Updated: Dec 11, 2020
While there are plenty of easy-to-use website builders out there, not all of them have the right tools to help you showcase your salon at its best.
You may want the image galleries to showcase photos of your work. You may also want an online contact form or a booking tool to organize your calendar and manage your guests and a map feature to identify your website visitors easily. your salon's location.
If you choose the wrong website builder, you will likely waste a lot of time and money rebuilding your website from scratch. But if you get it right, you can build your new website quickly and easily, and it could become one of your most valuable marketing tools.
We tested dozens of website builders that take note of salon websites and found that these five tools are the best for building a professional, high-quality salon website.
I. Wix - Pattern created especially for hair salons and beauty salons
Wix is easy to use, with a drag-and-drop editor that makes it easy to swap out and organize photos of your customers' gorgeous looks season by season. There are over 500 models, and there are even some specially designed for hair and beauty salons.
Once you've chosen a template, it's completely customizable. It adds elements you want, such as the contact page so customers can easily contact you and Wix Bookings so they can schedule meetings and online appointments. Wix SEO Wiz can help you develop an SEO strategy so that your website is easier to find potential customers on Google and other search engines.
Wix's free plan has 500 MB of storage and bandwidth, but you'll have trouble with the Wix subdomain (i.e., yourite.wix.com) and the Wix branding on your website. Upgrading to a paid plan will remove the branding and give you access to additional features, and you can connect your own domain name.
Wix offers more templates than any other website builder out of the market, with over 500 templates to choose from in dozens of sub-categories that extend business, e-commerce, creative website, and more.
You don't even need to choose a template from the category that best suits your website - since they're so customizable, you can choose a template from any of the categories and modify it to suit your needs. So whether your website is for a travel agency that books private accommodation for pets or a cooking blog for people with a knack for burning water, Wix can handle it.
If none of the templates match your vision, you have the option of starting from a completely blank template and building exactly what you want from scratch. And when I say exactly what you want, I mean - many builders will force you to place elements on a given grid, but in the Wix editor, you can put any element in the correct direction. Literally wherever you want.
You can then adjust the shape and size of the element down to pixels. Each element has its own custom menu that offers a ton of ways to add your uniqueness, and it sometimes suggests things I haven't even thought of, like animation or scrolling effects.
Unlike many other website builders, all Wix templates all look different: you won't find an endless repetition of the same basic layout with slightly different colors and images. With so much variety to start with and the ability to customize whatever you want, you can create a unique website.
We really like Wix templates because many of them come bundled with apps that you might need pre-installed. For example, most restaurant models come with Wix Restaurant Menus and Wix Bookings apps pre-installed so you can start using them right away, and photography websites will have Wix Pro Gallery. or other image-related features.
This makes your website building experience much smoother, as you don't have to waste time searching for the apps you need. Instead, you can spend that time eating burrito carnitas and watching the 15th Park and Amusement (or whatever you do in your spare time).
Wix models have some limitations. While each device has a mobile-friendly version, the designs are not mobile-responsive, and they won't automatically adjust to fit the smaller screen. This means that if you make significant changes to your layout, you may need to edit your mobile view separately to ensure your content is still viable, readable, and looks good.
Once you've chosen a template, you won't be able to convert it, so you need to be sure of your options before going too far in customizing your site.
While these may seem like unnecessary limitations, they are really the secret to how much flexibility you get when designing your Wix website. The more freedom you have to create your own layouts, the harder it is to convert those changes to a mobile website or a new template. Other builders limit your customization options so they can give you a responsive design on a mobile device or the option to change templates without losing your work, but Wix sets the bar high. more into complete design freedom. (In my opinion, the right choice.)
While you can't change your template without starting from scratch, there's a bright side - since Wix templates are so customizable, you can change your layout to make it looks completely different.
Wix models have a mobile-friendly version, but they won't automatically adapt to the smaller screen. Depending on how much customization you make, you may need to edit your website's mobile version separately to ensure everything is displayed correctly. That said, Wix still tops our list of the best mobile-friendly website builders.
All Wix websites have HTTPS and SSL certificates, even on the free plan. If you already own a domain name, you can connect it to your Wix site when upgrading to the Premium plan. Follow the instructions in your Wix dashboard to start the process. You'll also need to make changes in your domain host account, so check with your domain registrar for more information.
If you can visualize something for your website, you can do it on Wix. You'll find popular features like blog management and an online store, but if you have more niche needs, you'll also find features and apps that cater to you. (The restaurant features are some of their best, but you'll also find great options for art and photography, hospitality, etc.)
No coding or technical knowledge is required to set up even more advanced features - the hardest part is limiting yourself to just adding features that are truly essential, not everything that sounds good.
a. Wix Stores
Wix Stores is free and available in the Wix App Market, although you'll need to upgrade to a business plan to accept payments online. It will come pre-installed if you start with an e-commerce template or use Wix ADI and choose “online store” as one of your essential features.
With Wix Stores, you can sell products on your website, Facebook, Amazon, and other online markets. Regardless of the payment method you accept - you'll be able to add credit and debit cards, PayPal, and AliPay - Wix doesn't take any commissions from your sales.
It's not quite as powerful as some other e-commerce tools, but more than enough if you have a small to medium online store. And you'll find that Wix Stores is an intuitive tool to set up an online store with options for product color or size variations, inventory tracking, and order management. You'll be able to customize your product and shopping cart pages and integrate your store seamlessly into the rest of your website.
When it comes to delivery, you can order items completed by you or your designated partner and set shipping rules and rates based on area, weight, or product. There are even connectivity options with dropshipping partners to expand your product offering, which is a great example of Wix's great feature coming to life when you least expected it.
Everything you need for your online store can be managed directly from your Wix dashboard. You'll manage orders, track payments, and track inventory, among other things. When you add email marketing or other tools, you can run almost all of your online business from Wix.
b. Wix App Market
You will find many interesting features in the Wix App Market, which offers more than 300 applications to expand your website's functionality. You can set up your blog, customize contact forms, add event calendars, and more.
About 50 of these are created by Wix. Still, you can also access third-party apps, such as integrations with popular marketing tools like Google AdSense and social advertising. . It's fun to browse and see what you can do with your website that you haven't thought of before.
Most apps have a free version, although some will require a premium plan to access more advanced features. You can search for your app through categories like Marketing and Sales online or even by the target, like Lead Collecting.
As mentioned before, some of these apps will come pre-installed on your template, depending on which app you choose, but just one click to add any new apps and without a Limited number of you can use simultaneously.
Here are some of the popular apps created by Wix that we find particularly useful:
Wix Blog: Wix's blogging functions aren't fancy, but they integrate seamlessly into your overall website. You can customize your blog homepage to match your theme, add posts, and categorize them for easy navigation. You can even import posts from WordPress if you have existing content that you want to use.
Chat via Wix: You can add a live chat option to your website so visitors can contact you 24/7. You get notifications for every message you receive and can reply instantly from any device. You can also set up automatic greetings for your website visitors.
Wix Forms: This app allows you to create custom contact forms from various templates to modify to meet your needs. Your website dashboard will collect and manage all your responses, so you can create email lists or answer customer queries if needed.
c. Wix SEO Wiz
As a former SEO strategist, we really appreciate the in-depth knowledge that Wix SEO Wiz provides - SEO is more than just changing page titles, and Wix acknowledges that. We often cringe when I see SEO tools in website builders because businesses will believe that's all they need to get a lot of traffic. They'll be over at a digital marketing agency for a year or two wondering why generic SEO, built-in tools don't work for them.
But Wix is different. It's not perfect, and it's still going through years of a bad SEO reputation, but for now, Wix may have the best SEO tools of any website builder we've tested.
Wix has one of the best SEO tools available on the popular website builders. Wix SEO Wiz creates a custom checklist to guide you on optimizing your website for selected keywords and even has features for optimizing your site's technical elements, like diagrams, website, and URL redirects. Check out our list of the best website builders for SEO for a more in-depth look at what Wix can do for your search rankings.
