Website Builder Review: Webnode
Over the past decade, website builders have exploded in popularity. As ever greater numbers of services flood the market, seemingly out of thin air, it has grown more difficult to choose the right service. Among the more established providers are a number of site building pioneers, who commenced operations at the turn of the last century, and who quickly realized that accessibility and ease of use would draw customers to their product, developing software to meet these needs.
Webnode is one of these: The joint Swiss-Czech service first appeared on the market in January 2008, and has, to date, been used by more than 30 million people. In this review, we'll show you whether Webnode is past its prime, or can still go head-to-head with the 'new kids on the block'.
What is Webnode?
Webnode is a drag and drop website builder developed by Webnode AG, a Swiss company. The service embraces the "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) principle, helping users without any programming knowledge to create and host their own websites.
Pros and Cons
Clear, easy-to-use editor
Nice selection of templates
Limited selection of elements
No app center
Lacks blog support/features
Configuration and Usability
Registering with Webnode only requires a few clicks, the input of an e-mail address, and the selection of a domain name. After this, you'll be asked whether you want to create a website or an online shop. Of course, the differences between the two have become blurred over recent years, and you are able to integrate a store into your website later if the need arises.
After this, you're provided with a selection of templates. Once you've chosen the template for your site, you'll be taken to the editor. Here, you should feel immediately at home: Webnode stresses only the most important or critical features, with a slimmed-down interface the happy result. Apart from a few items in the menu above, which allow you to edit your products, pages, and general settings, you'll do all other work with elements directly in the main window, which also doubles as a sort of site preview.
In Webnode's editor, your website is primarily divided into sections, the selection menu for which is reached by clicking on the plus sign that appears between columns. Using this, you can add text, images, columns, contact forms, and all sorts of other content.
Content can be moved around like puzzle pieces, interlocking with one another. This means that your drag and drop freedom is somewhat more limited than in other editors, however, as a result, elements are guaranteed to be symmetric and aligned. You can also easily undo any unwanted changes by clicking on the arrow in the upper menu.
Similarly to the editor, the settings menu is also sleek and uncluttered. In addition to an overview of your account, which shows your bandwidth and storage capacity, you can also connect your Google Analytics account, or tinker with other settings.
Webnode's editor is intuitive and highly accessible, meaning that within a short amount of time, anyone can dexterously use it. Of course, this comes at the cost of certain features, however, in terms of usability Webnode is a real force to be reckoned with.
Score: 5 / 5
Basically, Webnode possesses everything that a good website builder should. As noted above, its editor only emphasizes the most essential elements, and as such, is somewhat limited in comparison to those of its competitors.
The menu's features do make sense, however, a bit more choice would definitely do the service a world of good as far as clarity goes. As two examples, Wix and Weebly both make far more elements accessible in the menus of their editors than Webnode, and that without overcomplicating things.
Similarly, Webnode's blogging features are restricted to the bare necessities. In the editor's main menu, you can manage your blog like a regular site, with all entries arranged according to their date(s) of publication. You can also add new entries. To work with your blog, you're provided the same tools and elements as in the standard editor, and you can add SEO to every entry. However, additional features like tags or categories aren't included.
Regrettably, Webnode doesn't have an app center to make up for its somewhat limited selection of features. Other website builders like Wix, greatly enhance their features through their so-called 'app market'. To offset this, Webnode does allow the entry of elements containing user-defined HTML code, allowing you to further customize your website beyond the pre-packaged tools that the service comes with, so long as you have the necessary proficiency in coding to do so.
Webnode prioritizes user-friendliness, and its straightforward editor clearly underlines this. With that said, other programs have certainly done a better job of balancing between simplicity and functionality. We can't help but feel that Webnode's user-friendliness might be something of a mask to conceal its lack of features. At the end of the day though, users are provided with exactly what they need to create a site or blog, albeit, little more.
Score: 3.3 / 5
Templates & Design
With around 100 templates, categorized as "Blogs", "Music", or "Portfolio", Webnode offers its users an impressive array of design options. Most of these will endow your site with a sleek and modern look, however, there aren't too many fancy or eccentric templates. Since the designs are striking on their own, it's likely that users will simply add original content or move a few elements around, creating unmistakeably stylistic sites, albeit in our opinion, somewhat generic and conventional ones.
