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WebsiteBuilder.com Review

Poor billing practices and an overwhelming website editor— users who are looking for thoughtful defaults and an easy-to-use website builder will want to take a look elsewhere. Watch Video Review »

My work is supported by affiliate commissions. Last Updated Feb 13 2018


User Experience

WebsiteBuilder.com, SiteBuilder.com, Sitey and Sitelio are all the same website builder. This review is about WebsiteBuilder.com but it can be applied to all 4 brands. In 2018, those brands were acquired by Endurance International Group (EIG)— a company with a poor reputation for buying web hosts, reducing staff and squeezing profits. (EIG: A Web of Deceit is an in-depth analysis.)

Website editor

Right: Website editor

Even before the EIG acquisition, I've been highly critical of WebsiteBuilder.com. I called them cartoon super-villians for their poor billing practices. And while the cancellation policy has been improved, some problems still persist: for example they still add items into users shopping carts without their consent— shady!

The 'SiteLock' add-on is selected by default during checkout.

Right: The 'SiteLock' add-on is selected by default during checkout.

But let’s put aside billing practices for a moment and talk about the website editor. Like many website builders today, WebsiteBuilder.com organizes pages into ‘Sections’ that are stacked vertically. Sections are then made up of individual elements.

Each red square is a 'section'.

Right: Each red square is a 'section'.

There is a wide selection of pre-designed sections. For example there are 32 'Contact Us’ and 25 ‘Photo Gallery’ section templates— way more than other section-based website builders. Pre-designed sections are completely customizable, so you can add, edit and remove elements. You can also design your own sections from scratch.

Right: There are 25 ‘Photo Gallery’ section templates.

The mix of features don’t always make sense. For example, there are 5 different “snap-to-grid” options but you can’t add checkboxes or file uploads to forms. There are 11 animation options for elements but images aren’t ready for retina devices.

There are 5 different snap-to-grid options— and yet there’s no way to add checkboxes or file uploads to forms.

Right: There are 5 different snap-to-grid options— and yet there’s no way to add checkboxes or file uploads to forms.

Oftentimes there is just too much going on in the website editor and the interface gets overwhelming. Occasionally I would accidentally add elements to the footer of the website or have elements overlapping sections.

How many toolbars is too many toolbars?

Right: How many toolbars is too many toolbars?

Overall users who are looking for thoughtful defaults and an easy-to-use website builder will want to take a look at Weebly or Strikingly.

Website editor

Right: Website editor

Features

  • Blog

    Full blog system with some strong stylistic customization (you can choose from a variety of blog templates or drag and drop build your own blog— works well). It's fully featured, so you can edit the permalink, set tags, create cover images, pin posts, feature posts and more. One of the better blog editors I've seen in a website builder.  Show Screenshot

  • Ecommerce

    In the last year WebsiteBuilder.com built their own ecommerce system. There are a good amount of features: product variations, categories, discount codes and email customization (though you are limited to customizations around messaging). Unfortunately the checkout experience takes your customers off of your domain and on to websitebuilder.com— jumping URLs is not a way to signal trust to customers. Much better to have checkout integrated into your website.  Show Screenshot

  • Form Builder

    Not a form builder. More of a contact form element. You can only add text fields and dates. Which means there are no options for adding checkboxes, files or radio buttons— all very standard form elements. Oddly there is an option to add a 2nd submit button. There is no way to adjust which email address form submissions are sent to (it’s just sent to your WebsiteBuilder.com account).  Show Screenshot

  • iOS & Android Apps

    No.  

  • Retina Ready

    No.  

  • Newsletter

    There are no elements for integrating a Mailchimp or Constant Contact sign up form.  

  • Membership System

    No.  

  • Design from Scratch

    There's more than enough features here to remove all elements and design your website from scratch.  

  • Multi-lingual

    No. 

  • Restaurant Menu

     Show Screenshot

  • Donations

    No. (There's a simple button that can send the donors to Paypal, but no built-in donation integration with a checkout system, custom email notifications etc.)  

  • Audio Player

    No.  

  • Podcasts

    No.  

Themes

There is a wide selection of themes to choose from. Unfortunately once you choose a theme you can’t swap to another theme— you’re locked in. This is different from website builders which allow you to swap between themes until you find the one you like. Here’s an example theme.

Right: Theme example

Themes feel modern but aren’t especially great. Here’s another example:

Right: Theme example

There is a mobile editor that lets you adjust the mobile version of your theme. There’s quite a few options: you can choose from menu options, hide certain elements, adjust section spacing and more. Handy.

Right: Customizing the menu on mobile.

Bad Billing Practices

I’ve been pointing this out for years: WebsiteBuilder.com adds items into users shopping carts that users have not added. It’s still happening.

During checkout, WebsiteBuilder.com automatically adds a SiteLock upgrade to your package. If you don’t notice it, it will automatically be added to your account:

It doesn't help that SiteLock is a ridiculous upgrade. It promises to protect your site from "from online security problems”. But why should users pay more money for that? That should be included by default in a website builder package.

You have to contact support in order to cancel your account. It took 17 minutes to complete the cancellation (5 minutes waiting for an support agent and 12 minutes for the agent to process my account). I would prefer they allow users to cancel through a web-based system.