Who Are SiteBuilder
SiteBuilder are still relatively young as far as website builder platforms go. Initially launching in late 2014 as a brand by WZ (UK) LTD, and later acquired by EIG in Q2 of 2015. While EIG group are the major shareholder, and Sitebuilder is listed on EIG’s site as one of their brands, it still operates under the WZ (UK) LTD banner, as disclosed in Sitebuilders Ts&Cs. EIG, or Endurance International Group were Founded in 1997 and have grown at a massive pace since through their own brands, and an accumulation of mergers and acquisitions. Their mission, in their own words is to “provide small business owners with the tools they need to establish and build their web presence, get found in online search, and connect with customers through social media, email marketing, and more.”
The acquisition by EIG may hold some advantages for Sitebuilder, as EIG also own a plethora of other website related brands, tools and products. Partnering with such a big organization, spanning 4 continents and over 80 brands, should, in theory provide ample scope to integrate useful tools and services to enhance the product.
While Sitebuilder only launched in 2014, the sleek and slick site, fool proof design tools and editor provide a really simple to follow platform to build a professional looking site.
Free Domain and E-Mail
SiteBuilder provide a free domain name for any of their premium packages, and a free e-mail address for the top 3 premium packages. The domain is free for your initial term only, so if you sign up for a three year subscription, your domain is free for 3 years, if you sign up for annual subscription, then the domain is free for one year respectively. SiteBuilder publish the rate for domain renewals here on their site. If you want additional domain names these will also be available at a price. The free e-mail address has no renewal cost, it is just simply free on any of the applicable packages. You can set the e-mail address up to represent your own site and brand, handy for streamlining communication.
SiteBuilder have a number of SEO tools to help you measure and manage your on-page optimisation and boost your sites potential in the rankings. With the Premium or eCommerce plans you get an SEO Tools package, but there are additional addons and widgets that you can purchase to bolster these tools, called the ‘Ultimate SEO Package’, and ‘Social Booster’. These tools, including the SEO Tools standard pack that comes with the two top premium packages, are really easy to use particularly for beginners with little to no knowledge on how to help your site naturally rank. They make measurement and application easy enough for anyone. The SEO Tools provided by SiteBuilder allow you to do all the basics of adding and editing site tags, meta descriptions, add and use keywords and measure visibility and traffic.
There is also a fully-fledged SEO eBook which, with the level of detail is great for beginners to pick up the basics and learn the skills needed to boost your site.
Tied in closely to this, is a great little social media widget that can be embedded neatly onto your website to help encourage engagement while at the same time not looking out of place or obstructive on your site.
With the eCommerce Plan, you get the ability to create an eCommerce store. There are several eCommerce packages that you can add to your plan, Basic; Unlimited; Essential and Professional. The tools and services that you get for eCommerce depend on which plan you take but each of them allow you to create a store, manage product placement and store pages, stock and payments and manage customer communication. Payment processors are a little limited but one really important factor is that SiteBuilder are fully PCI compliant, and that is very important.
SiteBuilder is great for building blogs. It’s so easy it’s unreal. The post manager is incredibly versatile and intuitive, making it quick and simple to get your posts up, tag feature posts, edit drafts, pin posts and categorize. It’s a good blogging platform, heavily focussed on simplicity and ease of use.
SiteBuilder Pricing Plans
At first glance, SiteBuilder seems to offer plenty of bang for your buck. However, don’t be fooled by the company’s flashy offers and seemingly low advertised prices. All of their paid premium plans come with some significant caveats. To get a better understanding of what you will be paying for your site in the long-run, you’ll have to delve a bit deeper into the fine print.
SiteBuilder offers three paid plans. They include the bottom-tier Pro plan, the mid-range Premium plan, and the retail-based eCommerce plan. Each option comes with its own unique set of features and they are priced accordingly to reflect this.
50 Percent Off Promotions
To attract customers, SiteBuilder regularly offers a 50 percent discount. The company advertises this promotion heavily on their website.
With the 50 percent discount, the pricing structure is as follows:
$3.84 per month
$5.99 per month
$9.22 per month
These introductory prices are great for those who are just getting started. For just a few bucks a month, you can start to establish your online presence and get your site up and running. With that being said, it’s important to think about your long-term goals. Unless you want to deal with the hassle of migrating your site, getting a new domain, and rebuilding your audience, you’re going to want to stick with your web building service for many years.
