Looking around the world today with all kinds of information getting exchanged, we may wonder what makes it so much comfortable for everyone to view things on the internet. As we all know, comprised majorly of popular internet platform called websites, we access most of the data from it.
Nowadays, you many people engage in building their own websites. People from all age and background look at a way to create a site to increase their service accessible to users around the world.
Gone are days when building a website required you to learn the coding languages and spend hours compiling the data then testing it on a separate window. In modern times, we have gotten tones of a web application that can be used to make an amazing site without the knowledge about coding languages like CSS, HTML, etc.
There are many such web-based site builders available in the market, and Yola is one of them.
Being a brainchild of founder Vinny Lingham, Yola came into existence in 2007, at Cape Town, South Africa. However, they also have expanded their reach to San Francisco.
- Lifetime free account: Yola gives a lifetime free version of the site builder.
- Decent UI: The UI is quite simple to use.
- EcWid Store: The store integration with EcWid is good for E-commerce.
- SiteWit analytics and Ad sense: The plugin of SiteWit is useful to provide Site Analytics and Marketing support.
- E-mail Marketing: Yola includes email client and online marketing in the premium plans.
- Lesser Widgets: Yola lacks many widgets compared to famous site builders.
- Mediocre Editor: The editor is not up to the mark and has many missing features.
- Limited server space: The server space to store files is very small for premium users.
- Minimal plugins and integrations: Extra plugins and integration are very few.
- Mediocre template database: The template stock is minimal and does not have good templates.
- Terrible Customer Support: The customer support is only via tickets and many users have bad payment experiences.
- No Blogging feature: There is no blogging feature in this site builder.
- Separate package for E-commerce: To fully access the E-commerce package, you need to buy a different package.
- No site backup: If you made any blunder while building your site, you cannot restore it to previous versions.
- Lack of proper tutorials and Help material: The tutorials and help materials are very few and are not detailed.
- Bad Billing Policy: To cancel the subscription, users need to mail the support staff separately, since there is no provision to do it via the user account panel.
I want to make a wonderful Website!
Boasting with around 12 million users, this site builder has made some decent reputation in the market. It is widely used and propagated for small and medium businesses and individual portfolio pages.
Yola is armed with basic site builder and editing features. Being a decent application for novice users, Yola has become one of the most sought-after builders for testing out people’s imaginations.
People using this product have a mixed review of it. However, we cannot let other reviews influence us. That is why, as per the standard review procedure, we are going to explore every feature of Yola and later conclude if the vast user base are mere shams or legit support.
Let us test out the product
Building an excellent responsive site is not a child’s play. Even though the builders today have very user-friendly setup and tools to add anything on your page, it is essential to fill it with meaningful content rather than fancy gibberish.
Ask yourselves some basic questions first viz. Why do I want to make a website? What kind of content will I be uploading on it? Do I want to commercialize it?
All these questions and checks will let you have a clear idea of the kind of website that you want to make and the way it will benefit both you and the viewers. This is part of goal/motive formation like many other businesses have.
Let's say you have now decided to build an E-commerce site and we will sell some video games over on it at much-discounted rates. For this, we need to select a good template and then add useful widgets to it.
To start with, users need to register on the site using their Email ID. After signing up, you will be prompted to select a name for your site. There will be an option to either connect your domain or choose the default website domain for your site.
After selecting some templates, start customizing it with your own ideas with texts, pictures, videos, or any other media content the site offers. Add your site title and logo on the page.
As you can see, there is very limited customization provided by the builders. You cannot drag any element at a random location on the page. The templates have designated area where you can add widgets or move the current ones.
The number of widgets given are also meager. The E-store feature is entirely paywalled. There are only three main pages allowed for free users.
Along with a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, they have a custom CSS/HTML editing function for advanced/premium users.
As we will approach further in this review, we will check out all the features in this site builder and then decide if this site builder is worth the trouble or few rubbles or not!
Choosing the right Template
Now before we move forward towards various features, we need to have a look at the several templates that make the core architecture of a website.
A thorough website will not only need a visually aesthetic look but also gives attention to users’ experience. For this reason, the correct template must be chosen that fulfills both criteria.
