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Site123 Review

In this post, I will review the Site123 website builder. It was started in 2016 to address the problems of creating a website easily even for those without web development skills.

We have included Site123 in our top 10 list of free website builders.

In the last few years, they have tried to make the whole process straightforward. It works by first asking the website owners a number of questions then creating a template with features based on the answers from the questions.

I will talk about all the features that Site123 comes with in this post

Ease of Use

Site123 website builder is one of the easiest website builders we have today. To get started, you will be asked the type of website you would like to build – you select from sixteen categories. 

You will then provide the name of your website and a template will be provided for you. On the template, you get a settings sidebar with several settings tabs – homepage, pages, design, settings, domain and publish. 

The homepage tab allows you to change the text, background and the homepage template. You can choose from a list of templates here. The Pages tab allows you to customize different pages of your website as well as add new pages. The Design tab gives you different design customization options. Site123 builds a one-page website by default. If you want to change this, the Settings tab has an option for you to do that. The domain tab shows you your current Site123 domain name and lists available domain names based on the name of your website that you can register. You can publish your website using the Publish tab.

Design Customization

To change different aspects of the design of your website, click on the Design tab on the settings sidebar. Here, you will be able to change the website name and logo, styles and fonts, header menu options, footer options, mobile menu design, and other advanced website structure options. The advanced options are only available on paid plans.

You can rearrange the items in a section or a page by dragging them. All the pages in Site123 are displayed in a one-page layout following each other according to the menu. To rearrange them, you need to rearrange the menu. When editing a page, you can drag items to rearrange them. However, if you do not want a one-page layout, you can change this from the Settings tab on the setting sidebar. You can add a gallery, social icons and grids by going to the add page option and choosing the respective interface elements. I was not able to add a slider to any page.

Adding a Menu

Creating a menu is easy. All you need to do is click on the Pages menu option on the left-hand side then click on the Add New Page button. However, creating a sub-menu is not straight forward and a beginner would struggle before finding out how to do so. To create a submenu, you need to click on the drop-down icon next to the Add New Page button, then select Add New Category. Under this new category – this will be the parent menu item – you can add sub-menus. The nesting is limited to just one level – parent and child.

Switching Themes

Like we mentioned earlier, Site123 asks you the type of a website you want and then gives you a template. Once you start designing your website, you can change to another template but changing a template will reset your homepage design including images, videos, and text, with no option to restore. The other pages will remain but will adopt the design of the home page

You can insert customer scripts to the website header or the footer by going to the Pages tab on the settings sidebar and clicking on the edit button on a particular page, then scrolling down to the scripts and codes section. However, there is no way to insert or tweak the HTML/CSS code. SITE123 does not grant you access.

Site123 does not allow you to revert your website to a previous state. There is no backup and restore function available. If you run into an issue, you can get in touch with SITE123’s support directly via live chat.

Image Manager

One of the most disappointing things I found with Site123 is the lack of a decent image manager. The fact that I could not upload and edit an image to use later made me feel like the website builder needs to add this as soon as possible. However, when uploading the header image, you are shown the previous images you have used. On all other pages, you do not have a media manager.

The only positive thing I found here was that Site123 integrates with Unsplash image library and allows you to add images to your website for free. You can search for images by typing a search item or by category, add filters to the image and crop it then add it to a section of a page.

SEO Features

Websites built using Site123 are SEO friendly. The website builder makes this even better by giving you options through which you can make sure that your website gets a fair ranking on all search engine results. The available options include;

  • Meta Tags and Description – You can edit the title, description, and keyword meta tags on pages, product pages and blog posts (but not on the free version for blog posts). To do that, select the Pages tab on the setting sidebar, then click on the settings icon on a particular page. After that, click on the SEO menu option from the drop-down menu. This will take you to a window where you can make the changes.
  • Custom Url’s / Permalinks – The free plan does not allow you to change the permalinks. This is an important feature for SEO when it is possible to have custom URLs that are short and readable. However, you can edit the permalink (Site123 calls it a page URL) on the paid plans.
  • SSL – At Site123 you get a free SSL certificate on all plans including the free plan. I was not able to find a way of adding my own certificate.
  • Redirects – You can redirect your old website’s URL to your new site built with SITE123 without losing your existing SEO. I was not able to create 301 redirects with Site123. I think that this feature should be added especially for people who are constantly editing their website and changing page URLs often.
  • Image Alt Text – Site123 allows you to edit the Image Alt Text on all of the posts – posts are articles on Site123. To do that, after uploading an image to a post, click on the alt text icon to add it. However, this was on posts. I was not able to do so on other pages such as the gallery page. You can add image meta tags on product pages but only on the paid plans.
  • SiteMaps – Your sitemap is generated automatically by Site123. You can check what your sitemap looks like anytime – this is not available on the free version. All you need to do is go to the website editor, click on Settings, then SEO, and you will see the link to your sitemap.
  • AMP – You can customize a page to fit different devices. To do that, go to Pages, then click on the edit button. On the edit screen, click at the top to customize how the page looks in a mobile, tablet or desktop device.

