WebsiteBuilder.com Review

WebsiteBuilder.com Review

WebsiteBuilder.com Summary:

  • Year Founded 2012
  • Number Of Websites Built With 5 million+
  • BBB Rating Not listed
  • BBB Review N/A
  • Trial Length Unlimited
  • Trial Cost $0
  • Ad-Free Cost $8.95

WebsiteBuilder.com

Websitebuilder.com is one of the numerous providers designed to enable even a novice to create a professional-looking website quickly and easily. Being a novice myself, I gave it a try and within about an hour I was able to develop and publish a site that met my current needs.

Websitebuilder.com Features

Getting access to a free trial required only my name, email address and a newly-created password. The site offers more than 400 templates from which to choose, available through a drop-down menu that includes categories such as architecture and real estate, business and consulting, design, lifestyle, online store and professional services. There is also a “blank” category offering three very basic templates – no existing color or pre-loaded artwork, but spaces into which users can insert images and text. The number of templates varies depending on the category, with business and consulting, for example, offering several dozen, displaying six per page. Some use the same artwork but different overall designs, and scrolling through a number of them provided me with ideas about what might be possible. There is also a search function that enables users to look for a specific, narrower category like “dog groomer” or “hotel.”

I chose a fairly straightforward template with a simple background and little text on the home page. Once there, I was disappointed to find that there were no step-by-step instructions to help me get started, so I spent a few minutes clicking on various things in an effort to figure out what to do next. However, someone with more experience with editing and design programs like Photoshop probably would have seen familiar tools and been able to dive right in.

After clicking around a bit, I was able to select specific elements like the title of the home page – the name of my business and a catchy tagline – and the space for my contact information, then choose the “edit” option to delete the standard lorem ipsum text that filled the spaces and replace it with my own information. The site also enables users to change colors, layout and other factors to make their site unique, and it was relatively easy to experiment with those elements as I went along.

Changing the background image on the home page was simply a matter of selecting that element and choosing “change image,” which brought up a large selection of high-resolution images stored on the site and organized by the same categories used for the templates. In other words, it was possible to choose a template from the lifestyle group, but substitute an image from the food and drink category. On the left side of the image gallery is a dim icon that brightened when I scrolled over it, giving me the option to upload an image of my own, and that worked perfectly. There is also an icon for using a linked image.

Returning to the basic editing screen, a menu on the left side of the page provides more options. The Pages icon brings up a list of the standard pages included with the template such as Home, About Us, Contact, etc. Clicking a small wrench icon next to an individual page gave me the option to rename, delete, change the settings or set it as my home page. Once my home page was edited to my satisfaction, I used this feature to edit each of the other standard pages provided in the template, including changing the header, copy and images. Clicking Manage Pages at the bottom of the menu provided a few more options for making alterations, and the Add Page button created a new page that was blank with no pre-loaded text or images. Inserting new images and adding copy was easy to do, and the various elements could be resized through a simple click-and-drag process.

The site’s Add function opens a world of opportunity for improving both the appearance and functionality of a user’s site. In addition to bringing in images, text and video, users can add buttons of various sizes, including a Send action button, as well as boxes, tabs, maps, forms, and shapes.

Also under the Add button are several e-commerce add-ons including store, buy now, add to cart, donate and check-out options. However, e-commerce is not available for free users and can only be accessed by upgrading to one of Websitebuilder’s paid options.

One other surprising discovery was the fact that although the category for linking to social media is denoted by a Twitter-like icon, the site only offers links to various Facebook functions with no options to include Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram or other sites.

Other customization features, found under the Design button, include opportunities to change the page background, text style, fonts and colors for individual elements, and the site features a number of pre-selected color palettes with varying numbers of coordinating and contrasting colors.

More options for customizing a site, found on the top of the screen, include snap to grid, a column grid and the ability to add a ruler. As someone with no design experience or expertise, I left those functions alone.

As I progressed through editing the pages on the site I created, I was able to preview each page several times before finally saving the changes and moving to the next one. It was easy to move back and forth between pages as I thought of different things I might like to change, and with each preview, clicking Finish Preview took me back to the editing screen, where I was able to make more alterations or save what I had already done.

Clicking Save on any page activates a pop-up box giving users the option of publishing the site at that time or returning to make further edits.

Websitebuilder Plans

Of course, as is the case with any free program of this nature, users are encouraged to upgrade to a paid membership. The lowest option offers a free domain, hosting and ad credits along with ad removal at prices of $7.16 per month for two years paid in advance, $7.95 paid a year ahead, and a month-to-month fee of $8.95. A Pro membership also includes SEO and marketing assistance as well as mobile sites at a monthly cost of $7.95, $8.95 or $9.95. The third, higher-end Premium plan, costing $9.95, $11.95 and $13.95 per month, also promises email assistance and priority support.

Websitebuilder Support

Websitebuilder also offers a help button that includes FAQs, a search function, and direct links for accessing tech or billing support, as well as a Contact Us link that produces a form for making an email query, but not a phone number or live-chat option.

WebsiteBuilder.com Pros:

  • The wide range of templates, including about five that worked well for my specific type of business.
  • The relative ease of making edits to text and images.
  • The ability to grab an image from the site’s gallery or one of my own and substitute it for one included in the template I chose.
  • After signing up for the site, I had to stop work for about an hour. When I returned to my computer, I’d received an email noting that I had not yet chosen a template and offering help if I needed it. There was no contact information, but I could have replied to the email if I’d wanted to pursue that option.

WebsiteBuilder.com Cons:

  • The lack of instructions telling me how to get started, use various options and even get back to editing mode after previewing the changes I’d made. I was on my own to fumble around until I figured it out.
  • The fact that the site does not support any social media other than Facebook.
  • The fact that the url for a free site is confusing – janedoe.my-free.website.
  • The inability to create multiple sites without upgrading to a paid membership.

WebsiteBuilder.com Summary

But for a quick, free website that meets my basic needs, and one that I can edit further if I choose, I can’t complain at all.

Overall, my experience with Websitebuilder was a positive one. As someone with good computer skills but no experience or expertise in constructing a website or any type of graphic design, I was able to publish a functioning site in less than an hour and a half.

WebsiteBuilder.com

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