Yahoo! Small Business Website Builder is known as an all-inclusive website builder that’s tailored to helping small business owners get up and running online quickly and easily. They’re also known for offering responsive websites, which means the site fits on any device (i.e. a tablet, phone, computer).
Recently, I gave Yahoo! a try for a full Yahoo! review. But before I get into the pros and cons of my Yahoo! Website Builder review, let’s dive into an overview about tools to build a website.
There are so many considerations to take into account when choosing a website builder — and really, there are a thousand ways to get what you want in the end in terms of functionality, convenience, pricing, etc. The thing to remember is: whether you’re building a simple personal website or running a business, the way you build your site has a lot of consequences.
In the long-term, it 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 Yahoo! Website Builder?
On the wide spectrum of website building solutions, Yahoo! lives on the end that is all-inclusive and provides everything you need to get started and grow your website. It contrasts with solutions where you buy, install, and manage all the “pieces” of your website separately.
Using Yahoo! is sort of like leasing and customizing an apartment in a really classy development instead of 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 there’s usually a direct tradeoff between convenience and control.
Everything may fit together just right with a website builder like Yahoo!, but that may or may not be what you’re looking for.
Compared to their direct competition, they focus on speed, ease of use, and responsive design (again, web jargon for making your website mobile device-friendly). Yahoo! offers several website templates you can customize, and it also allows you to build your own pages from scratch using premade sections that you can drop onto the page.
Pros of Using Yahoo! Website Builder
Straightforward Sign Up Process
One of the biggest pros of using Yahoo! Sitebuilder is how easy it is to get up and running on the platform. It’s basically just two steps — pick your theme, enter your information to create your account, and you’re in! Yahoo! automatically sets you up with their free plan, so you don’t even have to pull out a credit card.
This is great for DIYers who want to get up and running as quickly as possible without the hassle of creating a detailed account, selecting a niche, etc.
Template Design / Functionality
Yahoo! also offers a wide selection of template designs that are responsive (AKA they look good on a mobile device, tablet, and computer). There are a wide variety of options to choose from, and all of the templates are really well designed.
Yahoo! Site Builder isn’t technically drag-and-drop (you choose from premade sections and “drop” those onto your page), but it is fairy intuitive to use. You can customize the styles on the page (like fonts and colors), and you can add premade sections and blocks, but you don’t get the ability to add elements willy nilly.
I did like how the software automatically matches a new “section” to your overall theme for you, so you don’t have to worry about changing the fonts and colors to match what you already have.
The whole setup is like painting by numbers.
There are obvious drawbacks to this setup, which I will cover in the disadvantages, but it is a real advantage to having limited but accessible design options. It makes Yahoo! Site Builder a great option for small business owners / DIY-ers who want a website that looks professionally designed without having to hire someone to build something custom or spend much time tweaking the design themselves.
Free Starter Plan
Another benefit Yahoo! Site Builder is their free starter plan. In comparison to their direct competitors, Yahoo!’s free plan is fairly extensive.
While some website builders cap your pages or even your access to support with a free plan, Yahoo! offers unlimited pages, support, and even built-in SEO functionality on a page-by-page basis.
There are some cons with the free plan, such as limited storage, having to use a subdomain (ex: yourname.yahoosites.com), and extremely limited integrations — but if you’re looking for a simple site for a short-term project, this could be a solid option.
Some Product Integration
Another benefit of Yahoo! Site Builder is their product integrations. Aside from offering DNS and hosting services, Yahoo! also offers email functionality in their paid plans.
You can also get eCommerce functionality, but Yahoo! separates eCommerce websites into an entirely different category (“stores” instead of “websites”) with their own unique pricing plans — which we’ll touch more on in a bit!
Of course, no review would be complete without looking at the downsides. Every piece of software will have complaints. Let’s look at the specific cons I found using Yahoo! as your website builder.
Pricing + Plans
While Yahoo! is fairly easy and convenient for DIYers and small businesses, they do leave a lot to be desired when it comes to pricing. All of their plans come with storage caps, which means you’re limited to the photos, documents, files, etc. you store on your website.
It’s also confusing to place eCommerce websites in an entirely different category. These websites come with different pricing plans, functionality, and specifications.
On the one hand, this is fine if you know that you want to build a shop from the get-go. But if you wanted to start with a website then add on eCommerce functionality, this structure makes it more complicated.
