In a field as crowded as website building, I do find it a little confusing why so many companies seem to offer exactly the same thing. There’s nothing wrong with a little competition, of course, but does it really make sense for all these website builders to be attempting to deliver all things to all people?
Enjin, for one, seem to have broken free from this trend. Rather than attempting to please everyone, the Enjin website builder is highly-targeted. In this case, the demographic they’re going for is gamers.
Gamers tend to be pretty tech-savvy people; has Enjin got enough to fulfil their needs? Find out, in my Enjin website builder review!
(Note: this Enjin review is based entirely on my own experiences.)
Upon starting with Enjin, you’re immediately asked what type of website you’d like to build, with all the options being related to gaming: Guild, Clan, eSports Team, and so on. You then choose the game on which your site will be based, with options including all the heavy hitters like World of Warcraft and League of Legends.
After completing the signup process, you’re confronted with an entire website which is basically ready to go, with the theme being based on your game of choice. Pages like ‘Forums’, ‘Events’ and ‘Gallery’ are already there for you, ready and waiting to be filled out.
You can still get behind-the-scenes of your site and edit it as you wish through the Admin panel along the top of the screen. How easy you find editing pages depends on your experience level. Veteran web designers may struggle with the lack of drag-and-drop functionality, but the layout of the website builder will favour relative newcomers. The slot-based system through which you build a page doesn’t allow for a massive amount of customization, but it is easy to use.
There are also plenty of helpful resources, dotted across the home page of the website builder, which will help guide you through the design process. Overall, this is an extremely user-friendly, and beginner-friendly website builder.
You certainly don’t lack for choice when it comes to the Enjin templates.
The ‘Official Layouts’ section – Enjin’s own themes, essentially – has a whopping 335 choices. It’s easy to narrow them down. Firstly, depending on the price plans with which they’re available, and subsequently through filtering by the game title your site is based on. There’s also a ‘Community Layouts’ section, which is a nice touch, and there are another 46 themes available there.
Whilst there’s a huge amount of choice, it’s worth stating that Enjin doesn’t exactly have the best-looking templates going. The vast majority of them look at least 10 years out of date compared to some of the more stylish web builders out there.
Unfortunately, Enjin websites are not responsive by default, meaning they won’t automatically scale if the user is browsing on a mobile or tablet device. You’ll find ways to implement this yourself if you check the forums, but it’s not included in the official offering.
That particular blow is definitely softened by their mobile app, however. It’s completely free, for both iOS and Android users, and allows you to manage your website on the go.
· eCommerce options
The Enjin eCommerce offering is certainly generous. Even with the free plan, you can still create an online store, and add the option for users to donate to your website. Doing both is easy with Enjin’s simplistic admin tools; you can add them as ‘Modules’ to your site, with most of the heavy lifting being done by the website builder.
A blog, or at least a ‘News’ section, is added by default to most Enjin themes. Even if it wasn’t, however, it’s very easy to add one as a module.
I have no complaints whatsoever about the blogging section itself. The text editor is good, and all your basic options are present and correct: enabling comments, adding tags, integrating with social media, and so on.
As of March 2017, SSL security is available for all Enjin websites which are using the Enjin subdomain. It might have taken them a while to get this added, but I’m glad to see that it’s finally arrived!
For something like a gaming website, which is looking to build a community, forums are obviously vital. It’s fortunate, then, that Enjin’s forums are absolutely fantastic.
They’re created by default when you build a website and contain a few sample sections. Adding new sections couldn’t be easier, and there’s a huge array of options easily available to you, from whether or not you allow signatures, to the number of views that are needed to make something a ‘hot topic’.
On the whole, it leaves you wondering why every forum building tool isn’t as intuitive and simple as Enjin’s.
This is another area in which Enjin absolutely excels.
I’ve mentioned already that your site will vary depending on the game on which you’re focusing. Well, this extends to the integrations too. If you build a World of Warcraft-themed site, for example, you’ll automatically have access to things like raid management tools; there’s no need to go out and try to find them yourself.
Aside from that, you’ll find a whole ‘Modules Discovery’ section, which displays a wide variety of integrations which can be easily added. Considering the target audience, the Twitch integration is particularly noteworthy.
In order to judge the performance of a typical Enjin website, I ran five examples through the Google PageSpeed Insights tool.
The desktop versions of the sites received an average score of 61/100, and the mobile versions averaged 63/100. Both of these scores are certainly disappointing and imply that – under the hood, at least – Enjin’s websites aren’t particularly well put together.
Enjin’s SEO offerings cover all the basics that you would expect and are all nicely laid out on a single page. Crucially, they’re all also included in the free package, which isn’t always the case, even with the best website builders.
Amongst the options are the ability to change metadata (including page description and keywords), access your automatically-generated sitemap, and easily connect to Google Analytics.
Unfortunately, this is another area in which Enjin’s offering is limited. There are no phone nor live chat customer support options. Instead, you have to rely on opening a support ticket and sending them a message.
In fairness, this isn’t particularly uncommon across the website builder industry, particularly for the relatively smaller companies. Also, the Enjin customer support team enjoy a sterling reputation; this was borne out by their response to my test query, which came quickly and was both helpful and friendly.
Obviously, I can’t recommend Enjin for everyone. But then, it isn’t designed for everyone. It’s designed for a very specific target audience: video game fans, who are looking to create and build a community around their game of choice.
If I judge my Enjin review on this aim, then I have to say that they’ve achieved it with flying colours. It’s very easy to learn your way around their website builder, but there is a surprising variety of powerful features underneath the simplistic appearance.
If you have experience of using the Enjin website builder, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.