Switching between different templates is not possible without starting over, however, you can modify the background, colors, as well as fonts of your page(s).
As noted above, speed and simplicity are Webnode's main priorities, and this extends to their templates too, each of which enables users to quickly and easily create functioning websites that look the part. The cost of this simplicity, however, is creative freedom, for which we've deducted a few points.
Score: 4 / 5
Marketing, SEO, & E-Commerce
Product management, which makes it easy to add new products, is the most important aspect of any online store, and Webnode doesn't disappoint here. The service allows you to enter information about the number of products available, add different variants, and create collections for large groups of products. Somewhat hidden in the menu, under "Discounts", you can also add rebates to certain products, and direct visitor attention to price changes.
Further adjustments to your online shop can be made in the "Settings" menu. Here, you can enter your contact information as well as set shipping and payment methods. For the latter, alongside the usual options, you can also integrate Stripe and PayPal.
With that said, some features, offered by other website builders, are missing. For example, we didn't find any possibilities for offering or redeeming coupons or gift cards [Update October 18th, 2019: Discounts and vouchers can be integrated into online shops], or support for e-mail campaigns. Even though discounts and vouchers have been added, these features could be beefed up.
SEO & Analytics
Under "Page Settings" you can access the most important SEO settings, such as meta descriptions, title tags, keywords, and subsite URLs. However, managing the SEO settings of your products, as offered by Wix, is not available in Webnode as of the time of writing.
Webnode provides information about purchase statistics and site viewership under the "Project Overview" heading, however, Google Analytics can be easily integrated should you prefer to use it.
Webnode provides you with all the tools you need to create a functional online store, however, in comparison to other website builders, the toolbox they make available isn't all too full. In exchange, Webnode does greatly facilitate the setting up of online stores, providing solid SEO and Analytics support.
Score: 3.7 / 5
Webnode's handbook includes a number of tutorials, as well as FAQs which can answer any number of questions that might arise when using the site builder. These short texts are clear and illustrated with a number of pictures, helping to resolve issues step-by-step.
If the FAQs don't provide the help you've hoped for, you can also contact the support team by e-mail, which tries to answer all queries within 24 hours.
During testing, we received an answer to our e-mail query within 3 hours.
Score: 4.7 / 5
Webnode is available in four premium subscription packages. Only with the second of these, "Mini" ($5.95/month), do you receive a unique domain name. You can create an online shop starting with the "Standard" package ($11.95/month).
Along with 5 GB of storage, the most expensive package, "Profi" ($19.95/month) provides unlimited bandwidth, site backups, member registration, and languages.
|Base price per month||$0.00||$3.95||$5.95|
|Contract period (months)||0||12||12|
|Free of ads|
Webnode consciously refrains from including a lot of bells and whistles on its dashboard, keeping it as simple as possible without sacrificing too much functionality. It also offers users an experience that, in our minds at least, couldn't be more straightforward. The result is the ability to quickly create a professional-looking website, and that without the involvement of AI.
As noted above, all of this simplicity and usability does come at a cost, namely, that Webnode makes do without a handful of features its users might eventually need or want to use. This is understandable, even though in our opinion, Webnode went too far in cutting useful features that wouldn't have overloaded the dashboard or interface. For example, Webnode could easily integrate more element options, as well as support for e-commerce e-mail campaigns without overwhelming users.
Anyone who can live without these features will still have access to a highly-efficient, no drama website builder easily capable of creating elegant and visually-appealing end products.
Set against the other site builders we've examined, Webnode has far fewer reviews, however, those that we consulted, were overwhelmingly positive. As expected, users commended its simplicity and ease of use, with its customer service also a subject of frequent praise.
Depending on which features you're missing from Webnode, there are a number of programs that might be able to better meet your needs. For example, Weebly and Wix both excel in e-commerce, with the trade-off being that they aren't as easy to use as Webnode (although still relatively simple). Comprehensive reviews of additional website builders can be found in our exhaustive comparison.