UK-based SiteZulu was founded by three university friends who found it difficult to build a simple website easily and inexpensively given the tools available at that time. They decided to fill the niche with not just another do-it-yourself website builder, but a great website builder. The result of this goal is SiteZulu, a system that’s simple to use and creates aesthetically pleasing, mobile-friendly websites that look as if a professional had designed them.
All websites built with SiteZulu use HTML5, so you get all of the latest and greatest features in web development. The templates are also optimized for search engine crawlers. As a site builder, SiteZulu takes care of these aspects on your behalf, as well as everything related to web hosting, site backups, email, and domain name management.
All SiteZulu sites are given a free MySiteZulu subdomain, though paid subscriptions can point their own domains to their SiteZulu page. If you do not already have a custom domain name, you can get one free of charge with the purchase of a Professional subscription plan.
With a SiteZulu site, you also get support for the following:
- Media Widgets, allowing you to embed YouTube videos, Google Maps, SoundCloud clips, Disqus comment boxes, and more.
- PayPal Payments, so you can accept payments, sell subscriptions, and receive donations.
- Custom Forms, which allow your visitors to communicate with you via your site; all responses get delivered to your email automatically.
- Image Management and Editing tools, which allows you to add, organize, and edit the images on your website.
- Secure Pages, preventing unauthorized parties from accessing selected pages on your site.
- Built-in Stats and Advanced Analytics allow you to collect visitor stats, traffic growth, and user behavior.
If you need additional functionality above and beyond what’s offered by SiteZulu, you can add custom code, which allows you to add any widget or third-party plugin to your site.
Feature-wise, everything SiteZulu implements supports one of its core concerns: simplicity, customization, flexibility, and social.
SiteZulu’s editor boasts a one-minute, totally free, simple setup process, a drag-and-drop interface, the ability to create pages in seconds using the provided layouts, and one-click publishing.
Regardless of whether you are a novice with no design experience and no in-depth technical knowledge or someone with years of web design and development experience, you can use SiteZulu. Novices can easily create their sites by dragging and dropping text boxes, photo areas, maps, videos slots, and more onto their sites, while experienced developers can create sites without having to write a single line of code. Because the editor is of the WYSIWYG variety, you can make changes and see what they’ll look like to your visitors instantaneously.
When you are done editing, one-click publish makes all of your changes live so that your site is online in just seconds.
SiteZulu comes with several dozen professionally-designed themes from which you can choose, and you can edit as much or as little as you’d like using the style designer. You can personalize backgrounds, navigation tools, colors, layouts and more to create the perfect theme for your business.
The SiteZulu editor is primarily drag-and-drop — all of the elements you can add to your site are shown in a navigation pane, and the structure of your site is based on column elements. The editor also allows you to create custom forms.
Images are one of the most important pieces of content you have, so SiteZulu’s built-in image editing tools allow you to resize, crop, and apply filters to your images on the fly. If you don’t have sufficient imagery for your site, you can use something from SiteZulu’s library of stock images, which consists of over 6,000 high-quality images and icons.
By default, all SiteZulu websites are mobile-friendly, which means that those on larger screens see a different layout than those on smaller screens. This ensures that you deliver a consistently attractive design across all devices.
Note that SiteZulu pages are not responsive (that is, there’s a single layout that shrinks and expands based on the viewport size of the user). SiteZulu, for each of their themes, has two designs, and the one that your user see depends on the size of their screen. To help you customize what visitors see on small screens (like smartphone screens) the SiteZulu editor comes with a mobile preview feature, as well as automatic support for cross-device compatibility.
SiteZulu makes it easy for you to connect with whichever social media platforms you’re using, including Facebook Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram. Linking your site to your profile is fast and easy, and you can easily share the content on your site to the platform of your choice.
Pricing and Billing
Rather than accepting all sign-ups and scaling up their infrastructure, SiteZulu will occasionally cap signups. This is to ensure their ability to offer top customer support to all newcomers.
When getting started with SiteZulu, you can take advantage of the unlimited free trial. You’ll get 100 MB of storage, a maximum of 500 page views per day, a free MySiteZulu subdomain, and access to the SiteZulu customer support team. SiteZulu will also display a discreet advertisement on your page. If you’re not yet sure that SiteZulu is the building tool for you, or you want to get a good feel for how the drag-and-drop editor works, you can use the trial for as long as you’d like.
Currently, SiteZulu offers two different paid subscription plans: the Advert Free and the Professional.
The Advert Free plan is essentially identical to the free trial, but with two exceptions: SiteZulu doesn’t display any type of advertising on your website, and you get priority support.
The Professional plan, on top of no advertising and priority support, gets you 1 GB of storage, no limits on the number of people who can visit your site, a custom domain, the ability to add a PayPal button to support basic e-commerce features, and two email accounts.
In the near future, SiteZulu will begin offering a Business plan, which gets you an ad-free site, unlimited storage, unlimited page views, a custom domain, full e-commerce support, five email accounts, a blog, and priority support.
When purchasing your plan, you can choose to pay on a month to month basis, or you can choose to pay up front for a year of service. If you choose the latter, you’ll get a discount equivalent to two months of service.
Refunds and Guarantees
If you’re unsatisfied with your purchase, you can cancel your package at any time. Your account will expire at the end of your current billing period. SiteZulu does not offer any type of refunds or money back guarantees. In certain cases, SiteZulu may actually charge you an early termination fee.
Technical Support and Customer Service
One way in which SiteZulu stands out is that it provides tech support even to its free customers. However, paid customers receive priority support. The primary method by which you can get in touch with the SiteZulu team is via Live Chat.
Other than chatting with a SiteZulu team member, the help resources available were nonexistent. Given SiteZulu’s emphasis on catering to those with limited experience with web design and development, we found this a major oversight.
SiteZulu is a do-it-yourself, drag-and-drop website builder designed to make it easy to get up and running with a simple website. While its feature set is relatively limited, this isn’t necessarily a downside for those who don’t need all of the bells and whistles when it comes to setting up their site. Offering too much can be overwhelming, and as SiteZulu makes clear, its goal is to work with individual entrepreneurs and small businesses looking for a simple website.
The product itself is reasonably priced, though we found it concerning that something that claims to be geared toward beginners in the field of web design and development lacked in-depth help docs. All support is done via Live Chat, and while the chat window makes it clear whether the team is available to respond to you or not, we were unable to find specific information on when support is available to users.
Finally, note that you may not be able to sign up for a SiteZulu account at all times since the company limits the number of new customers it accepts to ensure that they don’t overwhelm their systems.