By: UCOZ Ltd.
The most used or visited thing in the modern world is the Internet. From a toddler to the grownups, everyone has a knack of going over the internet, browsing and doing other online activities.
As far as the internet goes, most of its visible content consists of websites. Yes! The websites, what we open every day for checking the news, blogs, Social Media, sports, online shopping, stock markets, and many more.
Then we look at them and think of making our website. But are we all capable of that? How many of you know basic web page building codes like HTML, CSS, PHP, etc.? How many of us know even basic website building procedure? Very few indeed. However, that does not mean we should give up on our dreams!
For that reason, the developers from across the world have come up with an easy solution for noobs, viz. Website Builder Tools. Using these tools, people having only basic knowledge of using computer devices can make good sites. You need not learn any of the coding languages for making your own webpage.
uKit is also one of such website builder tools. Hailing from a popular country, land of vodka aka Moscow, Russia; uKit leaves no stone unturned in providing the novice users a reliable and effortless way to build their personal site.
Launched in 2015 as easy to use and WYSIWYG ( what you see is what you get) program, uKit is fathered by a coding-based site-builder uCoz. Being departed from its original format uCoz, uKit wanted to be a website building tool for novice users, and it has been able to achieve the same.
Equipped with 200+ types of professional designs, uKit provides all users an easy and interactive way to create a responsive website be it for your shop, hotel, repair services, college, etc.
uKit comes with a 15-day trial version and very cheap pricing options for our ordinary folks. Even if the trial version expires, the website is kept alive for one year.
The first impression we got visiting the main page, was that it had a sleek, time saving and novice user interface. But our review is not based on looks, isn’t it? We would check all the features provided by uKit and let the readers decide if the product is indeed worth their time and pocket.
Now we should be heading to make our own website. For this, the initial and most crucial step we need is to decide our goal. For starters, think of what you want to convey to the audience/customers. For selling products- an E-commerce website, for opinions-blogs, bookings for trains, buses, or hotels, etc.
Once you have made up the right choice for the kind of website you want, take a paper, and draw a rough drawing of what it should look like. This practice is better than staring at hundreds of templates and getting confused with all glittery looks.
Templates selection is mandatory step unless you can code it. They allow us to edit the webpage with our elements and makes it easy to create a site.
For uKit, the first step is to create a new user account. Once registered, you are redirected to the main dashboard for your account with tonnes of templates flashing around.
The left side of the main dashboard is filled with all categories for a different site to use and contains 200+ designs.
Once you have selected the design, all you need is to edit the elements of that template and replace them with your own logos, images, texts, etc.
The editor is quite simple but requires some play around to understand its role completely. That is why, the proper advice is to make a sample webpage of your idea and check out all functions available in the design tool and other features like SEO, analysis, etc.
Later on, you can duplicate the items that were desired on the sample page and make the final adjustment to your page.
The web templates can be edited with any desired text field or color schemes. However, some of these features are restricted to paying customers. To be honest, the free users have lots of restrictions. At least they should have given a full trial version for 15 days.
You can add various elements to the webpage like widgets, chat function, cart button, social media buttons, etc. via the left menu bar on the main editor. Check out the adaptive button to see how your webpage will look on other devices like tablets, mobiles, etc.
Be sure to utilize the preview button before publishing the page. The statistics function is also restricted to the premium account which is a bummer once again.
The steps to create the page were quite comfortable, but free users can have a tough time customizing the font and color schemes of their sites. The UI was too simple and but still needs more functions related to the editing of page elements.
As we have gone through the initial steps to make a website using uKit, let us explore all essential features and other benefits that uKit has to offer.
If the content is the soul of a website than templates are its vessel. Being a critical part of any site, templates need a lot of attention.
uKit is endowed with many such templates. Each template can be used for a variety of website types. They are categorized into several types like animal farms, agriculture & food, E-commerce, stocks, dance and art, college, import page from Facebook, etc.
Nevertheless, if the users are not content with any of the available themes, there is no option to create a custom website unless you have a paid subscription. This is quite bad for free users along with no option to add custom HTML or CSS codes.
As discussed earlier, we tried to check the various templates and their usability and functions. Most of the free options had essential services, and the color or text customization was absent and accessible only via paid plans.
We picked the E-commerce template and ended up with a website to sell some sweet honey. The templates do require some learning curve, but as you practice it and goof around with the functions, buttons, various widgets, you can quickly decipher the overall features from your test run and can make a good webpage.
