There are many page-building tools out there that overcomplicate things. Sometimes, you need something simple that gets the job done. Strikingly claims to be that solution.
Strikingly’s main attraction comes from its focus on a simple site builder. Given that the program starts for free, that’s also a pretty big draw.
Knowing that it’s easy to test it out for yourself with almost no risk. But if you want to pay for this tool, how does it stack up compared to other site builders?
To find out, let’s take a close look at our Strikingly review.
What is Strikingly?
Strikingly is a simple website builder and web hosting service founded in 2012. Its founders are David Chen, Dafeng Guo, and Teng Bao. Initially, it was made as a one-page website builder, similar to Carrd.
The three founders created the company after moving to San Francisco as a Y Combinator startup. Their initial application was met with rejection, but the founders eventually got their approval. They received $1.5 million worth of seed funding.
The three founders made Strikingly with the lofty goal of using the internet to empower everyone, individuality, and an equal opportunity to turn ideas into reality. Their manifesto is inspiring and explains the need to build a no-code website builder.
Who is Strikingly best for?
Strikingly is best for small businesses and solopreneurs who want a site builder that can get things done. The builder is simple and powerful but lacks the same customization options as other builders we’ve featured.
The lack of a freeform editor is part of this. The other part is that there’s no way to add individual website elements. Everything is part of sections, making it easy to create a website but not easy to make a custom project.
Users must also be entirely in love with the project to use it. As you’ll read in our later sections, they have a bit of a reputation in the industry regarding customer service.
Strikingly Pros and Cons
|Free Version Available
|Monthly to 5-Year Plans Available
|No Free-form Site Editing
|Visually Appealing Design Tools
|Can’t Add Individual Elements (Buttons/Text)
|Simple Blogging Features
|Weak SEO Features
|Solid Choice for Ecom Site
|Fewer Integrations/Features vs Shopify
|Easily Create Membership Sites
|Free Trials Very Limited
|Simple Email Auto-Responder
|Weak Email Marketing Tools
|Live Chat Widget
|Email/Live Chat Require Pro Version
|Pop-Up Creator is Limited
|Reports of Spam Emails Being Sent
Strikingly Pricing and Plans
Strikingly offers three different paid options to choose from. These are the limited, pro, and VIP plans. All plans come with a 14-day free trial.
Strikingly is one of the only website-building providers that lets you pay for five years upfront. But you can also pay for one year (and everything in between).
You’ll also find that email is not part of these payment options. Instead, you’ll need to pay an extra $25 annually to get a custom email address.
But regardless of what plan you pick, once you pay for anything, you are in for good. Strikingly makes it clear that they offer no refunds, even if you request to cancel within 30 days.
Below, we will break down the plans:
The Free Plan
If you want to build a website without paying, Strikingly has a solution you can use. From the image above, here are some of the features you get:
- Unlimited free sites with 500 MB of storage per site
- 5 GB of monthly bandwidth
- Five pages per site
- One product per site
- You can invite collaborators
The biggest problem with this level is that you share your domain with Strikingly, meaning you are stuck with their branding.
The Limited Plan
The limited plan starts at $12 per month, with half off this price if you pay for five years upfront. Here are the features you get with this plan:
- Two sites with limited features (you still get unlimited free sites)
- Custom domain with free SSL
- 1 GB of storage per site
- 50 GB of bandwidth
- Sell up to five products
- 5% transaction fee
- 24/7 live chat support
The limited plan will let you have a custom domain, but still requires you to host their branding. To remove that, you need to pay a premium.
The Pro Plan
The Pro level starts at $20 monthly but costs $11.20 per month if you pay for five years upfront. It’s advertised as the most popular tier and comes with these features:
- Three pro sites
- 20 GB of storage per site
- Unlimited bandwidth
- 100 pages per site
- 300 products with support for product reviews
- Remove strikingly branding
- Support for custom fonts and forms
- Password protection
- Membership site support
- Pop-up support
- Site search
- Custom code access
- Historical version retrieval ( or an old version of your website)
- 2% transaction fee
The VIP Plan
The VIP plan is their most expensive plan, starting at $59 monthly or $34.40 per month if you pay for five years. You get everything in prior plans plus these extra features:
- 100 GB of storage pers ite
- 2,000 active contacts
- Unlimited products
- No transaction fees
- Support for multiple membership tiers
- Multi-language and auto-translation
- Email marketing tools to send newsletters
- A live chat widget
- Priority customer service with phone support
- A dedicated account manager (otherwise known as a happiness officer according to them)
The pricing isn’t too low or too high for what you get. But, the discounts you get for paying for 2-year plans (or higher) could be better.
Getting started with Strikingly
To make an account, you can start with three things: your first name, your email, and a password. It starts you out right away by giving you a series of website templates to pick from. Customer service doesn’t take long to jump in and say hello.
The name was initially Kris, but it changed during our conversation. Despite this, the warm feeling you get when making an account is undeniable.
The initial site templates you have to pick from are also pretty professional. Overall, this is a great start, making me feel optimistic about the whole experience.
