SimDif iPad App Review
2015-03-09 09:28:58 (original review: 2013-06-04)
Some Websites Made with SimDif
New from SimDif
A few things have been added since we last reviewed SimDif over a year ago, including the name of the app. The transition looks to be a work in progress as there are still references to SimpleDifferent in places. New features include a quick access menu, password protected pages, many more fonts for Pro Site users, and a change to the way photos work so that all of a site’s images can now zoom on clicking.
Free Websites with Pro Site option for some unique extras
SimDif offers starter sites which are free forever. The only requirement is that you publish your site at least once every 21 days.
Pro Sites come with a range of additional features, which we’ll look at below, and the cost is $39.99 per year.
An intuitive way to make a website
The SimDif WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor is a highly intuitive interface. You work with a page layout that looks exactly as the published result will, and tap on text areas, page titles, image placeholders etc. to edit. Keyboard shortcuts also work as expected. My only complaint would be that some of the icons in the editor are confusing at first as they don’t have explainer text. The learning curve is very fast, though.
SimDif on iPad has great usability
The app functions very well with some occasional waits for screen loading, but no noticeable bugs.
SimDif has produced comprehensive written guides, not just on how to use their editor, but on best practices for making websites. From within the editor and on their website you can find tips on the kind of language to use on web pages, how to add elements that both website visitors and search engines will find and like, and how to set up and organize the navigation and links of the website.
For when you really get stuck SimDif have email support which is easy to find and use.
Free and paid Pro Sites with a wealth of easy to use options
Free Starter Sites allow up to 7 pages, with page types including Standard pages, Gallery, a Contact form, Links and Journal. The “blocks” that are used to build up the pages are one of the nicest and easiest to use of SimDif’s features. They allow effortless and varied creation of well laid out web pages.
The “blocks” that are used to build up pages are one of the nicest and easiest to use of SimDif’s features.
Every element of a page is tap and edit including the page title, text areas, media placeholders and menu tab titles. Navigation menus are always on the left, but there are a variety of styling options either using different themes, or for Pro Sites, you can create your own themes and edit background colors, borders, fonts and text styling independently of the theme choice.
The image handling is impressive. Just tap an image placeholder, upload an image, or import a Flickr image. The crop tool is surprisingly easy to use for an iPad, and much easier than you’ll find in other apps. Other than crop and rotate there are no other photo editing features, but this is not a major issue as there are a plethora of image editors for iPad available on the App store.
Youtube Videos, images from Flickr, and Google maps are as easy to add as are your own photos.
The text handling is also very easy, and the page and block titles automatically become h1 and h2 elements to help with SEO. It would be nice if there were more font options for the various text elements in the Starter Sites, but overall the text styling options are pretty good, and include the easy creation of bullet point lists, something that I didn’t find in other apps. For Pro Sites, which allow styling of the text in the theme designer, the options are better. The recently added new fonts give plenty of scope for making your site distinctive.
The contact form is the only example of an actual fillable contact form, complete with spam protection, that I could find among the website builder apps.
Other features include social media share buttons, Google Analytics integration, Paypal and shopping cart features, and password protection for individual pages (the last 3 features are Pro Site only).
Plenty of themes to choose from but all with navigation on the left
SimDif has a number of pre-designed themes for use in Starter and Pro Sites, and Pro Sites users can create their own themes using the theme designer. Perhaps partly because of the left side only menu, and the fixed width nature of the elements of the themes, many themes don’t look particularly varied or distinctive at first.
Over 60 pre-designed themes and the ThemeDesigner in Pro Sites lets you create your own
Once you’ve added some images and other elements you begin to see the versatility. Small businesses can certainly express both their brand and display their wares. Visual artists perhaps won’t be satisfied by the fixed width formatting, but there are still far greater possibilities for multi device capable websites than for other site builder apps.
Themes can be changed easily at any time with no impact on the layout of the text, images, videos etc., that you’ve added.
You can create custom headers and footers (by using an image editing App or image editing software on a computer) and this can have branding. There are several apps available for iPad that can do it. Background images and favicons (the little icon which shows up on the tabs of computer based internet browsers) are some of the elements which are not possible.
Create multi-language sites with ease
SimDif makes this easy by providing duplication of entire websites (for Pro Sites) for translation. They also offer the first year of the translated pro site for free.
SimDif have obviously thought very carefully about how the websites their users create will actually perform, both for website visitors and for search engine results. There’s a Tips Book in the Editor, and several in-depth guides on subjects including writing for the web and SEO which can also be accessed from within the App.
Page titles, meta description, keywords and site author information can be added very easily.
h1 and h2 tags are partially automatic, as page titles and titles added to text in blocks are always enclosed in h1 and h2 tags, but because you can add multiple titles to blocks, you do have some control over the number and location of h2 tags within pages.
