The world of website builders is constantly changing. But there are several services which stand out of the time. About one of them we’ll speak today.
uCoz website builder is potentially interesting for everyone, including bloggers, businesses, creative users, freelancers, web masters and just newbies, who wish to make their first steps in the web design niche.
uCoz works equally well for non-techies and professional web designers. Do you need a promo website, an online store or a blog? And what about a forum or a landing page? No? Maybe, you need a portal with a bulletin board, newsfeed and posters? Choose what you need. A website builder will adjust to your style. You’ll just need to leave the required feature set only, having selected suitable modules.
One of the reasons people (especially the tech-savvy ones) don’t take online website builders seriously is because 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.
1. Ease of use
uCoz has been a unique site builder ever since its launch in 2005. Unlike the competition that’s mostly intended for those of us who are HTML-illiterate, uCoz targets both end users and web professionals (designers, developers, and entire agencies), as its feature set includes both the DIY and ‘professional’ editors.
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 using uCoz.
At first glance, it looks complicated, but once you understand its logic, you’ll realize how smart and flexible the platform is.
Building a site with uCoz starts with creating an account, choosing a web address for your site (first, you choose a subdomain and when your site is ready you can connect a custom domain name).
Once you’ve chosen a domain name and clicked ‘Create a website’, your site is immediately available online. But first you need to finish the setup stage. You’ll be redirected to a website creation wizard where you’ll be asked to name your site, choose site language and select a design.
Next step is selecting Modules – the building blocks of your website. You’ll be able to install/uninstall any of them in the future, so just tick whatever seems appropriate at the moment.
That’s it – you can start customizing your website.
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. The system provides full control over the HTML and CSS allowing for deeper customization.
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 are ready-to-use modules that you can enable and turn off anytime.
For example, if you’re looking to build an online store, you need to enable the Online Shop module. If you feel that your shop lacks a blog and/or a forum, nothing stops you from activating additional modules, like Forum, Chat Box, GuestBook, Polls etc. The only paid module is Online Shop, the rest are free. However, some of them, for example the SEO Module, have a free version and a paid PRO version.
You’ll be surprised at how customizable uCoz modules are. While most site builders often provide something more watered-down, uCoz provides you with dozens of options to fine-tune each single module of your website.
The Blog module, for instance, lets you schedule blog posts (and even automatically share them via connected social media), pin particular posts to the top of the page, allow/close comments, change the page switcher placement, and more.
eCommerce uCoz module is a direct competitor to niche eCommerce CMS in terms of its feature set. It makes sense to describe it separately as a full-featured platform used to create all the available types of online stores, including wholesale web stores, those that sell digital (codes, files) and technically complicated products with a rich set of extra characteristics (options like size, colour, weight), online stores orientated on a foreign or local market as well as dealerships that get commission fees for the sales of products posted by the clients (subagents).
The system copes well with the management of bulky marketplaces offering thousands of products. It allows filling showcase windows by importing products from YML, XLS/Google Docs and just via the online form.
Regardless of the excessive number of eCommerce module settings, it is really convenient to use it as all information is well-structured and subdivided into blocks here.
YML file import support makes it possible to open AliExpress partners’ online stores. This means that it is possible to arrange dropshipping business and sell the products of other companies on one of the most popular trading platforms, getting the retail margin for this.
Generally, uCoz eCommerce module known as uShop is decent and practical. It can be successfully recommended to everyone, who wants to get an effective trading spot. This is exactly what large and complex stores need.
Other features that you will definitely appreciate are the recently released opportunity to install SSL certificates and the SEO Module. SSL will make your website even more secure and trustworthy, and will particularly come in handy if you are building an online store with uCoz.
uCoz has an advanced SEO module. Some of its features are unavailable in a free version. The full version, the entire feature set of which will be unblocked after upgrading to the “Optimal” plan, contains the module, the options of which will come up to the requirements of the most demanding users.
Promotion of uCoz websites is based on the same principles as other systems follow. There are no crucial distinctions here: to get to the TOP of the search engine results, you need to consistently fill your website with content and develop it. You need unique texts, properly filled out meta tag fields, friendly URLs, moderate use of keywords, proper image optimization, inner interlinking, external links to your website from niche resources, work in the social networks and YouTube, an opportunity to analyze and use statistic data of Google analytics.
uCoz stands out from the crowd due to its rich and powerful settings, which will make it possible to effectively manage web promotion process. Websites created with uCoz are quickly indexed by Google. This means that there are no obstacles that can prevent your project from being successful here. The efficacy of the web building process depends upon the budget you are ready to invest into your project and proficiency of your actions in terms of website development. uCoz can boast integrated website promotion tools, which are currently the best in the web building niche.
uCoz can offer over 20 template categories, the general number of which reaches up to 400 themes. Business, transport, fashion and beauty, education, real estate, computers and communication – here are some of the samples of thematic sections.
The quality of the system templates varies a lot. There are outdated and not really interesting variants as well as stylish modern templates with responsive design here. It is better to choose between new templates, they are found on the top of the list in each category. You won’t get lost.
uCoz puts great emphasis on the opportunity to edit website design code. For example, it is possible to separately edit the code of a material list page, blog comments, website access form etc. Each installed module provides the list of available blocks and elements, where you can make the edits in the design editor section.
Thus, design customization options are almost unlimited for users, who have coding skills. The use of extra scripts will make it possible to avail functional scalability of websites created with uCoz.