Once you pick a template, you are immediately sent to the page builder.
Navigating the page builder
The page builder starts by giving you a breakdown of different areas of the builder. This helps you get a good understanding of how the builder works and where everything is.
Everything you need is on the left-hand side. This includes the overall site styles, store, audience, general settings, and different site sections. You can also preview your site on desktop and mobile views. The bottom left of the menu lets you retake the tour, upgrade your membership, and switch between light and dark modes.
Strikingly differs from other providers because page management is entirely on one screen. For example, if you want to add products to your store, you can do this by clicking the store. Instead of leaving the builder, it opens a new section on the same page.
The top of the screen lets you switch between different site pages. It is your on-site navigation bar, so you’ll see it change as you add new pages.
But if you want to add smaller page elements, like text or buttons, it can get a little tricky.
Adding and editing different website elements
It’s easy to edit existing sections of your website. The visual editor lets you click on those elements and modify their style and what they do.
Editing website buttons, a pain point for some editors, is simple with Strikingly. All you need to do is click the edit button that appears when your mouse hovers over the element. You can use buttons to register members, send visitors to external links, and add subscribers to your email list.
Moving elements around is also simple, as it follows a grid-based system like ClickFunnels. This means that there is no freeform editor, limiting some of your creativity when moving your site around.
Different headers break down sections of your website. You can see these different sections on the left, letting you scroll down to them quickly.
To add new website elements, you need to add new sections. There’s no way to add custom elements within those sections, so you are stuck with whatever comes with those items. Thankfully, there is a good number of sections you can add.
Above the section adding tools is your ability to switch between different site pages. This lets you edit those pages without needing to leave the editor, go to your dashboard, and return to the same editor. The experience is incredibly fast, making it easy to publish a website within minutes.
But what if you want to change the header or footer? They put this section under the settings, which lets you change how the navigation menu is displayed, where the shopping cart icon shows, and whether there’s a footer at the bottom of the screen.
You’ll also find a separate mobile-only footer under “mobile actions.” This footer lets you add unique site features and data. For example, you could include a Google Maps link on the screen’s bottom. You can also provide your phone number, simple store information, and a return to the home page. There are a few more options here as well.
Adding new pages and editing them
Strikingly used to be a builder for one-page sites. However, the site builder expanded to include up to 100 pages per site (which is excessive). To add a new site, you just need “add new page” under the “manages pages” menu.
When adding new pages, you can reorder them, which changes the navigation bar at the top. Any new page you add will be blank, letting you add new sections to build a complete website.
For example, you might want to add a blog.
Adding and managing your blog.
One type of section you can add is the blog, which lets you engage your visitors with on-site content. To add new blog posts, hover over the “you have no published posts” message and click “manage blog posts.” You can also reach this under your settings.
From there, you’ll be able to see your past posts and add new posts. The blogging tool is pretty simple, letting you add elements like buttons, videos, pictures, and lines.
The blog is straightforward, making it easy to focus on your work and produce engaging content. You can add blog categories, change the meta description, and add a custom URL. But you can’t display how the title appears on Google, making the SEO features somewhat lacking
Adding and managing your store page
A prominent feature that Strikingly offers is its eCommerce store builder. The builder is not as complex or deep as Shopify but has some features worth discussing. Before starting, you need to create a store page, often sorted by product categories.
Our example site has a game store that sells consoles, controllers, and accessories. Much like the blog, hover over the blank square and click the “add product” button if you want to add products to your store. You can also reach the same screen from under your settings.
From there, clicking the “add product” button will bring up a screen you can fill out.
Strikingly supports physical products and services. They can also help you with digital downloads, but you need to upgrade to the pro plan to get this service.
You can add your basic product details, including images, a description, price, stock (assuming it applies), and option details. The option details are vital if you have product variants that differ by size, color, or features. You can also add product categories, which is excellent if you have many products.
Creating products is incredibly simple. The eCommerce tools you get aren’t as deep as Shopify’s but are more than deep enough to handle most online stores. The only major thing Shopify has over this is a fully invested creator community, supporting Shopify’s popularity by creating integrations for them.
Later sections of the store page let you insert product shipping and taxes details. You can also manage product reviews, giving your store a bit of social proof to encourage purchases.
Finally, under store settings, you can manage coupons, add payment gateways, and change email notifications for when people make purchases. There’s also an abandoned cart recovery email, a must-have for online stores.
Finally, you can use this page to set up details for your membership site.
Creating a membership site
Pro members get the advantage of creating systems for membership. What membership does is create password-locked pages that only specific customers can access. You can find membership settings under the “audience” portion of your settings.
You can sell access to that membership through your store. You can also limit this access to members of your email list. To create members-only pages, click the gear icon next to the page title and click the “members only” menu.
Members can also pay for a continuous subscription, which helps you get reoccurring income from your site. You can split up how much members pay for this income in five different tiers, letting you control what pages different members have access to.
