Site123 Review

Site123’s homepage states that it’s “by far the easiest free website builder”. Better put that claim to the test.

Click on the service’s welcome page’s ‘Start here’ to grab yourself 500MB of storage, 1GB of bandwidth a month and your first design decision: what type of website do you want to create? You have to choose from one of sixteen options, from Business, to Online Store, Blog, Music, and Creativity, amongst others.

Select one (we went for ‘Blog’ to start with), and you’re then graced with a further 8 subdivisions - if you’re not sure what to choose or would rather not get pigeonholed so early in the creation process, select ‘Other’.

None of these options actually matter too much as you’re able to add and remove pages later on as you take full control of your website.

Customizing your website

Once your blog is created, you have a handful of customisation options to suit your website needs. Click on the Homepage section in the sidebar to see how you can modify the default layout. You could for instance add a search field to the middle of your home page, or a ‘contact’ form, or even a video. 

But the selection you’ll find in that section’s ‘Layouts’ menu are meagre, and the preview images, although welcome, are hard to discern properly, especially since many of them contain subtle alterations from one to the other. It’s often best to click on them and see what they look like as they’re implemented in the main preview section of the interface.

As you explore, you’ll come across some features that are locked, like in the ‘Form’ menu for instance. These are only available if you upgrade your free account to a paid one (more on this later).

Looking at the blog options, the design will feel familiar to anyone who’s used a word processor. Click on the blog section’s ‘Manage Page’ to see all posts already created. You’ll see that a few are already there - examples to show you how the blog looks like and works. Click on them to edit them, or just get rid of them using ‘Delete’ from their ‘Manage’ options. To create a new one, click on ‘Add New Post’, and start typing. You can add images and videos, include tags and a featured image. It’s all pretty easy and straightforward, enabling you to get started in no time at all.

In terms of layout, we were unable to wrap text around an image. Sure we could format said image, change its size by dragging its edges, add a link to it, or a caption, but even choosing the ‘inline’ option wouldn’t make the text wrap around it. As it stands the image can only have text above and below it.

As mentioned earlier, you aren’t bound by your original website decision. Should you need to add more pages to your website, they’re only a few clicks away. To do this, go to the Sidebar’s ‘Pages’ section. You can include ‘Articles’ (which appear to be a blog in all but name), a ‘Testimonial’ page, a ‘Team’ page, a ‘Gallery’, and even a whole ‘e-Commerce’ section and an ‘App Market’ (among others).