Strikingly is a website builder that stands out from the crowd thanks to its ease of use. It takes the normal drag-and-drop interface and strips away some options in order to streamline design. The company is still in its infancy, founded back in 2012. Even so, its thoughtful design and inexpensive pricing easily earns it a rank among our best website builders.
Sometimes youth gives context to the current state of affairs and that couldn’t be truer here. Strikingly brings with it ecommerce for all plans, as well as a fully featured app center and integration with POWr add-ons, all features that other website builders reserve for high tier plans.
During the course of this Strikingly review, we’ll talk about those features, showing off the highlights and the pitfalls of the service. You can sign up for a free account to try it out for yourself, or use one of the paid plans for 14 days before going out of pocket.
Alternatives for Strikingly
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Easy to use
- Ecommerce on all plans
- Large knowledge base
- Generous rewards system
- Large theme selection
- Single page design
- No phone or live chat support
There are a surprising amount of features at Strikingly considering its low cost. You have access to multiple tools for building your site, management via iOS devices and a pretty generous rewards system, to boot. For many, these features may go unnoticed, but they still enhance the experience in a way that few other website builders can rival.
For building your site, Strikingly offers an “instant” mode. This feature looks at either your LinkedIn or Facebook page and builds a site around it. It’s a lot like Jimdo’s Dolphin (read our Jimdo review) in that it searches your social media for info and plops it into a website. Not everyone can take advantage of this feature, but personal sites can get off the ground quickly with it.
Every user has access to the app store once a site gets up and running. While not as robust as the app store at Weebly (read our Weebly review) there are still plenty of options. Tools like Eventbrite ticketing and PayPal integration help ecommerce outlets, while Baidu maps helps local businesses.
Speaking of ecommerce, every site can list some number of products. There are limitations on inexpensive plans, but this is still a feature we’ve seen from very few website builders. Strikingly only supports physical products out of the gate, but it’s still impressive considering the price.
If you want to offer digital downloads, you can do so but need a third party plugin. POWr is an app store made for website builders and offers a wide range of plugins for Strikingly. There’s a free digital download addon to get you started if you’re looking to go that route.
Normally, we wouldn’t touch on a rewards system from any website builder, but Strikingly’s is so good that we have to point it out. You can easily earn a year or more of a Pro subscription without paying a dime. Simply connect your LinkedIn account and sync your email contacts and you can earn up to a year of service for free. You can also use a referral link, racking in a month of Pro for each signup you generate.
Strikingly Features Overview
|Form Builder||Google Forms|
|HTML Editor||Pro Plans Only|
|Vector Art Gallary|
|Drag and Drop interface|
|Page Editor||Pro plan only|
- Unlimited free sites 5GB bandwidth One product in store
- Unlimited GB
- Two limited sites 50GB bandwidth Free domain Five products in store
- Unlimited GB
- Three pro sites Increased page limit 300 products in store
- Unlimited GB
- Unlimited GB
Strikingly is very inexpensive across the board. The humble three plan lineup maxes out where most other website builders start their curve. While some features, like the ability to sell products, reach across all three plans, a limited amount of design options may leave you feeling like you didn’t get your money’s worth.
A free plan brings the typical website builder fare. You receive a free strikingly.com subdomain, unlimited free sites and 5GB of bandwidth. What sets this plan apart, though, is the ability to sell products. Sure, you can only put up a single listing, but it’s far and above what other website builders offer, even with some paid plans.
Limited plans are surprisingly similar to free ones. The largest difference is that you can connect your own domain to the site, or just get one for free from Strikingly when you pay for a year upfront. You can build unlimited free sites as well as two limited sites. These couple of extra spaces give you five products as opposed to one and 50GB of monthly bandwidth.
Pro plans expose issues in the inexpensive offerings, though. For instance, Strikingly does have an app center, but some offerings are restricted to Pro users. Additionally, any non-Pro plan is only allowed a single page website, making the design process a bit awkward.
Strikingly is inexpensive, but there are too many limitations if you don’t go with a Pro plan. That’s especially apparent with the page limitations. Builders like Wix (read our Wix review) offer unlimited pages, even on free plans. Offering a restricted page count would help Strikingly a lot as opposed to reserving any additional pages for the top tier.
That isn’t to say you can’t build a website. Hotels, restaurants or any other number of businesses will do just fine with a single page design. However, the restriction is still there and should definitely be something you consider if you don’t plan on paying the Pro premium. If you think you’ll benefit from an upgrade, though, you can try it out risk-free for 14 days.
Design & Tools
As mentioned above, non-Pro users will have to build a single page site. Thankfully, Strikingly is set up to allow you to build that single page in the best way possible. Built in themes and tools push you towards a long, sprawling page that, despite its limitations, still looks great.
As with most website builders, you’ll start with a template. Strikingly has a good selection, although not massive, to get you started. The best part about these templates is that you won’t need to rip them apart in order to start building. They’re fully functional out of gate, and you simply need to move around and add new elements to create your site.
