Yola Review: Its Strength Is Support

This website builder certainly lets its sunny South African and Californian roots shine through: the company has a very friendly appearance. Yola puts a lot of weight into its support by offering telephone support for new customers — something you don’t see with many providers.

Basically they seem to want to provide a simple, fool-proof option for beginners. In addition to the free plan there is Yola Bronze ($59.40 per year) or Yola Silver ($99 per year, domain name included). One of the biggest drawbacks of the Bronze plan is that Yola’s branding in the footer will not be removed.

They also provide an e-commerce option. The web store is based on the powerful Ecwid plug-in that lets you sell both physical and digital goods while offering a wide range of payment options. It’s $19.95 per month and includes all Silver features.

With Yola Gold ($199 per year, domain name included) you also get a Facebook-publishing tool, directory submissions and an application that helps you improve your SEO (search engine optimization).

We’re here to tell you if Yola is worth it.

See it in action here

info You can compare Yola to 9 other website builder side-by-side in our Comparison Tool.

Yola in detail

Criterion Rating Comment
Ease of use
The editor is intuitive and well structured.
Choice and flexibility of design (templates)
Yola's templates have a nice modern look and can also be customized to a certain degree. However, their choice is very limited. The new mobile website version looks pretty good but is only available on Silver plans.
Advertisement-free yes Silver plan only. Yola Free and Bronze feature a pretty visible Yola ad in the footer.
Languages
Currently available in EN, FR, EP, DE, IT and PT. No special feature to create multilingual sites.
Your own domain name (e.g. .com or .net) yes You can point a domain you already own to Yola or buy a new one through Yola. Paid plans only.
Depth of navigation
Two levels deep but this is only supported by their premium templates—if your site grows this will be a limitation.
Widgets (small tools to add extra functionality)
Offers quite a range of widgets, most of them are integrations from third parties. It's also easy to integrate share buttons for social networks.
Monetization yes You can use their widget to integrate Google AdSense for example.
E-Commerce
Yola features a powerful e-commerce widget which comes from Ecwid.com. Find our detailled review of the online store here.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Title, meta and description tags are all customizable at page level. URL text is always created from the respective menu item.
Blog no An external Tumblr blog can be integrated via their widget.
Visitor statistics
Yola Silver features its own tracking tool, which only stores data up to 30 days, or you can use Google Analytics (recommended).
Contact form yes Offers a very flexible and easy-to-use contact form builder.
Password protection yes You can either protect the entire site or individual pages.
Newsletter tool no No internal solution but they integrate with Constant Contact.
Add HTML code yes Allows you to add external widgets and other tools.
Storage space 1 GB+ Yola Professional offers 5 GB of storage, Yola Unlimited doesn't have a limit. Yola Free customers can upload up to 1 GB.
Forum yes Direct integration with Tal.ki which allows you to easily add a forum.
Support yes Email, phone and knowledge base. Support is one of Yola's strengths, however, after their recent updates we found a lot of links in the support section were not working anymore.
Fun Factor
It's fun to work with the website builder as long as you don't expect complex things from it.
Overall Rating
2.9/5
Fine for a simple and flat website due to its limited depth of navigation. It lacks basic features and their templates are very limited.

Conclusion

We have mixed impressions of this website builder. On the one hand it is easy and fun to work with. On the other hand it is only suitable for very flat websites, due to structural limitations in its templates.

Its support was fast and reliable, so this product may be just right if you want to be able to talk to someone on the phone. For everyone else we would recommend one of Yola’s more affordable competitors which offer better value overall.

Yola’s new online store can certainly impress and if you are planning on getting involved in e-commerce now or in the future, this will be definitely something worth considering.

> Compare Yola to the best website builders on the market

Yola Example Sites

Alternatives to Yola

Weebly
See review
Squarespace
See review

Yola FAQ

Can I really add up to 25 individual websites per Silver account?

Yes, but you will have to purchase the domain names separately.

How many pages can I create on the free plan?

Four individual pages is the limit, unfortunately.

