uKit Review – Is This the Next Sitebuilder for You?
In total, those platforms have attracted millions and millions of customers around the world, and they have showed that there is a big demand for online sitebuilders.
But there are also platforms that are not necessarily so big, but which are still worth digging into. And that’s why I wanted to explore this platform called uKit, to see what it’s all about.
In this uKit review, I’ll explore all the important features that the platform has and whether you should pick it for your next website project.
uKit at Glance
- Building Your First Site: ****
- Main Features and User Interface: ****
- Integrations: ***
- Customer Support: ****
- Pricing: Premium plan 3€/$4 / month (if chosen the annual plan) ***
- Overall: 3.6
- Verdict: uKit is not necessarily so well-known as it's biggest competitors. Yet' it is providing the tools needed to build a website for your business. Get the started with uKit now!
- You can do manual backups.
- Premium themes are displayed as part of the theme selection.
- Premium themes are displayed as part of the theme selection.
- Some templates look a little bit similar.
- The company should tell a little bit more about itself on their website to gain more transparency and trust from their potential customers.
- No free trial on paid plans other than on Premium plan.
My Initial Expectations
I always start my reviews by looking at the website of a sitebuilder to get an overall feeling of what the platform is all about, and how transparent or friendly the company behind the product is.
In this particular case with uKit, I took the usual tour, and I had mixed feelings afterwards.
First, this sitebuilder had mostly the same bells and whistles as the rest of the platforms I already reviewed. Also, the homepage looked as professional as any sitebuilder’s website would look.
I even found the “Why Choose Us?” section, whose goal (based on my assumption) was to give justified ideas for choosing this particular sitebuilder (I think that this section is something that other platforms should definitely implement in their own websites).
But there was something lacking, and I wasn’t able to find it, no matter how hard I looked. What was this company behind uKit all about? And what about its developers and other personnel—who were they?
I couldn’t find this information, and I was left with a bit of uncertainty about what my uKit experience was going to be like.
Who Isn't This Sitebuilder For?
There could be some factors that make you skip choosing uKit for your next project. These reasons could be:
- You don’t know enough about uKit. In other words, you’d like to roll with the big players instead.
- Some ready-made templates look similar to each other, making the number of templates “not so big” as what is advertised on the pricing page.
- No free trial period in plans other than Premium plan.
However, if these things are not showstoppers to you, then this platform could be your choice.
Building Your First Website
Building a website was made easy with uKit.
First, you’ll have to register an account to get started. Once you have done that, you’ll be greeted with the template selection page:
When you are picking a template, you can either choose it right away or preview it first:
uKit’s range of templates is a bit different to what other sitebuilders I have tested.
First, you can search for a certain template by a search term or by browsing through a color scheme:
However, what is an even more exciting feature is the ability to pick a premium template on this view. You can do this when you turn on the Only premium designs option:
This shows only the paid templates that were created exclusively for uKit.
At the time of writing this, there were only five premium themes to choose from, costing $20 each. But I think that this idea is something I’d like to see other sitebuilders implement as well.
Next, you’ll be asked to pick a domain name for your project:
After this step, your site is ready for editing:
While the site creation process was mostly smooth, there was also something a bit confusing with this workflow.
In particular, when I started creating my first site, I accidentally chose a mobile application template:
This template was used for creating a website for a mobile app:
I think that uKit should make this option as one of the items on the template category list on the left:
That would probably confuse people a little less if they accidentally picked this template.
Finally - and this is something I test with every sitebuilder after creating my first website - I wondered if was able to change the template after creating the website. I was happy to find out that I could.
Building Your First Site:
The site creation process works quickly and easily. There are plenty of designs to choose from, some being premium ones.
However, you should also pay close attention to the template selection so that you pick a website template instead of a mobile application template.
Main Features and User Interface
In this section I explore the main functionality and user interface of Strikingly.
Widgets and Blocks
uKit has two types of elements you can choose from when yo uare building your website: widgets and blocks. Both elements are accessible on the left-side of the editor:
A widget is basically an element that you can add to a page, like a text or an image element. A block is a bigger content area that can contain widgets.
The basic idea is that you can drag any of the blocks or widgets from the left of the page to the content area:
There are plenty of blocks available, and they help you design your pages further. Inside a block, you can fine-tune the block by choosing the block’s toolbar:
Then, by clicking the gear icon on the toolbar, you enter the Structure setting, where you can do more tweaking related to the block’s layout:
You can also access other important settings (like adding new pages to your site) by accessing the vertical toolbar on the left:
Finally, clicking any of the elements gives you access to the context-based menu that opens. For instance, when you click an image, this is how the image-specific settings look like:
One important area where you can set various layout-related settings is the Design section:
This gives you access to various basic design options, like setting colors, fonts or (and as already mentioned) changing the template of your website afterwards.
