SimpleSite offers an easy enough website building process, but it’s so stingy with customization options and website features that it almost feels too simple. If you just want to get a basic website up and running quickly, SimpleSite could very well be the right option for you. But if you want your website to go beyond the basics, I recommend you give Wix a try instead.
SimpleSite Is a No-Frills Website Builder, But Does It Cover the Essentials?
SimpleSite provides one of the easier website building experiences I’ve had, but that simplicity costs you a lot in terms of what your website can do.
I tested a lot of website builders to create my ranking of the best website builders for 2020, so I can tell you that SimpleSite is a great option if you need a smaller website or are a complete newbie to creating websites. If you want anything more complex, you’ll likely be disappointed.
In this review, I’ll show you all the functions and limitations of SimpleSite, so you can decide for yourself if it’s the right platform for your needs or if you’d be better off with a different builder.
SimpleSite Templates Look Outdated, But Can They Be Customized to Look Better?
SimpleSite has a pretty limited selection of templates (there are just 36 in total) and to be honest, most of them look a little outdated. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what about them looks so old – maybe it’s the ever-present sidebar with social icons, or the boring and not quite beautiful color combinations – but none of the available templates really wowed me.
I’ve learned through my extensive website builder testing that you can’t judge these tools too harshly by their templates. If you don’t love any of the existing templates, you’re usually able to customize the colors or layout enough to create the site you want. On SimpleSite, however, your customization options are extremely limited. You’re stuck with predetermined color and font combinations based on the template you choose, and you can’t even make simple changes like resizing your images.
These limitations are pretty ridiculous. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to preview the color combinations that come with your template, or to change your template once you’ve started editing your site, so whether you’ll get the colors you want on your homepage is seemingly up to chance. I want chance when I play the lottery, not when I’m building a website.
One thing I do really love is that the color and font options are organized by style (think modern, vibrant, or elegant), and you choose from four combinations that will apply across your site. This is really great for web design newbies who want a consistent aesthetic.
You have a little more freedom to customize your layout. The selection of content blocks is small and you can only place them in certain predetermined areas, but there’s just enough wiggle room to distinguish your site from others using the same template. While updating your colors and fonts and adding custom images will do a lot to make your site stand out, the best way to get away from the cookie-cutter feel is to create your own unique layout by adding text blocks, images, or even slideshows and video.
In short, SimpleSite is a case where you should judge the builder by its templates, because what you see is basically what you’ll get. If you don’t like the template options, you probably won’t be completely satisfied with your final website.Explore SimpleSite Templates
SimpleSite’s Features Leave Much to Be Desired
Most of what makes SimpleSite unique is its simplicity and ease of use. If you’re looking for specialized features for a restaurant site, for instance, or you think you’ll need a selection of marketing tools for your site, this isn’t the website builder for you – you’ll be better off with a builder like Wix or Weebly. But if you want to quickly create a simple website, such as for a personal blog or an upcoming event, SimpleSite is a good way to get what you need with little hassle.
SimpleSite manages to give you just the essentials of a website builder, and nothing more. For example, you can add blog posts, but there are no options for categorizing, tagging, or otherwise managing them.
That said, as I tested SimpleSite, I felt like it always kept me on my toes – I would be sure I hit its limit and got ready to write it off as a completely ineffective website builder, but then it managed to do just enough to keep me interested.
The list of features below will explain SimpleSite’s limits just as much as its abilities, so you can determine if you’ll be able to use it to accomplish your goals.
Pop-Up Editor for Content Blocks
To add some personality to your cookie-cutter template, SimpleSite offers a list of content elements (think text box, image, or contact form) that you can arrange in any order you’d like. It’s not completely free-form – your content blocks have to stay in a pretty strict vertical alignment – but it provides enough flexibility to create something unique to you.
To modify your content blocks, most elements display a pop-up editor to help you edit text, image alignment, and more, depending on the type of block. For text blocks, this feature shows a what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor that looks like Windows Notepad or some other stripped-down word processor. For images, you can find options for alignment and spacing.
