SimpleSite is a web-based website building tool. The company works out of Denmark. One can use this website builder to create elementary websites. It is effortless to create a site on the client, but it comes at the cost of fewer features and customization options. The builder avails both free and paid version to the users. The latter provides a lot more added features such as custom domain name, more emails, etc.
- Simple website building: SimpleSite is a great tool to create a minimalistic website in no time whatsoever. The website builder is not loaded with tons of features which helps keep the site building process extremely simple.
- Fast rendering: The use of CDN (content delivery network), and the relatively simpler architecture of the website created on the platform paves the way for faster loading times. SimpleSite performed very well in the benchmark tests we conducted to test the loading speeds.
- Huge library: The library on the website builder is a major contributor to the fact that website building is very easy on this platform. The templates, layouts, fonts, and even the stock images available in the gallery turned out to be valuable resources for the webmaster.
- Mobile editing: The simplicity of the website builder allows the user to edit the website even on mobile phones without the need to download any application. The editing is similar to what one can do one the desktop. The simple features on the editor don’t pose any problem while editing the website on smaller screens of mobile devices.
- Adaptive view: The webmaster can check how the website looks on screens with different aspect ratios and different sizes. The adaptive view on the website lets the user know about the site’s appearance and how various items place themselves on the desktop, mobile, and tablet screens.
- Insufficient website categories: SimpleSite offers only three website categories to the user at the start of the website building process. It would have been a lot better if the website builder included more website categories, and then served the user with the relevant options at the later stage.
- Sluggish editor: The editor feels very slow and unresponsive. One would expect the website builder to provide swift controls as it allows for very basic editing options. However, we did not have a very pleasant experience with the editor. There is a room for a lot of improvement when it comes to the swiftness of the client.
- Negligible security: The websites created on this website builder don’t come with a lot of security features. A website built on the free version of the website builder will not even have the HTTPS protocol. This undermines the security on the website and repels the viewers away from the site as well.
- No team management: We did not come across any option to collaborate with other users. A lot of the website builders provide the opportunity to work as a team on the website. The collaboration involves the user allowing others with limited or full access to the website. It helps delegate tasks without risking control over the website.
Internet is the best place when a person or a business seeks exposure and having an exclusive website on the internet is a big step towards this endeavor.
It requires a lot of knowledge and effort to build a website conventionally. One will either need to learn how to code and sit down for maybe days to create a website or delegate the task someone with expertise.
Website builders offer a third way around the problem and let the user build a website herself without any need of advanced technical skills. The website builder allows the user to watch the website take shape as she creates it on the tool.
SimpleSite is one such website building tool which lets the user create a website on his own terms. All that user needs to do is to create an account on the builder and start away with the website building process.
Website builders differ in the way they let the user control the elements on the website. The extent of control also dictates the complexity of the website created on the tool.
One of the most important parts of the website builder is the editor or the designer. It is the section where all the magic happens. All the elements related to the outward appearance of the website builder are controlled in this editor. We will analyze the editor in great details and tell you all about it in this review.
There are a lot of factors which play a major role in determining the success of the website. A website builder can assist the user in some of these sections.
We will see what tools does SimpleSites provides its users to create a website which serves its purpose. Businesses and individuals will have different expectations from the websites they create, and that is again worth the user’s attention when considering getting the product.
This review will let you know all about the capabilities and abilities of the product. By the end of this review, you will also have more knowledge about the website builders in general which will help you make an informed decision.
Easy enough to start
Building a website up from scratch is no easy task.
There are two ways you can get it done. First one is to code the website yourself or hire someone else to code it for you. And the second way is to take the help of a website builder.
Website builders allow a person, even with no technological background whatsoever, to create a website on his/her own.
These website builders are supposed to make it easy for any kind of user to create a website, and most of the builders achieve this by providing one with lots of options.
However, we did not sense a lot of options on SimpleSite.
When you start the website making process, the builder gives you merely three options for the kind of website you want to create.
