SimpleSite Review 2019 – Too Simple?

Last updated on May 9, 2019

simplesite review featured imageThey say there’s beauty in simplicity – but how simple is too simple? That’s what we wanted to find out.  

SimpleSite does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a simple, straightforward, basic website builder that offers an easy way for non-coders to get online.

We’ve got to be honest, though – SimpleSite isn’t right for everybody. It’s best for total beginners who want a very basic site, without much worry over the quality of their designs. If you need a sleek or powerful website, SimpleSite won’t tick your boxes.

SimpleSite Pros and Cons

ProsCons
  • Very straightforward to use
  • Beginner friendly
  • Great for mobile optimization
  • Dated designs and restricted customization
  • Limited features
  • Minimal customer support
  • Paid plans lack value for money

If you’re thinking SimpleSite might be the best website builder for you, or you’re unsure and want to find out more, then you’re in the right place. We’ve tried and tested it ourselves, and now we’re ready to share our findings with you.

Are you ready to find out if SimpleSite is simply the best builder for you? Sit back and strap in as we take you through features, ease of use, pricing, and more!

1

Ease of Use

Ease of use is one of the main things to think about when you’re choosing a website builder. It’s important that your builder matches your own technical skills – that way, you can actually enjoy building your website!

Unsurprisingly, this is where SimpleSite really shines. It lives up to its name, giving its users a straightforward and easy way to build basic websites. SimpleSite values pleasure over perfection, which shows in its simple editor.

simplesite ease of use
SimpleSite makes it easy for beginners to build a basic website, without any coding or tech knowledge.

Just a heads up, though – if you want lots of creative freedom, then you’ll find SimpleSite frustrating rather than easy. It’s not terribly intuitive, either, meaning straying from the set path can cause headaches.

If you want more freedom, builders like Wix or Squarespace are much better suited for your needs. However, for the technically challenged amongst us, SimpleSite’s clear, unfussy editor is a godsend.

When you start out, you choose whether you’re creating a personal or business site – if it’s neither, you can select “other.”

simplesite website setup

SimpleSite then guides you through the building process – you simply choose your color scheme, add images, a title, and domain name, then create a login. This final step automatically publishes your site, which you can then go back and finish editing.

It’s super simple, and totally beginner friendly. That said, it wasn’t always the most intuitive – at times, its simplicity became extremely restrictive, and made it difficult to work out how to do pretty basic things. In one round of testing, it took us a long time just to work out how to edit text before publishing our site, which should be easy!

SimpleSite claims you can build a site within a matter of minutes. In our testing, we found that in reality, this is likely to turn into two hours (assuming you want a well-rounded website).

Further Information

  • We recommend Wix for beginners because it combines ease of use with total customization – find out what else it’s good at in our in-depth Wix Review.
  • SimpleSite is easy to use, but not intuitive. For even better beginner-friendly builders, take a look at our review of the Easiest Website Builders.
2

Theme Design and Customization

SimpleSite might be simple to build, but how will your website look? The truth is, design is the price you pay for the straightforward editor. SimpleSite’s designs are pretty dated, and offer very limited customization.

While most other builders – like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace – give you a choice of templates to base your site’s structure and design upon, SimpleSite works a little differently. If you choose the “personal/blog” or “other” options, you’re automatically given a pre-set theme to customize, like the one in the image below.

simplesite personal theme
When you select a personal, blog, or “other” option, SimpleSite gives you a pre-set theme to customize.

However, if you select the “business” option, you get to choose from a few different themes to edit.

simplesite business themes
You can choose from a number of themes to get your business site started.

This is a fairly bizarre way of doing things – you can specify which type of business site you’re setting up, for example, but not whether your personal site is a portfolio, blog, or CV.

Because of this, our top tip is to choose the “business” option, no matter what type of site you’re building. This lets you browse all of SimpleSite’s themes to find one that suits your needs.

Once you have your theme, customization is pretty basic. The good news is that despite its rather roundabout way of doing things, SimpleSite does make it very easy to add elements, such as text and images.

simplesite design features
It’s easy to add simple elements to your website’s pages, although it can be tricky to customize them once placed on the page.

However, editing or readjusting them once they’re on your page is a more challenging – and often impossible – task.

It’s easy to switch your site’s layout after publishing, but you can’t go back and choose a totally new theme – you can just change the layout of the theme you picked originally.

Think of SimpleSite like Playmobil – you can easily build a good-looking site, but it’s within the restrictions laid out for you. Wix and Squarespace, for example, are more like Lego – still easy for beginners, but with the potential for more freedom, imagination, and impressive results.

Further Information

  • Squarespace can’t be beaten when it comes to design. Find out more about this stunning website builder in our full Squarespace Review.
3

Features

While design is the first thing your visitors will notice, it’s the features that can make a long-term difference to your site, affecting how likely it is to succeed and grow.