The templates in this builder are not categorized as per their aim but have random name-based examples. These are random templates, that can be previewed and then applied for the current site. For our testing, we used the E-store template Emery.
This template had elementary elements of a soap store. They also had a blank template option for advanced users who can build their own from scratch.
The templates have a responsive feature available. This feature is used to design a website for different devices like desktop, mobile, tablets, etc. Using this feature, one can make sure the sites they make are optimized as per these devices and give good user experience on small devices.
Talking about the response time of these templates, it was quite fast than many other builders. The response time of the template UI is a vital requirement for WYSIWYG editor. Otherwise, any change that you make will take a long time to reflect on the editor and cause frustration for customers.
There are very limited templates available in this builder, and that too is difficult to choose due to no categorization. Most top builders have 200+ templates and that too all of them arranged correctly in distinct ways. The builder will probably disappoint any user who wishes to have much broader template requirements.
Overall, from the perspective of advanced users and novice users, Yola needs to improve a lot in its template stock and take the responsibility to arrange it in unique categories for easy pickings.
The entire burden of a successful site builder lies on the shoulder of its UI. Nonprogressive or lag filled UI can seriously affect the customers’ patience and most probably make them ditch your product.
For this reason, the site builder UI must be as simple as possible along with sufficient details of each option/feature of it. Most site builders have an amazing builder UI, which also display direct help over each function and also categorized nicely, such that the user will not get lost to search for a required service.
The builder has most of the functions existing in the top menu bar. This menu bar over the main editor contains different options like Widgets, Style, Page, Settings, SEO, Navigation, Files, & Adaptive view. When you click over one of these options, you will see some subcategories just below them.
The top right corner will display some basic site editing options like Save, Publish, Upgrade or Buy-Domain. Sadly, there is no redo/undo button and no backup choice too. So, if you do not save a site or accidentally save it, you will have to resort to manual editing once again. One relief given is a quick pop up warning before you close the tab or reload the page.
You need to select the design tab to change the looks of the main template. There are multiple elements available all over the page. To edit them, you have to hover the cursor over them and then select the edit/move option to change it or move its position.
As we all know that with every element that we add to a site builder, we need to either learn them as codes or have some sort of collection of such elements for our site.
This collection of various web elements are known as widgets meant to perform different tasks like adding images, videos, forms, buttons, or any type of visual or user interface item.
Every site builder equips themselves with a separate widget function. Widgets usually have drag and drop editing functionality and can be arranged in any part of the webpage.
Although limited, Yola has a decent widget library. Unlike most top-end site builders, Yola bags some basic widgets only.
The Widgets tab is accessible on the top menu bar of the editor. When you click on this tab, there will be certain widgets being displayed on it.
As you will notice the widget library is very limited and contains regular stuff like image, video, forms, buttons, store, maps, etc. The builder has no guidelines on how to place these elements for better user experience.
There is a drop-down menu on this toolbar, and one can find for the specific widget from here.
Under this drop-down menu, media section will allow you to add images, videos, files, flash, Flickr and Metacafe stuff. The E-Commerce option will add E-store and Google AdSense to your page. Similarly, social media, forms and misc. will input their respective elements on a page.
Seeing and using all these widgets, you will not find any great satisfaction. Many other site builders like Wix, Site123, WordPress, etc. have much more advanced widgets library and the interface is also much easier to use.
There is some decent customization for some of the widgets. The color, fonts, background, etc. can be changed for some widgets. The border option on the main toolbar will let you see the borders of all elements permanently rather than a hover-on effect.
Given to the restrictions in altering elements on the page, even advanced users will find difficulty in utilizing these widgets. Yola needs to work a lot to increase their widgets library along with making them more user-friendly.
As the name suggests, the page style here indicates the allowable change in the basic structure of the page. Website builders generally tend to restrict any change in the page template since it can encourage unnecessary customization from the users and that may lead to a visually messy site.
Yola too has restricted any random customization of the page and only allows the users to change colors, background fonts, and heading style. However, even though the changes are a bit restricted in terms of moving the elements, this mild customization is more than enough to optimize the site look as you want.
