The market of online website builders is only growing. If a decade ago you could count them on the fingers of one hand, today, it takes months to review at least most popular options. On our website alone there are over 50 reviews!
Today, we bring you a review of Yola, a comparatively old website builder that has helped to create over 10M websites since its launch in 2007.
The company name comes from the Hindi word jhola meaning hatch – ‘Yola is where you hatch your big ideas’ says one of their slogans. Initially, the company was named SynthaSite. Because many users complained that ‘SynthaSite’ was difficult to say, spell and remember, the company decided to come up with a short, sharp and meaningful name – Yola.
Is Yola still competitive? Take a moment to explore its advantages and possible downsides.
#1 Ease of Use
Similar to Wix and Weebly, Yola is very easy-to-use. Its interface is comparatively intuitive, though a bit outdated. From specifying site language to connecting a domain name and making a full ‘SEO scan’, each step is accompanied with a pop-up tip or with a ‘learn more’ link. All in all, it’s looks user-friendly.
However, we can’t say we enjoyed its drag-and-drop editor. It’s more restrictive than that of Wix for instance, and it takes some time to get used to it and understand its logic. The builder does support dragging, but you don’t have full control over the elements – when you drop them, they simply jump to pre-determined invisible boxes.
#2 Feature Set and Flexibility
As with just any DIY website builder around, you build a website through adding different building blocks: structure elements (buttons, content blocks, galleries etc.) and widgets (mp3 player, videos, commerce, Facebook comments and more).
In general, when it comes down to the basics, Yola is like most of its competition. Advanced functionality includes an HTML/CSS editor where tech-savvy users can write their own CSS rules and make direct changes to the code.
Other premium features include:
Mobile publishing. This feature allows you to fine-tune the mobile view of your website using a mobile mockup. You can start building the mobile view as a free user, and upgrade when it’s ready for publishing.
Important note: Websites built using new responsive templates are mobile-friendly by default. Their appearance will automatically adjust based on the size of the user’s screen. The ‘mobile publishing’ feature works differently: it hides unnecessary elements and displays a simplified version of your site to those reaching your site using a mobile device.
Yola eCommerce. Yola has a decent eCommerce engine. Here are some features: users can save their shopping profiles; integration with over 20 payment gateways; real-time shipping quotes (integration with many local and international shipping providers, including UPS, FedEx, DHL, and USPS); product import (CSV, XCart, LiteCommerce formats).
Yola’s store also lets you sell digital goods, and you can even add a download time limit or restrict the number of times a digital item can be downloaded.
Business tools + marketing perks: premium users get Facebook credits and Google AdWords bonuses to grow their startups online.
Unfortunately, Yola lacks a blogging platform, but they make it easy to integrate your Tumblr blog.
Creating a site with Yola starts with a template. The initial selection is for free users, with only ten choices. These templates are nice, but they’re inferior to those we’ve seen in Squarespace, Wix and IM Creator.
When you start editing your site, you get access to the full template collection comprised of free and premium themes. I wouldn’t say that there’s a significant difference between them. There are many noticeably outdated paid templates that look like something from the 90’s.
The good news is that the way any template looks when you get it from Yola is just the beginning – in the future you will replace all the default pics, change content layout, modify the footer, upload a new banner etc., if you’re willing to invest your time and effort, of course.
Yola templates are switchable. If you feel that your first choice isn’t right, and customizing it isn’t enough, you can simply transfer your content to a new template.
Check out our collection of Yola-based websites to see what exactly ready Yola sites look like.
#4 Customer Support
If you face any difficulties when editing your site, you can take advantage of the Help tab that remains active on all pages in your admin panel. It contains links to the most important places, including Yola community forum, help center, and training webinar.
If you still can’t find the answer, you can contact one of the Yola experts via email or by phone.
#5 Pricing Policy
Yola is a freemium web service. There’s a free version that lets you create a site on Yola subdomain containing up to 3 pages, and three paid plans: Bronze ($4.16/mo), Silver ($8.33/mo), and Gold ($16.66/mo). These are discounted if billed yearly.
Yola Online Store comes as a separate add-on that can be integrated into any account at $10 per month. What’s more, you can hire Yola designers and devs to build your website for you – this option starts at $499.95.
#6 Yola FAQ
We think that Yola’s plans could be more flexible. Take Weebly for instance, it offers much more at a lower price. Not having a blogging system is a significant drawback, too.
Back in 2007, Yola was a highly popular web service. Its closest competitors were Wix, Moonfruit and Weebly. Today, it really loses steam when compared with similar platforms available.
Yola Review: Conclusion
It feels like Yola stopped updating its software a few years ago. They did release a few new templates about a year ago, but that’s not enough to stay competitive in the market. The lack of built-in blogging solutions, mediocre templates, and high prices may drive you towards a more reasonable solution.
My opinion may differ from yours, but I can’t recommend this website builder when there are so many more favorable alternatives.