Review Updates

16 Sep 2015 – There isn’t an integrated blog and templates are very limited.
14 Mar 2013 – We added information about password protection.
12 Feb 2013 – Yola essentially renders the free plan useless by imposing a three page limit.
07 Mar 2012 – Review of Yola’s online store added
11 Jan 2012 – Pricing updates, mobile website version
21 Jul 2011 – Complete update of the review

Last updated: 16 Sep 2015 | Robert Brandl

Your questions:

 
We love to hear from you! This is the place to ask questions about the product we reviewed. Please note that we reserve the right to delete comments that are disrespectful, use inappropriate language or are solely promotional.
  • Yola has just imposed a three page limit for free accounts.
    Also, their support over the past six months has been geared to upgrade to a paid plan, rather than addressing both free and paid solutions to issues raised.

    • Hi Sally, thanks for letting us know! They don’t provide any information about the new limit so I just opened a new free account to check it out. You are right, the three page limit makes the free plan pretty much useless.

  • Yola isn’t bad. Easy to use.

    But Sally Simms is correct, they just changed it to a three page limit. That’s not a very good value, even for a free site, because you can get so much more out there.

    What concerns me even more is that, no matter what I try, I can not get Google to crawl my free pages – at all. Yola does not claim that they prevent this in any way with the free site, but I am skeptical. I am very good with SEO. I work in the industry. Have done everything right. I have virtually no Google placement at all for this one free website. That’s right, you can’t even Google it at all. I contacted Yola about it. They replied with a scripted answer selling their SEO services to me. I understand they need to make money, but I don’t like what I am starting to think is pure deception by them. I’m sure if I decided to pay the money, the site would suddenly “magically” appear in Google results. Unfortunately, I’m helping a very broke friend and that is not currently an option. At least they could be up front and tell you there is no hope of being found by search engines until you pay up.

    • Hi, that’s strange. Well, my standard questions would be: Did you submit it via Google Webmaster Tools? Are there any backlinks to the site and when did you publish it? Did you check if there is “noindex” in the source code. Because all Yola basically can do to prevent your friend’s site from being indexed is to add the “noindex” tag. If it isn’t there it’s probably not Yola’s fault. But I am not a total SEO pro, so I could be wrong.

    • Daniel Molnar

      Also post your site here, we’d be happy to check if it’s blocked in any way that we know.

  • Erick Sermon

    THE MOST EXPENSIVE DOMAIN REGISTRATION I HAVE SEEN – $23+ Plus they are raising their prices almost 100% since I registered 2 years ago. They hook you in and then make you pay for it. It is only a little more expensive to get a professional from India to recreate or even to create your website. I am leaving these scammers today.

    • Hi Erick, thanks for your comment. What domain ending did you try to register? A .com domain is $11.95 for example. Did they really raise prices for existing customers? That’s something I’ve never heard of. E.g. Jimdo and Weebly increased their prices but for new customers only, which is totally fair. Would you be able to give me more details about that?

      • Erick Sermon

        I have been there customer for 2 years now.
        When I joined them, this is what the contacted said: First Payment $35.90 USD and $35.90 there after.

        A couple of weeks ago I received a renewal notice: I will owe them $49.95 for the same service plus $23.90 p/y for my .com domain registration.

        NOTHING has changed on my website.

  • I like that you pointed out the downsides too even though most people using referral links just point out all the five star points.

  • Marz

    I checked out their pricing and noticed that I can have up to 25 websites with their gold and silver plans, but my question is do I pay additional fees to actually host those 25 created websites or is hosting for each of those 25 created websites included in the monthly price? Would hate to sign up only to discover I have to pay additional hosting for each of the 25 sites. Hate hidden charges. Please let me know if you can.

    • Hi Marz, no there are no hidden charges. The only thing that will cost you extra are domain names and email accounts. But you don’t need to purchase it from Yola if you find it too expensive. There are tons of options out there to buy a domain name (Go Daddy etc.), which then can be pointed to your Yola site.

  • I’ve been using Yola Silver for 12 of my sites for over a year and the limitations far outweigh any strengths.

  • JK

    Tools, templates, and navigation is easy to use.
    HOWEVER: Yola.com has some very deceptive billing practices and it is
    VERY difficult to stop being billed.

    • Hi JK! Thanks for your comment! Would you be able to share more details about their “deceptive billing practices”?

  • I know it’s been a few months but wanted to speak up as a Yola customer of 3 years…as an original free customer (but with a yola bought domain name) when they brought in the charging levels they upgraded me for free to bronze and have maintained my features in just the cost of my domain name.
    I too had problems finding myself on google until I put more detailed written content on my pages. 🙂
    I came to look up a review as I am re-launching and wanted to check I was happy to stay with yola, and now I am:D

  • Thanks Julia for the update, and it’s good to know about adding content, I found that all my info was in PDFs and I needed to duplicate it on the page instead of directing folks to my download. That’s what helped me.