Terms of the Promotion
This is where things start to get a bit unappealing. The 50 percent off promotion only applies to the first billing cycle. Once that first billing cycle is over, your account is automatically renewed for the true price of service. Currently, you can get monthly, annual, and biannual plans at SiteBuilder.
SiteBuilder Pricing Overview
SiteBuilder’s true costs come after the promotional period. Like other website building services, you can save money by signing up for a longer billing cycle. Though, that does require you to pay more for the service up front. While you can save a bit of money, the savings are quite modest compared to other companies. The price that’s advertised on SiteBuilder’s website reflects the most affordable rates, which is for the two-year plans.
Monthly: $9.98 per month
Annual: $9.22 per month billed as a single payment of $110.64 every year
Biannual: $7.68 per month billed as a single payment of $184.32 every two years
Monthly: $12.98 per month
Annual: $12.29 per month billed as a single payment of $147.48 every year
Biannual: $11.98 per month billed as a single payment of $287.52 every two years
Monthly: $24.98 per month
Annual: $19.98 per month billed as a single payment of $239.76 every year
Biannual: $18.45 per month billed as a single payment of $441.80 every two years
What Does Each Plan Include?
Each one of the plans come standard with many useful features. Regardless of the tier you invest in, you’ll have access to the simple drag-and-drop building platform and more than 250 templates to get you started. All of the templates can be moderately customized to meet your needs at no extra cost. Additionally, all three plans are ad-free, provide access to website statistics to help your site grow, and some ad credits.
Plans also come with a free domain for one year. After the first year, you will have to start paying to register the domain. SiteBuilder offers a wide range of top-level domains. Renewal terms vary based on the popularity of the extension. The most expensive domains cost up to $150 a year to renew while lesser-known options only cost $16. If you decide to leave SiteBuilder and want to take your domain with you, you’ll also have to pay a $16 fee.
Extra Features for Premium and eCommerce Plans
When you upgrade from the base Pro plan, you do get access to a couple of extra features. Though, they are very limited. With the Premium plan, you unlock priority support. For the highest tier, the eCommerce Plan, you get priority support and sales tools for your site.
Those are the main differences between the accounts. While having the ability to jump to the front of the support line when you need assistance can be useful, it hardly justifies the price hike. SiteBuilder does offer a range of great features to help you create a beautiful website. However, the costs of these paid plans are considerably higher than some of the company’s competitors.
SiteBuilder offers a 14-day money-back guarantee. If you decide that the service isn’t for you, you can claim a refund by contacting the company’s billing department. It should be noted that there are some limitations. According to SiteBuilder’s terms of service page, the refund only applies to plan fees. It doesn’t cover any additional service fees or money you paid towards domain registration. Also, SiteBuilder only processes refunds for payments made through PayPal or a credit card.
While it’s great to have a money-back guarantee, SiteBuilder’s policies aren’t the best. Not only is the length of the guarantee shorter than other website building services, but there’s no trial period. You have to pay for the service before you get the chance to try it out.
Free And Custom Templates
Now, here is SiteBuilder’s piece de resistance. The templates on offer here are not only professional looking, sleek and functional, but they are also here in abundance. There are over 10,000 templates to choose from and that is an incredible offering unmatched by any other provider. These templates are categorized into different styles and layouts. If by chance though you can’t find a design to suit your needs (hard to imagine with the sheer volume) then SiteBuilder also offer the option to order up a custom-built template. This is quite a unique feature amongst SiteBuilder and its peers.
SiteBuilder have clearly tried to consider as many different industries and business types as possible in their offering of templates, there is something here for everyone, but some of the obvious industries catered for are as follows:
- Beauty and Fashion
- Design and Creative Blogs
- Hotel and Holidays
- Lifestyle Blogs
- Sport, Fitness and Leisure
While some templates lean toward specific industries naturally, each and every one can be tailored and configured to suit any need. You might see a template that shows off fitness as an example, but that doesn’t mean it is limited to that niche. The cosmetics are insignificant in this regard, they each can be tailored to whatever you need, and there are also blank templates if required.