I’m torn about how I feel about these pop-up editors. On one hand, they help you focus on the specific task at hand. Your screen is devoted to exactly what you’re working on, so there aren’t a bunch of distractions.
But on the other hand, many of these pop-ups limit your view of making changes in real-time, so you have to open and close the editor a bunch of times to test different background colors or font sizes, which takes up time that you could be using to teach your dog how to fetch you a soda from the fridge.
While I don’t personally love this style of editor, I can definitely see how it would be beneficial for website building newbies.
Built-In Online Store
While SimpleSite’s e-commerce features are as basic as they come, I really appreciate how easy it is to get products uploaded to your site. You simply choose to add a “webshop” page to your site, and are then directed to the product management interface where you enter the product name, description and price. That’s it!
Now, the simplicity of the e-commerce features means that adding and selling products are pretty much all you can do. You do have some control over grouping and arranging products, adding variants like sizes, and setting shipping prices, but these features all feel like just enough to say SimpleSite offers them, rather than providing complete functionality for these needs.
There are a few other notable limits to SimpleSite’s e-commerce features. You can only accept payments through PayPal, and you won’t be able to customize your store page much – there are only three product layout options.
You’re also limited to only five products (variants don’t count) unless you’re on the relatively pricey E-commerce plan. If you’re on the free plan, this is actually pretty nice, because most website builders won’t let you sell any products unless you upgrade to a paid plan. But I find it odd that upgrading to SimpleSite’s mid-range Pro plan, which isn’t exactly cheap, doesn’t increase your store size beyond what’s available for free.
Customizable Contact Forms
Simpler website builders sometimes lack a decent contact form option – it’s typically one default form, if there is one at all – but SimpleSite actually allows for a good amount of customization. You can’t add as many fields as you want, but the freedom to rearrange them and choose which ones are required brings a nice level of flexibility.
Messages are sent by default to the email you used to sign up for your account, which you can change at any time. On a Pro or E-commerce plan, you also have the option to create up to five email addresses with your custom domain name. These can be used as the destination for your contact form, or simply listed on the website so visitors can contact you directly.
Searchable Photo Library from Pixabay
Most website builders have some kind of stock photo library partnership, but SimpleSite keeps it streamlined with a built-in search tool for Pixabay anytime you add an image. (You can also upload your own images from wherever you like.)
You’ll see the exact same image search tool whether you’re adding a header image on your homepage or selecting a few pictures to break up your blog post. I like the consistency and simplicity of this set up, as I’ve seen a lot of website builders that make adding images far more confusing than necessary.
Here, you have two options for images – choosing from Pixabay or uploading your own – so it’s easier to stay on task instead of getting lost in a sea of travel stock photos that make you wonder why you’re writing website builder reviews from your office instead of a beach in the Caribbean.See full list of features
Ease of use
How Does SimpleSite Live Up to Its Name?
SimpleSite is definitely one of the easiest website builders I’ve ever used, although a lot of that ease is because you don’t have a lot of options for what you can do on your website. The editor interface is intuitive enough, and there wasn’t anything I couldn’t figure out how to do. Here are some specific features that make SimpleSite so easy to use.
Editor Tours as You Need Them
Like most website builders, SimpleSite takes you on a quick tour of the editor interface upon starting to build your website. But these tours don’t disappear after one run-through. At any time, you can access the introductory tutorials or some other help options by clicking the green help symbol on the bottom of the screen. These will walk you through some of the most common tasks or remind you where things are if you need a refresher.
There are also a few places where additional guidance popped up unexpectedly. In one instance, I was trying to get to the product management screen for my online store page. I had no idea where to find it, so I somewhat randomly clicked on my listed product to see what would happen. I was given two actions to choose from, one of which was exactly what I was looking for.
SimpleSite knows website builders have a learning curve, so it makes its guides and tools easily available throughout – this way, even if you don’t update your website for months, you’ll always have help in remembering how it works.
