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Bookmark is a free cloud-based website builder that is a little bit different from some of the others on the market. It’s 100% powered by their AiDA (Artificial intelligence design assistant) which claims to be able to create fully functioning, professional-looking websites in 2 minutes.
There are 20 templates and 650 business types to choose from so Bookmark offers solutions for a wide range of potential business and personal websites, from fully operational online stores, right through to one-page portfolios.
In this in-depth review, we find out if some of the claims Bookmark makes are true and take a look at its features, pricing, and the overall experience of using the platform.
If you don’t feel like reading the full review right now, no worries. You can save some time by skipping ahead to the bottom line to find out if Bookmark is the right platform for you.
Bookmark is aimed at small businesses and non-technical people who are looking for a simple drag-and-drop editor that makes building a website easy, fun, and most importantly, fast. The AiDa removes the need for any coding, technical knowledge, or design skills, allowing you to get a website up and running quickly. This makes the platform ideal if you are just starting to build an online presence for you or your business and should be easy to use even if it’s your first ever website.
The platform has focused on creating templates for a wide variety of business and personal niches, so whatever your background, you’re likely to find a template to suit you. For example, you can find business types such as acupuncture, air conditioning, archery, and aquariums… and that’s just some of the options beginning with A.
The most popular business templates on the platform are:
Bookmark is targeted at the beginner website builder and has created a platform centered around ease of use. The fact that you can answer just a few questions and have AiDA do all the hard work for you takes a lot of the stress out of building a website. The bookmark platform requires no coding or design skills and has built-in SEO functions so you really only have to think about making the content right for your business.
When it comes to a beginner-friendly website builder, drag-and-drop editing is essential. Bookmark’s drag-and-drop editor is impressive, it’s simple to use, intuitive, and gives the user the freedom to move elements around freely across the whole site.
It really is as simple as clicking to edit text and dragging things around to where you want them and there are even visual guides to help you align your content. If you want to move an element closer to the top of the page you just go into the ‘focus’ section of the sidebar and drag the content module into the position you want it. Beginners will be able to get to grips with it in minutes.
After spending some time on the Bookmark editor, it’s easy to compare to the Wix drag-and-drop editor. Both are really simple to use and offer really great creative freedom because you can move and reposition elements and text to wherever you want them. I think this is really important for the Bookmark platform as users get some creative freedom back after being very limited with the AiDA process.
The onboarding process with Bookmark is really simple. You will be taken straight to their Artificial intelligence design assistant (AiDA) where you will be asked to answer a few questions about you and your business.
Once you have answered all the questions it takes about 30 seconds to work its magic and then you should have a well-designed website with all the functionality you need for you or your business. From there it’s down to you to start editing and Bookmark has tried to make this easy for you too.
When you first open up your site there will be a pop-up guide to help you get started. It tells you how to do things like change fonts, customize pages, add and delete modules, and connect domain names. There’s even a ‘show me how’ button which will walk you through how to do each function or you can click through to the ‘how to videos’ where you’ll find lots of step-by-step guides to get you started.
Using the AiDA made setting up a website really easy, however, the final design definitely felt underwhelming and didn’t have much of a ‘wow’ factor. The AiDA was able to input the correct features that I was looking for but the images and fonts felt basic and flat. If Bookmark spent some time creating some better-looking templates I think this would improve, however, for now, expect a below average overall design.
But looks are not everything and there are definitely some positives to the Bookmark editor. Firstly, even with a free account, you can add a large variety of content modules such as the basic text, title, image, gallery, spacer, and video content blocks, as well as more advanced options, like Facebook comments & reviews, event registration, and a countdown timer. All of these elements can be added to your site by dragging and dropping, making it really easy for a beginner to create a website with advanced features.
There is also an image editor where you can do some basic editing to images such as cropping, flipping, and rotating. You can also add shapes and texts to the image although this looks quite basic rather than professional.
If you don’t like the way your site is looking, you can get AiDA to change the style and fonts at the click of a button. Just find the ‘do it for me’ button and the artificial intelligence will get to work for you and presents you with another design option within 30 seconds. If you make a mistake or prefer what you had before, there is an undo feature that will take you back to the point you were happy with.
Furthermore, all of the Bookmark templates are mobile and tablet optimized as well as being fully responsive to different screen sizes. If you want to take a look at how it looks on a different screen type you can view desktop, tablet, and mobile options in the preview section.
If you want to find out more about the editor, Bookmark offers free online training and a community forum where you can pick up tips and tricks to get the most out of the editor. Head over to the home page to find out more.
Bookmark is a complete website builder platform with everything you need to build and run your website. It offers all the essential features you would need, plus some additional unique features that you won’t find anywhere else.
