When I first signed up to IM XPRS in order to create my test website for this review, I was a little confused as to the difference between the two options I was met with, XPRS and IM Creator.
To save you spending time trying to figure it out, it turns out that XPRS is the newer, re-vamped version of IM Creator (both are still available) which has millions of existing users and many positive reviews already out there on the internet.
It’s XPRS that we’ll be reviewing today and with that in mind, let’s get stuck in and see exactly what it has to offer!
XPRS Summary – For Those In a Hurry
1. Templates – Up There With The Best of ‘Em
I have to say that XPRS’ templates are quite beautiful and remind me a lot of Squarespace.
It’s these design templates that can truly make or break the overall quality of your website in my opinion and with XPRS, you’re going to be hitting the ground running.
The templates are separated into categories for your convenience so you won’t have to spend an age trawling through them trying to find a good match for your business or project.
The categories include business, services, restaurants, photography, fashion & beauty, weddings, music, video, the list continues.
While there are only around 70 templates which may not seem like a lot, what they lack in quantity they more than make up for in quality.
On top of that, all of the templates are pre-populated with generic sample content to give you a helping hand.
This is great for people like me, who don’t have an artistic bone in their body and wouldn’t have the first clue about how to design a good looking website.
Spend a little time changing the basic site colors, fonts, swapping out the text for that of your own, upload your own pictures and within a few hours, your website will look unrecognizable from the template you started with.
Just keep in mind, that once you’ve chosen a template, you’ll be unable to change it without starting over.
2. Easy To Use – Once You Get The Hang of Things
While I can’t compare to the original IMCreator ( I plan to review it separately), I have to say that I found the XPRS editor well laid out fairly easy to use.
It works on Polydom builder technology and although that may sound technical, it’s far from it.
To create your site, you simply have to choose “Stripes” to add to your page. Think of these stripes as different sections that can be added to build up your page.
There’s a variety of stripes to choose from such as text blocks, headers, forms, pricing charts, slideshows, and call-to-actions to name just a few.
Once selected, you can re-position the stripes on your page and simply click on them to edit the text and images inside. If you no longer want a particular section, no problem, simply delete it.
I’ll be the first to admit it takes a little time to get used to and figure out what everything does, but once have, you should be able to create your site in a matter of hours.
The other thing to point out is that XPRS is a WYSIWYG builder (What You See Is What You Get). This means that all of the changes you make in the editor screen are exactly how the finished product will look. No need to keep flipping between screens each time you make a small change.
Finally, you also have the option to edit your site from a mobile app if you’re out and about or simply don’t have access to your desktop PC or laptop.
3. Mobile-Friendly, No Extra Effort Required
Good news, all of the templates are mobile-friendly meaning you’re site will look good and function properly on tablets and smartphones. You can see how my test site looks on a smartphone below;
I got a little excited for a moment when I flipped to “mobile preview” and realized that I could edit the mobile site. Unfortunately, I soon realized that whatever changes I made to the mobile site, also affected the normal desktop site.
It’s not the end of the world, your website will automatically look good on mobile but you can’t edit it separately which, to be honest, is fairly common practice.
4. Tools & Features – The Basics are There
If you’re reading this hoping that XPRS is going to be bursting at the seams with features (some of which you may never use anyway), then I’m afraid you may be a little disappointed.
It really depends on the complexity of the site as to whether it’ll be flexible enough for you and your project. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the more common features you’d expect to see;
Contact Form: Choose between a variety of contact form templates and add as many fields as you wish such as name, phone, subject, message etc. You’ll struggle to create more advanced forms such as surveys as there’s no way to add radio buttons or allow multiple choice answers.
Social media integration: To add buttons to your website, you just have to add the social section and you can begin editing the style of the buttons (square, round, colors etc), and then add links to your profiles. Most of the major platforms are there including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
Customer reviews: To display, you can add the Testimonials section and manually add them. I couldn’t find a way to display your existing reviews from platforms such as Facebook or Yelp.
Online bookings: If you want to offer clients the ability to schedule their own appointments through your website then the good news is, it’s possible but you’ll have to create an account with a software such as BookingBug. Once you’re all set up, you can copy a small piece of code and paste it into your website so it displays as part of the page. OpenTable is a good option for restaurant reservations.
Newsletter: You can add a signup form to your site to collect visitors information. The details will then be sent to an email address of your choosing. It doesn’t integrate with known email marketing companies which it isn’t ideal if you intend to build a large list of subscribers. (Wix has it’s own newsletter platform).
Members Login: No way of allowing people to register or customers login to your website. If this is a feature you need then Weebly is great for membership websites.
Multilingual: No way to create a multilingual website. If you require the ability to create versions of your site in different languages, take a look at Duda.
Seach Engines: I was pleased to see that it’s possible to “optimize” each page of your website individually including page name, title, description, and the URL (web address for that particular page). A sitemap is automatically generated for you which can then be submitted to Google and Bing to help them find their way around. I should point out that it isn’t currently possible to optimize your images (ALT tags).
Visitor stats: You can create a free account with Google Analytics to check and analyze your website traffic.
Blogging: I have to say, the XPRS blog is the most basic that I’ve come across. You won’t find any options to add author names, dates, schedule your posts, add categories or tags, and visitors can’t interact with your articles as there isn’t a way of adding a comments section (Squarespace is great for blogging).
eCommerce: XPRS integrates with a third-party application called Shoprocket to offer you the ability to sell your products online. If you only intend to sell a few items or think you may down the road, then this will make for a great addition to your website. Having said that, if your main goal is to create an online store then I think it makes sense to use a platform that has native eCommerce tools such as Weebly.
5. Customer Support – Good But No Instant Help
XPRS provide help through their knowledge base of tutorials and also a support forum.
If you need to speak to a real member of the support team for help or advice, you can contact them through their email based ticket system.
Unfortunately, at this time, XPRS doesn’t provide help or support either by phone or live chat which isn’t great should you require a quick answer should something goes wrong.
I’ve tested the support on numerous occasions and have always received a timely and helpful response well within the specified 12-hour timeframe.
6. What Do Others Think?
Howard Steele from Professional website builder review site Superb Website Builders scored XPRS a solid rating of 8.7 /10 and it seems the score would have been even higher was it not for the lack of features.
I found it difficult to find customers review of XPRS but there are plenty for IM Creator. In my opinion, XPRS is a different product altogether and should be treated as such. I will say though, the Creator reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
7. Pricing – Which Plan is Right For You?
The XPRS pricing structure couldn’t really be much simpler. You can either choose a free or a premium account.
If you happen to be a student, artist or non-profit, you can even get a premium account for free which is probably the best offer I’ve ever seen in the world of DIY website builders.
There is a third option costing $350, but that is only for designers and re-sellers looking for a white label solution.
For is regular joe’s who are building a website for ourselves for a business or project, you only need to worry about the two;
Free account $0: Great for getting started, testing, or for personal and hobby sites.
Commercial account $8 per month (billed annually): Gives you unlimited bandwidth (space), allows you to remove ads and access to premium support.
I always recommend starting with the free account to test out a platform before committing. This plan offers enough for you to make up your mind as to whether it’s a good fit or not.
You can always upgrade down the line as and when you need to.
8. Final Verdict
I can’t help but like IM XPRS due to their striking templates, pre-populated content to help you quickly build your pages, and their simple pricing structure.
However, like every other website builder out there, XPRS also has its drawbacks. I’d love to see them improve their blogging feature, create their own in-house eCommerce platform, and allow users to add titles and descriptions to their images.