In this SITE123 review, I’ll have a look at this website builder and its templates, ease of use, performance, business features and more.
SITE123 offers a way out for people that want website building to be as simple as it gets. It even goes as far as to call itself “by far the easiest free website builder”.
But can “simple” still look, perform, and feel good? Do you have to sacrifice functionality and design just so you can save a few minutes?
This is what I aimed to find out, and long story short – I was impressed with the quick start-up process and intuitive customization.
SITE123 offers the ability to easily create a multi-language website, comfortable blogging system, and there are decent eCommerce possibilities.
Further tailoring can be done using extensive SITE123’s App Market. Link your social media accounts, integrate advanced tracking and analytics tools, and even boost your search engine rankings with any one of a range of apps.
And all of that is genuinely very simple to master.
But as much as I like the advantages, I won’t deny the downsides of SITE123 builder.
Naturally, if the editing interface is made so easy to use, it has to pay the price of design limitations. So the templates here aren’t the most customizable or feature-rich, although undoubtedly easy to edit.
And even with all those additional apps, this builder isn’t capable to provide enough juice for large websites. There’s simply no comfortable way to sort and control big amounts of various content with SITE123.
So, as I found out in this SITE123 review, this is a very intuitive website builder – but it comes with some tradeoffs you need to be wary of.
If you’re interested in seeing our hands-on video review of SITE123 – we have it right here!
SITE123 offers an attractive Free Forever plan and four paid subscriptions that start around $10/mo and can go up to over $30/mo.
Why around $10/mo? Well, SITE123 changes pricing from time to time. I’ve noticed the Basic plan varying from $6 to $10 to $8 per month. So if you’re thinking to get a subscription with SITE123, you might want to lurk a bit for a good deal to show up.
Anyway, SITE123’s paid annual subscriptions range from $12.80/month for a personal plan to $34.80/month for a plan that unlocks advanced eCommerce and marketing features. And there are great discounts if you pay for two or more years at once.
Upgrading to the Basic plan ($12.80/month) will give you 10GB of storage, 5GB of bandwidth, and the ability to connect a custom domain.
The Advanced plan ($19.80/month) provides better server resources, multi-language functionality, and decent email-marketing features.
Basic eCommerce features are available with the Professional subscription, which comes in at $28.80/month, but you will have to upgrade to the Gold plan ($34.80/month) to unlock all online store and website building tools.
Although the Gold plan may seem a little expensive at first glance, it’s actually only priced slightly higher than the base plans of most dedicated eCommerce providers while offering a lot more features.
Great discounts are also available, allowing you to save almost 50 percent on some plans if you pay for three years at once.
By the way, if you go straight to the SITE123 homepage, don’t get confused finding only two plans advertised. It seems like there are only Free and Premium plans available, but you’ll find the details of paid plans if you go for a purchase.
Talking about the Free plan, it is quite limited.
It offers meager server resources, SITE123 advertising, and a generic subdomain. But then again, it’s only natural that the provider offers minimal 500MB storage with ads stamped on your site when giving it for no cost at all.
As the brand name implies, starting and managing the SITE123 is actually easy as one-two-three. The setup is intuitive and straight forward while the editor is well-organized and quick to learn.
Seriously, after trying it out myself, I completely agree with that brand name.
A new site can be started by simply clicking on the “Start here” button and working through a quick three-step process. At the end of these steps, you get a template design that has been tailored to your needs.
First, you will be asked what sort of website you want. SITE123 really does provide a great range of options here, allowing you to specify your exact needs so that you get a template that fits.
The second step of the process involves setting your website’s name and language. Don’t worry too much about this – you can change it later if you need to.
Finally, step three of the process involves editing your site’s appearance and adding custom content. This will take a little bit of time, and I’m going to run through my experience with SITE123’s website builder in detail.
The first thing I noticed was the guidance tools. Before I even started editing anything I was walked through the builder with clear explanations about how it works and what features are available.
