Bookmark Review 2018: The Ultimate DIY Web Builder
Some web builders are well-known for their ease of use, while others provide in-depth marketing tools and growth capabilities to the business owners. Bookmark, however, seems to do it all.
After testing tens of lightweight DIY web builders available on the market, we’ve noticed that there is almost a direct trade-off between the ease of use (tutorials, step-by-step guides, learning resources) and the extent of your site’s functionality (how close does it actually come to Wordpress in terms of customizability/scalability/quality of tools available/etc.)
While many of these web builders can seem almost identical (and, thus, hard to choose from), once you start digging deeper inside of each one you start finding the small differences that can change the entire experience.
For example, Sitebuilder, a DIY web builder which we’ve recently reviewed as well, doesn’t make a very good impression for beginners - it simply drops the user off in the control panel and lets them figure out what to do. However, once you do learn how to get things done on the site, it can be one of the most rewarding services to use in the industry.
The complete opposite of that was Ucraft, another Bookmark competitor we’ve reviewed. What Ucraft did is they invested heavily in the User Experience of the site and the beginner-helpful features like the resource library or the to-do list that tells you what needs to be done in order to make your site go live. The sad part is that once you actually get comfortable with the site and start building, you continuously run into functional brick walls and fake advertising, which was very disappointing.
So when you discover a web builder like Bookmark, you don’t really believe your eyes in the first place. It just can’t be that good. You’ve been disappointed too many times by web builders to fall for that trap again.
First reaction - try to break it. You try to find where Bookmark is the weakest, where it fails to deliver its promise. Succeed to do that in the very beginning and you won’t get hurt once you get attached.
And - surprisingly - you can’t find anything. It simply does what it says it would do.
There are, of course, a thing or two that are awkwardly missing from Bookmark. Like, for example, the blogging feature. Seriously, what kind of a web builder doesn’t give you the tools to blog in 2018? However, as we’ve learned over and over again, it’s much better not to include a feature at all if you’re not going to make sure it works properly than to add a feature just for the sake of it.
Plus, you really forget the missing blog feature once you consider all of the good, innovative things that Bookmark has introduced to the industry - like the all-new Artificial Intelligence Design Assistant, long for AiDA. Or the brand new outlook on designing pages - the one that emphasizes adding entire sections at a time, instead of single elements.
Bookmark has truly built a product that solves the biggest problem for small business owners: lack of time. Business people don’t have time to play around with web editors, watch extensive tutorial videos or learn how to code, all of which is totally unnecessary when using Bookmark. Yes, it is safe to say that Bookmark is the fastest, easiest-to-use web builder out there, and if you need a quality website built today, choosing Bookmark is a no-brainer.
How did they achieve that? Through new technology and deep understanding of the user, which they’ve all put into AiDA, the revolutionary web building assistant. Let’s talk about why she’s (is it me, or does she really have something feminine about her? To avoid awkwardness, I’ll just refer to AiDA as it) so special.
AiDA - the future of web building available today
After introducing AiDA, Bookmark have taken a big step towards the future of web building - a future where website building can be fully automated. When we reviewed Wix (the other web builder with an AI feature), we thought ‘yeah, it’s pretty good, but I’m not sure whether I couldn’t have built a better site myself in the same amount of time.’
The thing is, Wix’s feature merely asked you a few questions about your business, and tried to choose the most fitting theme and adapt it to the best of its ability, based on your answers. It was kind of good, but at the same time it felt like a bit of a scam - you’d expect more from an Artificial Intelligence system.
Bookmark, however, has taken the AI game to a completely new level. While Wix’s AI is only using information that it got from you - the user - Bookmark’s AiDA uses that information in combination with what’s already published on the Internet in your niche. Yes, you got that right - AiDA uses the content and design from your competitors’ sites to create a unique mashup of a website.
