SiteBuilder.com is one of the faster-growing brands in the rapidly evolving website builder space. SiteBuilder focuses on core features and a clean interface. Based on feedback from my Weebly, Wix and Squarespace reviews – I gave SiteBuilder a try. Here are my 5 pros and 5 cons and full SiteBuilder review.
But before we look at SiteBuilder specifically – there is a bigger concept to keep in mind. Whether you go drag and drop website builder; an installed Content Management System (CMS), or hand-coded HTML files, there are a lot of considerations that go into an building a website.
In the end, you really want someone to type in a website address and see your information, presented well with the right functionality in their browser. Whether you are building a simple project website or running a online business, the way you build your site determines a lot of what you can do both long-term and short-term.
In the long-term, the tools you use to set up your website affects your versatility, functionality, and, of course, your brand. In the short term, it can certainly add/take away a lot of headaches. That said, just like choosing a physical house or office, there is no such thing as an absolute “best” or “top” choice. There’s only the right choice relative to your goals, experience, and circumstances.
What Is SiteBuilder.com?
Website building tools exist on a spectrum with a core tradeoff between control & convenience. Usually, the more convenient a tool is, the less control you have – and vice versa.
Sitebuilder lives on the spectrum that more all-inclusive and convenient to get started and grow your website. It’s in contrast to solutions where you buy, install, and manage all the “pieces” of your website separately on your own server.
Like other “hosted website builders” like Weebly or Wix, SiteBuilder is sort of like leasing and customizing an apartment in a nice development instead buying and owning your own house. You’re still in control of decor, cleaning, and everything living-wise – but you leave the construction, plumbing, security, and infrastructure to the property owner. That point is key because, again, there’s usually a direct tradeoff between convenience and control.
All the functionality and design that are included with SiteBuilder work seamlessly together as a platform. That’s what allows them to have drag and drop design, layout and content.
Website builders as a group compete with options like WordPress.org (which provides the free software to build a website that you own & control – see my WordPress setup guide here) all the way to options like typing actual HTML code into a text file. Make sense? Awesome, let’s continue with the SiteBuilder review.
One other quick aside – a disclosure – I receive referral fees from all the companies mentioned in this post. My opinions & research are based on my experiences as either a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.
Here’s what I found to be the pros of SiteBuilder – not just in comparison to other website builders, but also as an overall online website solution.
Speed, Security & Convenience
SiteBuilder provides hosting for all their websites. In other words, they provide a place for your website files to live in addition to the builder too. That can be good or bad – but in SiteBuilder’s case, it’s generally an advantage.
There are big convenience points for having to have very little concern for hosting, speed and security. SiteBuilder appears to run their software on Amazon and Google servers, which will very rarely go down.
SiteBuilder does not the fastest load speeds, but it is alright, especially since you, as the site owner, do not have to do anything out of the box.
As with any website, there are security risks. But they provide security and backups as part of their pricing package.
If you don’t mind having your website on a subdomain (ie, http://yoursite.myfreesites.net) then SiteBuilder is free with no trial expiration. It’s a pretty good deal for small, temporary sites.
But for more permanent sites, their introductory pricing is competitive to other all inclusive website builders.
Since Sitebuilder does have some fairly hard caps and structures on each plan, you almost have to go with the Pro plan or more. Those will be mentioned in the pricing section that appear in the cons.
But since everything (software, hosting, security, tools, etc) is all bundled, they have competitive pricing for anyone who simply wants to start a website.
Simplicity & Core Features
For any product, there’s a fine line for new features. At some point, new features no longer make the product better – they make it worse.
Like I’ve seen in all my website builder reviews – companies have the issue of being everything for everyone. They add so many features that their “simple” website builder is really quite complicated.
SiteBuilder focuses on the core features that every basic website needs.
It’s not for everyone (as I’ll mention in the cons), but if you really do only need a simple, quick, basic website – SiteBuilder’s setup is simple and straightforward.
Site Building Process
On the same theme as their focus on core features is the simplicity of the actual site building process.
No matter what plan you end up wanting, everyone gets started with the same setup process.
If you want – you can publish a live website in 3 clicks. There’s no purchasing beforehand or passing credit card information.
You click Get Started, choose your password, choose a base theme, and you’re in the Editor where you can Publish your site.
The Editor also acts as a site dashboard where you can upgrade your account to the plan you want.
The process & editor is intuitive and well-designed which is a solid pro.
Drag & Drop Editor
One advertised advantage of using an all-inclusive website builder is that you won’t have to write HTML or CSS code. You can just drag and drop elements. What you see in the builder is what you get on the website.
However, it is not always that simple. There’s a lot of nuance to “drag and drop.” Most of us actually mean “I want to click and drag this element and move it to a general area where it will look good – you know, automatically centered, etc.” In other words, it’s like playing tee-ball instead of baseball…or bowling with gutter guards up. You want to do the thing, but also have a bit of help.
