Strikingly

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Strikingly Review

Author:/ Date: November 5, 2017

8.9

Highlights:

  • Beautiful, intuitive single-page websites
  • Excellent customer support
  • Lacklustre feature set

About Strikingly:

Strikingly is specifically created for making one-page websites. Seeing as how that is not the goal of the other website builders, they are nowhere near as good as Strikingly in this department. Specializing in one-pagers has allowed Strikingly to have the most compact, precise and varied website builder for the task, with a mobile first approach in website building. Aside from what they are the best at, Strikingly also offer the ability to create multi-page sites as well.

All the Strikingly plans come with a 14-day free trial period!

 

Pricing

Free

$0

Strikingly.com Domain

Pro

$ 16/mo

Free Domain for Year

Limited

$ 8/mo

2 Limited Sites

Introduction

If you’re looking to create a new website, then you have a heck of a lot of choices out there. Accordingly, for a newer company to stand out from the crowd some of best website builders around can help execute any specific vision extremely well, but you should keep in mind that virtually all site building platforms excel in certain area.

So, what’s the focus of the Strikingly website builder? Simply put, it’s simplicity. Strikingly – founded in 2012 – want to provide you with a website creation solution which is quick and easy to use, even if you have very little experience with web design. To keep the theme of simplicity running, all Strikingly websites consist of just a single page.

Check out my Strikingly review, below, to find out exactly how well this idea of ‘simplicity’ is realized, and whether there’s enough here to attract not just rookies but seasoned website designers.

(Please note that my Strikingly website builder review is based entirely on my own experiences.)

Usability

Things get off to a fast start, with Strikingly’s signup process being extremely swift. Straight after completing it, you pick a theme (more on that below), and within mere moments your basic website template is ready for you.

Immediately, you’re invited to take a tour of the Strikingly website builder. The ensuing tutorial is extremely quick, giving you a run-down of the basic layout of the page, before encouraging you to explore the interface further for yourself.

As mentioned, all Strikingly websites are single-page. Those lengthy pages are broken down into sections, which – by default – include the landing page, Contact Us, About, and so on. You can add new sections with the click of a button, and they can either be basic content blocks, or entire, all-inclusive features like an online store, a blog, or a social feed. Editing elements within those sections – whether it be to change the size or style of your font, or insert a new link into a button – is also effortless.

In general, then, the Strikingly interface is extremely intuitive, and a doddle to get to grips with. The only gripe I have with it is that individual elements are basically locked in place, with their locations being decided by the template you selected. You can’t move a text box a couple of inches to the left, for example, if you wanted to. Your options for customization – in terms of the layout, at least – are somewhat limited.

 

Themes

Strikingly doesn’t have the widest selection of themes, although their offering certainly isn’t scarce, with 25 options available. These are broken down into six broad categories: business, startup, personal, portfolio, store and blog.

They all undoubtedly follow a similar aesthetic; one which is minimalist, sleek and modern. That’s not really a problem, however, considering that’s the style which is in fashion at the moment, and it’s doubly not a problem because they all look gorgeous! Seriously, you could select one of the Strikingly templates, spend an hour or so changing the text to suit your specific needs, then just publish it, and you’d still have a website of which you’d be proud.

The fact that all the themes are free – even for users who aren’t signed up to a paid-for package – is simply the icing on the cake.

Mobile Friendly

Simplicity may be Strikingly’s number one priority, but their second one is undoubtedly mobile-friendliness. They mention it constantly on their website, with responsiveness being the biggest focus.

All of the Strikingly templates are responsive by default, meaning that they scale automatically if you’re using a mobile or tablet device instead of a computer. In fairness, this is extremely well-realized, with the mobile versions of Strikingly websites looking as good as their desktop counterparts. There is also an option – which is very easily accessed – to immediately preview how your site would look on mobile or tablet devices. That’s a welcome inclusion, particularly for people who may prioritize mobile visitors to their website.

To round it all out, Strikingly even have a mobile app, available for free to both iOS and Android users. Basically, anything you can do on their standard website can also be done with the app: you can add and edit features on your site, access analytical data, and so on.

With their substantial offering, Strikingly more than live up to their self-professed focus on being a mobile-friendly website builder.

Features

  • Ecommerce options

Strikingly are modest about their ecommerce options, with the online store section that you can add being described as a ‘Simple Store’.

The basic features of a small online store are present and correct. You can easily add new products, set shipping rates, and manage your existing orders. You can choose from two of the most popular payment systems – PayPal and Stripe – or go for ‘offline payments’ to use an alternative method of your choosing. Pleasingly, Strikingly do not charge a fee for processing payments.

It must be noted that not all of the Strikingly e commerce features are available to everyone. Some – including offering coupon codes and adding product categories – can only be used by paying Strikingly users.

There certainly aren’t enough features here to make Strikingly a viable candidate if you’re looking to start an entire online store. That being said, between its ease-of-use and its decent range of basic features, you could definitely open up a small shop as part of a wider website.

  • Blog

Just as with their ecommerce capabilities, Strikingly don’t toot their own horn when it comes to blogging; they also refer to blog sections as ‘Simple Blogs’.

Still, their blogging features don’t feel quite so limited as their ecommerce ones do. Perhaps this is simply because blogs are more simple to create than online stores. Adding a blog is as easy as clicking two buttons, and the blog follows the overall aesthetic of your theme nicely.