The templates were loading fast, and any updated changes were also displayed on the screen without a refresh. Slow connections may sometimes need an full page refresh in case of disconnection of the client-server but overall, the response time of the builder tool was good.
Since most of the website builder has integrated the responsive feature into them, the page you create can be customized for mobiles, tablets, or PCs. The builder automatically resizes the templates based on the device type selected from the left menu bar.
Another advisable step is always to choose the right template or make a rough copy first. Templates once selected cannot be reverted into another template, except deleting the page. You will have to back up the page or duplicate individual elements from the old template to the new one.
The demands of various customers can vary accordingly, and the website building tools need to incorporate as many as unique features in them to not only facilitate the customers but also attract a wide range of businesses via these features.
Apart from that, user interface or applications’ usability and learning curve also play a vital role in making a top-class website.
As we have discussed above, templates are already a part of one of the features of any webpage building tool.
As we have discussed earlier, no matter how much fancy templates and design you load on your website, lack of proper user interface can confuse the users and these features can end up unused.
The main dashboard of the uKit after you have logged in, will display options like- subscription status, list of created websites with options to edit or publish them. The topmost bar will show the current sites’ URL assigned by you at the start of selecting the new template, with notifications and log out button.
Then there is a tools section present in this main dashboard itself. This option has all essential analysis tools like Google analytics, promotion- which is used to analyze the site before publishing and generates a report according to which, the users need to edit the images, texts, meta words, add a domain, and integrate the page with search engines or add it to the maps.
Once you enter the editor of the website, you will see the options like a builder, design, the viewer, etc. on the left menu bar. This menu bar also contains the preview button to check how your webpage will look on individual devices.
It also has a backup button to save the current site changes and can be restore those site versions later on. You can also see the publish site and undo/redo buttons.
To make any changes to the current element like header, footer, or content blocks, hover the mouse over that element and click the icon of settings on it. There is also a background changer option on image fields, where you can merely put colors to the back or an image.
You can also hide a particular element via the hide button. You can also duplicate, transport, or make an element favorite from the same fade in the menu over the elements.
The site widget option on the main dashboard is different than the builder tools widgets. This site widget has the facility to add custom codes to your page, add an SSL certificate to your page, add custom amoCRM to send all the product info, reviews, contact forms, messages to be delivered to another customer relationship management tool.
You also have an option to add your domain or buy a custom domain. The subscription plan can be upgraded from the main dashboard itself. There is also a help and referral bonus option for new customers.
Let us now see through some of the most used features and the user interface of this website building tool:
The pages section is primarily used for arranging the various pages like home, about us, contact, etc. in the correct order. Users can also duplicate the entire elements of a page from the duplicate button on the side of a page tab.
The pages section also has an option to add SEO elements like meta tag, keywords, etc. to the individual pages. Using this, the users can increase the visibility of that particular page on search engines due to individual meta tagging.
You can also input a new page by clicking add a new page. The same features as above can be performed on any new page you create. However, the color schemes are restricted for free users.
All of the above pages can be edited as per your company policy. You can also add some additional pages like cookie policies, copyright terms, return and refund policies, etc. You can also group all these pages under a single tab on the main navigation bar of your websites’ home page.
The primary tool to build any webpage is its builder. Without having any proper functions or usability, it can become a very tough task for novice users to create a website.
The builder tool provided by uKit even though looks ordinary, is quite complex. Different elements like widgets, buttons, texts, images, slider, etc. are categorized, and it does take a while to explore them and their functionality.
There are two main tabs prearranged in the builder, viz. widget tab and blocks tab.
The Widget Tab, as the name suggests is used to add any widget or element to the webpage. The basic option in widget contains common items like a text box, image box, slider, button, and an icon.
All these options are typically the most used elements in any site. These options have different settings for them. Text and images must be customized as per the appearance. Slider option can add a group of images that you want to appear as a moving slide show on your page. There is a list of buttons and icons given from which you can choose for your page.
Then comes the Structure option which has the feature of a separator and space. Separator distinguishes two elements on a page via a line whereas space can input blank space or gap between the elements of the page.
The Content option of widget tabs has elements like adding product lists, pricing, table, reviews, etc. It also can add a search button. There is also a countdown timer and news feed button.
The CSS or HTML code button is sadly not available for free users. This must not be locked behind a paywall. It should have been available for the trial version users.
