Every once in a while, you may come across a specific, one purpose-oriented website builder while looking at how to make a website online. Well, this Format website review is going to focus on exactly that type of a builder.
Format is an online portfolio-based website builder. This means that, if you’re in need of a portfolio and would like to build one fast and easy, user Format website reviews are likely going to point you into the builder’s direction.
That said, is Format really worth trying out? Are there any notable cons, small print or any other details you should be aware of? Well, we’ll figure out soon enough.
TL;DR: Format website builder reviews talk about the builder being a decent choice for anyone who wants to have a modern-looking, SEO-optimized and mobile-friendly site. However, some users claim that the UI is a bit difficult to navigate, and that there’s no free version available.
- Free trial
- Decent SEO
- 24/7 support
- Modern, mobile-friendly templates
- Confusing UI
- Almost exclusively portfolio-based
Format Website Review: PROS
So, then - we’ve established that most customer Format website reviews agree that the builder is almost exclusively portfolio-based. What does that actually mean, though?
Well, for starters, it means that you shouldn’t be expecting extensive site-building features with Format. Truth be told, that does not mean that the tool lacks any essential or otherwise crucial features - it seems to have all of that figured out.
However, when placed together and compared to Wix or Weebly, Format seems to quite notably lack functionality. This is to be expected, though - neither Wix nor Weebly brand themselves as “portfolio website builders”. While making portfolios and online showcases is perfectly possible with these builders, their reach is much broader.
This is also something that you should keep in mind before continuing with this Format website review, though. If you’re out there to build a site where you’ll be able to showcase your photography work or other, artistic ventures, then sure - Format might be just what you need.
If you’re looking for a more general website builder, though, you’re probably better off searching elsewhere. Format might be able to serve as a decent alternative and provide you with some great features at first, but the builder will lack scalability as soon as you want to grow your site a bit bigger.
Modern, Mobile-Friendly Templates
Given the fact that Format is focused on online photography portfolios, this one shouldn’t come as a shock to you.
A website template is a pre-built, optimally-designed and optimized website pattern. It doesn’t only make the process of designing a website much easier, but it also serves as a starting point for many people - with the absolute majority of website builders out there, the very first thing you’ll be opted to do after registration is going to be choosing a template.
Various builders have differing numbers of templates available - some offer 12, others - 500. Whatever the case might be, though, the numbers don’t matter a single bit if neither of those templates are optimized for mobile use.
According to statistics, around 40% of people are going to choose a different search result if they see that the one they’re on now isn’t optimized to be viewed on a mobile device. That’s almost half of all the users! With that said, you can probably imagine just how big of a deal this is to search engines, such as Google.
To put things into perspective, one of the main criteria, if you want your site to currently rank at the top of Google’s search results, is it being optimized perfectly for mobile users. Each and every single day, more and more people are spending the majority of their time browsing the internet on their smartphones, tablets, and so on.
Modern, mobile-friendly templates are also the key objective for many website builders now. User Format website reviews will likely tell you that most top-tier builders have got it right - Format is no exception.
Seeing as the company is so concentrated on the visual appeal of a site, it does make sense, though. Throughout my testing process, I didn’t come across a template that wouldn’t look good (or at least OK) on my phone - that’s a major plus in both Google’s and the customers’ books.
Decent SEO Features
SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. It is basically a systematic approach to how Google (and other search engines, such as Bing or Yahoo) ranks certain websites and pages in its search results.
Just so you could understand the importance of SEO, know this - there are professionals called “SEO specialists” that work in various online content-focused companies. These specialists are there to help that content rank higher on a specific search engine - more often than not, that’s Google.
SEO is comprised of so many different details, that it would be almost impossible to list them all here coherently. There’s technical SEO, black and white hats, various different attributes and categories… You get the idea.
So, how is all of that important in this Format website review? Well, website builders (at least the actually good ones) have SEO functionality - they have specific sections on their menus that are dedicated to all things SEO.
And no, I’m not talking about keyword counts or density - that’s just the basics. With Format, for example, you’re able to connect Google Analytics to your site, adjust image meta titles and descriptions, fill out specific page forms, and so on.
Never underestimate the importance of SEO when it comes to your website - it’s one of the main aspects (if not the main aspect) that are going to determine how well your page does, how many visitors it attracts and - finally - how much revenue it’s going to yield, in general.
It’s actually quite refreshing to come across a builder that cares about SEO. Too many website creators out there skip over this part, thinking that “the user won’t notice”. Well, if the user has never had anything to do with website creation, they might.
However, now you know.
