Originally, the creators of IM Creator set about building a website builder to help family and friends who needed a website but became extremely frustrated with the complex options available to them. They found other do-it-yourself solutions too complicated, too time-consuming, or too expensive.
So the creators brainstormed a new way to build a website on your own that is easy, yet powerful in its functionality and professional in its appearance. The end result is a platform that is truly simple to use, understandable for all ages to use and builds a great looking site without having any design, technical, or coding experience.
Here are just some of the pluses about IM Creator:
- It’s free, so you start building your website immediately without registering or creating an account first.
- An easy editing platform.
- Reliable hosting.
No matter whether your website needs are for personal or business, IM Creator offers a viable solution to building your own website.
If ranking do-it-yourself websites on simplicity alone, IM Creator sits at the top of the list, bar none. While many builders advertise a simple process but don’t necessarily meet expectations, IM Creator delivers true simplicity from start to finish.
For starters, you don’t have to register to begin building your website. This is a major plus since there’s no time wasted creating an account at the onset only to find that the site builder is not for you. Rather, IM Creator gets you started by choosing a design template and building your site. But that’s not to say registration is not required. If you like the site you created and want to go live with it, you can register at the end of the design process so you can log-in to your site in the future. At this time, you also have the opportunity to purchase a domain name or use an existing one, and upgrade your free plan to a fee-based plan that offers more features.
Using IM Creator is a very simple, three-step process. First, you choose a design. Next, you customize your site by adding in your content. Lastly, you publish your site live on the Web.
With any website builder, it’s the editing interface that defines how easy it will be to create a website on your own. While IM Creator uses drag-and-drop technology, it takes it a step further with intuitive editing. All you need to do is click on an element in the design template to edit or insert your own content and IM Creator automatically adapts your content to the template.
Although IM Creator’s templates are pre-designed with recommended pages and structure, it’s not difficult to change the structure or add or delete pages. So, the IM Creator can be as flexible as you need it, or be used as basic and easy as you like.
Another factor that makes the IM Creator easy to use is its cleanly designed site builder environment. The main menu, which shows on every page on your site, is uncluttered, with essential tabs for basic functions, like Pages, Add an Element, Settings, Open, Save, Save As, Preview, Help and Publish.
But here’s what sets the IM Creator Editor apart from other site builders. Rather than one editing bar staying fixed on top or along the side of the screen all the time for all functions, each element has its own editing bar, keeping your work screen uncluttered. When you click on an element, an editing bar customized only to those functions for that element appears below the general menu. The editing functions are defined with clearly labeled buttons in either blue or gray. The blue buttons are for the most relevant editing options, while the gray are for more advanced options.
Any content elements, such as text, images, videos, widgets, forms, surveys, etc., within the pages of your website can be modified by simply clicking on them. Just drag and drop to add a new element, click on the element to edit it, or use the delete button on your keyboard to remove it. Traditional keyboard strokes also can be used to perform general editing functions and to obtain advanced options. For example, if you right-click an element, a pop-up menu provides editing options to align, replicate and reorder.
Another helpful feature that adds to the simplicity of the IM Creator is the free-form editing frame, so you can resize or reshape any element freely without the constraints of grids or defined space. However, there are disadvantages to a free-form frame, especially if you want the alignment to be the same for fixed elements across all pages.
But this does not mean responsive, so your site’s content will not automatically rearrange to fit a smaller screen. And unlike other website builders, you cannot indicate which content to display only on the mobile version of your site. Rather, all the content on your web pages will appear exactly as your regular website version, only smaller.
To remedy this shortcoming, select a mobile template from the start. The mobile templates are for optimal mobile browsing, with a structure designed to fit narrow screens. Another shortcoming when it comes to a mobile website is you cannot have both a desktop and a mobile site. You have to choose to build one or the other.
With regards to browsers, the IM Creator editor automatically optimizes your site for all browsers, including older versions.
IM Creator offers about 250 themed templates that are pre-designed, or you can start from scratch using a blank template. However, each month, IM Creator publishes about a dozen or so new templates based on customer feedback.
The themes are conveniently arranged in 18 categories. They are: popular, 5-minute site, one pager, business, services, talents, fashion, architecture, consultant, bio/freelancers, restaurant, wedding, mobile apps, event, law, real estate, hotel and mobile sites. You can also start from a blank template.
While there is an adequate selection of themes, some categories could use more template options. Although some of the designs are similar, you will find a good selection of different design layouts. Each theme has an Edit/Preview option, which is a nice time-saver because you can preview the full site to help in making your choice, or select it as your theme and begin building your site.
These themed templates are where IM Creator differs significantly from other site builders. The templates come with relevant content to the theme, so they’re nearly complete. With these “almost-done” websites, the only text that needs changing is your business name, services and contact information. Of course, you can customize it more to your liking, but you don’t have to if you are short on time.
When choosing a theme, be sure to do so wisely because if you want to change to a different template after building your site, you will have to enter your content all over again.
IM Creator is extremely scalable to meet the growing needs of your business. Unlimited pages, hosting and bandwidth are offered in the fee-based plan, and no action on your part is needed to switch your site from the free service to a paid plan.
However, if you want to upgrade to a different theme, your content does not automatically transfer to the new template. You essentially have to rebuild your site again.
According to IM Creator, its internal SEO system is extremely strong and sites built on its site builder are usually first in searches. But for sites where keyword competition is high, IM Creator offers an SEO friendly site builder tool for adding a title, description and keywords to your website to increase search engine visibility. However, this SEO tool is limited compared to other site builders. For example, you can only assign one title, one meta description and one set of keywords to your entire website, not to each individual page in your site, like other builders offer.