SimpleSite classifies all the websites as either a personal/blog, business, and others. The ‘others’ option is for those people who can’t put the finger on the nature of their website.
One would expect that the builder will serve the user with more options once the user gets through with choosing one among these three categories.
But there are no sub-categories on the client. The user is now prompted to choose the color scheme for the website. After the colors, the user must select a username.
The process remains the same irrespective of the category one chooses at the beginning. This makes us wonder why the user was presented with three categories in the beginning.
The choices do not make much of a difference it seems.
There are two issues that we would like SimpleSite to address when it comes to the start of the process of making a website on the builder.
First, there is a need for more options in the category of websites. Be it with the inclusion of subcategories on the client or be it with the creation of more classes.
SimpleSite needs to provide a lot more to the user compared to what it is offering at the moment to the users in terms of categories of the websites.
The second issue, which we would like them to address, is that the choices made by the user should matter. There must be some sort of custom websites available to the user based on the options that he/she chooses.
It makes no sense to present the user with options which don’t help with the website building process.
The Editor needs some editing
We generally classify the editors in website builders into two categories. The first category consists of those editors which provide the user with very detailed customization abilities.
Using such editors is like being able to change every line of code written for the website. The disadvantage of such editors, however, is that they demand the user to be skillful enough.
The other breed of editors are the ones which are simple enough even for the beginners, and yet allow the user to make stunning websites. These editors don’t leave much for the user to do in terms of the styling of the website.
They allow the user to give a personal touch to the website, but the editor takes care of most of the features of the website.
We found it very difficult to place the editor of SimpleSite into any of the two categories that we just discussed.
The editor does not exhibit the qualities of a proficient editor for sure. But it is also not one of the easy-to-use ones.
The customization options don’t offer much to the user, yet they are very confusing, and the users find it difficult to navigate through the editor of SimpleSite.
If we have a look at the editor, it has the dashboard panel at the top of the website preview region.
There are three tabs on the left side of the dashboard which are for editing the website and managing the account.
There are two more tabs at the right side of the editor which are to preview and share the changes made by the user.
The tabs present on the right are ‘Account,’ ‘Design,’ and ‘Pages.’
‘Account’ has not got much to do with the editing of the website. Therefore, we won’t be discussing it in this section.
The next tab is ‘Design’ and it pop opens a tray at the left side of the panel. The tray contains a few options for the user to change the layout and appearance of the website.
All the visual features of the website such as logos, headers, layouts, etc. can be managed from this section.
The customization sections are plenty in this tray, but when you look at the actual items within the tray, the situation is very disappointing.
There are not many good options in the editor which would allow to user to edit the website to the best of his/her abilities.
For instance, there are only a few layout options on the website, and one can straightaway feel the need for more options in the layout section.
On the other hand, there are so many options for the colors on the website that it leaves the user in utter confusion.
If you look at the homepage of SimpleSite, you will find that people have created some visually appealing websites by using the resources available on the website. Practically, those things are not easy to master because of the confusing editor on the website builder.
SimpleSite could have used the strategy used by a lot of the other website builders. A lot of the website builders provide the user with a sample website of some sorts which gives the user an idea about how to start away with things on the builder.
The next tab after ‘Design’ is ‘Pages.’ This tab also pops open a side panel for the user. The tab lists out all the pages of the website and enables the user to add new pages in the website if necessary.
This tray has nothing significant in terms of designing of the web pages. When the user adds in a new page, the editor asks the user to choose the category of the webpage and then serves the user with corresponding options for the page.
There is a dearth of options in this section as well. The builder has got only four categories for any new page that can be added on the website. One of these four categories is ‘Blank,’ which reduces the effective number of options to only three.
Coming to the editing of content on the builder, the builder has divided the pages into various sections. There is an ‘Add Content’ button on the page wherever there is a scope for adding some content.
When the user clicks on the button, the builder asks for the kind of content that the user wants to add on the page. The options range from text and image to map and signature.
