Zoho Sites – is a website builder, which delivers nice web building experience and makes it possible to create different project types. These include portfolios, business websites, blogs and other commercial/non-commercial projects.
The web publishing solution was developed by Zoho Corporation in 2012 and is included into the pack of services provided by the company. As of today, the product seamlessly integrates with other business tools in Zoho’s productivity suite. For example, Zoho stores all content in the Zoho Creator Database and offers the CRM Form Builder which lets users handle such things like support requests.
The website builder provides intuitive navigation, responsive designs, a set of customization tools, powerful integration options, HTML/CSS access and other features that help newbies and web design experts get started successfully. At the same time, the service lacks proper eCommerce functionality that makes it impossible to create a worthy web store with it.
So, how does the website builder actually rate? What are the features that affect its performance and is the system worth the investment? Join us reviewing Zoho Sites website builder.
1. Ease of Use
Zoho Sites is really pleasant to use. It’s clean, intuitive and easy-to-navigate. To start building a project, you first have to sign up for the system. This doesn’t take much time and effort – just fill out the registration form, specify your email and password and confirm the account by activating the email. Another way to register with the system is to use your social network accounts. This is quick and simple as well.
Once you’ve signed up, you will be offered to enter your website name. Having done that, you’ll be redirected to the template library and the builder itself. Zoho Sites comes with a convenient editor, which allows launching a full-featured website in just a few clicks. Another thing that makes the system stand out from the crowd is its professional and solid user interface that contributes to easy website personalization and lets you launch projects with extensive feature set needed to make your brand thriving and popular.
To add a website element to the page, simply select it in the top toolbar and adjust the settings available in the popup menu. Each element includes additional customization options. If you want to go beyond what is available by default, you can make use of the HTML/CSS editor. All in all, the website builder looks very well organized. The system allows for a high degree of customization and ensures quality result.
2. Features & Flexibility
Zoho Sites offers extensive design customization options and impressive feature set that makes the system perfect for building small and mid-sized business websites. It’s high time to enlist these features to know what to expect from the website builder prior to using it for project development.
Zoho Suite Integration
When you create an account with Zoho Sites, as a small bonus you get access to the rest of the Zoho Suite, directly through your Sites dashboard. Zoho Corp. has been developing business software since 1996, so it’s no accident that their website builder has a ton of handy features tailored for small businesses. These include custom CRM Forms, Zoho SalesIQ, and Zoho Campaigns, dynamic content, multiple contributors and blogging engine.
The website builder lets you create online stores to sell physical and digital products. However, Zoho Sites eCommerce engine comes with a basic shopping cart and it lacks such must-have elements like email receipt customization, checkout system, product categorization and many more. To create a full-featured store you should start with a separate Zoho Commerce Builder, launched in April 2019.
The website builder allows embedding codes into your project to help users convey their messages in a smooth and understandable way. Thus, it is possible to embed video and audio files, code snippets and other must-have elements that will contribute to your website performance.
HTML and CSS Editor
If your coding knowledge is on a nice level, you can use it to edit HTML/CSS website codes to reach the ultimate website customization effect. This is the best way to take complete control over your website development.
When working on your website creation, you can invite and add multiple contributors to collectively reach worthy result. It’s up to you to assign shared website access rights to those team members you plan to cooperate with. Additionally, it is possible to create a Member Portal in the dashboard, where you will be able to let website visitors access certain web pages. Likewise, it is possible to create password-protected pages here.
Restricted Access Rights
If there is the need to keep some information or content unrevealed, you can make your website private and assign access right only to those users, who are allowed to see the web pages. Restricted website access makes it possible to limit the visibility of your website, hide pages from other users or from certain team members.
The website builder allows creating and managing blogs to boost customer engagement rate. It’s up to you to write and add new blog posts, schedule them, add content and media files, comment boxes, social media buttons and other blog elements required to convert first-time users into regular visitors. By setting up the required elements, you will easily create your blog layout. The website builder also allows importing blogs from other popular platform like WordPress and Blogger.
Your web presence should not be limited to website creation only. To extend it and build rich customer base, you may grant user access to social networks. This can be done via social sharing and auto-publishing options that let you reach the target audience with almost no effort at all.
In-Built SEO Tools
Zoho Sites allows creating projects, which are well-optimized for the search engines. To boost the positions of your website in the search engines, you may fill out meta tags for all web pages (titles, descriptions, keywords), upload and set favicon, create custom 404 pages and use integrated analytics to control traffic characteristics and behaviour.
The website can boast one of the most impressive form builders available out there. Apart from the DIY form building option, the service also provides a nice choice of pre-designed forms to choose from. There are also multiple design customization options to personalize the selected forms.
