Website Builder Review

Website.com

Website.com offers everything you need to build an online presence, from domain name to website editor and email addresses. With hundreds of templates to choose from, an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor, pre-formatted layouts, powerful built-in widgets, and fully-integrated 3rd party applications, you can easily build a personal or business website in a few clicks. Website.com also takes the standard website building features and brings them to the new level – free domain name registration for the lifetime of your subscription, free Connect your domain and free A/B Testing with Google Analytics. Website.com has certainly found themselves a place in the league with some of the big-name players.

Summary of Pros

  1. Easy-to-use editor
    Website.com's site editor is extremely user-friendly. Its simple and clean interface makes it very intuitive for users of any experience- and skill-level. The editor has all the standard features – blog, contact forms, photo gallery, calendars, maps, social buttons and more. There is also plenty of fully-integrated third party applications such as Skype button, Paypal, SoundCloud and SetMore. Plus, you can always use the HTML element to embed custom codes onto your website. The editor also comes with various managers to help you manage your uploaded images and files, form data and site members.
  2. Live support
    Website.com offers live support via phone (toll-free) and chat to all users, regardless of the subscribed plan.
  3. Google Marketing Tool integration
    SEO is more than just putting a domain name and website on the Internet and Website.com comes with a variety of tools that can help boast your website's visibility online and on Google. You can easily incorporate various Google Marketing tools on your website, and if you are already using Google Analytics, you can use Website.com to easily conduct A/B testing and optimize the conversion rates for your web pages – a feature that is not offered by other website builders at this time.
  4. Free domain name
    Website.com offers a free domain name registration complete with domain email services on all its subscription plans. While other website builders give you a free 1-year domain registration, Website.com extends the free registration of your domain name to the lifetime of your website builder subscription plan – so as long as you remain with Website.com, your domain name will be renewed for you free of charge.

Summary of Cons

  1. No image editor
    Website.com's image editor is quite disappointing, especially when compared to website builders that offer an integrated Aviary editor. Website.com offers the standard editing functions such as crop, rotate, pan and zoom. But if you are looking for special effects and filters, you are better off to edit the image using Photoshop or other programs prior to uploading the image to your website.
  2. Cannot swap templates
    Website.com does allow you to change templates anytime, but existing content will not be transferred over and you will need to add your content all over again. While this may be an inconvenience for some, it is already more flexible than the Wix editor, where it is impossible to switch templates during the editing process.
  3. Limited template customization
    While Website.com has an extensive library of customizable templates, they don't offer the flexibility to alter the design through the HTML or CSS codes of the template. Template customization is limited to changing the color scheme, background color/image and font styles.
Website Builder Review - Website.com

Plans & Pricing

Website.com offers three premium plans and one free plan.

  • Click to see https://www.website.com/pricing/

Website.com doesn't have any restrictions on where your domain name is registered (ie. you certainly don't have to purchase your domain name from them), and connecting your domain name to your website is free on all plans. Of course, if you are planning on purchasing a new domain name, we strongly recommend you consider the premium plans, as they all come with a free domain name registration.

All premium plans are ad-free and offer unlimited number of pages for you to create. Plus, all premium plans come with a free 1-year new domain name registration. Note that while other website builders also offer free domain name registrations with a paid plan, Website.com kicks it up a notch by extending the free registration of your domain name to the lifetime of your website builder subscription plan – so as long as you are subscribed to the Website.com premium plan, your domain name will be renewed for you free change.

The Website.com Personal plan is offered at $7/month on a 1-year subscription term, you get a free domain name, unlimited pages, unlimited monthly traffic allowance, and the removal of ad links. However, because it is designed for personal websites, you don't get eCommerce features nor custom domain emails. You can sign up for a 2-year term at a discounted price of $6/month, and if you don't want to commit to an annual contract, there is also a month-to-month option at $9/month with a $15 one-time setup fee.

The next level up is the Business Plan and it unlocks the domain email features, allowing you to create up to 3 custom domain email accounts. Additional email features include webmail access from your account dashboard, POP3 and IMAP support, and spam and virus protection. The Business Plan is offered at $11/month, billed annually. There is also a 2-year term for a discounted price of $10/month and a no-commitment month-to-month option for $15/month with a $15 one-time setup fee.

