Imagine this: you purchase a site builder tool or sign up for web hosting, only to discover that the included content management system is too difficult to use. Frustrating, right? Thankfully, Readymag does not suffer this fate.
When your goal is to create a short, simple, and beautiful website on the fly, Readymag might be the right call. Although this solution is not ideal for business websites, blogs, or anything that requires formal navigation, the platform itself is novice-friendly and offers a great introduction to site building for people with simpler needs.
So, if you’re looking to create a digital home for your portfolio, presentation, or a simple landing page for your startup, and you want to skip the complications of coding, this review is for you.
What Exactly Is Readymag?
Readymag is what’s known as a site builder. This means you get web hosting, a domain, and a site builder tool all rolled into one.
Web hosting is built into each Readymag plan and is provided by Amazon Cloud. There’s absolutely nothing for you to do here unless you sign up for an enterprise plan; in which case, you can choose a custom hosting solution.
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The free plan from Readymag will give you a subdomain upon which to host your site. In this case, your site’s URL will look something like this:
www.readymag.com/u/[user ID number]/[URL name that you create]
If you want a custom domain name that is free of the Readymag label, you’ll have to pay for one of the premium plans.
And the site builder tool is the heart of what Readymag does. It’s a browser-based software that enables you to build a website from-scratch quickly with only a small learning curve.
When you compare the pricing of Readymag with other site builder tools, you’re going to notice a pretty big jump here. This might be attributed to the fact that Readymag includes the cost of a custom domain and hosting on Amazon Cloud within it.
As for the plans themselves, there is a free option and a few premium upgrades for different professional types.
The free plan is great if you’re on the fence about this tool and want to give it a try before upgrading. It’s also a good choice if you’re really not looking to do much aside from building a simple portfolio site, create some online presentations, or develop a number of individual landing pages.
The premium plans will obviously give you more options in terms of features. Each one comes with unlimited projects, unlimited pages, Google Analytics integration, custom domains, expanded typography options, and SEO settings. Some plans will also give you the ability to add custom coding so you can personalize the styling of the site.
What Readymag Gets Right
Readymag has gone to great pains to develop an easy-to-use site builder here, and it’s clear that this company understands who its target audience really is. While web developers should probably stay away, newbie website owners should enjoy the experience of using this tool. Here are some reasons why
1. Getting Started Guide
Although this isn’t easy to find, it’s a very helpful reference as it’s chock full of videos and screencasts that will walk you through using the tool and performing various tasks within it.
2. Simple Signup
Sign up is streamlined. Simply provide your name and email address or you can log in through your Facebook or Google+ account.
3. Introductory Tour
Because this site builder does not look like other site builder tools (to that we can attest), it’s great that Readymag provides a 12-step tooltip-driven tour of its platform. You’ll quickly notice how cleanly laid-out the interface is, with each element of the content creation process residing within its own designated space.
4. Straightforward Editing
Once you’ve taken the tour, creating new content is easy. It’s simply a matter of learning what each icon means in order to get the hang of how Readymag works. Editing is even easier as all you need to do is click into the page or widget you’re working on, and get to work.
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5. Ready-Made Templates
No site builder tool will be complete without pre-made templates to get you started. Readymag has done the same. There are over a dozen templates to choose from, each of which is simple in construction, modern in design, and easy to update once you’ve added it to your new site or project.
What Might Make You Hesitate
Okay, so there are some definite drawbacks to Readymag, but only if you use this platform for a purpose for which it wasn’t intended. Here are some things to watch out for
1. Limited Site-Building Capabilities
Readymag is not for everyone, which is fine, but you should be aware of this before signing up. You won’t be able to use this tool to create a fully functioning business website, blog, or e-commerce site.
The former two might be possible, but it would take way too much work as you’re basically having to handcraft every page from scratch. There are no themes to work with here. E-commerce is just flat-out impossible as there are no monetization add-ons.
2. Image Loading
This isn’t something you’ll notice when building your site in Readymag, but you’ll definitely notice it when previewing the ready-made templates: images load slowly on these sites. While everything looks fine above the fold, as you scroll through the site, there is definitely some lag time.
3. No Navigation
Readymag does not allow you to create traditional websites with navigation at the top and new pages to click through. Instead, you have two choices
- A vertical-scrolling website
- A horizontal click-through website.
To create either of these, you have to add new pages in order to build out the content to be scrolled to, so it’s not one seamless page or project design experience.
4. Limited Support
Finally, there’s the issue of support. Most of the “Contact” buttons or links open up to an email. The only other option for support shows up once you’re a customer. There is a tab that appears in the bottom-right corner of the site with a short contact form, through which Readymag promises to respond within 24 hours.
Is Readymag Worth It?
For website owners with very basic needs, yes. Readymag is a good platform to work with. Content creation and editing options are easy to follow and you have full control over what shows up on your site, where it goes, and how it looks and works.
However, anything more than a simple portfolio or online presentation would be too difficult to create and the cost (even with all that extra control) wouldn’t be worth it.