Now, I thought it would be easy to use SITE123, but I didn’t expect it to be that beginner friendly!
Things didn’t get any harder when I actually started customizing my website. First, I had a look at some of the design features that SITE123 offers.
If you aren’t impressed with the design template that the SITE123 website builder gives you, it’s actually very easy to choose a new one. Simply browse the great range of themes on offer and pick one that you think is more suited to your needs.
At the same time, you can change things like your site’s color scheme, global fonts, and basic layout via the design tab on the left of the editor. You can add and edit your background image, change the layout of each of your pages individually, and even add custom design elements if you want.
Unfortunately, SITE123’s design flexibility pretty much ends there.
It’s impossible to specify exact element positions by editing your HTML or CSS code – simply because SITE123 doesn’t offer any code editing features.
Similarly, you will be very confined by the layout of the template that you choose, which makes it hard to build a truly personalized website that stands out from the crowd.
On the other hand, I was impressed by how easy SITE123 makes adding new pages, editing your written content, and uploading custom images and videos to your website – so it’s not all bad.
Finally, I had a quick look at the SITE123 dashboard, where simplicity and ease of use once again seem to be the focus.
It offers an intuitive interface that lets you manage your website, comments, and messages. You can add a custom domain if you want you, and you can even create and send custom emails to your subscribers.
SITE123 performs pretty well on the design template front compared to some website builders, but it doesn’t offer anywhere near the same choice as industry leaders like Wix. However, all of SITE123’s templates are professionally designed, making them a great choice to base your website on.
With over 200 template options catering to websites of all types, you should be able to find something that appeals to you.
Basing your website on a design that you like only involves scrolling through the template library, choosing a design, and starting to edit.
One thing that stands out to me is that all of SITE123’s website templates are fully responsive and mobile optimized.
In my opinion, mobile responsiveness is crucial in the modern world – where a huge percentage of internet users browse with a smartphone or other mobile device. SITE123 is certainly competitive on this front.
If you want to build a simple eCommerce store or business website, SITE123 is a good choice. It’s easy to use, offers an intuitive management dashboard and website editor, and comes with a range of great business features.
Above all, SITE123 keeps things easy. During my SITE123 review, I’ve seen that it’s keeping the promises when it comes to saving time and sticking to the basics.
SITE123 offers a range of great eCommerce features that are targeted specifically at small businesses and online stores. It’s a great choice both for people who want to add a store to a content-based website and for those who want to sell a few things on the side.
I have to admit, I was quite impressed with the sheer number of online store features that SITE123 offers. For a simple store builder that doesn’t focus on eCommerce, it certainly does things pretty well.
Similarly, SITE123 makes it easy to add products and manage your inventory. Once again, it focuses on keeping things simple, helping you save time and run your business efficiently.
On the scalability front, SITE123 doesn’t excel, but it doesn’t do terribly either. The Gold plan lets you add unlimited products and product variations to your store, and it also gives you unlimited sales and plenty of server resources.
However, it doesn’t allow to access top-tier financial tools like automatic invoicing and payment tracking, which can make it hard to really sell on a large scale.
I’d recommend SITE123 as a great option for people who want to build a simple online store that won’t take a lot of time to manage. However, it probably isn’t the best choice for larger stores – you’d be better off using a dedicated eCommerce provider like Shopify or BigCommerce.
SITE123 also performs pretty well when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). It comes with some great features that let you add crucial SEO information – such as meta titles, meta descriptions, and custom URLs.
Similarly, SITE123 focuses on improving the user experience by offering fully responsive, mobile-optimized designs. This is very important because the number of times people spend on your website and the way they interact with it are critical factors when it comes to SEO.
At the same time, SITE123 allows updating each page’s SEO information. SEO meta-data can be easily added to each page via the website editor. If you’re not sure what something is, don’t worry – SITE123 also provides clear descriptions to help you get started.