However, there are very slim chances that the user will be able to execute the plans that are in his/her mind in terms of the design of the content.
It is one thing to add content on the webpage, and a completely different thing to arrange the data in the way one desires.
The arranging of data is a headache on the editor. It is even more difficult of a task if one has a complex structure in mind.
There are options to add content side by side, but the editor seems to have a mind of its own. There is a limit to how many content tiles can be added horizontally.
The positioning and grouping of content are the two things which demand immediate attention on the client.
If the user is lucky enough, he/she will find a suitable category for the page, but that is not going to be a frequent occurrence on the editor for sure.
Editing one of the custom pages of SimpleSite is super tricky. The user gets trapped in one particular layout, and all the versatility gets thrown out the window.
The editor on SimpleSite is way too simple. It misses a lot of attributes which would let the user design a website which is in tune with his/her taste.
Where is the dashboard
If the user has multiple websites on the website builder and wants to manage all of them at once or review them all at once by going through the statistics, then it is not possible on SimpleSite.
The website builder does not assign accounts for websites. Instead, the user needs to input the email address for all the websites separately.
The user will have to login into the website builder every time he/she wants to switch between the websites created on the website builder even if the same email address is used for all the websites.
This process of signing in, again and again, becomes very annoying if the user has multiple websites in the website builder.
Other website builders allow the user to create an account on the website builder using an email address. This account can then be used to create multiple websites and manage them all at once.
It allows efficient management of all the websites and does away with the need for multiple logins as well. SimpleSite should also try to include a feature like this to make life easier for the webmaster.
Let us discuss the current setup of the dashboard on the website.
The first thing that the user will notice is that there is no separate window for the dashboard on the website builder. Everything happens with the preview of the website on display.
There is an ‘Account’ button on the left side of the top panel which contains all the options related to the settings other than the editing part of the website.
The oversimplified nature of the website builder proves to be a roadblock in this section as well. The website builder does not provide many relevant insights about the website.
The only useful information that the user gets on the website is the visitor count. There is a ‘Visitor’ tab under the ‘Account’ button. This tab gives the user a brief description of the visitors on the website on a timeline.
The user gets to see the visitor stats for the different pages within the website as well. It helps the user to make improvements on the website and on the webpages, which would result in more traffic.
But the website builder has not provided any tool other than this one. Everything else, such as the store and the visitor comments need to be managed from within the website only.
This whole process can be very tiring and confusing at the same time. Additional tools for the website management could have simplified things for the user, and it would have also gone along with the website builder’s motto of simplifying the user experience.
But the absence of additional tools makes the website builder look outdated.
The other tabs under the ‘Account’ button are all about changes related to the user account and not the website or its management. It allows the user to update personal information, change the password, manage subscription, etc.
The website builder failed to provide any relevant website management options to the user on the dashboard. The dashboard can be improved upon a lot to help the user manage the website efficiently.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is used to increase traffic on the website by optimizing the content.
The content is presented in such a way that the search engine’s algorithm notices it and places it higher in the search rankings.
There are various ways to make the content more search engine friendly, and the internet is filled with guides for SEO. One can implement SEO recommendations in his/her content and website to organically increase the traffic.
A lot of the website builders help the webmaster with the SEO front of the website as well. The users most appreciate this feature as it helps them to reach their ultimate goal which is to reach a lot of viewers.
Sadly, SimpleSite has got no feature which would help the user with the SEO part of the website. The website builder has an article on the official website which introduces the user to SEO management.
But that is all that they have to offer when it comes to helping the user with SEO management.
We feel that the website builder could have added a few features related to SEO such as the ability to add a description.
The website builder cited simplicity as the reason for the non-availability of SEO features on the website builder.
The email which we got from their customer service department said that adding SEO features in the builder would require them to allow the user to access the HTML code of the website.
And since they do not allow any access to the HTML code, as they follow a template-based system, SEO features are absent on the website builder.
