SiteW is a French website builder that has hosted nearly 1.5 million websites since its inception. Like other website builders, SiteW is popular among customers because of its WYSIWYG website builder.
However, SiteW’s advanced features put it more on par with standard web hosting services. Its online store features are their strongest selling point with unlimited products, order history tracking, and no commissions.
SiteW is not a perfect web builder, though. Its templates are very limited, and customer support is lacking. However, if those issues are not a deal breaker, SiteW can be a solid choice for anything from a parenting blog to a customer clothing boutique.
- Cloud storage infrastructure with regularly scheduled backups
- A full online store that charges absolutely ZERO COMMISSIONS
- Ability to host monthly email campaigns to subscribers
- Robust SEO optimization and Google analytics tools available
Like many website builders, SiteW offers a selection of customizable templates to set up your website. However, the collection of templates is minimal. Regardless of which plan you choose, you’re limited to only 28 templates. (SiteW claims to be in the process of creating hundreds of new templates. So we will have to wait and see!)
SiteW templates have a variety of themes, but they’re all in French, and you’ll have to manually translate them to figure out some of the topics. SiteW is aware of this issue and through their process of “internationalizing” the website, will offer templates in additional languages.
Some of the topics are relatively universal and can be used for a variety of websites, such as:
- Wedding announcements
- General business websites
- Restaurant websites
- Travel websites
- Blogging websites
- Photography portfolios
There are also a couple of blank template designs you can set up as you see fit.
Editing these templates is easy, and you can do so from within the website editor. You can modify standard features such as content posts, titles, and colors, as well as alter other elements by changing your webpage effects, website fonts, content zones, and more.
About the only area where SiteW templates excel over those from other platforms is the ability to edit your style sheets. On many free website builders, you’re stuck with using only the modification elements provided by the template. SiteW templates allow you to change CSS code. Those changes will override the existing code in the blocks, so make sure you understand what you’re doing before changing your CSS.
SiteW templates make it easy to add content with drag-and-drop content blocks. There are a few limitations if you have the free plan. You will not be able to add music content, nor will you be able to add comments, forms, FAQ, or member sign-ups. You also cannot use the store features. It has some multimedia capabilities, as you can add high-quality photos and videos to your website.
There are a few downsides to SiteW templates. First, you get only 28 templates total, which is fine if you’re using a free plan. But if you’re paying for Premium or Pro service, you should either have more template options, or you should have the ability to purchase premium templates.
Additionally, SiteW templates are mobile optimizable – the mobile version is automatically generated from the desktop website.
Also, there’s little variety in the template designs. When browsing the templates, I felt I was looking at variations of three or four designs. Also, if you use the free plan, it’s an all-or-nothing proposition in designing your website. In the free plan, you can’t save your website without publishing it. That’s available only as an upgrade.
Many website builders have a set pattern. You get basic features for one plan and improved features for the paid plans. However, the paid plan features are often average at best. SiteW starts you off with basic features for its free plan, but its paid plan has a few features that put SiteW a step above other basic builders, on par with standard shared hosting websites.
Like many website builders, you get a professional email address for your website. But SiteW also gives you the ability to host email campaigns each month. With the Premium plan, you can send up to 10,000 emails per month to your subscribers. If you upgrade to Pro, you can send up to 100,000 emails each month to notify your followers and customers about recent news, changes to your website, or about products in your store.
Full Online Store
If you upgrade to a Pro plan, you can host a complete online store on your website. You can showcase unlimited products with fully customizable options for each item, including colors, sizes, and photo elements. You can also set up multiple payment processors and provide shipping and order tracking options for your customers. SiteW even offers order history and automatic billing features for their stores. Best of all, SiteW charges no commission for their webstore, so you keep all of your profits.
SEO Optimization and Analytics
If you want your new website to rank well, then you need to improve its SEO. SiteW will help you do so with its SEO wizard that will give you recommendations for improving SEO. SiteW also allows for image SEO, paid ads, and more. You get either $100 or $200 in ad vouchers when you sign up for a paid plan. Last, SiteW supports Google webmaster tools like Google Analytics that will help you track traffic and find other areas where you can improve website SEO and performance.
