Imagine a small café serving customers organic coffee, a French bakery around the corner or that girl who operates a tiny flowershop located on the ground floor next to your house. Imagine thousands of other similar small and medium businesses, each with their own philosophy, audience and… challenges.
Many of these people have no idea about what it takes to design and publish a website, but they still have the right to create. This is where DIY site builders come into play. They allow newbies to bring their ideas to life in one sitting without any prior coding experience. Today we take a look at WebsiteBuilder.com, one of the freshest specimens of this kind.
1. Ease of Use
Created with small business owners in mind, WebsiteBuilder-com is extremely easy-to-use. Its admin panel is well structured and quite intuitive. Whether you need to add and manage website elements, pages or sections, customize website design, launch a blog or a web store or just view your website statistics, you can do that here by choosing the required section.
Similar to other site makers for newbies, it’s backed by a drag-and-drop editor that makes the entire process of website creation easy and fun. All the content available at the website is customizable.
When it comes to design customization, it is easy to add, edit and delete the elements you consider important for your website. If needed, you can create your own website sections from scratch. This will give your website individual look and extra functionality, driving user attention.
There is direct access to the “Sections” menu, which consists of a number of elements. The sections are pre-designed and you can preview multiple templates prior to making your choice. What I like most about the admin panel of the website builder is that it combines the simplicity of the standard text editor with the power of professional web design suite. When editing images, for example, you can play with such properties as opacity, alignment, overlay, border roundness, element actions and behaviors etc.
Even though, the website builder is easy-to-use, its interface may seem a bit overwhelming to inexperienced users. The sections or elements you wish to add sometimes overlap, making it difficult to manage them. When you get used to working with the system, though, this will not a be a problem for you.
2. Feature Set and Flexibility
WebsiteBuilder-com is a versatile site builder for creating various website types: from simple brochure-like corporate sites to online portfolios and webstores. It has a decent selection of built-in widgets to extend your site functionality: maps, forms, galleries, documents, eCommerce extensions and more.
The website builder offers blogging functionality. It’s easy to create and connect a blog to the ready made website here. This will take a couple of minutes. Blog customization is simple and quick as well.
This is what you should do to launch a blog with WebsiteBuilder-com:
- Choose a “Blog” section in the right part of the dashboard;
- Select a template for your blog;
- Make up a title for your blog and a description in the text block. The description should not be too long. Make sure it is concise, but informative, readable and easy-to-understand;
- Fill out the tag cloud. It comes with ready made content already. Your task is to edit it with regard to your needs, website type and specialization;
- Proceed to the blog feed section – add and customize your blog posts by clicking the fields and adding your own content. The blog editor is intuitive and user-friendly. You can edit the permalink here, add your own cover images, highlight featured posts, pin new ones and perform other actions to give your blog extra exposure.
Apart from the blog functionality, WebsiteBuilder-com makes it possible to launch an eCommerce website to establish reliable business presence, attract new customers, index your online store with the leading search engines, boost your sales and get priority support. With this purpose, the website builder offers a number of features, including addition and management of new products and their categories, providing product descriptions and photos, offering discount codes etc. There is one serious problem here: if you intend to create a web store, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the paid plans – a free plan does not offer this feature.
The website builder does not support a multilingual option and integration of external services like Mailchimp, for example. However, you can create your own contact form and add it to the website to enable users to get in touch with you when needed.
Each WebsiteBuilder-com-driven website is mobile-ready from the start. What’s more, users can completely rebuild mobile versions of their sites using the same easy-to-use tools of the builder. Changes made to the mobile view won’t affect the desktop version of your site.
WebsiteBuilder-com offers an impressive collection of templates grouped by industry: Restaurant, Music, Business, Wedding, Blog, Architecture and Real Estate, Beauty and Fashion, Computers and Technology, Lifestyle, Photography, Portfolio, Professional Services etc. All the templates look modern and stylish, giving your website brand new look.