When you use the SEO Wizard for the first time, you are asked to enter three keywords for your website, which are used to determine which pages should be optimized for those keywords. Wix then creates an SEO checklist for you to follow, guiding you step by step through each task's process.
There are three stages to an SEO checklist:
Step one helps you to optimize your homepage and get indexed by Google.
Step two will guide you through your websites and contact information.
Step three helps you continue to improve SEO as your website grows.
Wix SEO Wiz includes an in-depth SEO guide, which provides plenty of insight about the must-have pages, how to optimize them, and how Google reads and understands your site. It's an impressive resource that no other website builder I've ever seen can match.
d. Ascend Business Tools
To help you get more visitors to your website, Wix offers an impressive set of business tools. They cover everything you might need to market your website, all from one panel successfully single controller. Here is what is included:
Email Marketing: You can use the simple drag and drop email builder to create unique email campaigns and send them to your mailing list. You can set up a signup form on your website to collect email addresses and segment your contact list according to your needs.
Video Maker: Wix video engine lets you create business videos, including images, business information, and more. These videos are great for sharing on social platforms and in email. There are video templates for you to work with, but you can customize a lot to make the video match your branding.
Social post-builder: Like video builder, social post-builder allows you to use templates to design attractive images for social media and share directly to platforms your favorite platform. Choose from layouts, backgrounds, and more. Different and customized according to your liking.
Automation: You can do some work in your marketing efforts by setting triggers and responses for various customer actions, including sending thank you emails or shopping cart emails: skip, create automatic labels for new chat contacts, and set up customer support tasks.
Marketing integration: If you've already worked with other business tools, you can easily connect them to your website. You will find integrations for Google Analytics, Mailchimp, and more.
Invoices: If you use Wix Stores, you can claim and track payments in your Wix dashboard, making it easy for customers to pay you directly.
Analytics: Extensive analytics and reporting interfaces allow you to track all of your website traffic, sales, and customer engagement.
You get limited access to these features with any Wix plan - even the free one! If more, you can add a separate Ascend subscription. Upgrades let you send more emails, create more videos, and more. There are several different plans available, so you can pay for exactly what you need and don't need to pay more.
It seems to us that Wix is aiming to be a hub for a business's online presence, and this set of marketing tools is a big step in that direction.
3. Ease of use
Wix's classic drag and drop editor is easy to use and even fun, but if you don't have the time, there's an even easier option: Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). You answer a few questions about the type of page you need, what features to have, and your theme and Wix ADI will create a single page within minutes.
You'll enter your preferences for content, color, and style, then choose your favorite home page design to get started. You can further customize your site, but the editor is simpler and easier to understand than the standard drag and drops editor. Any features you selected during setup will be included as apps, and you can manage them and add more if you want.
Out of the many website builders, Wix has the best drag and drop editor. Everything can be pixel-adjusted, and you can add, move, or layer in any combination imaginable.
Because there's no limit to the grid, each element will go exactly where you want it, and there are helpful rules for your content to be properly aligned for a beautiful design. As a non-web design professional, I certainly found these tutorials helpful.
Even adding and rearranging pages in your menu has a drag and drop interface. You can change your page order through the sidebar menu, and from this screen itself, you can add new pages or adjust SEO settings (such as title and meta description). You will always have a clear view of your site's structure and navigation.
Everything is as expected, whether adding content layouts, uploading images, or changing button colors or header fonts. Each element also has a Help button that pops up when you click on it, so if you find yourself a bit out of interest, the tutorial is right there.
Just because you can drag and drop anything small doesn't mean you have to. Wix has a wide selection of content layouts and styles, from header images to photo galleries to pretty much anything you can think of.
If web design doesn't come to you easily, these layouts provide eye-catching options without having to waste your mind searching for something that looks good on your visitors. When I was testing Wix, these layouts really helped keep my website looking professional than put together by an amateur (I am, when it comes to web design).
Layouts can be used original or further customized to match your branding. For example, you can change colors or fonts while preserving the style or layout. When you add apps like Wix Blog, you get access to more layouts and design elements as part of those features.
4. Customer support
Wix has a really huge Help Center, with detailed, step-by-step articles on pretty much any topic we can think of.
An automated chatbot allows you to click through a series of prompts to describe your problem. These options provide many detailed options for describing the problem very specifically, and each ends with a guide to the relevant support article.
If you want to talk to a real person or you have a question that the tour guide really can't answer, at some point, you'll find the option to send a ticket or receive a call back from the support team. Wix. But for the most part, you're just being sent back to the support center in a nasty loop.
If you want to figure out the issues yourself, this setup works pretty well. But if you want a quicker approach to talking to a real person, or if you run into issues that aren't covered in the written instructions, Wix can prove a bit frustrating on the support side.
One of the best things about Wix is that its free plan is more powerful than almost any other website builder out there. You can access nearly every feature, with no limit to the number of pages or the number of customizations you can make.
It is tough to have problems with Wix. It has a great free plan and is full of features that make your website beautiful, functional, and easy to design. There are a variety of templates and applications designed according to specific industries and areas. It's also legally fun to use - it feels like Wix always has a new surprise right there that makes designing your website easier and better all the time.
That said, the free plan has its limitations. If you want to connect a custom domain, remove Wix branding, or increase bandwidth and storage, you'll have to upgrade to a paid plan. If you want to build an online store, you'll need a business plan to accept payments.
Most users should be able to do this with one of the cheaper Wix plans. They come with all the features and access to the Wix App Market. If you want to build an e-commerce website, you will need a business plan to accept payments online. Remember to check out our Wix coupons to ensure you get the absolute best price for whatever plan you choose for November 2020.
When you upgrade to the cheapest plan, you'll remove Wix ads, get more space, and be able to connect a custom domain. The premium plans give you more storage space and the ability to upload more videos. The top-level plans have some extra features like free analytics apps, professional logo designs, and coupon advertising bonus.
Ecommerce plans are a different story, and you'll need one of them to accept any form of payment online. The e-commerce plans offer more storage and video and online store benefits like a vending tax calculation, advanced shipping options, and a real rating tool. Products.
In addition to these website builder subscriptions, you can add additional subscriptions to Ascend by Wix business tools. They also come in different grades and offer great value. Most Wix Premium plans offer unlimited bandwidth to accommodate any number of website visitors. Free and the cheapest Premium plan comes with limited bandwidth, but this is usually enough for smaller sites.
Wix currently accepts all major credit cards but does not accept PayPal.
You can get a full refund for your Wix plan or Ascend add-ons within 14 days of purchase, no questions asked. You will then have to contact Wix and give your case, and they will review and decide on an individual basis.
The 14-day refund policy doesn't apply to purchases of domain names, email addresses, app purchases, or some other add-ons, so make sure you are committed to making those purchases before confirming them.
II. SITE123 - Free stock photos for your salon booking site
If you are completely new to website design, don't worry - SITE123 is made for beginners.
While SITE123 doesn't have templates designed specifically for beauty services, the website editor makes it easy to update any template with your own content. If you don't have any client photos yet, SITE123's image gallery has hundreds of free, high-quality images that you can use.
You can use the Appointment tool to schedule your business hours and allow customers to schedule appointments online. SITE123's SEO tools will help your website rank higher in search engine results, meaning it will be more likely to show up when searching for beauty services in the area.
SITE123's free plan offers 500 MB of storage, 1 GB of bandwidth, and custom base templates. You will have the SITE123 subdomain and the SITE123 brand on your website. If you want to connect your own domain, you can upgrade to one of SITE123's more affordable plans. The paid plans also give you access to more website customization options.
SITE123 offers more than 180 website templates. You can scroll through the Main Template page until you find a template you like, or you can click on one of ten recommended template categories, such as Business, Blog, Event, Restaurant, or Online Store.
As you browse through the templates, you will see simulations of how each will look on both the computer screen and the handheld device. By clicking on any template, you can preview its working version in both formats.
It's free to use SITE123 templates, but there's one significant factor. The free plan allows you to use only the templates in their most basic form. You see on the Templates page a lot of what you'll get, allowing only limited changes to fonts, colors, and other design elements.