For the most part, SiteBuilder pulls this off. Their drag and drop actually works the way you would expect it to.
You also have a plethora of design options. The parameters and rulers are all adjustable. The look & feel is straightforward and uncluttered.
But of course, no Sitebuilder review would be complete without looking at the downsides. Let’s look at specific cons I found.
SEO & Marketing Tools
SiteBuilder does basic SEO & marketing tools better than some competitors like Wix. They build in redirects and HTML tag functionality.
But that’s about all they provide. There’s no Schema or Sitemaps. You can do little to fully customize your site visitor’s experience. And you are limited about where you can/cannot add content.
They don’t even get duplicate content right (ie, you’ll have duplicate websites on yourdomain.com and yourdomain.myfreesites.net)
SiteBuilder get some broad strokes right, but it’s important to remember that it’s a basic website solution. If you hire a professional to help build your site out, they’re likely going to recommend that you move to a more versatile platform.
This con is partly because Sitebuilder focuses more on towards convenience over control. And without 100% control over your site & server – it can be difficult and/or impossible to add advanced marketing tools such as an EV SSL, custom email collection tools, custom analytics packages, custom social shares, specific Schemas and A/B testing software.
SiteBuilder does a good job with introductory pricing, but overall, they are not an extraordinarily good value. Other website builders (ie, Weebly) provide a better value on features and renewal pricing.
And that’s not even comparing SiteBuilder against building your site on your own server using website builder software like WordPress (or even drag and drop software like WordPress + BoldGrid). With Sitebuilder, you pay the monthly fee per website. If you are on your own hosting server, any additional site is basically free, so it’s that much more value.
Access To HTML / CSS
Although hosted website builders cannot provide server access, many try to provide access to the “source code” (ie, HTML/CSS) of the website that you are building.
It can be handy not only for someone fluent in HTML/CSS, but also for anyone trying to get something on the page *just* right.
SiteBuilder provides a plethora of options in their builder (animations are particularly plentiful).
Customer Support & Onboarding
Like I’ve mentioned in other reviews, customer support is a tough issue to evaluate (in any industry). Instead of looking at whether or not customer support is “good” – I try to see what their priority is with customer support as a company.
Do they actively invest in resources and channels? Do they try to upsell? Do they look to cut costs?
With SiteBuilder, it’s a bit hard to say since they run a fully hosted platform where they can prevent many customer service issues.
Nevertheless, they do have a small knowledgebase. Technical support is via email – though billing support has a phone number.
But all of their “onboarding” emails (ie, the process of getting a new customer started) revolve around upsells.
Relative to other website builder companies, I put their customer support & onboarding as a disadvantage.
Growth Path & Platform Lock-in
Like I said in the advantages, SiteBuilder excels as a simple website builder. That said, if you have a new website that you want to grow and evolve, that’s also a disadvantage.
Competitors like Wix, Weebly and SquareSpace (and ecommerce competitors like Shopify) offer “app stores” or “extensions” that you can add to your account as you grow. They take care of all the advanced features that you will need as you grow. SiteBuilder does not have that.
The features that you have are the features you get. If you are planning on growing, then you’ll need to consider that point.
Additionally, migrating from SiteBuilder to a new platform is not a straightforward process. They do not have a data export option (that I could find). And their software does not have any RSS feed that could sync your content with something like WordPress.
If you ever want to migrate, you’ll have to factor in migration costs and effort. Any design or content that you invest in SiteBuilder will need to be manually moved.
A bonus for SiteBuilder is their ecommerce functionality. You can sell products from your SiteBuilder website without switching platforms or any special development.
Ecommerce is a nice bit of functionality, but keep in mind that it’s not a full-fledged ecommerce that online store platforms such as Shopify or BigCommerce. SiteBuilder has a shopping cart, basic inventory management, and payment acceptance.
It’s great for websites that are primarily lead-generation, informational, etc but also want to sell a few products. It’s also a good fit for anyone testing out products before moving to a long term platform. It’s not a long-term fit for websites that are ecommerce-first. For those an online store you own with WordPress + WooCommerce or a specialty ecommerce platform like Shopify (review) or BigCommerce (review) would be a better fit.
SiteBuilder is a great choice for a simple, quick, no-fuss website. They have competitive pricing, good functionality, and good user experience. There are a lot of tradeoffs for using an all-inclusive website builder, but if that route fits your goals – then I’d check out SiteBuilder’s Plans here.
If you are more confused than ever – I created a BuzzFeed style quiz to help you decide what is the best website builder for you based on your preferences here.
If you think building your own website on your own hosting is a better route, be sure to check out my step by step guide to setting a website with WordPress from scratch here.