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Site123 Review

As website builders go, Site123 is nothing to blow your socks off. It manages things old-style, without using drag-and-drop mechanics, making it not the best choice for newbies. However, for those willing to work with it, it's a solid tool, as you can read in our full review.

By Theo Porutiu
— Last Updated: 2021-02-19T13:35:51+00:00

Site123 focuses on ease of use and beautiful design and compromises control. The platform prides itself on “[being here] to change everything you have known about website builders.”

That statement is backed up by the fact that Site123 doesn’t have a drag-and-drop editor. Designing a website is done through changing certain, often binary, options on existing templates and elements.

That means Site123 is not a powerhouse of website development. You are limited in how you can edit your website, but, for the right person, the software’s beauty and ease of use will be enough to make up for its lack of control. To see if that’s you, keep reading for our Site123 review.

Alternatives for Site123

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    • : Pro plan only
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    5 GB - Unlimited GB starts from $7.50 / month (All Plans)
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    Unlimited GB starts from $12 / month (All Plans)
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    starts from $0.99 / month (All Plans)
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    .5 GB - Unlimited GB starts from $4 / month (All Plans)

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • Beautiful Design
  • Easy to use
  • Awesome support
  • Optimized for mobile & tablet

Weaknesses:

  • Not much customization
  • Can’t change templates after publishing a website
  • Features not fleshed out

Features

70 % – Decent

Site123 has all the features of a great builder: ecommerce, search engine optimization, free SSL encryption and an app market.

The company covers its bases, but the features are not fleshed out. They’re great if you don’t need something particular, but you don’t get advanced options.

With that in mind, let’s tackle the most important ones.

Site123 eCommerce Options

Ecommerce tools are probably the best-made features on Site123. You can add and remove products and create a different page for each one of your offers. The platform supports different currencies and languages, too.

Plus, the app market features a lot of tools that help with product management, audience analysis and sales.

If you’re thinking about how you’ll get your money, rest assured. Your customers will be able to pay any way they want, with the exception of cryptocurrency, because the platform supports PayPal, credit card and direct transfer.

If you already have a catalog of products or don’t want to spend too much time setting up a page for each offer, Site123 is the way to go. It makes the process much easier.

If you want more control for your e-commerce business, you could give Shopify a try. Its editor is a harder to use, but everything there is built for e-commerce success, and it’s easy to get started on the platform with our beginner’s guide to Shopify.

Site123 Plugins

Apps in Site123 are called plugins. You can access the app market under the settings menu.

Site123-pluginmarket

You’ll notice there is not a huge variety of plugins you can choose from. That’s the “not fleshed out” problem we mentioned and the main issue with the app market.

It’s very easy to connect your website to Google Analytics or add the remarketing tag, which anyone who has tried to do a remarketing pay-per-click campaign will know is valuable, but you can’t do much more. It’s not open to all third-parties and there aren’t many accepted plugins.

If you want a website builder with a better app market that’s open to third-parties, you could try Weebly. You’ll need to scour the market to find the right apps, so make sure to read our Weebly review first.

Once again, Site123 could work for a small business or freelancer, but it’s not enough for a business that wants to sell courses, for example.

On top of that, you can’t use plugins with the free version, so you won’t know if the app market works for you until you’ve purchased a plan.

Site123 Search Engine Optimization

Site123’s SEO tool is easy to use. You have three metadata fields to fill (only about the homepage) and you can also download your sitemap to upload on the search console.

That’s all there is to it, which means you can set it up fast, but also that it probably doesn’t work.

Site123-settingsbutton

If you’re in an uncompetitive niche, it may be fruitful in the long run, but it’s likely that you won’t show up in many search results.

Simply put, you don’t get the tools to set up your website’s metadata and building authority is hard when your website has similar code to all the other Site123 users’ websites.

Granted, we’re being a bit unfair. SEO is hard to pull off with most website builders because of the same code limitations. That said, if showing up in search results is important to your business, read our Wix review. That platform is by far the best website builder for Google search results.