Cloud Security and Regular Backups
SiteW is committed to making sure your website runs smoothly and efficiently. This starts with a cloud infrastructure of multiple secured data centers with capacities greater than four terabytes per second. SiteW’s redundant network will ensure that if one website or server fails, your website will continue running from another. Also, SiteW performs automatic backups of your website in the unlikely event of hardware failure, or if you accidentally commit an unrecoverable error while designing your website.
Ease of use
Just a word of warning before using this website: If you’re the type of user who needs programs explained before using, then you should go through the various beginning tutorials and tips after signing up. This will explain a lot of SiteW’s website-building features.
The website builder breaks up the content design into three tab sections to the left of the web builder. You start by designing the webpages in the “Pages” tab, move on to creating content in the “Content” tab, and control overall web design in the “Design” tab.
Controls are straightforward, but the way the website designer is set up may look a bit overwhelming at first glance. SiteW offers drag-and-drop and point-and-click design options, but that isn’t apparent when you first load the builder.
There are several things I would improve on the builder. First, it should give a more robust tutorial or make certain elements more user-friendly. Next, it should provide English translations for the templates. While the tools are primarily in English, some people might struggle with figuring out the template components that are in French.
Overall, most users will not have any problems using this web builder, especially if they go through the tutorials. It’s not as simple of a website designer as a builder like Wix is, because you’ll have more customization options. However, the learning curve is so slight that it shouldn’t be an issue.
- Tutorials available to walk users through all design options
- Can modify main website and mobile website from the editor
- Easy modification through drag-and-drop or click-and-point on main webpage elements
- More customization options than those offered by other website builders
- May require a bit of a learning curve for beginners
- Website builder design may be confusing for some
- Not all tools are translated from French to English
If you need assistance with your SiteW website, your options for support are somewhat limited. SiteW does not offer telephone or live chat support. The only help offered from SiteW agents is via email, and it can take up to two hours for someone to get back in touch.
However, there is a very robust FAQ section available with tips and tricks on how to build your website. The FAQ is very impressive — one of the better ones I’ve seen. SiteW also has a blog with regularly updated articles on how to build your best website.
I contacted customer support via email, and they were relatively prompt in answering my questions. I had an initial reply in about four hours, but your mileage may vary depending on the time of day.
Support options are the same regardless of whether you use the free or a paid plan. The paid plans promise faster support, but you still get only email support, and only Monday through Friday from 8 am to 6 pm UTC+2. If you’re going to pay for this, at a minimum you should have a robust live chat support feature.
Pick the Plan That Works Best For You
SiteW offers three service plans, each with varying abilities to host your website. Below are the available plans:
This is the standard free plan that gives you a SiteW subdomain. Alternatively, you can use your own HTTPS domain for a monthly fee. This is fine for most basic websites, but the features are limited. You will have SiteW ads on your website, even if you purchase a domain name.
Premium is the first paid plan, which gives you one free domain and up to 6 GB of storage. This is good for most starter websites and some small-business websites that don’t sell products.
The top plan provides 20 GB of storage and a free domain. All features are unlocked, and you can run an online store with this plan.
Paid plans offer the option for monthly or annual payments. If you choose to go Pro, I recommend paying annually as you’ll save around 50% on average.
SiteW Will Help You Build Basic But Highly Functional Websites
Will SiteW help you make the most stunning website you’ve ever seen? No. However, what you’ll get is a website that’s much more functional and has more standard features than you see on other similar website builders.
Realistically, you could build almost any type of website with this builder, but SiteW is best suited for personal, small business, and medium-sized-business websites. If you want to build a webstore with great features and no commissions, few options are better than SiteW.
One of the main advantages of using SiteW over other builders is that you have more template design customization options. However, the variation in templates is limited, so your website may not be as unique as you’d like.
If you’re looking for functionality and features over pizazz, then SiteW is for you. If you want to build a webstore, this website builder should be on your shortlist. Otherwise, SiteW is still a viable option worth considering due to its value-added features.