What’s more, the themes are highly customizable – the way any template looks when you get it from the library is just the beginning. There is also good news for those knowing a thing or two about coding – you can insert your own HTML into the footer and header of your site.
Mind that you will not be able to change the template you have initially selected on the go. Otherwise, the content you have submitted, will be lost and you’ll have to add it once again. This is a serious drawback, especially for beginners, who are not aware of the web design basics and can accidentally make the wrong choice. A nice feature is that the templates the system offers are free and you can preview them prior to making the choice.
The fact that all websites created with WebsiteBuilder-com can be mobile responsive is a benefit in itself. You can even make use the mobile editor of the service to adjust and customize the mobile version of your newly created website.
4. Customer Support
WebsiteBuilder-com has an extensive knowledge base comprised of how-to guides, top 5 FAQs, Domain FAQs, Billing support and Tech support. You can also get in touch with their experts over email. Besides, most elements of the editor come with inline help icons that help you learn as you build. It is also possible to get in touch with designers working for the service, who will provide you with helpful web design tips or even build a website for you with regard to your exact specifications and requirements.
Recently, a new Live Chat feature has been added to the service. It is available 24/7 and makes it possible to get in touch with the support system to have your problems solved with maximum efficacy. What you need to make use of the service is to provide your name, the topic and description of the issue that has to be handled, explain it in details and wait until the system specialists will reply to your message. Generally, this takes around a couple of minutes. All in all, WebsiteBuilder-com customer support service is effective and makes it possible to solve urgent problems on time.
5. Pricing Policy
All WebsiteBuilder-com projects are free while under construction and are published on a subdomain. You can test the features of the website builder and try building your own website (or even several of them) on a free Starter Plan without having to pay for the service. A free plan also offers free hosting. However, in order to connect your own domain name, as well as to unlock more capabilities (Mobile view support, included ad credits, larger site storage, unlimited bandwidth, second site special (50% off), premium support, eCommerce feature and more) you’ll need to purchase a paid package.
Paid plans are as follows:
- Premium (from $5.38* / month) – offers free domain, free hosting, free ad credits, SEO and marketing help, mobile sites;
- Business (from $6.15* / month) – provides all the features implied by the Premium Plan plus priority support;
- eCommerce (from $9.99* / month) – offers functionality described in the two previous plans and eCommerce features that make it possible to launch an online store.
Having selected a plan, you’ll be offered to provide your credit card data and payment details. Mind that once you decide to register a free domain name with the service and then wish to cancel the subscription, you’ll have to pay a $15 fee to retain the selected domain.
Websitebuilder-com creates the impression of a solid, flexible web publishing platform suitable for creating various website types.
- One of the downsides of the product is that it doesn’t offer anything unique and thus can be easily lost among other similar products that have already built good credit.
- The service is easy-to-use, but its interface may seem a bit confusing for an inexperienced user.
- A more substantial disadvantage is absence of a trial eCommerce feature. If you need to launch an online store, you’ll have to pay for it right from the start without testing it in advance. If there is something you don’t like about the eCommerce plan, this may be a waste of your effort, time and money.
- Another disadvantage is that you can’t change a website template on the go. If you have to select a new template, while working on your website for some reason, the content you’ve provided will be lost. This is a drawback for any user.
WebsiteBuilder-com is a flexible and easy-to-use website builder. It’s functionality is enough to build almost any website type, while the range of templates and design customization tools will come up to any expectations and needs.
The service can be used both by newbies and web design pros – everyone will find the required tools and options here. What’s important, the system makes it possible to set up, manage and customize a blog with a few clicks only. No special knowledge and skills are needed to do that, but if you are aware of the coding basics, this will be a bonus for you.
The website builder has affordable pricing policy. Paid plans unveil lots of options to users willing to give their websites extra exposure and get benefit from them. It is possible to launch an online store here by upgrading to the corresponding plan.
All in all, the system has a potential to become more popular, if its Team keeps working on the product development, adding more unique features to the platform’s arsenal. Try it yourself to see how it works and feels, and remember to share your experience in the comments!