With over 12 million customers worldwide (according to their homepage), Yola’s definitely doing something right.
In this review, we’ll be taking the platform apart piece-by-piece and taking a long hard look at the pros, cons, features, and pricing.
Oh, and I’ll also fill you in as to why I think Yola’s just like my first car!
Yola Summary – For Those in a Hurry!
1. Templates – I’ve Seen Better
Yola has around 78 responsive templates to choose from. There’s nothing wrong with them exactly, but compared to their competitors, I found them to be a little bland and mediocre at best.
For the purpose of this review, I chose a coffee shop template and it came complete with a home and locations page and both had a bit of sample content which could be edited.
The good news is, you’ll have access to numerous styling options to add your own touches to your template such as fonts and colors etc. If you have experience with HTML/CSS, Yola gives you direct access to make further customizations.
Oh, if you get bored of your template, you can change it at any time which actually, is something that many other platforms don’t allow you to do.
2. Ease of Use – For Me, It’s Yola’s Best Feature
My first thought after opening up the website editor was “man, this could do with a bit of an update” but I soon forgot about it when I saw how user-friendly it is.
All of the tools are well laid out and within easy reach. You won’t find endless menus or complicated tools that you have no idea what to do with.
You can quickly add new pages by using the “pages” tab in the main menu. To add content to your new blank pages, click on the “widgets” tab which will give you access to text elements, images, forms, buttons, video, the list continues.
Any of these widgets can be dragged down onto your page and they’ll automatically “click” into the nearest available position.
At any time while creating your site, you can check to see how it looks on desktops or mobiles by clicking on the relevant icons also in the main menu.
3. Mobile Friendly – Depending On Your Plan
The first thing I did once I’d finished creating my test site was to check to see how it looked on a smartphone.
I quickly realized that in order to have a mobile-friendly version of your website, you’ll need to be a premium member on the Silver or Gold Plan which isn’t exactly ideal (more on pricing later).
I feel that at the very least, it should be part of the Bronze plan (the cheapest) but unfortunately not.
Having said that, if you do decide to upgrade they do have a cool feature that sits at the bottom of your mobile site which allows your visitors to tap the icon and they can call you automatically.
An important feature especially if you’re a local business as many of your customers will contact you while on the move. Actually, it’s a feature that’s overlooked by many other website builders so well done Yola!
4. Tools & Features – What’s There, What’s Missing?
As I touched upon earlier, you can add features such as forms, image galleries, Google Maps, Video, MP3’s and buttons from the main menu.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the essential features to see exactly what Yola has and where it’s lacking.
Form builder: Yola’s form builder packs a powerful punch and is suitable for just about anything from basic contact forms, surveys, and quote forms. You can add as many new fields as you wish such as name, email, and phone, and even add multiple choice drop-down menus and checkboxes.
Social media: If seamless integration between your website and all of your favorite social media profiles is what you’re after then I’m afraid you may be a little disappointed. The basics are there such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (share and follow buttons), but that’s it. No Pinterest, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
Customer reviews: The only way I could find to display existing reviews on your website was to create a new page and add them manually as text. You could also add a new form to your site and ask clients to submit them to you directly which again, you could then add them manually. If you have existing Yelp reviews, it’s possible to grab a snippet of code for a particular review which you could then display on your website using the HTML widget.
Online bookings: There isn’t a native appointment scheduling solution so if you want clients to book appointments directly through your site, you can quite easily integrate a third-party solution. Yola recommends Reservio.
Newsletter: You can use the newsletter form to create an opt-in on your site and collect your visitors’ email addresses. The form integrates with Yola’s recommended email marketing service Constant Contact.
Members login: There’s no way to create a membership site although you can password protect your whole website or individual pages (Weebly’s great for membership sites).
Multilingual: There’s a Google Translate integration in the main editor, but to be honest, it’s not the best option for a professional bilingual/multilingual site (Webnode makes for a better alternative).
Visitor stats: Yola has their own in-house tracking solution or you can use Google Analytics (free) for more detailed information.
Search engines: To improve your chances of being found in Googles and Bing’s search results, you’re able to optimize the page titles and description tags of your pages. That’s about it unless you’re a Gold member (more on pricing further down), in which case you’ll get access to the Traffic Builder package which teaches you search engine optimization basics and shows you which keywords are driving traffic to your website. A nice feature if you’re already a gold member but personally, I wouldn’t upgrade especially for it.
Blogging: Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to start a blog with Yola (Squarespace is great for blogging).
eCommerce: In order to offer you the ability to sell products through your site, Yola has a white-label eCommerce solution based on the powerful Ecwid platform. The best part is, it’s fully integrated with Yola so you don’t have to mess around creating separate accounts and then have to mess around installing it yourself. Yola’s store/Ecwid comes with a number of great features to help you sell both physical and digital products such as real-time shipping rates, the ability to offer customer discounts, inventory tracking, and abandoned cart recovery where your customer will receive an email if they don’t complete their purchase.
5. Customer Support
There’s a wide range of tutorials and blog posts which will help you when creating your site.
If you run into any issues, you can contact the support team via their contact form or if you’re a premium member, their live chat feature for instant help.
To be honest, I found the whole website building experience very intuitive but I still fired off a couple of emails to the customer support team to see if they’d help me out or leave me hanging. On both occasions, I received a helpful response within 10 hours.
6. What Do Others Think of Yola?
After sifting through reviews from other professional reviewers, I have to say Yola seems to achieve fairly average scores.
PCMag scored Yola a 3 out of 5 and says and I have to agree with what they had to say;
Yola is easy to use and loaded with site widgets, but it trails competitors like Weebly and Squarespace in several ways
Then we come to the customer reviews but I should point out that I found very few recent ones. Most were dated 2016 and earlier which isn’t ideal.
However, the most recent entries saw customers praising Yola for its ease of use and simplicity.
The main criticisms were about the lack of features while some users found it hard to get in touch with customer support. One or two complained of poor billing practices.
Note: Reviews correct as of 29/03/18.
7. Pricing – Which Plan is Right For You?
Yola offers a free plan but it comes with company branding, you’re website won’t be “mobile friendly”, and you can only have a maximum of 3 pages. Still, it’s a great way to test out the platform before deciding whether or not to commit.
Premium plan 1) Bronze – Up to 5 sites, contains ads, no mobile site, premium support through live chat
- $4.95/month (1-year plan, billed upfront)
- $6.95/month (monthly plan)
Premium plan 2) Silver – 25 sites, remove ads, mobile-friendly version of your site, and access to premium templates
- $9.95/month (1-year plan, billed upfront)
- $14.95/month (monthly plan)
Premium plan 3) Gold – 25 sites, advanced SEO tools, premium support
- $19.95/month (1-year plan, billed upfront)
- $25.95/month (monthly plan)
Additional pricing considerations;
1. Custom domain (yourbusiness.com) – Start at $11.95/year (free for the first year with an annual plan)
2. Custom email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) – $9.96/year.
3. Online store – additional $10/month.
8. Final Verdict
Remember at the beginning of the review I mentioned that Yola reminded me of my first car?
I say that because my first car was a Ford Fiesta. It was great and I knew exactly where I stood with it. I never had any trouble getting from point A to Point B and that’s exactly how I feel about Yola.
These days, I drive a different car. It has a sleeker design and loads more features.