How We Review
Before we begin, it’s important to note that Web Builder App Review is a project of The Simple Different Company, creators of SimDif and FreeSite. Our aim wasn’t to self-promote, but to conduct and share an authentic, realistic market analysis of apps that enable users to create websites from their phones, without needing a computer.
We want to see our apps, and all the website builder apps, fairly compared, not as companions to desktop website builders, but as standalone apps. Until we made this review, there was no real review of website builder phone apps. We found many results in Google claiming to be reviews of apps, but ultimately very few of the reviewers had actually looked at the phone apps, and no-one had covered the segment thoroughly.
Millions of people around the world make websites for their businesses, organizations and projects on their mobile phones. For many people, perhaps the majority in the developing world, the smartphone is the only computer people have regular access to. So, in the absence of a fully independent review site focused on website builder for phones, we think that our review is the best out there.
To compensate for our conflict of interest and to ensure a comprehensive evaluation, we adopted a detailed approach, involving 24 parameters across six categories, with ten reviewers participating. Each reviewer tested at least four of the 10 shortlisted apps, with some assessing all. The reviewers do freelance work for us – mostly translation. This group could still have shown some bias, but not a job dependent one.
The Test Methodology
Our review centers around website builder apps offering to empower users in creating comprehensive, functional websites using just their mobile devices. We first curated a list of the top 10 to 15 “Website Builders”, limiting our review to apps with a minimum of 50,000 installs in the app stores, and omitting unmaintained apps (which we defined as not having been updated in over a year). We also looked at “online store” builders, but ultimately excluded any which were not able to create all purpose websites, by providing our testers with the option to abandon tests.
The testing process revolved around evaluating each app from several perspectives: Ease of Use (User Interface and Design), Features & Functionality, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Performance & Reliability, Support & Documentation, and Pricing & Value.
The definitions for these main criteria are as follows:
EASE OF USE (Interface & Design)
Ease of Use
For a mobile website building app to be considered easy to use, it should have an intuitive and user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate with touch controls. The app should provide clear and concise instructions on how to use its various features and tools, and it should allow users to easily preview their website and make changes on the go.
Intuitive interface: The app should be easy to navigate and understand, with clear icons and labels.
Learning curve: The app should be accessible to users of various skill levels, including beginners.
Workflow efficiency: Tasks should be easy to complete with minimal steps, and the app should facilitate a smooth process from start to finish.
A mobile website building app that is clear should be easy to navigate, with clear and concise labels for all buttons and menus. The app should provide intuitive and logical workflows, so that users can easily find the features they need and accomplish their goals without confusion or frustration.
Instructions and tooltips: The app should provide clear and helpful guidance when needed, such as during onboarding or when using specific features.
Visual hierarchy: Elements on the app’s interface should be organized in a way that makes sense and guides the user through the process.
Consistency: The app Should have a consistent design and behavior throughout, making it easy for users to comprehend and anticipate the steps needed to complete tasks.
A mobile website building app that is lightweight should load quickly and operate smoothly, with minimal lag or delays.
Template Variety: The app should offer a range of high-quality, customizable templates suitable for different industries and use cases.
Aesthetic Appeal: The designs should be visually appealing and professional-looking, following modern design trends.
Design Flexibility: The app should allow for easy customization of colors, fonts, and other design elements to suit the user’s preferences and brand identity.
Ethics / Focus
Ethics/Focus refers to the principles and considerations that guide the development and usage of the application, ensuring responsible and user-centric practices. It involves adopting ethical standards, maintaining user privacy and security, and prioritizing user experience.
Primary Focus: The website builder app should be designed to genuinely help users and not primarily focus on selling products and services?
Education: The app should prioritize user education, support, and respect for their pace of learning to ensure that users have a clear understanding of its features and functionality before making a purchase?
Quality: The app should emphasize the importance of content quality and organization, rather than solely relying on add-ons and feature lists for perceived site quality?
Features & Functionality
In the context of a mobile device-based website building app, features refer to the tools, functionality, and capabilities that the app provides to enable users to build and customize their website. The specific features offered by a mobile website building app may vary depending on the app and the needs of the user. However, in general, these features should provide users with the tools they need to build and customize a professional-looking website from their mobile device. Because our review is of the app, and not of the browser-based builder, a key metric is how much of the website builder’s feature-set is available in the app.