The top tier eCommerce Plan unlocks the eCommerce features which allow you to create a full-fucntion online store (with online payment processing). Plus, the eCommerce Plan is designed for power users who require additional domain email accounts. The plan builds upon the Business Plan with the inclusion of additional email accounts – up to 10 custom domain email accounts. The plan is offered at $20/month, billed annually.

There is also a 2-year term for a discounted price of $19/month. If you don't want to commit to a yearly term, there is a month-to-month option for $39.95/month with a $15 one-time setup fee.

While Website.com's pricing is comparable to many other competitors, Website.com offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of their premium plans, which is longer than the standard 14-day period that many site builders such as Squarespace offers, giving you more time to try out their editor and features.

Website Builder Review - Website.com

Templates

Website.com offers hundreds of impressive and modern design templates that span over 10 main categories. Once you choose the relevant category, you will be presented with a selection of high quality template options for each sub-category.

Website.com lets you see a full preview of the template before selecting it or even committing. You can play around with the functionality of the template, click on pages and buttons, navigate all over the preview site, and more. This allows you to choose a template with more confidence.

  • Click to see the Website.com's template library

All Website.com's templates are fully-customizable. Although you do not have access to the template's HTML or CSS codes, you can customize the template's color scheme, background image and color, font and text styles. For example, Website.com offers an extensive collection of pre-designed color schemes that you can simply click and apply to your entire website. Each color scheme can be further customized – you can change any color on the palette – allowing you to easily transform a template to match your business' brand.

Font-wise, Website.com offers all the standard web-safe fonts as well as a selection of Google Web Fonts.

When using the Website.com editor, you will notice that there is almost no limitations on where you can drag and drop elements. Another website editor that allows this is Wix. While you are allowed to place elements literally anywhere on your webpage, one shortcoming of this model is when you should decide to switch templates during the design process – any content you have added to your design will not be transferred over.

Another drawback is Website.com's templates are not responsive in the true sense. However, all templates are mobile-ready and fully-compatible with mobile and handheld devices. This means you will have a mobile-version of your website and you can use the built-in mobile editor to customize your mobile website.

If you are subscribed to the Website.com Business or eCommerce plan and are not sure where to begin with your website, there is an add-on Jumpstart Web Design Service , a custom website design service that you can add to your plan for $10. Unfortunately, this offer is only available to the Business or eCommerce plan subscribers. SiteBuilder.com and WebsiteBuilder.com also offers similar custom design service, but they are much more expensive – at $249 and upwards. Website.com's custom design service is definitely much more affordable.

  • Click to watch this video to see how the $10 Web Design works
Website Builder Review - Website.com

Editor

Website.com's interface is very similar to that of Website Builder and Weebly – it's clean and organized. Website.com doesn't overwhelm you with excessive tools and the interface is never cluttered. Everything you need to build your website is right on the left of the editor.

Unlike Wix or Website Builder, Website.com doesn't offer that many bells and whistles when it comes to the customization of elements. But because everything is very straightforward users of all experience- and skill-level will find it very intuitive and easy to use.

Website.com's platform uses "absolute positioning", allowing you to drag and drop elements literally anywhere on your web pages. This gives you a lot of control as well as creative flexibility and freedom. For example, you can freely drag, change and edit elements in the header. The only exception to this is the pre-structured app pages (such as blog, calendar, shopping cart). For these pre-structured app pages, you get a selection of different layouts, but you won't be able to add elements or modules into the content area of these pages.

Website.com's editor comes with a variety of tools and standard features of a website builder, and one thing that differentiates it from the other site builders – Website.com offers multi-language support. While other site builders only support Latin-based characters (for example, English), you can build a website with non-Latin based characters, such as Chinese or Arabic.

Website Builder Review - Website.com

Features & Apps

Membership system
Website.com offers all the standard applications and widgets, including:
  • Photo gallery
  • Image slideshow
  • Video (supports both upload and embed from YouTube and Vimeo)
  • Audio (supports both upload and embed from SoundCloud)
  • Shopping cart with integrated PayPal online payment processor
  • Calendar and SetMore event scheduling
  • Buttons
  • Contact forms and MailChimp form integration
  • Google map
  • Social media integration (including Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest)
  • eBay widgets
  • Google Search and Google Translate

When it comes to advanced applications, Website.com falls short of Wix and Weebly – Website.com doesn't offer any app market for third-party widgets and apps. But if you need to add additional plug-ins, you can always do so using the custom HTML option. This way, you can easily add extras such as Google tools, QR codes, Open Table, FourSquare, and much more.