To unlock the coolest customization options and extra features, you'll have to upgrade to a paid plan. That isn't very pleasant, but overall, this pricing system seems pretty fair to me.
Here's a major plus: All models are mobile-responsive, so you won't have to do extra work to make your website look good on a smartphone or tablet.
Sounds good so far. Lots of templates, all free, all for mobile. Wouldn't it be nice if the story ended right there? Sadly, there are two notable downsides to the SITE123 models:
The best customizations require payment. I've said it before, but I feel it's one of the big downsides of SITE123: You can only fully unlock the editing options for your template by purchasing a paid SITE123 subscription. Even fairly minor changes, such as accessing a full font library or custom color schemes, require upgrades.
The patterns look very similar. Most of the more than 180 models share a very similar base design, with a large hero image, a header line in the middle, and parallax scrolling by default. Of course, you can make changes to individual components (especially if you upgrade), but it's pretty hard to fix the overall look. So if you don't like the aesthetics of the first 25 models that you scroll through, then chances are SITE123 isn't for you.
Further restricting your design options, you cannot purchase SITE123 compatible models anywhere else. You also won't access the template's source code (as you can with WordPress.com). While some customization options are available, you can never actually change or extend the template itself. If you're a beginner, this probably won't bother you.
The wide selection of free templates to use is great, but you'll be bound by what SITE123's template has to offer, with a bit of creative freedom to make your website your own. Depending on your website needs (and budget), these restrictions may or may not be important to you.
a. Powerful features
Templates are the foundation of any website builder, but new customization features are where things get really cool. Here's a closer look at some of the features of SITE123 that I find especially useful for business development.
b. All necessary e-commerce features
SITE123 provides easy and quite powerful e-commerce tools. Most of these features are reserved for the top two subscriptions, called Pro and Gold. But if you're looking to open an online store, the investment can be worth it. With these two plans, you can:
Accept payments online through Stripe, PayPal, Square, AmazonPay, etc.
Show an unlimited number of products.
Handling an unlimited number of orders per month
Send up to 10,000 email marketing listings per month.
Collect/display customer ratings and reviews for products
Allows customers to create personal wishlists, saved to their account
SITE123 does not receive any sales commissions, so the only additional sales related cost you'll have to deal with is transaction fees from the payment processor you have chosen. (This is standard across all e-commerce platforms; transaction fees typically fluctuate somewhere around 3%.)
Speaking of transactions, you may be wondering, how secure is SITE123? The good news here - even free users get SSL / HTTPS encryption, so your customers won't have to wonder if their information is protected.
It's also worth noting that you can actually add an e-commerce site even with the free plan. You will not be able to accept payments online or use your own domain. So the SITE123 free plan is definitely not the best option for an online store unless your customer prefers to do an offline bank transfer to a random SITE123 domain. (In that case, we have some follow-up questions about who is buying your stuff.)
c. SEO apps and plugins, Live Chat
With one of the top two subscriptions, you'll have full access to SITE123's plugin library and App Market. However, not all of these tools will be included in your plan. You'll have to pay extra for some of them, even if you're a Gold subscriber.
The available plugins allow for seamless integration with some of the biggest names out there, including:
Google Analytics for SEO
Hotjar for UX and conversion optimization
Drip for omnichannel marketing
Zendesk and Facebook Chat for customer support
SITE123 App Market provides tools for formulating forms, pricing tables, online booking, and more.
While these apps and plugins add a lot of functionality to your SITE123 e-commerce store, they are still not as powerful as the features provided by experts in the e-commerce field. If you're running a mid to large business, you'll probably want more powerful built-in tools provided by BigCommerce or Shopify for shipping, invoice management, inventory tracking, inventory management, customer relations (CRM), etc.
d. Display your website in multiple languages
In addition to using the SITE123 website builder itself in 21 different languages, you can set your site up to display in up to five languages (out of hundreds of languages available). You might not be surprised at this point to learn that to get this multilingual option; you need a paid subscription. The higher your subscription level, the more languages you can use.
The bottom line: SITE123's features are flexible enough for a wide variety of personal and business users, although you get the most functionality by paying the highest price. Remember that just as with templates, you will be limited to what SITE123 has to offer. You cannot purchase/integrate any third-party plugins or applications.
3. Ease of use
SITE123's simple editing bar completely makes it easy to edit its content, navigation, and general design (within the template's limits). However, since SITE123 doesn't have a drag-and-drop interface like Wix, you can't freely place elements anywhere on your page. At every stage of the design process, SITE123 focuses on building quickly, not on complete creative freedom.
All of SITE123's editing options are listed in a bar on the left side of the screen. Just click on any category, like Pages, to see all the customization options available.
From the editing bar, you can easily:
Add, edit, or delete web pages.
Upload photos and videos
Add a new block of content to any page, such as FAQs, gallery, or testimonials.
Add e-commerce block for products.
Change your website from one page to multiple pages.
Change fonts and colors.
Add call to action buttons.
Most of these changes are very simple to make with a few clicks. But again, with that simplicity, there are some major limitations.
First, as I mentioned a few times now, you can only change your subscription's included elements. For example, free users have a minimal font choice, while Premium plan users can't add plugins or apps.
That said, depending on what you need from your website, you might not really be interested in plugins or apps. You can build a functional and attractive website on SITE123 with just free sites. These include useful sections like contact forms, image galleries, blog pages, and even appointment scheduling - which are paid add-ons with many other website builders. Applications and plugins simply add power and appeal, along with advanced business features like website analytics and marketing.
Perhaps the biggest mistake is that you can't actually switch to another website template once you've started. If you do, you will lose all your edits.
This problem becomes even more of a headache if you have purchased a premium plan. Sure, you can create a brand new website for free (to get started with a brand new template), allowing you to copy and paste over your content. But you won't be able to migrate this new site to your existing paid plan. So you're stuck between a rock and a tricky place: change the template and lose your edits, or start a new website with a different one and then get stuck buying a paid plan other fees.
The bottom line: be very careful in your sample selection! You can waste your time and money seriously if you realize that you need to change templates later.
Whenever you start work on a new website in SITE123, you will get a quick "guided tour" of the editing bar. Each pop-up includes basic tips as well as a quick video and SITE123 tutorial to get you started.
There's also a box in the lower corner of the SITE123 pages to support live chat. I will share my experience with this and other support options in a moment.
Once you've created your website, you'll manage its features through your account dashboard. You'll have a quick look at how your website performs in the Activity panel, including form submissions, sales, and mailing list sign-ups. Any plugins or applications you install can be viewed and managed here.
In the Settings button, you can reset your site back to the last published version, which is helpful if you make edits you decide not to keep. Just remember that resetting your website will permanently delete all your recent changes - so be extra careful when clicking Reset!
The dashboard shown above is also where you'll manage your domain:
If you want to purchase a new domain through SITE123, you can check its availability and buy it here. You will also receive a coupon for one year of free domain registration with any paid plan.
If you already own the domain you want to use, you can connect it to your new website by purchasing any of the four paid subscriptions. (Custom domains aren't included in the free plan. You'll be stuck with a URL that includes me.)
Connecting to your existing domain is easy, and SITE123 even has specific instructions for connecting domains from other providers like GoDaddy.
SITE123 truly lives up to the promise of easy overall website building. Is it really the easiest website building tool of all time, ever in the world? But its features provide a great balance between ease and functionality. You definitely don't need any experience building a business website or even an e-commerce store on SITE123.
4. Customer support
Live chat support is available in English 24/7 and 16 other languages : French, German, Italian, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, etc.
It's a pretty impressive variety, at least for European languages. And there's a box for a live chat on every page of the site, so you'll never have to go far to find help.
The support staff was courteous, helpful, and clear, and they provided enough information to answer my questions. You can download a record of your live chats if you want a prompt for a reply later.
You can always send an email with a question to email@example.com. To get a complete answer, including the number of hours available for each language, requires repeated several times over a few days.