We realize that SimpleSite wants to keep things simple for the webmaster when it comes to designing the website. But what use is it if the website does not reach a bigger audience.
We feel that SEO management is one of the features which is unavoidable in the website builders. We also think that the user won’t mind a bit of complexity if it helps to bring in more traffic on the website.
SimpleSite should try to include the features related to SEO else the oversimplicity will only repel any serious webmaster away from the website builder.
Online stores and e-commerce websites are getting more and more involved in our daily lives. People these days are reverting to online stores to buy from the tiniest and cheapest things to the biggest and the more expensive products.
Nothing can beat the comfort of having the whole store at your fingertips or the whim of your mouse pointer. It does not matter how big or small a business is, the current situation demands every business to involve online store in one form or another.
SimpleSite allows the user to create a webstore on the website or create an e-commerce website itself. In the beginning, when the builder gives the option for the kind of website that the user wants to create, e-commerce is also one of the included options.
However, when you create an e-commerce website on the builder, you will start questioning the existence of such an option on the builder.
When you choose e-commerce, the website builder will take you through the regular drill of choosing the template, the color scheme, and the website layout.
But somehow, the most critical part of an e-commerce website, which is the store itself, does not come with many customizability options.
Let us first begin with the layout. There are only three layouts for the products in the store irrespective of the fact if it is an e-commerce website.
The user gets no say in the way products are displayed on the website. The website builder should have provided the user with a few options to change the layout of the store.
Coming to the way the product itself is displayed, there are again not many options in terms of what can be changed. The user can add multiple images of a product, but they will be displayed only when the visitor clicks on the product.
There is an issue with the product sorting as well. The user can create multiple categories of the product, but the categories can only be chosen from the drop-down menu of the store.
The user has got no option to display the categories together on the same page.
The web-store created from the website builder looks way too outdated for modern-day use. There is a dire need to infuse the web-store with more features and customizability options.
Setting up payment may or may not be an issue for the user depending upon his/her love for PayPal. They also provide an option to set up payments from credit cards, but the builder seems to be pushing PayPal forward for the payment options.
The whole interface to manage the store is clunky and dull. The data could have been presented in a more informative and exciting way.
We won’t ask anyone to have very high hopes from a store created by the website builder until the time they do not take some serious actions to stir things up in this section.
Low latency but low security as well
To make the website look as pretty as possible, users put in a lot of high-resolution images and videos on the webpages.
This does help the website look better, but when the website is published, the high-quality content may prove to be the bottleneck when loading the website.
Slow loading websites are among the most annoying things in this era of high-speed internet. It is, therefore, necessary that the website builder has a robust system in place which would help deliver content at a higher rate despite the high volume it encompasses.
Various websites and website builders take help of content delivery networks (CDNs) to achieve better delivery of the content to the user. The CDNs achieve so by keeping a copy of the website or the content in various servers.
This ensures that the user is not too far away from the server which is transferring the content to the user’s device. All the high-quality content streaming websites use CDNs to achieve to better content delivery.
SimpleSite did not seem to advertise the use of CDN for the websites created on the website builder. The third-party list provided by the website builder on the ‘Terms of service’ page, shows Amazon Web Services in the list.
It suggests that the website builder uses CDN to speedily deliver the websites created on the platform.
However, further testing revealed that the websites created on SimpleSite are not among the fastest when it comes to loading time.
But the user can rest assured that his/her website will not be among the slowest loading web pages as well.
The loading time will be affected by the volume of content on the website, so one should avoid filling up the website unnecessarily with high-quality images and videos. It will only increase latency.
High speed ensures that the visitors on your website don’t come across any latency issues and have a pleasant experience navigating through the website.
Security is another aspect of a website, which ensures that the webmaster, which is you, experiences no problems while managing the website. Security becomes even more important if website has a store and other such features which involve monetary transactions.
Both, the webmaster and the website builder have a role to play when it comes to keeping the website and its content safe.