Unfortunately, SimpleSite has a pretty limited range of features, making it less than ideal for ambitious websites.

The features it does include, however, provide a good basis for hobby websites and budding projects. The free plan is generous in what it offers, with ecommerce and mobile optimization both coming as standard.

simplesite features
SimpleSite provides you with a range of basic features to help you manage your website.

Generous Ecommerce

SimpleSite’s main triumph when it comes to features is the fact it lets you sell up to five products on its free plan. That’s really worth shouting about. Ecommerce capability is usually reserved for paying customers, so offering it free of charge really makes SimpleSite stand out from its competitors.

This is perfect if you want to sell a few items, but we don’t recommend SimpleSite if you’re actually going to start an ecommerce store. It’s not very scalable, and won’t give you the tools you need to manage your store properly.

To unlock unlimited products for your online store, you have to upgrade to the most expensive E-Commerce plan for $30.49 per month. At this price, you might as well use a better ecommerce platform, such as Shopify or BigCommerceboth of which cost under $30 per month, and have incredibly powerful ecommerce features.

Overall, SimpleSite is very generous with its five product ecommerce feature on its free plan, which makes it a great choice for making money from your hobby. It’s a rare offer, and is definitely worth making the most of!

Further Information

  • Are you serious about selling online? Check out our Best Online Store Comparison Chart to learn more about the best ecommerce builders on the market.
  • We don’t recommend SimpleSite for building a successful online store, but we do recommend Shopify! Find out why in our Shopify Review.

On-the-Go Mobile Optimization

Most website builders offer mobile-optimized templates, so that your site will automatically look great on any screen. SimpleSite is no different, but where it really sets itself apart is with its on-the-go mobile website editor.

simplesite mobile ready
Manage your site on the go with SimpleSite’s mobile editor.

You can edit and manage your site straight from your mobile, without downloading an app or fiddling around with plugins – just a few taps on your phone or tablet, and you’re good to go!

Professional Email Addresses

When you buy a domain through SimpleSite, you also get five personal email addresses included. So rather than using your generic email, such as joebloggs@gmail.com, instead you can have joebloggs@ceramicsworld.com. This is a great feature, as it gives you and your site a more professional image.

simplesite features emails
You get five personal email addresses when you buy a domain through SimpleSite.

These are the three main perks that come with using SimpleSite. However, there are some key features that SimpleSite does not include, which you would expect to see from a typical website builder.

Poor SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for getting your website found – without it, your website doesn’t stand a chance of ranking highly in Google’s search results. The best SEO website builders include tons of SEO tools automatically, and make it as easy as possible for you to optimize your site even further.

SimpleSite just doesn’t step up enough when it comes to SEO.

Yes, it gives you mobile-optimized pages, which Google loves, and has guides showing you how to use keywords in your headings. But you’re very limited in what you can do to optimize your site – for starters, you can’t install any apps, insert Google Analytics, or access the code of your pages.

When you compare SimpleSite’s SEO offerings to that of Squarespace or Weebly, you realize how basic it is. If you’re aiming for the first spot, or even first page of Google’s search results, SimpleSite is simply not for you.

Non-Existent App Market

SimpleSite doesn’t have an app market, meaning you’re totally reliant on its built-in features. It’s not the only website builder to do this – Squarespace, for example, doesn’t have an app market, but then again it also has the best quality features around. SimpleSite can’t boast the same!

Outdated Social Media Integration

While you can embed social buttons so that visitors can share your site across platforms like Facebook or Twitter, you can’t insert live social feeds onto your site. This is a real shame – social media is a huge part of modern marketing, and your website is the perfect place to give visitors a chance to keep up to date with your online profiles.

All in all, SimpleSite has a lot less to offer than its competitors when it comes to features. Sure, you’ll get the basics, with a few nice perks thrown in – but overall, the glaring gaps in its features list are hard to ignore, or to justify.

The truth is, if you want to scale up your website, you’ll find yourself struggling.

4

Help and Support

Help and support is easy to overlook when you’re choosing a website builder, but it’s worth checking out before committing. Nobody wants to spend hours going round in circles with an unhelpful chat bot – so what does SimpleSite have to offer in your hour of need?

The answer is – not much. SimpleSite only offers one type of support: email.

simplesite customer service
SimpleSite offers email support for its users, plus an FAQ section on its customer support page.

This at least means your issue is dealt with by a human being, but the downside is, they can only work at a human pace. The average response time is two working days, which is less than ideal if you have an urgent issue.

There’s no phone number listed on SimpleSite’s customer support page – only the email, postal address, and list of FAQs. You can head to the blog for more general information, but for specific or technical problems, you’ll need to contact the support team directly.

