Yola is a web platform that allows users to build websites and eCommerce stores. It’s not as widely known as Wix, Shopify, or WordPress, but the fact that it’s been on the market for over 20 years, despite all the competition and technological novelties, tells a story of high adaptability and success.
Compared to a more famous platform like Wix, Yola has modest popularity numbers. Nevertheless, it can be a good choice for building a website or an eCommerce store, depending on your specific needs. Yola can be especially appealing to users on a tight budget; it offers a free plan, and it’s a highly affordable hosted solution overall. At the same time, it includes a good number of helpful features that may be just what you are looking for.
In this "What is Yola?" review, we’ll explore a few important aspects of this platform and learn what Yola is. We’ll go over some notable features, the pricing system, the customer support quality, and how you can extend its out-of-the-box capabilities. Let’s get to it!
The Yola pricing system is a bit complex. It consists of four website plans and four eCommerce—or as Yola calls them—online store add-ons.
Yola Website Plans
Yola offers one free and three paid plans in this category.
With a yearly subscription, you get not just two months for free, but also a discount on each paid plan. With the discounts, the prices would be the same as paying $4.95, $11.95, and $23.95 per month. The full sum you pay in advance is $59.45 for the Bronze, $143.45 for the Silver, and $287.45 for the Gold plan.
Discounts are not the only perks of annual subscriptions. Yola also provides you with a free custom .com domain (instead of the .yolasite.com subdomain) for one year as well as a private WHOIS registration of your domain name. When you register a domain name, private information like your email and phone number becomes publicly available. A private registration protects your personal information by blocking access to all but the essential information required to register your domain name.
The differences between the website plans are mostly regarding the number of sites you can create, the storage space, and branding, plus some more advanced features with each of the higher-tier plans.
It’s great that Yola gives its customers the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a free plan. However, keep in mind that you’ll encounter many limitations with the Free plan, such as low storage space, inability to use a custom domain, and no access to analytics tools. Unless you’re just experimenting with a free website or kicking the tires of Yola, a subscription to this plan is probably not the best long-term solution, especially if you’re a business owner.
Yola Online Store Add-Ons
There are four online store add-ons as well: one free and three paid.
Customers can choose between a monthly and yearly subscription. Of course, there’s a discount if you decide to pay upfront for an entire year. The yearly subscriptions are $150.00 for the Basic, $350.00 for the Professional, and $990.00 for the Unlimited add-on, which is the same as $12.50/month, $29.17/month, and $82.50/month.
Customers can take advantage of the annual discounts only if they already have an annual subscription to a paid website plan. Speaking of, the online store add-ons are exactly as their name suggests... add-ons. This means that they can’t be used as stand-alone plans, but rather together with the website plans. So, if you build an eCommerce store with Yola, expect higher costs than if you just create a website, unless you think that the free online store add-on meets your requirements.
In 2020, Yola introduced the Yola Sitebuilder+. It’s not so much of a new feature as it is a completely redesigned platform to catch up with the new technologies and design trends.
The reason why Yola Sitebuilder+ saw the light of day came from the fact that more and more users today access and browse the internet from their mobile devices. This calls for a change of priorities; now, everything web-related needs to be mobile-first.
Following this tendency, the Sitebuilder+ allows users (from beginners to power users) to easily create professional-looking websites in no time. More importantly, they can do it from any type of device: mobile and desktop.
In addition to this, Sitebuilder+ includes design automation. This means that Yola can do things like add filters to your background photos, modify font color patterns, and arrange elements in a way that ensures your site automatically provides a fully responsive experience to its visitors.
The Sitebuilder+ Editor
The new site editor is different from its predecessor. It has a clean and modern look and doesn’t include widgets, to name a few differences.
Clicking the hamburger icon in the upper left corner, as shown in the image above, shows you a menu with various options: navigation, settings, design, online store, advertising, analytics, help, and more. As can be seen in the image, some of these options are part of the main navigation menu as well.
The page in the Sitebuilder+ editor is divided into blocks, so when you want to add a new element or additional content, you click the Add Block icon (a plus sign), just like the one in the image we provided. It lets you add headlines, products, contacts, galleries, CTAs (call to action), testimonials, pricing, videos, texts, custom blocks, etc.
You can customize each part of your page by clicking on the element you want to edit. This shows you the available options, such as alignment and heading, so you can modify the default values and give your site a more personalized touch.
Speaking of, Yola doesn’t overwhelm you with gazillions of customization options. It offers a simple, easy-to-use, and pretty intuitive editor that’s supposed to be used seamlessly by anyone regardless of their technical skills. So, don’t expect Yola to be another Webflow.