Once you pick a theme, you’ll land in the editor. It’s a typical drag and drop interface, allowing you to quickly shift elements around the page by dragging your mouse. You can’t just drag anything, anywhere, though. For its different sections, Strikingly uses one of three layouts and you can only drag around elements within the column that it started in.
Sections are the way you build out a page. You can add a new section from the left-side toolbar and drag them around in the order you want. This is where you can add a blog, social feed or contact form. You can also use the “app store” section to browse the list of third-party additions for your site.
In the app store, you’ll find Disqus, Google Forms, Pinterest, EventBrite and more. There aren’t a slew of options, but still enough to make this a bonafide app center. Free plans will have access to everything except MailChimp, custom HTML and ECWID, all of which are reserved only for Pro plans.
Outside of sections, you have some universal options for your site inside the styles panel. This includes your brand colors, a universal color scheme for your site and the fonts for each section. You can also try out new themes directly in the interface without losing your work or sending the new design live.
The settings tab is where you’ll find basic site information like the name and meta description, as well as analytics for your pageviews. Pro users can also add new pages here and invite collaborators to work on the site. Under the “advanced” tab, you’ll find an SEO section as well, where you can send Google all the proper information for indexing your page.
The design area of Strikingly feels pretty limited out of the gate. The three layout options and limited range of sections look at first like a fairly bland array. However, in practice, these few tools lead to a massive amount of options. This is an extremely powerful editor that doesn’t bog down the process with too many unnecessary options.
Ease of Use
Strikingly is hands down of one the easiest to use website builders out there. It manages a closed system with a limited amount of options, while presenting tons of possibility. You don’t have much to do to get a great looking site, all without sacrificing any functionality.
It’s pretty counterintuitive, but Strikingly’s small palette of options increases the power while maintaining ease of use. You use sections to build out your page, each fit with a few different layout options. There are three suggested by Strikingly, but you can create your own with placement and sizing tools as well.
For broad changes, the left-side menu handles all the work. You can add new sections here, and drag around the existing ones so everything is in order. Everything sits on top of each other, making for a linear design process that doesn’t take too much knowledge to get right.
Sections handle all the content of your website. You can adjust universal colors and texts in the styles menu, but the real heart of design lies here. For instance, you can add an app from the app store by simply dragging the section onto the page. From there, it’s a matter of finding what you want and installing it.
That carries over into blogs and stores as well. Both of these areas have their own sections that slot in somewhere on the page. You edit your products or your posts from the section itself instead of using a backend interface like WordPress or Shopify.
However, sections also bring up the caveat of the whole ordeal. As mentioned previously, non-Pro users are restricted to a single page website. While this certainly helps ease of use, it’s not an ideal configuration. You’ll have a simpler time building your site, yes, but it may not be exactly how you want it.
Even so, it’s hard to ignore Strikingly’s editor. It’s a fluid design that allows to you crack away at building your site with little to no hassle. There aren’t an overwhelming amount of options or elements to scare off newbies, all while maintaining the power of a full website builder.
Strikingly has a robust array of DIY support through the knowledgebase and idea forum. There are guides for just about anything, with the forums available for any additional questions. However, for technical issues, Strikingly could benefit from a wider range of contact options.
The knowledgebase gains traction over options like GoCentral (read our GoDaddy GoCentral review) with troubleshooting guides. Many website builders simply add tutorials to the knowledgebase, with little to no information for when something goes wrong. Quite on the contrary, Strikingly has a wide list of troubleshooting topics from Chinese hosting to fixing file upload errors.
Strikingly includes a list of starter videos as well to get you on your way to building. These are actually quite helpful, even for those with some experience with website builders. The 43 different videos will walk you through every aspect of the builder and the service, even hitting on the terms of service and upgrading to a higher tier plan.
You can use the Strikingly forums to ask niche questions, but it doesn’t seem ideal. While it’s a usable interface, the community isn’t very active. During the course of writing this review, there was only a single answered question on the first page of topics, with littered replies throughout. Strikingly support members reply to topics from time to time, but this seems like the least ideal route for support.
If all else fails, you can contact Strikingly. It’s simply a form, with no other route of contact available. While a live chat would go a long way, Strikingly’s lack of contact options hurts far less than other builders. The knowledge base covers just about everything, meaning that, only in a small number of cases, will you ever need to contact support directly.
It’s difficult not to recommend Strikingly because of how many things it gets right. However, in the end, the platform isn’t for everyone. Being limited to a single page design is too much of a tax for many, despite the low price point. Those who need a more involved design would be better off with Wix or Weebly.
However, you may find a good home with Strikingly. It’s inexpensive, easy to use and, best of all, packed full of features. You’ll get a robust plan, fit with ecommerce, blog support and an app center, all while staying shy of other website builders’ rates.
You can try out the service for yourself with a free plan, or sign up for Pro with a 14 day trial.
If you want to build with a platform like WordPress, you can look over our best web hosting providers as well.
What do you think of Strikingly? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.