Membership system

Website.com allows you to start your own membership-like website. You can easily create password-protected pages that requires a password to access a page, or you can make the page members-only and viewers will need to login with their ID and password. Note that members cannot signup directly from your website – you will need to either send them an email where they can set their own login credentials or manually add the new member and assign them a password.

However, unlike Webs, you won't be able to send out email blasts to all your members.

Form builder

Website.com comes with a highly customizable contact form. You can add as many form fields as you want, and customize each one by selecting from fourteen different field types.

In addition, you can customize settings such as security and protection (such as CAPTCHA), custom confirmation message (via email and/or on page), as well as notification settings.

Website.com also offers a in-builder form data management tool where you can view and edit all form data collected.

Website Builder Review - Website.com

Working with Images

When it comes to adding images to your website, Website.com allows you to add a single image or an image strip. For image/photo galleries, there are four gallery layouts to choose. You can also add a pre-structured photo gallery page, then your gallery will get a few more layout options.

Once you've uploaded your images and photos, Website.com will save them in your account's File Manager so you can easily access them later on. You can further organize your images into custom folders in your File Manager.

Image editing is probably one of the weaker areas of Website.com. It offers the standard functions such as pan and zoom, crop, rotate and add caption. But that's it. If you are looking for special effects and filters, then you're better off to edit the image using Photoshop or other programs prior to uploading them to your editor.

Website Builder Review - Website.com

eCommerce

Website.com offers an integrated online store application on their Ecommerce plan.

The online store application, Website.com Store Manager, comes with easy-to-use ecommerce features, including full control over product listings, online payment processors (PayPal and Stripe), customizable tax and shipping settings, mobile-optimized checkout, and Google Analytics tracking. Simply put, Website.com’s Store Manager comes with everything you need to design your website and store, as well as manage your products and orders, all within the same dashboard. Unlike many other ecommerce website builders, Website.com does not charge transaction fees. Note that Website.com does not support digital/downloadable products.

However, if you need a more powerful all-inclusive ecommerce solution, then you might find Website.com’s ecommerce feature lacking. For example, it lacks the integrated FedEx and UPS shipping that some builders include, and it doesn’t boast a 20+ payment gateway support.

Website Builder Review - Website.com

SEO and Google Marketing Tools Integration

Up until now, SEO has been one of Website.com's weaker offerings. Perhaps that's why they have recently beefed up their SEO features. First off, all Website.com premium plans come with a free domain name. They also offer a detailed resource article on tips to optimize your SEO performance. Check out this Easy Search Engine Optimization article!

For those who are already using Google Analytics, Website.com allows you to use your website editor to tag your call to actions as events and thus allow Google Analytics to track their activities. By using events, you can see how each of your call to action is performing through Google Analytics.

You can also use the Website.com editor in conjunction with Google Analytics to perform A/B tests on your landing pages. You can track your events, conversion data and other metrics for each of your landing pages to better conversion optimization.

Website Builder Review - Website.com

Domain & Emails

Website.com offers a free domain name registration with all of its premium plans. While other website builders also give you a free domain name, the offer is only for the first year of the domain registration and if you want to continue to use the domain name, it will be subject to renewal at the then-current rates.

Website.com, on the other hand, your domain name is free to use for the duration of your website builder subscription.

Users on the Business and eCommerce plans can also enjoy custom domain email services. Included in these two plans is the ability to setup personalized email address such as [email protected] And unlike other website builders where you need to connect your email address to a Gmail or Office365 account, Website.com gives you a webmail interface that you can access right from your account dashboard.

Website Builder Review - Website.com

Support

Website.com also has an online knowledgebase that all users can access from within the editor dashboard.

Additional support channels are also available to subscribers on the Website.com premium plans. These include email ticketing system, live chat and phone support.

For additional tips, updates and inspirations, Website.com has a YouTube channel YouTube channel and a website builder and design library that houses an extensive collection of resourceful articles and tutorials.

Website Builder Review - Website.com

Conclusion

Website.com's site builder interface is very user-friendly and it offers hundreds of modern, mobile-ready templates. But a few things that truly set Website.com apart from competitors are support system, free for life domain name, and integration of Google Marketing tools.

Areas where Website.com falls weak includes the lack of an integrated advanced image editor and the inability to customize templates at the code level.