4. uCoz Modules
Previously I mentioned that the system offers a set of ‘modules’ that are responsible for different website functions. These modules work as standalone applications and can be used in different combinations. Each module can be used for various purposes, depending on user’s wishes, and can be installed/uninstalled at any time.
Most of the modules come free of charge, while a few are paid (like Online Shop, for instance), and some have both a free and a paid version (such as SEO Module or Social Media Publisher). Let’s take a look at uCoz Modules in details:
5. Customer support
The system has 16 full-fledged language localizations. Support is provided in English, Russian, Portuguese, Romanian, Hungarian, and Ukrainian 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.
6. Pricing policy
|Minimal:||$2.99/mo||✓ 1 Gb Disk Space;
✓ Unlimited Bandwidth;
✓ Basic Antivirus.
|Basic:||$5.99/mo||✓ 2 Gb Disk Space;
✓ Unlimited Bandwidth;
✓ 24/7 Support.
|Optimal:||$7.99/mo||✓ 10 Gb Disk Space;
✓ Premium Antivirus;
✓ PHP scripts.
|Maximal:||$15.99/mo||✓ 20 Gb Disk Space;
✓ Mobile Template;
✓ Online Shop.
✓ Products Export;
✓ Discounts & Special Offers.
uCoz has a free version and 4 paid plans ($5.99/mo – $15.99/mo). The 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 (a school website or a website for a charity organization) you can remove the ad for free – just contact their support.
If you want to build a blog, a forum, or a business site, the Basic plan ($5.99 a month) will certainly handle it. But in case you’re looking to start a webstore, be ready to pay $9.99/mo. The good news is that all uCoz plans are discounted if you choose to pay for three months/six months/a year in advance.
To learn more pricing details, please visit the official Pricing Page.
7. uCoz FAQ
8. Pros and Cons
Everything that can somehow concerns uCoz functionality can be considered a benefit. We have selected only those features, which are not offered by lots of other services. We can also point out the blog module, which overcomes WordPress in terms of ease of use and efficacy and notably overwhelms any blog, created with a WYSIWYG editor.
- Free uCoz API access, which allows web design pros to customize the module feature set, create their own applications or new website dashboards for their clients. All documents are easily available here.
- Full access to code editing.
- Opportunity to install your own template with individual design.
- Rich amount of pricing plans with distinct feature set definition.
- Moderate cost, serious discounts, notable bonuses as well as an opportunity of free use.
- Module-based structure, which is easy and convenient to use. It allows choosing all the required elements, leaving the excessive options needed for current task completion inactive. This notably simplifies the use.
- A stunning forum module, which can compete in terms of efficacy with niche CMS.
- Professional eCommerce module – uShop. It comes with more options than those provided by the majority of similar systems.
- Advanced system of short codes, the use of which allows simplifying and speeding up the addition of standard elements to website pages.
- Stunning protection of servers from DDoS attacks.
- An opportunity to connect SSL certificates to the domain (https protocol). Multiple website access security settings, control over the hits from other IP addresses, login of all user actions that grant access to the dashboard.
Speaking about the demerits, they include the obvious complexity and limitations available on a Free Plan. The first aspect is rather subjective, while the second one can be successfully solved by the plan upgrade. It makes sense to upgrade to the “Optimal” plan for a blog, promo website, forum, newsfeed or portal. Another subscription option is “eCommerce”, the implication of which is obvious. You get the increase of bonuses, disc space, removal of all copyrights, full module options.
- Free plan limitations, such as banner, incomplete SEO module, system copyright, small amount of disc space.
- A number of dashboard options. Newbies can be scared of it, when exploring the system for the first time.
- A notable part of standard templates, which are the relics of the past already. They are outdated today.
9. Comparison with Competitors
The website building market offers a lot of platforms to choose from. I’ve prepared several comparisons of uCoz versus it’s most popular competitors, such as Wix, Weebly and WordPress.
uCoz is more powerful and feature-rich than Wix and Weebly, while the latter are more user-friendly. WordPress is more flexible than uCoz, but requires more time and skills to build a website. Read the full comparisons for details.
10. uKit and uID.me
uCoz site builder isn’t the only product developed by the uCoz team. The company also owns a one-page profile builder uID.me and a code-free site builder for business uKit.com. Unlike uCoz that offers full HTML and CSS control, uKit follows a completely different approach. The system provides an intuitive drag-and-drop editor that requires no coding at all.
uCoz has many strong points, which make it stand out from the crowd, especially in the comparison with the competitors. This is exactly what can be a decisive criterion, when selecting this website builder.
Modern ergonomic dashboard, a broad set of full-featured modules, a rich assortment of templates including premium designs, high security level, powerful ecosystem, API with open access – these is the generalized list of obvious system benefits.
The cost of the website builder is lower as compared with that of any other competitor (considering the discounts). The “Optimal” plan, which costs $48/year only, makes it possible to launch a blog, a forum, a business website or a newsfeed and effectively manage and promote the selected website in the search engines.
For those users willing to create a decent online store with uCoz, this is the most reasonable solution. There is no other cloud platform, which can offer even a half of the system’s features for $60/year. The use of CMS will cost much more due to the paid plugins, templates and services of a programmer. Online stores created with free CMS (including paid hosting and domain only) lack the features available at uCoz. Their functionality will not reach even the medium level without any extra investments.