Strikingly is a platform for creating websites, that was launched in 2012. They have the distinction of being the first Chinese startup to go through the Y Combinator program. They offer a free package, and a couple of different paid plans. We’re going to take a quick look at Strikingly, what they offer, and what’s good/bad about them. Then, we’ll introduce you to a few different alternatives so that you can choose whichever option suits you the best.
Making a website doesn’t have to be complicated, or intimidating. Choosing between which platform to go with can be confusing enough, and that’s before you’ve even gotten started! Don’t worry, not every website builder is created equal, and we’ll help you find the best way to start YOUR site, becasue not every website is created equal, either.
Here’s a quick look at what Strikingly has to offer…
They have a Free plan, which you’ll find with most proprietary site builders, but it’s not really recommended that you use it if you’re taking your site seriously at all. For a business or an important site, it’s just not good enough, plus you can’t even use your own domain name – you’re stuck using their name, so your site can’t look professional at all.
On the other hand, if you’re making a personal site and you want something better than free, but you don’t want to spend $12 per month, Strikingly doesn’t really have anything to offer you. As far as their $20/mo Pro plan goes, it does let you use your own domain, and you can have up to 3 sites. If you want to open a store, you can have up to 300 products listed, as opposed to only 5 products with the $12 Limited plan.
The biggest glaring issue is that you can’t have multiple pages unless you have the pro plan. The idea of paying over $100 per year for a website creation and hosting platform, and not being able to have multiple pages, is borderline absurd.
Overall, we find that Strikingly doesn’t quite fill the role of a free service in a way that’s viable, and their Limited plan is MUCH too limited. Their Pro plan is a bit closer, but still very limited and restrictive compared to some of the other options out there. For the money, we believe that you just aren’t getting enough value from Strikingly to justify the cost, and there are some key features missing that you should have with a site builder. We’re excited to introduce you to a few alternatives that we’ve tried out, and that fit the bill.
The good news is that there are plenty of website creation platforms, some where you setup your own hosting account and have total control, or others that are similar to Strikingly, but manage to do a better job of pulling it all together.
Their site builder itself is pretty straight forward and relatively easy to use, but you still need a decent design sense if you want to make anything that looks half good.
Now, we’re going to be highlighting a company that’s quite similar to Strikingly, but better in some important ways, along with another type of alternative that’s probabally your best bet for long-term success with your website. You see, these website builder platforms were very useful when they first came out, it wasn’t nearly as easy to setup your own hosting account and to host your own website, so people flocked to services that handled it automatically. These days, however, you can get a “real” hosting plan, rather than something like Strikingly, which gives you infinitely more ownership and control over your site. It puts you in charge, and in the driver’s seat, and thanks to drastic improvements, it’s so easy to setup that anyone can do it. If you managed to find your way to this article you’re reading right now, you’re internet savvy enough to create a website with any of the alternatives to Strikingly we’re about to feature.
Top Strikingly Alternative: Wix
If you’re looking at launching your site on Strikingly, you should definitely consider Wix first. They’re a similar all-in-one platform, so if you build your site with either of these platforms, you’re pretty much stuck with them. For some people, that’s not really an issue, whereas others want a little more flexibility (If that’s you, skip to our next couple of alternatives.)
Wix also offers plans starting at free, and going up from there. Their plans cost 5, 10, 14, 17, or $25 per month, so there’s more middle-ground to choose from.
We find that their website builder is easier to use than Strikingly, and easier to get a great looking site from. There are tons of free templates you can choose from with Wix, and then it’s just a matter of using their platform to customize it to your liking, and to include all of the important information about your business, about your project, about your hobbies and passions, or whatever else you plan on using the site for.
These are known as “cloud based development platforms”, that’s where you have the hosting account, the site builder, and everything else all bundled into one. The site builder is created by the same company that you’re getting your hosting from, so you can’t really move your site to another host if you want to. If Strikingly, or Wix, or any of their other competitors were to run into tough times, you’re kind of stuck with them, and that’s not an ideal situation to be.
The best solution is to go with a website building platform like WordPress, which is MUCH more versatile and widely used and much more highly supported than any of the options we’ve mentioned thus far.
