SITE123 belongs to those site builders, thanks to which the development of a professional website is now available practically for everyone. Many reviewers call the platform the #1 solution for creating simple sites. No skills required. No need for complex editing. No big expenses.
But is SITE123 so easy to use? Will it suit every website? Recently, I’ve worked on a website project for which I’ve used the platform under consideration. I’d like to share the results to let you understand the key benefits and drawbacks of SITE123.
Read my compact review till the end, and you’ll know if SITE123 is fitting for your business. I’m also going to describe the most useful features of the site builder, as well as indicate the ones that it lacks. So, let’s start.
SITE123 Quick Summary
SITE123 was launched by an Israeli team of developers in 2016. The idea was to let a user easily build and launch their websites, no matter which sort of site it is and how skilled the user is.
The site builder is made so that you don’t need to hire an expert. Instead, you can cope with the job yourself. Moreover, most of it will be done by SITE123 itself.
The platform has both a free plan and premium packages. So, theoretically, you can create a website without investing a penny. But don’t be too fast to put aside your funds – chances you’ll need to pay extras for quite ordinary things.
Let me list the main advantages and disadvantages of SITE123 I have come across when working with the service. You can benefit from the site builder thanks to these options:
- Absolute ease of use;
- Enough tools for selling products;
- Good loading speed and SEO;
- Multiple languages;
- Excellent technical support;
- A free plan.
Every site builder has weak points, and SITE123 is no exception. Pay attention to the following downsides in the first place:
- Limited customization;
- A tricky pricing model;
- The need to pay for quite common tools.
So, SITE123 is good for fast site-building when you need to run a workable website quickly, and its design uniqueness is not awfully important to you. On the other hand, if planning to construct a custom site supplied with complex features, you’d better search for another solution.
A visitor may feel puzzled with the fact that SITE123 does not give precise information about its plans. When you first click on Pricing on the official site, you see a free plan and “the most popular premium plan,” both with fuzzy explanations. However, the platform offers four prepaid packages together with the free one. What you need is to sign up and create a free website to see all the details about the available premium solutions for your project.
If you prefer the free option, be aware that your website will be yours forever. Its capacities will include 250 Mb storage, 250 Mb bandwidth, a SITE123 subdomain, and the most basic features enough for the simplest eCommerce or business.
You’ll have to upgrade to one of the premium packages to remove the SITE123 tags and connect a custom domain. Surely, the upgrade is also necessary to increase your website’s capacities and provide it with more functionality.
I think the free plan is especially inconvenient for newbies who cannot measure their website’s needs at once. So, there can be a situation when they have to buy one feature after another, and their online site “for free” or for “a reasonable price” might turn into a too expensive undertaking.
Still, I think the SITE123 free plan is a good solution for small, moderate projects. They include startups, freelancer websites, and individual entrepreneurs aimed at conducting the simplest payment transactions.
For a more ambitious project, the other four premium plans obviously offer better value for money. Let’s have a quick survey of them:
Prices indicated above are offered for the US residents. It’s important to underline here that SITE123 has quite an interesting pricing policy. The thing is that the cost of plans depends upon the IP used when upgrading to the selected account. The specific pricing for each location may vary based on factors such as taxes, currency exchange rates and local market demand.
This means that you can use VPN to switch to any location, view the available prices and pick the option that works best for you. In other words, you can save a lot depending on the IP selected. The quality of services and the features/tools included in each plan remain the same.
It’s also important to note that SITE123 may occasionally offer promotions or discounts (especially for first-time users), which may also affect the pricing for the plans.
When choosing a suitable subscription, pay attention to the terms offered. SITE123 has plans for 1, 3, 12 months and up to 10 years. They all differ in tools, services, features and discounts included. The longer the period, the bigger the discount will be. SITE123 also guarantees 14-day money back for any of its prepaid packages.