User Format website reviews note, though, that since Format is almost exclusively focused on portfolio site creation, it’s not going to provide you with the top-tier SEO functionality, and websites built with some of the more general-purpose builders out there are likely going to outrank your site, either way.
Still, even with that being said, it’s still a huge win for Format.
Format Website Reviews: CONS
Modern, mobile-friendly templates and SEO optimization is great.
Really, it is.
That said, though, it does not mean that’s all there is to it. Format being so focused on portfolios, there are going to be issues that arise when you take a broader look at the website builder - and I’m not even talking about the things we’ve already discussed at the beginning of this Format website review.
Rather Confusing UI
Many user Format website reviews have pointed this out already, but you know what’s really cool about website builders, other than them usually being cheap and fast?
That’s right - their ease of use.
Arguably, that’s the main feature of a website builder, in general. Why wouldn’t you just go and use one of the CMSs out there, or just pay someone else to do the job for you?
That’s right - other than the above-mentioned processes being slow and expensive, creating a site on your own has never been easier than with the help of website builders. Anyone should be able to do it - programmers and dog trainers, alike.
User Format website reviews will tell you, though, that things aren’t always as easy as you might want or expect them to be. And no, I’m not talking about some biased, unfounded Format website builder reviews - I’m talking about ones that reference the UI of the company’s builder.
UI stands for user interface. It’s the menu that you see when you’re using the editor tool of the builder in question. Since that’s the place you’ll be spending most of your time at, you’d probably want it to be as smooth and as easy to use as possible, right?
Well… That’s not always the case.
Format isn’t “difficult” to use, per se. Rather, the user interface of the builder is simply confusing at times.
I don’t even really know how to adequately put it, but it’s basically just not intuitive. I had a pretty frustrating time trying to figure out how to do things straight from the get-go.
I don’t want to give you the wrong impression - even though the UI was a bit confusing at first, it’s definitely not “hard” to manage. Adding blog posts was very simple and straightforward, the “Online Shop” part of the site was also very beginner-friendly, and the overall feeling of the UI was, well… It was OK.
I felt a rather evident lack of features, but this was to be expected, given that it’s a portfolio builder. That said, yet again - if you’re looking to build a bigger, wide-spectrum site, Format isn’t going to suit you. This is going to be evident from the very beginning once you enter the actual builder interface.
No Free Version
Some Format website reviews point to this, but if you browse through a list of some of the best website builders of the year, you’re going to notice that most of those builders have free versions.
Not free trials - free versions.
Format has a free trial - 14 days, to be exact. However, it does not have an indefinite free version.
This is somewhat of an interesting situation. It’s strange seeing that there aren’t all that many customer Format website reviews that would be very upset about it, even though the story is often quite a bit different with other website builders.
If I was to make an educated guess for this Format website builder review, I’d say that this mostly has to do with the fact that it is a single purpose-oriented site builder. The customers that Format has are very, well… Targeted. It’s mostly going to be people that are searching for a website builder that would specifically help them build an online portfolio.
As far as Format pricing is concerned, we’ve already established that the company has a free, 14-day trial. That said, before getting into the actual Format pricing options, there’s still something you should know first.
I’ve encountered some user Format website reviews that claim that Format offers refunds for their plans.
That’s only partially true.
Format does not issue any refund for monthly plans. However, you are able to get a refund if you’ve bought a yearly plan.
With that said, here are the Format pricing options:
- Enthusiast - $6 per month, billed annually
- Pro - $12 per month, billed annually
- Unlimited - $25 per month, billed annually
In all honesty, the pricing options of these plans are actually pretty good. Yes, they are more expensive than one would come to expect, but given the sleek design options and SEO & eCommerce features of the builder, the price tags make sense.
With each upgrade of the plan, you’ll get increased access to the different features that Format does have to offer (i.e. you’ll unlock eCommerce from the Pro plan, and so on).
So, judging from all of the testing and user Format website builder reviews, is the builder worth trying out?
Well, if you’re looking to build a portfolio site - yes. If you’re in need of a more general, broader and more advanced website, then no.
For a portfolio creation-based builder, Format is alright. It has good functionality, isn’t very difficult to get accustomed to and has modern, mobile-friendly templates. However, since it does lack some quite essential features that would be necessary for a bigger project, it’s not really suitable for “normal” website creation.
Instead, you can check out our list of the best website builder around, in general. All of the builders on that list are going to provide you with most of the tools that you need to create a fully-fledged site.
That being said, I hope that this Format website review was useful to you, and wish you good luck in your website building ventures to come!