uCoz Website Builder
uCoz is one of the oldest website builders out there. It has come a long way since its launch in 2005, morphing from a promising startup into a top website builder that powers more than 1M websites all over the world.
Featuring ease of use, convenience, flexibility and nice performance, the website builder comes up to the needs of diverse user categories. The service is a great bet for entrepreneurs, bloggers, creatives, freelancers and other people, who face the need to get a decent website and look for simple yet functional web building tools. Newbies and web design pros can use the system to launch their projects, though, it may take some time to get used to it. This is especially true, when it comes to users, who can’t boast decent web design skills or years of niche expertise.
Recently, I came across an updated uCoz review published on SuperbWebsiteBuilders and realised that it’s time to re-appraise this web service.
Ease of Use
Frankly speaking, it’s not as simple and straightforward as it’s painted. Registration process is longer and requires more personal details than you would nowadays expect (on many other platforms all you need to start building a website is you email and password). You can’t skip these fields. They’re all obligatory. Luckily, you don’t have to specify your payment details.
The control panel of the service is quite user-friendly and convenient, but it’s still a bit more complicated than those of popular system competitors like Wix or uKit, for example. It may take some time to get used to it as uCoz implies a slight learning curve, but when you are done with that, you’ll be able to efficiently use the service for your unique web design needs. The admin panel has got a new modern skin, but still doesn’t offer a pure WYSIWYG editing environment – so grasping its logic requires some time and practice. The good news is that it’s really worth the effort. Once you understand how it works, you’ll be able to create a unique, complex website.
If you’re completely satisfied with your template, editing your site won’t require any coding – everything will be done via a point-and-click interface. But if you want to customize the design, at least basic HTML/CSS knowledge will be required.
uCoz is a module-based system, which means that you’ll have to pick and arrange multiple content blocks to form your website layout. Don’t worry about the choice of modules – you’ll be able to add/delete any of them after the completion of the project or on any stage of its development. Right after the choice of the themes, you’ll able to proceed to more detailed website customization. All in all, working with uCoz is not that difficult, although, the service requires some preparation. A bit of experience is desirable as well.
While their admin panel could be more user-friendly, their overall flexibility gets a high score. uCoz is the most flexible website builder I’ve ever worked with: it is based on a system of modules which you can enable/disable and combine in any way to build the right website type. These include: Forum, Blog, Site News, Polls, Mini Chat, Social Media Publisher, Ad Board, FAQ, Photo Album, Guest Book, Tests, Users, Page Editor, File Catalogue, Web Polls and more. All these modules are free, except for the Online Shop. SEO Module and Social Media Publisher have both free and premium versions.
uCoz is a versatile website builder – it can be used to create any type of a website. For instance, if you want to build a blog – turn on the Blog and Social Media Publisher module; to set up a portfolio, enable the Photo Albums module; to start a webstore, activate the Online Shop. You can mix and match these building blocks as you want.
What I like most about this website builder is the depth of customization it provides. Each module comes with lots of settings to fine tune your site. The Blog module, for example, lets you create scheduled posts, automatically share them via connected social media, add multiple authors, and more.
The Users module is probably the key advantage of uCoz over the competition. It lets your visitors create profiles within your website. You can then approve these profiles and determine access rights for each user group/individual user.
When it comes to eCommerce, uCoz definitely ranks high. To some extent, the website builder can be considered a decent competitor to lots of specialized web store building software due to the set of niche features and tools it offers. The eCommerce module of the system, which is also known as uShop, looks professional and full-featured to such an extent that it really makes sense to review the platform as the system that can be used to launch different types of web stores – those that sell digital and physical products with multiple characteristics and parameters presented in details. uCoz can effectively cope with the development of bulky wholesale online stores with thousands of products offered for sale.
When using uCoz for eCommerce web building needs, you will come across multiple niche modules and settings you should modify to reach the objectives you have initially set. However, as you start customizing them, you’ll realize that all the information and features are logically-structured and fall into lots of blocks. Due to the YML file support option, you’ll be able to create the AliExpress web stores to partner with. This option makes it possible to set up your own dropshipping business, selling the products offered by other companies at one of the world popular marketplaces, taking the retail margin for these services. These are the major features that make uShop a decent choice for online retailers.
Speaking about other popular modules, it makes sense to mention Forum, SSL Certificate and SEO modules. What you should know is that uCoz is currently the only website builder that lets you start a full-featured forum. What’s more, the system allows connecting a Forum to any existing website, which is another undeniable advantage of the platform. Whatever option you will go for, reach the control panel of the website builder to activate the Forum module on a free basis. As soon as you are done with the task, you may start customizing the website, making use of the rich forum-related feature set. Thus, you can specify unique forum rules, modify the state of the website (it may be active, closed etc.), attach unique forum icons, adjust password settings and perform other required actions. Additionally, it is possible to adjust forum-wide features, including icons and buttons, number of posts or threads per page, number of entries, the maximum size of files you can upload, user group permissions, the number of files users may upload at a time and more. If your coding skills are on a decent level, you can make use of the code embedding option to give your forum unique design and high end performance.
