After writing many reviews related to online website builders, I started wondering if there are actually any differences between them. It seems that they all have pretty much the same built-in features.
But after I found Strikingly, I knew that there was something special to this builder, and it could indeed be different in the sea of other online website builders. And for this reason, I wanted to write this Strikingly review.
Strikingly at Glance
- Building Your First Site: *****
- Main Features and User Interface: ****
- Integrations: ****
- Customer Support: ****
- Pricing: Website plan 7€/$8 / month (if chosen the annual plan) *****
- Overall: 4.4
- Verdict: Strikingly is packed with features and the whole package is very compelling. Definitely worth signing up!
- Multiple sites on one account.
- An app Store.
- 14-day free trial (when you first sign up to a premium account.
- Customer support workflow should be streamlined a bit (chat).
- Better support for internationalization.
My Initial Expectations
The front page of Strikingly looked pretty basic, and nothing really caught my attention. It had the same features as any other site builder would, and in that sense, the platform didn’t stand out.
So, my next question was: why should I choose it? Moreover: how was this platform different from all these other platforms out there? And I wasn’t able to figure that out in the first moments of visiting Strikingly’s website.
Who Isn't This Sitebuilder For?
Certain factors either make you want to choose Strikingly, or ignore it. In this case, the factors for not choosing Strikingly were:
- You don’t like one-page websites. Perhaps you’d like to have a site which is built by using a more traditional route.
- Although it is possible to create international versions of your site, this means that you should clone your existing site (and then translate it). This operation consumes the number of available websites on your plan.
Obviously, if the previous limiting factors don’t matter to you, Strikingly could be your choice.
Building Your First Website
Getting started with Strikingly is simple. All you need to do is to enter your information in the form on the front page, and then you are ready to go:
After you register with the service, it’s time to pick a template. These templates are divided into various categories, like Business, Startup or Personal (just to name a few).
Also, you may want to approve Strikingly’s privacy settings, by clicking the Approve button.
You can either preview a template before choosing it, or start editing it right away:
If you choose the Start Editing option, Strikingly creates the website for you. Once the operation is finished, you can start exploring the platform further by taking a tour if you want:
I rarely take tours of any products, but this time I wanted to. It didn’t take me that long to finish it, and I got all the necessary information I needed in order to get started with the platform.
You can also change to a new template for your site afterwards if you want.
Building Your First Site:
Building a website from scratch happens easily with Strikingly. The site creation wizard is well thought-out, and the user interface is clean and simple. The platform is also flexible since it enables you to change the template of your website afterward.
Main Features and User Interface
In this section I explore the main functionality and user interface of Strikingly.
I took the liberty of calling this set of settings as Main Settings since they appear at the top-left of the page:
They basically give you access to previewing and publishing functions. Also, you can set styles or other settings related to your website. I’ll cover these last two later in this post.
In general, I think that the functions in the Main Settings area are easy to access as they are not hidden behind a menu structure.
In Strikingly, website design happens in sections. A section presents a part of the page. Once you have all the sections on top of one another, a result is a one-page website:
Once you click any of the section names on the left, the editor scrolls through the page to that particular section:
You can also set additional settings related to your sections, like whether you want to show the section in the menu:
Once you have added a section to your site, you can then edit it with a number of layout settings:
In every section, there are basically two options that you can choose from: Layout and Background.
When you click the Layout and one of the alphabets on the button, you get another preset layout on that section:
In addition, clicking the Advanced link under the Layout button gives you even more options to choose from:
The same logic applies to the Background button, too:
When you hover over inline elements, you will see a context-based menu for editing the element further (for instance, the text element gives you text-based tools, while the image element reveals image-related options):
Not All the Sections Are Equal
Adding new text was a bit confusing at first, mainly because I wasn’t quite familiar with the UI yet.
I noticed that it was not possible to add a text element to the About section in the Lotus theme.
After having a chat with the customer support, I learned that I should actually add a special type of section which supported the text element. In this case, the element was called Content in Rows.
Things make sense now. Still, the behavior was a bit confusing since adding the element didn’t work out as I expected.
Although the UI was clear most of the time, some parts of it could be improved. For instance, some content placeholders were pretty hard to spot. I have a Mac with a Retina screen, and finding the Add Image location was actually quite hard:
Even with a 32” monitor, this was still an issue, and I hope that Strikingly fix this.
