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B12 offers AI and human assistance in getting your website up and running. This web builder is a solid choice for small businesses that are just starting out, but its modest e-commerce offerings may not work great for large-scale enterprises.
Is B12 the Future of Web Design?
B12 is an artificial intelligence (AI) supported website builder that enables you to create a functional and professional-looking website in just 60 seconds (or so they claim). They combine the AI with a real-life team of designers to help you build a website suited for your business needs.
B12 doesn’t have a built-in feature that allows you to display your website in other languages, which narrows down their focus to an English-speaking audience only. However, it does offer SEO and marketing perks, depending on the plan you choose. There’s a free plan available, in addition to the three paid plans, all geared toward increasing your site’s traffic.
While B12 promises to help you create a website quickly, it didn’t do quite enough to make our list of the top ten website builders. However, if you’re interested in getting your site up and running with the help of expert designers, it could still be right for you.
Templates Crafted to Suit Your Brand, but Not Much Variety
B12 doesn’t operate the same way as most other web building tools when it comes to templates. Instead of having a library of templates to choose from, B12 uses AI to create custom themes that are specifically designed to meet your needs, based on the answers you provided during the signup process.
After you’ve given them information about your business, you’ll get seven templates to choose from, which are already filled with images and text related to the type of your business, in my case an imaginary travel agency 🙂
I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of text and the choice of images I got, as they were actually crafted to fit the purpose of my business and not just randomly picked.
However, the seven themes I got looked pretty much the same, so there wasn’t much of a choice to be made. They really only differed in minor details, such as text and image positions. And while they do look professional, their overall design still feels a bit dated and basic.
You can customize the themes easily by choosing different layouts, colors, fonts, and backgrounds. You can alsochange the text, the size and color of buttons, and add links. You get access to CSS/HTML editing, but, since we’re analyzing the abilities of AI in creating a functional and beautiful website, this shouldn’t be a necessary step, right?
Another perk is that all templates are mobile-responsive, which means yoursite will look great on mobile devices without you having to lift a finger.
Now let’s take a deeper dive into some of the features that B12 has to offer to help you decide if this is the right builder for you!
B12 wants to help you increase your online presence and promote your business, although you’ll need to subscribe to higher-tiered plans to make the most of it. While its e-commerce offerings aren’t the most generous, you can still set up a decent website using their extremely friendly editor and start managing your small business.
B12 is dedicated to enhancing your SEO efforts in multiple ways, using AI and an SEO team of experts. If you subscribe to the SEO plan or above, you’ll get access to SEO specialists that will provide on-page optimization of your site by implementing the latest SEO best practices. This results in higher ranks in search engines and more visitors to your site.
SEO experts will also get your website listed on multiple local directories such as Facebook, Google, and Yelp to make your potential customers easily find your business. Finally, you will get ongoing analysis of your website, with SEO specialists regularly giving you advice on how to improve your SEO practices.
There are some SEO tools available for users on the DIY plan, but they are limited.
You can modify SEO elements by yourself in the “SEO and Metadata” tab on the left side of your panel. You can adjust site titles, meta descriptions, and favicons for bookmarks, which will certainly boost your SEO efforts if you use the right keywords.
Users on a free plan don’t have access to any of the SEO tools.
Social Media and App Integrations
B12 offers a rich app market for users on paid plans, but you can’t pay separately to add apps if you’re on a free plan. Free and paid apps are only available for subscribers on paid plans, as the free plan functions only as a test drive to see how the builder works.
Some of the free apps include Google Analytics to track your site’s performance, and the ability to add your social media accounts to keep your visitors updated on latest events. You can also connect your business email accounts from Google, Yahoo, or some other email platform.
When it comes to paid apps, the one that stands out is email marketing add-on.
This feature allows you to create custom emails for different purposes, such as welcoming new clients, announcing new products, new services, promotions or anything else you’d like to share with your customers.
B12 supports your blogging efforts by offering a blog feed feature, which you can access in the Pages tab, in the Add Content section. You can customize your blog feed by modifying existing or creating new templates for your posts. You can also update individual posts if you want to include any specific CTAs or just maintain your branding across all posts.
If you already have a blog, B12 supports integration of blogs from other websites, such as Medium and WordPress. Also, if you’re on an SEO Pro plan, you’ll get a monthly blog post written and SEO-optimized for you.