Site123 Security

One of the best things about Site123 is its security features. Websites made with the software get free SSL encryption, which means your information is confidential and it stays that way.

Most website builders and hosting companies offer that service for a fee, but it’s free with Site123.

Plus, your website is backed up in case of a crash. Thanks to the auto-save feature, you don’t have to worry about losing your content, which means you don’t have to bother doing backups manually.

Those features show that Site123 is conscious of cybercrime, which is a big plus in our book. If this section piqued your interest in cybersecurity, make sure to read our articles on the best VPN providers and the best password managers.

Features Overview

Design
Premade Themes
Form Builder
HTML Editor
Forum Support
Vector Art Gallary
Audio
HD Video
Usability
Drag and Drop interface
SEO Editor
Mobile Support
App Center
Blog Support
eCommerce Support
Page Editor
Services
SEO
Marketing
Website Design
Extras
SSL Certificate
Domain Name
Ad Credits
Site Review
Support
Help Center
Forum
Live Chat24/7
Phone
Email
24/7 Support
Video Tutorials
Text Tutorials
Misc
Free Plan

Pricing

80 % – Good

Site123 has a free plan, but it won’t cut it unless you’re hosting a CV or portfolio. Besides the storage and bandwidth limitations, you only get a subdomain and you’re stuck with float ads from the developer.

If you’re willing to spend money, though, there is a decent range of options.

Basic:Advanced:Professional:Gold:
$10.80$16.80$22.80$28.80

The prices listed are for a 12-month subscription and are billed fully upon purchase. If you decide to commit for different time spans, the prices will differ.

The Basic plan lets you connect your own domain, ups your bandwidth and storage, removes the float ads and opens up the possibility of email marketing with 100 mailing list messages. If you’re a freelancer looking to improve your online presence, it’s a good plan, but it won’t work for an agency or small business.

The Advanced upgrade raises the benefits of the Basic plan by giving you more storage and bandwidth, as well as opening up e-commerce and localization opportunities. You get up to 50 orders per month, so the price tag is right for a small business that just wants another channel to promote and sell its products.

Another thing we have to praise is the added language. You get to translate your content to a language of your choice. When people from a certain country visit your website, it will automatically display the translated text, which is awesome if your audience is international.

The Professional and Gold plans are similar to each other. You get more languages and the ability to do credit card giveaways. The only difference between the two is numbers: Gold has more storage, mailboxes, orders per month, etc., and advanced e-commerce features.

You could use either of those two plans to create a central hub for a small or medium business, but if you’re willing to spend that much time and money on your website, you would be better off using a different website builder.

A cool thing about the service is its new user discount. When you create an account, you get three days to take advantage of a 40 percent discount on its plans. That does create urgency, but, hopefully, this review will help you make a decision and you can benefit from the sale.

Design & Tools

85 % – Very Good

If you’re accustomed to editing WordPress themes, the Site123 editor will look familiar.

You can’t drag and drop elements, so you’re limited by a template or layout, as the platform calls them, but that might not be a problem if you’re not set on a specific look.

If you want more control over your themes, you could give WordPress a shot. Its system is more complex, though, so read our intermediate guide to using WordPress to make sure you understand how themes work.

With that in mind, you can make slight changes to your website by using the six buttons on the left-side panel. Though that does increase accessibility, it sacrifices customization.

The options may differ based on your template and price plan, but they’re generally the same for all websites, so let’s take a look at each of them.

The homepage button lets you modify things like your website name, logo or home title. It’s also where you can change the homepage template, so it is important in the beginning, but, once you publish, you’ll find yourself using it less and less.

Site123-homebutton

The pages button deals with your individual pages. You can modify the layout for each one and add or remove pages, which automatically changes your menu accordingly.

Site123-pagesbutton

That’s great, because everything is easier to organize when you don’t deal with pages and menu options separately. Plus, the clear structure helps new users navigate the editor and achieve the imagined result faster.

The design menu lets you change the website template and modify aspects such as styles, fonts, headers and footers and social icons. It’s a refreshing take on style because every change you make is global, so you don’t have to go through every page just to change a font.

