Zoho Sites is a platform that offers website building solution for small and medium businesses. The software is a member of the more massive Zoho parent corporation.
Zoho Corporation is an internet company that focuses on providing web-based tools for businesses. It owns and operates a large set of products, and Zoho Sites is one of them.
Zoho Sites works like many of the available website builders today. You can create stunning and complex sites using this tool. Its overall look and feel aim to win the heart of modern businesses. But it also has its share of drawbacks.
In this article, we’ll be peering deeper into this website builder. We’ll analyze its features and tools and let you decide if it is good enough for you.
What is Zoho Sites?
Zoho Sites got added to the portfolio of the Zoho corporation to bolster their business productivity offerings. Given their web-based business segment, the tool is a way to offer a more rounded solution to their customers.
Zoho Sites allows you to build stunning websites in a few minutes. The tool uses a powerful drag-and-drop builder to let you create and manage your site.
The even better news is that you don’t have to know anything about coding to use this tool.
You can use Zoho Sites either as a part of your productivity suites on Zoho or as a standalone product. The solution hinges on intuitive design and fluid user experience. So you can be sure that your customers will enjoy navigating your pages.
How Does Zoho Sites Work?
Zoho Sites is a full-featured website builder. You can use it as a single product or use it as a part of other Zoho tools.
To use any Zoho product, however, you must create an account with the Zoho team. This single account can be used to access all other Zoho products.
Registering to use the Zoho Sites is pretty fluid. You only need to provide an email address and password. There is a country field too, but it gets auto-filled. If you are using a VPN though, verify that the country selected is correct.
As soon as you register your account, you can begin designing your site to your taste.
There are a lot of features in Zoho to make this process a painless effort. Zoho also provides plenty of guidelines to help you out in case you get stuck.
Benefits of Zoho
1. Intuitive and Modern Web Builder Tools
The Zoho website builder design tools are very modern. It requires little knowledge to master and use. Its drag-and-drop feature lets you add new functionality to your site in an instant. You also don’t need to write any line of code to create your website.
2. Access to Other Zoho Productivity Suite
Zoho Sites solution integrates seamlessly with other arrays of tools from Zoho. You get access to the CRM and business productivity suite without having to register a new account.
he integration allows you to manage your website from within the Zoho solution directly.
3. Availability of SSL Certificate
In the age of internet fraud and attacks, an SSL certificate is a necessity. Zoho provides an SSL integration right out of the box for your all accounts and plans. So your site is safe from all malicious attacks. It doesn’t matter if you choose the simplest or most expensive plan.
4. Pricing is Competitive
Compared to the competition, Zoho Sites pricing is quite friendly to the pockets. The essential plan allows you to host a full-featured site for five bucks every month. And it comes with a powerful toolset that other solutions would charge steeply for.
5. Active Community, Exceptional Customer Service
The Zoho community is very active, with other Zoho users contributing to the forum. Often, you’ll find that your problem has already been solved. In the rare case that it hasn’t, a Zoho agent is swift to reply to you and help resolve your issue.
The customer support is also one of the best in the business today. They have multiple channels and would respond fast to queries and requests.
Cons of Zoho
1. Doesn’t Offer as Much Themes and Plugins As Competitors
The beauty of a website is in its theme. Zoho offers quite an array of themes but falls short when compared to other competitors. Also, some of the themes are outdated and may not pique the fancy of the more trendy customers.
2. Essential Plan is Very Limited
For the price offered, the essential plan is quite reasonable, but the limits placed on it makes it more of a dummy plan than an actual tool. The plan restricts unique pages to 25 only. This makes it unsuitable for blogging sites. Also, 1GB of storage is barely enough for simple sites today.
3. Plugins Costs and Additional Amount to Use
The Zoho Sites tools allow you to use plugins, but the plugin may cost you an extra fee to use. For instance, the membership platform tool costs an additional $4 per month for every 1000 members. This is in addition to the subscription fee for the advanced plans.
Features of Zoho
1. Drag-and-drop Builder
Zoho Sites feature a prolific drag-and-drop builder tool. The tool allows you to pick up icons and features and place them on your site according to your taste. Using the drag and drop builder, you can design and position your header style and layout. You can also design the side-bar and footer too.
2. Custom Themes
The Zoho Sites solution provides an array of custom designed themes for your website. Each theme is sufficiently different from the other. So you can expect to stand out in the web space no matter which one you pick.
The themes are also available for different business types and categories. They are also entirely detached from the backend code. So you can switch themes as you wish without worrying about breaking something.