SimpleSite mentions the use of firewalls, encryption, and SSL for the websites created on the website builder. The encryption gives an assurance that the data is safe while it is transmitted over the internet.
However, the website builder gave no information about the practices used within the organization to keep the user’s account and data safe on the servers of SimpleSite.
More light on this aspect would have made the user feel a bit surer about the security status on the website builder.
Another lapse in this area is that the website builder does not use HTTPS protocol for the websites. This not only undermines the security on the website but also affects the traffic on the website.
A lot of visitors may leave the website just because the address bar on their browsers displays a ‘Not Secure’ message for the website.
A visitor won’t prefer to take a chance with his/her online security no matter how attractive the content on your website is.
The absence of HTTPS protocol on a website is an unacceptable feature on a website these days. Most of the website builders make sure that the webmaster does not need to worry about the protocol and provide HTTPS protocol as a default feature for the website.
SimpleSite should also upgrade the protocol used for the websites created on the website builder.
However, both, the speed and the security on the websites created on this website builder are satisfactory. The suggested improvements will only make the service better if included.
The website builder falls back a lot when it comes to editing related features. But then it tries to make up for the loss by the huge library that the website builder brings along with it.
The builder showcases a lot of templates, layouts, color schemes, and stock images. All these combine to enable the user to design beautiful websites.
SimpleSite is criticized a lot for the rigidity in the framework of the website builder. The client does not allow many changes in the editor.
The user needs to make do with the available themes and layout to come up with an aesthetically pleasing as well as a functional website.
The sample websites showcased on the official page of the website builder are enough of an indication that the builder is capable enough of generating unique and stunning websites.
The vast collection of themes and templates allow the webmasters to come up with great website designs. The stock image library of the client comes in handy as well.
The images present in the stock library of the website builder are all very high quality and can be used to make the website even more visually appealing.
Another advantage of using these images is that the webmaster does not need to worry about any copyright infringements.
The library of SimpleSite provides the user with all the necessary tools required for creating an excellent website. There is so much content that it may overwhelm or confuse certain users.
But all they need to do is to keep the website in mind and then start designing rather than designing on the basis of the templates and themes available.
Website for all the devices
The visitor may not be using the same device as you to check out the website. In some cases, the nature of the website may be so that the majority of the user demographic might use only mobile to visit it.
The situations demand the webmaster to make sure that he/she is aware of how the website looks on different screen sizes.
The website builder allows the user to get all such views while creating the website itself. It prevents the need for the user to switch between devices just to see how the website looks on various screens.
The feature allows the user to create a website in which all the features are accessible irrespective of the orientation and size of the screen.
The three view modes available on the website builder are the computer, tablet, and mobile. Majority of the devices have screens which fall under one of the three modes listed in the website builder.
This feature may seem trivial at times but can have a significant impact on the design and structure of the website.
Edit on the go
One feature that may make this website builder stand out from the rest of its competitors is that it allows editing the website on a mobile phone as well.
We tried editing our website on the mobile editor of the website builder, and it was just as intuitive as the desktop version.
There was no need to download a mobile application or have a device with some exceptional specifications. All that the user needs to do is login into his/her account on the website builder and start away with the editing.
The advantages of such a feature are plenty. The first and the most obvious benefit of the feature is that the webmaster can edit a website on the go. There is no need for a bulky desktop or even a laptop.
Another significant benefit of the feature is that the webmaster can upload the content directly from his/her mobile phone. Mobile phone these days have become miniaturized computers which we can carry in our pockets.
The cameras on mobile phones have also become highly advanced and well capable of clicking high-resolution images.
It will only be more convenient for the user to upload these images directly from his/her mobile to the website.
We might have mocked the website builder’s way of simplifying the website making process on several occasions in this review. But this is the one time that we can say that this website builder truly made the website making process effortless.
It is only because of this simplicity on the platform that it was possible to incorporate the editor on mobile devices without any special requirements.