Something Bookmark takes advantage of is the Amazon cloud hosting service which provides multiple layers of operational and physical security to your website. Whether you’re an online store or a blogger, taking data protection seriously is very important and Amazon web services claim to be one of the best in data protection.
Even with the entry-level paid plan, you get access to unlimited storage and bandwidth, which is perfect if you know you’ll end up with a site full of content or if you’re expecting huge traffic spikes. Having unlimited bandwidth is great because you know nothing will crash when you need it the most.
It’s vital to understand how well your website can perform in terms of SEO and that’s why here at Website Builder Ninja we conduct our own SEO audit on every website builder we review. Bookmark was impressive across lots of SEO criteria, however, there were still a few issues that prevented it from getting a perfect rating.
You can format HTML headings appropriately and edit titles and meta descriptions to optimize your on-page content for SEO. This is very basic but fundamental to rank well in the search engine ranking pages (SERPs).
Bookmark will create friendly URLs automatically and you have the ability to edit these as well if you want to.
Other basic SEO requirements such as a sitemap is automatically created which helps Google to index your pages and you can input image alt tags to provide context for visually impaired users.
Google will rank faster websites higher than slower sites so, scoring well on the Google page speed test is important if your site is going to rank well. Bookmark scored very highly on this test, with a page speed much faster than competitors like Wix and Squarespace.
However, something that was missing was the schema which is a type of microdata used to create rich snippets. Websites with rich snippets tend to rank higher on average so it’s disappointing this function is not supported.
In summary, Bookmark performs well in terms of SEO, especially compared to some of its website builder competitors. Despite the lack of schema, the fast page speed and the ability to customize important SEO features will allow most basic sites to rank well. However, the lack of schema will make it difficult for complex sites like ecommerce websites to rank highly.
Bookmark can create a ready-made ecommerce template with the artificial intelligence design assistant or you can simply add in an ecommerce content module just like you would add a text box.
With a Bookmark ecommerce store, you can sell your products across multiple channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Google shopping, Amazon, eBay, and more. This allows you to expand your audience and make more sales from the same product listing.
Also, all of the product listing pages and storefront designs are optimized to look good on any device and can be translated into 45 different languages.
It’s possible to create a bookings and reservations feature by adding in an event registration block, just like any other content module.
This allows you to collect the name, email address, and phone number of people wanting to attend your event and it will create a list that you can view by going into event settings.
This is fine if you’re creating a one-off event but there isn’t any calendar feature that would allow you to list multiple events, and if you’re thinking about setting up a restaurant bookings feature it seems you would probably need a third party plugin.
Bookmark supports over 50 payment providers that you can choose to process your payments for your online store, but they recommend Square, WePay, and Paypal for U.S merchants.
They take a hands-off approach to processing payments, leaving it entirely up to third party providers which means you won’t be charged any transaction fees from Bookmark. However, it’s always important to check how much the third-party platform will charge you as rates can vary.
The different ways your customers can pay will also depend on the payment provider so make sure to check out the different offers and decide what’s best for your customers.
You can also offer offline payments that don’t require a third-party platform like cash on arrival, phone orders, or bank transfers. You can read more about offline payments on Bookmark here.
Bookmark offers a free trial with the usual limits and restrictions. You’ll only be given a subdomain name and you’ll be limited to 10 pages for your website. Also, you’ll be limited to 1gb of bandwidth, 500mb of storage and you’ll have the company branding on your site.
Despite the limitations, this is a great free option that gives customers like you the chance to trial the site and its features for free. You’ll be able to understand if this is a platform that you would like to use before you commit any money.
Some of you will already know that you’ll need to use some of the premium features, so what are your options?
Bookmark keeps it really simple, maybe too simple, and only offers two payment plans. The first is the Professional subscription which starts at $15 per month which gets you a custom domain name, unlimited storage & bandwidth, one free professional email, an SSL certificate, and access to online courses worth $497.
This is followed by the Business plan which is around double the price. You will get everything you get with the professional subscription plus a long list of ecommerce features.
You can get in touch and access support on the Bookmark website in a number of different ways. Firstly there is an F.A.Q’s section and a help center that has a list of information and articles to help you with some common problems you might face. I found that it wasn’t the easiest help center to use and the search function doesn’t pull up the most relevant answers, however, the information is there, it might just take some digging to reach it.
There is also an ‘Ask an Expert’ page which acts like a community forum where you can read through what other users have asked and see the responses from Bookmark experts.
If you still need some further assistance after going through these avenues you can always reach out to someone via the chat service which is in the bottom right of your screen on the website. It’s marketed as a Live chat service, however, when I used it I got back a message saying that ‘Bookmark typically replies in a few hours’.
Finally, the last form of contact you can try is via email. The email address you need to contact with queries is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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