Another reason why we appreciate SITE123's customer support service is a detailed and helpful Support Center. There are hundreds of questions and answers divided into over 20 categories, with both written answers and a link to SITE123's YouTube tutorials. The answers are clear and direct, so you won't face the frustration of thinking you've found what you needed, only to discover that the answer is too vague to not take you to where.
There are also great FAQs blocks at the bottom of almost every page. And great, the FAQs aren't just copied on the website; they are actually related to the individual pages. I took the screenshot below on the Sample page, and you can see that every question is really about samples.
Having the FAQs really related to the page you're on might sound primitive, but I can't even count how many times I've seen the FAQs used as a filler instead of real support. SITE123 just does an excellent job of turning FAQs into the useful tool they should have.
Great customer support aside, you finally need to know if the SITE123 is worth its price tag. So exactly how much does SITE123 cost?
SITE123 has four paid subscriptions, each available for four billing periods: you can pay every three months or once, two or three years. The longer you sign up, the cheaper your monthly price will be. Of course, since both business and technology change rapidly, it's hard to ensure that the plan that's right for you today will still make sense three years from now.
The free plan gives you the minimum needed to build and publish a new website: access to SITE123 templates, basic customizations, 500MB of storage, and 1GB of bandwidth. You will be stuck with the SITE123 domain and the ads on your website, and you will not be able to access the best customization features (like custom palettes, plugins, apps, cool fonts, etc.).
Upgrading to a higher SITE123 package means getting:
Optional domain name
Option to display your website in more languages
More marketing emails per month
Other custom email addresses
Access to plugins and applications
More e-commerce features (like credit card payments, customer wishlists, etc.)
As long as you like the platform in general, the SITE123 cost for the paid plan can be well worth it. Just by upgrading to the Basic plan, you won't just get a website that looks much more professional (without branding or the SITE123 domain). You'll also get 10GB of storage (more than three times the amount Wix offers on similarly priced plans).
SITE123's e-commerce plans are also comparable to Wix, offering similar functionality in product pages, online payments, email marketing, Google analytics, and advanced business plugins. At roughly the same price, Site 123's plans include 5 times more memory, along with multi-language visibility.
You can pay for any SITE123 plan with PayPal or by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover).
But again, the upgrade only makes sense if you really like the SITE123 platform, and the lack of design freedom doesn't bother you. That's why I recommend starting with the free version of SITE123. Build a basic website with it and see if you like how it looks and works. If you are satisfied with the balance between simplicity and features, you can easily upgrade to another plan from your account dashboard.
SITE123 offers a 14-day money-back guarantee on all paid plans. However, the cancellation isn't automated, so it's not easy to click Cancel and waiting for your money to arrive.
Instead, you must request a cancellation by filling out the form online. You'll need to share your contact info, choose a reason, and write some more details below that info. After that, you will have to wait to hear from SITE123's representative.
It can take up to 72 hours for the representative to contact you. To avoid any timing issues (i.e., exceeding the 14-day mark), fill out this form as soon as you realize you want to cancel and take a screenshot to capture the date and time you submitted your request.
III. Squarespace - Photo gallery to highlight your best work
Squarespace has over 60 beautifully designed website templates, some specially created for wellness and beauty services.
There are helpful SEO tools to help you reach more potential customers. Squarespace also provides great website analytics metrics to track your website visitors, see where they are coming from and make simple adjustments to get your site noticed. Get more traffic.
Gallery Blocks is a nice feature that lets you show off your work photos, and you can also use the Acuity Scheduling feature to let your customers book appointments online. It will even send them automatic reminders ahead of upcoming appointments.
Squarespace is a premium service that goes without even a hint of a free plan, just a 14-day free trial. It is designed for people who want sleek, highly professional portfolio or business websites and anyone who wants to run an online store. That said, it doesn't give you as much creative freedom as the other builders, and if you don't plan on monetizing your website, the cost could be too high.
Squarespace works more or less as you would expect. You can choose from over 60 preset designs, customize them to your liking, and start from there. These preset designs meet the needs of most major industries in 14 categories ranging from blogging to weddings.
You can just pick one template and go, and if you change your mind, you can change the design at any time. You can't just switch to a new preset, but you can dramatically change your settings if you wish. These preset designs are mobile-responsive, and they are designed to fit any of your needs.
These ready-made designs are beautiful. They tend to go for flat, Apple-style minimalism - but then so does the whole platform. That minimalism is the "thing" of Squarespace.
But if you don't find a template that matches what you're looking for, don't worry. You are not limited to default Squarespace designs. You can either customize them all or hire someone to do it for you. You can also have a highly customized version of the template created for you to use Squarespace's developer platform. You will just have to pay for it.
Now let's go a little deeper. Technically, Squarespace has only one "template." Well, you could call it the "paradigm."
In the old days, Squarespace was like any other website builder. There is a wide range of different website templates that are supposed to meet every need you can think of. Technically, each pattern is a separate pile of code.
For Squarespace, that means updating each template whenever a new feature comes out on their platform. For the user, that means some models are much more flexible and customizable than others, and they all have limitations. If you want to build a highly specialized website, that's fine. If you want to expand that site, there are potential complications.
Import Squarespace version 7.1. All patterns are really just variations on the same pattern - the same huge pile of code - the "framework" I mentioned earlier. This frame is designed to be flexible and highly modular, so you can build almost any type of layout you want and use whatever colors and fonts you want - the whole thing.
For developers at Squarespace, this means their entire platform is easier to work with. For you, as a user, this means that you can actually change the entire look of your website in just a few clicks. The changes can be as radical or sophisticated as you like, and you won't lose all of your content.
It's a good system. But if you want, you can actually choose to still use the older Squarespace version, with all of their older models. So that's also great.
a. Features for designers
Like most other well-known website builders, Squarespace strives to balance giving new website owners an easy way to build what they need and give it to designers / Experienced developers in more than one place to build anything they want. In this case, that balance is clearly weighted for the beginner.
It's easy to add what you need, even on the basic pack. Want a calendar? Make an appointment? A store? Just click a button or two, and you will have it. You can even create an extra site group and create a multilingual site with minimal effort.
On the other hand, if you want to use custom templates or any custom code, you'll have to shell out some cash for one of the more expensive packages. This is true for most website builders, so it's no wonder.
There's also a logo maker. Yes, it's pretty basic, but it's not bad. And it's free.
b. Site editors
When you edit a page, you begin the process by adding "sections" or "content blocks," simply: sections of the page layout or site functionality, pre-configured for ease of use.
These range from simple text blocks to food menus, contact forms to "About The Team" image galleries. More complex blocks include social media icons, RSS feed, Twitter feed, all other social media feeds, charts, Amazon products, form up Appointment schedules, calendars, e-commerce products, and a lot more.
Once you have selected the content block you need, drag and drop will begin. You can drag elements around to match the layout you like, within certain parameters. This is not Wix. You can't just put whatever you want on any given page. The flexibility of Squarespace website layout is limited, designed to keep your website looking consistent and at a reasonable spacing.
This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you don't have a lot of space to express your creativity fully. On the other side of the blade, I have yet to come across a Squarespace website that looks really bad or extremely fiddly - unlike some of the Wix sites I've come across.
That said, there are still a lot of things you can do, according to the layout. You can find pre-set content blocks that give you the layout you want and tweak them. You can also add a blank content block and build your own basic layout by adding columns, spacing, and content as you see fit.
We will spend a long minute or two on e-commerce, as the Squarespace store functionality is truly one of Squarespace's biggest selling points. Adding a store to your website is really as simple as clicking a few buttons, answering a few questions, and letting Squarespace do the job.
Actually, adding a product is up to you. If you have an existing store on the internet, you can save time and import your products. CSV file.
Other features include allowing you to:
Accept payments in several ways (PayPal, Stripe, Square)
Get automatic tax calculation.
Sells both digital and physical products
Offer discounts and sales
Selling gift cards
Create a mailing list
Sell through social networks.
