A popular website builder amongst small businesses, bOnline goes beyond traditional product offerings of free templates and ‘build-it-yourself’ packages to offer users personally tailored SEO bundles that focus specifically on local search engine optimisation.
Combined with their hundreds of free template designs; web hosting; domain names and business email addresses; business broadband and phone lines; easy to use picture, animation and text editor; optional e-Commerce add-ons; Google AdWords capabilities and direct links to social media channels; bOnline web builder can provide businesses with all the tools they need to create a professionally designed, fully functional modern website.
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|Reviewed by Expert Market:||10/03/2016|
Products and Services
Whether businesses are looking to cut costs by creating their own website or utilise bOnline’s design team; both options afford the same results – an expertly built, sleek and SEO optimised website that is branded to your specifications.
bOnline provides 4 set packages which include basic building, domain and hosting, unlimited pages, mobile designs and social media integration. Alongside these, businesses can access:
- Business – professional site, unlimited edits and changes, 400 stock images, email support and DIY SEO tools (£8.95 per month).
- Business Plus – 4000 stock images, advanced DIY SEO tools, business email, ecommerce tools and a marketing dashboard (£14.95 per month).
- Managed SEO – similar to Business Plus, Managed SEO contains all the same features, but also supplies you with reports and a dedicated advisor for your SEO and custom work (£29.95 per month).
- Traffic Builder – with all the features of Managed SEO, Traffic Builder comes with local SEO, industry directory listings, customised, SEO-friendly content and actively pursues hits, visits, traffic and clients (£95.00 per month).
Whilst domain names are free and available as part of bOnline’s many packages, for a set monthly price bOnline also offers branded domain names, email addresses and website URL’s to ensure you leave a lasting impression.
- Start-up – domain name, 2 business email addresses, 5gb of free storage space, spam and virus protection (inbound and outbound emails) and 1 year ownership of domain name. For an additional £5.00 you can get a further 10 email addresses (£2.50 VAT per month).
Look and Feel
bOnline may only offer hundreds of templates in comparison to the thousands supplied by other web builders, but each design category comes with a breadth of original, modern and easily customised designs that can ensure your business stands out.
Browsing through their examples is a testament to how versatile their designs are, and enables businesses to gain a clear idea of their end product. And should you choose to employ their own designers and not build it yourself; it is obvious from their dedicated example page that great care and attention is paid to the specifics of your industry and needs.
Businesses can also easily browse through bOnline’s case studies. By accessing their demo option, users can examine not just the home page but the various internal pages of bOnline’s past clients and witness first-hand the flexibility of their templates.
In terms of their own site, bOnline is sleek, easy to navigate and clearly displays everything you need to know about their services, products and pricing. Within minutes, you can quickly price up the costs of their services, review their case studies and explore hundreds of bespoke, customisable templates that surpass many web builders in terms of quality, professionalism and most importantly originality.
Overall, bOnline has much to offer small-medium sized businesses - despite not being the cheapest on the market. By combining their beautiful web designs with their local SEO, numerous marketing tools and web services, businesses can benefit from increased site visibility, traffic and credibility.
Ease of Use
No matter your prior design experience with bOnline you can walk away with a stunning, skilfully designed website that is completely functional, SEO optimised and equipped with social media widgets.
Their drag and drop interface is intuitive, straight forward and designed so even the most novice of users can build a site from scratch. Even then, users can benefit from the guidance of advisors (on more advanced packages) who will walk you through your design choices, content, marketing and SEO to ensure you achieve optimum results.
One of the best features on bOnline is their flexibility and range of easy to use tools. Their image, animation and text editor for instance is particularly beneficial as it enables users to manipulate the layout of their templates without the need for coding. Combined with bOnline’s unlimited changes/editions; optimised content and choice of 500+ images; there is minimal risk of design duplication amongst businesses.
And for those who haven’t got the time to design a site themselves, bOnline’s in-house team of professional designers can easily take the reins. Available over the phone, they can drive forward the customisation of your chosen template design, performing as many editions and modifications as you need until you’re 100% satisfied.
Similarly their SEO wizard enables businesses to save money by allowing them to cut out UK web design agencies and take charge of their own SEO. With this tool they can tailor their keyword selection to suit their business, location and service offerings. Additionally, businesses can benefit from the extra bonus of having social media integrated into their service.
For ease and peace of mind, businesses can easily hire bOnline’s team of SEO advisors to track and report on their Google Analytics; monitor sales and site visitations, and manage their social media marketing.
The London Hog Roast Company
Established in April 2015, after owners Steven and Kinga Odendaal decided to branch out of a successful previous business venture; their goal was to offer customers authentic, high quality South African style foods. With no prior experience of dealing with marketing and running a business at the same time they needed a professional site that was easy to maintain, so took advantage of bOnline’s professional setup package.
Since launching their new site, it now attracts hundreds of views per month and has helped the London Hog Roast Companyhas developed a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
A pottery studio located in Newmarket, Studio Scribbles offers customers ‘paint their own’ pottery sessions and personalised ceramic gifts. In 2013, they decided to replace their existing site as it was costly, difficult to edit and wasn’t compatible with mobiles.
They turned to bOnline, took advantage of their Business Plus package (which has boosted their site visitations to 500 per month) and can now edit their site whenever they want.
Advantages and Disadvantages
bOnline comes with many clear advantages for businesses looking to revitalise their existing site and improve ease of use and management:
- Local SEO – achieved through their SEO Wizard or managed through one of their advisors, this focus on local SEO is ideal for small businesses hoping to broaden audience awareness and site visitations.
- Customer support – even their basic plan comes with email support and online documentation to guide you through your queries. All plans contain phone support that is fast, knowledgeable, well-advised and professional. If however you need support out of hours, you can utilise their live chat facilities.
- Templates – bOnline are constantly adding new templates to their categorised groups ensuring continuous originality amongst business users. No template is the same, and each have been designed to suit the business category they have been placed under.
- Easy to use – from their drag and drop interface and hundreds of customisable templates to their local SEO features and image/text editor; every element of their service is clear, intuitive and designed to assist all levels of design and marketing experience.
- Professional advice - SEO and design advisors are available even if you opt to design the site yourself.
Whilst bOnline comes with many advantages, there are some drawbacks to this website builder that you need to take into consideration:
- Not the cheapest – the more you need, the higher their price. Their top plan for instance is considerably higher than the rest and despite all the positive services it offers, the price jump seems steep.
- Content creation – only their top plan comes with optimised content. For the rest you are left to your own devices, so it could affect the optimisation of businesses with no prior online writing knowledge.
- Tutorials – although their interface is easy to use, unlike many website builders, bOnline doesn’t appear to have any video tutorials or walkthroughs.
With over 12,000 websites under their belt, it is easy to understand why bOnline is such a popular website builder. From their beautiful and original template designs to their dedicated support and design/SEO advisors, bOnline has everything you need to launch a successful new site without extravagant costs.
Admittedly the site offers little in terms of content creation and video tutorials, and is overpriced on some of their bigger packages; however their intuitive interface removes the need to hire a UK web design agency or even a team of designers. Similarly, their editing feature lacks the bugs seen on many common web builders and is as easy to use as it claims to be.
Long term businesses can make great savings, especially if they utilise their broadband, phone and marketing services (to handle reports and Google Analytics) as well.
Overall bOnline can offer businesses an integrated and comprehensive online marketing service that are invaluable, no matter their prior tech experience. Designed to enable businesses to maintain, edit and further develop their site, your potential for business progression online is limitless.
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