If you run a small business, the last thing you have time for is learning code to build your website. Instead, you need a cost-effective, fast, and reliable website platform that helps you sell your products or services online.
Strikingly is a drag-and-drop solution for online stores that pledges to do just that. But with so many options out there these days, it’s worth a little extra research to determine if Strikingly lives up to its promises.
It promises the platform requires "zero code or design skills" to use, and plans are notably inexpensive, but online reviews tell another story. As a professional service provider, is Strikingly the right fit for your needs?
Below, we investigate the highs and lows of the Strikingly platform. Is the self-proclaimed "easiest website editor possible" actually more trouble than it's worth?
What is Strikingly?
Strikingly markets itself as a "no code" website builder for entrepreneurs and creatives. It creates website design templates for everyone, from bloggers to nonprofits, but many of the plans and features speak directly to online sellers and those seeking ecommerce functionality.
The company was founded in 2012 by Dafeng Guo, Haisha Chen, and Teng Bao. It boasts a large international team headquartered in Shanghai, China, and is a startup backed by Y Combinator (W13), SV Angel, Index Ventures, FundersClub, and Innovation Works.
What features does Strikingly include?
Strikingly sticks with a one-service model, unlike many other website builders on the market that have branched out from web design into marketing or auxiliary services like content writing.
All its features come wrapped up in the website builder. So whatever package you choose, the building block is the Strikingly web editor. One point to note is the lower-tiered plans remain on a Strikingly.com domain name (ex. http://www.yourwebsite.strikingly.com), and these websites maintain Strikingly branding.
Considering their target clientele is online retailers, it's interesting that only the pricier packages (Pro or VIP paid plans) allow you to sell more than one item.
How much does Strikingly cost?
Who is Strikingly best suited for?
Although the website builder has templates for a wide variety of sites, Strikingly focuses on ecommerce and online stores. As a result, all of their packages revolve around the features and capacity required to sell products or services online. Their limited advanced features include live chat widgets and pop-ups.
For ecommerce businesses, Strikingly is one of the cheapest options out there. But on closer inspection, the cheapest option isn't always the best option.
Their free and limited plans (the cheapest options) only allow you to sell a single item per site. This is likely problematic for most online retailers. You'll also need to upgrade to the pricer packages if you want multi-page websites or you want to remove the Strikingly branding.
It's also alarming that many of the Strikingly websites don't seem to have HTTPS — the 'S' being a critical detail indicating a higher level of site security. Although they advertise, "All websites get HTTPS automatically, for free," we found many of their websites didn't have this security feature.
If you were to enter your personal details into an online form or order on these unsecured sites, your information would be at risk of getting stolen.
So, instead of ecommerce, we suggest they are best suited to simple single-page sites. Examples include a landing page for a new book, a Kickstarter campaign, or a personal portfolio.
Because Strikingly offers tools really only targeting ecommerce businesses, it's not ideal for lawyers, insurance brokers, or accountants. Professional service providers need specialized tools to serve their clients online — and to do so securely.
If this sounds like the solution you’re looking for, B12 offers the advanced features you need without the astronomical costs associated with custom web design by an agency.
Even our most basic plan comes with a treasure trove of options, including online scheduling, client intake forms, payment processing, and more. Our free plan comes with a TLS certificate to encrypt website traffic to keep your and your clients’ data secure.
What are the pros and cons of Strikingly?
How good are Strikingly's pre-built website templates?
The going consensus is that Strikingly's pre-built templates are fine for single-page websites but not ideal for multiple pages. They offer a limited number of pages, storage, and features, even under the most expensive plan. These days, this isn't suitable for most small businesses operating online.
What's more worrying is the growing number of negative online reviews. On Trustpilot, a reputable third-party review site, 76% of reviewers gave Strikingly one star. That's a clear indicator that this website builder has serious problems that need to be addressed.
The most common complaints revolve around three issues:
- Customer service
- Difficulty canceling and unauthorized charges
Issue #1: Spamming
First and foremost, former customers complain about the nonstop spamming. Should you sign up for this website builder, the company will send you daily emails — without an unsubscribe button. One reviewer claimed it was the "most annoying kind of spam," which continued despite their opt-out. Another called Strikingly "prolific spammers."
