SITE123 Review: The Easiest Free Website Builder?

This SITE123 review assesses all its features and functionalities holistically, focusing on specific elements that relate to ecommerce and online stores.

I’ve been there. And I know the feeling. That excitement after a light-bulb moment when you figure out a business idea.

Everything seems so simple and straightforward at first. Until you get to the actual implementation stage. That’s when you start realizing that ultimate success is not just about fulfilling market needs. It’s arguably more dependent on your entire business framework.
According to a Harvard Business School study, 75% of venture-backed startups eventually fail.

Astonishing, right?

Further analysis of various industries by Statistic Brain established that 50% of US companies don’t even make it past the five-year mark. And 70% don’t live through their first decade.

Pretty sad, right? Think it’s exaggerated?

Well, have a look at this chart published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Now, consider 2011, for example. More than 20% of the startups fell out within 12 months. Only 79.4% made it to the second year. And the trend continued to the third year, but much slower this time. Because about 10% collapsed, leaving 69.3% going strong. By the time they crossed the fifth year mark, only 56.3% of the businesses were surviving.

My point?

I’m not discouraging you. For what it’s worth, I wish you all the best in your venture. I’m simply laying it out as it is. That starting and running a business is not as easy as it may seem at the beginning.

All things considered, the foundation you’ve built your business on and the entire operation framework predominantly determines its survival chances.

Now, this is where we start thinking of that one thing that comes into play when we specifically focus on ecommerce startups.

You’re dead right. Yes, the website.

No doubt about it. It’s the ultimate foundation for your business. How it’s built eventually determines your business’ capabilities, functionalities, and overall operations.

So, let’s start from the top- the development stage.

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Of course, hiring a web developer. Admittedly, it could work out for you.

But, here’s the problem. You and the developer might not share the same passion. As a matter of fact, they might not even be feeling the whole concept at all.

Plus, let’s face it. It’s a bit awkward having a third-party build and maintain your dream business. You need something with a personal touch. And that means having your hands on deck.

That’s why they came up with website builders. Because coding is a little bit too complex to learn in a couple of days. Besides, you’re too busy working on your brand to worry about lessons on something you’ll probably need only once.

If you’ve been around the block, you might have heard about several of them. Including SITE123.

So, what is it all about?

SITE123 Overview

Read that name again. Notice anything?

Yes, the whole purpose of this solution is making website building as easy as 123.

A relatively new service, to be honest. Because its history can only be traced back to 2016, when they made the big announcement in Los Angeles.

Make no mistake, however. It’s yet to have the second candle on its birthday cake, but nothing about it feels like a debutant.

It came into the website building scene with its gloves already off, ready to battle its already seasoned competitors, who’ve pretty much enjoyed the market for over a decade now.

It’s a no-brainer that SITE123 might come off as a typical website builder. But, it’s more when you start looking at it in detail. It not only supports general personal sites, but also provides specialized tools for building and running ecommerce sites.

Now, let’s cut to the chase. How exactly can it fit into your business strategy?

Well, this SITE123 review assesses all its features and functionalities holistically, focusing on specific elements that relate to ecommerce and online stores.

Let’s dive in…

What Makes SITE123 Stand Out For Ecommerce Sellers?

We’ve seen many generic website builders duping users that they can also serve as online store builders. Could SITE123 be a culprit?

I don’t think so. The service is seemingly giving established ecommerce platforms a run for their money. Especially when it comes to creating visually-appealing, logically-structured, and functional online stores.

Since ecommerce is pretty extensive, SITE123 has factored in quite a wide range of niches and micro-niches. It allows you to tweak your site design according to your specific field.

And you know what? The provision doesn’t end at website building. It also comes with multiple tools for product management, sales, and analysis.

If you’re planning to expand to multiple countries, you’ll love the fact that SITE123 supports numerous currencies. Both local and international.

Fair enough. But will your entire customer base be able to pay?

Well, as long as they can access PayPal, it shouldn’t be a problem at all. And PayPal, for your information, has already set up shop in more than 140 countries.

site123 paypal

What about customers who prefer otherwise? In the rare event that someone is unable to pay via PayPal, SITE123 still supports offline bank transfer. That pretty much covers everyone.

The more your customers continue paying, the faster you’ll establish the truth behind the age-old belief about ecommerce. That while new customers expand your business reach, it’s the repeat customers that will actually fuel its growth.

Basically, every new customer has a 27% chance of coming back to your site for a repeat purchase. Sounds good, but here’s the best part. If the repeat customer actually buys for the second time, they’ll have a 45% chance of making another purchase. Then it becomes 54% after the third purchase. And it keeps increasing.

Well, SITE123 seemingly recognizes this. Because it helps you retain those customers by providing coupon management. You can create them to offer discounts to selected customers, in line with your marketing strategy.

It’s now starting to look an actual ecommerce platform, doesn’t it?