Even though you don’t need to know how to write any code to use Zoho Sites, the feature is still present. For expert coders and designers who would love to customize their site further, there is an HTML and CSS editor available for this purpose.
You can write the code for your website front-end and modify its look. You can even modify the look of your theme using this feature. This will further differentiate your business and give your brand a unique online presence.
4. Mobile Optimization
Most of the activities on the internet today are done on a mobile phone. This means all businesses looking to stay relevant must optimize their sites for mobile viewership. The Zoho site builder and designer is designed with mobile responsiveness at its core. So your websites will provide the same user experience on mobile as on PC.
5. CRM, SEO and Zoho Tools Integration
A website is a business and hence needs an excellent array of tools to support its growth. Zoho provides integration with her other business tools out of the box for Zoho Sites.
You can leverage the CRM tools to manage your customers and opportunities. The SEO tools allow you to rank for your chosen keywords without stress. It also provides free sitemap creation for your website.
Zoho Sites is a powerful blogging tool. Its text editor contains enough graphics and intuitive buttons to ensure a rich typing experience. You don’t need to know all the complex HTML codes to type out and embed content in your pages.
7. Custom Forms
If you intend to collect information from your audience, then forms are the way to go. Zoho Sites allows you to create simple and complex forms for this purpose. You can create a simple contact page form or go all out and create a complex survey form. Either way, you can add these forms to your site using the drag-and-drop builder tool.
8. Visitor Analysis
To provide insight into the visitor profile of your audience, the Zoho Sites solution comes with this feature. The visitor analysis tool tells you about the critical indicators of your audience.
Information like visitor volume, location, and time spent on your page are recorded. You can view this from your dashboard and use the insight garnered to improve your marketing strategy.
9. Password Protection
Zoho provides an option for you to manage access to pages on your sites. This is quite important if you have multiple authors writing for your website. You can set the password to protect your pages in two ways:
1. Site-wide protection
In this case, no author will be able to access or modify any pages on your site. Unless of course, you permit them.
2. Page-Level Protection
In this case, only specific pages get protected with passwords. Hence they are restricted from other authors.
This gives you a good deal of control on activities that happen on your site.
10. Custom 404 Pages and Custom 301 Pages
Zoho Sites features a tool that monitors your broken link profile and tries to remedy them automatically for you. The tool helps to display a 404 page if a link no longer exists on your domain. You can customize this page too to suit your brand and identity.
The 301 pages monitor helps you to redirect your user to a page that you have moved to a new link. These tools are essential for SEO. They can also help your site rank higher on the search engines.
Zoho Sites is offered to customers on a tier-based pricing model. You get to pay for a plan with a select set of features that suits your needs. The more expensive plans feature a better set of site building tools. If you ever need to upgrade, it is quite simple too.
Currently, Zoho offers three plans:
In the essential plan, you get access to 25 unique pages, custom domain hosting and 25GB of bandwidth. You also get perks like SSL hosting, five unique forms, and integration with other Zoho productivity tools. It costs $5 per month to use this plan.
This improves upon the essential hosting. You get 200 unique pages and unlimited bandwidth in addition to ten unique forms. You also get access to newsletter subscription, scheduled blog posts and audio player. It costs $12 per site per month.
This plan is the top tier and features all the tools of the essential and professional plan. It improves upon them be adding unlimited pages, storage, and bandwidth. You also get the membership portal feature to create a forum for your audience. It costs $20 per website per month to use.
Each of these plans come with a free trial that lasts 15 days as a bonus. I recommend that you first use the trial mode on your preferred plan to see if it fits your business.
Your choice of plans is also dependent on the scale of your business. If you intend to have a simple website that displays your services and contact page, the Essential plan is good enough. If you want to create a really complex website, then you best max out using the advanced plan.
All websites designed using the Zoho builder is accessible on any device with an internet connection. And of course, equipped with a modern browser.
Using the designer is a different issue though. You will need an active internet connection and a modern browser to access the designer tool. This makes for the best designing experience.
Zoho Sites doesn’t require any server infrastructure as the Zoho corporation itself hosts it.
Zoho offers impressive live support for her customers. The live support is only for paying customers, however. They are available for all hours of the day on weekdays too.
They also have a robust community where you can share your problems. Usually, a Zoho agent will address to your needs in no time and follow you up till your issue is resolved.
You can also contact them using by email. All this information is available on the support center page.
Zoho Sites is a superb solution for small and medium businesses who desire an online presence fast. You can design and launch a good looking website without knowing anything about coding. Although the tool doesn’t measure up to other giants in the site builder niche, it is still quite elaborate for the problem it solves.