TL; DR: In the competitive marketplace of website builders, Yola has top-of-its-class functionality. In my experience, I found Yola to be straightforward and simple. The interface is sleek and simple-to-use, while the sites it produces are snappy and well-structured.
As a web developer, I’m faced with a never-ending stream of friends and acquaintances who are looking to make their own sites. Whether it is to support their brick-and-mortar store, showcase their craft startup idea, or share their personal brand, I have found almost all of their needs for a digital presence can be satisfied by modern website builders.
Yola is one of these website builders, with top-notch functionality and features. They have a modern interface, as well as a great support team that provides email, chat, and even video conferencing to help you get started and implement all the tools you’d like to use on your website.
Its integration with eCommerce shopping carts and Google Analytics allows users to have all the advantages of a custom site without all the hassles of hiring a developer.
An Overview of Yola Features
Before I get into too much detail about my full experience with Yola, here’s a brief overview of the awesome features available:
✔ No third-party ads (even on the free version)
✔ Simple eCommerce online store integration
✔ Integrated social features, including Facebook comments
✔ Easy website tracking with Google Analytics and other tools
✔ Free webinars to help you get started
✔ 24/7 support
Signing up and getting started on Yola couldn’t be any simpler. It’s free to try out for yourself, and you can build a complete website without paying a dime (no credit card information required). Once you have verified that Yola will work for your needs, you can check out some of their awesome paid features.
These paid features include eCommerce shopping carts, SEO tools/reviews, custom domains, personalized email addresses, mobile publishing, and advanced user tracking.
Our Review Process
To give Yola a truly in-depth review, we decided to build our own site using it. That seemed like the most logical way to do it, after all.
Thus, without utilizing our in-house development or design resources, we set out to create HostingAdviceTeam.com using only Yola.
Choosing a Template
Getting started was pretty simple. All we had to do was click “create a site,” and Yola took us from there. They offer a nice template gallery of basic designs, or alternatively, you have the option to start with a blank canvas.
One of our favorite features about Yola is that almost everything is customizable from within the editor (which we’ll touch on in a moment).
Creating Your Basic Site
After choosing your template or canvas, you are free to start adding images and text to your site. I wanted a simple site that would show off the team and our office, as well as link to an online store to sell HostingAdvice.com swag.
With my iPhone, I simply walked over and took a picture of the office; then, I uploaded it to Yola. I also opened up a simple image editing program to make a logo for the site.
Within the first five minutes of using Yola, I already had a very usable site in the works.
My next step was adding images to the bottom of the homepage that would not only show off our swag, but also get people to click through to our store. Once again, I used an image editing program, threw together a few images of our “products,” and uploaded them to the page.
Around fifteen minutes into the process, I had a complete homepage. I have to admit — with an audible ‘WOW’ — it didn’t take nearly as long as I had anticipated.
Setting Up an Online Store
Since that was so easy, let’s talk about something that’s typically difficult to do: setting up an online store. Worries about accepting payments and integrating shipping options and inventory on top of simply running a site will often lead to a truly awful headache, but not with Yola.
Yola has a nice, separate tab to set up your store, as well as a beautifully-designed walk-through to get you started. It allows you to easily add products, set your shipping from location, set your shipping options (FedEx, UPS, etc.), set up your payment options (credit cards, PayPal, Google Wallet, etc.), place a test order, and launch!
Once again, I was amazed at the simplicity. If there was one downside, I would say it was that the options for styling an online store were a little more advanced, and most people would probably not use them. Even so, Yola has a fluid and simple site that would allow everyone to sell their goods online if they so chose.
Integrating with Google Analytics
Another great feature of Yola their excellent integration with Google Analytics. This enables you to know where your visitors are coming from, how they are using your site, and what they are doing with it. Also, it allows you to integrate remarketing easily into your online store.
All in all, I couldn’t be more impressed with the product that Yola is providing to consumers. From having the ability to create a site for free and try out their services before committing, to taking advantage of the awesome integration with analytics and eCommerce, Yola is a great resource, especially for site-building novices.
I know there are a lot of folks who want a website, but they don’t have the technical ability or the budget to produce one. Yola does away with both of those obstacles, allowing customers to build the sites they’ve always wanted.
Kudos to the Yola team for offering such a great product.