It’s no surprise to learn that Site123 is built for individuals and businesses who need a basic website that runs lightning-fast with minimal fuss.
Site123 asks you a couple of questions – like the type of website you want and what the name of the site is – before creating a bespoke template that has all the features you need. Neat, right?
It may not be the best for really complex or powerful websites, but for site speed, you’ll struggle to find a better website builder.
|Site123 Pros||Site123 Cons|
|#1||Helpful live chat feature||Some features lack depth and real quality|
|#2||Templates are fully mobile & tablet responsive||Lacks ecommerce tools|
|#3||Fantastic site speed capabilities||Restrictive creative flexibility & lowest design score|
The ways we create websites are constantly evolving. A few years back, you needed to code your entire website from scratch.
Then came the birth of website builders, giving everyday folk access to website creation through the use of drag-and-drop tools. Now, you can even use ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) platforms that build your website thanks to a few clever questions.
In this sense Site123 is following in Wix’s direction.
Site123 is a website builder that makes it easier and quicker to create a website.
Their templates aren’t super compared to competitors, and it received the lowest design score.
But what it does offer is its apps easy to integrate, and they offer you the ability to sell products through your website.
If that wasn’t enough, Site123’s site speeds are some of the best around, with an impressive site speed score of 4.7/5. This is important for making visitors feel like your website is professional, rather than putting them off with slow loading times. Another perk to fast website speed is that the Google algorithm recognizes it as more SEO friendly – so might even bump it up the rankings to get more people onto your website.
But is Site123 the builder for you? We’ve used it, and we’ve got people just like you to use it too. Let’s see how it got on when we put it through its paces…
Site123 works by first asking you a couple of questions, then generating a template with relevant features based on the information you provided.
Seemed straightforward enough to us, but here at Website Builder Expert, we always want to know what you, our users, think too.
So, we got everyday people to test Site123 and build a website before reporting back to us how they found it.
Here’s just a couple of their responses:
“Overall I found it really straightforward. In terms of intuitivity, it was really easy.”
“I found it really, really simple to use. I didn’t mind not having too much creative freedom because I could get a site up so easily.”
We also got people to rate how easy (or hard) they found different things to do and the stats back up their words.
100% of participants found it easy to complete basic tasks such as editing text, adding their own imagery, and embedding a contact form.
75% of participants even found it easy to perform slightly more complex tasks, like customizing the site’s navigation bar, integrating social media accounts, and making their location visible on a map. Overall, our users awarded Site123 a 3.2 /5 rating – not as easy to use as Wix or Squarespace, but easier than 1&1.
It’s all well and good that Site123 is easy to use, but that doesn’t always mean people are happy with the way their websites turned out.
After asking participants, 72% of them said they’d be happy to recommend Site123 to a friend who’s looking to get online.
While 72% is in no way a bad figure, the reason it wasn’t even higher seemed to be down to what people would need their website for.
Many said that if they wanted a complex website with lots of specific requirements, then Site123 wouldn’t be the product for the job.
It doesn’t have everything though. If display categories, archiving, and incorporating a comments section are important to your blog, then Site123 won’t be able to help you.
If you did want a website just to blog, then WordPress is your answer – it’s what it’s designed for.
How good Site123 is for business and/or ecommerce really depends on your needs.
It’s easy to build a simple, clean-looking business site that shows what your company is all about. Beyond that, you’ll struggle to create something more substantial.
You can use CTAs (Call To Actions), and Site123 has email marketing capabilities, but that’s about as far as it goes. That and Site123 has seen a 12% decrease in overall score performance over the past 24 months – showing little improvement to the platform.
While Site123 may suit a small business purely promoting online, we don’t recommend it for selling. This is because it lacks real financial ecommerce tools – such as automatic invoicing and payment tracking – making it difficult to sell products on a large scale.
Site123 is a good option for basic business sites and even those who want to sell a few products. If you want something more substantial, you’ll want a more powerful solution like Shopify or BigCommerce.
This is where Site123 comes into its own. It’s good value for money, easy to use, and has great support (but we’ll get into that more in the next section).
If you haven’t got much confidence in your own technical ability and need a helping hand, Site123 is a great choice.
If your website is for an online CV, Site123 is a good builder to advertise your skills. Its templates come with useful features based on what your website’s for.
Site123 has blogging features, mobile responsive templates, and great help and support features to help you grow. It has the best site speed of any other builder we’ve tested which is important when you’re getting more visitors to your site. The less it lags the more chance browsers will stay on your website.
However, many of its features have limited capabilities, meaning that it’s not really the website builder to choose if you’re a business aiming to become a big player in the game.
Personal sites – great. Small business – not bad. Medium to big businesses looking for a powerful website builder to scale up with – not the best choice.
If you want a website that’s capable of growing with your business, Shopify or BigCommerce are two platforms designed solely for selling online and will help you knock your competitors out of the park!
Help & Support
If building a website was like learning to ride a bike, then Site123 would be your stabilizers, supporting you right up until the point your site is ready to go live.
Site123 has an amazing on-boarding process. It gives you a tour of the editor and shows you how things work.
Site123 offers help via email, social media, and its knowledge base. What really shines through though, is its live chat support.
Live chat is available 24/7 and based on the same page as the one you’re editing on so you can receive fast, insightful responses without having to leave the page.
We loved it, and so did nearly everyone we got to test the product. Here’s a quote from one of them:
It was very intuitive and easy. I really liked having someone to talk to who just popped up when you wanted to ask a question. It felt like someone was holding your hand through the process.
Social Media Integration
Site123 allows you to link out to 25 different social media platforms (see image, right).
If you plan on social media playing a big role in your site, Site123 isn’t right for you.