The only weakness is that you must create multiple pages for each membership tier. This can waste website resources but does make it easy to divide what content different members can see. This allows the average person to create an engaging membership site, even if they don’t know how to code.
Creating mailing lists and email automation
Strikingly lets you create email lists that you can use to promote products or send newsletters. To add people to your mailing lists, you’ll need to get them to fill out a form on your website.
Once you get them there, the email automation features are relatively simple. These automated features include many of your essential items, such as for new blog subscribers. However, you can’t create complete email sequences, making it weaker than most email marketing platforms.
For a complete email automation platform, you can check out Sendinblue, which includes built-in landing pages. Strikingly has a more engaging editor than Sendinblue, making the two a natural fit if you want to enhance your marketing strategy.
The email auto-response tools also require you to pay for a pro subscription. Your live chat features require the same pro-level subscription, hiding many customer communication methods behind a paywall.
Strikingly’s promotional tools are broken into four different areas:
- SEO (search engine optimization)
You can find all of these tools under the promotion menu under settings. Here’s what you can expect from each feature:
Your first promotional tool is coupon creation, which lets you make coupons to encourage more orders for your store. They allow you to create codes, set expiration dates, limit the number of uses, and describe the discount type.
Discount types follow the standard flat rates and percentage rates. You can also offer free shipping from this discount page.
Creating pop-ups through Strikingly has three purposes: getting email subscribers, making announcements, and verifying the customer’s age. Using these tools, you can control when and how they appear. You can also make them into a lightbox, darkening the background to draw focus.
There are no sales pop-ups through Strikingly, which makes this creation tool somewhat weak compared to most others. You’ll also find fewer appearance customization options, which makes this one of your more basic pop-up editors.
Both the newsletter and SEO section are also somewhat limited. Newsletters let you look at current subscribers and broadcast emails to your entire list. Meanwhile, your last option is an SEO checklist, which reminds you to change titles, meta descriptions, and social settings across your various pages.
Miscellaneous features you can find under settings
The “settings” menu is a catch-all for things that didn’t fit anywhere else. With some of this, like domain settings, payment settings, and notifications, I can get it. But putting header and footer changes here seems like a weird choice.
You’ll also find these miscellaneous features:
- Revert your website to a single page
- Add custom HTML or CSS code to your site
- Site search (which is helpful if you have a lot of website content)
- You can add various trackers (Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel)
- You can add multi-language support
The settings menu hides a lot of convenient features, some of which are legally required depending on where you operate. Nothing is hard to find through Strikingly, but some of it could have found a home elsewhere.
Things like support for multiple languages and site search features are convenient. But, like most things, the trial doesn’t let you experience them. Instead, you’ve got to pay for a pro plan before you get to look.
Just below all of this is a link to let you add team members.
If you have site collaborators, it’s easy to bring people in and post them to different areas of your site. Several different pre-built positions also give people access to distinct areas of your website. For example, a store manager and blog won’t have any crossover. Alternatively, you can add an administrative role to help you manage everything.
What do users say about Strikingly?
Strikingly has a lot of solid opinions depending on where you look. Trustpilot is the most critical, giving it an abysmal 1.4 out of 5. Meanwhile, G2 is much more generous, giving it a 4 out of 5.
Given this below-average user experience scale, what is so bad about Strikingly? Honestly, it doesn’t have much to do with the builder but with the management.
A few months ago, Strikingly received many reviews because of email spam. They heavily encourage you to pay for their service. Many people mention how many emails they get as a result of this. Here’s a Trustpilot review showing this:
Even worse, many Trustpilot reviews state that Strikingly’s customer service isn’t helpful. You must also remove your website when you request to remove a card. I can’t confirm this as someone who didn’t provide a card.
So, while my experience was good, there’s a trend of unhappy people. So, if you don’t fall in love with the service, chances are you’ll hit some frustration if you decide to move on.
Strikingly uses SSL encryption to ensure that your website and customer data is secure. It also offers a range of security features such as spam protection, CAPTCHA, and two-factor authentication.
Yes, you can sell products on your Strikingly website. Strikingly offers an e-commerce feature that allows you to add a store to your website and sell products using PayPal or Stripe.
Is Strikingly worth the money?
Strikingly has some potential, and all of it is in the thoughtfulness of the actual website builder. As one of the most uncomplicated website builders, you can easily create your website for desktop and mobile devices.
There’s not that much creative freedom. However, there’s a lot of functionality and simplicity.
You also have solid flexibility with monthly and 12-month contracts (some leading up to five years). However, long-term contracts could stand to be cheaper.
Now for the bad news.
Strikingly’s sales-based customer service is fantastic and active. They are happy to help if you have any problems with the service. So, customer support can be great if you don’t want a refund.
With no refund policy and some questionable reviews, there is a trend of customers who find Strikingly’s billing practices downright criminal. Strikingly could focus more on the customer and offer a 30-day refund policy, which would help with its public reputation.
If the company solves this problem, it could quickly become one of the top website tools we’ve reviewed. Until then, they will get lost in the shuffle of other, more customer-centric providers.