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    Yola Website Hosting Customer Review  

      I had been a using Yola since 2008 when they were known as Synthasite. I was simply looking for a free and personal website before and I found their service to be good especially that during that time, they were still new and my free site was not limited to three pages as some users had experienced. The advantage of Yola is their Sitebuilder because it does not direct you to download any installations or plug-ins and it also works on most browsers.

      If you are looking for a free hosting plan to create a website and has no plans to upgrade, you may simply choose Blogger because you could have a hard time for your free pages to be crawled by Google if you opt for the Free Yola service. That was my experience when I started my first website at Yola formerly known then as Synthasite. I can only see my website before through a direct URL link when sharing it to my friends and family. 

       Yola started in 2007 (Synthasite), created by Vinny Lingham, who was also the pioneer behind the digital marketing company called Click2Customers. Yola has offices in San Francisco and Cape Town and their Sitebuilder is available in six languages: English, German, Italian, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. They have an award-winning Customer Support team who are willing to help out, if you have any question or issue with regards to your site.

      When I decided to pay for a fee to have a domain name for my site, (not this website but my first one), I had decided to choose Yola and never regretted afterwards. Creating a website takes some time so try to save your photos, files, articles, etc. before you decide to pay a fee for any hosting site. 

      I was impressed with how I was able to easily save all my articles, photos and files then come back later on to finish what I was doing without losing any single of them. I paid all of my websites through Yola by simply looking for coupon discounts that I can find on the web before purchasing through their site in order to save. I'm also their affiliate now but I do not receive any cash nor free offering for this review. 

      I was just glad that I earned a little commission through Commission Junction (CJ) through my first website that I had created from Yola known formerly as Synthasite. I'm a stay-at-home "busy" mom who was happy to buy a little something when I earned my little commission from CJ and Google Adsense so I think anybody can make a website.

      Even if you're a newbie, Yola's Site Creation Wizard is helpful too. When I started making my first site, I had very little knowledge about website creation, but then later on, I was able to create one, thanks to their customer support. As of this writing, (June 7, 2013), I took some photos when I opened and edited my website so that you can see their Sitebuilder too.

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       The Yola Sitebuilder makes easier for me to edit my website due to their full-screen mode. I always switch to full-screen mode when I'm editing to make the screen resolution bigger. This was helpful since I'm not getting younger, l always need my glasses when I start to write something :-). They recently had moved all their widgets to the top of the screen page making it easier to look at one direction upon editing the site. 

      Once you're done editing, you can just click the Exit Full Screen Mode so that you can save, preview or publish your site. It was also nice that if you have more than one site, you can easily select one of them from the Sitebuilder itself making it simple to switch and edit each one of them. 

      By dragging down the "Text" icon, you can easily type in what you want for your texts in your blog or website. It's the same with adding a photo, you only need to drag and drop the widget to download your picture on the webpage. If you want to display many photos, you can opt for the Picture Gallery because this widget will automatically generate clickable thumbnails of images on your webpage. There are more widgets that are very simple to use after the Picture Gallery even if you are just a newbie. 

      If you have YouTube videos, you can click "Media" and simply drag down the YouTube video icon to add to your page but you can't upload your own videos directly to your website. In order for your video to be published, you need to upload it to a video service or another video hosting site first. Next is the File widget, there are publishers who like to upload files so you can use this File widget simply by dragging and dropping it to the page then add a file. Once you have uploaded, it will display as a link and when visitors can click on it, this file will open up on their own computer. There are more widgets for the category Media if you want to use them for your website.

     As a website publisher, I do have a Google Adsense so it's easy for me to copy and paste my Ad code through my webpage. If you are planning to sell, you can also use the Online Store widget as well as the PayPal Product.  

       You can sell your products 24 hours a day, accept payments securely, make a flexible store with complete control over your products and categories. I don't sell anything on this site but for those who want to, you can manage inventory and track orders with Yola Silver subscription plus premium hosting. In this way, you could manage your inventory and track all of them including orders as they come in as well as communicate about fulfillment with your online customers.

    If you plan to profit a bit more online and have more money to upgrade, you can open your own virtual store to more customers by selling on Facebook as well as through Mobile Phones and manage it all from a central location within Yola. You may customize your business site since they multiple store layouts and have the ability to create categories and options for your products. The nice thing about Yola is that they have very supportive people that you can easily contact. If you have any questions about your Online Store, they could help you too. 

        When it comes to promotion, you can add a Facebook Like button to any or all of your webpages so when an online visitor clicks on the Like widget or button, a story will appear in their friend's News Feed, with a link back to your page or site. In this way, visitors can easily share content from a publisher's site with their family and friends even if they are not present in their Facebook.

      The next widget is the Facebook Comments that could be helpful for your site promotion too. You can easily drag and drop this social plugin that will allow visitors start a conversation with you and other visitors on your website. These comments are posted to your visitor's Facebook page too and include a link back to your site. They also have the "Tweet This" button where anyone can share the content of your site directly to their Twitter feed without having to leave your website, maintaining visitor engagement.