    I am looking for a new free website builder and I think I will give Yola a try!

    ~~Ramona

  • GKH321

    I have had the worst experience ever with Yola. I have spent hours online and on the phone (no exaggeration) with their customer support (which seems to be overseas) going round and round trying to get help with something really simple. Not only do both the online and phone customer service people simply read (or type) a generic script in response to questions, they also don’t seem to be at all familiar with the information on their own website.

    In addition, there is outdated and downright incorrect information on their site. In regards to a simple task I needed to do (use a previously purchased domain name with the site I made with Yola), the tutorial on their site directed me to use the free version of an unconnected, outside company. When I had trouble with this, customer service was unable to help me and suggested I contact the outside company (which has no relationship with Yola). I did and was informed by the company’s customer service that they no longer offer the service Yola refers to.

    Sigh! Anyway, this is the worst experience I’ve had with a a company in a long time and cannot recommend enough that you steer clear of Yola.

    • Hi and thank you for your detailed feedback. Could you point me to the page where they write about this third party company? I’d really like to follow up on this.

      • GKH321

        Here is the page: https://www.yola.com/tutorials/article/Publish-to-a-domain-you-already-own-1285944418365/Publishing_domains_and_email

        The third party company is ZoneEdit. When I couldn’t follow the tutorial steps, I contacted Yola customer service, who couldn’t figure out how to use ZoneEdit either. They advised me to contact the ZoneEditsupport desk. I did and the ZoneEdit support desk responded that they were not taking signups. I let Yola know but it looks like the tutorial is still on their page…. Hope that helps.

        • Thank you for letting me know. I guess it’s sometimes difficult to keep a help section up to date all the time. But since this is a pretty important piece of information it really should be. I will address this issue to my contact at Yola. I hope you were able to connect your domain by now. If not, please let me know.

    • Monique

      Hi GKH321. My name is Monique and I run the customer support department for Yola. I am extremely sorry to hear about the bad experience you had when trying to point your domain to Yola. I am particularly sorry to hear that you struggled to get the information you needed via the phone and that our ZoneEdit tutorial is out of date. We will most certainly attend to this.

      I would love to be able to respond in more detail, but as I do not know who you are, I am unable to comment specifically on the problem you encountered or the level of support you received.

      What I can tell you is that our support staff do not use scripts at all and always try to respond personally and directly to the best of their ability. If their responses appeared scripted to you then this was certainly not intended and we apologize for this.

      Without knowing the specifics, it sounds to me like your domain is with a host that unfortunately does not offer DNS management. In situations such as these, your only options are to transfer your domain to Yola or another registrar who does offer this service, or to use a third party service such as ZoneEdit. You would have been advised to contact the your domain registrar if you have trouble pointing your domain to us with the instructions provided. As they control your domain and you should be the only one with permission to manage it, this is unfortunately all we are in a position to do in these situations.

      Once again, my comments are based purely on what you have posted and I do not have the full background to this particular problem. If you would like to follow up with me directly, please email Yola support and mark your email for my attention and I will gladly investigate further.

      As a company who prides ourselves on outstanding customer service, it is always distressing for us to hear that we failed to live up to the expectations of a valued customer. We take this feedback seriously and will do whatever we can to ensure that situations such as this do not re-occur.

  • Debra

    Yola have conned my son terribly. They have charged him for another year, although he did not want it and was not aware that his subscription was due and then suspended and closed his account. So they have stolen money from him and have refused to allow his account to run for another year.

    • Hi Debra, I am sorry to hear that. Please send me a message through our contact form and I will try to reach out to my contact at Yola and help you resolve this issue.

