Zoho Sites Review

Zoho Sites has worked with hundreds of thousands of people to build powerful, useful and beautiful websites that are both highly customized and easy to make. You could probably get away with making a fairly simple business website using this service and it will look like a professional site, including the mobile site. The only really problem is that many of their services come locked out.

EASE OF USE

I can say without any reservations that this is one of the easiest to use editors and websites that I have run across. The design is intuitive; it’s a drag and drop interface, saving and returning to sites that you’re working on is a breeze, and publishing is as simple as pressing one button. If you have another domain name that you bought elsewhere and would like it mapped to the site you just built, that’s easy to do. Otherwise, you can simply have it published on a subdomain of zohosites.com for free.

BUILDING

The Zoho Sites editor is one of the most powerful editors out there for this sort of site building, but not really with the free option. There will be more details about this later, but essentially if you are just using the free service, you’ll be extremely limited on what you can and can’t actually use in the editor. You’ll see it there, but if you click on it, you’ll get a pop-up screen trying to get you to upgrade to one of the free plans.

That being said, it’s very easy to build something simple based on the 80 available templates, which it gives you plenty of room to adjust to your specifications. Changing any aspect of the site is as simple as hovering over it until you get an option to edit, then changing things in the resulting pop-up box.

HOSTING

Hosting, like much of Zoho Sites, is a diverse and option-filled experience. The most common way to host is through a subdomain, which the free plan allows you to do for up to five pages. The next one up allows you up to 50 pages, and the top level gives you unlimited pages. Similarly, you go from 1 gig of data storage as well as a gig of bandwidth per month to unlimited bandwidth and 20 gigs of data storage.

MARKETING

Unlike a lot of online Web builders, Zoho Sites actually allows you to play around with marketing options. You can adjust the various tags on every page for SEO, you can connect easily with social networks and you can integrate with services like AdSense to take advantage of the hits that you get without too much trouble. It’s not the powerful search engine optimization that you would get with other companies that specialize in that, but there are enough options available that you can get a good amount of online marketing done, even if it will take a little effort on your part to actually get it working for you.

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

I cannot say enough good about their customer support. First, their documentation is extensive and easy to search through if you have a question. If you can’t find the information that you need by searching their docs, then it’s easy to send a message to one of their service techs who will be get back to you quickly. I tried it out and had a reply within an hour of sending the request for help.

PRICING

There are three basic plans that are offered by Zoho Sites, all of which are decent and give you a lot to work with. Those three plans are as follows:

Free: A simple, free plan that offers basic hosting for a limited number of webpages, a mobile site, custom apps, social networking integration and several other basic services that are also pretty good for the free side of things. Obviously, it costs nothing.

Lite: This gives you more of everything above, including a domain name and the ability to buy more of them. It also gives you a lot of apps and widgets you don’t get with the previous plan, as well as being ad-free. It costs $39 a year.

Pro: The Pro plan gives you almost everything that you could possibly want. It allows you to buy your own store, use Paypal integration, slideshows, galleries, unlimited bandwidth, and a whole lot more. It costs $89 a year.

This is all quite a bit to work with, and the pricing absolutely makes these worth it. The only problem is that buying one of the paid plans opens up a lot of previously locked options in the editor that, quite frankly, should never have been locked. It makes sense to make people pay for PayPal integration, but not to access HTML and CSS code on their own website.

THE GOOD

This is one of the most powerful, easiest to use editors and websites around

THE BAD

Too many functions that should be considered basic are locked out unless you buy one of the paid plans

AND THE UGLY

On top of locking out certain functions, they continually dangle the option to upgrade in front of you, making you feel constantly assaulted by ads

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