Issue #2: Customer service
A second and more concerning issue is their customer service. Many people have struggled to get even minor issues resolved through their customer service team (aka their Happiness Officers). Customer service pushes back against customers with legitimate concerns and often refuses to assist with billing errors.
Issue #3: No refund policy and difficulty canceling
Finally, Strikingly has no refund policy. Therefore, should you be unsatisfied with your website or need to cancel, it seems you cannot get your money back.
There are multiple accounts from customers who canceled their contracts only to see charges appear year after year. In addition, reviewers report that even after reaching out to get a refund, customer service refuses.
Does Strikingly offer copywriting, design, or technical support?
No, Strikingly does not offer any copywriting services. So whether you purchase their free, pro, or VIP plan, you are responsible for crafting all of your web copy.
Unless you purchased the Strikingly Kickstart package, no design work is included in any of their packages. The Kickstart package promises to design and build a website for you in 72 hours, but it doesn't detail if that includes any customizations or revisions. So you may be stuck with the first design they deliver.
Yes, all Strikingly packages come with 24/7 live chat support. The VIP plan even comes with priority customer service and phone support. The Happiness Officers behind the live chat respond quickly, but unfortunately, most reviews report that any actual support is rarely provided.
At its best, the technical support is limited, and at its worst, it's highly problematic — especially if you have issues with your bill or canceling a contract.
What are some Strikingly alternatives for small businesses?
If you are uncomfortable with the negative reviews, lack of refund policy, and unsecured websites under the Strikingly model, rest assured there are many other site builders for you.
Squarespace, Weebly, and Shopify are just a few of the other DIY options that service ecommerce businesses. Like Strikingly, they offer free versions as well as paid plans with more advanced features. They serve any and all industries but vary in usability.
Through this model, you'll be building your website based on templates. But some of these website builders take a bit of technical know-how to set up correctly. Plus, you'll be spending hours of your valuable time learning the platform, crafting the copy, and wrangling the template to suit your needs.
As a small business owner, you likely don't have the time or the mental capacity to learn all the ins and outs of Squarespace or Shopify. Yes, a landing page may be easy to put together, but what if you need payment processing, online scheduling, or eSignatures? Otherwise, your online presence is static and doesn’t actively grow your business.
For service providers, like consultants, coaches, and realtors, B12 blends professional design with advanced client engagement options to help you better attract, win, and serve customers online. Your site automatically includes all of the right tools to enable your business to scale, and meets the security standards to keep your company and its clients safe.
Strikingly review summary
In summary, the Strikingly website builder is appealing because it's a "no code" solution that requires zero design skills. The templates are sleek and the designs are diverse. But when you look under the hood, many of the sites in their portfolio are slow to load and lack a basic security certificate.
Yes, Strikingly focuses on online stores and ecommerce websites, but even their priciest website package lacks the advanced features that customers have come to expect with an online shopping experience. Instead, Strikingly may be better suited to a basic personal portfolio, a simple blog, or a single landing page.
Plus, the significant number of one-star reviews is concerning. Seemingly everyone had a complaint about Strikingly's email spamming tactics. There were also an alarming number of complaints about the refund policy or lack thereof.
Reviewers who canceled their free trial within the specified timeframe still reported unauthorized charges appearing on their credit cards. Some customers saw unauthorized charges for canceled accounts years after the initial contract. Calls to the customer service team do not appear to result in refunds.
If a Strikingly site isn't for you, rest assured there is a better solution. For mortgage brokers, lawyers, insurance agents, and other service providers out there looking for a professional website, B12 delivers.
Our powerful AI drafts up your industry-specific website in seconds, and then our creative experts dive in to finesse the details, like copywriting, SEO, and design.
We help you create a beautiful, mobile-friendly, and search-engine-optimized website that incorporates client engagement, integrations, traffic reporting, and time-saving automation.
Do you want to see what the power of AI and human expertise can do for your business? Get started now.