Site123-designbutton

That sounds good — and it is — but it’s a double-edged sword. Some people want different pages to have different fonts or styles and that can’t be done with Site123.

The settings menu deals with the backend of your site. You can choose whether you want a single page structure, which is the default. You can also set up localization, SEO and plugins in the menu.

Everything is easy to access and Site123 goes light on the jargon. People who are new to the online world can easily understand what everything does, especially because this section of the editor has small question mark icons next to each option that show relevant information when you hover over them.

Site123-hoverinfo

The domain and preview menus are the most straightforward. With domain, you can modify your subdomain or connect your own. The preview button displays your website as a visitor would see it on a desktop, tablet or smartphone.

Site123-preview

Site123 creates beautiful websites for mobile. The lack of control means less customization, but it also means that any choice you make is optimized. Because you can’t drag and drop your own elements, the code remains clean, which lets Site123 optimize the possible variations to look flawless on mobile devices.

Site123 is not for complex websites. In fact, just trying to do a simple multi page website may not go as planned. You can’t add elements, resize existing blocks or floats or code your desired hover.

If those are things you’d like to do, we recommend checking out WordPress and our advanced guide to using WordPress.

Site123’s target audience is not tech-savvy. Artists, freelancers and even small businesses that need a simple, beautiful website launched in a matter of days, or even hours, will love it.

If you want the ease of use and stunning results of Site123, but with more control, check out our Squarespace review.

Ease of Use

100 % – Excellent

After you sign up, you’ll be asked what your website is about, with each possible answer  featuring a few subcategories.

Site123-webtype

Once you’re done with that, the software will automatically choose a template for you and fill your website with dummy content and stock photos. The process further demonstrates that Site123 is geared toward people who need a decent website fast.

After this, you’ll watch a short tutorial that highlights the buttons we talked about earlier and gives you information about what each one does. It’s a great overview of what you can do next.

Site123-tutorial

That said, the tutorial is not necessary.

That’s because everything you can do in Site123 is intuitive. There’s basically no learning curve when using it because each customization option is properly named and editing text or images is as straightforward as editing a Word or Google Docs file.

Some options, such as how to change the anchor of a button, may take more toying around with, but nothing is as complex as Wix or Squarespace.

If you do run into any issues, though, there’s no reason to despair. One of the biggest pluses to using Site123 is its customer support.

Support

95 % – Excellent

This website builder doesn’t shy away from helping its users. The support center has 18 categories of issues that may arise, which are separated based on the product’s features and a few miscellaneous ones, such as billing or domains.

Site123-supportcenter

Once you’ve clicked on a category, you’ll be sent to a list of general issues or actions that you may not be able to do. For example, “forwarding your email to a different mail address” is in the mailboxes category.

Site123-supportanswer

The list entries are concise and backed up by short .gifs that further demonstrate the process you’re struggling with. Yet again, this structure and format of its knowledge base works to the benefit of anyone who needs a good website launched in less than a day.

If the support center doesn’t help, you can get in touch with a customer support agent. The live chat box is present at all times, as long as you’re still on a domain that starts with site123, and the response time is fast.

Site123-chat

During our testing, we contacted Site123’s customer support to ask how to add menu categories.

A response from the live chat came in two or three minutes. The agent sent a personalized message detailing the process, backed up by a short .gif to show how to add menu categories and why the process is set up that way.

The Verdict

Site123 is a hit for the right audience, but a big miss if you’re not part of that audience. If you’re a freelance or you have a small business and you’re looking to break into the online world with a fast and beautiful website, give it a shot.

If you want control, complex features and the ability to code sections that don’t sit right with you, you’ll be better off with another platform. Check out our best website builders to see which one suits you.

If you want something different, take a look at our best web hosting guide. We recommend WordPress, which takes learning to master, so make sure to read our beginner’s guide to using WordPress.

Do you agree with our take on Site123? If not, head to the comment section and let us know what you think.

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