Something like Wix is a far better option if you’re looking
to make social media and your website work well together.
Analytics is an important aspect of any site. Whether you want to track a user’s time on one of your pages, or just how many views your latest blog post has, it’s a great way to stay on top of things.
Some website builders offer their own analytics but with Site123, this is supplied via Google Analytics.
The upside is Google Analytics is tried and trusted software which shows you accurate, immediate results.
SEO & Marketing
Site123 offers some core SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools to make sure your website has the chance to rank as high as possible on search engines such as Google.
Things like being able to edit the meta title and description (the text that appears on Google’s search page), customizable URLs, and adding alt text to images, so search engines can identify what they are, all help.
Don’t worry if that sounds a bit complicated, Site123 has guides to show you how to do it all.
What Site123 doesn’t offer is support with which keywords to use or any SEO-specific apps. So some form of pre-existing SEO knowledge will be required to get the best out of your site.
You can connect a domain free for the first year on any of Site123’s premium plans with the annual renewal cost billed at $13 thereafter.
There are over 130 domain extensions to choose from, meaning you can tailor your domain to your industry – for example you could pick the domain extension .store instead of .com.
Site123 has a domain search tool to make finding your perfect domain quick and easy.
If you already own a domain, you can simply direct it to your website after upgrading to any of Site123’s premium plans by changing the DNS (Domain Name System) settings of the domain.
This way, the domain will still be hosted by your current host, so you can continue to renew and manage it there, and it will simply be directed to your website.
If you aren’t sure how to change the DNS settings, Site123 can do this for you as well.
Site123 protects your website totally free of charge through something called secure SSL (Site Socket Layer) encryption protocol.
Sounds like a load of techie jargon, right? Essentially, it’s technology that makes your website totally confidential. Your data is protected by the most modern security procedures.
This is all done by Site123 for you in real time, 24hrs a day, so you never have to worry about the security of your Site123 website.
Backups & Restores
No one wants their website to crash, but it’s always reassuring to know that whatever you do have is backed-up.
Site123’s handy autosave feature ensures that you’ll never need to worry about losing all your site’s content.
All your content can be restored to the last autosave in a matter of clicks, making sure your website performs to a high level, and your heart rate stays nice and low.
In our research we found that Site123 scores the highest in the value for money category! The first thing to note when looking at Site123’s pricing plans is that the amount you pay differs depending on how long you sign up with them for.
There are four time periods: 3 months, yearly, monthly and a 10 year price plan:
- Free Plan — $0
- Basic Plan — $12.80/ month (paid yearly) or $19/month (minimum 3 months)
- Advanced Plan — $19.80/ month (paid yearly) or $28/month (minimum 3 months)
- Professional Plan — $28.80/ month (paid yearly) or $39/month (minimum 3 months)
- 10 Year Plan — $5/month
As you’d expect, the longer you sign up for, the cheaper your monthly bill is. Think of it as a loyalty discount.
Below is the breakdown of how much Site123 charges for each pricing plan, the cost difference depending on how long you sign up for, and the amount you could save as a percentage:
|Site123 plan||Pay 3-monthly ($/mo)||Pay annually ($/mo)||Pay 2-yearly ($/mo)||Pay 3-yearly ($/mo)||You save (%)|
Now onto the big question: what do you actually get for your money?
Well for starters, Site123 does offer a free plan. This gives you the ability to build and publish as many websites as you want, 500MB storage, and 1GB bandwidth. Not bad.
The problems with this are that 500MB is too small if you want videos on your site and the small amount of bandwidth can limit your content and traffic.
On top of that, your website will be stamped with Site123 branding, both in your subdomain and on the footer of all your site’s pages.
If you want your website to be taken seriously, investing in a premium plan is a smart idea. Which plan depends on your needs and the image below breaks down exactly what each one offers you.
Each plan allows for more and more storage space and bandwidth. This means the higher plans are better suited if you have a lot of media to put on your site (if you are a photographer, for example), or if you are expecting a lot of traffic.
The same goes for ecommerce. If you’re looking to sell a couple of items a month on the side, great. But if you’re serious about selling online you’ll get better value for money with Wix or Square Online.
In short, Site123 is all about simplicity.
The website builder is easy to use thanks to its design-assisted approach and makes creating a website a breeze. The templates are mobile responsive and offer both blogging and ecommerce functionality.
Because so much is taken care of for you, it can be difficult to really customize or build a complex site with lots of specific requirements.
Site123’s other shortcoming lies in the quality of its features.
They provide some good help and support services with a score of 3.8/5 and its live chat is the absolute best we’ve used. It also came out with glowing references from those who we tested it with.
If you’re a medium to large company with the hopes of scaling up your business fast however, it’s best to look elsewhere.
Site123 is best suited to either personal websites or small businesses who want a place online to showcase their company info and contact details.
Its use of design assistance – where Site123 asks you a couple of questions about what type of website you’re after and then generates you a template with the relevant features – is an incredibly intuitive and time-saving option.
Other website builders such as Wix ADI and GoDaddy also work off design assistance, and scored better overall in our research, so it’s worth checking them out too before coming to your final decision.
Plus you’ll have fast site speeds, which will lead to visitors seeing your website with no glitches and give the Google algorithm a nice thumbs up!
If you’re signed up to one of Site123’s plans, you’ll get regular emails about all the new features it’s creating and the improvements it’s made to old ones – so watch this space.
Site123 is definitely a website builder that will get the job done, and you can be confident in the platform moving forward if you opt to go with it. But if you want our opinion on the top choices for the best website builder then take a look at our research.
Please note the insight contained within this article is for general information purposes only. We’re glad to answer any questions you may have about this article and its supporting research. Read more here and for further information, please contact Website Builder Expert directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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