You can access Styles at the top-left of the page:
This functionality gives you access to various Style settings:
One notable feature in this section was the ability to change your current website template afterward. So, if you ever wanted to do it, this is the place where it can be done.
The Settings button is yet another section which you can access at the top-left of the Strikingly UI:
Clicking this button gives you access to the site-wide settings:
Here you can access various configurations related to your site like SEO, Domains or Analytics. It’s worth pointing out that some of the functionalities are only available when you upgrade to a premium plan.
In general, I liked the fact that everything (well, at least the most important settings) were in one location, instead of being sprinkled all over the place.
Remember when I said that almost all the important settings were in one place? Well, there was also a dashboard which contained some additional settings:
One thought that crossed my mind was: why were some of the settings in the Settings view, while others were in the Dashboard view?
After thinking about this for a while, I came to the conclusion that if you had created multiple sites, it would be easier to access them through this view.
An interesting section in the Dashboard was the Discovery tab, which showed what sites the current Strikingly users were working on:
This should definitely give you inspiration and ideas on what types of sites you can create with Strikingly.
Strikingly includes some basic ways to improve the visibility of your website in search engines.
To help you set the various settings related to SEO, you can access the SEO Checklist, which can be found by choosing the Settings button at the top-right and then choosing Show Advanced > SEO:
What was nice about this list was that it acted as a checklist of things you should do. And if I hovered over the link with my mouse, I would get more information related to the topic.
Also, when you clicked any of the items on the list, you were taken directly into that section in settings. For example, when I clicked Set a Title for Your Site link, my browser opened the Basic Information view, which included the items I should pay attention to:
In general, this is the best SEO feature that I have seen in any site builder so far, as all the necessary information is in one place.
Of course, don’t expect to rank to the #1 spot on Google just by setting these settings. These items will help you with some aspects of SEO, but there is much more to SEO than that.
Strikingly includes plenty of themes to get started with. While the selection is not as big as those with the biggest site builders, they are still good starting points when you are planning the design of your site.
The themes are divided into multiple categories. However, not all the themes are unique to that category, and you will find the same themes popping up in multiple categories.
Obviously, it would be great if this wasn’t the case since this decreases the number of themes to choose from.
I think that, in general, having fewer themes available is not necessarily an issue as soon as you start modifying the templates yourself. But, if you’d like to have a site template out of the box, and none of the designs apply to you, then you are out of luck.
This website builder also includes a mobile app.
With a brief testing, I found out that running the editor through a desktop computer is the best option when the user experience is concerned. But perhaps for doing small updates, having an app is great.
Features and User Interface:
Strikingly’s features are mostly very well-thought out and the SEO checklist, especially, was a nice surprise.
The user interface was nicely laid out, and it was simple to use. There were some minor issues that Strikingly should pay attention to, but in total, I was definitely surprised at the platform’s simplicity and ease of use.
Integrations and Extendibility
At first, I wasn’t able to find any information regarding how Strikingly integrates with other systems.
Then, after looking at the various sections a bit closer, I found an interesting one called App Store and HTML:
From there, you could choose various apps to extend your site with.
These apps were divided into various categories like eCommerce, Business, Media, Documents and Social. And while some of the apps were free to use, some of them were only available if you used the Pro plan.
Adding an integration was simple enough. For instance, when I added the Google Maps app to my site, all I had to do was to click the Google Maps app:
Then, I entered my location:
And once I clicked Save on the previous screen, I was ready:
NOTE: This was, of course, a very simplistic example of adding an app, as there are different apps with different setup routines. Yet, I wanted to demonstrate that sometimes adding an app was indeed very simple.
Strikingly does have an app store, something that some of its competitors have. It is also possible to create your own app and integrate to your website, by using App Store and HTML section.
Support options come in four ways:
- Knowledge Base.
- Phone support.
The chat works with the idea that when you first enter your question, you get a list of knowledge base articles that may match your query:
And if none of the articles match, you can then have a chat with the customer support.
There is one annoyance with the chat support.
First, it asked me what my question was about. So I went ahead and typed my question:
But as soon as the customer support agent popped in, I had to enter that question again:
The best option would have been that once I entered the question, it would have been posted to the customer support agent window directly. Now I had to do double work!
In general, even with that small annoyance with the chat, I found it quite a nice option to have. The customer support person answered my questions promptly, and I was able to get all the help I needed.
