, which you’ll need to enter to finish publishing your site.
6. Pros and Cons
Doodlekit is a website builder, which can be used for personal and business website development needs. The platform comes with a number of important merits and demerits that might have impact upon your web design experience. Let’s enlist the major pros and cons of the service below.
| ✔ Blogging and forum creation;|
✔ Mobile-friendly templates;
✔ Form builder;
✔ User management option.
| ✘ Outdated templates and dashboard;|
✘ Poor feature set;
✘ Inconvenient and clumsy interface;
✘ Poor eCommerce engine;
✘ Lack of customer support options.
Doodlekit is a DIY website builder, the major purpose of which goes down to the creation and customization of small business websites and projects for personal use. The platform is easy-to-use for beginners and it offers some CSS editing options for experienced users.
The website builder offers a pretty limited feature set, while its dashboard and control panel are not intuitive and frankly outdated. The same is about Doodlekit templates, which do not come up to contemporary website design trends and, thus, cannot be used to launch a worthy professional website. Doodlekit definitely loses steam when you look at these outfashioned themes and that’s a notable disadvantage of the website builder.
It goes without saying that Doodlekit is not the best and the most full-featured website builders available in the modern web design niche. It seems that it’s developers have stopped updating it years ago: the fact that no new blog posts have been added since last year and the copyright in the homepage footer ended in 2015 speaks for itself. Thus, we cannot recommend using Doodlekit, if you really wish to create a feature-laden website either for personal or business needs.