Zoho Sites is an application for creating custom websites. There are two plans: one free and one paid. Zoho has several applications, and this one is specifically for easy to build websites with custom features.Show more screenshots »
Zoho was founded in September of 2005 and is run by Raju Vegesna, Evangelist, among others. Unique visitors to the site consistently run between 200,000- 350,000 per month. Zoho was previously known as AdventNet.
Zoho also offers a variety of office and productivity tools including collaboration applications, business applications, and productivity applications including plugins for Microsoft Office and Google Apps.
The Zoho sites app makes things incredibly easy with drag and drop technology for building a web page. The features in the free site exceed those of most free website programs by adding the ability to create forms and the inclusion of a mobile site.
The first step is to choose a site name and decide whether the site will be built from scratch or whether HTML or CSS files will be uploaded to create the site. The next step is to choose from 37 designs of various themes. There are some that are designed with specific industries or services in mind and some that are more generic. Once chosen, the design is applied and the user is introduced to the dashboard.
The dashboard includes the visual page itself with a header featuring options for Elements such as headings, paragraphs, images, images + text, video, flash video, and column options (embed or table).
Sample text may be replaced right on the page so that users can see what the site will look like as they work on it. When a text box is being edited, a toolbar opens with font options similar to those in Microsoft Word.
To insert an image, users may upload from computer or web URL. Optimum image sizes are provided for each template. Elements may be added via drag and drop and then edited on the page. Forms offered are contact forms and a selection of other forms including satisfaction survey, job application, mailing list, membership, appointment, volunteer, and party invitation. Users may use any of these formatted templates or create their own forms. To create a form, the user is provided with basic field choices such as single or mulilines, images, numbers, percentages, dropdown menus, checkboxes, and more. Once the fields are chosen, the user may drag and drop to the template and edit the properties of each one. Advanced fields include formulas and file uploads. All of this is simple and intuitive. This is much easier than creating a form in another program.
Users may add various widgets including payment widgets, Google maps, and social media. Each social media widget, once added, allows the user to add the elements they desire, such as a "Like Box", "Like Button", or "Activity Feed".
The dynamic content, in beta at the time of this review, is a configuration for content that will be changed frequently. It is the easiest way to keep content updated without HTML. This may include a product portfolio or customer testimonials. Users may create an application for the dynamic content directly through Zoho Creator from scratch, by using a form template, or by importing from another program such as Google Docs or Excel.
A visitor statistics page is included with the site within the "manage" menu. This is also where a user may create a blog or link to an external blog.
Basically, everything in Zoho is created to be user-friendly. No HTML or coding knowledge is needed to create a complete and professional website. This is an extremely easy to use application with complicated looking results.
New users must provide a username, email address, and password. An email is sent to the provided address for confirmation.
There are two options for sites. The Free Forever Plan includes 2 sites, a mobile website, blogs, 2 forms per site, dynamic content (a beta feature), 1 custom theme per site, file uploads with a maximum file size of 5MB per file, and site hosting. The Pro Plan is offered at $39 per year ($3.50 per month) and includes 6 sites, payment buttons for PayPal and Google Checkout, a mobile website, blogs, 10 forms per site, dynamic content beta feature, 3 custom themes per site, file uploads of 50MB per file maximum size, multiple authors, favicon, Adsense, site hosting, and no Zoho badge in the footer.
Anyone who wants to create a website that looks incredibly professional without having to deal with HTML or other complex formatting or coding issues will appreciate Zoho sites. The drag and drop methodology and intuitive interface is easy for users with any level of computer experience.