Are Strikingly_s Templated Websites Any Good? We Review

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Strikingly Web Site Builder

Strikingly is a website builder service that makes it relatively easy for people who are not technically savvy to design and publish a high-quality, beautiful website with no coding or skill required.

Strikingly is part of a new generation of high-end site builders featuring visually stunning templates with all the usual HTML 5 tricks like Parallax scrolling and responsive images. They are backed by several major Venture Capitalists, including Y Combinator, SV Angel, Funders Club, Innovation Works, Infinity Ventures, Index Ventures, and Kevin Hale.

They have been featured in multiple tech-focused and general interest publications, including The New York Times, Forbes, Tech Crunch, LifeHacker, The Next Web, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, and Inc. Magazine.

Services and Specialties

Strikingly is not a traditional hosting company — they do not offer different types of hosting plans like shared, VPS, or dedicated servers. They only provide one type of service: templated websites.

Strikingly offers different tiers of service at different price points, starting with an entry-level Free plan. Higher priced plans provide access to premium features such as:

  • Custom domain (free accounts have a domain name)
  • Increased or Unlimited bandwidth
  • Email
  • White labeling (removing references to Strikingly in the footer and HTML)
  • Access to the Strikingly App Store
  • Mobile Action Buttons
  • More customization options for site design

The major focus of Strikingly’s site design templates is a mobile-first approach. All of their templates are designed to work well on a variety of devices and screen sizes, especially small mobile screens.

Their designs tend to be heavy on the visuals, relying on large-format photography and the latest HTML and CSS techniques to impress customers.

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Datacenters and Technology

While Strikingly relies on high-end infrastructure to deliver its service, it is not “selling specs” to its customers.

Strikingly seems to be a consumer of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) hosting from Linode, and they use Akamai as their Content Delivery Network. This has allowed them to scale their consumption of server resources as they have grown, without having to invest in their datacenters.

Strictly speaking, this means that Strikingly customers are likely receiving “shared” level hosting, with multiple websites clustered onto cloud-based virtual private servers and sharing a small pool of IP addresses.

Support and Customer Service

Strikingly promotes a “do it yourself” approach to using their application — they have tried to make it as user friendly as possible, and they have an extensive Knowledge Base and user forum. Moreover, there is nothing to install or configure — since they are providing an application, not a hosting service in the conventional sense.

It’s clear from all of this that they neither want, nor expect, to have to deal with much in the way of technical support. They have an email and ticket-based support system with a promised turnaround time of 24 hours. Since they are active on both Facebook and Twitter, they also field customer service issues via those social networks.

Security and Backups

It is safe to assume that Strikingly keeps sites in their network backed up and as secure as possible, but this is not a major point in their advertising or public technical specifications.

Uptime Guarantees

Strikingly makes no specific guarantee about uptime for their customers’ websites.

Costs and Payment Policies

Strikingly offers a free tier for simple blogs and small websites. The free plan does not allow users to use their own domain.

Paid plans, which offer premium features and more flexibility, are only a little more than the cost of most shared hosting plans from conventional hosting companies.

Strikingly offers a 14-day free trial for all customers. They also provide sponsorship to non-profit organizations.

Summary / Conclusions

Strikingly provides beautiful websites for about the cost of setting up a self-hosted installation of WordPress on a shared hosting account. Custom designs are easier to create, and the templates available are consistently more attractive than those available for WordPress.

On the other hand, there is much less flexibility. Fully mature Content Management Systems like WordPress and Drupal allow for a wide range of functionality, from e-commerce to social networking. Meanwhile, Strikingly-built websites are designed to do one thing, and one thing only — look good.

The other problem with Strikingly’s web sites is that the designs are extremely photo-heavy. This leads to beautiful templates from professional designers with access to great photography. But DIY users may or may not have their own relevant or beautiful images for these designs. It’s easy to imagine a small business, non-profit, or church using a bunch of poorly composed photographs and ruining the design.

That being said, for bloggers and business owners who just need an attractive, mobile friendly design quickly, without much hassle, Strikingly and apps like it are a great place to get started — even if they might eventually outgrow it.

Adam Michael Wood

About Adam Michael Wood

Adam specializes in developer documentation and tutorials. In addition to his writing here, he has authored engineering guides and other long-form technical manuals. Outside of work, Adam composes and performs liturgical music. He lives with his wife and children in California.

Connect with Adam

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Sherrie Gossett

July 25, 2019

One of Strikingly’s big wins was getting the endorsement of marketing legend Seth Godin. I’d heard he was moving to WordPress, but it turns out his main bio site is still using Strikingly. The bio site has info on his books, seminars, etc. He simply started a blog on a different domain using WordPress.

I popped Seth’s Strikingly site into Google Page Speed Insights. I hope the Strikingly team will make some speed and performance optimizations for him. There are some easy wins available, like optimizing images. But it needs some coding TLC – esp. for mobile. The WordPress site performs better but also needs some optimization work.

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