SiteBuilder.com is a tool that allows you to build websites by yourself. The company was started in 2014 and is based in the United Kingdom. While a new player, they are quickly establishing themselves as a go to option due to their professional looking themes and ease of use. In fact, they offer more than 10,000 templates, free domain names and web hosting, search engine optimization (SEO) tools, business email, and ecommerce integration.
Pros of SiteBuilder.com
- It has a few really good features, like mobile optimization, nice widgets, and excellent social media integration.
- It offers ad credits to certain paid plans.
- It is known to be a very stable host.
- The user interface is out of this world, particularly considering how easy it is to use. You can customize virtually anything without needing to have any special skills. In fact, a complete novice can get the hang of it in less than an hour.
Cons of SiteBuilder.com
- The company is known to use some underhanded sales tactics, such as adding things to people’s bills they didn’t ask for and making it hard to cancel them.
- The ecommerce solution is available, but somewhat limited as it only accepts PayPal as a payment gateway.
- Customer service is still quite limited, although this may improve in the future.
- The different plans are a bit confusing.
Sitebuilder is a fully web hosted option and is an online resource. This means it can run from any machine, so long as it has an up to date browser. One of the things that really makes this option stand out is the fact that it targets so many different businesses. This is why they also have such a huge array of templates. They are easy to search through, nevertheless, as the company has made categories available for anything from beauty & fashion to pets & animals. Furthermore, each of these templates can be customized to your particular needs, which means you can easily create something that is truly unique.
The interface is incredibly easy to use, which is one of the things that really makes Site Builder stand out from the crowd. Even if you have never tried to build a website in the past, you should be able to get to grips with this one. You can change virtually anything, including:
- The master page, meaning you have a single template that applies to each of your individual pages
- An add panel that allows you to customize each part of your website as you see fit, adding items, menus, icons, widgets, and so on. This panel is very easy to find without being too in your face as well.
- A design panel where you can change things like colors, background images, text, and more. The colors section is pretty cool, as they have a few pallets that you can choose from to apply across your site, meaning you don’t have to fiddle with each individual item, although you can if you choose to do so.
- The page panel, which allows you to get into the details of each individual page. You can also click on ‘duplicate page’ if you want to use the same page twice.
- The manage panel where you can choose the header and footer, adding HTML inputs, favicons, and social media links.
- A preview mode, which enables you to see exactly what your users will see if and when you decide to publish your page.
It also has some strong features, including:
- Excellent social media integration, which is a vital tool for anyone who wants to build a website that can get found nowadays. The widgets look really clean and can be placed out of the way, so they don’t degrade the user experience of your customers.
- A great blog function, where you can write new posts, organize them so that certain ones are featured, add tags, go back to previously published posts, pin posts, create drafts, and more. Blogging is also a very important SEO tool, so this is a must have in any website builder.
- Some really good quality SEO tools, including the ability to change your site tags and meta tags. You do have to do your keyword research yourself, but all website builders require this. If you implement the SEO tools, however, your site will be more likely to get found by the search engines, meaning you should get more traffic.
- A huge quantity of stock photos, again divided in easy to understand categories. The stock photos are all of HD quality and will really enhance your site.
- The ability to include image galleries in any way you see fit. This can help you create a site that is completely unique, which is good for SEO, but also for your customers who want to see your own personality shine through.
- Statistics, which allows you to see how your site is performing and what is and isn’t working. This is particularly useful if you have very different pages, or if you make changes somewhere, as it allows you to see which elements have the greatest positive impact. Again, in terms of SEO, this is a vital tool.
- Great desktop editing. The only downside, however, is that you cannot edit your website from a mobile device. Your site will be optimized for mobile users, but all changes have to be made on a desktop. That said, you can preview your site on mobile, which means you can make sure that your customers have a good experience if they access your site through their mobile devices.
There are over 10,000 templates for you to choose from, in any category you can think of. While this may seem overwhelming, the way they are organized really makes sense. There is no need, therefore, for you to trawl through all the 10,000 different options. Plus, if you’re a bit more confident about your own design skills, you can even choose a blank template and build it yourself from start to finish.