In general, online sitebuilders run regular backups, to backup your important data. But in uKit, this happens in two stages.
First, there are the automatic backups, which happen on the background and on a weekly basis.
However, the more important backup type (in my opinion) is the one that you can run. This can be done directly through the user interface.
All you have to do is to choose the clock icon on the left and then click Create a backup link:
This saves the state of your website, and you can then start making changes to your website.
This adds a great deal of flexibility to your site building process, since you can easily revert to the older state of your website if something goes wrong.
Also, I haven’t seen this kind of option before, where you can create and access the backups yourself.
The dashboard gives you a birds-eye view of the available services on one page:
In general, this view is clean and easy to use. It gives you access to everything you need in one place. You get tools for promotion, statistics, and access to widgets that you can connect to your site.
uKit provides some basic SEO settings that you can use to improve your rankings.
First, you can add page-specific settings by accessing the Site Pages link on the left, and then clicking the gear icon:
This gives you the actual SEO settings page, where you can enter all the basic SEO-settings to your page:
SEO can also be added to images as well. In that case, you’ll click the image to get the context-based menu. Then, click the gear icon:
Then, it’s a matter of adding the SEO information for that image:
There are also the site promotion tools which you can use. With these tools, you can add your site to Google Search Console. Or, you can add your business to Google maps to help your potential customers locate you better.
With uKit, you get this basic SEO functionality out of the box, and they act as a starting point on your SEO journey. I would say that the SEO functionality is standard, and nothing special jumps out of it.
According to uKit, they have 200 designs to choose from. And indeed, when you look at the themes page, you’ll see that there are much more themes than on some of the online sitebuilder heavyweights like Weebly or Jimdo.
The themes are divided into different categories to help you find the ones better that interest you:
There are also some other categories which help you pick the theme you are looking for:
Under One Pager category, you’ll find templates that help you create one-page websites. And with General, you can find (amongst the others) the Blank template with which you can start creating your website design from scratch:
Generally speaking, themes look Ok. However, when you look at them closely, you’ll see that some of them look like each other, even if they are under different categories:
What this means that you’ll end up doing more customization to stand out in the sea of similar page templates.
You may know this already, but I’ll tell it again: if you take the code customization route, make sure you know what you are doing. Wrong code can easily mess up your website.
So, at least, take a backup before you start modifying the code.
Currently, uKit doesn’t provide an app to build your site. This option could add some flexibility to the site maintenance; for instance, when making small changes to the content.
On the other hand, making extensive design through a smartphone is not necessarily the best option when the usability is concerned.
And based on my experiences, I always like to do the maintenance or development through laptop computer rather than a mobile device.
uKit supports internationalization. However, this requires two extra steps from your part.
First, you’ll have to tell the customer support that you want to build an international version of your website. This means that the support will then clone your existing site for you.
The second step is the one you do yourself: The necessary translation.
I didn’t test this process myself, but that’s the game plan if you want to have websites in foreign languages.
Although I think that this process works, it is a clumsier approach than what Voog has. Still, it is better than nothing.
One thing that crossed my mind with the internationalization was this: Ok, so I have this new cloned website - do I have to subscribe to another plan and then end up paying for two subscriptions (remember, normally online sitebuilders allow you to have only one website per plan)?
Fortunately, and for my relief, the customer support said that this was not the case and that I didn’t have to make another subscription.
So you have this Facebook page and you’d like to turn it into a website. How on earth would you do that? Well, with uKit Alt, of course:
It’s simple to use this tool.
First, you tell the tool the Facebook page that you manage. Also, you give uKit permission to access your Facebook page information.
Once you have given the necessary information and permissions, uKit Alt gets to work:
Next, you get to choose the potential design that the Alt has generated for you:
Once you have picked the design, you can (and you should, really!) tweak it further in the design editor:
When you have finished your tweaks, you have a (one-page) website based on your Facebook information:
Features and User Interface:
uKit provides all the basic tools for creating your next website. I liked the backup functionality which helps me create a restoration point before making any changes to my website.
Everything is at “hands reach” in the UI, and getting started with the tool is relatively simple.
Integrations and Extendibility
Currently, there is no central place like an App Store, to see all the possible integrations you can have on your website.