Other than that, uKit also offers various other options like a Cart function and cost calculators uCalc. You can input any attachments to your site like videos, documents, SoundCloud, SlideShare docs, etc.
The Contact Us option can add widgets like contact forms, map location, callback requests, live chat, MailChimp, etc. The users can also add social media widget like Facebook, Instagram, VK, twitter, etc. in the contact us tab.
There can be times when you blunder any default element and accidentally save it. The only thing you can do in that situation is to delete that item or rebuild it.
Do not worry, the Blocks Tab of the builder is made precisely for these situations. This tab has all elements of the base page like the title box, content box, favorites. You can also add the blocks in two types, container type which does not stretch the content of the box, best for texts, notes, etc. and fluid type in which the content of the box auto-fits the block size, useful for images and gallery.
Overall, the features of the builder tool are quite handy and easy to use even for novice users, although it lacked in many features compared to other top builders like in different custom fonts and colors, extra widgets.
Many critical features like editing the color combinations, font types, and some of the widgets were paywalled. The editor had lacked a custom widget tool, not to mention that even with knowledge of web coding, you cannot make a custom element via coding function unless you have paid account.
Thus, the site builder does not have any extraordinary rewards and is good for ordinary folks who need to build only a basic website.
The Design Control tab is next to the builder option on the main menu bar on the leftmost part of the editor. This tab will control the design of the page like font types, the color scheme of the page, headers, and footers, changing the theme, etc.
The first option here is the option to change the color scheme. The color scheme here determines the set of colors that you will be using to design the page instead of picking an individual color for each element of the page.
As usual, there is only a fixed set (only 4 or 5 at the best) of color schemes for free users. You can change the background of each page via color or another background image, for all pages or the current page only.
The Font Pairs option is used to create font pair for the page. You can create your own font pair if the default pairs are not up to your choice.
Then there is a header and footer section, as their name suggests, it is used to edit the header element and the footer element of the website. This contains the website title, logos, motto, contact us, reviews, location, etc.
The Advanced Option button had minimal choices like changing the widget animation for different pages, back to top button and site for visually impaired.
The last tab can reset the design template of your page. Make sure to take a backup of the site before you try this feature.
Another useful functionality for a site builder tool is to have its own E-store management panel. Using this panel, the owners can work out on their sales data, product reviews, inventory management, and other E-store related activities.
uKit also has an E-store feature. Sadly, this is only available to paid users in E-commerce subscriptions.
To access this feature, enter the main editor menu and choose the option Online Store. The product widget lets you add the product, its pictures, price, product description, and collected cart statistics.
There is a small cart icon on the same menu over the top left, when clicked will open the store settings. These store settings include currency settings, checkout behavior, and a customized order form.
The shipping and payment options let the users add various shipping methods, delivery range, etc. while the payment options allow you to connect multiple payment platforms like PayPal, Wallet One, etc. The last option on this page will display the final checkout messages, offer deals, etc.
Overall, the store feature had only mediocre options available equated to other site builders like Wix, Site123, etc. There was not a separate dashboard for statistics of product sales, no store linking with marketing apps; On top of that, being restricted for trial users is also a big con. So, as usual, it is only for small businesses for online store and would not work well if you plan to build your own Amazon or eBay.
The most crucial part of any website building tool is the integration of SEO, i.e., Search Engine Optimization.
SEO is important because it decides the ranking of your website based on the unique content, meta tag, security features, internal or external redirects, etc.
For any website in general, the common technique is to focus on unique content, secure the pages with SSL certificates, tag the pages with the unique keywords, and reduce the page load speed.
uKit has provided SEO tools but they are average at best. Unlike other website builders, SEO tools are not available separately. Users have to click the individual pages and go their settings on the left menu bar and then set the SEO stuff.
In this SEO menu, users have to input the Title Meta Tag, Description Meta Tag, Keywords meta tag and also an Image meta tag as a preview for any sharing platforms.
The title meta tag lets you input a unique title name from which your website can be searched, description tag adds in details about the websites’ motto/goal/work whereas keywords meta tag needs to be filled with unique or general keywords that the visitors may use to search for your site.
You can also tag the individual images or elements for SEO. This feature can be useful to label good products on your site to increase their visibility over the internet.
Anyone into the field of website building needs to learn some critical steps to check their website analytics. This allows the owners to get an idea regarding the audience, their locations, their device used, live visitors, etc.