Get automatic shipping calculation (via FedEx and UPS, but the US only)
Create a shipping zone
Schedule to receive goods at the store
The store has the same general style and feels like the rest of your website on the front end. You can change your store page's layout, but your preferences are somewhat limited due to the online store's nature. You can also change the look of individual product pages with layout restrictions.
The user interface (UI) for managing your products is detailed yet simple to learn. Give it a try, and you will soon add images, different prices for variations of the same product, and forms to gather more information from customers. You can even change the “Add to cart” text to something more ambitious, such as “Add this product to your life.”
Or, maybe don't do it. It is terrible.
It's a full-featured store. To get anything more complicated, you have to visit an eCommerce-focused platform like Shopify or… I don't know… Amazon. I mean, you can even connect your Squarespace store to Amazon and have them handle the shipping for you. Or you can print your own shipping label through Shipstation.
You can also send automatic emails to customers who have dropped products in their digital shopping carts. Okay, as a regular online shopper, I'll ask you not to do this. I don't really need any more clutter in my email. However, I heard it's an effective strategy for many stores, and Squarespace gives you the option.
The only downside is that you specifically have to pay for one of the Squarespace Business plans to get the store's store's store's full functionality, and the plans don't come cheap. They're a bit more expensive than comparable Wix packages and much more expensive than services like Zyro. But hey, the idea is that you're going to monetize your website, right?
Squarespace isn't my favorite blogging platform, but it's still pretty good. The blog module can save drafts, schedule posts, add tags, and categorize them as you like. You can set posts to be reviewed by colleagues before publishing, choose whether to display the author's name and profile, and even change each post's font and color.
While many page builders have their own interface for writing blog posts, Squarespace allows you to edit them the same way you would any other page: right there on the page itself. What you see is exactly what you get.
Now, you can't do complex layouts like with a regular page, but it's still pretty cool. You can add image galleries, slideshows, videos (of course), audio, tag cloud, charts, and more.
Like any other page, blog posts have all the basic SEO options and social sharing tools you might want as well. You can set title and meta description for search engines, set how your blog post will be previewed on social media sites, and even submit blog posts as newsletters when you publish them.
e. Third-Party Integrations Galore
Squarespace does not run alone and is really integrated with many other external services/websites. These integrations basically allow Squarespace to extend its functionality. They allow your site to connect to other platforms - for example, you can cross-promote all of your blog posts on social media. They also allow you to embed things like maps, YouTube videos, restaurant menus, and more.
Some integrations include:
A Google Maps block
An OpenTable block for restaurant booking
A SoundCloud block
A video block that supports YouTube, Vimeo, Animoto, and Wistia
Apple News integration for cross-publishing your blog to the Apple News app
Apple Pay, PayPal, Stripe, and Square integration for payment processing
Easyship for sales and shipping management
FedEx and UPS shipping rate calculation
Delighted for post-purchase customer feedback surveys
Freshbooks to manage to account and create invoices.
Order Desk for automating the afforded fulfillment process
Adobe Fonts and Google Fonts
G Suite, for those who use Google Drive for everything.
Dropbox image sync
Amazon affiliate tracking
So very many social media networks
3. Ease of use
For a website builder, there are a few things to learn. It probably won't be that hard, but you'll want an extra hour or two to get used to the basic systems, how to add content to the page, how to publish your website and get it all working, all good stuff.
You can start by reading all about how to use Squarespace, or you can join right away. As soon as you get started, a beginner questionnaire will ask you what kind of website you want to build. When you really start editing your website, there are tutorials and tips built right into the interface to explain everything.
There's also a blog full of design advice in general, Squarespace webinars, and a rich collection of knowledge-based help guides. Since this website builder has been around for years, the support team definitely had the time to put together a comprehensive set of tutorials to show you everything you need to know.
At this point, all of that material is used for marketing as well as for teaching, but I would never disparage a company that knows how to multitask.
Of course, the goal is not just to build your website on Squarespace. The goal is to make your website/business a huge success. To that end, there are several built-in tools designed to help you market and promote yourself with minimal effort.
There are tons of marketing tools, including social share buttons, Pinterest buttons, Instagram stories, Facebook ads, and promotional pop-ups (horror of horror). I mentioned Mailchimp integration before, but Squarespace also has its own email marketing platform; although a bit less advanced than Mailchimp, you can use it for free if you've already paid for the site.
Squarespace also has a set of basic yet effective SEO features to make your website (and individual pieces of content) easier to find through Google and other search engines. If you're willing to pay extra, you can even hire a "Squarespace SEO Expert." Well, they obviously have those.
Squarespace also recently released Squarespace Analytics, where you can see which search terms drive the most traffic to your website, which helps you refine your content to best match what your visitors are looking for.
Another new tool is the Scheduling tool. It does the scheduling (see picture). If your business depends on face-to-face appointments, you can use it to schedule appointments, manage your free time, and send automatic reminders to customers (so they are more likely to appear more), create intake forms, and more.
If you don't have the time or budget to hire a photographer, then stock photography is your friend. You can find the same stock of free photos (provided by sites like Unsplash) and premium stock photos right in the website editor. No need to download or resize anything; just choose the photos you need and go.
4. Customer support
When you need help, the Squarespace team will be on hand. Major support channels include email/ticket combo, live chat, and community forums. Live chat is available Monday through Friday, 5 am to 8 pm. Western Time.
With no free plan at all, Squarespace isn't the cheapest website builder on the market, especially if you pay monthly. Seriously, paying for the annual plan will save you a lot, but there are still cheaper options. Even so, I honestly believe that given the quality of service provided, these prices are fair.
All plans come with a free domain for the first year, and only the second cheapest plan (Business) is needed to gain access to the store's functions. Upgrading to the Business plan also gives you access to professional email from Google, more content blocks, advanced analytics, and the ability to accept donations.
Upgrades further, and you have the ability to let users register their own accounts on your website, as well as more analytics, more sales tools, the ability to sell via Instagram, and more. In fact, most of the advanced features are e-commerce related. If you are going to build an online store, make a list of the features you need and check which package includes all of those features.
The refund system is quite simple. Squarespace only gives refunds for packages paid annually and within the first 14 days of the first payment.
IV. WordPress.com - Fully customizable templates and add-ons to choose from
The WordPress.com editor is a bit more complicated than the other builders on this list, but in return, it gives you more control over your website. It offers hundreds of customizable templates. While it doesn't have any special designs for beauty businesses, you can personalize the template of your choice to suit your needs. If you want to use a third-party template from the marketplace like ThemeForest or integrate any third-party plugins, you will have to upgrade to Business Plan.
You can use the built-in Forms block to allow potential customers to contact you if they have any questions about your service. You can also include a Contact Information widget and enable map settings, so your website visitors will know where your shop is. If you have any questions, having a knowledge base of articles and video tutorials will help you.
WordPress.com's free plan includes 3 GB of storage, which is more than most other website builders' free plans. You will have your WordPress.com subdomain and branding on your website, but you can easily get rid of these by upgrading to a premium plan.
WordPress.com is a paid service where you can load a WordPress website without manually type up, managing a server, or doing any other technical tools.
While we could call WordPress.com a "website builder" - and it can be used as one - it's not.
It is still an old CMS. Hence, it comes with a level of robustness and flexibility that Wix and other traditional website builders can never achieve. However, for this review, the Permissions required it to be called the “website builder.” (I should have joined the Illuminati. They are more traditional, and they call it CMS.)
WordPress.com is a massive installation of WordPress Multisite, a WordPress version that allows you to run (you guessed it!) Multiple websites on one software installation. It has been modified to monetize and make it easier for new users to create their own website.
When WordPress.com launched in 2005, this was probably the best way to create and run a free blog with minimal fuss. Since then, WordPress as a CMS has evolved. It is now used to build every type of website you can imagine, including innocent parent blogs, complex e-commerce sites, Social media is complex and even the darkest and most horrifying parts of the dark web (I suppose).
Hence, WordPress.com, basically the same software, can be used for any setting website managing.
