PROS / With Yola's clear instructions and its support options, you can quickly learn and master the design tools and marketing features.
CONS / You cannot download your site and use it with another hosting company.
VERDICT / While Yola is an easy-to-use software application that allows you to create an appealing website, it's not useful if you need to change hosting companies.
Yola Silver web design software is designed for beginning users and offers easy-to-use, basic functionality. Despite its beginner feel, the web-based software delivers a broad feature set and exceptional graphic-imaging tools that allow even the greenest users to create websites that look like they were created by a professional designer. It requires you use its hosting service, however. Further, one other limitation with this service is that multiple people cannot access the site. You need to share your account information if you want someone else to have access to editing the site.
Yola Silver has over 250 responsive website templates to choose from. While there are many sites that offer more, this website builder has enough variety that you should find a template that works for your business and automatically configures to the device your customers are viewing your website on. Further, we found it one of the easiest platforms to use for modifying or switching templates after you have already added design elements.
One of Yola's best features is also one that underscores its accessibility for beginners. It offers intuitive drag-and-drop functionality that allows you to select and arrange site components – text boxes, photos, graphics, etc. – directly on site pages. This level of flexible customization is noteworthy because it allows you to arrange your site layout precisely as you see fit. It's also among the more versatile website design software products we reviewed.
Some of the other standard web design tools the software offers include automatic page naming, metatags and decent multimedia support. You can add audio, video and Flash effects to your website. It has a button for adding YouTube videos so you don't need to trifle with the HTML embedding code (unless you are more comfortable using code). It also integrates with multiple Google tools, including Google Analytics, Google Maps and Google Translate, giving your site even greater functionality.
A major drawback we found was that this software creates a proprietary website. If you use it, you must use Yola's webhosting service. The service is tied to the monthly charge for the software, but if you change web hosts, you will lose your website. There is no way to export it to another web host.
Yola lets you create as many as 25 sites on one account, which is great if you have multiple businesses or purposes and want to diversify. However, the overall storage is only 5GB, much smaller than most of the services in our lineup. You do get a free domain name for the first year you subscribe, but no custom email, so you need to either pay to create an email associated with your domain or use a different service for email communication.
Since Yola is web-based, you can easily access all of the website creator's online resources, which include tutorials and a FAQs section. What we found most useful and impressive was the community forums. The forums are conveniently searchable, so you can search for relevant threads by keyword. Yola also offers email support and a seminar for beginners. Customer support was prompt in responding to our inquiries.
If you are a beginner looking to create your own website and don't have a webhost yet, Yola is a choice worth considering. It is user friendly and has many great help features geared toward the novice web designer. However, its tools are sophisticated enough that you can develop a modern website that visitors will enjoy.