SimpleSite review - build a website for free
SimpleSite tells you all you need to know in its title - it can help you build a simple website with ease. It’s perfect for beginners who want to build a straightforward website.
So far, more than 2 million customers have built more than 20 million websites using SimpleSite.
But does it offer much beyond the basics? Can you start up an online shop or is it best suited for personal blogs? Can you really use it for free? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know in our SimpleSite review.
|Overall score||Free plan is good for beginners, but features are basic overall|
|Ease of use||Very easy to use|
|Features||Not many features on offer|
|E-commerce||Can sell 5 products for free|
|Pricing||Basic plan is free, but Pro and E-commerce aren’t worth the money|
|Help & Support||Email support only, response takes up to 48 hours|
SimpleSite Pros and Cons
- Very easy to use
- Can build a website for free
- Can sell products, even on the free plan
- Step-by-step builder is good for beginners
- Not enough features
- Only suitable for basic sites
- Paid plans aren’t worth the money
- Limited customer support
Working with SimpleSite website builder
Getting started with SimpleSite is just as easy as it sounds. One of SimpleSite’s aims is to make website building fun for people who don’t have coding experience or design skills. Its founder Morton Elk said: “Using our product should feel like playing”. To make things as easy as possible, SimpleSuite guides you through the building process when you first start using the platform.
- The first thing you're asked is whether you want to make a personal/blog site or business site. If you have something else in mind, you can click ‘other’.
- You’ll then be asked to specify what type of topic/industry your website will be about.
- Next, SimpleSite prompts you to pick a title for your site. It will give you some examples if you get stuck.
- Now it’s time to pick a hero image for your site’s homepage. You can either upload your own image, or pick something suitable from SimpleSite’s stock image library, which is included in all plans.
- SimpleSite’s free image library has a good selection of pictures, and you can search using relevant terms to get the right image for your site.
- Next, you can add a short description for your website. As with other sections you’re given hints and tips to point you in the right direction.
- Then, pick the layout of your site from two options. You’ll get to see how this will look on both desktop and mobile.
- Almost there. Now it’s time to pick a theme, which will include the font and color scheme of your site.
- Pick a domain name and your login, then your site will be published automatically. You can then continue to take SimpleSite’s editing prompts or make changes yourself.
- Now, you can add more features to your site in SimpleSite’s editor mode. There’s a menu bar along the top of the page where you can edit design features like fonts, colours, upload a logo and create or manage pages.
- You can also add content, such as images, video, slideshows, call-to-action (CTA) buttons and more. The preview tab will show you how your site is looking on mobile and desktop.
- If you’re stuck at any point, you can click the green ? button on the bottom right to open up a help menu with tips and tutorials.
It’s really easy to get started on SimpleSite, but in some ways it’s too simple. If you’re a complete beginner then you’ll probably welcome the step-by-step process. But people with even basic web knowledge may find the tips a little obvious and the linear process a bit frustrating.
If you’re hoping for a list of 30+ features like Builderall, you’ve come to the wrong website builder. That said, there are a few features to add to your website.
SimpleSite offers a range of templates to suit different types of websites and industries, from restaurants and cafes, to personal blogs and small businesses.
All templates are responsive and you can see how they’ll look on both desktop and mobile. They generally are easy to navigate and look nice enough. However, some of them are a little dated. And, while you can change colors and layout, your editing options are pretty limited.
If you’re on the Basic plan you’ll find 10 templates to choose from while the Pro and E-commerce plans give you 36.
SimpleSite automatically formats your website for both desktop and mobile, and you can see how it looks on both during any time of the building process just by clicking Preview.
SimpleSite also lets you edit your website from your smartphone. So you can edit on the move without even having to download an app.
If you sign up to the Pro plan, SimpleSite gives you 5 personalized emails for your website, for instance [email protected] You can use this instead of your regular email to appear more professional. It’s a nice touch, even if you’re just making a website for fun.
All SimpleSite websites come with a free SSL certificate. This means any data coming in and out of your site is encrypted. It will be added to your site automatically when it’s live.
Your site will also be hosted on SimpleSite’s secure servers. And if you don’t want certain parts of your site to be accessible, you can block them off from visitors with the Password Protection feature.
Deleting your website
You can delete your website at any time. All you have to do is click on the Account Menu in the dashboard, then head to Subscription and hit the Delete my Website button. Then, you’re free to start again from scratch and try out some new designs. This is useful if you’re just playing around with SimpleSite for fun.
SimpleSite for blogging
SimpleSite is perfect for making a blog. You can choose to make your entire site a blog, or you can simply add blog pages to your business site within the Pages menu.
