Website builders have evolved tremendously during the last years. With every new version released, developers strive to make these programs more and more user-friendly and intuitive, so that even the less tech-savvy enthusiasts can quickly and easily build a website by themselves. No more messy code lines, no more HTML and CSS. Drag-and-drop editors are all you need.
Website builders are great tools for anyone who wants to create their own site, for personal or professional use. There are a plethora of small, medium and even some large businesses out there with attractive websites created using just cloud-based website builders.
Offline or online builders?
There are two main types of website builders: offline and online (also named cloud or web-based). Each of them comes with its own advantages and disadvantages and it’s up to you to decide which one works for you best.
Offline builders are more complex and come with more freedom of customization, helping you create more original websites. They don’t require an internet connection in order to work, but they are harder to master and you need some CSS and HTML knowledge in order to be able to work with them. They are also quite pricey and you have to also pay for a hosting service for your site.
Online builders are more affordable, they require a subscription and you have to pay a monthly fee. They are usually included with a web hosting service, they are way easier to grasp and can be used from anywhere, as long as you have access to internet. They can help you create and get a website up and running within minutes, you also benefit from tech support and you don’t have to bother with hosting, technical issues and maintenance, all those are the provider’s problem. However, they don’t come with that many customization options.
Site123 overview – is it any good?
Site123 is a really popular online website builder among users who don’t have any coding skills. It is one of the best builders out there for the less tech-savvy and it can help you build your website in a matter of minutes.
One of the best things about Site123 is that it also comes with a free version.
There are 5 plans available, one of which is the free one.
The Free plan includes 500MB storage, 1GB bandwidth and a subdomain.
The paid plans are Basic, Advanced, Professional and Gold. For each of these plans you can opt for one of the available time periods: 3 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years. Of course, you will get the lowest fees if you sign up for a longer period.
Basic is $17/month for the 3-month period, $10.80/month for 1 year, $7.30/month if you sign up for 2 years and $6.45 if you sign up for 3 years.
Advanced is the next available option and it costs $25/month for 3 months, $16.80/month for 1 year, $13.30/month for 2 years and $11.45 for 3 years.
Professional is priced at $33/month for 3 months, $22.80/month for 1 year, $17.30/month for 2 years and $14.45/month for 3 years.
Gold is their most premium package and it costs $41/month for 3 months, $28.80/month for 1 year, $22.30/month for 2 years and $19.45/month for 3 years.
While the free plan includes only 500MB storage and 1GB bandwidth, the paid options increase those numbers, depending on the package.
With their cheapest plan, the Basic one, you get 10GB storage and 5GB bandwidth, and you can have the Site123 floating tag removed, which is not possible with the free plan. You also get a free domain for a year and ecommerce tools.
The Advanced plan includes 30GB storage and 15GB bandwidth.
The Professional plan includes 90GB storage and 45GB bandwidth.
The Gold plan includes 270GB storage and 135 GB bandwidth.
Unfortunately, the offer is not that attractive with any of the Site123’s plans. Unlike other providers that offer unlimited bandwidth and storage with their more expensive packages, Site123 doesn’t include that benefit, not even with their Gold package.
The same limitation is applied to the free domain, too. The free domain is only for 1 year, with all their plans.
Features and how it works
Site123 may be a simple website builder, but, as you can see, is also pretty basic and limited.
When it comes to user-friendliness though, Site123 really shines. Getting started with Site123 is really straightforward. The first step is to choose a category for your website, and there are 16 available options: business, blog, online store, restaurants and food, photography, technology and web, events, music, hospitality & tourism and more.
Once you opt for a main category, you also have to choose a sub category, depending on your main choice.
The next step is to choose a name for your website and the last step is to create an account and get started with building the website. You can also sign up with your Facebook or Google account.
While drag-and-drop editors are the most popular type, Site123 doesn’t offer one, you have to use the sidebar settings/buttons for all the editing.
Based on your preferences, Site123 generates templates and while you can adjust/change some elements, you don’t get too much freedom of customization. You can choose between different layouts, change colors, fonts and menus and enable or disable the social media buttons. You can add a music player, a photo gallery, include Google Maps, link with all major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Yelp, Spotify and others).
You should also know that you can’t change your mind and replace themes on the go. If you are not happy with your choice, you can’t do anything once your website is live. You have to go back and start from zero with another theme.
On the bright side, all themes are mobile responsive.
Among Site123’s most noteworthy features we have to mention the multilingual support, for 15 languages.
Site123 has all the basic ecommerce tools, although they are not available with the free plan.
You can add unlimited products, arrange them into different categories, create coupons, offer discounts and more.
There are also basic SEO tools, like customizable URLs, the ability to edit the meta title and description, add alt text to images and more.
Blog features are quite minimalist and one thing we noticed to be missing is a comment section.
In terms of customer support, Site123 is reliable and helpful. You get 24/7 live chat and response times are really decent.
Overall, Site123 is a very simple but also simplistic website builder. It does have its shortcomings and limitations and it is not for everyone’s needs. But if you want nothing to do with coding and you need to create a website in the easiest and quickest possible way, you should definitely give Site123 a chance.