Speaking about SSL Certification Module, the feature will help enhance your website security. SEO Module, in its turn, will positively contribute to your website search engine promotion. Whatever type of website you are going to launch, you won’t go without installing these modules.
All in all, in terms of flexibility and extensibility, uCoz makes a great impression. It offers the power of a full-featured CMS. The only downside is that it takes time to learn the system.
Unlike the competition which limits users to creating a website only using pre-designed building blocks, uCoz opens up the codes allowing for deeper customization. If you’re handy with codes, you can customize your uCoz website endlessly.
You can connect your own, previously purchased domain even when using their free plan, while with most site builders you have to upgrade your account to get this possibility. You may also purchase an SLD through uCoz. The Optimal, Maximal and Shop yearly plans come with a free domain name if you choose to pay for 6 months/a full year.
uCoz generates standards-compliant, semantic code that is optimized for SEO. Not so long ago they also added a new module designed specifically for SEO purposes – SEO Module. It allows to set up custom URLs for modules, categories, and individual posts, as well as enable 301 redirects within a website.
What you should know is that some of the features of the SEO module are available for free, but there are also those nuances you can’t avail without subscribing to one of the higher plans the system offers. To be precise, the full version of the module granting access to the entire feature set will become available after you upgrade to the Optimal Plan.
There is nothing special about the promotion of uCoz based websites – the major principles standard for most contemporary website builders, remain unchanged. To get to the top positions in the search engine results, creating a website only is not enough. You’ll have to take care of its content and development. To boost SEO results, you’ll need to fill your website with unique texts and images, fill out meta tags, create friendly URLs, optimize pictures to meet the major search engine requirements, take care of the proper interlinking as well as of social network promotion, creation of external links to your website from other quality platforms and analysis of the major website parameters needed to track its performance.
What’s important, uCoz websites are quickly indexed by Google due to the flexibility and functionality of the website builder. The platform can boast a broad range of integrated web promotion tools that contribute to decent SEO optimization result.
uCoz offers about 400 ready templates and a store of premium themes subdivided into more than 20 template categories based on the topics they are related to. The quality of the themes notably varies based on the time of their development. Designs that were created over 10 years ago and more look certainly outdated, but there are also modern templates, which are responsive by default and comply with contemporary web design requirements. These themes look stylish and trendy and the system developers keep working on the creation of new advanced templates.
Because uCoz uses the so-called ‘box’ editing principle where your content is being added to certain ‘containers’ that make up the theme itself, it makes it easy for users to switch free templates anytime.
If you want to go beyond what is offered in the free library or premium templates store, you can design your website yourself or hire someone to do that for you. What’s more, you can start making money creating custom templates for uCoz.
The website builder pays serious attention to the code editing option. If you wish to give your website unique look, you are welcome to edit the available codes. Thus, you can edit the codes of blog comments, material list page, web page access form and what not. Mind that each module you pick and integrate into your website comes with a list of elements and blocks you may choose to make the edits. This means that design customization options uCoz provides are close to unlimited for those users, who have good command of programming languages and know how to use them to the advantage.
uCoz has always been a strong player in terms of security of their websites and accounts. It has become even more so after the release of HTTPS. An SSL certificate is installed by default on a number of system domains (you just need to enable it), and you can also install an individual certificate for your custom domain.
uCoz is currently available in 16 full-fledged language localizations. Customer support is realized in Russian, English, Romanian, Portuguese, Hungarian and Ukrainian languages through the application of the ticketing system. The system also offers an active Community Forum where newcomers can get help from the experienced webmasters. Newcomers may take a system tour or look through the textbook, video tutorials, step-by-step guidelines and helpful articles that provide them with explicit information about all stages of website creation with uCoz.
uCoz is a freemium website builder. You can create and publish a website using a custom domain for free. Even though, the free version does not require any credit card data to get started and is never-expiring, it still displays the system copyright and a pretty noticeable ad at websites created with it. Mind this crucial nuance when making the choice. Paid plans include Minimal ($2.99), Basic ($5.99), Optimal ($8.99), Shop ($9.99) and Maximal ($15.99).
Possible Drawbacks: Free websites display a pretty noticeable third-party banner. The system has a steep learning curve. No drag-and-drop editing.
The strongest side: The best thing about uCoz is its flexibility. You can build any kind of a website with it: a blog, a business website, a portfolio, a webstore, a forum etc. It’s highly customizable: users have full code access. uCoz allows you to use your own domain name even when on their free plan (uCoz and Zoho Sites are the only site builders offering such a cool feature at no cost).
I think this site builder is very robust and functional, but it definitely lacks modern touch. Even though uCoz have recently started modernizing the builder, there is still enough room for improvement. I wouldn’t recommend it to those looking for pure drag’n’drop and WYSIWYG platforms. It’s more a platform for advanced users.
Actually, I have very mixed feelings about uCoz. I’m really impressed at how flexible the system is, but I also realize that it has some pain points, mainly of user experience variety. Anyway, I think it is seriously worth looking at.
uCoz user? Share your experience in the comments!