Drag-and-Drop Menu Editor
I like to spend a lot of time making sure my website menus are exactly right – after all, it’s the main way your visitors will be able to find what they’re looking for on your site. So I really appreciate how SimpleSite makes it easy to try a bunch of different versions of your menu layout.
In this portion of the editor, you drag and drop your pages into the order you want. The changes will appear live on your homepage, so you can immediately change it back if you don’t like it. You can also create subpages by simply dragging a page slightly to right underneath the parent page.
I like that there’s no drop-down or checkboxes you have to use to reorder your pages. It’s really as easy as just dragging them around.
Complementary Fonts Keep Your Design Looking Good
The font selection on SimpleSite leaves a lot to be desired, but one thing I do like is its pairs of complementary fonts. When you choose a pair of fonts, one becomes your header font for titles and section headings, while the second is for body text and the navigation menu.
This approach is particularly helpful if you dont have much design experience. (When I first tried any sort of graphic design, I definitely could have benefitted from a cheat sheet like this!) Instead of choosing fonts that you like but may not work well together, you can be sure that you will have a cohesive design throughout your site.
The easy-but-limiting principle applies to the automatically generated color palettes. They’re useful from a design standpoint, but can feel like an unnecessary burden if you are looking for a particular color that isn’t there. It would be better if SimpleSite had more font and color choices or at least gave you the option of creating your own combinations.See if SimpleSite is Right for You
SimpleSite’s Support Is Definitely Too Simple
Unfortunately, it seems like SimpleSite put all of its effort into its tutorials instead of building out strong customer service options.
You can only contact customer support via email, and they tell you right off the bat they probably won’t answer you for two business days. In my experience, the longest wait was 36 hours, even over a weekend, so you’ll likely get an answer more quickly than they promise. (Keep in mind that SimpleSite is based in Denmark, so if your business days don’t align with theirs, it may feel like a longer wait.)
Despite the lack of immediate customer support options, I did receive clear, direct answers to my questions. I also appreciated that they sent one email response to my two separate queries, which made it easier for me to be sure I had all of my questions answered.
If you’re looking for more immediate answers, there is a small “support center” consisting of a handful of seemingly random FAQs, most of which are about billing and payments rather than how the editor functions. Overall, it’s one of the worst support centers I’ve seen – I did learn some valuable information, but most questions weren’t things I was wondering and most answers were just one short sentence.
Are SimpleSite’s Prices as Straightforward as Its Editor?
With such a bare-bones editor, you’d expect SimpleSite’s pricing plans to be really clear and not really high, right? Well, that’s only half true: there are only three pricing plans to choose from (Free, Pro, and E-commerce), but the paid plans are far more expensive than I’d expect them to be given the lack of advanced features.
The free plan is very limited, only allowing 15 site pages and 5 online store products. You’ll also have SimpleSite ads on your site, and you get very few design choices. On the Pro plan, you get unlimited pages, images, and more design options, as well as the ability to connect a custom domain, but you’re still limited to just five e-commerce products. To get unlimited products, you need the E-commerce plan, which costs twice as much as the Pro plan – even though more products is the only additional feature you get.
Canceling your subscription can easily be done within your account dashboard, with no need to contact customer support. You will need to contact them directly to request a refund, which can be done within 14 days of being charged for a subscription.
There are difficulties putting bigger texts on a page created by Simpesite. What is a limit (in KB) I still have to find, out but it prevents me of making any serios jobs. When trying to present a bigger text, the SAVE function simply does not work, giving you no warnings or error messages. Does anybody know for a solution?
Por vezes tem erros mas nada que não se corrija numa segunda ou terceira tentativa (mais no que respeita à formatação do texto).
De resto, tudo ok. Bons templates e de simples construção. Inserem-se imagens, textos ou links sem dificuldade.
I have been emailing them, they are not responding. They charged me $39 and they sent me the confirmation that they charged me, but I can't even use my domain. I tried at least repurchase my domain, I can't even do that. every time I enter my username and password I get a message the editor is loading and I am not getting anything at all even if I wait an hour,
I like to get a quick up-date on my standing in regard to Membership. How much do I pay to continue for one year?