5

Pricing

SimpleSite has three plans to choose from: the Basic, Pro, and E-Commerce plans. The Basic plan is totally free; the Pro plan costs $15.49 per month, while the E-Commerce plan comes in at $30.49 per month. If this sounds pricey, you can save money by paying annually rather than monthly.

simplesite pricing
SimpleSite has three price plans, ranging from free to $30.49 per month. You can get a cheaper price by choosing to pay annually instead.

The Basic plan lets you build up to 15 pages, sell up to five products, and offers a limited choice of design options. On this plan, you’ll have adverts promoting SimpleSite across your website – for this reason, we don’t recommend the free plan for any type of business website. Instead, it’s ideal for hobby websites or personal projects.

The Pro plan removes these adverts, lets you create unlimited pages, unlocks access to all design options, and lets you use unlimited images and video minutes. You also get a free domain and five email addresses. It’s designed for professional websites, whether personal or business. You’re still limited to five products in your store – if you want to sell more, you’ll need the E-Commerce plan.

The E-Commerce plan comes with everything from the Pro plan – the only difference is that you can sell an unlimited number of products through your site. Unsurprisingly, this plan is best for online stores. All paid plans come with a 14-day money back guarantee, so you can try them out without any risk!

The free plan is the one we’d most recommend, despite its many limitations. It’s very generous in allowing you to sell online, ideal for mobile users, and a good option for hobby websites.

Due to the outdated designs and lack of features, the paid plans don’t offer much value for money, especially compared to other builders such as Wix and Weebly. If you’re starting a business site, it’s worth considering either of these alternatives instead.

Website BuilderCheapest Paid Plan (/month)*
Weebly$5
GoDaddy$5.99
Site123$10.80
Wix$11
SimpleSite$11.25
Squarespace$12

*Prices shown in this table reflect the monthly cost of annual plans, rather than month-to-month subscriptions.

Further Information

  • Free website builders don’t have to be basic – read our review of the Top Free Website Builders to find your perfect budget-friendly builder!
  • Are you after a cheap but quality website builder? Read our review of the Cheapest Website Builders for an in-depth look.
  • Wix offers fantastic value for money – find out more in our Wix Pricing Review.

SimpleSite Review: Our Final Thoughts

SimpleSite proves once and for all that you don’t need tech skills to build a website. That said, it takes the idea of simplicity a little too far, resulting in very basic features and often frustratingly limited editing tools.    

We’ve explored SimpleSite’s features, ease of use, design, help and support, and pricing, and it’s certainly kept us on our toes. Easy to use, but not intuitive; lacking in basic features, but making up for it with free ecommerce and rare mobile editing; SimpleSite is a bag of contradictions.

SimpleSite’s hidden gems make it a good choice for beginners looking to start a hobby or personal website, and even sell a few items on the side.

However, if you want more stylish designs or scalable features, you’d be better off with a different website builder.

Wix is the best overall website builder, and is really beginner-friendly to boot. GoDaddy is the fastest if you just want something online quickly, Squarespace has the best designs, while Weebly is best for small businesses.

SimpleSite can’t compete with these more up to date builders, but it’s not trying to. As it says on its website, “using our product should feel enjoyable – like playing a game” – and that’s exactly what it achieves. It’s not a serious builder – it’s playful, so enjoy using it. Just don’t expect your Playmobil passion to roll in the big bucks anytime soon.

SimpleSite Review: FAQs

Do I need to pay for hosting with SimpleSite?

No! Your site is fully hosted for you, so you don’t need to find a hosting provider or pay any extra to get your site online. Even if you’re on the free plan, you don’t need to worry about paying for hosting.

Do I get a domain with SimpleSite?

Yes! You get a free domain when you sign up to one of SimpleSite’s paid plans. When you sign up to the free plan, you can choose to have a free domain – such as www.yourname.simplesite.com – or pay for a custom domain.

Is SimpleSite a good choice for blogging?

We wouldn’t recommend SimpleSite if you’re really passionate about your blog. There are plenty of beginner-friendly, free builders out there with much more powerful blogging tools for you to enjoy – take a look at WordPress.com, Weebly, Wix, or Squarespace for starters!

If you’re passionate about blogging, take a look at our review of the Best Blogging Platforms. 

Website Builder Expert aims to provide you with honest data. That’s why we conduct our own research and obtain direct, personal insight. Click here for further information.
Lucy Carney

About Lucy Carney

You’re not alone! Building a website can be scary, especially if you’re like me with no previous coding experience. With the help of our experts I’m here as a friendly voice to help guide you into the exciting world of website building. If I can do it, so can you!

Subscribe

Lucy Carney

About Lucy Carney

You’re not alone! Building a website can be scary, especially if you’re like me with no previous coding experience. With the help of our experts I’m here as a friendly voice to help guide you into the exciting world of website building. If I can do it, so can you!

Leave a comment