Verdict

Site123 has done a good job of making sure that all websites are SEO friendly. Although it lacks some essential SEO features such as customized URLs on the free plan, Image alt text on pages and 301 redirects, they have tried to add almost all other SEO features to make sure that your website is SEO friendly.

Blogging Features

Site123 supports blogging. You can choose to create a blogging website or even add a blog page on your website. Blog posts are referred to as articles. Let’s have a look at the different blogging features that Site123 offers;

Creating a New Post/Article

To create a new post, navigate to the Pages tab on the settings sidebar then click on the edit button. This will open a new window that shows you a list of all the available articles/blog posts. At the top of this page, there is a Add New Article button that allows you to create a new post.

The create a new post editor is very easy to use and straight forward. On the left-hand side of this screen, you can add the post title, select or add a new category – you can not add subcategories -, add tags, a short description, and a cover image. On the right-hand side, you have the editor screen where you can create the post. Site123 provides you with a lot of editor options on this screen. You can add images from the image library or upload from your computer (not possible to add an image gallery), videos (you can add a link to a video), links and files. After creating a post, you click on the Save button at the bottom. You can clone posts from the articles page.

Site123 does not allow you to schedule posts, add multiple authors, add subcategories, add a featured post (although you can move posts up and down) or create password-protected posts.

Blog Comments

Site123 comes with a native comment system. You can choose to enable or disable comments for the posts. Unfortunately, you can not disable or enable comments on a post. This setting applies to all the posts. You can choose to approve all comments before they are posted or they can be auto-approved. Readers will need to provide a name and an email address when posting a comment.

In case the native commenting system does not look good to you, you can use the Disqus or the Facebook commenting system. To change to either of these, go to the settings section of the articles then select from the Comment System Type drop-down menu. 

You also get an Insights tab on the left-hand side (on the image above) that gives insights on the number of comments you have received during a certain duration. The free plan gives insights for up to seven days while the paid plans have insights for up to one year with the option of adding a custom duration.

Verdict

Site123 has some really great and essential features to help you create a blog. Analytics, social bookmarking, a search feature and comment system make it a solid choice to be the home of your posts. The ease with which you can create posts is also a good feature. However, it lacks essential features such as scheduling posts, archiving and adding multiple authors. If you want a website just to blog, I would recommend WordPress since its the best for that.

eCommerce Features

Site123 provides a pretty decent eCommerce features that allow you to create a modern eCommerce store. However, these features depend on the plan that you are subscribed to. The free plan has very limited eCommerce options.

Adding Products

Adding a product is very easy and straight forward. You can add either physical or digital products. To add a product, click on the Add New Product button on the top left of the image above. This will take you to the product creation screen, shown below.

The General tab allows you to add the product’s general information. Here, you add the product name, any ribbons (optional), a short description, choose or create a new category, choose whether it is a physical or digital product and set the price.

If your product has options, click on the options tab at the top. Site123 provides you with in-built options for displaying your product options. You can also manage variants and inventory from this screen – this is only available in the paid plans.

You can add product attributes from the Attributes tab and then change the shipping settings for the product from the Shipping tab. You can also choose to either manage the product inventory automatically or manually.

Unfortunately, there is no way to import or export products with Site123. There is also no way to integrate third-party shipping software.

Product Display and Organization

Site123 allows you to control how your products are displayed in different sections. The sections include;

  • Product Box – you can change how your products will look like on product boxes on your website. You can choose from six pre-designed styles to change the display. You can also change product image ratio, mouse hover effect (this will be used only on products with more than one image) and image size.
  • Categories Box – you can change how your products will look like on categories boxes on your website. You can choose from seven pre-designed styles to change the display. You can also change the category image ratio and image size.
  • Product Page – You can choose from three pre-designed styles to change how your products are displayed on the product page.
  • General – This allows you to change the menu style of the shop menu. You can choose to have a menu without categories, with categories or a horizontal categories menu.

