Webs is a freemium web host that was offered in 2001. If you want to, you can expand from the free version to the paid versions that offer the potential of an ecommerce store on your website. There are a couple of limitations with Webs, but we found that this product might be a good fit for a small "mom and pop" business. In 2011, a print company called Vistaprint acquired Webs. Vistaprint is a publicly traded company that is based out of the Netherlands. In the United States, this company is known as Cimpress, USA. It is pretty easy to design your e-store and website, with a unique drag and drop feature. Overall, Webs is pretty affordable for your "basement business."
- Small business features
- Password protected
- SEO booster
- Additional features
While we had a hard time recommending this product for medium-sized businesses on up, we found that there were some good features for the small business owner.
Small Business Features
With the Enhanced version, you get:
- A custom domain.
- Unlimited pages.
- Mobile website.
- 20 items on your catalog.
- 5 GB storage.
With the premium version, you get:
- Most of the same features as the Enhanced service, plus:
- Unlimited storage.
- Unlimited catalog items.
- $100 worth of Google Ad Credit
- SEO Booster
- Phone/Email/Live Chat support.
There are some protection features on the website, such as password protected pages where you can house your products. These are nice if you don't want visitors going to areas of your e-store that are still under development.
We saw dozens of themes on their website, so you don't have to design your own theme. Also, the drag and drop feature makes it very easy to add text, product items, images, and other rich media to your e-store.
Webs also has a backend SEO booster that is designed to help you optimize the content of your website. It provides help with Meta descriptions and more. You can use this tool to help you rank more consistently on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Here are all the core features of the Webs e-store products that we really liked:
- Custom Layouts: You can choose the layout options that best display your items, as well as dozens of themes.
- The ability to ask customers for additional information if you are selling a digital product.
- Inventory controls to see how much of an item that you have left.
- You can upload multiple images to highlight your product.
- You can create coupons and marketing campaigns for customers.
- You can sort items in your catalog and provide other options, such as category and size.
- Have sales, highlighting certain products that you want to sell more of.
Additionally, the analytics resources are pretty good for the small price that you pay for this service.
- Lack of security
- No responsive design
- Lousy support
This is a classic "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" service. There were several core features that were missing from Webs. We had concerns about security, responsive design, and much more. We also tried to find answers in the support area, but a lot of inquiries have gone unanswered.
Lack of Security
We didn't find any information on Webs about how to make your site secure. There is no free SSL certificate included. Nor is there any information for how to install a third-party SSL certificate. Also, we didn't find any information on Webs PCI compliance. SSL certificates aren't just a fact of life, they provide security and confidence for customers before they enter their payment info into your website.
No Responsive Design
Webs is one of the few companies in the industry that is still using static web pages. While some of the apps that you can add to your site are dynamic, the lack of responsive design doesn't allow your e-store to detect if customers are using a mobile device. While Webs does provide a mobile site, many people in the support area reported having problems with their Webs site loading on tablets and some smartphones. It's 2015, and if your e-store isn't responsive, you're going to get left in the dust.
The knowledge base on Webs is kind of lousy. Customers have been asking for added features and many questions on the support page have gone unanswered. The SSL certificates question and responsive design questions were posted very recently, meaning that these are real issues for users of Webs. Webs needs to answer customer questions on its support site and make a better product.
The Bottom Line
As of right now, we cannot recommend Webs as an e-commerce platform. You have to work very hard to find the answers that you are looking for on their support pages. Also, there are some very basic things missing, such as an SSL certificate (even a third-party SSL integration doesn't exist). Moreover, the lack of responsive design makes Webs a disappointment.
Additionally, there are not a lot of resources for making a great e-store. The marketing tools are pretty basic and so is the SEO. The company does do a pretty good job of getting you started with Google AdWords, as there is a $100 advertising credit. Also, local listings are free, and this is a great way to make your business show up better on search engines.
However, we can't recommend a company that doesn't support e-store security and responsive design.