After reviewing so many website builders, something has become apparent to me: the field is crowded. There is a website-building tool for literally everything you can imagine. So how can a small website builder like uCraft compete?
uCraft doesn’t claim to be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates of the website-building community. Instead, they focus on being a user-friendly drag-and-drop website builder.
But you could literally say that for about 50 other website builders on our review list. So, what makes uCraft special? Find out the answer to that question in our review.
What is uCraft?
uCraft is an American-based website-building tool with a company behind it founded in 2014. Since its founding, the company has grown to 360 thousand active users and two global offices.
From 2010 to 2014, the company behind uCraft was known as Bang2Joom. The company used to make templates and extensions for Joomla, another well-known website builder. Once moving from their template club, they decided to make their own tool.
To push their growth, the company received funding from SoftConstruct, another Armenian-based tech company founded in 2003. The company has grown to produce many valuable products, with uCraft being added to the mix in 2014.
This means uCraft isn’t one of those Silicon Valley companies like some others we’ve looked at. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how it compares.
Who is uCraft best for?
uCraft is best for eCommerce sellers who sell across multiple platforms. Its multichannel selling features are incredibly effective. It’s also a decent enough blogging platform.
The store building features are virtually identical to Shopify. It even has an app store (although it has fewer options than Shopify). It manages to include these features while remaining generally cheaper than Shopify.
If you are tired of managing your Amazon/eBay/Facebook stores from multiple platforms, you’ll find uCraft helpful. For those looking for more building freedom, features, or marketing tools, you might look elsewhere. Find out more in our review.
uCraft pros & cons
- Free plan available
- 14-day free trial
- Personal plans are all cost-effective
- No payment card is required upon starting
- Provides white-label service
- Unique templates to choose from
- The interface focuses on getting a full-page view
- Adding and editing elements is simple and lets you create deep websites
- Great blogging tools
- Excellent store-building tools
- Store integrations include shipping, apps, marketing, and third-party sales (like Amazon)
- You can’t downgrade your plan
- No refunds
- No monthly plans
- There are no blank layout templates
- The logo-building tool is somewhat weak.
- Tools can be relatively slow to load
uCraft pricing & plans
uCraft has two different plan types to choose from. First are the personal plans (meaning you will develop websites for yourself), and second are the white-label plans (developing sites for others under your branding).
First, look at the personal plans, which let you test the features before marrying yourself. These plans have a free version and a 14-day free trial of those premium tools.
You also don’t need a payment card to start. This is great, as uCraft has a refund policy that only applies if your website has technical issues. So, if you don’t like the product and accidentally renew, you’ll not get your money back.
Free website plan
The free website plan costs nothing and requires you to carry uCraft’s branding in exchange. Here’s a breakdown of what you get with this plan:
- 15 pages
- uCraft domain
- SSL security
- Visibility settings (what appears on the mobile vs. desktop site)
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Google Analytics integration
- Password protected pages
The free plan doesn’t let you have your custom domain. If you want that, you’ll need this next barebones plan.
The essentials plan
uCraft likes to hide this plan on the website, discouraging users from considering it. But, if you are on a tight budget, you can pay about $5 per month to get some basic features:
- Removing the uCraft watermark
- Adding a custom domain (not for free)
- Unlocking the SEO app
Ultimately, this plan quickly runs out of usefulness because of few features. You can’t even create products or a blog on this site. So your customization options are limited.
If you want to make a blog or a shop, you’ll need one of the plans below.
Pro website plan
The Pro Plan costs $120 for an annual contract. There are no monthly plans available. Here’s what you get with this pricing level:
- A free custom domain
- Branding removal
- Unlimited pages
- SEO and blogging tools
- Advanced designer features
- Multilingual website support
- Custom code
- Google and custom fonts
- Team members
- An RSS feed
- Membership site creation
- Website integrations
- 15 products for an eCommerce site and 0% transaction fees
- Support for Stripe and PayPal
The Pro Plan’s eCommerce features only give you a taste of what uCraft can do. You’ll need to pay for the next level for a full shop.
Pro shop plan
The Pro Shop Plan costs $252 for an annual plan. You get everything with the prior plans and these bonuses:
- Support for 1000 products
- Access to over 50 payment methods
- An abandoned cart saver email
- Digital goods support (1 GB per file)
- Product variations support
- Inventory tracking
- Discount coupons
- An order and invoice editor
- A store management app
- Tax features (including exemptions and VAT support)
- Can sell on social media and third-party sites (Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay)
- You can charge a handling fee
The Unlimited Plan is relatively similar to the Pro Shop Plan. It has a significant jump in price at $828 per year. But there are a few extra features that make this worth it:
- Square POS integration (for point-of-sale transactions)
- Unlimited products
- 10GB per file on digital goods
White label plans
While all website builders let you resell your creations, not all will let you use your own branding. uCraft is one of the few providers that lets you create custom websites under your unique brand.