    • Abi

      Hi Debra
      My name is Abi and I’m a member of staff at Yola. I am sorry to hear about the issues you’ve been experiencing. In order for us to help you, please can you provide us with details of your account via our contact form https://www.yola.com/support/contact – Once we have more information, a member of our Customer Support team will help to resolve your issue.
      Many thanks

  • Gordon Ballantyne

    The YOLA scam – they get you on sneaky free website turns to little upgrades turns to $90 charges on your credit card 1+ years later that you didn’t know were coming. I call this a SCAM. Watch out for charges into the future. You can try cancelling yourself in their secure site but they don’t give you the option nor tell you to how to cancel subscription. You have to come to the I’ve been scammed and I’m pissed off forum. Beware of the YOLA SCAM CHARGES. Above in their official reply it says it is so that you have to be logged in to cancel- but they provide no way to do so- LIARS. SO I’m sending you your email and posting 10+ negative comments on beware of scams sites

    • Hi Gordon, can you provide more details about this issue? What exactly did they charge to your credit card? I am happy to contact them on your behalf. Please let me know!

    • Abi

      Hi Gordon
      My name is Abi and I’m a member of staff at Yola. I am sorry to hear about the issues you’ve been experiencing. In order for us to help you, please can you provide us with more information about your account via our contact form https://www.yola.com/support/contact – Our Customer Support team will do their best to resolve your issue.
      Many thanks

  • MK

    Although this site builder is fairly easy to use, there are some elements that lead you to customer service for assistance. Since they’re apparently in South Africa, it takes time for them to respond. And maybe because of the language, there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding. I signed up and paid, after 5 days of not getting an answer to a pretty simple question, I asked for a refund. There site states that a full refund is available within 30 days, yet, after paying them $38, they’re only refunding $16. Unless you’re in S. Africa, stick with a local company!

    • Hi! Could you provide more details about this issue? What exactly did they charge and refund?

    • John

      I live in South Africa there is a Yola branch here, but as far as I know its not based here, but in the US.

      • The HQ is in Cape Town, but there’s also an office in San Francisco.

  • I really wish that the store was included with your gold subscription. We are paying for a top level subscription but we have to pay $10 extra for the store.

    • We are not Yola itself so we have no influence on their price structure. This is just a review of the Yola website builder.

  • Harshit

    The YOLA scam – they get you on sneaky free website and charges on your credit card / paypal account.1+ years later that you didn’t know were coming. I call this a SCAM. Watch out for charges into the future. You can try cancelling yourself in their secure site but they don’t give you the option nor tell you to how to cancel subscription. You have to come to the I’ve been scammed and I’m pissed off forum. Beware of the YOLA SCAM CHARGES.

  • will

    I have been a yola.com user for 4 years. I am trying to cancel my account now. Their customer service has gone from good to horrible. If you don’t believe me I encourage you to try and call someone on the telephone there. The only person I have been able to talk to can’t put me through to any department or any other live person. In my opinion yola.com now sucks.

  • Mark Nobes

    Those who are claiming that Yola is a scam are wrong. I have been running my website http://www.simplyeighties.com for over five years with Yola on their Silver plan and I have not been ripped off in any way. Their customer service is fine and they have always answered questions to any problems I have encountered. As for SEO problems, my site is pretty successful and is on the first page of many searches. See the first photo of the orange Austin Allegro estate in the search for “80s Cars” in Google as an example.

  • Bummed Out

    Most frustrating thing about this company is when you cancel your account they market your personal information (especially your telephone number) to hundreds of telemarketers and scammers. Had I known that I would never have done business with them in the first place. Totally satisfied with their web packages but not the bombardment of calls that are blowing up my cell on a daily basis.

    • Sanja

      Hello Bummed Out,

      I am one of the customer support reps at Yola. I am very sorry to hear that you are getting spammed. This is certainly annoying and frustrating. However, we take the utmost care to ensure our customer’s privacy and security. We would never divulge your private information to third-parties. I am wondering if perhaps you have purchased a domain and perhaps did not purchase domain privacy which would have kept your personal details hidden. Please could you email send us a email: https://www.yola.com/support/contact so that we can look into further.

  • Happyto Findout

    I was very disappointed to say the lease. I haven’t been on for months due to login issues.
    Something very fishy here…. Today while punching a few keys.. I found what looked like my history.
    Like; 6 changes from 3 unigue servers??? There were things written that looked as if it came from another party and shared things that were written without my knowledge I’m not able to login and haven’t for MONTHS but found my info that looks suspicious on a public site. I typed in my website to find out that it was no longer. I also noticed that the site has been updated 5/11/2014 and has been updating for months under my domain name or what was. The weird thing is that this very domain is up for grabs. So I called a number to see about what happened or is currently happening and question the site of my unpleasant findings, Reading the other comments, I must say that my questions and inner feelings have been answered.