Ease of Use
Ok, so the two major elements that make SiteBuilder so simple and easy to use, are the design editor, and the Control Panel. We will look at the ins and outs of each of these. With exception to the sheer volume of excellent templates, the editor is probably the best thing about SiteBuilder. The layout is stripped of all pretentiousness or expectation of prior knowledge and incredibly easy to follow. As far as website builders go, the ease of use, drag and drop functionality and simple navigation are miles ahead in this editor.
SiteBuilder have such an easy editor to master, it really does make getting a site up and running a quick and easy task. The editor keeps things simple, in both structure and function. The nav bar on the left of the screen is split into easily digestible subsections that help you manage each element of your site.
You can pre-set some elements such as buttons, so that they are assigned as a ‘master’ and therefore appear in the same place on every page. Handy if you have a button you wish to appear for say a sign up or a ‘contact us’ button. Adding single images, galleries and even perusing stock images to use is as simple as point, click, drag and drop by following the navigation.
From this Add Panel, you can quickly drag and drop all design elements for your site, from shapes, images or videos, social widgets, additional menus, documents and much more. Everything you could need for a professional looking site. The beauty of it is, that it takes no time at all to add all the elements you want and it directs you through the process. This is great for those with little or no knowledge in building a website.
The Design Menu allows you to alter the characteristics of the written fonts and the style of text and background you want on each page. There are some preset color pallets that are set up to provide a range of complementary colors, making it easy to nail out the aesthetics and mood for your site.
The Manage Menu, allows you to manage all the eCommerce, social and SEO elements of your site, to manage the site’s online identity with favicons and HTML inputs for the header and footer.
The Preview menu item also allows you to monitor your changes and progress as you go. Once you have changed some elements you can click to preview and this will show you what the site will look like when searched for and visited across the web.
Simplified Control Panel
The Control Panel is equally as simple, intuitive and functional. When you log in and enter your panel, there are some simple options in the navigation that allow you to select from your hosted sites (if you have more than one) and to get started in amending your pages it is as simple as clicking the edit option from the menu. Any add-ons you purchase, or marketing tools and back end domain features are all available from the navigation panel. The items that are relevant to you in your control panel, will depend on which plan you have signed up to with SiteBuilder. For example, clicking on the SEO Tools will only take you to the relevant page if you have that included in your plan, otherwise you will be directed to a page where you can upgrade to unlock those features.
Support and Customer Service
One thing that is missing from SiteBuilder, is a phone contact team for technical support. This is a strange decision. They do have a phone support team for billing but not for technical support. This seems to have been an issue with some customers who really need a live support service rather than relying on e-mail. It does look like SiteBuilder are listening though, as they have implemented a live chat service for both billing and technical support and the response time, in my experience was fast.
Within a minute of contacting support via live chat I had an agent on the other end. Within 5 minutes my simple questions were resolved. I contacted them as I wanted to test the response time first hand. To start with I began with simply asking what you get with priority support. The answer to that, was that basically you get any support tickets raised to the top of the list, taking precedence over customers that don’t pay for that service. Straightforward enough. I then went on to ask a couple of other questions about transferring domains, downtime and latency to test the knowledge a little bit and was satisfied with the answers received.
Along with the live chat, there is also an extensive knowledge base, which includes several video tutorials and design help. A backup feature is also available as a fairly inexpensive addon to ensure that previous versions of your site are available if and when required.
Additional Features and Add-Ons
There are lots of additional features and add-ons available through SiteBuilder, but there isn’t an extensive app store, or third party apps that you can plug in like with some of the website builders. Rather, there is a set of in-house add-ons, as listed and priced above. Some of these are fairly standard and often appear as core elements of packages with other competitors. However, here you can pick and choose what you need and what you don’t, and perhaps that is why SiteBuilder can offer the core packages as cheap as they do.
If you want to know the ins and outs of these add-ons, I suggest contacting their live chat. This not only gives you an opportunity to see how quickly their customer service response is, but also to test their knowledge in their own products. As customer service is key, it’s never a bad idea to test a company’s service out for yourself before committing to a plan.
