Creating a website is a fundamental step in getting your business off the ground. With lots of easy site-builders, great hosting services, and quick landing page generators out there, it’s easier than ever to create the website you want, and to identify the best website builders. You don’t necessarily need skills in coding, either.
Zoho Sites, the website-builder arm of the expansive Zoho software collection, gives you the tools to quickly and easily create a site with customizable templates, moveable blocks and a simple visual editor, among other helpful functions. And if you use Zoho’s other software, seamless integration will make your business processes easier. While it doesn’t come with as many pre-designed templates and commercial tools as its competitors, Zoho Sites is a simple and cost-effective solution if you need a website fast.
Plans and pricing
Zoho Sites offers two pricing packages, Starter ($4 per site a month) and Pro ($15 per site a month). Starter restricts the number of pages your site can have, your storage, bandwidth and max file size, amongst other things, but should be enough to get started with a simple website. As you grow, you may want to switch to the Pro version, which has much higher data limits and some other handy features like built-in newsletter subscription and blog scheduling.
You can also add more pages ($50 a year), contributors ($20 a year), and a portal for 1,000 members ($50 a year) if you need to extend your site as a one-off.
Zoho Sites’ website builder includes a range of features to make creating a customized website quick and simple.
Build your site from the ground up in a few clicks. You can choose from a selection of pre-existing templates, then drag and drop key elements to get the page looking the way you want it. You can easily add elements like text, images, audio, or video to give your page plenty of variety. Or you can drop in pre-designed sections that make the page construction process even quicker. Dynamic backgrounds can also be set to fix particular images when users scroll over your site.
When you want to publish your site, you can use your free Zoho subdomain or map to a domain you already own. You can also purchase a domain through Zoho which will be automatically mapped to Zoho Sites, a handy feature if you want to get everything done in one place.
Zoho Sites supports a range of audio and visual features to add interest to your site. For example, an integrated audio player makes it easy to embed music - or you can embed videos or widgets. Images can be displayed in photo sets, lightboxes, or even as animations.
Because it comes from the Zoho stable, Zoho Sites seamlessly integrates with Zoho CRM, making it easy to capture information about leads and contacts. You can also use Zoho Sales IQ to live chat with visitors and understand user behavior with Zoho PageSense. Zoho Campaigns can generate newsletters (although you can also integrate with MailChimp). Obviously, these features are most useful if you are already using, or want to switch to, other Zoho products.
Interface and in use
Zoho Sites’ website builder is easy to use. Each element on the page is clickable and customizable. However, at times the drag and drop can be a bit too sensitive, leading to certain elements becoming stuck off-screen if moved to the wrong position. This aside, it’s very simple to adjust the templates to fit the look and feel you want for your company.
If you want to check what your site will look like when published, there is a preview accessible from the editor. You can also access a wide range of extra options, like the CSS editor, comment options, blog post editor, and SEO features, via the settings button.
Although the page editor is easy enough to use on your computer, editing your site via your phone’s web browser is not possible, and there is no mobile app.
Zoho Sites includes a rich knowledge base with articles and FAQs on a wide range of features. There is also a community forum, which is in frequent use, where you can post your questions for others to answer. If you run into problems while using the website builder, you can submit a support request via a simple contact form.
There’s also a beginners’ guide to walk you through site creation, which is not very well signposted, but accessible from the help button on the website editor. A bank of recorded webinars and upcoming live training sessions builds your knowledge even further.
Zoho Sites is an easy way to create your business website, but it’s impossible to ignore the advantages of its two main competitors, Squarespace and Wix. These big players on the market are pricier, but come with more add-ons.
Squarespace is a very popular website builder with a wider variety of pre-designed templates than Zoho Sites (500 vs 150), and with many aimed at creative businesses. This is also apparent in its portfolio feature, which displays a visual summary of your work.
Squarespace also provides a comprehensive knowledge hub including webinars to help you get to grips with website creation and promotion. At $12 to $40 a month, it’s quite a bit more expensive, but would suit growing creative companies. Read our Squarespace review for more details.
Wix also comes with over 500 templates, and its Artificial Design Intelligence feature will create a custom template based on your needs. It also includes powerful e-commerce tools, making it ideal for businesses wanting to sell online. But although it has a free plan, Wix is a pricier choice if you want the full range of tools (with the Business and E-Commerce plans ranging from $23 to $49/month).
Wix would be best for growing e-commerce companies that need sophisticated online selling tools. You can read our Wix website builder review for more information.
Zoho Sites is an easy-to-use and simple solution if you need to create a website for your business quickly. Although it doesn’t come with as many extras as some other site builders, if you already use other Zoho software, the integrations will make this an excellent choice. And it’s cheaper than some of the main competitors. For a first-time website build, Zoho Sites is a cost-effective option.