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Gator Website Builder Review | PCMag

An internet site builder is a unbelievable on-ramp if you wish to create an online presence with out a lot effort. Some website hosting providers depend on third-party instruments, comparable to Duda or Wix, however an growing quantity are stepping up with their very own web site builders. HostGator, one in every of our Editors’ Choice-winning website hosting providers, is one such firm. It gives the easy-to-use Gator Website Builder, a sturdy instrument that options stunning templates, sturdy uptime, and the power to promote merchandise—even digital downloads. The well-rounded Gator has nearly every thing it’s good to shortly weblog or promote merchandise, so it joins Duda and Wix as our Editors’ Choice picks for web site builders.

Gator’s Prices

Gator’s plans are beneficiant. The entry-level Express Start plan begins at $4.99 per 30 days, and consists of three e-mail advertising and marketing campaigns, a three-product on-line retailer, and limitless storage and month-to-month knowledge transfers. Next up the ladder is the Express Site plan. It begins at $6.49 per 30 days, and builds upon Express Start by upping the e-mail advertising and marketing campaigns to 5 and the product capability to 10. It additionally provides precedence assist and appointment-booking instruments. The high-end Express Store plan prices $12.49 per 30 days, and gives 10 e-mail advertising and marketing campaigns, limitless retailer merchandise, and 0 transaction charges. Gator, like many different web site builders, gives reductions for annual commitments. Unlike Weebly and Wix, Gator would not supply a free plan.

Lack of a free choice apart, Gator has extraordinarily aggressive charges. Wix begins at $14 per 30 days for its Combo plan, which limits month-to-month knowledge transfers to 2GB and storage to 3GB. The least costly Wix e-commerce plan prices $23 per 30 days. Duda prices $14 per 30 days (with a one-year dedication) for its Basic plan. Squarespace begins at $12 per 30 days for the entry-level Personal plan, and $26 per 30 days for the bottom Commerce choice.

Getting Started With Gator

For faster logins, you may hyperlink your website to your Facebook or Google account , however it’s also possible to create credentials from scratch. Once you’ve got selected a plan, you select a website identify—it is included free for the primary yr along with your account if you happen to opted for an annual plan. The area identify prices $22 per yr thereafter ($18 per yr for the two-year dedication, or $16 per yr for a three-year dedication). You also can use a website identify that you just already personal. Gator would not require a HostGator internet hosting account; the 2 providers use separate logins.

As with nearly all website builders, you begin by selecting a template in your website. Gator’s 200-plus templates are engaging and trendy, with some that includes full background pictures. After you choose one, the builder interface opens with a dummy website in place. A step-by-step tour walks you thru the interface, leaving first impression.

Picking a website template on Gator Website Builder

Website Design With Gator

Gator can be straightforward on the eyes. It makes use of a progressive-reveal technique, that means you see extra choices as you burrow down into the instruments. What appears easy at first reveals a number of energy and customization as you proceed. The left rail has eight massive icons: Elements, Pages, Sections, Design, Blog, Store, Stats, and Manage. When clicked, these open flyout menus with many sub-choices. For instance, the Elements entry gives buttons, recordsdata, maps, PayPal, navigation, Social, Text, and Videos, every with their very own sub-choices.

You can add parts to your pages in Squarespace’s responsive-design, site-builder custom. As with Squarespace, Gator helps you to both drag a component wherever onto a web page or click on the plus signal on the backside so as to add a brand new part, with choices for pictures, textual content, or a mixture of parts. There’s a wide selection of structure choices, too. Guide guidelines show you how to line up any merchandise you place onto your web page. We like that Gator makes use of right-click context menus—one thing that not all website builders can declare. You also can drag buttons, contact kinds, social feeds, sound participant (utilizing SoundCloud), and a PayPal button onto your web page. That final choice is best than what some rival web site builders supply. For instance, GoDaddy Websites + Marketing restricts receiving cash of any kind to its high-level, e-commerce plan.

Aside from customizing with parts, it’s also possible to customise the general website design. To do that, you may both click on an space you wish to customise or select Design from the right-hand panel. A copious collection of background textures is at your disposal, in addition to matched, colour palettes. If you discover that you’ve got gone too wild with extra design, you may all the time revert to the template defaults. More enjoyable choices embrace Parallax backgrounds, which transfer because the reader scrolls, and animations for textual content and different objects to fly, bounce, or fade into view.

If you discover that you’ve got goofed, the Undo helps you to flip again time on a mistake. In a pleasant contact, Gator retains a historical past of your website’s state each time you save or publish, so you may return to a date (choosing it on a calendar) and restore your website. You also can add feedback to every historical past level. Unfortunately, that functionality prices an additional $39.97 per yr.

Resizing website images

Working With Images in Gator

The Elements instrument gives three, drag-and-drop choices: Image, Image Gallery, and Icon. You can add a number of pictures at a time, and every thing you add is saved in a web-based repository so that you can reuse wherever else in your website that you just select—one thing not supplied by traditional Weebly (although, it is accessible in new Weebly accounts powered by Square Online). If you select Gallery, you may choose pictures out of your linked Facebook or Instagram accounts.

If you do not have photos of your personal, Gator features a wholesome collection of inventory images—greater than 500,000 pictures—helpfully organized into 18 classes, together with Architecture, Cars, Hotels, and Sport. Even extra spectacular, you should utilize the pictures with out paying a royalty charge. Several different website builders, together with Squarespace and Weebly, cost you for a lot of their inventory images.

