Novi Builder Review
When it comes to website creation, we live in a pretty incredible time. Thanks to the massive range of options, it’s never been easier to make a new site from scratch, whether for personal or commercial use. On the flip side of the coin, it’s hard for developers looking to create a new website builder to offer anything new.
In this Novi Builder review, however, I will explain why this tool offers a fresh take on website creation. As you’re about to see, it attempts to cater to both tech-savvy coders and self-professed luddites alike in an original and interesting way.
Does it manage to succeed with these lofty aims? Well, that’s exactly what I’ll present here.
Before we dive in, note that this review is based entirely on my own research, testing, and experience with the builder.
First things first, I want to make it clear that this is not the most beginner-friendly website builder out there. Unlike Wix, for example, where you can begin creating a site straight away, you must start off by giving Novi Builder access to an Apache web server.
That’s certainly not difficult to do, thanks to super-clear instructions on how to install Novi Builder, but it’s a little more hassle than you’ll usually encounter nowadays with these tools.
Once you’ve completed the installation, you’ll find an user-friendly website builder waiting for you to get started.
Novi Builder uses drag-and-drop functionality to create and edit sites. Adding, moving, and deleting elements is a breeze, and if you’ve got any prior experience whatsoever of using drag-and-drop builders, you’ll get the hang of this one almost immediately.
While you’re limited to placing elements in prescribed ‘blocks’ of space instead of putting them anywhere you want, this only proves to be a minor annoyance and one of the rare negative observations in this Novi Builder review.
When it comes to editing content, you have two options. If you’re good with HTML (Novi Builder is HTML-only), you can edit absolutely anything on the site with code. If you don’t, however, there are also simpler options for editing fonts, photos, and so on.
In general, if you’re prepared to put a small amount of work up front, Novi Builder will be quite easy to use.
Novi Builder Themes
There are over 40 Novi Builder templates currently available, although the number you can use depends on your pricing plan. I’ve covered the costs in more detail in the ‘Pricing’ section below.
It will suffice here to say that the cheapest package only gives you one template, the middle package gives you over 20, and the most expensive nets you the entire collection.
While there isn’t a huge visual variety, especially concerning the color scheme (the vast majority are a combination of blue and white), one must say that these themes still look fantastic.
They’re sleek, modern, and minimalist. Most importantly, they can make your business website appear professional with very little effort required on your part.
If you’d like to check them out for yourself, you can get a live Novi Builder demo for any of the themes here. There are plenty of options and, as you would expect, everything is relatively easy and intuitive explained.
These themes are designed to suit a wide range of purposes, from construction companies and advertising agencies, to dental clinics, and even churches! All of Novi Builder’s themes are mobile-friendly, and you can see a mobile-specific preview of your site at any time.
Main Novi Builder Features
Blog sections are included in many templates by default, and if you’re looking to include a blog section to your new site — doing so couldn’t be easier.
Within the blog section, you’ll find all the features you’d normally expect to see. You can categorize posts, allow people to comment, add social media share buttons, suggest related posts your readers might want to check out, and so on.
Unlike many of the best website builders, SSL certificates are not included. This is because you host your site on your own server, rather than one provided by Novi Builder. Accordingly, you’ll have to purchase your own SSL certificate separately.
In addition to creating a brand new website or editing one of the templates, Novi Builder also allows you to actually import an entire pre-existing website or template (as long as it was made using HTML) to its builder tool.
This is a quick and easy process. Once it’s been imported, you can edit the website as you normally would by using Novi Builder’s drag-and-drop tools.
While it’s true that there isn’t a huge number of native Novi Builder features by default, the feature set is bulked out considerably via an excellent range of integrations. There are 20 plugins, all of which are included in the cheapest price package.
By using these integrations, you can add all the functionalities your users would expect from a modern website. These include social plugins for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on, Google Maps, contact forms, Mailchimp, and multiple slider options (which look great).
You’ll find appropriate plugins already in place in many templates, but wherever they’re not included, dragging and dropping them in is extremely easy.
To a certain extent, the performance of your website isn’t entirely down to Novi Builder. That’s because it will be hosted on a third-party server instead of Novi Builder’s servers. And if you’re looking to add your own coding to Novi Builder’s templates, this will be the case even more.
That said, it is possible to gauge the typical performance levels of these templates. To do so, I ran several templates created by Novi Builder and by independent developers through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
To put it kindly, the results were mixed and represent a rare weak point in this Novi Builder review. While the desktop versions averaged 54/100 (which falls into the ‘average’ category), their mobile counterparts only managed a 30/100 score.
This suggests that, while Novi Builder sites are technically mobile-responsive, this aspect could certainly be improved.
Novi Builder doesn’t exactly include the best SEO-related features.
You can enter keywords and include meta tags in the main dashboard which will make your site more SEO-friendly. Aside from that, though, you don’t get any help with SEO from Novi Builder.
There are three price packages with Novi Builder — Startup, Advanced, and Developer. These do a good job of catering to both different budget levels and the different needs which users might have.
Startup and Advanced are billed annually, while Developer is a lifetime membership.
Given that all three packages have a 30-day money back guarantee, you could easily view the first month as a Novi Builder trial period and then get a refund if you don’t like what’s on offer.
The Startup package costs only $29 per year which is quite affordable, and it’s the same price to renew the subscription each year. This plan allows you to use the full range of plugins and create an unlimited number of projects, but you only get access to one template.
Advanced plan costs $49 per year, which is still very reasonable indeed and, as with Startup, the price remains the same when it comes to renewing your Novi Builder login. The features here are almost identical to those in the Startup package, with the only difference being that you have access to over 20 templates.
Developer is the most expensive package — $149. But as I previously explained, this is a one-off payment for a lifetime membership. Accordingly, it brings a value as well.
Along with the full set of premade templates, the Developer package also allows you to sell any templates which you create from scratch. If you’re a dedicated developer then you could very easily make money here. Many people use these extra templates for Novi Builder and download them for $25-$75.
Finally, while I love Novi Builder’s pricing structure, generally speaking, I’d certainly like to see some more payment options added in the future. There are currently only two — credit/debit card and PayPal.
This is one of the few areas in which this website builder should improve.
There is currently only one way to contact the Novi Builder support team through the site, and that’s by opening a ticket. Even though my trial enquiry was answered fairly swiftly and helpfully, live chat and/or phone support would certainly be welcome additions.
That said, the team does a very good job of responding to enquiries, including the Novi Builder Facebook page, but additional communication channels would come in handy.
There is also a knowledge base in place, which is simply called ‘Documentation.’ Search function is not available here, and that makes it a pain to find what you’re looking for. However, at least the content is written exceptionally well.
The step-by-step guides are particularly outstanding and helpful with explaining potentially tricky tasks, including how to install the Novi Builder free download onto your local server.
Thanks to the drag-and-drop functionality, helpful guides, and attractive premade templates, I believe that this is a solid beginner-friendly tool. On the other side of the equation, the coding option and the ability to import existing websites and export templates at will makes it a great tool for veteran designers as well.
I’m always nervous when it comes to trying out a website builder which aims to cater for both experienced web designers and complete novices. However, I hope that this Novi Builder review shows that it is a rare example of a website builder that actually manages to pull it off.
All in all, I was impressed indeed by Novi Builder and can happily recommend it to just about anybody.
If you have experience with using the Novi Builder website builder, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!