Payment Gateways and Transaction fees

Site123 supports PayPal, Amazon Pay Account and Credit Card Gateway Providers such as Stripe, 2checkout, Braintree, Square, Tranzila and CreditGuard – all on the paid plans and offline payments – bank deposit, cash on delivery, check, money order, pay in-store and phone. The payment gateways on the paid plans are quite effective and far much better compared to other Website Builder platforms such as Squarespace that only supports PayPal and Stripe – Stripe has limited availability across the world.

There are no transaction fees charged by Site123. This means that the website owner gets to keep all the proceeds from the sale. Squarespace charges a 3% transaction fees, making Site123 a better option if you are looking to have your products sell on cheaper prices and manage to keep all the proceeds from the sale.

Shipping

Site123 allows you to set shipping rates depending on regions. Each shipping region has five options;

  • Free Shipping
  • Flat Rate
  • Rate by Order Price
  • Rate by Weight
  • Store Pickup only

Dropshipping with Site123

Currently, there is no native dropshipping app/features available on the Site123 website builder. If you plan to run a dropshipping business, then Shopify and Woocommerce are the best choices for this.

Verdict

As shown above, creating an eCommerce store is very easy to straight-forward. This is one section that Site123 has done so well, except the limited features on the free and even the basic plan. If you want to set up a powerful eCommerce store, then the Professional and Gold plans are the best-suited plans for you. You can set up a store with the free version as well, but it allows your customers to pay by bank transfer, cash on delivery, check, money order, in person or by phone.

Site123 Pricing Plans

Site123 offers five pricing plans including the free plan. They include the Free, Basic, Advanced, Professional and Gold plans. The monthly price depends on how long you pay for a subscription. There is a price for a three month, twelve-month, twenty-four month and thirty-six-month subscription as shown below;

PlanFreeBasic /monthAdvanced /monthProfessional /monthGold /month
Three Month SubscriptionFree$ 12$ 20$ 28$ 36
Twelve-Month SubscriptionFree$ 5.80$ 11.80$ 17.80$ 23
Twenty-Four Month SubscriptionFree$ 4.30$ 8.30$ 12.30$ 17.30
Thirty-Six Month SubscriptionFree$ 3.45$ 6.45$ 9.45$ 14.45

Important Notes

  • All the paid plans come with a free domain name apart from the three-month subscription.
  • SITE123 floating tag is removed on all plans.
  • SITE123 Footer Tag is removed on the Advanced, Professional and Gold plans.
  • Website statistics and Credit Card gateways for eCommerce are only available on the Professional and Gold plans.

Free Plan

  • The Url you get in Free Plan: SITE123 branded subdomain (.site123.me)
  • Storage: 500 MB
  • Bandwidth: 1 GB
  • Template Access: You answer questions and get a template from that.
  • Number of Pages: Unlimited
  • Ecommerce: The paid plan contains an online store to sell physical and digital goods.

Basic Plan

  • The Url you get: Free domain name (except for the three-month subscription) or connecting your own domain name
  • Storage: 10 GB
  • Bandwidth: 5 GB
  • Template Access: You answer questions and get a template from that.
  • Number of Pages: Unlimited
  • Ecommerce: Handle 10 orders/month with offline payment methods.

Advanced Plan

  • The Url you get: Free domain name (except for the three-month subscription) or connecting your own domain name
  • Storage: 30 GB
  • Bandwidth: 15 GB
  • Template Access: You answer questions and get a template from that.
  • Number of Pages: Unlimited
  • Ecommerce: Adds PayPal to eCommerce together with offline payment methods.

Professional Plan

  • The Url you get: Free domain name (except for the three-month subscription) or connecting your own domain name
  • Storage: 90 GB
  • Bandwidth: 45 GB
  • Template Access: You answer questions and get a template from that.
  • Number of Pages: Unlimited
  • Ecommerce: 500 Orders per month with PayPal, Credit Card gateways and offline payment methods.

Gold Plan

  • The Url you get: Free domain name (except for the three-month subscription) or connecting your own domain name
  • Storage: 270 GB
  • Bandwidth: 135 GB
  • Template Access: You answer questions and get a template from that.
  • Number of Pages: Unlimited
  • Ecommerce: Unlimited Orders per month with PayPal, Credit Card gateways and offline payment methods.

Conclusion

Site123 is an amazing website builder and competes fairly with some established builders such as Squarespace. It is easy to use and can set up a website within no time. However, it falls short when it comes to functionality, customization, and control. They need to work on the flexibility of functionality and design that website owners have when creating a website with a base template. Nonetheless, it provides almost everything you need to design a fully functional website within a short period of time. To learn more Site123 pros and cons and also see how it compares to the ten best website builders, kindly check this link.

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