Billing and Payment Policies
SiteBuilder do offer a 14 day money back guarantee, and they accept many modes of payment including PayPal, Visa, Mastercard and AE. Subscription terms range from monthly, to annuall biennial or triennially. Promotional rates, as discussed above are often offered but do change from time to time.
You can cancel your account at any time via e-mail, but there is an early termination fee to be aware of depending on the length of your subscription. This can be easily avoided in most cases if you simply take the free account, build up your site design as you want it before committing to a paid plan. If you discover it’s not for you, then it’s cost you nothing rather than having to fork out to leave if you paid before you tested.
SiteBuilder Frequently Asked Questions
Is SiteBuidler Free?
In the past, SiteBuilder offered a free plan that let you take advantage of some core features without paying a dime. Unfortunately, they have discontinued that plan, leaving no free option for those who want to give the service a try. To even see if what SiteBuilder has to offer is right for you, you’ll need to pay for a Pro plan, which costs $7.68 with a two-year commitment.
The company currently has no free trial. Only a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Is SiteBuilder Any Good?
SiteBuilder certainly does many things very well. It’s a great option for beginners who want a fast and efficient way to create well-designed websites. Using one of their many templates, you can have a site up and running in no time.
With that being said, the service is quite limited. It’s not a practical solution if you need a builder that’s scalable. Furthermore, SiteBuilder has many limitations that prevent you from creating a truly custom site. With the high price tag that comes with their plans, you may be better off looking elsewhere.
Can I use Sitebuilder for my blog?
You can use SiteBuilder to craft your digital space. Though, it’s not recommended. There are more affordable and versatile website building services out there.
If you do decide to go with SiteBuilder, you will have all the tools you need to create a simple bog. The platform has over 250 customizable templates to get started. The templates are organized by category. There’s a separate category dedicated to blog designs.
Can I use SiteBuilder for my business website?
Again, it’s possible to use SiteBuilder for your business. However, it’s not recommended. One of the biggest issues with this service is its limitations. You can only create basic sites. As your business grows, you’ll have a much harder time adapting your site to your changing needs.
SiteBuilder’s drag-and-drop building tool is also restrictive. While the templates are customizable, there’s still a lot that you can’t do. This makes it difficult to create a strong website that represents your brand fully.
What is SiteBuilder good for?
SiteBuilder’s strongest asset is its simplicity. If you’re a complete novice to website building, you can use the available tools to get started right away. There’s no need to learn complex coding. The website editor is pretty straightforward and easy to use. As a result, you can craft a well-designed site with very little know-how.
SiteBuilder is good for beginners, but you will quickly outgrow it. We don’t recommend staying with SiteBuilder for too long. Without their free plan, you will be paying far too much money for a service that’s limited. There are many great website builders available. Many of which offer free trials, affordable plans, and fewer restrictions on what you can do with your site.
If you are a beginner, have no web building knowledge at all but have a great idea for a site or small casual business that you want to test and get off the ground, then SiteBuilder could be good for you. Its simplicity take all the hard work out of building a site for you and it is incredibly easy to follow. This simplicity does however, make it a bit limited for those that are looking for some advanced features or functionality. If you are wanting any level of complexity to your store, such as global shipping, setting local tax rules or multilingual functionality then this is not for you. If you simply want a place to share ideas and sell some items with a simple but good looking environment, then this could definitely be for you. There are services out there that have much more features available, but its important to make sure you find the right one for you in terms of price and function.
Another thing to be aware of is that if you decide later down the line that you want to take your site and host it somewhere else, SiteBuilders current terms of service do not allow any transfers. A bit strange that one, but if you do later decide to move on, you might find yourself having to rebuild your site on the platform you decide to move to. Not so much of a problem for a small, casual blog or store, but a much bigger issue if you have a big eCommerce site.
Overall, I would say that SiteBuilder, have a good suite for what they offer, a fantastic range of templates and an awesome, simple editor. If you want a nice easy blog, or a small shop, its worth at least checking out the free account and trying it for yourself. If however, you want a level of complexity to your online site, features that are perhaps a bit advanced and not really standard then make sure you understand what’s on offer and what is not, what comes at a price and what is free. SiteBuilder are still relatively young, and it will be interesting to see how their services develop as the company mature.