While some of the integrations can be found through Dashboard,
some of them are part of the Widgets on the left:
So even without central location, it doesn’t mean that the integrations are not there. It is just that you’ll have to search for them a little harder.
Also, if you are a subscriber to a Pro plan, you can extend the functionality of your site by using custom code provided by the third party.
uKit provides integrations in most popular categories, such as CRM system (AmoCRM), various social media services, or chat systems. You can even connect MailChimp autoresponder service to your site.
The integrations are sprinkled around the editor, while some of them can be found on the Dashboard. It would be nice if there was a central app-store-like functionality, where you could access all the integrations in one place.
uKit provides standard support options to choose from. However, no phone support is provided.
These standard support channels are:
- Knowledge base.
I used knowledge base, chat and email support to help me answer the questions I had. Even with a free account, customer support replied to my questions promptly (by using email).
uKit pricing page states that every plan comes with 24/7 support. However, starting from Premium+ and higher plans, you also get chat support. And when chat support is not around, you can send them an email, and they will get back to you:
In a modern world, chat is a must-have option. I don’t like calling, so this channel was enough to answer my quick queries.
There is one improvement I would make to chat, and that would be by announcing the opening hours of this service. That way you would know when you can get a faster reply to your queries.
Chat and other channels worked as expected, and I got help when I had questions. Support is available 24/7, although the chat support is only available from Premium+ plans and up.
Even if everything worked OK, uKit should announce the chat opening hours to make their service a bit more transparent.
Pricing and Billing
There are four plans to choose from:
The least expensive plan gives you the tools to get started with the website building. But if you want to use the chat support for your queries, then you’ll have to choose the Premium+ plan or higher. Finally, if you want all the bells and whistles, the Pro plan is the way to go.
What was a bit confusing to me was that there were two prices announced on the pricing page:
On the other hand, you had the other prices mentioned at the top of the pricing table as well:
So, what was the deal here?
Well, the prices at the top of the pricing table were actually the two-year subscription prices. All this made sense to me when I started to upgrade my current plan:
The principle used here was the same as with any other sitebuilder: the longer you are willing to commit to using the platform, the less expensive it will become.
However, using the two-year plan as the default pricing point makes the prices look cheaper, but a two-year plan is not the industry standard, which is annual pricing. And that’s why I got confused a bit.
With a Premium plan, you have a 14-day 100% money-back guarantee. This is nice, but I didn’t quite understand why this same approach wasn’t used with other plans as well.
Purchasing domains is normally more expensive, when you do it through an online sitebuilder. uKit doesn’t make an exception of this.
For instance, when I searched for a domain, onlinebuildermobileguy.com, I got the price as $14.95 (approximately 13€) per year:
However, the registration through my favorite registrar, NameCheap (<TODO: Aff link>), showed me the price as 9.41€ (approximately $11) per year:
Naturally, you want to register your domain through an external registrar like NameCheap and then connect it to uKit platform, since you save money this way.
Accessing the Billing Information
Managing the billing details is simple, and you do this through your dashboard.
For instance, let’s say you want to cancel your subscription.
So first, after you have logged in, and you are looking at the dashboard, you’ll see the Payments link on the left:
Then, on the next page, you can click the Payment Details link to see the full details related to your plan (I have omitted some information here):
Here, clicking the Disconnect link will cancel your current subscription. When you click the link, you’ll be asked if this is actually something you want to do. If it is, your subscription will be cancelled.
Pricing and Billing:
Pricing is self-explanatory with uKit. You can also access your billing information through the dashboard and cancel the active subscriptions you have, with just a couple of clicks.
However, what I’d like to see is the free trial extended for every plan out there, not just for the Premium plan. That way you would have a better idea as to whether a particular plan is for you and if you want to commit yourself to the service.
The pricing, although transparent, was a bit confusing to me at first. This was because the starting price for the plans was announced based on the two-year subscription, not as annual pricing as everywhere else.
Is This the Right Tool for You?
uKit does a solid job of offering all the features that you would need to build a website. Also, the billing works right, and the customer support is there for you.
I encourage you to test the service to see whether the platform is for you. But if I were you, and I chose this service, I would know that uKit was “one of the good guys,” and you would be able to build a site on this platform just fine.
Now that you know the ins and outs of uKit, you may think that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
In that case, here are some uKit alternatives you should consider:
- Voog: Has strong internationalization support. So, if you want to build a multilingual site, this is the tool for you.
- Strikingly: Probably the best tool for building one-page websites. All the features are well thought-out.
- uCraft: Yet another sitebuilder with plenty of features. And by the way, the Landing Page plan is free!