Combining the numbers for both WordPress.org and WordPress.com, you will find that this software runs over a third of the internet! Let that sink in; why don't you? (And if you want to know about the other 2/3 of the Internet, it is run by Joomla, Drupal, and cat image.)
You can use WordPress (any version) to build a small, five-page promotional site with an add-on store. Theoretically, you could also use it to build the next Facebook. I mean, I won't; there are better options for that particular example, but that's the amount of content it can handle if you get it right.
In 2018, WordPress.com hosted around 37.5 million websites, and that number is probably still growing. It's available anywhere. It's not blocked yet, and it supports dozens of languages (some of which I don't even recognize). There are several free plans, some cheap, and e-commerce and business plans are quite affordable.
But is WordPress.com right for you? Will it fulfill your specific needs? Are you among the third? Well, that's the point of the WordPress reviews, right? Let's find out.
WordPress.com boasts over 250 themes (which other builders call “templates”), and it's more diverse than ever. Since WordPress started as a blogging platform, topics were mainly focused on blogging, but business-related topics have been added recently. Please note, not all themes are available in the free plan.
The amount you can customize is limited by two things: the individual theme customization options you use and how much you're willing to join.
“Advanced design customization” (including the ability to edit CSS files directly) is only available from Premium plan and up. However, it's more likely that the base themes will be good enough for you, as they are pretty high-quality, and almost all are mobile responsive.
The theme isn't just to look good, though. They can exploit WordPress's functionality, similar to how plugins can do. Some themes can offer quite advanced features, including new ways to browse posts, subscriptions, site membership, contact form, and other categories.
As mentioned, most of the templates (over 200) are blog-focused or have outstanding blogging features. You will find 26 categories, called "Subjects" in the user interface. It's no surprise that more general categories like “Business” give you more results (100+) than specific categories like “Scrapbooking” (20+).
Other filter options include theme features (such as author bio, post slider, and breadcrumb navigation), different layouts and styles (like artistic, minimalism, and colorful ). Overall, that is a solid choice, even if the theme library can use some non-blog options.
If you pay for a Business plan or higher, you can install third-party themes, such as ThemeForest, TemplateMonster, or any other WordPress theme marketplace. To be honest, this means that WordPress has more potential themes than any other CMS out of the market.
Again, this is a platform that started as a blog content management system (CMS). You've got posts (with a relatively new block-based editor, like what you'll find on Media), pages, tools to organize those posts and pages, comments, more fake, etc.
You can build pretty much any kind of simple business blog or website you want with default themes and functionality. And yes, you can add an existing domain to your website.
Then there are plugins, which allow you to transform your website in any way you can think of. For example, you can boost your SEO even further, and you can build a real social networking site. And yes, you can also upload and install third-party plugins.
Sadly, WordPress plugins are only available from Business plan upwards. However, I think it's worth it for the extra functionality and flexibility they offer.
So from a features standpoint, WordPress.com is available with the best website builders.
But more than that, WordPress.com wants you to stick and build your business with its service. That's why it offers these top-notch features (and anything WordPress.com can't do, plugins can).
a. Store builder
As long as you are in the US or Canada and use Business Plan or higher, you can set up a store to work with your WordPress.com website. Tax is calculated automatically, and you can accept payments via PayPal or Stripe and offline by check or cash receipt. Coupons and product reviews are also supported.
If you live in another country, you can always install an e-commerce plugin you like, although, of course, you will have to set up things like payment for yourself.
b. Marketing and analysis tools
WordPress offers several tools to drive SEO, establish your branding, measure traffic, and share your blog posts on social media. They're not all that advanced if you're on the free plan, but hey, you have a place to start.
You also get an integration for free with Mailchimp if you want to let users sign up for newsletters right from your website.
c. Make money easy
From the Personal plan up, you can accept recurring subscription payments for your content. It's a simple thing, but even easier than setting up a Patreon account. If you upgrade to a Premium plan or higher, you can start placing ads on your website with minimal fuss.
d. Third-party integration
WordPress.com supports third-party integration with several services, with particular emphasis on Google Analytics and GSuite. As far as I can tell, WordPress seems to have partnered with Google. But when you get plugins into the mix, that's when things go wild, as there are WordPress plugins to integrate your website with almost any API-enabled service.
3. Ease of use
This is where we really learn about the pros and cons of WordPress. WordPress has always been designed to be easy to use - as long as you already know a bit about how to run a website.
If you've never built a website before, there's probably a learning curve. And if you're going to edit your CSS and install all sorts of third-party plugins, it gets more complicated.
Honestly, if all you want is that five-page brochure website, then one of the many other website builders may be better for you. But if you need something more complicated, then the learning curve is well worth it.
Fortunately, the most important things are easiest to learn:
WordPress used to have a simple type-and-hit-Publishing text editor, and that was fine for the time.
Today - and after much drama right after its initial public release (more on that later) - WordPress's new editor has a unique name: “Gutenberg” (pictured above).
It's a content editor that handles every paragraph, every title, every image - everything! - as a single "block." It's like a page builder, but for content.
This allows you to make block-specific changes to your content. For example, you can change the text size for a specific paragraph, create multiple columns for text and/or images, add background images for specific sections, and more.
Gutenberg's default functionality lets you embed videos from various platforms, Tweets, Reddit posts, Instagram photos with your pets, and food - anything you can think of.
Oh, and because everything is considered a "block," you can drag and drop any images, paragraphs, or other pieces of content around the page or post to rearrange things easily.
(Google Docs can learn a thing or two from this.)
Overall, it's straightforward to use and gives you a lot of art-driven flexibility (and "art-driven," I mean to make your posts and pages look fancy and different from each other. ).
Now back to the gossip: Gutenberg's release stirred the drama because while its initial public announcement gave WordPress users plenty of time to prepare for change, users still found themselves terribly unprepared when it finally arrived.
Gutenberg is very different from the old content editor, and it has the ability to break down older WordPress sites, depending on the themes and plugins they use. Gutenberg's initial test version was released with many bugs, and many thought it was completely unavailable when the "full" version was first released.
Luckily, we have never had trouble with it, and as long as you are starting "from scratch" with a brand new website, you should not. Gutenberg has a ton of updates to stabilize it, and it continues to get better with every version of WordPress.
And if you want, you can always disable it via a plugin if you want to go back to just import and hit "publish." (Just assuming I'm giving a reminder about paying to access plugins here.
While WordPress doesn't offer a drag-and-drop design like other builders like Wix, it does let you preview customizations for your theme in real-time.
Again, what you can customize depends on the theme you are using, but if you change the link color, move the widget, or choose a completely different layout style, you can always see how it will be before you commit. Too bad, you can't write your blog posts this way.
If you want to experience drag and drop design with WordPress, you can always install a plugin like Elementor (if you upgrade to a Business plan or higher, of course). Elementor is a plugin that makes WordPress behave like a classic drag and drop site builder when partnered with compatible themes.
The tools for scheduling when publishing, categorizing and organizing your posts, and placing your pages in a hierarchy are pretty intuitive once you know where to find them.
WordPress is a system designed to handle multiple contents at once, so what it lacks in drag and drop capabilities, it makes up for in an organization. From experience, I can tell you that it's a blessing when you publish many key songs about your adorable fluffy cat content.
Overall, despite the learning curve, using WordPress.com isn't that difficult if you are a new user, tons of tutorial messages and tips pop-up to get you started with the essentials.
Once you know where things are on the navigation menu, tasks like adding new pages, customizing your theme, and easier, just remember to read the instructions. Building a website on WordPress.com is less intuitive than possible.
In the end, setting up a store is pretty easy. But again, the easy option only works if you live in the US or Canada. Third-party plugins like WooCommerce aren't much more complicated, but again, if you've never built a website or run an online store, there's certainly a lesson.
4. Customer support
Here's something you won't find in many WordPress.com reviews: hands-on interaction with customer service agents to see how well the support is. That's what I want to test, and I'm quite satisfied.
But before we get into specifics, WordPress.com has plenty of support options. For every user - including those for the free plan - there is a full knowledge base of articles and even video tutorials to get you started. If you can't find what you need there, check out the support forum.