Having analyzed the available offers and terms, we have concluded that the 3-months subscription is worth user attention most. It’s just that 1 month may not be enough to completely explore the entire integrated feature set of the service, while getting the annual subscription is quite a risky investment for a beginner.
Thus, a 3-months package will make it possible to understand what exactly the website builder has to offer and to decide on its further application for your website creation. Have a look at the prices of plans included in this offer:
The cost of the plans is higher here, of course, as compared to the annual package yet this is not that crucial when it comes to choosing a website builder for a long-term use.
Building a Website on SITE123
SITE123 will let you build a site in no time. You indicate the purpose of your future website, choose a template, add the necessary content and plugins, and that’s it. Your website is ready to go online. You won’t have to edit the code.
For a more advanced user, this is certainly a drawback. However, if you are a total beginner in web design and site-building, SITE123 is ideal for you. Actually, the platform will do the entire job instead of you.
The bad news is that SITE123 allows pretty limited customization. Its editor doesn’t support Drag & Drop, and you won’t be able to move elements on your chosen template. You’ll have to take it as it is.
The platform’s interface is rather simplistic. Just after you have opened an account on SITE123, you’ll be redirected to the editor. It will guide you through the process of creating a website, and the whole procedure requires minimum effort on your part.
Then, you’ll get access to your Dashboard. through which you’ll be able to manage your site and upgrade to a premium plan. It contains the following sections:
- Edit – for applying certain changes to your website’s design;
- Settings – here, the content depends on your plan. Through it, you can create duplicate sites in other languages, access SEO tools, watch statistics, connect plugins, and more;
- Domain – for connecting a custom domain to your website;
- Upgrade – for choosing a prepaid plan and thus extending your site’s functionality.
So, the SITE123 interface is beginner-friendly. Practically everyone can cope with all the functions almost intuitively. However, I cannot say the same about the editor – modifying your website’s design might puzzle you.
You’ll have a choice of over 150 themes on SITE123. You may soon find out that there’s one and the same pattern used in all of them. Yet, these are beautiful, professionally designed templates – SEO optimized and adaptable to desktop and mobile gadgets.
Your customization permissions will be extremely limited. However, for a web design starter, this might even be a kind of benefit. You simply cannot spoil anything in your chosen SITE123 theme, so your website will look good anyway.
SITE123 Website Design
As I’ve mentioned, you cannot expect much freedom in modifying the design of your website. When choosing a template, you (or rather the AI Editor) predefine most of its structure. So, the best part of the elements won’t be movable or available for great changes.
Still, it isn’t necessarily bad, especially when you aren’t a site-building guru and need a fast and reliable solution for your project. Take it as if you hired a web designer and fully relied on their choice in styles, color schemes, block arrangement, etc. Since this option can be completely free of charge, many users are sure to appreciate such an approach.
It doesn’t mean you cannot make changes at all. As to colors, you can pick one of the predetermined color palettes worked out by the SITE123 designer team. The same is true for the layout. In most templates, you’ll be offered 3+ variants of menus and main blocks’ positions, buttons’ forms, and so on.
Frankly, I wasn’t 100% happy with the SITE123 editor. Without Drag & Drop, this wasn’t the easiest interface I worked with. In terms of editing text or changing backgrounds, there exist site builders with clearer interfaces.
On the other hand, I found the SITE123 image editor very effective. I liked the ease of uploading photos from the computer or popular image banks and online galleries.
All templates on SITE123 are SEO-friendly. That is, you can expect your website to be ranked high by Google, Yahoo, and other search engines even without making any changes.
However, you can use the SEO Adviser to improve the metadata on your pages. You can access it through the Dashboard in the Settings menu. It will scan your website and suggest improvements, though the instrument won’t suggest any keywords.
You’ll be able to make basic changes like editing meta titles, meta descriptions, and page URLs, as well as adding alt text to pictures. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find any side add-on for analyzing or improving SEO. This was a certain drawback for me, but the SITE123 SEO tools might be enough for many small project users.
