Constant Contact claims to have invented the “industry’s greatest website construction and ecommerce platform,” while being better recognized as an email marketing provider.
Naturally, we at Website Builder Expert take these promises with a grain of salt. We wanted to put the Constant Contact website builder through its paces and see how it compares to the 50+ other website builders we’d researched using our own comprehensive research technique.
In a nutshell, we weren’t wowed, although the builder does offer some redeeming aspects, such as outstanding value for money. While it isn’t at the top of our list, it may be the best option for some folks, particularly if you plan to do a lot of email marketing and want to interface with the Constant Contact email marketing service.
To offer you our complete evaluation of this website builder, we’ll evaluate at features, cost, simplicity of use, assistance and support, and more. Let’s get started:
Advantages and disadvantages
- ADI makes it simple to put together a functional website, and you won’t be overwhelmed by alternatives.
- Free of charge plan
- Analytics that are simple to comprehend
- The backend is prone to errors.
- The features aren’t particularly advanced.
- Disappointing designs
How simple is it to use Constant Contact?
Constant Contact, like many other builders nowadays, operates by leveraging AI (Artificial Intelligence) to create a website for you that you can then customize.
The initial setup was straightforward, beginning with a broad question: ‘What is the purpose of your website?’
We chose ‘Pizza’ after typing the letter ‘P’ because… well, lunch was already on our minds.
After that, you choose a website title and a primary image. If you have one, you may also include it; if not, you can create one later. Choose a color scheme, font combination, and navigation style, then fill in your contact information… and there you go! A website created in minutes for you.
We enjoyed how the progress meter updated as we progressed through each stage, making it simple to know how far we had to go. We weren’t overwhelmed by too many options, which can happen with a website builder like Wix, and the entire process had gone rather well thus far.
After that, you’ll be brought to the Constant Contact editor, where you may tweak the design and add your own content. At this point, you may choose to ‘Take a brief tour,’ which was useful for pointing out where all the important parts were:
When it came to really customizing this site, we ran into several issues, which we’ll go over in more depth in the following part.
Customization and Design of Templates
Following the steps outlined above, you’ll be provided with a website that is, for all intents and purposes, ready to use. Simply replace the default content with your own – this includes adding your own information and images, if you have them.
Creating your own design
If you want to change the assigned design, Constant Contact offers a simple way to do so:
For each ‘block’ on the page, you can choose from 3–5 different formats, as well as exclude elements you don’t need, such as a CTA (Call to Action) button or a subtitle. This gives you some flexibility in terms of layout without jeopardizing design best practices.
As we often say in our reviews, one person’s dream may be another’s nightmare; if you want complete control over every aspect of your site, Constant Contact isn’t the builder for you.
Responsiveness on mobile
When previewing your Constant Contact site, you can choose to see it from the perspective of mobile, tablet, and desktop. This is a crucial step in ensuring that your site displays correctly on various screen sizes and provides the best user experience possible.
Constant Contact’s templates were generally responsive to mobile devices in our testing, though there was the occasional niggle. For example, notice how the title of my site has become too bunched up along the top of the screen in the mobile version below?
Finally, Constant Contact failed to impress us in the design department, receiving a 2.9/5 in our research for design flexibility. Color palettes suggested didn’t always match industry standards, and the designs themselves are just ‘okay’; they’re functional, but not always visually appealing. Some pages appeared to be impressive and modern, while others, such as our auto-generated About Us page, appeared to be a little too ‘DIY’ for our tastes:
If good design is important to you, we recommend Duda or Squarespace, both of which received 4.7/5 and 4.6/5 for design, respectively. If you’re creative and want to build something completely unique, we recommend Wix, which has over 500 templates to choose from or the option to start from scratch.
Constant Contact’s Features: How Good Are They?
There are some very advanced website builders available today. A website builder must not only nail the basics, but also go above and beyond to impress us in the features department. So, how did Constant Contact fare against the competition?
First and foremost, unlike most builders today, Constant Contact does not have its own app store with third-party plugins. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – Squarespace builds all of its features in-house, and they’re all better for it – but it was a mixed bag in this case.
On the surface, Constant Contact appears to offer a lot – especially considering its low price point, which we’ll discuss in greater depth in the following section. However, when we dug a little deeper, we discovered that some features were not as robust or advanced as we would have liked. The builder received a 2.6/5 in this category according to our research.
Take, for example, blogging. The Constant Contact blog is only available in RSS feed format, which means that new posts are always displayed first. You can’t add posts to categories, archive them, or allow users to comment on them. In other words, if you really wanted to make something out of your blog, Constant Contact wouldn’t be able to help you.
There’s also no real help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which is necessary if you want to be found in the search results. Again, this was a knowledge gap that more experienced builders identified years ago, and they now have some fantastic solutions – for example, the Wix SEO Wiz. This is yet another area where Constant Contact appears to be lagging behind.
Constant Contact’s ecommerce features, on the other hand, pleasantly surprised us, not least because the free plan allows you to sell three items (again, more on this in just a sec).
Auto tax calculations, integrated shipping, and tracking are all handled by Constant Contact. There’s also a really cool, simple-to-use analytics dashboard that shows year-over-year progress in several areas.
What Does Constant Contact Charge You ?
Let’s get down to business: how much does Constant Contact cost, and is it a good deal?
Constant Contact offers three plans: the free plan, the $10/month Starter plan, and the $20/month Business Plus plan (both billed annually).
As we previously mentioned, the Free plan comes with a lot of features. In fact, everything we’ve talked about so far is available for free, which is impressive. However, the free plan does not include the following features:
- You can’t connect a custom domain name – I’d have to use the autogenerated ‘www.hannah-s-pizza.constantcontact.com’ for this site, which I wouldn’t be able to change.
- Your site will not be ad-free; the (not-so-subtle) Constant Contact blue banner and sign-up CTA will appear at the bottom of your page.
- You will not be paid ad credit worth $100 in Google ads and $100 in Bing ads. A premium plan will quickly pay for itself if you plan to run paid ads.
- You can only sell three products* – with the Starter plan, you can sell up to ten, and with the Business Plus plan, you can sell an unlimited number.
- You will not receive phone support; instead, you will receive assistance and support via email or live chat (if available in your country).
* It’s worth noting that anything you sell through the Free and Starter plans will incur a 3% transaction fee.
Typical free plan drawbacks include the lack of a custom domain name and the inclusion of the website builder’s own ads.
Upgrade to the Starter plan if you want a professional-looking website. When a company’s website appears to be ‘cheap,’ it’s difficult to take them seriously. If you’re dead set on getting a free website, look through our list of the best free website builders to find one that has less obvious advertising.
Choose the Business Plus plan if your site will primarily be used for selling. You’ll be able to sell an unlimited number of products, gain access to more advanced analytics, and, most importantly, get rid of the 3% transaction fee that comes with the Free and Starter plans.