Click on the design tab on the main toolbar of the editor. This will open a window on the left side which will have all available design changing options for the page.
The first Tab in the Style Designer will allow you to change page layout, header layout, light/dark theme, fonts pair, and the entire page background. This option is useful for mild optimization of your page.
To change any more items and their appearance, switch to the advanced tab in the same Style Designer menu. Many users may get confused looking at all the options in this tab. But worry not, most of the options are very basic and does not need some higher training or knowledge and also, we will give you some estimate about their functioning.
The preset option will let you choose the font pair for the title of the page and the page menu. The Colors section enables you to adjust the color of any item or element or any font over that page. You can change the page background, banner background, font colors, link colors, footer and header colors from here. They should have provided color pair feature here since this is sure going to encourage a random color filling on the page by a novice user.
Next comes the Fonts option. As the name itself tells, this will allow the users to play with fonts of their pages. You can change fonts for major items like header, footer, links, taglines to smaller items like paragraphs, smaller headings, blockquotes, and navigation links.
To do any other changes regarding the coding of the website, users can opt for the CSS button on this design tab. This feature will let you independently add any custom code or widget into the site using HTML or CSS coding. This feature, however, is locked as a premium-only service.
Finally, the last option allows the owners to change the entire templates of the site. As usual, it can alter the whole structure of the site and so use it only like an emergency door when you mess up the current site in the making.
While designing any website, most of us are not sure how many pages we are going to add our site, or how those individual pages will look and what widgets we will be adding on those pages. Site builders use separate tab to allow the users to change any page setup or any other minor changes to it via Page Settings option.
Page Settings tab in Yola contains only basic changes like changing the page title, adding and removing the pages, reloading the current page and publishing it.
Site owners can also add some of the Meta-Data related to SEO via meta-data tab on the page settings menu. There is also a choice to alter the page layout on the rightmost corner of this menu. When you click it, you will see various arrangements of the page tiles in different horizontal and vertical ways, similar to a collage template.
You can also duplicate the page via the Duplicate button on this menu. This can be helpful when you want to do significant changes to your site and export some unique instances from the previous edition of the same page.
Yola still lacks many more features to optimize page settings like Global headers, footers, titles, etc. The page setup needs more user-friendly UI. Some common page settings like colors and fonts for an individual page or changing the background of individual pages is also not available.
In today's world, many of us have turned a bit lazy with the advent of online markets. The times to slog several kilometers or even a continent, to get your desired product, are gone.
There are rare products that are not sold in the online market in the modern era. Many site owners start to think of making a famous E-commerce site like that of Amazon, eBay, etc. To fulfill this, the owners not only need a perfect product and store set up but also need a top-quality builder with distinct e-store dashboard, that can carry all store related stuff with them.
Yola too does not like to stay behind in this competition and had launched the e-store function since its origin. As time went on, Yola tried to improve the e-store functionality and also added some more features to it.
It’s a drag that this e-store is only available to premium versions. Free users need to go elsewhere if they need better e-store feature. However, we will discuss as much as possible about the online store feature with the readers and give our verdict on this site builder.
To access the Yola’s e-store feature, go to the main editor and click the online store button over the main menu bar of the widget tab. From here the users will be taken to the store dashboard.
Also, the users can drag and drop the store widget over to the webpage. The widget will prompt you to select a product layout tile and number of products to be displayed per page. Go to the online store tab once you have added the products in the list.
The Online Store manager’s main dashboard will display key option of any e-commerce sites like product addition, delivery status, modes, card payments, notifications of the transit product, pickup stores, etc.
The second tab of product management will ask you to add geographic details and weight measurements for the product. You can also set currency details from here. Next, the setup will ask about the complete company details.
Next item is Setup Shipping. As the name rolls, this is the place where you have to specify the details of your delivery range, charges, modes, etc. You can choose from a physical product or a digital product. This setup provides some shipping rates like UPS rates, USPS postal services or any custom rates. Thus, the shipping methods are all set here.
The further critical step is Payment Options. More the payment options available for customers, the more reach your product will have and people from other regions may be interested in the product. The two main payment client Yola has provided are PayPal and Stripe. You can also choose other payment options like cash on delivery or any other paying clients.