The Blogger plan also gives you access to email support, and everyone above also gives you 24/7 live chat.
If you are using a plan that offers both email and lives chat support, the "Contact us" page in the help section won't give you both options. You will be directed to the live chat, and you will not find the helpdesk email address. I had to ask for it during my live chat session. The forum is minimalistic but functional. Overall, it seems people are getting a response fast enough, usually within an hour or so.
Most of the answers seem to come from the community, not the developer, which is understandable (they probably have a lot to do). A moderator answered my question for about an hour, and the answer was beneficial.
Pricing packages on WordPress.com range from free to "eCommerce" (everyone has a different capitalization from that), and to be honest… all packages are quite affordable. Of course, you'll be a lot happier with the Ecommerce plan's price if you actually make a sale.
Overall, compared to other website builders out there, WordPress pricing plans offer many things for a meager amount.
Accepted payment options include:
The free plan is simple enough: You have an active blog. It comes with 3GB of storage, access to a wide number of free themes, and community support. WordPress will place ads on your website, but they are just a text link in the footer, which basically says, "This is WordPress.com website."
However, you cannot upload your own themes or install plugins. And you cannot monetize your website, at least not in any way supported by the platform.
Now, what do you get for the upgrade? The cheapest plans offer extra support and a domain name. Oh, and the ads on WordPress.com have been removed, and you can monetize your site a bit with subscriptions.
If you raise the price for the WordPress VIP, that's a completely different story. You get access to plugins, more themes (and third-party themes), much more advanced customization, the ability to place WordPress.com-powered ads on your website, and more personal attention. You can also get more SEO tools, more ways to monetize your website, the ability to accept payments from more than 60 countries, and more.
So should you upgrade? When should you do that?
Build your website first, and see if you like this platform! The learning curve I have mentioned may be daunting for some.
When you're happy with your basic website, buy a package that gives you more support and a domain name. Upgrades are simple and fast. Just note that although prices are listed in a monthly format, monthly payments cannot be made. One year is the minimum period you can pay at a time.
You can cancel any plan within 30 days for a full refund, with one minor exception: domain name. If you buy a domain, you can cancel your subscription, but you must do so within 48 hours. When the policies are implemented, it's much more spacious than some other policies I've seen.
Cancellation is automated, so you (as far as I know) don't have to wait for someone to approve your refund. And better yet, you never have to talk to a human being, which is always the most awkward part of breaking up with service cancellations. You'll be asked a few questions via the form to see if you've changed your mind, but that's not too bad.
As long as you cancel within the correct timeframe, you'll also get your refund pretty quickly and smoothly.
V. Weebly - Mobile responsive theme and useful app
Weebly has seven categories of mobile responsive themes to choose from. No website is made specifically for salon websites, but you can use a simple drag and drop editor to customize your chosen template. There's also an interactive step-by-step guide you can follow when creating your website and plenty of support articles to answer any other questions you might have.
The Call Out Box app is useful if you want to highlight testimonials from your customers, and there are several different apps for online booking. Weebly's photo galleries provide a good place to display photos of the work you've done for your existing clients.
Weebly's free plan comes with 500 MB of storage, subdomain, and brand Weebly. If you want to connect your own domain and de-brand, you can easily upgrade to a premium plan whenever you're ready.
Weebly is one of those rare website creation tools that are easy to use and legitimately fun. That is, its new editor is delightful to use. The old feel mostly good, old.
Weebly has two separate website editors: the classic Weebly page builder for basic websites.
You can create any website on the Weebly editor, so it's likely to depend on the editor style you like and how much customization you need. The classic builder has more ways to customize your website, and while there's an online store feature, it's better for websites that don't sell a lot of products. (Plus, you can access most of the features on the free version!)
Weebly's sample library is smaller in size, with around 50 themes (Weebly's term for templates) falling under several different categories, including websites, personal and business portfolios, and online stores. Personal categories and blogs have more topics than business-related categories, but whatever you need, you'll find some solid options.
Weebly lacks the number of themes it makes up for in quality - these aren't just the same layout that gets recycled dozens of times. You will find unique themes in different styles, and for different purposes, so chances are you will find the right theme for your website.
You can use these themes on e-commerce and classic website editors, both of which allow basic customization. That said, you can customize a little more in the classic Weebly builder, with more options for colors and fonts. All themes are mobile compatible, so you don't need to worry about how your website will look on smartphones or other smaller screens.
If the Weebly option doesn't quite have what you need, you can also purchase a theme on third-party platforms like ThemeForest (read our expert review) and Webfire Themes. Some supportive reviews and comments claim these require more technical knowledge, so keep that in mind if you choose this route.
Weebly managed to pack some great features into the beginner-friendly website building process. In case other website builders can cut down on some features with a steeper learning curve, Weebly simplifies those tasks so you can get the site you want without a lot of uplift knowledge.
The features available are slightly different depending on the creator you are using, so make sure you choose the one that suits your needs.
This choice is wrong because both builders feature an online store. You can create all kinds of pages the same on both editors (including blogs, which have only recently been implemented for e-commerce builders), so in the end, the difference lies in some customization options and if you have preferences for one editor-style over another.
Some of the features below apply only to one of Weebly's editors, so we've kept those in mind where they are relevant. Let's dig inside.
a. Robust App Centers
In the classic builder, you can visit Weebly's App Center, which offers over 350 apps and integrates over five different categories:
There are good filters and search functionality, so it's easy to find what you're looking for.
The App Center includes options to add a social feed, manage comments or a contact form, incorporate live chat into your customer service, and more. There is also a good selection of e-commerce apps, especially in shipping and fulfilling your dreams. Or take your order, at least.
There aren't many big-name integrators in the app market - for example, you can't find MailChimp or ChowNow here. You can still add these codes, but you'll have to use the embed code (that is, you'll have to embed the code, provided from an external platform, into your website's HTML). It's a bit more work than the usual one-click installation. Despite this downside, Weebly App Center still offers plenty of free options for expanding your website's functionality.
If you are using an e-commerce generator, you'll get some application functionality, like a social media feed, built into the generator. For everything else, you'll be using the Square App Marketplace, not Weebly initially.
This requires a Square account outside of Weebly, but it's well worth it: there are more app options in the Square Marketplace. It includes big names like ChowNow and MailChimp and some niche categories like healthcare and insurance.
b. Integrated email marketing tools
Weebly offers an additional email marketing platform called Weebly Promote, which integrates seamlessly with your website and works with e-commerce and classic builders. You can use the same drag and drop builder to compose your email campaign and build your website (a moment of appreciation website builders don't reinvent the wheel for every new task), and it tracks all the statistics (e.g., open rates, clicks through) on your website dashboard.
This tool includes email templates for different purposes, and it will guide you step by step for setting up and submitting an email campaign. You can also create contact lists and segment them based on any demographic data you have collected (e.g., location, occupation, gender).
Weebly Ads isn't included with any Weebly premium plan - you must pay for it separately, in addition to your regular plan. But Weebly Promotion allows you to pay for the exact number of campaigns you need while still getting the benefit of managing your website and campaigns on the same dashboard. Price every marketing tool allows you to pay only for what you really need!
c. Square e-commerce features
Weebly's e-commerce builder is one of my personal favorites for managing online stores. When I first started testing website builder tools, the e-commerce features always felt intimidating, but Weebly's online store tools are really accessible and easy to learn.
Much of this ease of use stems from Weebly's acquisition by Square, the payment processing tool you may have last seen in a stylish cafe. They have done a lot in all retail sectors to empower and support small businesses, and this e-commerce business project is no exception.
Using the Square tool for a traditional store, this build tool's choice is unquestionable. All your billing, orders, and inventory data will be synchronized in your physical and online stores.
But if you don't have a physical store because you want to run the business entirely from your couch or if you're not in one of the five countries where Square operates, then your e-commerce builder Weebly is still a good option. You won't be building the next Amazon on top of it, but you can do a lot.