Site Analytics is one of the options that is given by uKit on the main dashboard after your login into the account. uKit does not have its own analytics setup, but it allows integration with Google Analytics.
Therefore, the first step to check the website performance, is to sign up for a google analytics account. Enter the details of your website, google account, etc. Once you are linked to the analytics account, uKit will give an option to import the data from analytics to its own dashboard.
Most of the details on its dashboard are pretty basic, and you will need to access the google analytics account for many detailed reports. uKit’s panel will only display the traffic graph, audience type, referral sources.
Many other website builders have provided much more detailed analytics information, that too on their own web platform. Sites like Wix, Site123, etc. have much better analysis data from which uKit can adopt something.
However, from the perspective of a novice user, we only needed above info for our webpage and its statistics. They can add more analytics tools like real-time monitoring, site indexing, duplicate meta tagging, etc. for the advanced users.
Another essential feature they have provided in analytics is Site performance check. Most sites that have too much content or dead links, domain issues, plagiarism issues can suffer heavily in search engine rankings and can affect your audience reach.
This feature is accessed by the Promotion tab in the main dashboard. The text and images tab will help users to deliver some unique content and help avoid plagiarism. Replace the default texts and images with original ones that provide the page’s goal. The meta tag will guide you for improving the SEO as discussed above.
There is also an add to search engine & add to map option just below this tab. Both these options will yield better results once you have finished all the above steps and set up the website in the correct order.
Going through all these features, what we felt was that they could be grouped in much better ways. The SEO features need a separate section on the main dashboard with the ability to change any tags for any page from that place rather than selecting individual element or page in the editor.
The analysis section also needs a bit of rework in better grouping and an integrated system rather than relying on google analyzers. More options can be added too for accessing the customer info like what tile they accessed most, broken links finder, etc.
One of the most crucial portion of any website is its security and speed, which can halt the entire functioning of the site or give frustration to the users.
The security features of the site builder will not only help the users from getting their website hacked but also allows them to restrict any unauthorized access by a third party or any malicious users or potential service abusers.
A non-secure site can have many vulnerabilities and can have attacks like D-dos, Mime-hijacks, XSS-attacks, SQL-injections, etc. Most of these security steps are unknown even to many pro-users, and so it becomes a moral responsibility of the website builders to provide the required assistance to the users.
In our testing, of the site built via uKit, we found many security vulnerabilities that needed a patch like the content-security policy, XSS-protection, referrer policy, feature-policy, and XSS-content type.
We contacted the customer support regarding these issues and asked them how we can patch them. However, their reply was as usual that they had taken all necessary security precaution and for extra testing, the users have to get it done by themselves. They also gave a similar reply on the loading speed issue.
There was no provision for a temporary/trial https status for your website. Only resort was to buy your own domain or link the current webpage to an existing one.
Another crucial step to make a decent site is checking its performance like loading speed, response time, plugins used, lag while browsing the pages, etc.
All the performance factors mostly rely on the type of scripts, elements, plugins, etc. we use to make the website. Too many widgets on the home page or lots of immense size of the content on the home page can drastically reduce the loading speed and annoy many viewers.
There are no such tips given by the support staff in the help menu. Also using the default setup of the website and even with minimal widgets and plugins on the front page, we got an F-grade in Page speed score. There can be multiple reasons involved here, but many of them were header related, which ordinary folks cannot find and resolve by themselves.
Another thing was that there was no provision for custom CDN. Not every website needs a CDN but using it can significantly improve the loading speeds.
In our view, as we have stated earlier, website builders need to provide such additional testing for premium as well as trial users. This will help them in resolving some of these common issues that can affect the site performance. Other problems can be dealt with by third-party testing tools, but support for smaller issues need to be available in the builder itself.
Some features and plugins cannot be inbuilt in a website builder due to several reasons like additional complexity, copyright issues, programmer constraints, etc.
For these reasons, many website builders provide integration or additional plugins, so that the customers can directly use those features and there will be less stress on the developers.
uKit also has provided some further integration and plugins to compensate some of the features into the building experience. The following are some notable plugins and integration in uKit:
-For popular data sharing platforms like SoundCloud, SlideShare, YouTube, Vimeo, Google search and maps.
-Social media plugins like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, VK, etc.
-Live chat plugins like LiveChat, LiveAgent, and JivoChat.