  • Beth

    What do you mean by “flat” website?

    • Josep Garcia

      Hi Beth, by “flat website” we mean a website that does not have a complicated navigation structure, because they only offer two navigation levels. Eg. you couldn’t have a structure such as: Products >> Family Product A >> Product X instead you could do: Products >> Product X.

  • Beth

    I am using the yola free service right now. I have spent hours of wasted time as it ALWAYS freezes up and then doesn’t save. Im assuming because I am on the free service this is why it totally sucks! But because of this I will never upgrade with Yola. I have not seen that this site is worth paying for. I will go to another site and start from scratch because I am so sick of dealing with this!

    • Hi Beth! A “less buggy” website builder could and should be Weebly or Jimdo. Here you find many other available options.

  • Monica McKinnell

    I am considering joining Yola. I eventually want to open a store but find the Yola one a bit expensive at $19.95 per month. Can I use/add some other web-based store other than the Yola store?

    • Hi Monica! When it comes to eCommerce the average pricing is generally round about $20. You can see it in our eCommerce ranking. Shopify has a Starter plan for $14. You can try it for free.

  • Angelo Peixe

    Incredible a sitebuilder like yola dont have a blog system. The best they can do is integrate with tumblr!!! I shows thats a poor sitebuilder.

    • Josep Garcia

      You are absolutely right. They have removed their blogging platform. Now they only offer a Tumblr integration, this isn’t a good approach.

  • Faceless Studios

    Pros: The site loads fast.
    The plan and store are very affordable.
    Domain hosting is really affordable (only $12 for a year when GoDaddy is like $70).
    Compatible with Ecwid, my favorite store because it allows customizations to products.

    Cons: The store does not load fast.
    The gallery widget makes the pictures in the gallery tiny.
    The form widget is configured oddly and does not look good.
    The widgets are just awful and really difficult to work with.

  • Daniel Molnar

    Nice review, I think you covered most of it.

    I really like Yola, been using it for over a year but I want to highlight some of the drawbacks for advanced users:

    Many of the back-end javascripts cannot be removed manually, for example the tracking features cannot be disabled from loading on your page, and also the 5-10 facebook pinterest and google+ resources cannot be removed. I’m not sure what happens if you don’t add those links in the first place since I added these buttons to most of my sites at the beginning but worth testing.

    Well these resources will add an extra 150kb or so to your page with tons of connections so you’ll never get your sites under 1.5 seconds load time. Keeping all your images small you should be able to keep it under 2 seconds which is OK.

    Menu’s are a limitation only for bigger orgs, we have 100 websites all small and this keeps them all in one place which we love. It’s easier than doing add-on domains and manually creating websites and about 50X easier than making a wordpress site. We can create a site a day with Yola, good for fast pace industries who need to pump out pages. SEO tools can be a bit broken best to use external resources in most cases. This is too bad since this is a paid service included in the gold package that we probably could do without, but can useful for people without SEO knowledge once you figure out it’s quirks.

    Some of the templates include older version of jquery but adding jquery manually fudges up the site. I haven’t had any luck with using the included jquery library, perhaps it was too outdated for my other .js plugins.

    • Josep Garcia

      Daniel, thanks for your feedback, really interesting. To be honest, we think there are better website builders than Yola. For example, we find Wix and Weebly to offer better results.

      • Daniel Molnar

        I agree but for easily managing over a hundred sites, it’s not a bad value, manually linking domains in cpanel is not hard to do but my sites need to be editable by the management team too not only me so Yola leaves it with enough power, but still easy enough that you can point and click to edit.

        The sites you mentioned would probably be ideal for a company with 1-5 websites, but I think very expensive for 100 websites like we have. I heard negative things about wix too: that it was harder to rank their sites on google for some reason? This may have been a false rumour spread by a competitor.

        The other issue I think for all people who use one program or another is you may be stuck with resources that are not hosted in your local area, increasing the load time for local residents and also that is supposed to give you a small negative impact on SEO from Google.

        So of course finding a green host in your neighbourhood community would be the optimal situation if it were easy enough to edit the sites for the non technical person.

        • Josep Garcia

          Yes, having hundreds of websites with Wix or Weebly is expensive. Indeed, Wix gets a lot of negative press about their SEO capabilities, however, in our experience, it is not much different than other tools, you can read our article for more information.

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