SimpleSite can help you build a blog, but what features are there to help bring your content to life? SimpleSite’s blog features include:
- Embed buttons from your social accounts, like Twitter and Facebook
- Allow visitors to post comments and favorite posts
- Give individual blog posts their own cover image
SimpleSite for e-commerce
One of SimpleSite’s best features is the fact that you can use your website to sell up to five items, even on the free plan. You’d be hard pressed to find another website builder that offers e-commerce functions on a free plan. Most charge a premium for it.
Creating a web shop is as simple as clicking on pages and selecting Webshop.
You’ll then be launched into the webshop creator.
Once you’re in the e-commerce builder, you’ll see some options to launch your products. You can input the basic details of the items, such as a title, description and image. You can also view any orders you may have, adjust the layout of your products and add details for shipping, delivery, sizes and terms and conditions.
You’ll also have to select your payment option. You can either disable online payments and organise with your buyer over email, or select credit card payments. But you will need a PayPal account for this option. We highly recommend using this if you want customers to buy with confidence.
All in all, if you’re just selling some merchandise or small items, SimpleSite’s e-commerce is pretty good going, and it's impressive that it’s included in the free plan.
However, it is very basic so it’s not really suitable for any sort of professional store. And unless you sign up to the E-commerce plan, you’ll be limited to just five products, even on the Pro plan.
To be quite honest, if you are planning on selling more items and starting a genuine store, you’d be much better served by a product like Shopify.
While it's great for building a basic website, SimpleSite has limitations if you want to create something a bit more complex.
Weak SEO tools
If you want your site to be found in Google searches, you’re going to need good search engine optimization (SEO). Many website builders offer a suite of SEO tools in their plans to help your chances of ranking well. However, SimpleSite doesn’t offer much in the way of SEO.
While your web pages are optimized for mobile and it gives you advice on keywords and headings, there are no in-depth guides or reports to give you any insight on how to rank well.
You also can’t make basic SEO edits, like meta descriptions or image tags.
And since SimpleSite doesn’t have plugins, you can’t integrate Google Analytics into your site either.
No App Market
SimpleSite doesn’t give you an app market or widget library to help you add features to your site. While some web builders, like Squarespace, offer enough features to cover most of what you need without an app market, SimpleSite only has limited features. So, the ability to add in third-party plugins would be really useful.
Restrictive design and editing
SimpleSite is for people with no coding skills who just want the easiest way of building a website. Whilst this is helpful for beginners, people expecting a range of design and editing options will be disappointed. You can’t edit the HTML code on SimpleSite, so you’re completely limited to its themes and templates.
SimpleSite’s support options are not very extensive. If you have any specific questions, you’ll need to get in touch via SimpleSite’s customer support email address. And when we tested this out, we received an email stating replies can take up to 48 hours, which is not exactly prompt.
In the end, we got a response the following day, which wasn’t too bad. But, of course, it’s far too long to wait if you have an urgent problem with your site.
For more general enquiries, you can get on-page tips in the editor, or consult the FAQ section. The FAQs are split into categories to help you find the answer you need.
SimpleSite plans and pricing
SimpleSite gives its customers three different price plans to pick from. The Basic plan is completely free, the Pro plan is $15.49 a month, and the E-commerce plan costs $30.49 each month.
SimpleSite Basic plan
SimpleSite’s Basic plan is free, and it comes with some generous features. You can create 15 pages and even set up a webstore for up to 5 different products (including variants for size, color, etc).
Since it’s free, you’ll have to live with SimpleSite adverts on your site, so it’s not ideal if you're looking to start a business. But it’s a good choice if you want to create a blog, a basic personal site, or a school project.
Basic plan features
- SimpleSite ads
- Build up to 15 pages
- Some design options
- Add up to 5 products to sell
- Websites are optimized for mobile
- 10 templates
- SSL certificate
SimpleSite Pro plan
The SimpleSite Pro plan costs $15.49 a month. You can build unlimited pages, get access to more design features, and add as much video or image content. You also get email addresses, a free domain name, and no SimpleSite adverts on your site. However, you’re still limited to five web shop products, so it’s not a great option for an online store.
Pro plan features
- Everything included in the Basic plan
- Free domain name
- No SimpleSite ads on your site
- Build unlimited pages
- Add unlimited images
- Upload unlimited video
- All design options
- Access to 36 templates
The SimpleSite E-commerce plan costs $30.49 a month. It gives you all the features of the Pro plan with the added bonus of being able to sell unlimited items on your site. This plan is the one to go for if you are starting a web store with a range of products to sell.
E-commerce plan features
- Everything included in the Pro plan
- Sell unlimited online store products
- Websites are optimized for mobile
|Features||Basic plan||Pro plan||E-commerce plan|
|Domain||SimpleSite branded domain||Free domain name||Free domain name|
|Number of pages on your site||15||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Number of products you can sell on your site||5||5||Unlimited|
|Optimized for mobile||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Number of templates||10||36||36|
|Number of email addresses||0||5||5|
|Add unlimited video||❌||✔️||✔️|
If you're not too impressed, check out our list of best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for website builders – you could find a cheaper and a more suitable option for you there!
