Virb Review: Fast Setup, Limited Features and Support
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Virb started out as a MySpace competitor back in 2007. However, when it became obvious Facebook would become the next king of social media, Virb was acquired by MediaTemple and revamped as a site builder in 2008.
With GoDaddy’s acquisition of MediaTemple in 2014, Virb changed ownership once more. Since then, this site builder has been maintained by GoDaddy, trying to cater to a large user base ranging from small business owners to photographers to bloggers.
In this review, we’ll take a look at Virb’s features, its benefits, and its drawbacks.
Getting Started With Virb
Getting started with Virb is easy. The site builder offers a free trial period during which you can explore all of its features. You will be asked to provide your full name, email address, and a site title, which will be used to generate your free Virb URL.
You can then select a category for your blog. After you’ve filled out the necessary fields, Virb will take you to its dashboard, which offers a guided tour to get you acquainted with the platform. You can access videos and help documentation throughout most of the dashboard to see how to add new pages, customize your templates, and more.
Once you’ve gone through the initial tutorial, you can select a template to start working on your blog. Virb will suggest templates based on the category you’ve chosen during the signup process, but you can browse through all available templates and choose one from a different category.
Virb offers 26 templates to choose from. These templates are organized into categories like business, personal, music, photography, and portfolio. Unlike some templates offered by other site builder’s, Virb’s themes feature a simple, minimal, and somewhat modern design.
When you’ve found a template that you like, you can begin adding pages and content, including fresh blog posts. You can choose from several page types or start off with a blank slate. Unlike many other page builders, Virb’s editor is not a drag-and-drop builder. It allows you to add and format text but you won’t find the ability to add rows or columns and elements like accordions, tabs, info-boxes, and so forth. Just plain text.
Templates can be customized under the Customize Design tab and you can choose your own colors, fonts, upload a custom background, and your logo. If you know your way around CSS, you can go beyond what’s offered in the customizer and add styles for the chosen template as well as styles that apply only to certain pages. There is also an option to enable developer access, where you can add custom HTML code.
Even though the templates are rather minimal, it’s worth mentioning that they are all responsive from the start, so you don’t have to worry about creating a separate mobile version of your site.
In terms of features, Virb offers basic SEO controls; extra widgets like social media profiles; site stats; the ability to set passwords for certain pages; and integrations with various third-party services. Let’s take a look at some of the most important features below.
When it comes to SEO, you can enter your site title and description under the general site settings. You can further optimize your site for SEO by entering a page or blog post description, keywords, and tick the box to indicate whether or not search engines should index a page or post. However, there doesn’t seem to be an option to enter alt tag information for images, which means they won’t be SEO optimized.
If you are a blogger with an existing Etsy or BigCartel store, you can take advantage of Virb’s integration with those platforms. In fact, if you want to sell your products on your Virb website, you will have to sign up for either of those platforms as there is no other way to add products.
If you want to customize your store, the only options available are to add sizes, a varying number of product pictures, and an option to link to the cart.
To monitor your blog’s statistics such as the number of visitors and pageviews, you will need to sign up for a Google Analytics account. Virb doesn’t offer their own monitoring tools but the integration with Google is seamless and easy to setup.
Virb integrates with a number of third-party services. Some of those integrations include Last.fm, Facebook, Flickr, SoundCloud, OpenTable, YouTube, Vimeo, and more. As mentioned earlier, you can integrate your Etsy or BigCartel store and use Google Analytics to track your stats. If you want to upload files and allow visitors to download them, you can link to any Dropbox file. Lastly, there’s also an integration with Tumblr so you can display your Tumblr posts on your website.
Pricing And Support
Virb’s pricing is very simple. The company only offers one, affordable monthly plan which gives you unlimited pages, unlimited photos, videos, and audio content. You can connect a custom domain to your account — but keep in mind that you cannot purchase a domain through Virb.
Virb accepts all major credit cards as its preferred payment method, but there is an option to use PayPal as well. Students can get their first year of hosting for free as part of the Virb Student Program. You’ll need an .edu email address to qualify for the Student program.
When it comes to support, Virb offers plenty of helpful topics in its support portal as well as the ability to contact its support team via email. The support team is only available Monday through Friday, from 9 AM to 6 PM EST. There is no phone or chat support, so getting help immediately in real time just doesn’t seem to be possible.
Is Virb Right For You?
All things considered, Virb is a simple, no-frills site builder with a low learning curve. It offers a decent selection of themes that can be used for a very basic blog. It comes with some downsides, however, such as: no ability to purchase a domain name through its dashboard, limited support options, and rather limited customization options — unless you are familiar with HTML and CSS.
If you need a simple blog with minimal features, then Virb might be right up your alley. But if you want more control over how your blog looks or if you want to sell products without signing up for another platform, then considering a different, more feature-rich builder is a better idea.
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