Need a better shipping solution?
- Date Established
- Burlington, MA
- Easy to use
- Numerous templates
- Solid blogging and eCommerce
- Sketchy business practices
- Poor billing practices
- Overwhelmingly poor customer feedback
- Poor customer service
Disclaimer: Should you ever come across services called SiteBuilder.com, Sitey.com or Sitelio.com, be advised that they are the exact same products as WebsiteBuilder.com. For reasons known only to them, the company behind WebsiteBuilder is hosting the same website builder on multiple domains. The only differences are in the specifics of the paid plans.
As its name would suggest, WebsiteBuilder.com is a do-it-yourself website builder. Though launched in 2014 and relatively new to the site building market, the sleek professionalism of this program’s design tools and its well-designed and straightforward editor have already caught the attention of many. Unfortunately, the company has a history of atrocious business practices.
The simple design of this builder makes it possible for even amateurs to create effective websites. In fact, WebsiteBuilder offers over 10,000 template combinations to help users get started. In addition to site building, WebsiteBuilder provides free web hosting and domain names, free setup of business email, access to SEO tools, and the option of eCommerce integration.
One thing you’ll notice if you read the comments on this review, on our reviews of WebsiteBuilder’s “sister” sites, or pretty much anywhere online where people can share their experiences with the company is that WebsiteBuilder and its doppelgangers have possibly the worst reputations of any DIY site builders in the industry. Reports of terrible billing practices and customer service horror stories abound. Recently, however, WebsiteBuilder and its duplicates were acquired by the Endurance International Group. The company has moved WebsiteBuilder’s operations to the US from the UK and has overhauled its support and billing staff. Have these changes translated to a better user experience? Read on to find out.
Table of Contents
WebsiteBuilder is ostensibly free, but if you want to have a professional-looking site with a normal domain name, or if you’re squeamish about the company advertising itself on your website, it makes more sense to choose from one of three available upgrades:
- $5.38/month (annual plan)
- $4.61/month (2-year plan)
- $5.99/month (when billed monthly)
- Free domain for one year
- Free hosting
- Free email
- Website statistics
- Ad credits included
- Removal of WebsiteBuilder ads
- $6.14/month (annual plan)
- $5.38/month (2-year plan)
- $6.92/month (when billed monthly)
- All of the Above PLUS:
- Priority support
- $9.99/month (annual plan)
- $9.23/month (2-year plan)
- $12.30/month (when billed monthly)
- All of the Above PLUS:
WebsiteBuilder accepts payment via credit/debit card (Visa, Mastercard, and American Express) or PayPal. Refunds are offered within 14 days of purchase. To request a refund, you must contact the company’s billing department and provide your name, email address, and an explanation of why you require your money back.
Web-hosted Or Licensed
WebsiteBuilder is entirely web-hosted.
Hardware & Software Requirements
Just be sure your browser is updated.
Business Types Supported
Many website building services don’t try very hard when it comes to appealing to specific demographics. The result is that some customers get the sense that no one is really trying to earn their business. WebsiteBuilder, however, has gone to great lengths in order to appeal to everyone and reach a variety of industries via a comprehensive template selector. The categories provided are as follows:
- Architecture & Real Estate
- Beauty & Fashion
- Blank Templates
- Business & Consultant
- Computers & Technology
- Construction & Trade
- Design & Creative
- Hotels & Travel
- Music & Entertainment
- Night Life
- One Pagers
- Online Store
- Pets & Animals
- Professional Services
- Restaurants & Eateries
- Sport & Leisure
Though some templates lend themselves to a specific topic or industry, any template provided by WebsiteBuilder can be configured to suit your purpose. And for those looking to explore or exercise a bit more creativity, there are a number of blank templates and one-pagers on offer as well.
Ease Of Use
Whatever else can be said about WebsiteBuilder, it’s undeniable that the editor itself is contemporary and intuitive. The tools it provides are simple and accessible, and the learning curve is almost nil. In fact, it is straightforward enough to allow an amateur to learn it well within an hour or so. As with most modern website builders, individual content elements are organized into blocks (referred to here as “Sections”) which are stackable vertically. The following are some of the features that make WebsiteBuilder so user-friendly:
- Elements Panel: WebsiteBuilder’s Elements panel allows users to modify or customize their websites with a variety of shapes, buttons, text/image boxes, social media widgets, menus, store items and icons, documents, flash instances, blogging tools, and so forth. Use this when you want to add an individual element to your site, as opposed to an entire Section.
- Section Panel: The Section panel lets you add an entire Section to your site. After adding one of the available blocks of content to your site, you can then freely edit what you’ve added, so you’re not locked into the particulars of whatever Section you add. You can also re-arrange your existing Sections from here.
- Design Panel: With the Design panel, users may adjust default fonts, change the style of text, and alter the background image or colors. My favorite aspect of this panel is the “Colors” section, which allows you to customize the entire color pallet of your site. With a massive selection of presets and the simple click of your mouse, you can change the whole look and feel of your pallet. You may not like every preset pallet available, but WebsiteBuilder gives you ample opportunity to find the perfect color scheme and set a proper mood for your site.
- Pages Panel: The Pages panel helps users to manage their websites’ various pages. It is as simply implemented as its “Design” and “Add” counterparts and provides great tools like the “Duplicate Page” feature (which allows you to do exactly what the name implies).
- Manage Panel: This is an excellent resource which permits users to customize all outgoing social media links, as well as favicons and HTML inputs for the site’s header and footer. It is also used to update PayPal account information for sites that are being used as online stores.
- Previewing: Preview mode is a built-in feature through which users can instantly view their site as though it were already published. This tool is particularly helpful for making sure you’ve laid everything out properly and that everything you’ve done is in check, where it should be, and functioning properly.