B12 doesn’t have a built-in e-commerce tool, which is a drawback, so you’ll have to integrate other e-commerce apps if you want to set up an online store, However, you can easily do that with apps such as Shopify and Ecwid, and B12 will take you through the integration process.
Also, you can accept payments via PayPal, Stripe, and Square, in addition to credit cards.
B12 is suitable for newbies and it’s very easy to get around the dashboard.
Simple and Insightful Signup Process
Getting started with B12 is super simple – you’ll get asked for your email address and your business name. After that, you’ll get asked to describe the overall tone of your businessand what effect you’re wishing to achieve, which I think is pretty useful in helping you shape your brand.
You’ll also be able to choose between a single-page or a multiple-page website structure and when you make a first draft, you’ll get asked if you want to continue designing your website on your own or get help from their team of designers.
Although it doesn’t have drag-and-drop capabilities, the B12 editor is incredibly intuitive and you’ll find it easy to navigate. You can easily select and modify themes, color palette, fonts, and background, as well as add pages, upload photos, and modify content. By enabling Expert Mode in the Account section, you’ll get access to more editing options.
You’ll get a preview of any changes you make so you can immediately see how your site will look to the visitors. Also, it’s worth mentioning that you can only edit your site using a desktop version, as customization can’t be done from mobile devices.
In addition to adding Calendly to your site, you can make use of another feature that makes interaction with clients much easier – the B12 booking tool that enables your customers to schedule appointments directly on your website. You’ll be notified via email whenever a client sets up, reschedules, or cancels an appointment.
Also, you can easily integrate a booking section into your website, no coding knowledge required.
B12 has a detailed resource center that contains articles on all aspects of building and managing your website, which is the only available form of support if you’re on a free plan.
They offer live chat and email support for users on the DIY plan, while phone support is available from the SEO plan and above. Their customer support team is really friendly and ready to help.
I tested out their email and chat support on different days to see what kind of response I’ll get. Both times, customer support agents were pleasant and friendly, and they provided helpful answers to my questions. One answer alsoincluded links to relevant articles that could provide more information.
B12 offers a free plan and 3 paid plans: DIY, SEO, and SEO Pro. The free plan functions more as a free test to see what your site will look like than an actual plan. You only get an AI-built draft of your website to get a sense of how the product works, and you get a mobile-optimized view of the draft, but you can neither preview the website nor launch it.
You can test all three paid plans as they offer free drafts so you can get a taste of what you’ll get if you choose to subscribe to any of them. These free drafts function in the same way as the free plan – you can see what’s on offer, but you can’t preview or publish your website.
So,to get a fully functional website, you’ll have to subscribe to their paid plans, which are quite pricey compared to other website builders. The most affordable is the DIY plan, which comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage, custom domains, bookings, monthly metrics support, and live chat and email support.
However, you won’t get access to advanced SEO tools and third-party integrations unless you subscribe to the SEO plan, which has its perks, but it’s still quite expensive compared to other web building options, especially because of its lack of a built-in e-commerce tool.
If you choose paid plans, you’ll be required to pay with your credit card, and there seem to be no restrictions on which credit card you can use. You don’t have the option to pay via PayPal, but you do get a discount if you choose to pay annually rather than monthly.
Cancellations and Refunds
You can cancel your account at any time by sending an email to [email protected] to let them know, with or without including a reason for cancellation. However, B12 has a very strict refund policy which says that they don’t offer refunds. They say the reason for this is the fact that they “pull together a team of experts to set up, enhance and optimize your website for you” once you choose to buy a B12 website.
So, you’ll need to be 100% sure you want to start building your website with B12, otherwise, you won’t get your money back if you change your mind, and you won’t get a chance to import the content of your site to another platform, as B12 doesn’t enable file exports.
B12 offers a unique way to design your website, by joining the powers of the AI and a team of designers. However, the powers of the AI alone aren’t enough to create the best possible website for you, and at one point you’ll need the help of a designer, which comes at a higher price (and probably will take more than 60 seconds).
B12 works great for small businesses that are just starting out and aren’t so much growth-oriented. If you plan on building anenterprise-level website with a desire to expand, B12 may not be the best option for you. If you’re looking for an easy and affordable way to build your website, check out Wix.
Ana Marković is a freelance writer and an English teacher. She writes on everything from pet care and healthy lifestyle to environmental issues and product reviews. In her downtime, you’ll find her at the movies or hiking with friends.