SimDif sites work well on all devices
SimDif sites display well on all kinds of devices, including on computer browsers, tablets and smartphones, but it would be better if there were some responsive themes.
The only genuinely multi-platform app
Work on your website on iPhone, iPad, Android tablet or Anrdoid phone.. and desktop. The only completely cross-platform app. Outstanding.
It’s here SimDif truly shines. It is the only website builder, to my knowledge, which can build websites from start to finish, on iPad, iPhone and Android apps and on computer browsers. Not only this, but each version works exactly the same as all the others and users can therefore work on their websites from any device using the same interface, and can even work on multiple devices at the same time, with the latest updates being saved. This cross capability adds a huge amount of fun to working with the app.
The major benefit of the approach SimDif have taken is that you actually feel like you’re making a website as you make it, and therefore the chances are that you will finish the site you’ve started. This is not always true of other apps because of the discrepancy between what you see in the editor and what you see on a published site, or else because of the limited possibilities of some of the apps. For website builders in general the percentage of users who complete a website is very low.
It’s great to see the website you’re making as you’re making it, and this feature will allow beginners to website design to jump right in.
A weak spot in SimDif in my view is that the themes require a good eye for design to get them to look their best. I did, however, manage to find some well designed sites that had been created using the app, proving that it’s possible.
SimDif provides a very easy method for complete beginners to make a website. There is a learning curve, but it’s more than compensated for by the help guides and support. The combination of ease of use and the strength of it’s capabilities for creating websites on iPad, iPhone, Adroid, laptop and desktop are unmatched.
User Reviews & Comments
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Have used this site builder for several sites. It's a great tool, and I'm a beginner basically. Lots of fonts and templates and the price is more than reasonable. Another fact is your site will look the same on all platforms. Ipad App. is invaluable for editing on the go...convenient and elegant. Reservations?? Am waiting for some different template formats. All currently have same layout design..although user has a myriad of color combo options to choose from. Also have encountered some probs. with text editor running words together. Need to tell SimDif guys. Otherwise, you can't lose with this web site builder. Here's site built early April
Have started on my website after having read through the tutorials. I am so impressed with the layout, the explanations and the advice. It is by far the best web building site I have seen over a number of years. Certainly tops for someone new to site building.
I am also impressed that it works with all the different OSs. Normally in my experience those for windows have problems with Apple and vice versa.
I am really enjoying setting up my site.
Could anybody give me some examples of websites made in simpledifferent and tell me about the SEO results of these kind of websites? Thanks in advance
Hi I have a question rather than a review. This seems to be the best app for creating a website on a tablet. Can I use a .com.au domain name with this app. I designed whole website on wix once and then found I could not so had to start over with a different site builder.
I want to redo my site but on a tablet would be great as I am travelling constantly. Many Thanks
good website loved it no complains
Pretty easy so far. A note on how to transfer your domain name from namecheap.com. The directions on simpledifferent are kinda poor.
From the Namecheap customer service rep-
"You can set up A record for your domain since it’s using our default DNS system. Just sign in to Namecheap.com, mouse over to your username and select ‘Manage Domains’ from the drop-down menu. Click on your domain and choose ‘All Host Records’ on the left. You need to paste your IP address 220.127.116.11 into both @ and WWW lines and choose ‘A (Address)’. Normally the changes should take effect within minutes."
Put the dropdown to 'A (Address) for both the @ and www lines. That's about it. Good luck out there.
Hello Dan. Thank you for your review on SimpleDifferent. I hear you when you say information in the App itself are a bit poor, and A editing records is not the easiest way.
This app is just what I have been waiting for! After making my first page I knew I was getting the Pro version and have my own website up and running. Using my existing domain was easy to set up and my support questions were answered literally within minutes via email.
Thank you Simple different, I can now update and edit my website from my i pad, pa or android...life is good!
This app is superb! The only thing that would make it better is to have a three day trial of pro. This lets you make a web page with superb quality and ease of access. And multiple people with the same login, my case, makes it almost constantly made better by editors! You guys and girls did a great job.
I have never built a website before and found the simdif app easy to use,
I purchased a domain name and struggled to get the link back to the site but after 2 emails to simdif help the site was up and running. The helpline is fantastic, I have changed some of the pages on the site with ease "www.thegrillhutevents.com" for anyone who wants to see how good and easy it is to build a site
Thank you Simdif
Like the Editor of this Review site, I appreciate this App.
I have been using it on the web also and it probably makes a lot of sense for a lot of non-web people to find the same user friendly way to present their business online. It is not the greatest of the web builders, but it is pretty good considering that you can edit a site in the exact same easy way on most devices. This is very practical and still unmatched today. Not 5 stars though, I found the linking of my own domain name too technical and felt the absence of reader’s comments on blog pages.
Note : the tabs on the left finally made a lot of sense to me.