Is this or that site constructor good for a blogger, an online store, or a business company? It depends heavily on the feature set available with the platform. So, let’s observe how feature-rich SITE123 is.
Is it possible to launch an online store based on SITE123? The answer is yes, but you’ll definitely need to subscribe to a premium plan. And I believe it should be at least the Professional package.
Thus, you’ll add a shopping cart to your website, but this plan will only allow you 500 orders per month. Only the most expensive plan – Gold – will let you have an unlimited number of orders. Other options will include the ability to create coupons for your customers, let them compile wish lists, recover abandoned carts, and so on.
SITE123 allows connecting various payment gateways to your e-store. Their list includes at least PayPal, Authorize.net, Stripe, and many more. You’ll find handy manuals on how to add any of these systems to your site. One more nice instrument is the Variants tool. It lets you make several versions of the same product in your store.
Marketing & Analytics Features
From an email marketing perspective, SITE123 is not the best choice. Its emailing options are pretty limited. You’ll get access to the most common features needed to organize effective email campaigns only when subscribed to at least the Advanced package.
SITE123 offers an interesting set of marketing and analytical apps which you can integrate into your website. These are tools like Google Ads, Google Analytics, LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Pixel, and others. However, the number of such apps could be larger. Built-in reports from SITE123 will be available starting from the Professional plan.
Features for Blogging
You can run a simple blog on SITE123. Its templates might fit, and the platform will arm your blog website with post management tools, a scheduling instrument, a search feature, a comment system, an RSS feed, and other basic features.
But many of the essentials you would expect to find on the platform are absent here. Thus, you won’t be able to create an archive or categories. However, SITE123 offers enough tools for monetizing your blog. They include paid ads, the ability to sell products, etc.
So, SITE123 is a good option for small projects that do not need sophisticated features and plugins to run their activities.
What SITE123 does need to improve is its level of integration. While the platform offers over twenty apps for analytics, you won’t find a lot of marketing plugins here. There’s a big choice of support/chatting apps, but you are sure to miss such add-ons like Zapier or Mailchimp.
The only way to cut the knot is to use custom code and thus provide your website with all the necessary plugins. But this mission won’t be an easy undertaking for a beginner. So, this might be the trouble spot on the SITE123 usability.
Publishing a Website on SITE123
You can publish your website just today. It is enough to open a free account by clicking on the Start Here icon. Then, you create a site for free and finally make it public.
SITE123 will supply it with a subdomain and free hosting. Later, you can switch to a premium plan to connect your own domain or purchase the custom one from SITE123, add more features to your website, etc.
When you press the Publish button, the system will warn you that all the changes made will be shown on your website, and users can visit it using the corresponding URL. At this point, you can also share your site on social media networks. One more option is the ability to publish the site as many times as you wish. For instance, you can launch specific language versions of your website.
SITE123 Technical Support
Not many site builders will offer you such quality support as SITE123. At any stage of creating or managing your website, you can expect proper responsiveness from the team. When having any trouble, you can contact a specialist by using the following means:
- Online Chat 24/7;
- Phone number.
However, I think every user (even without site-building experience) can cope with most problems themselves. For this, they can visit the platform’s Support Center and Learning Center with the most extensive knowledge base. Here, every aspect of website development is explained in simple words and supplied with very useful screenshots.
SITE123 Review: Verdict
SITE123 is addressed to ordinary users with very limited web design knowledge in the first place. Small-budget companies and startup entrepreneurs can also benefit from it. The vital advantages of the platform include ease of use and freebies.
In fact, you can create the simplest website with a minimum of features and plugins in no time and launch it at once. And it will be workable! Surely, the functional possibilities of such a website will be pretty moderate, especially when subscribing to the free plan.
SITE123 won’t be an optimal solution for you if your project requires a lot of specific features and add-ons. You should know that even a prepaid SITE123 plan can be insufficient for your complex eCommerce or business website. Moreover, you’ll need to deal with code anyway to connect extras absent in the SITE123 Marketplace.