You pay monthly under the White Label Plans. All the features remain the same between these plans. Instead, what changes is the pricing you pay to uCraft to use these plans for your clients. You’ll have to price above these plans to make a profit.
|Plan||Pro Website||Pro Shop||Unlimited|
The more you pay, the more you can earn per customer (or the cheaper you can make your repricing). Each plan also lets you import more templates and create more custom templates.
I’m not going to take a close look at these plans, as I don’t review for white-label businesses. However, if you want to resell their products, uCraft has a unique method. So it’s worth noting.
Getting started with uCraft
uCraft throws various customizable website templates at you when you click the “get started” button. You get a wide range of beautiful template designs like Squarespace or Wix.
Once you pick one, you can name your site under the uCraft subdomain. This is a placeholder until you decide to give them money.
uCraft will then provide you with a series of basic steps to follow. They will also link you to an unusual promo video.
uCraft is kind of quirky, evidenced by the weird promo choice. After you click the “start crafting” button, you’ll be brought to the actual building tool.
Navigating the website builder
The website editor holds some similarities to others but is very minimalist. This lets you focus more on the entire page (rather than navigate through a sea of tools).
Whether this means that the features are limited will be up to the review.
To get started, let’s break down what you get on the building interface from top to bottom:
- Preview – This enables you to preview the site without the editing tools
- Dashboard – This lets you pull up most of your non-page-specific tools—for example, switching pages, advanced design tools, SEO, and languages.
- Blocks – This lets you view a gallery of pre-built page blocks and look at the blocks you’ve saved for re-use.
- Elements – This lets you pull the most basic elements on a page (icons, images, text, etc.)
- Colors – This lets you add, remove, and adjust colors as you like on the page.
- Effects – This feature lets you add animation to your pages.
- Progress – This checklist reminds you of all the basic steps you need for a complete website.
- Publish – This lets you make your website available to the public, which is already done under the uCraft URL.
The remaining four icons let you switch between desktop and mobile views, undo your last action (but no redo), pull up the support page, and confirm your website is syncing (the check mark).
The bottom-right corner holds a live chat feature and chatbot. With this, you can search the knowledge base to find out how to use these tools. The chat bubble can get in the way of things.
Other than that, the majority of your page view is the page. This lets you focus on what’s essential: editing your page.
Adding and editing items on your page
Selecting the “elements” or “blocks” tab will let you go through various things you can add to your page. You can add these things like other page builders by dragging them onto the page.
uCraft operates on a grid-based editing system. So that means your ability to add new things is relative to other items on the page.
What makes uCraft different from other builder platforms is that there doesn’t appear to be any way to add blank blocks. So instead of making something entirely custom, you’ll have to base your current designs on what’s already there. With enough work, you can make a complete replacement.
There are a healthy number of elements you can add to these pages. You can add Twitter feeds, Calendly links, and region switchers (for different languages). Its element functionality in comparison to other builders is either on par or exceeding the competition.
Adding effects and colors
The two less common page features are found under the colors and effects menu. While both components are found across all page builders, they are rarely this prominent.
The effects menu (seen above) lets you add animations to your page elements. This feature can be helpful if you want to add a bit of dynamic motion.
For example, your text could fade from the top as you scroll down. This is a popular effect across a lot of responsive websites. You’ll also find support for a parallax scroll, rotation tools, and the ability to affix elements to locations.
The colors menu is another example of designer tools you can use. This menu gives you access to regularly used colors so you can add them to different page elements, which are usually text. This can be handy if you want a consistent color across your page.
While creative individuals might appreciate this ease of access, animation and colors aren’t often the top priority on a website. This choice to give them a prominent feature over other options is odd.
Ultimately, uCraft is still a very intuitive experience across its editing tools. Our next stop will be the long list of tools under the dashboard.
The page editing dashboard
The dashboard you find on the sidebar menu holds many miscellaneous items. They keep you on the page editor but link to various tools you can use.
Below, we will break down what each link does:
- Pages – this lets you switch between the various pages you can edit. It’s broken down in a handy organizational view to sort through parent and child pages (great if you have a shop with multiple product pages).
- Designer tools – Lets you change the typography, button design, and layout design. The layout design is more concerned with the spacing between different page elements.
- Media – This link is a storage location for your media files. It also links you to free stock photo websites and Canva.
- SEO – This section lets you change each page’s search engine optimization settings. This includes titles, descriptions, images, and whether it appears on search indexing.
- Domain – This lets you connect a custom domain to your website or change your uCraft subdomain.
- Team – This lets you add new team members and user accounts to your page. The team roles are already broken down and explained to you.
- Logo Maker – A built-in logo-making tool that combines text, colors, and icons into a unique logo design.
- Site Settings – This lets you make the site offline, change the site versioning, and rename it. You can also use this section to inject custom code.
- Articles – This section lets you use the blogging platform to create new articles. You canals use this section to sort your articles by categories or feeds.
- Integrations – This lets you view the wide range of uCraft integrations.
- Languages – This tool lets you create a multilanguage website between two or more languages.
- Fonts – This lets you look through your font library and add custom fonts.
- Customers – This section lets you view your website users and the different groups they fall within.
- eCommerce – A store builder within the page builder that lets you manage your store and view your sales channels.
