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.
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 entering 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.
uCoz admin panel is quite complicated comparing to the competition. It 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.
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, 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.
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 predesigned 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.
uCoz offers about 300 ready templates and a store of premium themes. Let’s face it, most templates are outdated. The good news is that their designers started adding new, responsive templates that have a more modern look. At the moment there are up to 50 beautiful templates that Google labels as ‘Mobile Friendly’ for the mobile search results.
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.
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 has an active Community Forum where newcomers can get help from the experienced webmasters. There’s also a system tour and a textbook.
uCoz is a freemium website builder. You can create and publish a website using a custom domain for free. But note that all free websites display a pretty noticeable advert. 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!