Optimizing your website for search engine results is done using the Settings button on the main menu. Select SEO to access the SEO dialog box. IM Creator limits you to 10 keywords related to your website’s theme and content, since Google’s automatic crawl ignores keywords over that amount.
Because it keeps its SEO simple and basic, IM Creator offers some helpful SEO tips and references in its blog, How-Tos and FAQ section within its Support section, accessed from the home page of the IM Creator website. This is geared to those who want to do more advanced SEO strategies.
This is one of those features you won’t find in a basic site builder like IM Creator. Adding a blog to a site built with IM Creator involves the integration of a social widget. It appears this widget is only available with its premium, fee-based plan, not the free plan. Those who upgrade to a fee-based plan can add a widget to embed a Tumblr blog. A widget to add a WordPress blog, or the capability to create and manage a blog within your website is not provided.
Since IM Creator is a basic builder, you cannot actually build an online store using it. Although IM Creator does not offer a themed template for an e-commerce store, you can add an online store to any IM Creator template by embedding the HTML code of the store. So even though you are unable to build a store in IM Creator, you can use a complete e-commerce solution, such as Shopify, to build your online store and then embed it to your IM Creator website.
For those not familiar with HTML code or where to find it, this could prove challenging. But IM Creator tried to make this process as simple as possible through the use of the Add an Element button on the main menu and selecting HTML. Another option is to link to your online store using the External Website option under Add an Element and selecting Set Link.
With IM Creator, there are no worries about the uptime and performance of your website. That’s because IM Creator is powered by Amazon and Google, the giants when it comes to powerful and reliable foundations. With that type of robust interface behind your website, you can expect a fast loading site, cutting-edge technology to enhance speed times and a high uptime rate.
IM Creator offers two plans: I-M, which is free, and Premium, which is $9.95 a month if paid in two payments for the year, $7.95 a month if paid in full for the year, $6.95 a month if paid in full for two years and $5.95 a month if paid in full for a three-year term.
Both plans include free web hosting and a domain name, but the free I-M plan limits web hosting to 50MB and your domain will be under i-m.co, not your own domain name, so your website address would be: i-m.co/username/yoursitename. These sites are typically difficult to find by search engines. In addition, a rather large IM Creator advertisement appears at all times at the bottom of your website.
With the Premium plan, you receive your own domain name, either a new one or one you already have, as well as unlimited hosting, bandwidth and storage, and a customized e-mail account. In addition, no IM Creator advertisements appear on your site.
Once you publish your website, a screen will appear with your plan options and domain name instructions.
Top 3 Pros and Cons
- The IM Creator designers regularly add new theme templates to its design gallery, typically every month, so there are plenty of theme choices.
- Templates are pre-populated with content suitable to your industry, so all you have to do is swap out images and text with your own and you’re ready to publish your website.
- It’s one of the few website builders that allow you to export your entire website’s content from IM Creator to another host.
- Creating sub-pages in your site’s menu is not very intuitive, requiring more steps in what should be just a simple process of dragging a page below another main page.
- The IM Creator editor is open-ended, which could be frustrating when trying to align elements, such as a logo, navigation menu, footers, etc., that you want to appear in the same spot on all pages of your website. You have to add these elements separately on each page. In addition, an open-ended editor means no snap to grid, making aligning objects a tedious job.
- No e-commerce. The only way to sell products or services on your site is to embed a widget that links to your online store on an external site.
IM Creator offers several avenues for help, including a visible and easily accessible Support tab on the home page of its website. Support options include e-mailing the IM Creator support team, a library of how-to topics, an FAQs section and a community forum of IM Creator users.
A particularly helpful resource is the IM Creator manual, which takes you through building a website. The chapter topics are in order of the steps you will take as you create your site.
Although the Support section offers comprehensive resources to find answers to your questions or resolve your problems, you may need to contact the support team directly via e-mail. There is a request support form to complete and you can attach files, such as a screenshot, to further describe your problem. But unfortunately, the average response time is 12 hours, something you don’t like to see if you’re in the middle of building your site and want a quick resolution to your issue. IM Creator does not offer telephone support or live chat.
Whom This Website Builder Is Ideal For?
If you’re looking to launch a website fast, IM Creator definitely fulfills that goal. It is the perfect solution for professionals or businesses who are looking for a web presence and do not have the resources to hire a web designer or programmer. It is also for those who want total control over building their own site themselves, but have limited time to do so. Anyone who wants a very basic, minimalistic website without a lot of tools and features also will be pleased with this website builder.
The IM Creator platform is particularly beneficial for creative professionals, such as photographers, fashion designers, interior designers, graphic designers, musicians, artists and others who work in related areas. Small businesses, restaurants, boutique hotels and self-employed professionals, such as lawyers, architects and freelancers, also will find IM Creator a good solution for their website needs.
IM Creator is also ideal for those looking to create a personal site, such as a portfolio, or to keep family and friends in the loop on an upcoming event, such as a wedding.
IM Creator ranks #1 for simplicity and that simplicity pays off when building your website, in its functionality in terms of fast load times and in ease of use among visitors to your site. All in all, if you’re looking for a website builder with all the right tools necessary to build a great website, then this is definitely the website builder for you.
Because IM Creator wants its site builder to be quick and easy for everyone to use, it is very simple to use, even for those with just basic computer skills. IM Creator should be applauded for keeping with its founding mission to create a web builder that is easy to use and requires only three quick steps to build a website.
The well-structured and pre-populated themes start users off with an almost done site that requires only a few updates to the content. The end result is a very professional looking website with just the basics that functions well. With IM Creator, you can create an online presence that makes it easy for visitors to navigate and lets your content be the shining star. It just goes to show that keeping it simple and basic is best!