The app market is currently very limited. Unfortunately, SiteBuilder.com only integrates with Ecwid for their shops, and PayPal for the payment gateway. This is a bit of a shame, but it is understandable at the same time. Integrating third party apps can lead to a lot of problems and each app needs to be individually checked, which is something that Site Builder is unlikely to have the manpower for at present.
SiteBuilder offers a shop interface to those who want to build an ecommerce store. If you sign up for this option, you can add quite a number of different items and services, changing their prices and descriptions as you see fit. The tool is really good and very reliable, but it is basic at the same time. Unfortunately, however, the only integration you have is with Ecwid and PayPal, which means that your audience will also be a bit more limited. As such, if your goal is to build a store, you may find this option too limited overall.
There are a number of different payment options with SiteBuilder.com, and this is also where things get a bit complicated. The personal plan, which gives you the lowest functionality of all plans, costs more per month than its upgrade, for instance. Furthermore, although you do need to have some patience for this, Site Builder currently makes it possible for you to get a very significant discount (around 70% per month off, in fact). To access this, you need to pretend you are leaving the site three times in a row. Each time you do so, you will receive a notification saying that a discount is available ‘today only’ or ‘for a limited time’. There are four available plans:
- The personal plan costs $9.99 per month if you pay monthly, $8.99 per month if you pay yearly, or $2.70 per month if you pay every two years. For this, you will receive a free domain and hosting, $375 in advertising credit, and all SiteBuilder ads will be removed.
- The pro plan costs $2.99 per month if you pay monthly, $2.77 per month if you pay yearly, or $2.30 per month if you pay every two years. For this, you get everything in the personal plan, as well as free email.
- The premium plan costs $3.89 per month if you pay monthly, $3.69 per month if you pay yearly, or $3.59 per month if you pay every two years. For this, you get everything in the pro plan plus priority support and SEO tools.
- The ecommerce plan costs $7.49 per month if you pay monthly, $5.99 per month if you pay yearly, or $5.54 per month if you pay every two years
There is also a free option that you can choose from, although this has very limited functionality and is covered with Site Builder ads.
One of the problems with this platform is that it is really hard to get to see the prices. In fact, you won’t get to see them until you have signed up for a free account. And then, as stated, you can bring the price down by pretending to leave three times. Payment for your plan can be made through credit or debit card, or PayPal. There is a 14 day money back guarantee, although you do have to explain why you want your money back.
The support system at Site Builder leaves a bit to be desired. There is a reasonable do it yourself section on their website with explanations and advice. However, if you cannot find the solution to your problem there, you will have to contact the company and you can only do that through the online order form. There is no telephone, online chat, or direct email address that you can access. Some have also complained that response time can be very slow, unless you have paid for premium support.
SiteBuilder.com has a number of significant flaws. However, this is mainly because it is a new company that is still finding its feet. So far, they have demonstrated numerous times that they listen to their customers and try to make improvements. As such, the criticism expressed here was true at the time of this writing, but may have been resolved since.
The criticisms also don’t take anything away from the functionalities of Site Builder and, at the end of the day, how it functions is the important part. You can access your interface from any computer (desktop or laptop) with a browser and internet connection and start to make changes or add and remove things from your website. The site is mobile optimized, although you cannot use a mobile device to make changes.
The one criticism that may put people off when using SiteBuilder is the fact that its ecommerce features are limited. While you can add as many products as you like, creating your own descriptions and using your own pictures, you can only use Ecwid to build your shop, and you can only use PayPal as a payment gateway. This can be a bit of a deterrent to some people, which means you have to carefully consider whether or not this will work for you.
Overall, however, with well over 10,000 templates, each of which is very easy to find and search through, huge customization options, affordable packages (particularly if you know about the closing the window three times, which was correct at the time of this writing), it can be difficult to actually criticize the package at all. This is particularly true when you consider the ease of use of its interface. When Sitebuilder.com said they would create something that anyone could use, they meant it. If you have never even considered building a website, you will still be able to get to grips with this one in less than an hour. And with many interesting features such as social media and blogging platform integration, it quickly becomes clear why this is now such a popular option. I 100% recommend SiteBuilder to anyone looking to build his or her own website.