Non tech-savvy webmasters in need of an easy DIY website builder
Business owners seeking an affordable way to advertise online
Remarkably easy to use
Professional templates look fantastic on all screen sizes
All features are included for only $8 a month
Integrates effortlessly with social media
No credit card required up front
User must connect their own domain
No phone support available
Only single-page websites can be built at this time
Envato Sites is a streamlined, no-frills solution that’s perfect for cost-conscious users who want to build a professional website without a lot of legwork.
Envato Sites is built on the promise of “no unnecessary features.” Registration is free, so anyone can build their entire website and decide if they like it before committing to the reasonable $8 monthly fee. Using Envato, even the most novice web user can build a website that looks every bit as good as those created by professional web designers.
Websites can also be optimized for search engines thanks to the simple “Title Tag,” “Meta Description,” and “Page Keywords” fields. These can be found within the user dashboard.
In addition, the responsive templates are categorized by type and industry, so a user can find the right type of layout without having to search the entire library.
Reliable web hosting with unmetered storage and bandwidth
A simple drag-and-drop website builder that anybody can use
Over 100 gorgeous, premium-quality templates that are included for free
The ability to build a complete website without providing a credit card
Easy social media integration
Basic SEO tools for inserting keywords and meta tags
One-step Google Analytics integration
Unrestricted access to all features for only $8 per month
Envato Sites has one of the simplest pricing structures of any website builder. There’s only one plan, and it’s very affordable at only $8 per month. This plan grants the user unrestricted access to all of the system’s features including hosting, the website builder, and content management system. These features can be accessed on computers as well as mobile devices, so it’s easy to post changes and updates on the go.
The platform also makes it easy for a user to promote their social media profiles. As part of the initial setup, Envato provides a series of text fields in which the user can enter their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media links. Envato automatically places the social media links in appropriate locations on the page and even allows the user to make their content shareable. Though customer support is only available by email, the support team is extremely friendly and knowledgeable.
There are more than 100 professional templates to choose from. Best of all, templates are organized by type and industry, so anyone can find the perfect layout for their fitness site, fashion blog, or online cooking magazine. Full previews are available for every template, and a user can change their layout at any time right from the user dashboard. While many website builders make it impossible to switch to a different template after a site is built, Envato Sites is refreshingly flexible.
All templates are built with a responsive design, which means that they automatically conform to all screen sizes. Using Envato Sites, it’s easy to create a website that looks and functions beautifully on desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Once the template is set, the user just needs to fill in the site with custom text, images, and videos.
One thing that truly sets Envato apart is their straightforward pricing. Currently, there’s only one plan. Every user pays $8 per month, and there are no long-term commitments. While it’s an excellent value considering the features that are included, it does come with some limitations. For instance, the plan doesn’t include an SSL certificate, a data file that encrypts information for better security. In addition, the company isn’t transparent about how much bandwidth and storage a user is allowed. Envato may place caps on users who exceed a certain limit. So all in all, the rate should provide an excellent value to most users. Those who need a lot of storage or additional web security, though, may want to look elsewhere.
Usability is what Envato is known for. Just sign up, choose a template, and start editing. The main editor screen consists of an exact preview of the website as it will look to visitors. To edit or customize any text, image, or other element, the user need only click on it and start making changes in the left column. For example, most sites come standard with an “About Us” or “About Me” section. To customize this section, begin by clicking on it. A series of editing options will appear in the left column. These include “Title” (for instance, the words “About Me” can be changed to “Learn More About Me” or anything else the user desires), “Bio” (the actual description text), and “Image.” Just fill in the text boxes with custom information and choose a custom image from a hard drive or from Envato’s stock image library. It’s even possible to change the fonts and colors of text with the click of a button.
In terms of features, Envato is still fairly bare bones. Their whole platform is built on the notion of simplicity, and that means forgoing many of the whistles and bells that the average user won’t ever make use of. Users won’t be able to install any fancy third-party apps or greet visitors with a custom light box, but that doesn’t mean the platform is completely without unique features.
For starters, there are the stock photos mentioned previously. Though Envato doesn’t have the largest library of stock photos, they do have nearly a hundred free images to choose from, all of which are extremely high-quality. Many of the photos are industry-specific, relating to subjects like fitness, literature, and graphic design, so most niche websites can add an instant visual element without having to pay for costly stock images.
Aside from that, the most notable feature is the platform’s use of “blocks.” These make up the sections that appear on the page. So, a template for a writer’s website would have a list of blocks that include “Freelance Writing,” “Recent Works,” “About Me,” and “Reviews/Testimonials.” The user can change the order of these blocks by dragging them up and down the list that appears in the left column. The user can also create additional blocks by clicking the “New Block” button.
Unfortunately, customer support is fairly lacking at this point in time. The company does offer email support, and the email team usually responds within 24 hours. The tech support team can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phone support is not available at this time, so it’s not always easy to get immediate assistance if urgent help is needed. The site does offer live chat, but responsiveness varies. The best time to access the live chat team is during regular business hours in Melbourne, Australia. For American users, that means mid-to-late afternoon and evening. Think of it this way: When it’s noon in California, it’s 7:00 a.m. in Melbourne.
Envato Sites is still a fairly new player in the website builder game, and only time will tell if their stripped down approach is a success. For the user who’s tired of navigating a sea of confusing account options and unnecessary features, though, Envato is a godsend. When a template is chosen, the site is practically complete. It’s up to the user to decide if they just want to personalize the text and images or completely overhaul the layout.
Envato Sites is not a great choice for those with more advanced needs. The single-page layouts and limited features will prove to be a roadblock for individuals and businesses hoping to build a robust website. In addition, the platform is completely useless for ecommerce stores. Still, for those who just want to establish an online presence and look fantastic while doing it, Envato gets the job done.
Founded in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia, Envato is a leading digital enterprise that oversees a number of properties including Envato Market, Envato Studio, Envato Tuts+, Envato Elements, and of course, Envato Sites. The company serves more than 6 million customers and has nearly 300 employees based all across the globe. They have been featured in a number of leading publications including the New York Times, The Next Web, and Graphic Design USA.
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