-Cloud-based Email-marketing applications like MailChimp are provided for automatic interaction with subscribers, customers, etc. This is widely used integration for Email-marketing purposes.
-They have another similar application for marketing called SendPulse which is used to auto-generate emails, push campaigns, Viber notifications, SMS, and social media messages, as part of online marketing.
-Online shopping cart widgets like Ecwid, which allows the users to incorporate their products, carts, etc. features and will enable them to distribute their products across the online market, social networks or on other websites. All this can be controlled via a single admin panel on Ecwid.
The adaptive view allows the users to select the type of look they want for their website based on the device and platform. This is an important function to see the website performance on mobile, tablets or PCs.
The elements conflicting with any of the devices can be clipped off. Generally, mobile and tablet sites are made faster and less clunky. You can edit any text or image similar to the full web interface.
The builder still lacks performance analyzer for different devices. The ability to stimulate the website over any devices from various server location can be a helpful feature.
The mobile editor did not offer any good customization option nor it provided suggestions to remove any heavy elements like an image slider, or suggested to reduce/optimize the image sizes as per mobile devices, etc.
The adaptive view for mobiles and tablets still lacks a dedicated editor like the one in PC viewer. The touch optimization feature is also absent since most buttons on mobile devices are touch screen, and the button needs to optimize as per both visibility and finger sizes.
The best way to get full experience and review of the product, is to make a website using that builder. We came up with an idea to make a honey selling E-store.
This website was picked from one of the templates that had E-commerce tag. Initially from the registration process to start of making the sites, we did not experience any trouble in understanding and using the site maker tool.
The builder had a simple interface and was perfect for novice users and simple site-building. The internal editing of the elements was also modest.
However, there was a lack of customization in terms of choosing fonts and colors. The color and font pairs are limited. To add more color pairs, or to customize the current one, you need a paid subscription. This is another brutal way to frustrate the users, into purchasing the product.
The image editor was also average and did not have more features of editing like portraits, filters, contrast, and brightness adjustment, etc. The image search tool provided in the image picker was good. Unlike some of the products we tested earlier, it gave us more accurate results and more diverse search results. It had the option to add any video files too in the slider element.
The widget section, even though having a sizable number of options, did not have much customization options. This may indicate that the developers do not want to over-complicate the things for ordinary folks. But, to be honest, we still feel the option to add custom widget must be there, and the ability to change the colors, fonts of a widget must be available.
Another important thing that we wanted is more tweaks for team management in the website builder itself rather than linking it to the outside source. The access is limited to one or two people only, and that too the options to restrict their reach are limited. Most website builders like Wix, Site123 have much broader options in team management capable of grouping the editors and then deciding their individual access for editing the page.
As we have discussed earlier, another thing that hampers the user interface in performance testing is the lack of useful tools inbuilt in the builder. Most of the extra tools except the editor are exported via google, amoCRM, UCalc, etc. These features are supposed to be inherent in the builder so that the users do not need a separate account to test out every functionality or add some extra utility.
The given templates, even though high in quantity, lack in some diversity and customization options. There is no manual or custom template making option, which again is such a drag! Yes, you can pay $100 and let them build a fully custom website template.
Finally, the pricing seems to decent for the benefits they are providing with it. Free and trial users are impaired in the customization department and have no access to E-commerce, custom codes, and custom colors and many more.
However, it is generous of them to give a year of time for free users to migrate or upgrade their subscriptions. They also offer generous discounts via the referral program.
Are you a novice user? Do you want only to make a simple website without too much hassle? Well then, uKit is perfect for you. Established with the aim to simplify the website building process, uKit performs this job very well.
Even though they have certain restrictions on some of the features for free/trial users, they have more than enough resources to aid you in starting your website. In our first impression, we had many expectations from uKit, but as we progressed, we realized it is not an expected product for an experienced website builder.
Most of the features provided are decent, and the subscription is also quite cheap. However, many more features are available in free alternatives like WordPress, blog post, etc. They need to add more features mainly related to team management and color/font customization, not to forget to provide free SSL to any legit user.
Overall, we liked that they restricted more customization and from the perspective of novice users this is actually good. But for advanced users, they need to put more options to tweak the site appearance and widgets.
On top of that, the coding functionalities are disabled for free users, which seems wicked since many novice users who want to check and learn some coding will not profit from it.
Concluding our review, we would recommend the readers to try this product as a trial version and in case you like the features and other perks uKit, you can opt to buy a subscription.