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Vistaprint Review 3 0

Simple block-based website builder.

3.0

By Steve BenjaminsLast Updated Jan 6 2017

Vistaprint Review Updates

We update all our reviews within 9 months.

  • Sep 2 2016 — Review published.
  • Jan 6 2017 — New review written (there was a major update to Vistaprint).

User Experience Info

Before I begin, I want to explain something: there’s Vistaprint the company and Vistaprint the website builder. The website builder is pretty good— not the best, but also not the worst. But I think there a few red flags about the company (relative to other website builders).

Red flag #1: Always a red flag when a company forces you to add a credit card for the “free trial”.

Right: Red flag #1: Always a red flag when a company forces you to add a credit card for the “free trial”.

One of my concerns with Vistaprint the company, is how they handled their acquisition of Webs, another website builder in 2011. They stopped actively maintaining Webs without telling it's thousands of users and seemed to have dramatically scaled back support. This is a poor way to treat customers.

Webs customers have been poorly treated since Vistaprint acquired it.

Right: Webs customers have been poorly treated since Vistaprint acquired it.

But as I’ve said, the website builder is good. They recently redesigned it be a block-based website builder— so you drag and drop pre-designed blocks into your website.

Your website is made up of blocks like this that are stacked on top of one another.

Right: Your website is made up of blocks like this that are stacked on top of one another.

The blocks are cookie cutter and you are limited in what you can customize. For example, you can’t add elements within a block (you can only remove elements). But fortunately, there are some really handy blocks included. For example, there’s a Menu block that makes it easy to create stylish restaurant menus and an Events block that’s perfect for listing events.

Want to add another element here? Unfortunately not possible.

Right: Want to add another element here? Unfortunately not possible.

There are a variety of options for your website header. My only concern is that your chosen header is applied to the entire site— not just an individual page. So if you choose one with a banner image, the banner image is included on every page (it’d be nice to have the option of having a banner image on only specific pages— such as the homepage).

Choosing a header

Right: Choosing a header

Overall the website builder is easy to use. It’s simple and easy to figure out. I actually really like the accordion interface— where drawers pull out from the left. And there’s a really snappy website zoom animation for when you drag and drop blocks (I haven’t seen it done before but it’s really well executed).

Features Info

  • Blog

    You can add a “Blog” page but it’s not actually a blog. It’s just text and image blocks designed to mimic the appearance of blog. None of the usual blog features are here: there are no individual post pages, no post editor, no RSS feed, no way to publish posts in the future, no comments etc. Vistaprint advertises that they have a blog editor on their homepage but this is a major stretch.  

  • Ecommerce

    An “online store” is included in the Premium ($25 / month) plan but unfortunately it’s not actually ecommerce. It’s simply a Paypal button that sends the user over to Paypal for checkout. There is no onsite checkout, no email notifications etc.  

  • Form Builder

    Full form builder with multiple fields: checkboxes, radio buttons, text, paragraph text and more. You can download all the form submissions (an important detail other website builders miss) and customize the success message.  Show Screenshot

  • iOS & Android Apps

     

  • Retina Ready

    Images appeared sharp and crisp on retina screens.  

  • Newsletter

     

  • Membership System

     

  • Restaurant Menu

    There are handy content blocks you can drop into your website that have a series of predesigned menus. Nice.  Show Screenshot

  • Donations

     

  • Audio Player

     

  • Podcasts

     

Themes Info

There are no themes that you choose from in Vistaprint, instead you actually choose a header and footer design, create the body of the page with blocks and set colours in style settings.

Choosing a header.

Right: Choosing a header.

This actually works fairly well. Of course a savvy person may notice that all Vistaprint websites look very similar— but I honestly don’t think that’s something worth worrying about. Websites are also responsive which is great.

Viewing a Vistaprint website live.

Right: Viewing a Vistaprint website live.

Style customization is good. There’s a variety of font pairings to choose from (and you can also set fonts individually). Each website has 3 colours called a Colour Set that you can customize. And you can set a default style for all the buttons on the website.

Choosing a color set

Right: Choosing a color set

Not Ideal Billing Practices


Though thoroughly confusing (you cancel by deleting a document in your portfolio), Vistaprint does allow you to cancel from a web-based interface.

Unfortunately they require you to sign up with a credit card for their "free" trial— which is not ideal.


Pricing


Plan Term Domain Name Total info
    • Starter $5.00 / month $20.00 / year. $6.67 per month Total: $240.00
    • Starter $45.00 / year $20.00 / year. $5.42 per month Total: $195.00
    • Standard $18.00 / month $20.00 / year. $19.11 per month Total: $688.00
    • Standard $162.00 / year First year free, then $20.00 / year. $14.61 per month Total: $526.00
    • Premium $25.00 / month $20.00 / year. $26.11 per month Total: $940.00
    • Premium $225.00 / year First year free, then $20.00 / year. $19.86 per month Total: $715.00

Comments


Steve Benjamins I founded Site Builder Report in 2012 in order to help people choose the right website builder. I also make music (you should check it out!). You can also follow me on Twitter here.