Subsequently adding new posts is pretty easy too, and – although you certainly don’t have the power at your disposal which a site like WordPress grants you – there are a fine range of basic options: you can categorize posts, enable comments, and allow users to subscribe to your blog. If you want to use coding to customize your blog further, however, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid price plan.

  • SSL

SSL security is currently in beta for Strikingly websites, meaning you have to directly contact a customer support representative and ask them to activate it on your website. Even then, it’s only available for paying customers.

This is a little disappointing on both counts. Many of the best website builders recognized the importance of including SSL long ago, and a number of them also offer it to all of their customers, regardless of price plan.

Integrations

In general, the biggest problem that the Strikingly website builder faces is that its feature set is simply lacking.

There are various website builders out there which have recognized their own limitations, with regards to the features they can offer, but which have beefed up their feature set with third-party integrations.

Strikingly goes some way towards doing this too, but – in my opinion – it doesn’t go far enough. Their ‘App Store’ is easily accessed through the main menu of the website creator. There are 18 integrations inside, which isn’t terrible, but most of them are the fairly basic tools that you’ll find on most website builders: Google Maps, PayPal, Facebook comments, and so on.

To be fair, there are some fine integrations elsewhere, including Eventbrite, Wufoo (a form/survey builder) and Disqus (for discussion boards). Annoyingly, however, some other fairly vital integrations are only available to paying customers, with Mailchimp and Ecwid being particularly painful losses for free Strikingly members. The ability to add your own HTML – and therefore your own integrations – is also restricted to people on price plans.

Performance

Strikingly websites – however lacking in features they may be – inarguably look the part, but what about the engine that’s running beneath the surface? To find out how well Strikingly websites typically perform, I took five examples and ran them through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

The desktop versions of the five sites averaged 74/100, with the mobile versions averaging 70/100. Both of these scores might be in the ‘Needs Work’ section of Google’s evaluation but, relatively speaking, they’re actually highly respectable results. It’s also worth pointing out that some of the individual scores reached as high as 96/100, which shows that if the Strikingly toolset is used in the right way, it can produce some extremely quick websites.

Seo

There are inherent SEO problems with single-page websites; which, of course, is the only thing that Strikingly offers. These arise because there’s obviously only one page that you can link Google to, as opposed to a variety of pages which each serve different purposes. In that way, you’ll already be starting at an SEO disadvantage.

Having taken that into account, the SEO features which Strikingly presents are decent, but certainly not outstanding. You have the basic capabilities, which you’d expect from any good website builder, including the ability to change metadata, such as the page title and description.

On a plus note, Strikingly does have its own built-in analytics service – available to all users – and integrating Google Analytics through the settings menu is simply done.

Pricing

The Strikingly pricing structure is broken down into three packages: Free, Limited and Pro.

Free users get unlimited websites, 5GB of monthly bandwidth and 24/7 customer support access (check out the Customer Support section of my Strikingly review for more information). They do, however, have to use a Strikingly.com domain (as you’d expect) and only get to add a single product to their site, which seems incredibly restrictive.

The Limited plan costs $8/month if you sign up for a year, or $12/month if you go month-by-month. This package gives you a free domain of your own, two websites with ‘Limited’ (special) features, 50GB of monthly bandwidth, and a whopping five products in your online store!

At $16/month billed yearly, or $20 billed monthly, Pro is the most costly package. It’s a big offering, and amongst the many things you receive are the ability to create 3 websites with ‘Pro’ features (the best ones, essentially), 300 products in your store, full access to the App Store, and – crucially – the chance to embed coding into your website (and thus add in as many third-party integrations as you like).

 

Customer Support

This is one area in which Strikingly really shines.

Strikingly offers 24/7 customer support, via live chat, which is even available to free users. That’s something which we still see too rarely, even from the best website builders out there. You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding your way around this highly intuitive interface anyway, but just in case you do there’s always a customer service representative there to help. My test enquiry was answered extremely promptly, and the person who helped me was very friendly.

If your enquiry isn’t with particularly high priority, you can simply message Strikingly through their website instead. In addition to this, Strikingly also have a brilliantly detailed and broad ‘Knowledge Base’, in which you’ll find helpful articles and how-to guides on basically any subject you could dream of.

The emphasis that Strikingly clearly place on looking after their users is wonderful to see.

Conclusion

I’ve reached the end of my Strikingly review , and I have to say that I’m still not sure exactly where I come down on it.

This is a website builder that I truly wanted to like. The swift signup process, short and sweet tutorial, and intuitive interface mean that you get off to a great start with Strikingly, and the templates also look fantastic.

There are a number of negative factors to take into account, however. Chief amongst these is the feature set, which is definitely lacking, to the extent that it might alienate experienced web designers. This could have been helped by an extensive set of third-party integrations, but even several of the important ones are restricted to the most expensive price plan anyway.

In short, it depends on your specific skillset and needs. If you’re an experienced web designer, and particularly one who likes to code – or if you simply don’t like being limited to single-page websites – then Strikingly won’t be for you. If, however, you’re a less experienced web designer, or simply having an attractive-looking website is your priority, then you should be more than happy with what Strikingly has to offer.

If you’ve had experience of using Strikingly, or even another single-page website builder, I’d love to hear from you in the section below.

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