Thank you Simplesite. The weekly up-dates on my blog-writing is very helpful. Every week I look-out for the up-date of the viewer- count. Wim
I signed up for 30 days to try it out, even purchased a domain name. 24 days later I get an email stating they will be charging me. What? It's not even 30 days! I went on to cancel the service, no cancel button, the manage subscription button takes me to my subscription where I can't turn off auto-renew and the "register a different card" link doesn't work. Essentially, you have 0 control over your subscriptions. I emailed cs which said 1-2 days. I won't be using this site ever again. I never wanted Pro. I just wanted basic. Now, I have to wait to be contacted just to make sure they aren't charging me 39.99 for their pro subscription.
In March 2019, I was sooo lucky to find Bob Hansen, owner of Simple Site Company in Maryland [email protected]
I already had a site designed in Wix but it was done on the cheap and didnt look professional enough. It needed to look a lot better, pictures rearranged, fonts consistent and some overall tweaking.
Someone was recommended to me who supposedly knew Wix and I tried and tried working w/ her. I emailed her a list of about 20 things to do - mainly pretty easy things, but every time she fixed something she never checked it to see that she had caused another problem, e.g., moved a picture which I wanted her to do, BUT covered up text with the picture which I didnt want her to do, omitted a line of text, etc. One of the worst was that she added info that I didnt ask for and when I asked for it to be removed said Wix adds it and she couldnt change it. Plus I had links to the Washington Post and two magazine w/ articles about me and my company, and once she started working on the site, those articles had ads on them which had never happened before - even ads for people in the same line of business, so my competitors! I kept on emailing her asking her to fix it, but I dont think she know how to do it as she just ignored my requests and didnt respond.
I found Bob Hansen the owner of Simple Site Company in Maryland. He assigned Thomas Moore to help me and Thomas fixed EVERY problem that had been created and did it quickly, professionally and with a GREAT attitude. I am so thankful because my website represented my company and me to the world and to potential clients. The first person didnt seem to care at all. Just left me w/ a mess and went out of town for two weeks, saying she wouldnt be reachable while gone! Unbelievable. I cant tell you how fortunate I feel to have found Bob Hansen and his staff to help me get a PERFECT website!!
SimpleSite provides an easy enough website building process, but it’s so stingy with customization options and website features that it almost feels too simple. Of course, I’m saying this as someone who loves testing website builders and feels overjoyed at dozens of options to choose from. If you want an easy way to try your hand at building a basic website, SimpleSite could very well be just the right option for you.
SimpleSite could be a good option for smaller-scale sites or those that have a limited purpose – announcing an event or project or creating a personal website, for instance. If you want to be able to scale and grow, however, you’ll want a website builder that can offer you some more interesting options (like one of our top website builders for 2020).
You can use SimpleSite for free, but you’ll be limited to just 15 site pages and only five online store products. You’ll also have SimpleSite ads on your site, limited design options, and no way to connect a custom domain. You can upgrade to expand your site further, and be sure to check out our website builder coupons to get a good deal when you do.
Is SimpleSite good for beginners?
Yes! SimpleSite is one of the best website builders for beginners. It has good start up tutorials, a website building checklist, and few other features to help you build a website quickly and easily, even if you’ve never built one before. You can find other good options for beginners on our list of the best website builders for 2020.
Is SimpleSite good for e-commerce?
SimpleSite has e-commerce features, but it’s not the best option. The e-commerce tools are really basic and a bit outdated, and unless you’re on the highest tier plan, you’ll only be able to add five products. If you just want to sell a few products in addition to hosting a blog or something similar, SimpleSite will be sufficient, but if you’re looking to build a larger online store, you’ll be better off with one of the best e-commerce website builders.
Sophia is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist. She specializes in digital marketing and B2B content for small businesses and entrepreneurs. When not writing or editing, she can be found searching used bookstores and watching the penguins at the San Diego Zoo.