8.0 Out Of 10
|Services||eCommerce & Website Builder|
|Support||Chat & Knowledge Base|
|Best for||Website design that is small and fast|
|Strengths||Easy-to-use onboarding & design options|
|Weaknesses||Options are limited and customer support is lacking|
|Promotion||Get started now! is completely free|
What is SITE123?
SITE123, a website builder that is independent and growing fast, is exclusively for DIYers. They claim to be the “most intuitive and user-friendly website builder available”.
After receiving some reader questions, I decided to give SITE123 a shot for a small project. Before I go into my review of SITE123, let me give you a little background information about building websites.
There are many things to consider when selecting a website builder. And there are many ways to achieve what you desire in the end, in terms of functionality and pricing. It doesn’t matter if you are building a website for personal use or running a business. Your site design can have many consequences.
It can affect your flexibility, functionality, and brand in the long-term. It can cause headaches in the short-term. However, it is not possible to choose the best or most desirable physical home or office. It’s all about your experience, goals, and circumstances.
SITE123 is the only website builder that offers all the solutions. It provides everything you need to start and grow your site. This contrasts with solutions that allow you to purchase, install, and maintain each “piece” of your website individually. For more information, I wrote a post Website Builders Explained.
SITE123 works in the same way as leasing an apartment in a luxurious development and personalizing it. While you retain control over decor, cleaning, and other aspects of living, the property owner will take care of the plumbing, security, and infrastructure. This is important because all software, especially website builders, can often be a compromise between convenience and control.
Site builders like SITE123 may make everything fit perfectly, but it may not be what your looking for.
SITE123 is in direct competition with all-inclusive, hosted website builders such as:
They are faster than their direct competitors and offer pre-designed templates and designs that you can use to focus on your content.
SITE123 lets you choose your niche, then create a template that is curated based on it. This makes it easy for beginners with no previous design or development experience to build a website quickly.
|Domain Name Design|
|No cost domain name||1 Year|
Monthly Freebie – $49+
Get Started For Free
Monthly Freebie – $26
Sign up on Weebly to get for free
FREE – $15 per month
Get Started For Free
The benefits of using SITE123
Here are the benefits of SITE123, not only in comparison to other web builders but as a whole website solution.
SITE123’s greatest feature is its speed to get you up and running. It’s easy and straightforward to sign up for the platform in three steps (hence SITE123).
SITE123 also offers education with a step-by-step tutorial. This shows you how to customize your theme and add content to your website . This is a great feature for people who have never customized or built a website.
SITE123 is extremely easy to use. SITE123 allows you to create a template that is specific to your chosen industry and type/website.
Although the website builder is and not drag-and-drop you can still choose from a list of page elements to modify the design in your chosen theme.
It’s like painting with numbers.
Although there are obvious drawbacks to this arrangement, I will address them in the disadvantages. However, it is an advantage to have limited, but easily accessible design options.
Mobile-friendly site layout. It looks good regardless of what design options you choose.
SITE123’s extensive product integrations are another benefit. SITE123 offers hosting and DNS services. They also offer plugins (software you can “plugin to” your website to gain additional functionality). Their library includes everything from advertising software to analytics to support and marketing +.
SITE123 also offers eCommerce functionality. You must have a paid plan to access the integrations.
You have to decide between the higher-priced tiers to obtain eCommerce functionality. Pricing will be discussed in more detail, but you can get the same functionality (or better) elsewhere.
Cons of SITE123
However, it is impossible to review software without examining its negative aspects. There will be complaints about every piece of software. These are my experiences with SITE123
SITE123’s paid plans start at $12.80/month. This includes a custom domain for one year, the ability to connect to your domain, 10GB storage, 5GB bandwidth, 100 email messages, and the ability to send 100 emails (side note: who counts email messages? Your mailing list each month. You can also get rid of the SITE123 branding included with the free plan.
However, SITE123 is more expensive than their direct competitors such as Wix or Weebly (and even squarespace) and offers fewer features-to-feature. SITE123 does not allow unlimited storage or bandwidth at any stage. SITE123 does have a bundled online shop, which is an excellent feature for small stores.
SITE123 Premium plans are more expensive than those offered by competitors . They also come with more restrictions due to design and technical limitations.
Limited Feature Set – Design
There is always a compromise between convenience and control when using technology products.
This trade-off is evident when you consider the site creation with a website builder. Their website editor is very convenient. It is simple, quick, and not complicated. By creating a custom SITE123 template, you can focus on your content and not the template.
Here’s the problem: if you don’t like your template, it can be difficult to change it. SITE123 offers very few customization options if you need to customize the design beyond the basic elements.
You can change the color and font of your design to fit your theme.
You can create pages from premade layouts.
You cannot alter the layout. Drag and drop is not possible. You cannot drag and drop HTML or CSS.
It is almost impossible to modify the menu without modifying other elements of the website.
It can be described as a “paint-by numbers” setup. You can have the basics but you will need to add or modify things.
The design limitations of a website can make it difficult to grow or become a larger part of your business. This is unlike other website builders who attempt to fix this issue using apps, extensions or access the website code or HTML. A SITE123 website builder does not have that option.
Limited Feature set – Technical
Technical limitations can also be affected by design limitations. Technical limitations are features or functionality you don’t want until they’re actually needed. Then you realize you can’t have them.
These include social media integration with Facebook and Pinterest, Twitter, Google Ads and social sharing options. SITE123 offers additional features via plugins and the app market. However, due to the lack of control over the website, there are restrictions on how much you can add, modify, or integrate with the tools.
Let’s take, for example, the simple editing of SEO elements on a page. The STE123 allows me to add a site slogan and a description, but that’s all I can do plus basic SEO requires more.
It’s like the difference between making your own food and ordering from a restaurant.
SITE123 allows you to choose the ingredients for your burrito. However, your choices are limited by what is available at the restaurant. This can be good if you only need simple things, which is what we will always need. It can be very restrictive if you need to make changes or create something new or unique.
Culture and Lock-in
After looking at many companies in domain registration, Web hosting and website builders I realized that company culture, structure and policies can tell more about a customer’s long-term experience than any feature matrix.
Website builders are inherently global businesses. Every Internet company has remote workers and global data centers. Companies should not hide their stories or the purpose of their business. SITE123 is very vague about their history, policies, and the relationship you have with them as customers.
Here’s an example:
It is a sales page. Below are some FAQs.
Now, I understand that they offer a free hosted website builder. Website export is a problem for most website builders. Their messaging is very clear, with no offer to help downloading or scraping images files.
The cancellation policy is also very strange because it conflicts with the difficulty of providing website downloads. Hosted website builders services should be easily canceled. Forms should not be subject to manual review.
It extends to customer service. Customers are encouraged to DIY because it’s so vague.
Although they offer a live chat option, it is very sales-oriented after pushing customers towards a knowledge base solution. There are a few layers before you can actually reach their support staff.
This is not meant to be a non-issue. SITE123 may offer a great long-term experience. Unfortunately, long-term experiences that are not as good as the short-term ones can be correlated with difficult cancellation policies or vague pages.
SITE123 makes it easy to create an online presence, especially if you have a lot of coding knowledge. Their user interface is simple and the editor makes it easy to get your content online.
There are some trade-offs when using an all-inclusive web builder, including functionality, customization, control, and security. This is where SITE123 falls short compared to and other all-inclusive web builders. SITE123 might not be the right choice if you want to build a website that has a basic template, but allows you to customize design and functionality.
Are you unsure if SITE123 is right for your needs?