Limited Feature Set – Design
With any technology product, there is almost always a trade-off between convenience and control (think Android vs. iOS)
And you can really see this trade-off with the Yahoo! website builder. The convenience of their design setup is great. It’s straightforward and fast, and puts your focus on getting your content into a premade template. You can add pages and sections based on your specific needs, but for the most part, it’s got everything you need.
However, if you want to go anywhere beyond the basics of design, you are limited with the builder. You can’t add anything within the premade sections, you can’t create your own sections, and the elements you can change on the overall template are fairly limited.
If your website is growing, or becoming a bigger part of your business, the design limitations can be crippling. And unlike other website builders that attempt to solve this issue through apps, extensions, or access to the website code or HTML, there is no outlet for a Yahoo! website builder website (in fact, it reminds me a bit of Google Sites).
Limited Feature Set – Technical
The limitations on design also bleed over into technical limitations.
Technical limitations are features that you don’t know that you want until you want them, and then you find out you can’t have them.
These are things like integrations with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google Ads, social sharing options, blogging, and a whole host of every intermediate to advanced marketing tools on the internet. Now, as I mentioned above, Yahoo! does give some integrations, like DNS / hosting services and email on their paid plans. They also allow you to insert code into the header of your website for things like analytics tracking (even on their free plan).
However, there are a ton of technical features that Yahoo doesn’t provide or that are extremely limited.
For example, let’s look at Yahoo’s SEO features. I can edit the page title, description, and keywords for the site, as well as edit the visibility. But aside from that, I’m pretty locked in to what they offer. There’s no options for sitemaps, Schema, Open Graph settings – much less highly advanced options.
Even the additional add-on products are limited. There’s not much to address marketing your site, aside from adding code for Google Analytics and Facebook Analytics or putting code into the header of your website.
Ultimately, Yahoo! leaves much to be desired when it comes to product integrations and additional technical features that can help you better market your website.
Ownership & Company Structure
My team, my clients and I have seen and worked with a lot of different software companies. One thing that I’ve noticed over the years is that companies have to follow not only the demands of their current customers, but also the demands of their business model. A company might be “good” or “bad” right now, but to know how they’ll be in a few years, it pays to spend a couple minutes thinking about their business model and how they’ll evolve to meet customer and market demands.
For example, anyone who understands that Facebook’s customers are their advertisers, not their users, can understand how & why they do the things they do. There is no inherently “bad” or “good” business model. Every model has tradeoffs. It just pays to know where you, the customer, fit in the picture, especially when you are building something as critical to your business as your website.
Yahoo! Small Business is a division of Oath, now called VerizonMedia. During the break-up and sale of Yahoo! in 2017, Yahoo! Small Business was bundled with other Yahoo! properties like Tumblr, Yahoo! Mail and bought out by Verizon, the American telecommunications giant.
In other words, Yahoo! Website Builder is a product of a division of a subsidiary of one of the largest corporations in the world.
That makes the 5 year outlook of Yahoo! Website Builder…complicated.
The potential upside is that if Verizon gives Yahoo! Small Business budget, resources, autonomy and a super-smart leader…Yahoo! Small Business could have the best products and best pricing on the Internet.
The huge downside is that if Yahoo! Small Business gets lost in the shuffle of corporate bureaucracy, then they could end up like Tumblr (another VerizonMedia property) where they’ve bled engineers, killed brand equity, and sent users fleeing for other solutions.
But in all likelihood, Yahoo! Small Business will probably end up like Blogger. A fine product, but one that is treading water within a much larger organization, especially compared with direct competitors who are either publicly-traded & focused on the SMB market (like Wix or Gator) or private & founder-driven like WordPress.com or Website Creator.
Yahoo! Review Conclusion
Yahoo certainly makes getting a website up and running easy, and given how intuitive it is to use, it makes the platform an okay choice for small business owners who need something that’s simple.
However, like most all-inclusive website builders, there does come a point where there’s a tradeoff between convenience and control, especially when you factor in price. Yahoo’s pricing leaves something to be desired, especially when you get into the higher-priced plans and take into account the technical limitations, even with the higher-priced options. If you’re looking for something that offers more control and scalability, you’re better off elsewhere.
Not sure Yahoo fits your needs? Check out my quiz to find what the best website builder is for you based on your preferences.
Yahoo! Website Builder
Yahoo! offers good usability and accessibility but Yahoo's pricing leaves something to be desired, especially when you get into the higher priced plans and take into account the technical limitations, even with the higher priced options.
Application Category: Website Builder