Simpl iPhone App Review
Updated: 2015-03-09 09:32:05 (original review: 2014-12-15)
Some Websites Made with Simpl
New from Simpl
The iPhone app itself is new. Since it’s creation several years ago until very recently, Simpl has been an iPad only app. The two apps can now be used together to work on a website. Other recent additions to the capabilities of Simpl include a shopping cart and Paypal integration, cloud backup, responsive themes and a guide to website success.
Free trial with $4.99 per month hosting
It’s free to install Simpl app, free to create your website, and you can even publish it to see how it looks for 15 days before having to pay for the hosting. Hosting is $4.99 per month. SimDif and GoDaddy GoMobile offer many more features, though, and SimDif is free.
Simpl is well suited to the iPhone
The sparse uncluttered interface is so well suited to the iPhone that it’s surprising that it was available on iPad only for so long. The editor is not WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) but it is intuitive and the app is fun to play with.
Fast, efficient and simple
It would be harder to imagine a leaner, more efficient way to build a basic web presence. This app works really well on the iPhone.
Improved Guides and Support
Simpl has produced a beginner friendly guide to website success with brief and easy to follow advice on what makes a good website and how to appear in search engine results. Simpl have also recently added a support website which answers most of the questions you might think of. I find it a little strange, however, that there is no link to either of these sites from within the app, and no way to email or contact Simpl from within the app.
Upgraded features offer a good basic web presence.
Simpl websites allow up to 8 pages and offer 6 page types: Text, Quote, Photos, Contact, News and Shop. Most pages have fairly small content capabilities, but news pages allow up to 200 posts to be added, of which the 20 most recent will show. Photo pages have an 18 photo upper limit. There are no in page content layout options, only the set layouts provided and there are no block type, alignment or other layout options. On a positive note, the recent addition of shop pages, an easy way to insert YouTube videos, and 4 new responsive themes which shape themselves to fit phone and tablet screens, have significantly improved Simpl’s usefulness.
Menus are created automatically from the pages you add, and the menu names are created from the page titles.
The image handling is basic, with no crop/re-size or other editing options. But it’s easy to add photos, and they are automatically re-sized to a maximum 550px width. The lack of other image editing features is not such a problem as there are a number of image editors for iPhone available on the App store. The only improvement I could suggest would be to allow for the selection of multiple images when creating galleries.
Text formatting and styling is similarly limited. You can make text bold or italic, but there are no layout options beyond entering returns and spaces, and no control of how text aligns with images.
You can add buttons that link to your Facebook and Twitter pages, but no share buttons. There are really no other features to report; no Google Maps, no contact form, no integration with service providers such as Dropbox, Google Drive or flickr, no website statistics, no email addresses or mailing list features, no theme styling options…
Well designed themes but no customization
Several pre-designed templates are offered – some of the themes are responsive (they will format differently according to the screen size of the device from which they are viewed), and some are fixed width. These are very nicely styled, with well designed color palettes, and offer some variation in menu bar styling and fonts etc. No customization is possible.
No custom backgrounds, headers, logo or favicon. The lack of layout flexibility and branding potential is bit of a problem.
Themes can be changed at any time without impacting the content you’ve created.
You cannot add a custom background, header, logo or favicon. These are severe limitations for potential small business and other users. Simpl have said they will add a logo upload option soon, but until then the lack of personalization and branding potential will be enough to put off many small businesses or professionals.
No multi-language support
You could of course make a second language version of your site yourself, and host it at a different .simpl url.
Basic Search Engine Optimization features but much improved guidance
Simpl websites have site-wide meta description, keywords and site author information, which you can edit, but not for individual pages.
Page titles are automatically wrapped in h1 tags. You can’t add h2 tags anywhere, except on news pages, where post titles automatically have enclosing h2 tags. h1 and h2 tags are usually associated with items like page titles and sub-headings, and display in a larger or different font, but they’re also picked up by search engines as important information.
Simpl have created a guide to creating content called Website Success. Although the SEO features of Simpl are still basic, the guide can certainly help users create content that will have a better chance of getting noticed by search engines. Simpl has also provided links to pages created by Google and others on best practices. However, many of options they discuss will not be available to Simpl users because of the limitations of the app.
Established on iPad, New to iPhone
Previously Simpl was an iPad only app and it’s nice to see it on iPhone as it is very well suited to the smaller screen because of its minimal design and ease of use. The websites produced look like mobile websites, and using the new themes, can also be responsive. Simpl websites look their best on mobile devices, but they also look pretty good on desktop, if a little narrow.
An incredibly workable solution to building a basic website on an iPhone. Providing that your project needs only basic features, satisfying results are definitely possible. And the app is fun to use.
Simpl is a great tool for creating a basic presence on the web using only an iPhone.
Simpl’s lack of flexibility will put off business users and those looking to be more creative, but it’s a great tool for creating a basic web presence or basic online shop using only an iPhone. And anyone who can accept the limited feature set could happily complete a website.
The app is easy to use on an iPad and is exceptionally easy to use on an iPhone, which is a more difficult task, and so we’ve given it full “Ease for Beginners” marks. It’s easy to find and use all the features, and the recent developments mentioned above are of help. If, however, you have some experience of computer based website builders and are looking for more of the features commonly offered, you’ll probably want to look at other apps.
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