After all these steps, we may wonder how to test out all these setups. What if you published the site without checking any of the above payment and order gateways? This can result in some early customers getting an unpleasant experience which can ruin the reputation of your site.
To avoid these situations, Yola has given an inbuilt product tester as Place Test Order. The owners can place an order to test the working of the product and billing gateway. They can also check the delivery setups.
Another interesting feature in the online store is Share News. Usually, for an e-commerce site, we have to indulge in marketing via separate platforms and go with the hassle of logging in various social media and marketing sites. For this, the users can market it on Facebook, Twitter, etc. by attaching links of your products.
Voila! You are now prepared to rock and roll in the E-commerce market.
Let us head back to see some more features of the store manager before we get too much excited. As you can see, the main dashboard will list out some tabs viz. Sales, Catalog, Customers, and Promotion. There is also a brief summary on the right side of the panel that will show a number of products, product categories, customers, lifetime sales, and a product search button.
The Sales button will show all sales related data on its panel. The users can see all the orders, unshipped orders, unpaid carts, etc. The owners can follow the unfinished carts via these data.
The next tab over the main panel in E-store is Catalogue. As we all know, the list of products along with every detail about them like price, size, SKU, category, etc. will be fitted in the product catalog of the company.
From this tab, the users can add, edit or delete any product. The new product data will include all details about the product like Name, Size, SKU, price, image, description, shipping rates, taxes, related products, etc.
The users need to create a category from here as per the products they are selling. You can create a root category and also subcategories under it.
Going next on the e-store panel comes Customers. The list here will store all customer info that you have bought from your website. You can also modify the customer data in case you need to update the address, name, delivery methods, etc. manually. Delete any customer who no longer is using the website and make pave for potential new ones.
As the favorite part of many customers, you can also give coupon and discounts via Promotions Tab. Generate coupons of all kind from here, and you can directly mail it all the customers.
The Market Places will let you advertise and place your product on many popular platforms like Google Shopping, eBay, Amazon, Shopzilla, etc. if you want you can add a custom web market for your product via HTML/CSS codes.
The Store Design tab also lets you change the appearance of the store if you have knowledge of CSS/HTML editing. You can control how many and which mail notifications are sent to the owners and customers in Mail set up. The last option in store customization is Social Tools and API. Use this to share the product or add a like button to your products. The API will let you gain the API code to access the system over new firmware on other devices.
The users can also add other E-commerce managers like Ecwid or My E-Shop mobile app. Most of the features here are due to EcWid integrations.
Overall, the online store feature of Yola is the most noteworthy perk that you will notice in the premium subscription. With so much customizable items and integration of payments and shipping gateways is what makes this store so much flexible and novice friendly. However, the only thing we wished was that there should be more product listing templates. Also, we felt that the store feature was somewhat slower than the standard editor.
Navigation and File Manager
As the name of these functions suggests, Navigation function lets you change the page order, their suborders, visibility, and other such stuff.
This button is accessible on the top menu bar on the editor. You will see a list of all the pages that you have made on this panel. From here, you can drag and move the title pages and set their order.
Users can also click green arrow on navigation page and set a page as subpage of the other. This will create a drop-down list of that page on the main site. This feature can group support pages like contact us, about us, help section, etc. into the one-page title.
The File Manager provided here is less than mediocre at best. You can just upload and save the files over their server and server space is also limited for all users. Free and lower subscriptions get only a few GBs of server space.
The files cannot be edited directly from the File manager panel. The image editor they integrated in early times was Adobe Aviary. Unfortunately, the support for aviary has ended and so the image editor of the site is rendered dead. They have not integrated any other way to edit the images since then. This is indicating some lethargic attitude from the developers since inbuilt image editor is ubiquitous in most site builder tools.
Both these functions have been quite disappointing as neither of them offers any useful service or feature. The file manager lacks many functions like basic file/doc/image editing, good server space, restricting access or locking files, etc. Thus, both of them need a complete overhaul to make them properly useful; else this is creating a terrible user experience.