Finally, you could also email the customer support directly. There was also a phone support option, but it was only available on the VIP plan.
You can get support from Strikingly through knowledge base articles, through email, through chat or by phone. I found the chat channel the most helpful as I was able to get all the help I needed. Without the minor annoyance on the chat, I would have given this section five stars.
Pricing and Billing
When you sign up with Strikingly, you start with a free plan. This means that you can create an unlimited number of sites (only with the features found in the free plan) with 5GB of bandwidth per month:
However, when you upgrade to any of the paid plans for the first time, you get a 14-day free trial. This means that you are able to test all the functionality of that plan for free before you decide whether this platform is for you or not.
The 14-day trial is not as generous as with some other online site builders, like Voog, which offers a 30-day free trial. Nevertheless, 14-days is better than nothing.
There are actually three paid plans to choose from:
While the Limited plan gives you enough features to get by, the Pro seems the best in terms of value and features.
The prices are shown in annual pricing by default, and this is naturally less expensive than with the monthly billing. You get even more savings if you choose the 2-year billing cycle.
What I’d like to see is the pricing in other currencies, too. This is what Squarespace is doing, and I love their approach. Perhaps this type of functionality could be used with Strikingly as well (sometime in the future)?
What? Multiple Sites on One Account?
To be quite honest, I was surprised to see that you can run multiple sites on one account since this is not normally possible with other site builders.
Traditionally, if you wanted to run multiple sites on a sitebuilder platform, you always had to subscribe to a new plan per new site. And this increased your costs, sometimes dramatically.
Strikingly is much more flexible with this matter. With a limited plan, you can run two sites with limited features. And if you upgrade to a Pro plan, you can run three sites with Pro features.
If you are just testing a sitebuilder platform, you don’t have to worry about registering your own domain name, at least in the beginning.
But as soon as you start building your real website (either for yourself or for your business), registering a domain is always a very important step.
This is where the pricing comes into play, since you can either end up paying too much for it.
With Strikingly, when you register a yearly premium plan, you get a free domain for the first year. This includes .com/.net/.org/.co/.me domains.
However, if you want to register a domain not listed here, you’ll have to do it through an outside registrar.
I still suggest, that you do all your domain registrations through an outside registrar. Why? Because of the price.The fact is that even if you end up getting a free domain in the beginning (on paid plans), you still have to pay $24.95 on the subsequent years (or when you register a brand new domain).
Comparing this price to a domain, registered through NameCheap (my preferred domain registrar), the price is much cheaper:
Accessing the Billing Information
Cancelling your subscription is easy. You can do that by logging into your account first, and then clicking person icon at the top:
Then, when you click My Account, you'll see all the information related to your account. If you wish to cancel your subscription, you can do so by clicking the Cancel Plan link at the top-right:
Finally, you are then asked to confirm your action. If you still want to cancel, click Confirm Cancel Plan:
After this prompt, you are still asked, one more time, if you want to cancel. And when you click OK there, that's when you have finally cancelled your subscription and reverted to a free plan.
Pricing and Billing:
Pricing is transparent and easy to understand. When you go to the pricing page, you can see all the prices clearly and how much you end up paying with each plan. There is also a 14-day free trial as soon as you upgrade to a paid plan.
But the best part of pricing? You can run multiple sites on one plan. This is something unheard of (with other sitebuilders), and it makes Strikingly different than other platforms. This also saves you money.
Is This the Right Tool for You?
After testing the tool, I was happily surprised by it. The features were well thought-out and the user interface was simple to use.
Strikingly has found its niche amongst the online sitebuilders. Although it’s an online website building tool, it does things differently by building one-page websites only.
Currently, this particular factor is its strongest point, and it gives its competitors (are there any?) a strong resistance.
Now you know that Strikingly is all about. But, if for some reason you learn more about its alternatives, here are some options:
- Voog: Pretty decent site builder with strong support for internationalization.
- Wix: The biggest online site builder on the web. Plenty of features to choose from, plethora of templates and plugins that make your website shine.
- Weebly: Tens of millions of people rely on this site builder. It is very easy to use.
- Free vs. Premium WordPress Themes: Which One Should You Pick for Your Writer Website? - April 2, 2020
- Self-Hosted WordPress vs. WordPress.com – 9 Key Differences (+ My Pick!) - February 15, 2020
- 11 Must-Have Plugins for Your Freelance Writer Website - January 20, 2020