Now, let’s look at the features in detail to get the gist of how SITE123 can maximize your online store.

The Best SITE123 Features For Maximizing Your Online Store

Flexible Designing

Let’s start off with the primary function of website builders- designing and creating sites.

SITE123’s approach is essentially attempting to make the whole procedure as easy as possible. You don’t even have to bother adjusting your website to fit your specific niche. It offers a wide range of ecommerce categories to choose from as soon as you sign up. Each with about five to ten different themes.

Speaking of which, all the theme templates are of high quality. Unfortunately, they are not as versatile as some design gurus might prefer.

That shouldn’t be a big problem, however.  Because you can conveniently take advantage of the customization tools even after setting up the site. They are adequately flexible and applicable to all templates.

You can also manage the social media buttons, edit content, choose different colors, and adjust the menu styles. Just basic design tweaks.

site123 design

A rather extensive overhaul, however, is quite a problem. It’s not possible to shift to a different template after setting up your website. You’ll be forced to create a new site altogether.

Free SSL/HTTPS

Imagine losing all your hard work to hackers because of a simple vulnerability. Perhaps something as simple as delayed payment for package renewal.

Thankfully, secure SSL encryption protocol is not something you need to pay for on SITE123. Your website is well-protected at all times, regardless of your chosen package.

This also come in quite handy in assuring customers that your website provides high-level confidentiality and protection.

Plug-In Integration

A website building solution is a pretty noble idea, to say the least. It basically eliminates the whole technical programming jargon.

But, admit it. It’s impossible to seamlessly cater to the needs of all types of online stores. There are still those specific elements you’ll need to personalize your website and make it exceptional.

Well, SITE123 has managed to provide just that.

How?

By simply granting access to third-party plugins. Here are some you’ll be able to integrate into your online store:

  • Google Webmaster tools
  • Email marketing tools
  • Live support chat
  • Analytics tools

Free Hosting

Yes, of course, there are paid plans with a host of functionalities. But website hosting is not one of them.

The only thing you’ll actually pay for during site registration is the domain name. The rest of the hosting is completely free.

And guess what? It doesn’t mean reduced functionality.

As a matter of fact, your site will be hosted in a content delivery network of secure servers. Consequently, page loading speed with be ideally optimized, since the servers are positioned in multiple locations around the globe. Your customers will be able to access content from the nearest servers.

SEO

Even with social media, 93% of all traffic comes from search engines. And no, we’re not talking about Google Adwords here. Only 10% of that is triggered by paid search.

The bottom line is that organic search is still king. Without a good SEO strategy, your website is as good as an abandoned graveyard.

That’s why SITE123’s underlying code heavily applies SEO principles into the whole development process. The HTML, for instance, excellently embeds the required tags, and it supports automatic redirection from previous sites.

Try-Shopify

And the best part? The search engines will able to easily crawl around your webpages thanks to the additional sitemap generated by the service.

Multilingual Support

You’ve probably grown up speaking English, and you’re used to it as the primary language.

But have you ever thought about the number of non-English speakers? Actually, only 20% of the earth’s population can understand English.

Now, think about this critically. Even when the bulk of your customers come from English speaking nations, you’ll still be leaving out quite a substantial number of prospects if your site is only in English.

Not on SITE123, fortunately. It supports multiple languages from all the principal web traffic zones. And customers don’t even have to choose anything. The system automatically translates all the headers and sub-headers to their local languages.

Free Images and Icons

Unless your site is photography-based, taking photos is probably the last thing in your mind right now. You don’t have the time to walk around, camera in hand, just to capture shots to use on your site.

SITE123 saves you the trouble by providing an extensive library of free images and icons. All stock, and readily accessible to all types of online stores.

site123 icons

Unlimited Webpages

You want a separate webpage for every product on your ecommerce site? Fine.

You feel like expanding your webpages for every area your business expands to? Still, no problem at all.

Oddly enough, we’ve seen website builders that limit the number of supported webpages. SITE123, on the other hand, takes a different approach. It only limits the storage space according to your plan.

site123 webpages

Basically, you’re allowed to squeeze in an unlimited number of webpages.

SITE123 Review: Pricing

Only two plans are available. Free and Premium. It can never be simpler.

Free provides 1GB bandwidth every month and 500MB storage. But this is only for personal sites.

Premium, on the other hand, is well-optimized for ecommerce sites. It removes the service’s tag, and provides 5GB bandwidth every month, plus 10GB storage. All this for $9.80 per month.

Bottom Line

After going through SITE123’s ecommerce features, we can conclude that it’s a pretty decent website builder for online stores. But only for small businesses and startups.

Previously, it provided additional plans for larger enterprises. But I guess it never progressed well because of SITE123’s rather limited capabilities.

Needless to say, I’m optimistic about its future. I have an unusually good feeling about this. Let’s see how it continues to develop within the ecommerce space.

SITE123 Rating: 4.5 - Review by