Since the website builder is very limited in the stock of features, there are some things available in the General settings section. Strictly speaking, they are additional items and can be put in the minor features list.
The tab of Settings on the top menu bar will open a general settings dashboard. The first tab in this panel will be of Properties. This contains the option to change the Favicon of the site; the password system to protect the website, and Name and Language settings of the website.
Next tab is Contacts. This tab is used to customize the contact us section of the website. The users can add the location of the website office, business hour details for the entire week, and phone number of the company.
The next section is Tracking. This is fully paywalled. It includes the integration of Google Analytics and Google Webmaster into the site. We will discuss this in later part.
The next option Publishing deals with all the site publishing content. Here, you can set the domain name of your site, buy a new domain, enable SSL or prefix WWW. The users can directly publish the site from here and can also unpublish it or delete it. You can also use the Facebook publish button to post the site as a Facebook page. The users can also see the date and time of publishing any content.
The final option in general settings is Privacy. This also has minimal options, and users can only change the cookie notification and button text over it. There is no option to safeguard the form data, give secure access to employees, and many more privacy-related tweaks.
As we all recognize that most of the sites today need high customization when it comes to using them along different devices. This feature which helps to make a responsive website, which can automatically adjust to the mobile as wells as tablet screens, is called a responsive site.
The main aim of Adaptive View is to check the responsive nature of a website or templates. This helps in finding out how your site will appear on phones and what elements are needed to be removed from it.
The adaptive view for free users cannot be used to edit the site for a mobile look. The editing part is a premium only feature. Even on the premium version, the editing of the site is very minimal.
This is another excellent opportunity wasted by the developers, as they have given another unsatisfactory feature.
Site Analytics and AdSense via SiteWit
One of the most decisive tools in the website builder applications is Site Analytics. This tool is used to determine the traffics details of a website like the number of daily/monthly/yearly visitors, their IP locations or say access locations, the kind of device used to visit the website.
Yola is armed with some decent analytics tool. The two main tools that the users are equipped with are Google analytics and SiteWit. Let us see the potential of these tools for our website.
Since Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools for testing and this feature being locked for free users, we will discuss the SiteWit tool first for our free and novice users.
To access the SiteWit, you need to click on the main Yola triple dash icon on the top left of the main editor. Click on the analytics button in that menu, and you will be directed to the main dashboard of the analytics function.
The main dashboard of the SiteWit will ask you to input all the company details and website details before using their services. The main panel shows some of the traffic data like the number of visitors, page views, new visits, visitor graphs, their site duration, landing pages, and their origin chart.
All these are most general data about the traffic and still misses the exact IP locations, device ID and type and other grouping features like coupons collected, click made on the site, pop-ups followed, etc. Users can also sort the graph and chart data based on day, week, months, and year.
The next tab will help you to target your products across various website using Google Ads. This feature, however, will need a separate purchase and will integrate Google Ads into the SiteWit. To use this, the users will have to set up the company details and the E-store details.
You will have to put the image required for the small flash banners ads. After all these settings, based on the plan chosen, your product ads with a correct link to the e-store will be published using Google Ads across different sites.
Now, we see an exciting function in analytics called Retargeting. In online marketing, Retargeting refers to the act of follow up of potential customers who were not able to engage with the product due to any reasons and turning them into buyers.
Many times, we see multiple products online but purchase only a few or none. Let's say the number of visitors who actually bought the product after viewing is 2% only. Retargeting is for those 98% visitors that left without a purchase.
This is done by placing a pixel (something similar to a cookie) into the web browser. When the visitor comes again on that browser, the same product ads are retargeted to him. This makes the ad targeting more focused and yields better results than regular random ad targeting.
As we discussed before, all the details filled in ad targeting popup is used to serve the potential customers. Users can preview how their ads will look on various parts of the page. They can also collect the data of a number of buyers, visitors turned buyers or left out folks.
You can add multiple campaigns on that window and follow them individually. You also have an option to make a mobile app link for the My Site Analytics App. Similar to the main panel of the analytics feature, this app will display the general traffic info and also the ads targeting info. The users can lock the access to this feature via a username and passwords lock.