The system maintains the database of edited pages so you can get back to and republish your previous page versions anytime. Also every website is automatically optimized for mobile viewing. You can edit your site’s mobile look via the HTML/CSS editor even on the go to make sure it looks great on mobile, desktop and tablet devices.
|Number of Themes:||7||Free Themes:||✔ YES||Responsive Design:||✔ YES|
|Sort by Industry:||✘ NO|
|CSS Code Editing:||✔ YES|
Zoho Sites template collection is not impressive at all. There are currently less than 10 themes available for customization there. Preview feature is not available as well, which may somewhat complicate user choice. On the other hand, you can preview the ready-made version of your website in different modes prior to publishing it.
A good piece of news is that the templates can be switched midway through the web design process, if there is anything you don’t like about the initially selected theme. What’s more, the themes are free and responsive by default, so, you won’t have to bother about the way they will display on mobile and desktop devices. First-time users can make use of the visual editor of the service, while advanced web designers can even get access to the integrated HTML/CSS editor.
The website builder also comes with impressive design customization options. There is a great tool called Page Versions here, which allows creating and personalizing content. There is much you can edit here – fonts, backgrounds, layout, website style, images, color palette, text, media files and more. Apart from that, you can upload your website favicon and logo to make your brand recognizable and outstanding.
4. Customer Support
Zoho Sites offers a well-structured and easy-to-browse Knowledge Base. Right after you sign up for the system and pick a template, you are offered a video guide on how to get started with ease. Whatever questions and problems you will encounter during the web development process, you’ll find the required info in the Knowledge Base. This is where you will come across useful information covering the major topics users are mostly interested in. A convenient search filter option lets you find the required answers in the shortest time possible to help you solve the problems on time.
To find out more detailed information about versatile aspects of working with the system, it makes sense to reach the Help Center of the service. The website developers have taken care of the major needs of users, subdividing the available content into multiple thematic categories. Whatever question or problem you have, just reach the required section and search for an answer there.
In case you face an urgent problem, you can reach one of the system experts via email directly through the control panel. Unfortunately, Zoho Sites currently lacks live chat support, which is a notable demerit.
5. Pricing Policy
When it comes to the pricing policy, Zoho Sites offers three paid plans. These include Essential, Professional and Advanced. There is no absolutely free plan here, though, the system lets you test any of the paid subscriptions at no cost at all, offering the 15-day free trial. No credit card info is needed to start the trial. If you feel that you are ready to upgrade to the paid plan, you can start exploring the terms offered by these subscriptions.
|Essential:||$8/mo||✓ Custom Domain;|
✓ 1GB Storage;
✓ 10GB Bandwidth.
|Professional:||$18/mo||In Addition to previous:|
✓ SSL Hosting;
✓ Page Versions;
✓ Password Protection.
|Advanced:||$28/mo||In Addition to previous:|
✓ 1000 Members Portal;
✓ Access restriction;
✓ Comment box.
The cost of the Essential Plan constitutes $8/mo and implies an opportunity to build one website with up to 10 pages. The plan offers 1GB of storage space, 10GB of bandwidth per month, 5 forms, 5 photo galleries and 100MB of maximum file size.
The Essential Plan costs $18/mo and offers a chance to build websites with up to 200 pages, 10GB of storage space, unlimited bandwidth, 10 forms, 15 photo galleries, 1 contributor and 3 menus.
To upgrade to the Advanced Plan, you’ll have to pay $28/mo. The plan allows creating websites with up to 2000 pages and additionally provides 100GB of storage space, unlimited bandwidth, 50 forms, 100MB of maximum file size, 200 photo galleries, 5 menus and 5 contributors.
These are the main terms implied by Zoho Sites plans. To find out more about the subscription you are interested in, take your time to start the trial. Its duration is enough to understand the essence of each plan as well as the general features of the website builder.
6. Pros and Cons
Zoho Sites allows creating different types of websites based on your current needs. The website builder is rich in features and design customization options, but it also comes with a list of downsides users should be aware of. Let’s have a look at them now.
|✔ Advanced form builder and Zoho Suites Integration.|
✔ Responsive designs.
✔ HTML/CSS editor.
✔ Team Collaboration.
|✘ Poor template collection (instead you should create your own).|
✘ Lack of live chat support.
✘ Limited eCommerce options.
Zoho Sites is a good and risk-free website builder that lets you create websites for small and medium businesses, blogs, landing pages and portfolios. The platform is included into the Zoho Corporation Suite, which allows integrating with other products of the company. This is a notable merit for users. Another highlight of the service is its feature set, which unveils multiple design customization options and lets you launch and manage myriads of projects.
In our opinion, Zoho Sites is a good place to try your skills, regardless of your webmaster level, as it offers both WYSIWYG and HTML/CSS editors. At the same time, the website builder lacks some of the must-have features of contemporary web building tools – eCommerce, multilingual support and live chat to mention a few. Zoho Sites isn’t the best option for those, who are looking to create a fully-featured web store or really complex website with custom functionality. Anyway, to explore the pros and cons of the system, it makes sense to test its feature set first. So, if you are just on your way to web design proficiency, Zoho Sites might be a tool to try.