Adding products is a simple, intuitive process that guides you through adding product variations like size or color, updating implementation options, and even optimize your product pages for SEO. . You can even add GIFs and 360 photos in addition to the standard photo so visitors can get more information about the product before buying.
Here are some other things you can do with the e-commerce builder:
Accept card payments online, directly, or via a mobile application using transaction technology in the Square Point of Sale app.
Selling gift cards
Allows customers to leave reviews for specific products
Print shipping labels and set other execution options
Customize email templates to remind customers of things like abandoned stroller (and more)
One more thing w like is that you don't have to use a Square payment processor, which is only available in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and Japan. You can also use Stripe or PayPal to accept payments online, both of which allow you to accept payments in more than 130 countries.
Some of these features are confusing: certain things, like item categories or tax settings, don't sync between the Weebly online store look and the Square dashboard. Overall, it seems Square sees Weebly as a tiny piece of the product it offers to small retailers, and the two tools are not fully integrated. This seems to be changing as more updates are rolled out, and I hope to see more in the future.
Regardless, there's still a lot of power in the Weebly e-commerce builder - it competes surprisingly well with other major e-commerce builders like Volusion or BigCommerce - but a few things definitely need to be perfected.
d. Customize your blog post with a content block
In the classic Weebly editor, you can create your blog posts using the same editor you use for all the pages on your website. I love this feature because few things annoy me more than finding a brand new web page editor to open up blogging tools to find… another brand new web page editor.
Weebly keeps it simple and gives you more flexibility in how your blog posts look. You can easily break up your text with images, videos, or block quotes, and even include a call to action (CTA) with a signup form to capture contact or leads.
You can use several blog-specific blocks, such as the Blog Author block, which allows you to side-line your posts and search by author and Blog Category block, allowing you to tag each blog with related categories so readers can search for topics that interest them. Blocks appear in the sidebar while editing blog posts. You can also edit the SEO title and description fields on each post, potentially improving your search engine rankings.
The new blog feature on the e-commerce editor Weebly, called Stories, works similarly. You don't get content blocks, but the editor offers a smooth experience as you would any other page. You can even add other types of layouts below your blog post text to make those pages unique.
3. Ease of use
Both the classic builder and the e-commerce builder rank quite high for me for how easy they are to use. While they are quite different in style, things seem to make sense as you build your website.
Even so, these builders are not entirely equal. In general, the eCommerce generator is easier to use, but the classic builder makes it much easier for you to customize your website. This is partly because more customization options on the classic builder (like colors) and the editor style are more flexible.
With Weebly's classic editor, the process starts with the page layout from your template, but you can modify them by adding content blocks. These blocks let you add text, images, and other features like maps or contact forms just by dragging and dropping them onto the page.
The editor is pretty easy to use, but arranging and manipulating blocks can sometimes feel cumbersome and awkward, especially when using panes or space to create your layout. While you have some freedom to place your content blocks, you are subject to a grid. Mesh is used to helping keep your design looking clean, but in reality, it's sometimes more annoying than helpful.
Each block you add has its own custom menu that appears when you click on that element, allowing you to change things like font, color, alignment, etc., depending on the exact block you're editing.
There aren't many blocking options, but you can get more by installing apps from the App Center. By adding new images and fonts, you'll also extend the block selection that limits a bit further in terms of aesthetics.
The classic editor allows for a more flexible design than the commerce editor. You can choose any custom color you want to use anywhere on the web. You also have seven different options for customizing each text field (e.g., font, style, size, weight).
In theory, the block editor also allows for more layout customization. You can use splitters and buffers to build sections and edit standard blocks (like contact forms). However, we found these tools a bit difficult to use, especially when properly aligning the contact form. If this is your concern, then the e-commerce builder might have some features that make it a little easier to ensure a good design.
The e-commerce builder is much easier to use than the classic editor, and it results in nicer web pages (in my opinion). Instead of building layouts for a section using content blocks, you can choose from various predefined layouts.
The "layout" and "content block" are essentially the same, so let me clarify. On the classic editor, content blocks are individual elements like text boxes, images, or buttons. The layouts in the e-commerce editor combine them for you in different styles.
When you choose a section layout, you're basically adding three or more content blocks with just one click. You can then customize these section layouts by enabling or disabling images, headlines, or other elements according to your preference.
In other words, if you like to text and image layout but want to add or remove a button, you can do so with one click. The button will always be perfectly aligned with your other content.
To keep things tidy, Weebly's e-commerce builder removes some of the more in-depth design options that you might find on the classic builder. You get fewer color options and manually enter the HTML color code instead of choosing from a color picker. Also, there are only a few places where you can customize the colors in the overall theme.
Likewise, there are only two font options to customize: title and text. This is a much smaller option than the classic editor, where you can use more than 20 different fonts on your website (however, we don't recommend that).
Reasonable design options are not necessarily a bad thing. They make Weebly's e-commerce website builder simple and easy to use. I built my first website, consisting of multiple product pages, in less than an hour. If you don't have a design background, you can still create a website that makes it look like you.
The e-commerce builder's online store management interface is one reason Weebly ranks so highly for ease of use. It offers many options to describe, categorize, and manage the product - but not so many that it becomes overwhelming. The interface is smooth and intuitive, and you should have no trouble finding what you need when you need it.
Another cool bonus for the store management dashboard in the e-commerce creator is that it is very similar to the Square dashboard. If you're using Square to process payments, then you'll be familiar with the dashboard and how it works. That means you can smoothly move between the two tools to fully and easily manage your retail store.
4. Customer support
Weebly has a fairly strong knowledge base for both the classic builder and the e-commerce generator (though the knowledge base is split into two, one for each).
This is good because Weebly doesn't really have a live support option (although you can email them, see below). If you choose Contact in the help center, you'll be redirected to a surprisingly useful chatbot. Besides providing a related support article, it also lists each step you need right in the chatbox for you to follow while working. The chatbot offers batch steps, waiting for you to complete one step before moving on to the next.
While this chatbot is really useful for FAQs, it doesn't respond well to more complex questions, like when we asked how to add a blog to my online store.
Weebly is possibly one of the best value website builders out there. You can access most of the main features even on the plan for free, no matter what generator you are using (classic or e-commerce). This is a great way to try out the platform and make sure it's right for you. When it's time to connect your own domain, you need to upgrade your personal plan as the free plan doesn't allow custom domains.
The higher tiers include more advanced e-commerce features like printing shipping labels, getting shipping discounts, and accessing advanced e-commerce analytics. The good news is that even after the upgrade, the costs are still very affordable compared to other e-commerce solutions.
Some of the features that I mentioned, such as Weebly Promotion (built-in email marketing tool), cost extra. Like major subscription plans, however, all add-ons are affordable and offer great value.
Weebly accepts MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, and PayPal. You can get a full refund within 30 days of purchasing your Weebly subscription by contacting the support team. Since there are so many features on the free plan, you can try your own tool trial before moving on to a paid plan. However, if you decide to subscribe to a premium plan and eventually cancel, the process is not straightforward and easy.
Which website builder is best for your salon booking site?
Building a website for your salon can be easy and affordable - choosing a website builder just depends on your own needs and preferences.
If you want a fully customizable template that has been designed for the salon, use Wix. The contact page, Wix Bookings, and Wix SEO Wiz will provide all the functionality you need for a successful website.
If you are looking for eye-catching image libraries, give Squarespace a try. Analytics and SEO tools can also help get your site to rank higher on search engines like Google, and Acuity Scheduler will ensure that your customers always remember their appointments.
Wix: Over 500 fully customizable templates, optimized for mobile devices, and Wix SEO Wiz to help with SEO strategy.
SITE123: A simple website editor, free image repository, and a Scheduler tool.
Squarespace: Well-designed visual galleries, social links, and analytics so you can track your website traffic.
WordPress.com: Memory is richer than most other free plans, and the plugin library expands if you upgrade to a higher-level plan.
Weebly: Interactive's step-by-step guide and lots of useful apps in the App Center.
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