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Simvoly Review

Strong features, just difficult to use.

My work is supported by affiliate commissions. Last Updated Mar 21 2018

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User Experience

Pages in Simvoly are made up of blocks. Blocks can have multiple widgets in them. You can create new blocks by adding a new widget to the page or you can choose from a selection of pre-designed blocks to get you started.

Right: Browsing the pre-designed blocks— there’s a good selection.

Most users will be better off just choosing pre-designed blocks to work with— once you start trying to change individual widgets, Simvoly starts to get very confusing. For example, aligning widgets is strange. You try to move the widget and it doesn’t maintain it’s alignment— instead you have to add a spacer.

Right: This takes a few tries to figure out.

Language can be nearly incomprehensible at times. For example, hover a block’s menu and you are presented container options (is a block a container?). In the page manager, ecommerce is referred to as Digital Services— why? There are multiple different sections labeled settings within the sidebar. Blocks can have columns— but then there can also be other columns within a block. The restaurant menu editor is titled portfolio list.

Ecommerce is called ‘Digital Services’ in the page management— huh?

Right: Ecommerce is called ‘Digital Services’ in the page management— huh?

Another example of confusion in Simvoly: page management. There is an option on the sidebar to edit pages— but this is not the area to manage navigation. Navigation is a seperate menu. I guarantee this will trip up many users!

Right: Why does adding a page here not add one to my navigation menu!?

For a while, I could not figure out how to add a blog post. I went to the help section but their Blog Guide was set to ‘Coming Soon’. So I had to get in touch with customer support— customer support told me that for some customers the blog editor is named Events... That’s really confusing!

Turns out ‘Events’ is the name of the blog editor.

Right: Turns out ‘Events’ is the name of the blog editor.

Features

  • Blog

    Full blog editor: tagging and category systems, ability to edit permalink, comments and comment moderation and more. Posts can have images, galleries, videos or quotes as the header.  Show Screenshot

  • Ecommerce

    Unlike many website builders who clumsily outsource their ecommerce to a 3rd party such as Ecwid, Simvoly has built out their own solid ecommerce features. And while they don’t offer as many ecommerce features as Squarespace, they do offer more than most website builders. For example, products can have variations, different types of discounts, customers can register and digital products. They don’t allow you to customize email receipts, sell gift cards or meaningfully customize checkout. One highlight: they support five different payment processors.  Show Screenshot

  • Form Builder

    You can add text, textures, reCAPTHCHA’s, checkboxes, dates and even passwords. Unfortunately there’s no support for file upload fields. You have the option to forward users to a custom URL on successful submission and to change the notification email. All submissions are saved in the database (helpful in case you accidentally delete an email).  Show Screenshot

  • iOS & Android Apps

     

  • Retina Ready

    Uploaded images did not always appear sharp and crisp on retina displays. In fact, occasionally they would appear pixelated and distorted.  

  • Newsletter

    There is a newsletter signup widget that can integrate with Mailchimp lists.  

  • Membership System

    You can enable member registrations and restrict access to certain pages on your website. 

  • Restaurant Menu

    There is a menu editor— though it’s titled “Portfolio List”. Menus are formatted in an unusual way on your website— not typical of restaurants. 

  • Donations

    You can add a payment form to your website— but I wouldn’t call it a donation system (see Squarespace for an idea of what a donation system should look like). Ideally payment systems should allow you to send custom email receipts.  

  • Audio Player

    Nice looking audio player— with light and dark skins.  

  • Podcasts

    Though there is an audio player, you are not able to syndicate podcasts. (Syndicating a podcast feed is what lets you submit it to iTunes.)  

Themes

Simvoly offers 84 themes to choose from. Most of the themes are really strong— contemporary with lots of room to showcase photography.

Right: Example theme

Each theme is also responsive— which means it works well on tablets and phones.

Right: Example theme

Styling options are simplistic— you can set one primary colour that’s applied to links and CTAs. There’s no option to set a global style for specific elements (for example: set a header or paragraph style). One element (the top bar) requires you to edit code in order to adjust.

Customizing Styles

Right: Customizing Styles

Good Billing Practices

I was able to cancel with ease. One note: their money-back gurantee is only for annual plans. Not monthly plans.



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By Steve Benjamins

I'm the writer, designer and developer for Site Builder Report and over the last four years I’ve written over 100 in-depth reviews of website builders. Today over 60,000 people every month use Site Builder Report to choose a website builder.


Review History

  • Mar 21 2018 Review published.

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