Now, WordPress is the platform (and it’s FREE!) but you’ll still need to choose a hosting provider to host your WordPress site. Here are two of our favorites…
Best Alternative to Strikingly for Self-Hosted Sites: Bluehost
Bluehost is a leader in the world of webhosting. They pair up PERFECTLY with WordPress, so that you can use WordPress to build your site, and Bluehost to host it. Bluehost is the top recommended webhost by WordPress themselves, and they work very closely with WP to ensure that their servers are setup to accomodate your WordPress site flawlessly.
Remember we said not to be intimated by self-hosted? It kind of sounds like work, hey? Having to host your own site? But thanks to Bluehost’s epicly simply installation process, all you really have to do is sign up for a hosting account, and they’ll automatically have WordPress all setup and running for you. You’ll go through their super quick installer, basically just following along and clicking “next”, which takes about 5 minutes, and your site will be pretty much ready to go! All you’ll have to do at that point is add some text, tweak the style a little bit if you’d like. There are countless free and paid WordPress templates out there, so finding one that’s the perfect look for how you envision your site will be easy, not to mention fun.
This is our top method of starting a website because it’s less expensive than the cloud based development platforms, WordPress is open-source and free so you can find TONS of support for anything you could possibly need help with, you’re able to easily upgrade to high-end servers if your site becomes very popular, and you can easily have your own developer come in and optimize, tweak, and improve your site if you ever want. But the nice thing is that you don’t need a developer to launch your own WordPress site.
It’s just a matter of signing up for a hosting plan, specifying that you want to use WordPress, and then going through Bluehost’s unique setup process. Back in the day, you used to have to manually install WordPress yourself, which involved setting up databases and other stuff that’s not beginner friendly at all. These days, it’s so easy to get a new website up and running that there’s no excuse to not just go with a platform like WordPress installed on your own hosting plan, especially when plans start at just a few dollars per month and are considerably better than hosting with Strikingly for the numerous reasons that we’ve been talking about this whole time.
Now, if Bluehost isn’t quite your cup of tea, there’s another solid option for hosting your site…
Runner-up for Self-Hosted Sites: Hostgator
Hostgator and Bluehost are actually owned by the same company, and offer relatively similar services, but there are a few nice things about Hostgator worth pointing out. Hostgator has some plans that are specifically for WordPress, so they’re going to be optimized very well, however Bluehost is also incredibly well optimized for WordPress, so that’s probabally a toss-up.
In terms of pricing, the better option really comes down to whichever one currently has the better price. Check out Bluehost, check out Hostgator, compare their plans, and go with whichever one is a better deal at the time. Sometimes, Hostgator will have a better promotion running, othertimes it may be Bluehost. Both options are excellent, and these are hosting companies that we can recommend highly becasue they’re very well established, very well optimized, they’re operating at a huge scale so they can bring down prices a lot, their support staff are heroes, and they just open up a lot more doors in regards to growing your site down the road.
It’s the difference between leasing land to build a business, or building it on your own land. When you have your own WordPress site, you can take it from one host to another anytime you want. You’re in complete control. When you use a cloud based development platform, you’re taking the risk of being tied into that one platform. If anything should happen to them, you’re out of luck, and back to square one, which is the point where many people decide to use WordPress instead, and wish they would have in the first place.
We won’t go into a ton more detail about Hostgator becasue we’ve covered all the major things when talking about Bluehost, and both of these hosts are similar enough, that either one of them makes an affordable, easy to use, and much more powerful alternative to Strikingly. We also featured Wix, in order to provide another alternative to use instead of Strikingly. We like Wix better than Strikingly, so if you ARE going to use this type of platform, we recommend going with Wix instead of Strikingly.
It’s not that Strikingly is horrible or anything, they just don’t really fit the most practical use-cases as well as every other option on this page. They lack in some key areas, like needing the highest priced plan in order to have multiple pages on your site. That’s by design, it’s meant to be a more compact experience, but it simply doesn’t work for people who want to build out large, sprawling sites filled with content for their audience, potential customers, or even just friends to explore and enjoy.
For everyone who skips right to the end: Instead of Strikingly, we recommend going with Wix if you’re looking for an all-in-one website builder + hosting platform. Otherwise, we strongly advise going with WordPress and hosting it with Hostgator or Bluehost, it’s pretty much a toss-up between both of those hosting companies, so go with either one and you’ll be WAY ahead of the game!