I recently gave the new Ucraft website builder a try to create a personal website to function as a portfolio for all of my writing work. Ucraft’s simple-to-use and intuitive user interface made website creation, often a tedious exercise in frustration, bearable. In fact, creating my website was actually fun.
Since 2012, I’ve used WordPress for my personal blogs and websites. Even the website for which I submit professional work uses WordPress in combination with BlueHost. Each time I made a new blog, I dreaded the process because it was so cumbersome. Every step of the way was monotonous, and there’s little creativity involved because of the need for heavy coding background to change much of anything from the templates – most of which are premium templates that require purchases. From the beginning to the end in publishing a site, WordPress is still intimidating.
In contrast, Ucraft is the opposite of intimidating. Right off the bat, the welcome video explains how the site building tools work. Rather than relying on heavy coding knowledge to make your site look beautiful, Ucraft employs a drag-and-drop system with its design elements; there is almost complete freedom to mold your site exactly how you see fit. If you don’t like the placement of an element, you literally just move it to where you want. Do you want text on the left side and the image on the right as opposed to the opposite? Not a problem.
Instead of bogging down users in technical jargon, the site settings for Ucraft are amazingly simple. Everything is self-explanatory, and it only gets complicated if you want. For example, in working with pages, you can also go and input code for certain design elements if that’s what you’d like to do. For users like myself who want to stay far away from that part of website design, it’s not a requirement.
Speaking of design, one of my favorite Ucraft features is their logo builder. With my old website on WordPress, I moved forward without having a logo. I figured that eventually, I’d ask a buddy who’s good with Photoshop to whip something up for me. Thankfully, Ucraft’s logo maker was extremely easy to navigate, and I was able to craft a design on my own despite not being an “artistic” person by nature. The logo maker contains a multitude of shapes, outlines, objects, and more to help kick start the procedure.
The great thing about the logo maker is that it doesn’t require a site subscription to use. Anyone can make an account just to get a logo without having to pay for the site-maker. On the topic of payment, $77 a year (or $8/month) is a fair price for Ucraft. You can add additional languages to your site as well, which is incredible. When considering this, it makes the price look appropriate, depending on your audience. $77 a year is a little more than what I’d prefer to pay, but from what I’ve seen, the accessibility and tools make it an easier pill to swallow.
Ucraft isn’t perfect, though. While the designs are easy and simple, oversimplification is an issue in certain places. The SEO (Search Engine Optimization) options aren’t as in-depth and thorough as WordPress’ SEO options. WordPress approaches SEO in a seemingly simpler manner. Also the “integrations” menu isn’t as self-explanatory as the rest of the site. It’s funny, in a way, to see how Ucraft’s major strength is self-explanatory-ness while its weakest parts are due to a lack thereof.
I thought the $77 yearly charge would be all I would need, but there are hidden fees for additional services. There’s a $3 charge for designer tools (inspired by Photoshop). Also, an analytics package can be purchased for $99. This seems absurdly high just to see how many people are visiting your site. Maybe there’s another way to see stats without all of the other cool analytics tools in that package, but I haven’t found it yet.
Keeping all of that in mind, the cons don’t outweigh the pros. Ucraft is brilliantly simple, and it takes all of the annoyance and frustration out of the website crafting process. Moving forward, I plan to use it as my personal tool; you should too.