Sitelio Review: Building + Hosting Stand Up To Scrutiny. What About The Cost? We Investigate
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Looking for a quick and easy way to get your idea for a blog or website off the ground? Want a professional-looking platform without the expense of paying a web developer?
Sitelio is a powerful website builder aimed at creating eye-catching sites the easy way. You can become a website designer — regardless of your experience or technical expertise — by using Sitelio’s high quality templates and user-friendly editing tools.
Launched in the UK in 2014, Sitelio is aimed at the personal website market, bloggers and small businesses. It uses the tagline “as easy as 1, 2, 3” to highlight how straightforward it is to get a site up and running – choose a theme, edit it, publish it.
As well as free hosting and domain names, Sitelio also supports payment platforms for e-commerce. They also provides search engine optimization (SEO) tools, to help boost your site’s ranking, and analytics tools for monitoring your site’s traffic.
If you are searching for the right platform to launch your new blog, read on to find out exactly what Sitelio has to offer.
Sitelio Website Builder
Sitelio specializes in website building, with hosting and related services tagged on as extras. It uses its own design platform: there is no support for WordPress or any other content management systems. Sitelio is intuitive and flexible to use and most people will pick it up in no time.
The Sitelio builder is based around preconfigured templates, or themes. Designed by professionals, there are just under 800 themes to choose from, sorted into the following categories:
The beauty of templates is that most of the design work is already done for you. Each template is a full site outline, with multiple pages and navigation already arranged. You can browse all of the themes before you sign up. If you see something you like, simply click ‘”Start Editing,” register your details for a 14-day free trial, and begin adding your own content.
Editing and customization
Sitelio makes editing content and shaping the look of your pages straightforward. The editing interface is laid out clearly, with different tools and page elements accessed from menus across the top of the page:
- Add menu: This is where you can add, move or remove items and sections on your page, such as text boxes, images, icons, widgets and menus. The drag-and-drop system is as user-friendly as it gets, allowing you to pinpoint where on the page you want elements to go, giving you a good deal of control over the final layout.
- Design menu: This gives you options for changing font types, size and alignment and page color schemes. Unlike some other template-based site builders, Sitelio gives you plenty of freedom with the preset colors.
- Page menu: This is where you can add or delete pages for your site.
All editing has to be done on a desktop, but every page is automatically optimized for mobile as you work on it. You can preview how each page will look on a mobile device any time.
Once your site is up and running, Sitelio uses the same interface for content updates and management. All management tools are included as an extra menu within the builder.
While customization options on Sitelio are better than on many template-based site builders, there are limits. There is no plug-in support, apart from for PayPal and Ecwid payment and shopping cart applications. There is also no support for programming languages if you want to go deeper with your customization, and you can only edit the HTML code in the headers and footers of each page.
Hosting on Sitelio
When you sign up for Sitelio, you sign up to use the site builder, and hosting is included as part of the bundle — hence the company can claim to offer “free” hosting. There is no choice in the type of hosting your get. Every site is hosted on a shared server basis at Sitelio’s datacenter. There is also no detail about available bandwidth or storage. The Terms of Service make only a vague reference to “efficient and responsible” use.
Sitelio Hosting Plans
Sitelio offers free hosting for anyone who signs up to use the site builder, which is funded by advertising on your site. Free hosting limits you to five pages on your website, and restrictions on bandwidth, storage and the maximum file size you can upload. There is also no mobile optimization.
Sitelio offers three paid-for subscriptions, starting with inclusive hosting, free domain name registration, free ad credits and mobile support. The middle tier offers SEO and payment platform support, while the full service adds free email and priority technical support.
The main features you get with Sitelio hosting include:
- Free registration of your own website domain name
- SEO tools which help you index your pages and add keywords for improved search rankings
- Social media widgets and customizable links so you can turn visitors into followers and generate new connections
- Google Analytics integration to monitor traffic and site performance
- E-commerce tools for product listings, and plug-ins for PayPal and Ecwid for payment and cart services.
Billing and support
Sitelio offers fixed term contracts of one month, one year and two years. All payments are made up front for the duration of the term, with automatic renewal on a specified date. Be aware: the prices advertised when you visit the site without signing up are promotional rates for your first term only. The regular rates thereafter are higher, and you have to sign up to view these.
There is a 14-day money back guarantee if you cancel your subscription within the first 14 days. However, in the terms and conditions it states only that you “may” get a full refund. This would be worrying if you paid for a two-year subscription up front. You will have to pay an administration fee if you registered a free domain name and then cancel it.
Sitelio’s approach to support is largely self-service, with searchable FAQs and a knowledgebase offering a first point of reference to resolve issues you are facing. Sitelio also offers email support and a 24/7 live chat service.
Should I choose Sitelio?
Like many site building platforms, Sitelio is a great option for getting a site off the ground quickly and easily. For a first time blogger, to launch a small personal site or even get a business off the ground, Sitelio’s big attraction is the quality of the designs. The theme library gives you plenty of choice and there is enough scope for customization to give your site its own feel.
The fact that you can register your own domain name for free is another plus.
On the downside, Sitelio is not as cheap as comparable services, especially once the initial promotional prices for your first term expire. If you already manage your own websites, and are used to WordPress, cPanel or even coding, Sitelio will feel like a step backwards, with little choice or control over your hosting.
Overall, it’s a good choice though for first-time site builders wanting to create a professional-looking platform.