- Pop-ups – Tools that help you create a pop-up that displays on different pages of your site.
Beyond the main features, you can also switch between your different sites by clicking “my sites” in the upper-left corner. There are many features here; some can’t be reviewed with just a short blurb.
Below, you’ll find out more about the deeper features.
Using the logo-making tool
Similar to Zyro, uCraft has its own logo-building tool. The tool lets you combine different text and colors into a unique logo.
You can use the logo builder to make some unique-looking designs. However, Zyro has set the bar on this by providing a deeper builder. You’d likely get better results from using a deeper design tool like Canva.
The good news is that it is an easy drag-and-drop tool to move around. So you won’t have to struggle with it. There are just not a lot of design options.
Using the blogging tools
The blogging tool is another built-in feature of the pro plan. To start, you’ll notice that this tool has some simple sorting features.
You can create different blogging categories to dig through your blog. You can also create different RSS feeds, allowing your blog followers to subscribe to your entire blog or different categories. Both are handy features, but RSS feeds aren’t as popular as they used to be, so they might not land with your customers.
The blog-building tool has some unusual quirks but shares many similarities with WordPress. The right side of the screen lets you change SEO settings, add blog images, and set up publishing dates.
The text editor holds most of what you need to build a blog. You can find advanced blogging features such as table creation and button creation, making it no different from WordPress.
The only thing I’m not sure about here is why they have “intro text” versus regular text. Other than that oddity, the blog-building tools are pretty handy.
Building an eCommerce store
Building your store on uCraft is its process; this is why you get a unique eCommerce dashboard. The dashboard provides you with some steps to get started, so let’s follow them to see how easy it is to use.
Adding a product
The product-adding screen is virtually identical to what you get through Shopify. But since Shopify is easy to use, uCraft is easy to use.
The product screen recommends you add multiple images for your product angles. This might not be necessary if you sell digital products that require you to pay for the next plan.
uCraft also helps you out by tracking physical products.
uCraft directly supports integration with well-known shipping methods. These include FedEx, UPS, USPS, and DHL. You can get these shipping methods to automatically calculate shipping rates, which is incredibly handy. You can also set it up for pickup.
Finally, you can add related products, connecting different products. This will allow you to sell complete product sets or associated products.
uCraft is setting itself up as an incredibly effective eCommerce solution with this work. The integrations are what makes it incredibly handy.
Multichannel selling with uCraft
One of the most powerful features you get with uCraft is the multichannel selling features. This lets you create product listings that you can place across multiple storefronts. In gaining exposure, it’s incredibly handy.
The Unlimited Plan also lets you go as far as to integrate with a Square POS system. This way, you can track your sales results across multiple platforms. Here’s a short list of eCommerce integrations:
- Facebook (and Facebook Messenger)
- Google Shopping
These eCommerce management also include an Android and iOS app. You’ll need to pay for the Pro Shop to access these.
Other important eCommerce features
uCraft also has a roundup of other features worth mentioning:
- Automated emails – These emails automatically respond to customer behavior. Among these include abandoned carts, newsletters, and promotional emails.
- Discount coupons – uCraft’s discount features include discounts and discount codes to help encourage sales.
- Store analytics – The store will directly integrate with Google Analytics and another analytics tool called Kliken for simple tracking.
- Multiple payment platforms – uCraft integrates with PayPal, Stripe, and many worldwide payment processors to take bank and credit card payments.
- An eCommerce app store – You can access a complete list of eCommerce apps to integrate with your store. Similar to Shopify, you’ll need to pay extra for these integrations, although there are fewer.
uCraft is incredibly cost-effective for everything you get. These store-building features is a very intuitive experience.
What do users say about uCraft?
From the top review boards (G2, TrustPilot, and Capterra), you can see an average review score of just around 4.5. Most users seem to enjoy the experience, but there are some consistent critiques across the board.
uCraft seems to be pretty good to its paying customers. It’s inexpensive, easy to use, and requires no advanced skillset. Users mostly seem like the customer service, which is a notable positive.
Most of the negative reviews come from its free users. uCraft has a habit of needing to change its terms of service from time to time. So, long-standing free domains that take up much space can be deleted. Otherwise, the users might be pressured into buying an “essentials” pack to support uCraft.
Other negative comments come from the segmentation of tools or limited templates. Needing to switch between multiple screens is a pain. Also, other website builders tend to have more templates.
Is uCraft worth your money?
Whether you want to make a blog or a store, uCraft has many features for $10 to $20 per month. Those wishing to build their first site will find uCraft incredibly useful.
uCraft is an inexpensive alternative to Shopify. Its store builder is virtually identical to what Shopify offers. It also supports physical and digital products and integrates with many platforms.
For blogging, it is the weaker alternative to WordPress. But its blogging platform isn’t beyond redemption; it has fewer features than you would get from the WP platform.
Its biggest drawback is the potential for changing TOS terms and features. Those wanting a free site will want to look elsewhere, as uCraft has been known to throw bills at these people while threatening the removal of the site.
But for paid customers, uCraft is an excellent choice for your new eCommerce store.