Reviews and expert opinion Mailchimp Website Builder

Ari Esmond
Ari Esmond
Website Development Expert
Mailchimp’s new website builder is certainly easy to use. The downside is that it’s very limited, which means it’s not a great choice if you need a complex or unique-looking site. Read on for all the details on what you can (and can’t) do with it, and see which other beginner-friendly website builders I recommend instead.

Overview

Mailchimp’s New Website Building Feature Sounds Great, But…

Mailchimp Website Builder

Let’s be clear about one thing. Mailchimp absolutely is one of the best email marketing platforms available. The thought of using the same service to build your website is definitely appealing if you’re short on time and resources. So I went into this review with high hopes.

But I’m going to be honest from the outset – I found Mailchimp’s website builder to be quite disappointing. I’ll explain all the reasons why in a moment, but here’s the big takeaway: If you need a website plus great email marketing tools, you’ll be much better off using a major website builder that offers Mailchimp integration, like Squarespace.

Mailchimp’s default language is English, but it supports up to 51 languages. Multi-language translation support is not yet available for the website builder, but it might come along later. And this highlights the first big issue with the Mailchimp site builder: It’s a new product, so its feature set hasn’t had time to grow. Compared to Mailchimp’s advanced email marketing tools, it’s very basic.

The website builder is available on all Mailchimp plans, including the free plan. So you can try it without paying anything, and I’ll admit that’s a positive. Just be aware that to use a custom domain name – an absolute must-have for a business website – you’ll have to pay for at least the Standard plan. With that, let’s get into exactly what this site builder can and can’t do.

Templates

1.5

Simplicity Means… Having No Templates?

Mailchimp website template

Most website builders offer you a selection of templates, which are pre-designed layouts that determine the basic look and setup of your site. Wix, for instance, offers over 500 free templates to choose from (sound tempting? Learn more in our in-depth Wix review). So surely a new website builder that claims to be super easy to use must have lots of great templates, right?

Wrong. Mailchimp’s site builder doesn’t offer a template library.  Instead, you get a starter layout, with space for your logo, a main section, a “subscribe” feature, and sections like About, Contact, Testimonials, and Products. You can customize this layout somewhat by changing the content of sections, changing fonts, and adding background images or colors, but it’s really not the same as working with a template of your choice.

Features

3.8

Don’t Believe the Hype – Features Are Very Limited

Mailchimp Website Builder features list

Mailchimp’s promo page claims that the website builder gives you “everything you need to manage your online presence.” That’s an ambitious claim that very few site builders live up to. Can you really do as much with Mailchimp’s builder as you could with a powerhouse website builder like WordPress.com – which, by the way, provides easy integration with your Mailchimp account? (Click here to read more about what WordPress.com can do.)

Simple answer: No, not even close. You can’t create a blog, and you have very limited design options in terms of the looks of different content blocks. The news isn’t all bad, though. You can create a basic website that’s automatically integrated with your email marketing.

While you’re building your site (before you click Publish), Mailchimp displays a “coming soon” page that helps you expand your mailing list even before your site goes live.

Mailchimp's "Fresh New Website Coming Soon" landing page has a mailing list subscription option

Square Integration Makes Basic E-Commerce Simple

Mailchimp has integration with Square to allow online selling

Here, I have to show Mailchimp a little respect for providing a simple e-commerce option, which many “easy” site builders fail to do. To sell products via your Mailchimp website, you can use the simple Square Integration. It allows you to connect a store created in Square with your Mailchimp website, and then set up a website section for accepting payments. If you don’t already have them, you’ll need to set up a Square account and store in order to use this feature.

Content Blocks – What They Are and How to Use Them

Mailchimp Website Builder content blocks

To help you build your site, Mailchimp provides a variety of content blocks, which are website sections made for specific purposes. Examples include text, boxed text, images, social sharing, video, products, and buttons. There definitely aren’t as many content block types as the big-name website builders offer (e.g. Squarespace), but it should be enough if all you need is a very basic site.

Site Tracking Helps You Learn What’s Working for You

Mailchimp allows you to track your website's stats via its own cookies, Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics

Mailchimp’s site tracking shows you how long visitors are staying on your website, how many of them choose to subscribe, and whether there is a particular page where visitors tend to exit the site. In combination with Mailchimp’s email tracking data, this information can provide a lot of clues about how to improve your marketing campaigns and increase conversions.