One very important implication of this is that AiDA actually creates fully built websites with relevant content that, after minimum editing, is virtually ready to be published as a representation of your business. Comparing that to the Wix’s AI feature that essentially gives you a slightly personalized template that you’ll still need to edit in order for it to be operation ready, AiDA’s in a completely different league when it comes to convenience and time saving.
You can work with AiDA on a few different levels.
Firstly, you can let it collect info from the competition in your industry by simply selecting your niche and letting it build. This will give you an almost business-ready website with relevant content that you can publish right away.
However, you can also connect AiDA to one of your Social Media profiles or currently existing websites, and it will create an entire website based on your business’s (or personal) information. It really feels like it’s taking all of your presence on Social Media and shifting it to the website world in one click of a mouse.
So, yeah, it’s pretty astonishing - definitely something the internet has never seen before. We’ll talk about AiDA’s practical implementation and the whole setup process in the dedicated section below.
Quick Bookmark Review - Pros and Cons
- Next-gen Artificial Intelligence Design Assistant
- Extensive eLearning library, free online courses, excellent customer support
- You can have a completely personalized site built within 15 minutes without writing a word
- Instead of adding elements one-by-one, you can add entire pre-designed sections to your site
- No blogging feature
- No app market (not that you’ll need one)
Is Bookmark easy to use?
Yes, it is. It’s super intuitive and novice-friendly. Bookmark has plenty of useful resources for beginners, including the entire section of free online courses that cover the most important topics in web creation and digital marketing, ranging from the power of Youtube to setting up your website on the platform. And if you do get stuck, there’s always the live chat to the rescue.
The Setup ***** (5/5)
Setting up an account and starting to build a website on Bookmark is one of the easiest processes I’ve ever gone through. Seriously, even creating a third Gmail account is harder than logging into Bookmark for the first time.
Just like any good web builder, Bookmark doesn’t make you create a separate account with a dedicated password that has to match four security criteria to let you in. No, here, you can just enter with your Facebook or a Google+ account and start building. Easy peasy.
Once you’re in for the first time, Bookmark doesn’t mess around - it instantly gives you two options: to use the regular drag-and-drop editor you can find on other sites or to let AiDA handle the whole process for you.
Since choosing the former merely lets you choose a template and edit it, similarly to what you could find on the other web builders, we’ll talk a bit about the process AiDA takes the user through.
The first, unskippable question AiDA asks you is what kind of business are you in. There are more than 600 different options, so rest assured - yours is most likely somewhere in there, too. We choose Social Media Marketing and move on.
See, you may ask, why is it so important to be this specific when creating the design for your website?
The answer lies in AiDA’s methodology we’ve discussed earlier. The Artificial Intelligence helper builds an entirely new website for you based on the current successes in the industry, including the content. That’s why it’s very important for it to know whether you’re an Auditor or an Author.
After selecting your niche, you’re asked to enter your business name, which will let Bookmark find your currently used social media accounts or websites out there, so it can build a new website based on your old information. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s not necessary - you can just skip this part, and Bookmark will build a unique website on its own.
And that’s it. Click Next, and let the magic begin. During the next 30 seconds, AiDA will build a website for your business, real-time. You’ll be able to see its every move, and, when it’s finished, you’ll be able to tell her to rebuild the whole thing from scratch again. You can repeat this process indefinitely, until you find the perfect match.
Also, if you were wondering, AiDA doesn’t just redesign the site - it also rewrites the content. Don’t worry, all of the versions you choose to remake are still saved on your main dashboard.
At this point - by the time AiDA’s finished building your website - you’re basically at the same interface that you’d have if you went with the regular drag-and-drop editor version, just that your starting point is a site that’s almost ready to get published, instead of some generic template.
The Editor ***** (5/5)
Despite a couple of odd-looking menu sections in the editor (like ‘Focus’ - seriously, what is that?), the team behind Bookmark have really thought things through when building the editor.
Namely, they got two things right.
The first one is the emphasis on adding entire sections of the site - the ‘focuses’, as they call them - instead of searching through an extensive library and adding elements one-by-one. With Bookmark, you can simply select an entire section that provides the functionality you need - like a Contact Form, or the Testimonial window - and drop it right where you think it should be on the site.
