Yesterday, WebStartsToday debuted a redesigned website, which apart from visual changes now has ‘more features, templates, and services’. The new site has got a more modern look and feel, there’s no doubt about that. But what about the site builder’s functionality?
When we tested WebStartsToday a little more than a year ago, it was a bit clumsy site creation platform with outdated templates and slow control panel. Have the guys behind the site builder addressed these issues? Let’s put WebStartsToday through its paces once again to see what’s been changed.
#1 Ease of Use
Creating a site starts with entering your name, email and ‘Selecting your website’. The latter action can make you scratch your head, since you have to choose between Responsive sites and sites for Accountants, Architects, Artists and also Webshops, among other categories. What if I need a responsive webshop? Should I choose Webshops or Responsive sites?
Later, in the control panel, when I decided to switch my template, it figured out that there were both standard and responsive themes in the Webshops category. That’s a bit confusing.
Anyway, the process of creating an account is quite straightforward. Once you have finished the sign up form, you’ll be redirected to the editor where you can actually start customizing your site. The only thing I don’t get is why they don’t let you choose a template from the start – when you ‘Select your website’, you only choose a category, and the platform chooses a template for you. The template can be easily changed in the future, but why not allow users to choose themes when going through the website creation wizard?
WebStartToday reminded me of Puzl. You have to submit a lot of personal information before you can actually start customizing your website. First name, last name, business name, email address, physical address, phone number, ZIP code and more are all mandatory fields! Similar to Puzl, this website builder transports the specified data into the corresponding areas on the page.
Again, similar to Puzl, the information provided can be inserted, edited and simply removed from your website manually. So, if you had to insert your physical address when going through the wizard (just to finish this step), you can then remove it manually from your site.
The editor itself is quite easy-to-use. To save your time and effort, you can start with a quick interactive tour that will show you the main areas of the editor. The editor supports inline editing – you can change the placeholder text, manage the image slider, upload a logo, but you can’t make changes to the site’s layout.
All in all, it looks cohesive, but there are still many ‘coming soon’ areas in the control panel.
#2 Feature Set and Flexibility
Judging from the templates gallery, WebStartsToday is a versatile site builder that can be used for any industry. There’s an in-house eCommerce engine that’s quite functional and will certainly handle a small webshop. Here are some of the key features:
- easy to manage product galleries;
- product options and product labels (bestseller, discount etc.);
- no transaction fee;
- flexible product presentation style (see screenshot);
- detailed product images with zooming, and more.
Having a built-in eCommerce is an asset, but what about blogging? They don’t mention the ability to blog on their Features page, neither is it present in the control panel, so I have to assume you can’t build a blog with WebStartsToday.
They also offer custom design and SEO services. You can hire a WebStartsToday Pro to get your site built in 7 days by a team of professionals. The Hire a Pro plans start at $399 (one-time payment; $99/year afterwards). Building a custom-design webshop costs $799 (one-time payment; $299/year afterwards).
Let’s face it, their designs are disappointing. When editing your theme, you can see the contrast between your outdated skeumorphic template and the modern flat control panel elements.
If you choose to go with a responsive template, you’ll be able to preview its mobile and tablet look from the control panel. For my test site, I selected a responsive theme. Did it look good on the small screen? Glad you asked. Yes, it did. Actually, it looked better on my smartphone than on my PC.
You can’t change the template of your site once you have started customizing it.
#4 Customer Support
WebStartsToday offers free live chat help and a detailed website creation manual accessible from your control panel as a PDF file. There’s also an easy-to-navigate Help center that covers all the stages of building and publishing a site with WebStartsToday.
#5 Pricing Policy
You can start with a free account and host your site on a shared domain – sitename.webstarttoday.com for one year. When your first year expires, you need to choose a billing plan. This can be as little as $4.99 if you pay annually and need a simple site with up to 10 pages. Other plans include Mobile ($12.49-$14.99), Webshop ($24.99-$79.99), and Traffic Booster ($79.99-$99.99). For more information see their pricing page.
The templates could be more diverse and modern. The editor still has many ‘coming soon’ areas that may drive potential customers to a more established, tried and tested site builder. I also think it could be cheaper. Weebly’s paid plans, for instance, start at $4/mo and offer much more for that price.
WebStartToday Review: Conclusion
This site builder looks like it might be an okay website creation platform, but there’s nothing in it that’s outstanding. And since it has no blogging capabilities, I wouldn’t recommend using it, when there are so many feature-richer alternatives out there. My opinion may differ from yours, so don’t hesitate to check out the tool for yourself and leave your valuable remarks in the comments below.