Functionality: The app should provide necessary tools for creating, editing, and managing a website, such as text editing, image uploading, and form creation.
Extensibility: The app should support additional features or plugins for expanding functionality, if needed.
Collaboration: The app should offer options for team collaboration or multiple user access, if relevant.
Customization refers to the level of options and flexibility that the app provides for designing a website.
Layout control: The app should provide options for customizing the layout of pages, including the ability to add, remove, or rearrange sections.
Design control: The app should allow users to modify design elements, such as colors, fonts, and images, to create a unique look and feel.
Feature control: The app should offer options for customizing features, such as navigation menus, forms, and galleries, to match the user’s requirements.
Integration options refer to the ability of the app to connect and integrate with external services, platforms, or tools to enhance the functionality and capabilities of the website being built.
Third-party integrations: The app should support integrations with popular third-party tools and services, such as social media platforms, e-commerce solutions, and analytics tools.
API availability: The app should provide an API or other means to connect with custom applications or external systems, if needed.
Seamless connections: The app should ensure that integrations are easy to set up and work smoothly without causing conflicts or issues.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) abilities refer to the app’s ability to help users optimize their website for search engines, such as Google and Bing. By including these SEO features, a mobile website building app can help users improve the visibility and ranking of their website in search engine results, potentially driving more traffic and engagement to their website.
Metadata customization: The app should allow users to easily edit and customize metadata, such as page titles, descriptions, and keywords.
URL customization: The app should provide options for customizing URLs, ideally with human-readable slugs.
Mobile optimization: The app should generate mobile-friendly websites load quickly and correctly.
Performance and Speed (Website)
By prioritizing performance and speed, a mobile website should provide users with a fast and responsive experience, enabling them to quickly and efficiently browse websites from their mobile device. The second part of this section pertains to the performance and speed of the websites created by the app.
Site Optimization: The app should automatically optimize images and other assets to ensure fast load times and smooth performance.
Performance & Reliability
Performance and Speed (App)
A mobile website building app that is lightweight should load quickly and operate smoothly, with minimal lag or delays.
Stability: The app should function without crashes or significant lag, even when handling large amounts of content or complex layouts.
Reactivity: Evaluate the app’s effectiveness and responsiveness, providing feedback on the app’s reactivity, specifically its ability to promptly respond to user actions, guaranteeing a seamless and uninterrupted user experience with minimal latency or delays.
Chance at Completion of a Clear and Functional Website
A mobile website building app with a high chance of completion should provide users with the tools and features they need to easily create a website that meets their needs.
Completeness: The app should provide all necessary tools and features to create a fully functional website without needing external tools.
User guidance: The app should guide users through the process and offer suggestions or best practices for creating an effective website.
Quality assurance: The app should include options for previewing and testing the website on different devices and browsers before publishing.
Responsiveness refers to the ability of the app and the websites created using the app to adapt and display properly across different devices and screen sizes. A mobile device-based website building app with strong responsiveness ensures that websites created using the app are optimized for viewing and interacting with various mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
Mobile-first design: The app should prioritize mobile-friendly designs, ensuring a good user experience on smaller screens.
Adaptive layouts: The app should offer layouts that automatically adapt to different screen sizes and orientations.
Touch-friendly interactions: The app’s interface should be easy to use on touch devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
Support & Documentation
Customer support and community resources
Customer support and community resources are essential components that assist users in resolving issues, obtaining guidance, and fostering a sense of community engagement.
Support channels: The app should offer multiple support options, such as email, live chat, or phone support, to help users resolve issues quickly and effectively.
Documentation: The app should provide comprehensive and accessible documentation, including tutorials, FAQs, and troubleshooting guides.
Community: The app should have an active community of users who share knowledge, advice, and feedback, such as forums or social media groups.
Pricing & Value
Pricing and value for money
Users evaluate the app based on its pricing in relation to the features and overall user experience provided, ultimately determining whether it meets their budget and offers a satisfactory return on investment.
Pricing tiers: The app should offer a range of pricing options, from free plans for basic needs to premium plans with additional features and capabilities.
Cost-effectiveness: The app’s pricing should be competitive and offer good value for the features and functionality provided.
Transparency: The app should clearly communicate its pricing structure, including any limitations, upsells, or hidden fees.
Here, we give an overview of the strengths of the app.
And an overview of the limitations.
The final word.