Mailchimp supports tracking via its own cookies, Facebook Pixel (to track the effectiveness of Facebook ad campaigns), and Google Analytics. These options are hardly rare (most top website builders have similar or better capabilities), but they are decent. No big complaints here.See full list of features

Ease of use

4.9

Basic Features for Easy Website Creation

mailchimp-website-builder-ease-of-use1

Because the Mailchimp website builder focuses only on the basic features needed to build a functional website, there are no complex features to learn – the builder is incredibly beginner-friendly.

The fixed structure of the basic layout means there are very few decisions to make. Unfortunately, it also means that this site builder might well be too simple for your needs.

Fixed Structure = Quick Building but Limited Personalization

You can customize the content of sections of your website, but you can’t change the overall look of your site all that much, because the locations of content blocks are fixed. However, there is a workaround that at least lets you change the order of sections on the page (see below).

This fixed layout provides a useful grid, ensuring that your site is clean, decent-looking, and easy to navigate. But if you want a unique website to express your brand, the design limitations of Mailchimp’s site builder will probably frustrate you. A lot.

Drag-and-Drop Page Editing

Mailchimp Website Builder content blocks

You can add new content blocks to your pages by dragging them to any content section. Just wait until the area where you want to place the block turns pale blue, then drop. And here’s the workaround I mentioned above: you can put a content block into any one of the layout’s preset sections – for example, you can drop a subscription block onto the section originally labeled as Image. So although the layout’s structure is limiting, it’s not completely inflexible.

Once you have your content block in place, just click on it to bring up the block editor. That’s where you’ll add whatever text, images, or other content that you want to have in that section.

Step-by-Step Guides Help You Along

Mailchimp Website Builder guides and tutorials

If you get stuck while building your website with Mailchimp, you’ll appreciate the comprehensive help section, which has a bunch of step-by-step guides. Topics covered include creating your website, managing your website, how content blocks work, and more. All the guides are beginner-friendly and don’t assume that you have any technical knowledge.

Building a Website with Mailchimp – How It Went for Me

How simple and intuitive is the Mailchimp site builder? Well, my eight-year-old nephew, who is smart enough but no tech whiz, had no trouble getting a website up and running with Mailchimp.

Is Mailchimp’s website builder too basic, though? In most cases, the answer will probably be  “yes.” The lack of template variety, design freedom, and advanced features like plugins, apps, and third-party integrations will hold you back over the long run.

Support

4.5
Mailchimp Website Builder support

How much user support you get from Mailchimp depends on which plan you’re on. On the free plan, you only get access to support via email (24/7) for your first 30 days. After that, you’re limited to the knowledge base. As I said, there’s a lot of good stuff in that knowledge base, but it’s not the same as being able to ask a real person specific questions.

With any paid plan, you get email support (24/7) and live chat support (24 hours, US Monday-Friday only). The Premium plan also includes phone support Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. US EST.

When I contacted support via live chat, I received a response within a few minutes. The support agent answered my question quickly and didn’t try to upsell me to a higher-priced plan. That’s why I am giving a high rating here.

Pricing

4.2
There are no separate pricing plans for Mailchimp’s website builder – it’s included with all Mailchimp plans.

If you go with the free plan or Essentials plan, you’ll have to live with a Mailchimp subdomain for your site (yourwebsite.mailchimpsites.com). So if you need a professional-looking site, go for at least the Standard plan so you can use a custom domain name. The good news here is that the Standard plan is quite affordable.

User reviews

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Comparison

How does Mailchimp Website Builder match up to the competition?

Wix Compare 4.9 Compare
SITE123 Compare 4.7 Compare
Mailchimp Website Builder Compare 3.9 Compare
Google Sites Compare 3.1 Compare

Bottom line on Mailchimp Website Builder

Mailchimp’s new website builder is a classic example of how simplicity can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, the site builder is incredibly beginner-friendly. And since you can use it even on Mailchimp’s free plan, you have nothing to lose by giving it a try. However, if you want a full-featured, unique, eye-catching website, Mailchimp’s stripped-down builder just can’t give that to you. You’d be better off with a comprehensive website builder like Wix or Squarespace.

Ari Esmond
Ari Esmond
Ari is an experienced copywriter, editor, and digital marketing consultant. A creative at heart, Ari has 14 years’ industry experience and always aims to keep abreast of current trends and developments. He lives in the UK with his three beagles Zeke, Hope, and Sandy, who always make life interesting.

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