- Social Media: Social media integration is immensely important to most businesses, and WebsiteBuilder doesn’t disappoint in this department. Users are provided with clean looking, out-of-the-way social media widgets which may be neatly embedded in the website’s header.
- eCommerce: WebsiteBuilder recently unveiled their in-house eCommerce solution, available only with a subscription to the eCommerce subscription plan. It’s a solid online store package, complete with discount codes, product variations, categories, and other features you’d expect of a modern eCommerce system.
- Blog: I appreciate a good blogging platform, and that is exactly what WebsiteBuilder brings to the table. The incredibly versatile post manager makes it simple to tag featured posts, sort out the details of published entries, edit drafts, and pin posts so that they remain organized in a certain manner. Creating new posts is a refreshingly straightforward process that leaves little room for user error.
- SEO: The SEO (Search Engine Optimization) feature allows you to add/edit site tags and meta tags that are associated with each specific page. Adding meta tags — choosing keywords and phrases that potential visitors might type into a search engine — gives your site better visibility and can lead to more traffic.
- Stock Photos: Stock photos are arranged in much the same way as WebsiteBuilder’s template lists. Users can sort through roughly a dozen categories and may choose from hundreds of HD stock photos.
- Image Galleries: This program lets users select row, column, or grid options for their image galleries, which may be placed anywhere on the website. Being able to customize the appearance of the image gallery can really spice up an otherwise dull website and helps to impart some of the creator’s personality.
- Stats: Stat tracking is a must-have for modern websites, and access to accurate feedback can determine the success or failure of a new website. WebsiteBuilder does provide this service, though it is only available to users with higher-level paid subscriptions.
Web Design & Editing
- Templates: As I’ve stated previously, WebsiteBuilder comes with an impressive selection of templates. There are literally hundreds of templates to choose from, all sorted into neat categories. The templates range from the utterly austere to overly cluttered. Some are elegant, while others are kitschy. Frankly, I found the selection a bit overwhelming, and it might take hours to sort through all of the possibilities. If you’re looking for a wide variety of choices, though, this is the software for you. For those of you who would rather take a different path, there are blank templates offered as well.
- Mobile Editing: While it is unfortunately impossible to edit directly from a mobile device at this time, WebsiteBuilder does provide users with a Mobile View within the desktop editor. This allows for fine-tuning of certain elements and website components and makes it easier to speak to the needs of visitors or patrons who use their mobile devices to access your site.
- Desktop Editor: This editor is really quite good: it’s simple to use, replete with practical tools, and nicely organized. The best part of the desktop editor is that it ensures that every aspect of the website is customizable. Click anywhere on the site and a toolbox icon appears, allowing you to make edits on things like color, size, text location, and even tend to tiny, specific details you might otherwise have missed.
Integrations & Add-Ons
There isn’t much here in the way of third-party integrations. What you see is what you get, in other words.
WebsiteBuilder’s customer service system consists of a general help tech support page, live chat, and phone support. With the recent inclusion of the latter two means of support, the company appears to be trying to address the numerous customer service complaints that have been aired.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
- Professional Reviews: While largely praising the software itself, some reviewers have found fault with the sales tactics employed by WebsiteBuilder. One reviewer noted the automatic, unprompted inclusion of a $10 SEO ebook in his shopping cart when ordering their services, and also noted that it required multiple attempts via email simply to cancel his upgraded account. As for the software, one reviewer found the eCommerce template selections to be underwhelming and questioned WebsiteBuilder’s commitment to being a true eCommerce solution, though this seems to be the minority view.
- Customer Feedback: Consumer opinion falls along similar lines as the professional reviewers — the product itself is seen in a mostly favorable light while opinions about the business practices of the company are decidedly negative. A review of user opinion reveals a significant number of complaints: customer service that can be less than responsive or helpful, the absence of a customer forum, customers being billed for services the customer did not intend to order, and customers encountering stalling tactics while trying to cancel an order before the charges went through.
Having recently beefed up its customer service options and replaced its support and billing teams, the Endurance International Group has clearly heard the constant chorus of complaints from users of its services. Unfortunately, complaints from users on this front have not yet abated. I would advise potential customers to pay close attention to what appears on the bill!
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
- Professional Reviews: WebsiteBuilder has received a fair amount of positive attention from reviewers, especially for features like social media integration, the widget library, ad integration, and mobile optimization. It’s also been praised for providing ad credits and creating an overall sense of stability in its users. It’s the company’s customer service and billing practices that typically get WebsiteBuilder dinged by reviewers, not the builder itself.
- Customer Feedback: WebsiteBuilder is most celebrated by users for its user interface. It is also praised for being “great for beginners,” though to be fair that statement is true about almost any of the popular drag and drop website builders on the market.
Overall, WebsiteBuilder’s software is robust and intuitive. All else aside, I can safely say that it is one of the better basic website builders on the market. Unfortunately, the program is missing some of the most crucial features one would expect in a top-tier web builder. There are essentially no external integrations available, the payment gateway options are sparse, and truth be told, you’ve got to pay up in order to unlock the very best of what this program has to offer (i.e. eCommerce, stat tracking, etc).
Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the Endurance Group to rectify the builder’s negative reputation, problems persist. Users continue to report a broad array of problems with the service — typically involving billing — on both our site and other WebsiteBuilder reviews that allow public comments. One reviewer recently found unwanted products in his cart at checkout — and this is after the ownership change.
If Endurance’s efforts to clean house start bearing fruit and people start reporting more positive experiences with the company, I’ll rethink the site’s low rating, as the builder itself displays great potential. Sadly, I cannot ignore the virtually unanimous public verdict of WebsiteBuilder users. 1.5 stars.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth research on each and confidently recommend them.