In our experience, the Yola Sitebuilder+ editor can sometimes be a bit slow; it takes a bit longer to load, but it’s not the end of the world. Besides, its ease-of-use and intuitiveness make up for this drawback and once you start building and editing your site, it makes for a pretty seamless and simple process.
HTML Embed Block
The ability to include custom HTML code and add HTML embed blocks to your Yola pages can be a real lifesaver. This feature has many benefits. For starters, it allows you to add your own custom code, say, in order to change the style of a page. Then, it lets you add content (blog posts, for instance) that you wouldn’t be able to add otherwise. Third, thanks to this feature, you can integrate Yola with other cool software.
To illustrate how powerful this ability can be, we’ll give you one example. Yola doesn’t offer a blogging tool. However, as it’s widely known (and the stats confirm this) that a blog can tremendously contribute to an increase in site traffic, more leads and conversions (for users who own an online store), and building as well as more firmly establishing your brand. So, it’s kind of a bummer that Yola lacks this functionality.
However, thanks to the ability to add HTML embed blocks to your Yola site, you can integrate Yola with DropInBlog; an elegant and up-to-the-minute blogging solution. You just need to copy and paste a few lines of code and you’ll be all set for blogging. It’s a quick and convenient way to extend your Yola website’s capabilities. For more info on creating a blog with Yola and how this method works, check out "How to Create a Blog With Yola".
The HTML embed feature is available starting with the Silver pricing plan.
Another great and convenient Yola feature is the ability to switch templates. For instance, say you choose a particular template when you start building your site, but you change your mind later; many site builders won’t let you select another template, at least not without changing your content and losing information. In contrast, with Yola you can switch templates at any time.
There are about 70 Yola templates. They’re all responsive and customizable, and they all look pretty good. The templates are grouped according to their purpose, e.g. business, online store, portfolios & photography, sport & fitness, education, art & culture templates, etc.
On top of this, Yola strives to help its customers achieve higher search engine rankings by following good design practices like clean HTML that doesn’t make your site heavy, CSS tags, automatically generated sitemaps, and alerts that inform the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) each time you make changes to your site.
If you’re into eCommerce and would like to build an online store, Yola provides you with the tools to do that. You can create both a regular website and an online store, just build a store, or have multiple stores; Yola is there to help you create whatever setup you need.
This is how it looks when you decide to take advantage of the Yola eCommerce offering and start building an online store with this platform:
The platform also gives you tips on how to start the process: how to run your store on the go via the mobile app available for download on iPad, iPhone, and Android; how to add products; how to use multichannel selling to sell on Facebook, Instagram, Google Shopping, and Amazon; etc.
Your store dashboard will include various types of stats, one of them being related to abandoned card recovery. Some of the other eCommerce features that Yola offers are coupons, gift cards, discounts, automated emails, reports and analytics tools, design customization, different payment methods, multiple payment gateways (Square, PayPal, Payflow), shipping, tax and invoices tools, product filters, printable orders, customer groups, inventory tracking, POS (Point of Sale) integrations, and more.
All in all, Yola offers loads of eCommerce features that you can utilize to build and advance your eCommerce business. On top of this, it’s also a pretty affordable eCommerce solution, even with the additional costs of building and running an eCommerce store. It’s definitely worth a try, especially considering that there’s a free online store plan to test out at least a part of Yola’s eCommerce capabilities.
When it comes to direct customer support, Yola’s got your back 24/7 via email. Subscribers to all paid plans are entitled to premium support, meaning that Yola prioritizes their requests over those coming from the free plan subscribers. The Yola customer support team usually answers in less than 24 hours.
However, the rest of the customers are not left out. They just need to wait a bit longer for a reply. Usually, the team responds to requests from free users within the time frame of 48 hours. You can submit a request here.
In our experience, as well as the experiences and reviews of other Yola customers, Yola offers great support. The support staff is helpful, polite, nice, and efficient, which is reflected in the relatively high ratings on sites like Capterra and G2.
Who Uses Yola?
Based on our and other customers’ experiences, Yola looks like it works best for small businesses and projects. This doesn’t mean that larger businesses and projects can’t benefit from using Yola. However, they would probably face certain limitations that can affect their business.
This study of 9,482 companies that use Yola supports our claim. It shows that the large majority of the companies that were examined fell under the category of small businesses both size- and revenue-wise. However, the Yola clientele does not consist exclusively of small companies. Part of those 9,482 companies are medium and large companies, the first outnumbering the second.
Over and Out
In this article, we explored some important aspects of Yola: what is Yola, what does Yola offer, and who uses this web platform. We hope that we provided helpful information and that you now have at least a little clearer idea of Yola as well as whether it would be a good choice for you and your business. If you’re still not sure, take advantage of the free plan and the free online store add-on, gain some hands-on experience, and see if it floats your boat. You have nothing to lose.