Ucraft is a block-based website builder— which means you build pages by stacking blocks vertically on top of another. Blocks are then made up of individual elements.
There are 35 pre-set blocks you can add to a page. This is not a wide selection— especially since certain blocks tend have a unique style and may not be widely applicable. Fortunately blocks are completely customizable: you can add elements, remove elements or design your own blocks from scratch. Other block-based website builders lack this customizability.
When it comes to styling blocks and elements you will want to turn on Design Mode, which unlocks a ton of customization options. In fact, you can’t resize a photo or adjust the padding and margins of blocks without Design Mode turned on. Here’s the catch: Design Mode requires a $2.99 per month Design Tools upgrade. It’s pretty weird— I can’t think of another website builder that locks this functionality behind an up-sell.
I wouldn’t recommend Ucraft if you’re just looking to grab a template and throw up a website. There aren’t enough pre-designed blocks to ensure your website isn’t too cookie cutter. Instead to get the most out of Ucraft, you’ll want to build your own blocks from scratch and buy the Design Tools upgrade.
Ucraft lets you create ‘Article’ pages. Naming them ‘Article’ pages is a bit confusing because they are really blog posts (in fact they are called ‘blog’ in their URLs by default). Post pages aren’t very pretty for readers (see screenshot) but the post editor is quite pretty. Everything you need is included: you can use Disqus for comments, save posts as drafts, set posts to publish in the future, categorize (or tag) posts and customize the slug. One thing I love: you can add a social media image (the image that will appear alongside the article when it is shared on Facebook or Twitter) which is smart and unique. Show Screenshot
Rather than build their own solution, Ucraft uses Ecwid as a 3rd party shopping cart system that you can add to your website. Ecwid is a full ecommerce platform: you can sell digital products, set taxes, shipping, weight, SKU’s, integrate with Fedex, UPS and more. DudaOne and Yola use Ecwid for their ecommerce and they have same problem that Ecwid does: it never feels like a fully integrated part of your website. For example, there is no persistent shopping cart automatically put into your templates. Instead users can only check out by clicking ‘Add to Cart’ (this is not conventional in ecommerce websites). Show Screenshot
Full form builder. You can add a variety of fields (name, email, checkbox, dropdowns, files etc.), integrate your form with Mailchimp or Google Docs and customize the thank you message (or redirect users to a separate page). Show Screenshot
Images display sharp and crisp on retina devices.
You can create forms that integrate with Mailchimp (or Google Docs).
You can create your own design by choosing a header, footer and setting a site-wide color scheme.
There is a Paypal donation widget (but I don't count that as a donation system).
You can embed a Soundcloud player but there is no Ucraft audio player.
Ucraft has 63 website themes to choose from. Themes are fresh and modern— they use large photos and strong typography. All themes are mobile friendly— excellent!
Ucraft themes are just meant to get you started— from there it’s up to you to make adjustments to headers, fonts etc.. You’ll want to choose your theme carefully: once you enable Design Mode you won’t be able to swap between themes.
There are a wide variety of customization options for themes— so long as you’ve enabled the $2.99 / month Design Tools upgrade. You adjust the page width, distance between elements, configure button styles, install fonts, adjust navigation styles and more. One confusing thing: customization options are scattered throughout the app: some options are accessed through the Designer Tools while other options have to be accessed through the website editor.
It's very easy to cancel— just one click.
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