Sure, SITE123’s SEO tools aren’t the most powerful out there, but they are simple and relatively self-explanatory. It shouldn’t be too hard to get your SITE123 website ranking well, especially if you do a bit of research and follow SEO best practices.
Sadly, this SITE123 review won’t praise it for the most powerful marketing features. Native marketing tools are almost non-existent – except for a basic email marketing interface – but you can make things easier by adding apps to your site.
Email marketing with SITE123 is certainly easy, but it’s quite limited. The native email marketing tab lets you build and send simple messages to your subscribers, but you can’t create custom designs or change the layout of your emails very much at all.
Similarly, you won’t be able to integrate your social media profiles or track any advanced statistics unless you use a plugin from the SITE123 App Market. Luckily, there are a few options available here, which means that you should be able to find something that suits your needs.
However, I wouldn’t recommend choosing SITE123 for its marketing features. If you’re happy with basic marketing tools, then SITE123 is fine, but you should look elsewhere if you want anything more advanced.
One more thing that I’d like to touch on quickly is SITE123’s blogging features. Its free plan offers a great way for amateur bloggers to get started without having to spend a cent, while its paid plans offer tools that are up there with industry-leading blogging platforms like WordPress.com.
SITE123 does place a specific focus on blogging, which means that its blog-specific features are quite powerful. I found it very easy to manage my posts by categorizing and adding tags to them.
Sharing on social media is easy, and you can even schedule your posts to be released when you want them to be.
SITE123 also offers a native blog comment system, which makes it easy for you to engage with your site’s visitors. You can even add an RSS feed to help people keep up to date with your latest posts.
You may be happy to set up a website quickly but speed is a virtue more important to the website’s performance. And for that, SITE123 provides a decent server speed.
In order to complete my SITE123 review, I ran two simple performance tests on the website that I had built. I started with a GTmetrix page speed test and followed it up with a LoadImpact performance test.
First up, the GTmetrix page speed test looked at both the page speed and load time of my website with respect to a number of factors.
Moving onto the LoadImpact performance test, I looked at how well my website stood up to high visitor loads.
I subjected it to 50 virtual users (green line in the image below) for a period of ten minutes and measured the server response times (blue line).
As you can see, server response times remained quite low, even when my site was placed under high loads. This tells me that the hosting that SITE123 uses is pretty good and that their servers are reliable.
After performing a complete SITE123 review I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a great website builder for simple websites. It is more suited to people who aren’t too worried about design flexibility and advanced features. SITE123 keeps things very simple and offers faster performance than most other builders.
I particularly like SITE123’s simple website editing interface. Although it offers very limited design flexibility, building a basic website extremely easy here. If your main goal is to create an online presence and you aren’t too worried about customization, then SITE123 is a great choice.
Similarly, SITE123’s eCommerce tools are great for small online stores. It doesn’t scale amazingly, and therefore isn’t the best choice for larger stores. However, it’s one of my favorite builders for people who want to sell a few things without having to spend a lot of time and money managing their store.
However, with marketing and SEO comes the downside of SITE123. There are very few tools to work with so you will need to look for resources elsewhere.
On the other hand, SITE123’s websites load fast and perform well under high traffic, and that always helps a site to rank higher.
SITE123 is a great website builder, but it certainly isn’t the best for everything. There are plenty of alternatives that are better suited to certain situations, including:
If building an online store is your main goal, then Shopify is a good alternative to SITE123.
This platform is focused on eCommerce, which means that it comes with powerful selling tools and store features. And it maintains an interface that’s easy to use.
Wix is a much better choice when it comes to design flexibility. It uses one of the most powerful drag-and-drop website builders available, letting you personalize things down to the pixel level.
Having that said, this builder requires a bit more time to get used to.
GoDaddy website builder is actually a very similar product to SITE123. So if you need a good alternative to build a simple website quickly but you just don’t like SITE123 go for GoDaddy. It offers very modern designs, an intuitive editing interface, and even better performance.