There are dozens of gallery layouts, together with grid, horizontal, and vertical selections, with or with out titles. When a website customer clicks your gallery, a slideshow view opens, although it lacks a full-screen view. Unfortunately, Gator has restricted photo-editing chops. You can resize pictures utilizing one of many default facet ratios, however that is it.

Managing Pages and Publishing

Adding pages to your web site is an easy matter of choosing the Pages menu, hitting the Add New Page button, and selecting from a well-stocked collection of web page varieties. This consists of fundamentals, comparable to Contact and About, and less-common ones, comparable to Schedule and Restaurant menu. It’s the most effective alternatives we have seen in any website builder. You can save and preview your edits, and so they do not go reside till you hit Publish. After you publish a web page, a dialog seems that shows your website URL and social sharing buttons.

Several website builders embrace app shops that function many third-party service extensions—scheduling instruments, kinds, and different stuff like that. Wix and Weebly are notably sturdy on this. Gator has an App Market, however it solely has a handful of apps.

Blogging Options

Like a lot of the positioning builder, Gator’s running a blog instrument is sort of every thing we may hope for in such a function. As with the primary website templates, the weblog templates are trendy and engaging. When making a publish, you may add a header picture, tags, textual content formatting, and edit the publish’s URL. You can add inline pictures or movies, in addition to headings and hyperlinks, and designate a publish as Featured or Pinned. Unlike some web site builders, Gator helps you to simply change templates, with out problem.

Importantly, it can save you a publish as a draft earlier than publishing it. Our solely disappointment with the running a blog function is you can’t schedule a publish to be printed at a selected date and time.

Building mobile websites

Gator’s Mobile Sites

Our check website appeared nice in smartphone browsers, with out our doing something. Some web site builders go away it at that, however the higher ones supply customization for cellular consumption. Count Gator within the latter group.

When you enter the cellular modifying interface, your website view logically switches to a vertical rectangle, simply as if it is on a cellphone display. It lacks the primary editor’s many instruments, however you may cover any aspect from the cellular model and alter padding, alignment, and the spacing of web page parts. You also can customise the background, rearrange sections, and tweak your on-line retailer. Unlike Squarespace, Gator’s cellular editor would not allow you to create a prestitial picture that cellular guests see earlier than coming into the positioning.

E-Commerce Options

You click on the Store icon to get began with e-commerce. The easy begin web page asks you so as to add your first product. It’s far much less intimidating than WordPress.com’s on-line retailer. The step-by-step wizard subsequent asks whether or not you are promoting a services or products. Then you identify the services or products, describe it, and add a photograph. Bingo! you are achieved. A plus signal on the Products web page helps you to add extra merchandise, bypassing the wizard. Gator helps you to promote digital downloads, in addition to bodily merchandise. The web site builder even helps you to specify expiration standards primarily based on time or complete downloads.

You can add product variants, comparable to sizes and colours, and specify tax and delivery. After including services or products, you fill within the primary retailer particulars like brick-and-mortar tackle, accepted foreign money, and fee processor. For funds, you should utilize MoneyOnSupply, PayPal, or Stripe. The retailer calculates taxes for you, and integrates with Shippo to deal with delivery prices. The retailer may even monitor your inventory; you place the variety of items within the product entry and it decrements as you promote them. You can create retailer reductions and coupons, and add the social advertising and marketing app to unfold phrase of your services or products through Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.

Managing e-commerce in Gator

Traffic Stats, Reporting, and Analytics

The included website stats are spectacular. On your account dashboard web page, you may see the final 30 days’ price of distinctive guests, complete visits, web page views, and bounce price. Open the complete site visitors web page and you may view guests’ time on website, their geographic info, their languages, and different vital info.

You can separate site visitors by cellular and desktop, however you could go to your Store’s modifying residence web page to see stats in your on-line retailer. Gator tracks guests, orders, and income, however not finer particulars like deserted procuring carts.

Helpful Customer Service

We fired up the 24/7 chat assist and instantly tossed inquiries to the customer support consultant. The useful individual shortly answered our questions on establishing a web-based retailer. You also can contact the shopper assist staff by e-mail or the toll-free cellphone quantity (Monday by means of Friday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST).

Top-Tier Uptime

Website uptime is without doubt one of the most vital facets of a internet hosting service. If your website is down, purchasers or prospects shall be unable to seek out you or entry your services or products. You don’t want that.

We used a website-monitoring instrument to trace our Gator-hosted check website’s uptime over a 14-day interval. Every quarter-hour, the instrument pings our web site and sends us an e-mail whether it is unable to contact the positioning for at the very least one minute. The testing knowledge reveals that Gator is remarkably secure; the truth is, it did not go down as soon as within the two-week testing interval.

A Site Builder With Teeth!

If you wish to construct your personal feature-rich web site in just some minutes, Gator needs to be in your radar. The web site builder has glorious site-creation instruments for desktop and cellular, intuitive e-commerce options, and small business-friendly costs. All this, plus rock-steady uptime, make Gator an Editors’ Choice choose for web site builders, becoming a member of Duda and Wix.

For extra on getting began constructing your website, learn How to Build a Website and 10 Easy But Powerful website positioning Tips to Boost Traffic to Your Website.

Pros

  • Strong uptime

  • Well-designed interface

  • Attractive, trendy website templates

  • Lets you simply change themes

  • Royalty-free inventory images

  • Lets you promote digital downloads

  • Excellent costs

  • All tiers settle for some type of fee

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The Bottom Line

Featuring switchable templates, sturdy uptime, and lots of helpful instruments, Gator helps you to shortly construct a gorgeous, e-commerce-ready web site with out breaking the financial institution.

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