One thing that made this feature so successful on Bookmark - besides the obvious - is the fact that each of these sections are perfectly designed for your unique website. We’re not sure how they’ve done it, but it really looks like all of the possible sections you can add already belong to an extended version of your website. Compared to similar features on other sites, where pre-designed sections would be the same for any template, this is really impressive.
The second thing that makes Bookmark’s editor as good as it is is the fact that they’ve implemented an adaptive gridlock element system which makes it so that whenever you add a new element or an entire section to the site, every single element that’s already present adapts its size and positioning so the site doesn’t lose its overall composure.
Some web builders - including Bookmark’s main competitor, Wix - have taken a different approach to adding elements. On Wix, the user has full creative control when adding elements - which means that you can overlap them and make the most nonsensical designs if you like. However, as liberating as playing around with the elements can be, in reality these kind of editors quickly tend to become a big mess.
And, after all, people who use web builders don’t really have the time or the fantasy to figure out how exactly they want their elements to be arranged, and the supportive gridlock is often a very useful feature. In a sense, you can’t really make a Bookmark site look bad.
1. Bookmark AiDA Review - 5/5.
We’ve already talked about how AiDA works and why is it different from anything else you might’ve used, but now it’s time to evaluate whether AiDA is a viable tool for businesses.
With Wix’s ADI, we’ve learned that while using an Artificial Intelligence tool to design your website might be a fun experience and an interesting option to explore if you’re bored of creating websites the old-fashioned way, but as a business tool, it didn’t have that much value. Yes, the questionnaire helped their ADI select you a suitable template, and it automatically put e-commerce functionality in there if you checked the box, but you might’ve also done that yourself with little time lost. Really, Wix’s ADI felt more like an R&D project, rather than a serious, viable tool you could use everyday.
Bookmark’s AiDA, though, is a completely different story. We already told you how the Artificial Intelligence tool works, but what we haven’t told you yet is that it’s a legitimate way to build websites quickly. Due to the fact that it collects design and content info from all around the web, and it can take a specific social media page and create a website out of it, sites suggested by AiDA rarely need anything more than just some minor tweaks.
We’ve never expected to say this, but it seems like Bookmark’s tool actually works. If we could give it a higher score, we would.
2. Bookmark E-commerce Review - 5/5
E-commerce is the notoriously weak spot for the majority of web builders you can use today. Poor inventory management, lack of product and shipping options, poor payment processing integrations - these limiting factors define many web builders to being able to run small, niche e-commerce operations only.
The most disappointing decision we’ve come across so far was that of Ucraft - they simply didn’t make an e-commerce system at all; instead, they chose to affiliate with Shopify, telling their customers ‘hey, it’s great that you chose Ucraft, but if you want any of the e-commerce functionality, you’re going to have to build your store on Shopify and only then plug it into our platform.”
Bookmark, however, took an entirely different approach. They offer a proper e-commerce interface that’ll make you question why people choose Shopify in the first place.
With Bookmark’s e-commerce system, you’ll be able to:
- Manage orders. Flagging payment statuses (5 different options, like Paid, Awaiting Payment, Refunded, etc.), order statuses (6 different options, like Shipped, Delivered, etc.), managing abandoned carts, creating customer groups, managing customer data, adjusting pricing and taxes.
- Manage products. Creating serial numbers, categorizing your production, creating catalogs, importing/exporting product sheets, enabling/disabling products, managing product types (you’d probably want different attributes for books and clothing.)
- Manage promotions. Issuing coupons (5 different types, 4 different availability options), setup Facebook store promotions, integrate with world’s biggest marketplaces (Ebay, Google Shopping), create discounts.
- Access in-depth settings. Price differentiation for different geographical zones, setting up taxes, adding numerous shipping options, setup email notifications (for example, when someone orders, or you’re low on stock), include more than 10 different payment options.
