The Webnode platform was developed by the Czech company Westcom and launched in 2008. Before that, the company’s founder used to develop apps for corporate clients. Two years after the launch the service started to be localized; now it is available in more than two dozen languages, which alone speaks of how huge the project’s activity is.
The official website is user-friendly, but quite mundane. The service is positioned as free, though it’s only partially true as you won’t be able to do much if you don’t upgrade to a premium account.
The developers assure us that anyone can create a beautiful and feature-rich website in minutes. We are not used to believing on the say-so. Let’s explore the platform and look for possible pitfalls.
From March 2016 Webnode offers two versions of its site editor: version 2.0 to create and edit personal and business websites, and version 1.0 – for online stores. The first version of editor looks very outdated. For our test we decided to put up an business website in order to get access to as many new features as possible.
Webnode provides more than 200 templates to choose from, though the exact number depends on the selected website type. Even the best designs are rather average in quality, and the rest are less attractive.
All personal and business templates we’ve tested are responsive. Some of the designs look attractive and inspiring, and correspond with modern design tendencies. They are pretty nice, but don’t create any wow effect either.
The majority of eCommerce designs look generic and uninspired, and are far from modern design tendencies. They aren’t ugly, but don’t create any wow effect either. It feels like the developers stopped applying new techniques back in 2008. Many of the presented examples are actually different variations of one and the same template – same structure and form, just different images and color schemes.
Choosing a design became more simple. Design thumbnails are small but thanks to the full-screen preview you can choose what you need before website is being created. On the minus side, you cannot change the design at any time so you have to choose a template of you future project with care.
The design customization options are not so intuitive as it wants. The new editor works on a block-based model, so you can customize any block by clicking the cogwheel at the top-right corner of the blog. Fonts and text colors are editable, as well as the default pictures. There is now such term as ‘page background’ here. But you can customize blocks in one style to make the whole page of the same kind or just create one big block and make all other changes (add new blocks) within it.
All in all, Webnode’s grade for everything related to design is a B. We are not so impressed.
The website builder can be used to create business websites, personal blogs, and online stores. There is also a forum widget, but you can’t do much with it so we won’t take into into account.
The admin panel has a looking new design, (on the contrary the structure of AP for eCommerce project looks similar to Microsoft Word). There is only three sections here: ‘Pages‘, ‘Settings‘ and ‘Publish‘. Other options are hidden inside them.
Webnode’s features are uneven: some things are well-developed, while others are weak. The tools are sometimes grouped illogically, which makes it difficult to master the website builder. Being unlike other platforms is more of a con than a pro when it comes to interfaces.
The ‘Settings’ section provides following options:
- General – here you can upgrade you plan and see the disk space and bandwidth limits;
- Domains – register new or connect existing domain name to your site;
- E-mail – allows to create own e-mail boxes;
- Website Editors – allows to invite other Webnode users to edit your website;
- Site Settings – change your website’s name, connect to Google Analytics add favicon etc.;
- Backup – create a backup of your website (available only with paid plan);
- Languages – change the language of your website.
As you can see, the platform’s features are quite moderate and not all of them have relevant grouping, especially the Settings menu from which you would expect something else. Although, eventually one can get used to it.
When you close the editor, you will see the admin panel. Here you can register domain, manage projects, edit your profile, watch for website’s stats and look for answers in the FAQ or contact support.
All things considered, Webnode’s features don’t make a great impression. They are powerful enough, but at the same time a lot of useful tools are missing. Where is a live chat, a callback request form, design customization flexibility and a user-friendly admin panel for eCommerce websites?
The personal and business website options have much more features than the online store solution, but many of them don’t work if you stick to the free plan. Though they have a more modern interface and visual editing tools. Still, the functionality doesn’t deserve more than the average grade from us.
Once you have created a website, you get a free subdomain like site.webnode.com. A personal domain can be connected after upgrading to a paid plan.
Note: it can be purchased directly from the settings menu.
At first glance, the Webnode’s pricing policy is very complicated. There are 3 plans for each of the available website types – personal, business, and online store. Only the first two website types have the same prices, though the features included into the same plans are slightly different.
For example, backups are available in the Standard plan for a personal website, and only in the Profi plan for a business one. Such division is difficult to understand: while the features are the same, the limitations are much more strict. Paying twice as much for a couple of basic features and a new plan name looks more like blackmailing.
Since the personal and business website prices are similar with minor functional difficulties, let’s have a look at the business tariff:
- Mini ($5.95/mo) – 500 MB storage, 3 GB bandwidth, 3 mailboxes, custom domain, premium support;
- Standard ($11.95/mo) – 2 GB storage, 10 GB bandwidth, 20 mailboxes, multilanguage support, backups, footer customization;
- Profi ($19.95/mo) – 5 GB storage, unlimited bandwidth, 100 mailboxes, multilanguage support, backups, footer customization.
Online store pricing is as follows:
- Mini ($7.95/mo) – 300 MB storage, 3 GB bandwidth, 1 mailbox, custom domain, credit card payments, backups, mobile version;
- Standard ($19.95/mo) – 1 GB storage, 20 GB bandwidth, 1000 products, 20 mailboxes, mobile version, product import and export, product variations, statistics, footer customization, product feeds;
- Profi ($39.95/mo) – 4 GB storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited products, 100 mailboxes, mobile version, product import and export, product variations, statistics, footer customization, product feeds, password protection, offline site version.
There are lots of artificially created restrictions where you have to pay twice as much for minor extra features. A business website will cost you $300/year, and the annual e-commerce subscription – $600/year.
This amount will cover several years on most other platforms with far greater capabilities. For example, Wix – not the most affordable platform with a much more advanced functionality – will cost three times less! Webnode is absolutely unprofitable.
Webnode looks attractive only for personal website with a Mini tariff. As to the eCommerce: for high prices you are offered unimpressive designs with very limited customization options, mediocre functionality and interface. Lack of powerful tools results in unremarkable websites, and the pricing policy makes the platform even less appealing.
Webnode has a big growth potential. With the latest update its interface became modern and good-looking, but eCommerce part is still needs to be updated. You can surely test Webnode and compare it with other players in the market.