Plugins and Widgets
This is yet another section where the website builder failed miserably because of the lack of options.
The lack of options in this section refers to the absence of a single plugin or widget on the website builder.
There are a lot of tools in the form of plugins and widgets which help the webmaster with analysis, marketing, providing customer support services, etc. for his/her website.
The advantages of using these tools are countless. The webmaster can achieve his/her goal, which can be anything ranging from the promotion of a product to increase traffic on the website, with the help of these tools.
Website builders generally avail a lot of such popular tools on the platform for the user to incorporate on his/her website. The builders not only avail these tools but also sort them out for the user in different categories.
The webmasters who are efficient in the use of these tools, get better output from their websites.
Sadly, SimpleSite offers no plugins or widgets whatsoever. The website builder does provide a visit counter and a share widget in the name of providing widgets.
If the reason for not providing plugins is also to keep things simple on the website builder, then the service is going in the wrong direction.
Taking away features, which make the webmaster a lot more efficient, is never a good idea. The cost of simplicity is turning out to be way too heavy, and websites thus created will not be able to serve the purpose for which they were made.
The website builder should include the plugins and make it easy for the webmaster to enable them. Doing so will, in turn, make things simple for the user as he/she will now be better equipped to grow the website.
Customer service is an essential part of any service which involves a learning curve. However, the learning curve for this website builder is not supposed to be very steep.
The reason being that it has been designed in such a way that even the beginners find it easy to use and can create a website on their own.
But it should also not come as a surprise if the user feels the need for some assistance. The need for support can be felt in any section of website building and not necessarily only for the editing part.
The service does not provide a live chat feature for the users. However, there are a lot of other ways by which the website builder helps the user.
The support page on the official website tries to deal with most of the queries that a user may have related to the website builder.
A whole section is dedicated to pricing and payment, which is not going to be very helpful in the actual website building process. But the other section, the FAQ page, and the blog page may turn out to be very useful.
The website builder also introduces the user to all the items of the editor when the user starts making the website. This introduction is enough to familiarize the user to various aspects of website making on the service.
If the webmaster is not able to find a solution to his/her problem in these sections, then an email can also be sent to the customer service team of SimpleSite.
We also contacted them through email to know more about certain features of the website builder. The response was fairly quick, and we heard back from them within a few hours of us sending them the mail.
However, the website mentions that the customer service department may take up to two business days to respond.
The response that we got was helpful as well, and we were satisfied with the answers we got in return. The customer service representative seemed competent enough and helped us to the best of his abilities.
The customer support on SimpleSite is satisfactory, and it is easy to reach out to the service to get some help.
Now is the time for some final words. The website builder looked quite outdated from the beginning. The user interface, the tools, the style, and a lot of other features seemed very primal.
The simplicity of creating a website on this builder turns out to be both boon and bane for the company.
The builder does allow the user to create a ‘simple’ site without putting in much effort, but that seems to be the only thing that it seems capable of doing.
As soon as one tries to take things up a notch, she will find out that the website builder does not allow that. The website builder offers set plans and layouts, and one can’t differ even a bit from that.
SimpleSite is not an ideal website builder for one to exercise creativity. Same can be said for productivity as well.
There are not many options available when the user thinks of including third-party tools on the website. We already discussed how the website builder does not give much to the user in terms of the webstore.
The lack of option seemed to be the common theme throughout the review. The lack of security options doesn’t let the user feel very sure of the product.
However, the things were not so bleak during the whole review. There were a few instances when SimpleSite faired very well.
The websites created on the platform don’t take much time to load. This allows the user to put high-quality content on the website.
The library takes care of a lot of the needs of the user, and there are enough resources within the website that one can create a pleasing website.
The builder lets the user edit the website even on a mobile. This feature is not a common one among the website builders.
Our overall impression of SimpleSite is that this website builder is good for beginners and those who want to create a very basic website. But we won’t suggest it to businesses and to those who demand very complex websites.