One of the notable features of any E-store sites is coupons. Yes, Coupons! Who does not like discounted purchases? This option comes under the Generate Leads tab in the analytics panel. There is a short guide given to the novice users.
The users will be asked to enter details of the coupon, the banner line of the coupons, the total discount rates, the color of font and coupon background, etc. Once you have set up the coupon, select the auto code generation so that the system can generate coupons for the visitors automatically.
The panel over which the info related to all the leads is displayed will have detailed info. It will show options like direction, leads, and coupons. It will also show a pie chart of connection showing the number of calls, Emails, their requests made by the site visitors when clicking the coupon icon.
The Business Profile Tab lets the users edit or delete the current business profile that is being used for ad targeting and marketing purposes. At the end of the setup, they suggest Google Ads and redirect to its tab above. The Reports Tab, as its name hints will generate an entire report on the visitors, repeated visitors, SEO stats, and certain suggestions to improve the site traffic.
The users can customize all of the marketing account information via the My Accounts Tab. This tab will contain important account details like Personal details, Company Details, Login info, and billing details.
There is also a list of all the Invoices generated in the online purchases. This will help the owners to follow the potential customers. The Users Tab is used to edit the access of the people who have permission to edit the site. You can manually add any such user and select their role from there. The screen also lists the full details of the users who accessed the site editor along with a time stamp.
The users can edit the Email notifications via the Email Settings Tab. You can see various check boxes to enable or disable some of the mail notifications and save it.
One of the tabs called Website Goals is another interesting thing that Yola has provided. The aim of setting these goals is similar to real life goals, except in this site builder, they help you track certain tasks or assignments related to you E-store. This can include all customer follow up, monitoring the product sale per month, selling a decided amount of coupons, etc.
To add a Goal, simply click the Add Another Goal button just below the list of your previous goals. You can add goal name, goal type like signup, purchases, calls, etc. and also add average revenue and point the goal URL.
The Installation button will allow the owners to integrate the SiteWit code in their sites. SiteWit offers free of cost assistance in helping the users install their analytics code into their sites. You can do it yourself by copying the installation code and placing it in the body of the website code.
These codes will allow SiteWit to independently track the visitor’s info and form a prediction database that may turn useful to attract more customers based on their browsing pattern. All this stuff can be a headache if the owners have to indulge in these tracking by themselves and so using this SiteWit code is a better option.
Finally, they have given an additional tab to track the number of users and their details along with the option to forget them. The Visitor Removal button lets you remove any visitor that opts out via a forget me a request from your site. Once you have removed a visitor, ask them to clear the browser cookies, and this will stop tracking them and their purchases on your site.
Security and Loading Speed
Lets head over to one of the critical parts of maintaining a reliable website, along with providing secure access to the visitors and also a fast loading interface. Not every site builder comes with tools to determine the performance speed and security status of the website that the owners are making.
Yola too has disappointed in this area. When it comes to performance analytics, we did not find any tools that guide us in improving the site performance. There were no tools to check the site security like having a header scan or identifying elements exterior to the site builder, etc.
However, there was a silver lining in this. Yola provides an HTTPS tag to your site on its default domain service. This can be helpful in case you do not want to but separate domain to get that security check from the search engines. They have also partnered with Prolexic, a security provider to secure their sites from DDoS attacks.
To check the security, we used one of the primary methods like checking the security headers, https headers, etc. Using the Netsparker Tool on the website Security Headers, we got a score of “F.” There were many headers needed a fix like the content policy, XSS protection, X-frame, referral policy, etc.
We contacted the support regarding this and asked them for help to rectify these issues. Sadly, they said they did not recognize this as an issue and just ignored it. Any pro-users will know that patching these headers can save the website from certain common attacks. Ignoring it especially when the users cannot access the coding feature to patch them manually, is lousy customer support.
Another test we did was using the Gtmetrix site, to measure the performance speed of the site. The results on Gtmetrix gave a score of “C’s” on page speed. It is a pretty decent score given that we used some heavy sized images for the product display. However, there was no such tool inside the builder. They did not even provide an essential performance improvement guide in the help section.
