bOnline Review

If you’re looking for something unique in an online Web builder, you’ll absolutely find it in bOnline. More than anything, you’ll be able to take advantage of their most unique feature, one that they advertise heavily from the moment you go on the site, which is that they have set up a lot of automation in order to take advantage of local SEO. While several sites will give search engine optimization benefits, their focus on local attention is a very specific benefit that can especially be useful for brick and mortar businesses looking to expand their foot traffic by having a valuable Web presence.

EASE OF USE

This system really couldn’t be any simpler. The first thing you do is choose a template that is geared toward the type of business that you’re running; I have to admit that I’m impressed with the thought they put into the various professions that people engage in and how a website might best be geared toward that. While these templates aren’t “limitless” as the promotional video claims, there are still at least a few dozen and the company keeps adding more, so you have plenty to choose from. More to the point, they have a professional design team that can help walk you through design process or just create your website for you. There is nothing easier than having somebody else do the work.

BUILDING

The drag-and-drop interface works really well. It’s intuitive and easy to work with, allowing you to even make poor design choices rather than restricting the things you can do with no explanation, which is far more frustrating than being able to overlap graphics. There is no access to HTML, so that might frustrate a veteran developer that would find working with the code more convenient, but for most people they won’t need to know any coding in order to end up with a good looking website.

HOSTING

Once again, since the focus is on SEO, hosting is pretty consistent across plans. All plans offer a domain and hosting with unlimited pages, mobile designs, and the ability to host blogs very easily. It’s very easy to publish, and you get a 30 minute consultation with one of their people before you first put your website up so that they can either walk you through the process or give you additional tips to make sure that you will have the most effective design.

MARKETING

Here is where bOnline really shines. All of their personal marketing is focused on and directed toward their search engine optimization support. Even their basic plan offers some useful and borderline powerful SEO tools that can make it easy to draw the traffic that will most benefit you. Any of the plans above the basic one offer really powerful marketing solutions and some of the most detailed analytics I have seen on a builder of this type before.

Their most popular plan is the third one up, the Managed SEO package, largely because they will actually take care of most of the marketing work for you with that plan. It comes with quite a bit, though I wonder how they consistently manage SEO creation on that plan when you only get custom content on the plan above it. Content creation and upload is a major aspect of search engine optimization and one of the few things that continues past the initial setup phase.

Otherwise, the larger the plan, the more marketing tools you will have access to, and the increase in price matches the value of the additional work you receive.

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

bOnline has among the most helpful customer support I have ever seen. They not only have some fantastic documentation online, but on their basic plan, they have email support that got back to me within minutes of asking a question. Any plan beyond that has phone support and they are quick, knowledgeable and very professional. The effort that they go to to make sure that you have a useful design is also a very welcome change from a lot of places that leave you to your own devices.

PRICING

There are four packages that you can use with bOnline. All of them include basic building, unlimited pages, mobile designs, social media integration and a few other common features:

Business – This comes with 400 stock images that you can use, as well as email support and DIY SEO tools for $14.95 a month.

Business Plus – Same as business, but you also get advanced DIY SEO tools and access to 4000 stock images plus business email, ecommerce tools, a marketing dashboard and quite a bit more for $24.95 a month.

Managed SEO – Same as Business Plus, but you also get an adviser for your SEO and custom work, not to mention reports for $64.95 a month.

Traffic Builder – Same as Managed SEO with local and industry directory listings as well as custom SEO-friendly content for $160.00 a month.

THE GOOD

Local SEO services are fantastic and really well conceived

THE BAD

The top plan has a huge jump in price that doesn’t seem warranted

AND THE UGLY

Without content creation, the Managed SEO plan doesn’t seem to be suitable for most

 

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