      Another widget that may be helpful to your site's promotion is the Google+1 button since this will allow visitors recommend your content and by recommending it, their friends and contacts will also see their own recommendation where it is mostly visible to Google engine search results. You can also opt for the "Share Me" widget where the three most popular social networking sites are grouped as one. This is the one that I'm currently using since it saves time just by simply dragging and dropping the widget and it's already three-in-one promotion.

       Since there are a lot of Facebook users, your potential customers could also be found on Facebook. You can easily publish your site with Yola to your Facebook business page but you also need to upgrade and pay an additional fee. If you believe well with the products that you're selling, you may profit well by engaging your fan base through this social media promotion and get  found on the web. All Yola sites are not Flash but HTML-based, which allows search engines like Google to index your website. 

        They have tons of beautiful and colorful templates which you can use, and some can be used with their free service. The templates are of professional quality, but it would have been better if their “premium” templates, that simply looks like the free ones had been added to the free listing category

     As of June 2013, even if you had paid for their Bronze Package, you can't avail of their Premium Style Templates. You still need to upgrade your subscription package before you can use any of their Premium Style Templates since their Silver & Yola Gold subscription package are the only ones that include "unlimited access to those Premium Style Templates".

     So if you're not ready yet to upgrade, you can choose their free style, then just upgrade later. In my honest opinion, there is no difference between the free and the premium templates and it would have been a bonus especially to the free members. It would have been more enticing to upgrade if non-paying members can choose more templates if all of them are just offered for free.

         They have style settings and the first is the Heading, this is important since this is the first thing that search engines see when they index your site and adding one helps a lot for your SEO. You can also easily upload your own banner to personalize your site and make it professional through their banner widget

      You can always customize and personalize your space by changing the background (click the backfround widget), banner, text color and font. If you are an advanced user, Yola also provides CSS editing by clicking the widget. CSS is the basis of your site's appearance and design so you can easily edit it and customize aspects of your template that you are not able to do using their widgets.

      Search engines decipher text to understand information with regards to the topic of a page and there are three tags that indicatively alert them to what the page is about and these are the Title, Description and Keywords. Yola offers an area to edit these tags and it can be accessed by clicking on Page > Page Properties > Metadata.

     The area labeled Page Title is where the title tag is placed which includes the main keyword or concept of your webpage, business or website name including the location. The title should be under 70 characters long.    Here is an example: Wedding Dresses | The Wedding Gown Company | Fresno, CA

     The area marked as Description is for the description tag where the main keywords on the webpage, or variations of your keywords, as well as the name of your company as well as the location are placed. The description needs to be under 200 characters long that can attract potential online visitors to click through to your website. Here is an example: The Wedding Gown Company offers 70% Discount on the first 100  customers who will shop in Fresno, CA with their elegant wedding gowns. This great deal will not last long so hurry and shop now!

      The area marked as Keywords is for the main keywords on the webpage and you should avoid stuffing keywords in this category, but only list the ones that apply to the content of your page. Here is an example: wedding dresses, elegant wedding gowns, The Wedding Gown Company, Fresno, CA

      You can use the Metadata widget to edit your webpages' headings including titles and adding a site description as well as keywords. This important information is essential to search engine indexing for SEO improvement. 

      Adding keywords to the Keywords field is insufficient, so you also have to blend well your keywords into the content on the relevant page to keep its continuous flow. If your site has already many webpages, and it's hard to fit them into the Page Navigation Header, you can create "header submenus" in their Sitebuilder. 

      The Navigation widget is used to edit navigation menu order, create submenus, add password protection to webpages as well as rename these pages all in one place. This Submenu (secondary page) of the Main Page is helpful when you no longer have space on their header. 

      With the Submenu, you'll be able to make an extension of selected pages in the Page Manager. In this way, you can create a two-level navigation hierarchy, see your overall site hierarchy, hide and show pages in the navigation and edit label and hover text for webpages in the website navigation.

      The Submenus feature is only available to Yola Silver and Yola Gold users, and are only applicable on the Premium Styles. As of this writing (June 7, 2013), the submenu is not applicable to the Free and Bronze users. You can create new webpages within the Page Manager by clicking on “New Page” at the bottom-left of the window. Start filling-in the required details and once you're done, click “OK” to save the webpage, or you can opt to “Cancel” and go back to editing it in the Page Manager. 

      The new webpage will be created at the bottom of the list and if you would like to move it into a different place, you easily drag and drop it to where you would like it to be. Once you have finished editing and moving your pages, simply click “OK” to save the new changes and your new navigation will be displayed. These are a few of the features that can make anyone easily create a website through Yola.

      You can add your own customized Yola flexible Form within the Sitebuilder. This enables you to add what you need to, and communicate with your customers. You also have the option to select a Contact Us or a Blank Form, and will let you customize the form by adding and deleting, renaming as well as moving the location of your form fields. So when a visitor fills in your form, the message will be emailed to the email address that you use to log into your Yola account. You also have an easy option to change the address by clicking on the "Settings" link on your Yola Form Widget.

