TL; DR: Drag-and-drop editors may be the standard for businesses looking to build online presence without technical knowledge, but they’re not the only way to go. SITE123’s free website builder provides an easy-to-use alternative for creating responsive, SEO-friendly sites. With intuitive eCommerce solutions and 24/7 live chat support, the company is aiming to provide a comprehensive and frustration-free experience that ultimately leads to business success.
In 2015, Noam Alloush and his web development team found themselves at a crossroads. The drag-and-drop site builder they had launched 10 years earlier was highly successful in Israel — but customers were grappling with a peculiar problem: they had too many choices.
“The purpose of a website is to represent a business, and that business will be affected if the site doesn’t look good, is not SEO-optimized, or breaks,” SITE123 CEO Shai Zrihan said. “If you provide customers with too many features, chances are the site will not be perfect.”
So the Los Angeles-based company, lead by founder Noam Alloush, changed course. “At that point, we had learned everything that we needed to know about our customers: who they were, what they were trying to build, and what problems they encountered,” he said. “We used that understanding to create our second product, SITE123, at the beginning of 2016.”
The team created an editor-style builder with the essential tools they had determined customers need rather than an overwhelming abundance of features. “Everything is already laid out and designed — the customer only needs to provide content,” Shai said. “They don’t have to worry about dragging things around on the page and placing everything perfectly.”
Today, SITE123’s free website builder provides an effective, free alternative to drag-and-drop web builders for businesses and entrepreneurs with no coding knowledge to enhance online presence. The platform enables users to create responsive, SEO-optimized sites quickly and easily. With user-friendly eCommerce solutions and 24/7 live chat support, SITE123 strives to help businesses achieve success online with ease.
An Affordable, Simple Way to Build Online Presence
Noam’s vision for SITE123 was simple — to create a site builder that his 60-year-old father would feel comfortable using. “Our main goal was to develop something that would allow anyone to build their own site without feeling like the technology is too advanced and setting it aside,” Shai said.
The company also wanted to create an affordable solution. “We didn’t want people to pay $4,000 for someone to build their website because they tried one builder and were frustrated trying to deal with 1,000 features,” Shai said. “Many people think all web builders are the same, and we want to change this thinking.”
To help businesses create professional-looking websites, SITE123 provides a free gallery of images, icons, and videos suitable for a range of industries, from health and medicine to sports and the arts. Professionally matched color palettes ensure a cohesive look, and each design comes with at least two different layout options. The builder also features integration with the Google Fonts library.
Looking to create a blog? Site123 strives to help users accomplish the task quickly and easily with a range of blog templates, subscription options, an RSS tool, and a built-in comments system.
The idea, Shai said, is to give everyone an opportunity to say something to the world in a simple, fail-safe way that’s not too restrictive. “We provide choices but don’t want to provide too many where it becomes overwhelming and the customer becomes frustrated,” he said.
SEO-Optimized, Fully Responsive Sites with Upgrade Options
SITE123’s free plan — which includes 500MB storage, 1GB bandwidth, and a subdomain — allows users to test the service without commitment. Better yet, users aren’t required to enter a credit card for any sort of trial. The plan lasts indefinitely, but SITE123-branded ads are placed on sites employing the free option to encourage users to upgrade.
For $10.80 a month, users will receive a free domain, 10GB storage, 5GB bandwidth, eCommerce solutions, email accounts, and the ability to remove the SITE123 logo. Premium plans include a 14-day, money-back guarantee, and discounts are available on long-term plans. All SITE123 packages come with free cloud hosting.
Shai said SITE123 has already grown to serve designers, SMBs, and medium-sized businesses alike. “We even have an expert program for people looking to build a website for their clients,” he said. “They earn money from that, and they can do it very quickly — we have designers who are building five websites a day for the customers instead of spending 30 days on one website.”
The platform also includes the tools users need to improve search engine results and attract traffic to their sites. “The result is a good-looking, SEO-optimized website where everything is working properly,” Shai said. “It’s also fully responsive, so the customer doesn’t need to build a mobile version of their sites. We take care of everything.”
Curious how your site will look on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone? SITE123’s built-in preview tool makes it easy to confirm that the platform’s responsive design templates are compatible with a variety of browsers and devices.
Create Online Stores with A Turnkey eCommerce Solution
There’s no denying that eCommerce is continuing to gain traction in the retail world. In 2017, an estimated 1.6 billion people across the globe purchased products online, a figure that’s only growing with increased use of mobile devices. Consider this: Global online sales totaled $2.3 trillion in 2017, and projections indicate that number will rise to $4.5 trillion by 2021.
Shai told us he’s noticed an uptick in the number of people seeking eCommerce solutions in recent years. “In the beginning, people just wanted to set up a simple website to display their services, but now we see more and more people looking to sell their products online,” he said. “That’s why eCommerce is now a bigger part of the website builder.”
SITE123’s premium plans allow users to specify the type of online store they’d like to create, add products, and customize settings for taxes and shipping. All eCommerce sites include SSL certificates and are accessible from any device. Additional features include the ability to track orders, create coupon codes, manage inventory, and choose from more than 80 currencies. Online payment processing is available through the users’ choice of 2Checkout, Braintree, or Stripe.
“Managing an eCommerce site can be very difficult for small businesses and people who don’t know how to build websites, but Site123 makes running an online store simple,” Shai said. “You can have a store online in less than two hours.”
The company’s goal for 2019 and beyond is to make the platform even more intuitive. “We are always trying to find a way to make things simpler for our customers,” Shai said. “That’s the most exciting part — we review our data to see where people are having problems and seek solutions immediately.”
24/7 Live Support and Development Based on Customer Needs
Site123 also prides itself on its around-the-clock support, which is available in 15 languages to serve a geographically diverse client base. Though the company is small, staff are located internationally including in Brazil, Egypt, and the US.
Support is available through live chat 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. “If you feel that something is not going right for you, someone is always available online — and they’re real people, not bots,” Shai said. “We want to help people believe in the fact that they can actually build their own website.”
The company strives to listen to its customers and use their concerns to inform product development. “We gather all the feedback we have from customers onto a big list that we refer to when developing features, and sometimes make decisions based on the number of requests that we have for a specific feature,” Shai said.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to helping clients meet their business objectives. “The bottom line is we want people to have high-converting websites that will help them reach their business goals,” Shai said. “If you don’t have leads, you don’t have anything.”
Of course, in true Site123 fashion, the goal is to do so in as simple a manner as possible.
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