• Free plan available
• Additional widgets and features
• Reporting features
• Creating a basic website is very easy
• Limited customization options
• Limited support options
Not one for the complete beginner – it helps if you have some HTML code experience to create a better-looking website – but DoodleKit is a good quality website builder that offers some attractive features.
DoodleKit is the full package – a WYSIWYG editor, CMS builder, publisher and host for your website. If you’re a beginner you can have your own website in a matter of hours without any coding, while developers can adjust the code to create more personal sites. We looked at the DoodleKit platform to see where this website builder stood out and where it was found lacking.
DoodleKit offers a decent free plan for getting your website online with the minimum of financial outlay. With the DoodleKit free plan you get website hosting for a maximum of 25,000 hits a month, a set of layouts to edit, and features like an integrated blog, image albums, and RSS feeds. If you want more, the Simple plan is $14 a month and offers domain registration, a maximum of 50,000 hits a month, 30 extra pages, a maximum of 1,000 photo uploads, SEO tools, stats, spam protection, and more. The Business plan is $29 a month for 100 extra pages, a maximum of 100,000 hits a month, 2,000 images, domain registration, a shopping cart, and more file upload capacity. The Advanced plan, at $49 a month, has all of the features of the cheaper plans as well as an unlimited number of pages, 1 million hits a month, 5,000 photos and up to 1GB of extra file capacity. The Premium Plan Website Design is priced at $99 a month and offers a custom colour scheme and a custom header image, and more customization options than the other plans. You can get your hosting fee back if you cancel within 30 days of signing up.
Only a few customization options with this website builder – change between many different colour schemes and background patterns, plus upload your own header image. There are a number of different templates ready for you to use, the majority of which are of high quality. Use the advanced page editor to change the column layout of your pages, the text size, and the formatting. Because the website builder is geared towards beginners you don’t need to change the code, although you can use the DoodleKit CSS override function to work directly on the code and create an individual website. Because of the lack of many customization features with WYSIWYG access, complete beginners may find it difficult to create anything other than a very basic site. It helps if you have some HTML knowledge.
DoodleKit provides some additional widgets and applications that allow you to build a website with greater functionality. For example, we like the form-builder feature that allows you to canvas for information or feedback directly on your site. Add adverts from Google AdSense to your site, and photo albums with multiple ordering options. The bulk photo uploader is a useful addition to the software. You can also add a blog to your website which is fully integrated with comments and tagging features. Some plans allow the addition of a forum on your site for extra interactivity.
Ecommerce –If you have a PayPal or a Google Checkout account you can sell direct from a DoodleKit site. The ecommerce features on DoodleKit are basic but reliable.
SEO –More expensive plans add additional SEO features so that your website is maximised for search engine display, with meta tags added, a built-in site map and page titles used in the creation of URLs.
Reporting – Take a look at what’s happening with your website by viewing the number of hits, the number of pages your visitors see, the search terms used to find your site, IP addresses of visitors, and the browsers that visitors used to find you. All this gives you a good picture of your website usage.
Hosting & domains
Register a personal domain through the DoodleKit service, or redirect your previously-purchased domain to your DoodleKit site. You also get the opportunity to add emails to your domain and create aliases so you can forward mail received at the site to any other email address.
Ease of use
More experienced designers will appreciate the ability to easily switch between WYSIWYG and HTML when editing their site. This allows for more creativity and less stress. Complete beginners, however, may find the package harder to navigate if you want to do anything more than create a very basic site. The DoodleKit package doesn’t have as simple a page editor as other website builders, although creating a basic free site is very easy.
Help & support
DoodleKit doesn’t offer much in the way of support options, except if you sign up for the Premium plan where you are offered phone support (not 24-hour). All other plans are limited to emailing questions, or asking questions in the forum. Not great – and no FAQs or tutorials, either.
DoodleKit is not the most interesting, exciting or easy to use package on the market and it falls short on help and support. If you are a complete beginner looking to set up a basic free site you may find DoodleKit to be exactly what you are looking for and designers will appreciate the HTML editing options, but other plans offer more for the money.
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