      These forms include a CAPTCHA, which helps combat blank form submissions and spam. A CAPTCHA is a type of challenge-response test as an attempt to ensure that the said response is generated by a real person. A common type of CAPTCHA requires the visitor to type letters or digits from a distorted image that appears on the screen. The CAPTCHA is added to your form automatically, but can still be removed easily in the "Edit" menu. 

      A Personalized Email is also offered to your paid package and you'll be able to get a branded email address ( They will also allow you to configure your email if you know how to do it and they offer it for free.

      With their Yola Mail, you can have a single mailbox with unlimited aliases and 2GB email storage. You can check your mail on any computer using the web-based email and this is available in English, Spanish, German, Dutch, French, Italian and Brazilian Portuguese languages which is supported up to 25MB per message for a $9.96/year fee.

       You can also look for the information about the number of visitors your website gets. They will provide you the total site traffic for the last 7 days. This is helpful to publishers so that they may add more content to their website, republish it if they see the traffic getting low.

       Yola gives you full ownership of the domain names purchased from them but you can still transfer your domain name, but you need to unlock it first since your domain is locked. Allowing Yola to manage your domain will make your website continues run smoothly. They have the DNS settings but these are for highly technical users and most websites do not require changes to these settings. 

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      You can have an Online Store if you want to sell products 24 hours a day and accept payments right away through credit cards or PayPal. It can also be integrate with over 20 payment gateways. You can set up sales tax for your items/products based on your location as well as the location of your potential buyers. 

      Their Online Store is $19.95 per month where a customer can create an account or checkout as a guest. It has a media rich descriptions for categories and products, real-time shipping estimates based on customer location, optional feature to require acceptance of your terms and conditions before ordering. The products already in the cart are marked in product list, making shopping easier for your customers. They can also easily drag and drop items/products to the shopping cart as well as log in and review their orders.

      Yola has a Catalog Management where you can create nested categories for advanced store set up, display only certain categories in a store, and add the same store to multiple pages. You can have 37 built-in storefront translations, inventory tracking and order management and the ability to set different prices for multiple product options such as weight and size. You will have a stock control for options & product combinations, sell digital goods such as music, images and more.

      Your online customers can attach files to their orders. Your products will be displayed clearly since you will have an image gallery for each product, an automatic thumbnail generation with image sharpening, and these products can be in more than one category. You can also offer promo discounts through coupons and provide basic affiliate feature.

      Shipping and taxes can be configured through their shipping/tax zones, rates and rules. They also offer real-time shipping quotes for: USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, Canada Post, Australia Post and EMS Russian Post. They have real-time shipment tracking, and automated shipment notifications to potential customers.

      You can have customizable email notifications, order history for customers and administrator, track payment and shipping status, customer IP address included in order details, invoice printing, and configurable min/max order amount limits in the Order Management. If you plan to sell international, they have an integration with multiple international payment gateways such as PayPal, Google Checkout, 2Checkout, Authorize.Net SIM, HSBC CPI, Network Merchants, PayJunction, e-Path, Robokassa, eSelectPlus (Hosted Paypage), Beanstream (Hosted Payment Form), eWAY, Sage Pay (Form), iDeal, iPay88, Suomen, Verkkomaksut Oy, Virtual Card Services, and PayOnline System.


      Google Maps is also integrated to make sure your online visitors know where you're located, and the fastest way to get there. They have a Contact Form to help obtain and generate leads from your customers. They have the TRUSTe Privacy Policy in order to build trust to the customers. TRUSTe's certified privacy seal lets the customers know that their personal information is safe.

     The Customer Mailing List can increase your customer base through the Constant Contact mailing list tool since they can provide an easy and efficient way to collect your customers' emails directly from your business website. They also have an Appointment Scheduling where users are allowed to schedule appointments online or manage your schedules with their Full Slate.

        Yola have different Hosting Packages to meet your business needs. They have Complete DDoS Protection since they partnered with Prolexic to ensure that your site is automatically protected from most malicious attacks aimed at preventing your customers from accessing your site. 

      Prolexic’s Security Operations Center has checked many DDOS attacks against Yola that have had peak traffic levels reaching 6.2 Gbps. Yola is a business that is 100 percent dependent on the Internet therefore providing uninterrupted availability for its customers’ websites as well as protection from DDoS attacks was very important and crucial for Yola. 

      There is an advantage with Yola since they have the Cloud-based hosting which means that your site could handle tons of traffic with no interruption in service. They still have the traditional server backups that are readily in place to ensure that dedicated resources are there if needed.

      They do have an amazing 24/7 Customer Support. As a customer with no basic knowledge, I was really glad of their support team, that's the reason I was able to build a simple website. All of my inquiries/questions were answered by one of their respectful and knowledgeable members. 

      In addition to that, they also have a well written Tutorials and Blogs that are comprehensive resources that have provided help when I needed them. I like their Email Support a lot, it was truly helpful since they respond fast with my inquiries. 

      If you haven't tried Yola yet, they do provide a 30 day money back guarantee so if you're not satisfied with their service, they'll give your money back. Take note that the 30 day money back guarantee does not apply to domain name registration, other domain name services, Yola Premier, Yola Gold, Local Boost, Fotolia Image credits and for already redeemed credits. 

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