- Access an e-commerce app-market. Bookmark has a dedicated e-commerce marketplace with currently 16 third-party apps, each of them enhancing your online store’s performance in its own way.
Long story short, Bookmark’s e-commerce feature is like a mini-shopify inside of the web building platform. Unlike many web builders who choose to build the bare minimum of an e-commerce interface, Bookmark’s online store system is the real deal.
3. Bookmark SEO and Marketing Review - 5/5
Now, you wouldn’t expect a lightweight DIY builder to be extremely well-optimized to rank on search engines, but building a website without even basic SEO is very shortsighted in 2018. Worry not - Bookmark has got you covered here as well.
While the platform’s main focus definitely isn’t SEO, it still gives you all the tools that you’d expect out of a proper web builder. Namely, you can adjust the URL structure for any page, add meta descriptions and meta keywords, de-index certain pages from Google’s crawlers and even access the website’s sitemap.
As for the analytics, again, Bookmark offers more than anyone could expect out of a $15/month builder. In the analytics section, you’ll be able to see the number of unique visitors, top pages and even a few SEO insights, like which keywords have been generating the most traffic to your website. Not exactly the professional marketer’s toolkit, but for a small business owner, this should be more than enough.
4. Bookmark Customer Support Review - 5/5
If there’s one thing where Bookmark is miles ahead of their competition, it’s customer support and learning resources. Seriously, who else has built an entire library of free courses in case their customers would like to educate themselves on online marketing or website creation?
Besides amazing live support through live chat and email, Bookmark has also built a forum-like Ask an Expert section, where you can just leave your request and get it answered by a qualified professional. So far, all of the questions have been answered.
5. Bookmark Mobile Editor Review - 4/5
The only part where Bookmark is a bit behind their older brother, Wix, is the mobile editor.
See, Wix has created an actual mobile editor, which you can use to make changes to your mobile version of the site, leaving the desktop version as it is. This is quite huge, because sometimes features that make sense on the desktop version will look ridiculous on the mobile equivalent, and vice versa.
Wix are the only ones who’ve done this so far, and we’re expecting to see other web builders catching up.
Nevertheless, Bookmark gets a high score in the mobile editor department simply because their websites are extremely responsive and optimized for mobile devices, so you’d barely need to use the mobile editor, even if it was there.
Also, Bookmark’s previewer is very nice to use, and it has different previewing options for iOS, Android and Windows devices. A nice touch.
Bookmark Pricing Review
We think that Bookmark’s pricing is extremely well thought-through. Why?
First of all, Bookmark is one of the very few web builders that are actually completely viable to use as a business tool with the free subscription plan. At least in terms of functionality, since you’ll still have the Bookmark ads shown on your website. As for the premium plans, there are two of them.
The Professional plan - which costs $14.99 per month - gives you access to the full web building functionality, including its gigantic (1M+) picture gallery, the e-course library, the analytics, the hosting, etc.
However, if you’re looking to run an e-commerce store, getting the Business plan is highly recommended. For the monthly fee of $29.99, you’ll get a whole bunch of e-commerce goodness, like free transactions, support for up to 1000 products, the ability to sell on Ebay and so on. Hella worth if you ask us.
Bookmark Review: Verdict
If you’ve got the feeling that we’re fanboying this web builder a bit, you’re right. It really is that good, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
We know how cunning these DIY web builders can be. Some of them promise the world, and disappoint the moment you try to do something with them.
That’s why we’ve tried to do pretty much everything with Bookmark. We were looking for its weak spots, waiting for the moment it would fail us but… it didn’t.
Yes, it doesn’t have the blog feature. So if that’s what you’re after, Bookmark isn’t for you.
But if you’re looking to build a representational website for your business quickly, or - even better - an e-commerce store, there is no better alternative at the moment than Bookmark. This website simply trumps everything else out there with its superior AiDA technology and the e-commerce interface that’s on par with that of Shopify.
Seriously, an Artificial Technology assistant that builds better e-commerce solutions than Shopify? Beat that, Wix!