Site123 Review

July 5, 2018

11:22 am

Rating

60%

Features:3 stars
Design Flexibility:3 stars
Value For Money:2 stars
Help & Support:3 stars
Customer Score:3 stars
Ease of Use:4 stars

Pros
  • Makes it incredibly fast to build a website
  • Easy to integrate apps and widgets
  • Speedy and helpful ADI system
Cons
  • Slightly dull templates
  • Restrictive template approach
  • Editor function lacks depth

A fast but ultimately limited way to build a website

Site123 is a website builder that can give you a decent-looking website in literally a few minutes. Although it has a few quirks that keep it from being one of the best website builders around, this is certainly a speedy and easy to use tool for web publishing.

It claims to be “By far the easiest free website builder” – a bold claim, given the success of website builders like Wix and Squarespace. Site123 is certainly simple to use, though – it lets you create a fully functioning website, blog or online store without any design or coding skills.

Unlike a lot of other website builders, Site123 forgoes a drag-and-drop editing system in favour of a very straightforward sidebar editing system. You also get access to a wide range of apps and elements as well as a huge library of stock photos, all of which can be published on your website.

In this review:

What is Site123?

Website builders are designed to take the pain out of constructing a website, and Site123 is no different – it can give your business, blog, or store an online presence in a matter of moments.

By removing the coding and designing aspects, Site123 makes creating, editing and maintaining a website incredibly straightforward – turning something incredibly complicated into a matter of a few clicks.

In fact, Site123 claims to be easier than most of its competitors by taking care of a lot of the work in the background, leaving you to get on with adding your content and editing your site’s design. This sounds great, but we found some mixed success in how it’s implemented.

Want to find out more about website builders – How much they cost, how they work and which one is right for you? Check out our What Is A Website Builder guide now

Getting Started with Site123

Site123 Website Builder Industry picker tool

As Site123 sells itself on ease of use, so it’s unsurprising that setting up an account is remarkably straightforward. You simply create an account (you can even sign in with a Google or Facebook account), then choose what sort of website you want to create.

You pick a name and a template for your site to get started – the templates on offer will be smartly filtered based on the type of website you want to create.

Next is a very quick introduction to the sidebar functions and which aspects of the website they control – then you’re off to the races.

If you want to stick to a free plan, there’s no need to add a credit card (unlike, say, GoDaddy, which demands one). You will be automatically signed-up to the rolling free plan and you’ll get given a domain based on the name of your website – in our case it was “headphones.co.site123.com” for our imaginary online headphones store.

It is, even for a website builder that prides itself on simplicity, remarkably straightforward and swift. We managed to create the shell of our website in far less than five minutes.

Site123: The Good

Site123 is best suited to someone who wants a very specific, pared-down version of a website builder.

Very Straightforward Editor

Instead of a drag-and-drop editor (favored by most website builders), Site123 uses a sidebar-controlled system. It feels, initially, like an unusual approach, but it becomes second nature in no time.

You can change the layout of each page by navigating through a series of submenus (all of which are explained at the outset) and then you’re free to add content, images and videos.

Speedy Setup

It’s remarkably fast to create a website on Site123. If you need to get online quickly, ahead of all other considerations, then Site123 might be the perfect website builder for you.

Strong eCommerce

Setting up an online store is very straightforward. In fact, when you select an online store template, Site123 takes care of most of the setup for you. All you have to do is add the products and any stock-keeping tracking you might want to have.

Fast ADI

ADI stands for Artificial Design Intelligence – it’s basically the way website builders interpret the information you give them. From this, the website builder creates a template specifically for your website.

Site123’s ADI will help you build the specific type of website you’re after, in the industry you’re looking to operate in. It’ll also pre-load some content, like your website’s name and contact details as well as adding example products or blog posts.

Site123: The Not-So-Good

As we mentioned above, Site123 isn’t perfect and won’t suit everyone, particularly if you have a strong design eye.

Site123 Templates

If we’re honest, Site123’s templates are a little bit predictable. None of them jump out and grab you, like some of Squarespace’s do, for example.

They’re not bad, and they provide a perfectly acceptable user experience. But these days, users expect to build and use websites with a little bit of sparkle.

The templates, as well as being uninspiring, don’t allow for much customization. You can change the basic layout of each page within the templates, but there are typically only five or six layouts to choose from – and most simply change the position of your images.

This is where the lack of a drag-and-drop editor really shows.

Slightly Confusing Sidebar

Finding your way around the sidebar editor is a bit confusing. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where the element you want to change is held – is it in the Pages menu? Or in the Design menu?

You’ll likely get used to after a while, but it shouldn’t be this hard for first-timers to using the service.

Site123 Pricing

There’s a free package with Site123, and it might be better to start with that to find out if it is the right website builder for you – but don’t get too invested if you’re not sure, as you cannot easily export your published website to a different hosting platform.

The four paid packages are:

  • Basic – this costs $9.80 per month for a year, and it’ll give you access to ecommerce functions – but only allow 10 orders per month, restrict you to 10GB storage for videos and images, and give you 5GB bandwidth – if we’re honest, this isn’t a great choice. It’s way too limited for most needs, and leaves Site123 branding on your site.
  • Advanced – this will set you back $15.80 per month for a year. It’ll remove the Site123 footer tag, triple the storage and bandwidth and allow 50 orders per month.
  • Professional – $21.80 per month for a year. Triples storage and bandwidth again, 500 orders per month and allows three additional languages – we’d expect unlimited orders at this price.
  • Gold – $27.80 per month for a year. Unlimited orders, but 270GB storage and up to 10,000 mailing list messages. It’s better, but expensive for this level of features.

The Verdict

Site123 is far from perfect – it doesn’t allow you levels of customization which, by now, have become de rigueur in the world of website builders. However, what it lacks in customization options it gains in being straightforward.

Still, if you want to run an online store, and don’t mind the slightly expensive packages, Site123 might have everything you’re after.

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Tom Fogden is a writer for Tech.Co covering everything from website builders to mobile phones. He also loves soccer, probably too much.

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