I started doing business online in 2007, and I can clearly remember the first ever website I built. It was on Moonfruit.
Back in the day getting a professional looking website created meant that you would have to spend a fortune on finding the right designer for the job.
Moonfruit were amongst one of the many online site building tools at the time, to make it possible to own an pro looking website at the fraction of the cost. Moreover, you didn’t need to have a degree in web development or design.
Point, drag and drop editing really made a difference.
When I first discovered Moonfruit, I fell in love with it instantly. I didn’t have the slightest technical bone in me back then, so coding up a website was not an option, nor was forking out thousands of pound to hire a designer, and so as a small business owner, Moonfruit was very appealing.
What is Moonfruit?
Chances are you came to this review to learn whether Moonfruit is any good or not, not to learn what it is. But for those of you completely new, here’s the quick lowdown.
Moonfruit started off as a flash based online website building tool back in 2000. They are one of the oldest site building tools or services on the web. Yes they have survived despite all the options we now have for building professional looking websites.
Having survived the dot-com bubble, today there are more than 5,000,000 small businesses using Moonfruit as an affordable and simple solution, for creating an online presence.
In this review I will properly highlight some of the key features, benefits and look at the various built-in tools that Moonfruit has to offer. I’ll also cover some of the pros and cons of using Moonfruit, and compare it with other solutions, like building a website using WordPress.
So, does the old veteran of online website building tool’s “Moonfruit SiteMaker, still have what it takes to compete in today’s marketplace, where technology and software is constantly evolving, and WordPress now being one of the most widely used platforms for building websites? Let’s find out…
1. Moonfruit SiteMaker Live User Interface
Let’s take a look at the user interface within SiteMaker Live, which is the software that Moonfruit provides to it’s users to build websites with.
As you probably already know, Moonfruit uses a point-and-click interface and drag-and-drop templates to provide users with the power to create visually stunning and feature packed ‘professional looking’ websites. You can have a website ready to rock and roll and driving customers to within just a few hours of signing up.
Moreover, you don’t need to know a single line of code to use Moonfruit, and that’s what I really think appeals to a lot of none-savvy users.
Average Joe hasn’t got time to mess about learning about domain names, web hosting, installing scripts, themes, plugins and all the rest of it. Nope, average Joe simply wants something up and running quickly and effortlessly.
Moonfruit boasts a library of built in features and design elements to work with. What could take you months of planning could really be achieved in just a few hours using Moonfruit. But just because this is so, it doesn’t make Moonfruit less professional than any other software out there. These days drag and drop editing is the thing.
With Moonfruit, a project that could potentially take months of planning and development, could be completed within the Moonfruit environment within just a few hours.
Moonfruit has recognised that the problem is not everyone is a tech savvy web designer. Running a business is one challenge in itself right? Learning how to code and build a website from complete scratch is another challenge altogether, an even bigger challenge actually.
Moonfruit’s SiteMaker UI is clutter free and pretty self-explanatory. You have the complete freedom to move things around on your page with just a few clicks of the mouse, it’s that simple.
Here’s a list of all the key user interface features and plus points.
- Clutter free UI and design environment.
- Easy to use.
- UI Cross browser compatible.
- Features the latest HTML5 markup.
- Make your website mobile friendly instantly with the built-in mobile editor.
Here’s a list of the negative points with Moonfruit’s UI
- UI still feels a little dated.
- The more objects you place on a page, the slower the software runs, though lagging is less now with HTML5.
2. Design Tools, Blog, Ecommerce Tools
Moonfruit SiteMaker boasts a huge library of flash and HTML5 based pre-designed templates for you to choose from. Alternatively you can start from a complete blank canvas, which I’d highly recommend, and build your site just the way you want it to look.
There are no real limits with customisation in Moonfruit, everything is customisable. I guess the only boundaries would be set by your own creativity.
Built In Ecommerce Tools
In addition to the design tools, Moonfruit also boasts full ecommerce tools with PayPal integration, shop items inventory list and powerful blogging tools.
The ecommerce tools are really exceptional, simple to use and ideal for anyone looking to sell products on their website, again another feature that really makes Moonfruit shine as a single package for businesses.
Other Cool Features Inside Moonfruit
Other great built in features that I have not already mentioned include:
- Google Analytics integration.
- Google Web Master Tools integration.
- Plus Points with regards to design tools, ecommerce tools and blogging tools.
- A vast library of design elements, shapes, effects, fonts, titles, social tools plus much more at your disposal.
- Master page and full editing tools with undo and redo.
- Rulers and guides.
- Object alignment.
- Layered arrangements.
- Duplicate, copy and paste and more…
- A vast library of pre-design templates to choose from.
- Ability to upload your own content, i.e. images, videos, PDF’s, other supported documents etc.
- Ability to quickly preview your web page during editing.
- Built in blogging tools making adding a blog to your site very simple. Though not quite as advanced as WordPress.
- Built in ecommerce tools, product inventory tools, PayPal integration.
So what are the negative Points?
- No real proper grid means aligning objects can still prove challenging in design at times, even though you have rulers and guides.
3 Mobile, Social Integration & Membership Tools
Moonfruit’s software automatically creates a mobile optimized version of your site, which is pretty cool right? You can also edit how your site appears on mobile devices via the Mobile Editor Interface, another cool feature. However, this is very primitive and to be honest, you don’t get very many options for making your site look and function great on mobile devices. Perhaps something they’ll work on improving later on.
Moonfruit will also push your entire shop into your Facebook page with easy Facebook integration options in Shop settings, which is yet another powerful feature.
Another great feature within Moonfruit is of course the built-in membership tools. You can manage members, create groups, place page permission settings and send messages al via the backend of your Moonfruit site.
Plus Points for mobile and social integration
- Customizable mobile version of your site, though lacking some key features.
- Integrate your shop into your Facebook page, with buy it now PayPal buttons.
- Full-suite membership tools.
#4 Support And Community
Lastly we get to the support and the community.
Moonfruit offers a FAQ page and support via ticket.
The support is fairly responsive as tested on two recent occasions, they responded within 24 hours of submitting a query, which I guess isn’t really bad. There is also a blog and active community forum where you can find answers to your queries most of the time.
It’s great to see Moonfruit still rocking it out in 2016 and beyond, and the fact that it still appeals to millions of businesses and individuals looking for something simple and cost effective, that’s just awesome.
However, despite all the best efforts made so far to add more new tools and features to the Moonfruit ecosystem, it almost feels as if the company is still playing catchup with the innovation and technology of today.
That being said, Moonfruit still offer’s value for money. You get a host of powerful tools and features to work with as a novice website builder.
Here’s a snap shot of their current price plans
What I would love to see with Moonfruit is having more options for social media integration with Pinterest, Facebook and Google Plus.
Whilst there are plenty of other options for building a website on the cheap, Moonfruit is still one of the best players on the field if you want something set up quick, and something you can manage relatively easily yourself.
I cannot compare using Moonfruit with using WordPress to be really honest, whilst there is somewhat of a ‘technical obstacle’ with using WordPress, WordPress simply offers way more flexibility, and the benefits and features just overwhelms anything and everything.
Moonfruit on the other hand still have plenty of room for improvement, and like I said, if you’re looking for a simpler way to get your business online, Moonfruit could be just what you’re looking for, and perhaps not WordPress.
I have been using Moonfruit for the last 9 years, so it’s hard for me not to recommend them to novices.
You can signup to Moonfruit via my affiliate link here. If you do happen use my affiliate link, I will get paid a very small commission for recommending you to them, at no additional cost to you of course, but thank you so much in advance for your support 🙂