You’ll get a simplesite.com domain name for free (for instance cybernews.simplesite.com) with all plans. But if you want to add a custom domain name (cybernews.com), you can buy one for just $1 during the initial building process.
Cancellation and refunds
If you decide SimpleSite isn’t for you, it’s easy to cancel your subscription via your account settings in the dashboard. However, if you want a refund, you’ll have to get in touch with customer support to request your money back. You can ask for a refund up to 14 days after you’ve paid a subscription charge.
Who could use SimpleSite?
Anyone can use SimpleSite. It’s been designed specifically to help people who have no tech skills whatsoever to get online. And with a free plan on offer, this makes SimpleSite a great option for someone who wants to start a blog, create a website for an event or hobby, or just wants to make a website for fun.
SimpleSite’s guided design wizard means you don’t have to spend ages scrolling through themes or color schemes. You can just enter a few details about the kind of site you want and let SimpleSite choose a theme for you.
However, if you’re aiming to make a professional site, or a dedicated e-commerce store, SimpleSite won’t be for you.
SimpleSite is good for:
- Sites for one-off events (weddings, birthdays, etc.)
- Personal blogs
- A basic store
- School projects
- Web presence for small business
SimpleSite isn’t great for
- Professional businesses
- Complex websites with a lot of content
- Sites where design is important
- Online entrepreneurs
- E-commerce sites
SimpleSite has a lot to offer beginner website builders, but what other web builders are out there? Let’s take a quick look at some alternatives.
Google’s Blogger is the original Internet blog site, and it’s helped countless people create blogs thanks to its ease of use. Just like SimpleSite, Blogger is free. But, while your design options are limited on SimpleSite, Blogger gives you more to play with.
You will find more templates to tinker with and you can install all sorts of plugins and add-ons from other websites and apps. You can even edit the code, which is something SimpleSite doesn’t offer. So, if you have the expertise, you can make a really attractive site on Blogger.
If you’re looking to make a blog, Blogger will offer you more features than SimpleSite.
Choose Blogger over SimpleSite if: you want to add more features to your website or blog.
Moonfruit doesn't have a free option, but it’s very affordable. And there is usually a limited-time price reduction, which makes it a much cheaper option than SimpleSite.
Moonfruit is really easy to use too, and its editor stands out with a lot of great design features. You can choose to start off with a blank page or pick from its templates, and then edit text, layout and themes until you’re happy with the look. You can integrate social media and Google sites, too (learn more in our Moonfruit review).
You certainly get more for your money with Moonfruit than you do on SimpleSite’s Pro plan.
Choose Moonfruit over SimpleSite if: you want more control over the design of your website.
Shopify is a website builder that’s completely focused on e-commerce. It’s a much better option than SimpleSite’s E-commerce plan, which costs $30.49 each month, compared to Shopify’s $29 for its Basic plan.
Even on Shopify’s Basic plan, you’ll get a lot more for your money and a platform that is designed to build slick webstores, not the basic sites you can create using SimpleSite.
Shopify gives you 100+ templates, hosting, security, integrated payment methods, an app store for plug-ins and widgets, marketing campaign features and more.
Choose Shopify over SimpleSite if: you’re serious about e-commerce.
SimpleSite website builder review summary
SimpleSite doesn’t offer as many flashy features or advanced functions as other website builders, but it doesn’t pretend to. SimpleSite’s aim is to help anyone build a website. If you’re making a site for a school project, a one-off family event, a blog, or even a very small webshop, SimpleSite is a great option.
Its e-commerce features included on the free plan set SimpleSite apart from other basic builders. Being able to sell up to five products is a huge bonus, and something that’s rarely seen on free builders.
If you do have bigger ambitions for your website, you might be better suited going for another builder. And while the free plan represents excellent value, the paid plans are not as enticing when you look at the lack of features - especially if you want e-commerce functions.
Is SimpleSite safe?
SimpleSite is completely safe to use. All websites built on the platform come with SSL encryption to make sure all data sent and received by the site is protected from cyberattacks. SSL also improves site SEO, so this is an added bonus.
How much is SimpleSite per month?
SimpleSite can be used for free. Its Basic plan does not cost anything and even allows you to sell products. If you want more features, you can opt for the Pro plan which costs $15.49 a month, or the E-commerce plan, which costs $30.49 each month.
Can you add custom HTML code to SimpleSite?
No, you cannot add any HTML code to websites built using SimpleSite. You’re limited to its themes and styles and can’t make any edits at code level. This is great for users with no tech experience but more capable users will find this frustrating.
Can you monetize a SimpleSite website?
Yes, you can sell up to five products on SimpleSite’s Basic and Pro plans. You can also have ads to help you monetize your site. To sell unlimited products, you’ll need to sign up to the E-commerce plan.