We got in touch with customer care regarding this score, and they gave us a satisfactory reply. They asked us to reduce some of the heavy images and to reduce some scripts over the main page.
Overall, the measures to improve site security and its performance speed not only lies to site owners but also the site builder companies. It is their moral duty to input some necessary testing tools in the builder and later on guide or put some details about this in the help section. Since the coding is only available for premium accounts; we highly expect Yola to work on some inbuilt tools and also put guides in the above in the help and FAQ section.
Integrations and Plugins
As we have seen through this review, certain functions cannot be integrated into the main site builder, since that will increase the response time of the builder. It can also confuse the users with so many tabs in a single menu of the builder.
Also, to save the hassle of separate programming, developers may directly allow using external plugins and tools to execute some of the big tasks. However, it is also important to include a certain feature like the store, security, analytics, etc. into the main builder to limit the data exchange with the third-party tools.
Yola also has integrated many plugins and tools into this builder to assist the customers. Some of them are listed as below,
- Social media plugins like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
- Payment processors like PayPal, Stripe, Pay Junction, PayUbiz, etc.
- Analytics like Google Ad Sense, Google Analytics, SiteWit.
- Miscellaneous like Metacafe, Constant Contact, Wufoo, Flickr, etc.
- Online store feature via the popular EcWid integration.
Other than these, there are not any popular plugins, like top site builders viz. Site123. WordPress, Wix, etc.
The first look of the main site got us excited but as moved ahead, things tuned out somewhat disappointing.
Yola had a straightforward registering procedure and had very easy steps to name the site, connect domains and start selecting templates. The templates database is very limited and that too it lacks many essential site templates.
The fixed elements on this template are quite a nuisance sometimes when adding new widgets. You cannot add another widget in the existing workspace of the template, which most site builders allow to do.
The colors and font schemes are many but lack proper grouping. All these editing features of the page design are clustered into one menu with very small fonts to see them properly. The entire page design section needs to be built more user-friendly and visually readable.
The widgets were very minimal compared to most site builders. Also, they were not appropriately categorized, and that can lead the users getting astray. The widget could not be customized for distinct colors and fonts.
The online store was powered by EcWid and so was suitable for small businesses. However, they could have added some more features like a wish list, recommended products, auto distributing coupons, and other latest E-store features.
Both file manager and image picker was less than average and disappointed us. From shallow server space to missing online Image finder functions, both these sections need a proper revamp. The extra plugins and integrations are also limited.
One area where they performed admirably was in the analytics and Ad Sensing area. Both these rely on external plugins viz. Google Analytics and SiteWit. The SiteWit plugin integrated with Yola offers numerous controls over Ad targeting but requires a separate subscription. Both Google Analytics and Google Webmaster did their job in our testing. The results returned by them were used by Yola’s site builder to create a follow up of potential customers.
The editor was not as fluent and customizable like other site builders and was not user-friendly. The usage of editor required to experiment a lot, to properly place certain widgets like image section, comments tab and Metacafe links.
The SEO part was not so great as they like to boast. They offer a separate Gold package for SEO, but many users including us were not satisfied with it. The tutorial section also had ordinary support for SEO, which can be found out easily via internet search.
The customer support is terrible. Apart from basic ticket submission, Yola does not offer any other support methods. The live chat can be used only by premium customers. The customer support did reply to our ticket, but as we have discussed earlier, we did not get any satisfactory results.
Going through many websites and review sections, it seemed that Yola had a persistence issue with subscription. As you can see here, there were many complaints regarding scamming the premium users and auto-renewing their subscriptions without the option to disable it via the accounts section of a user manually. If this seems true, then we highly encourage the current users and upcoming customers to double check the subscriptions and verify it before any payment is deducted.
Being fascinated by the look of the site, we were hugely disappointed when we started using the builder. Given the pricing they are charging, the facilities provided were not so great. Comparing to other products like uKit, Wix, Site123, the plans did not justify the product features.
The numerous complaints about their charging and refund policies also show lousy customer support. That is why we would not recommend the paid plan for this product since there are much better options in site builders as we discussed above. You can try to use the free plan and then decide yourself if the premium status is worth it or not.