IM-Creator free website builder maintains you can create a website in three simple steps, so I decided to put that claim to the test. One instantly noticeable feature about IM-Creator that differs from most other free website builders is you can begin designing a website without having to create an account first. That’s a nice option to have for trying out the site before making a decision. However, if you want to save your work, publish your site, or upgrade from the free plan to a premium one, a pop-up message will tell you to register as a member by entering your email address and creating a user name and password. You can also register by using the Loginlink on the home page.
So back to those three steps. Step 1 is clicking on the Start Now button. This brings you to the design template page, where you have the choice of choosing a pre-designed IM-Creator template, or starting from scratch with a blank template. If you pick the blank template option, you’ll find the availability of a live design assistant, accessible in a pop-up screen, as well as a conveniently placed support button, both of which are helpful and reassuring. The design template page is also where you can access websites you are already working on to make edits, enhance their design, or publish them.
If you prefer some assistance before delving right in, IM-Creator offers a 60-second video tour, clickable from the home page, that provides a quick and simple (yes, IM-Creator keeps its video tutorial simple, too) overview on using IM-Creator to design a website.
The design templates offered by IM-Creator are adequte, but not as plentiful as other free website builders. IM-Creator does a nice job categorizing the templates by both business categories, such as architect, musician, hotel, restaurant, real estate, etc., and purpose, such as bio/resume and Facebook pages. However, IM-Creator falls short in covering all business industries and offering a wider selection of design templates in each category.
Once you select a design template, you’re on to Step 2 – customizing your website. The Customize Now button changes your design template from demo mode (where you can decide whether you like its look and functionality) to edit mode. IM-Creator is not exaggerating when it says it’s HTML editor is simple to use. To replace or revise any element on the design template, you simply select it by clicking on it and make your changes using the tools on the task bar. If you want to add more pages, certain elements, like a video, slideshow or widget, or change the settings, like color or background or add SEO elements like title, description and keywords, the toolbar is easily accessible at the top of the design template. If you need help along the way at any time, there’s an online design assistant available or you can click on the support tab.
In fact, the support resources provided by IM-Creator are extensive. I particularly like the option of downloading the IM-Creator manual in PDF format. Other support tools are1-2-3 HowTo’s that cover a broad range of topics from editing to SEO; a comprehensive FAQ’s section; a Forum where you can connect with other IM-Creator members to share ideas or get help; and Email support. Not offered is a live chat option, which is always welcomed, but with a live design assistant available in the customize mode, I can understand IM-Creator skipping this on the support page.
Once published, your I-M free site is live on the IM-Creator domain, which means it will have a web address in this format: i-m.co/myusername/mysitename. The free plan includes unlimited bandwidth, storage and templates, as well as free hosting. But if you prefer a web address without the IM Creator subdomain, want to connect your IM-Creator website to an existing domain, or want email accounts linked to your site, you’ll need to upgrade to a subscription plan.
IM-Creator offers two monthly subscription options. The Domain plan is $9.95 a month (or $7.95 a month if paid in full for the year) and includes your own domain, unlimited bandwidth, storage and templates, free hosting and 10 email accounts. The Pro plan is customized to your needs, so you need to contact IM-Creator for pricing. The plan, which is designed for professional web designers and resellers, includes multiple new and existing domains, unlimited bandwidth, storage and templates, free hosting and unlimited email accounts. Both plans come with a 14-day money-back guarantee time period.
Compared to other website builders, the IM-Creator price plans are rather good, considering the features and services included. In addition, if you want your own domain address but don’t have one as yet, you can purchase a domain name through IM-Creator for only an additional $10 per year. This fee goes directly to the domain registrar with no extra transfer fees charged by IM-Creator.
Platform – HTML and HTML5
Free Plan Includes – Use of IM-Creator design templates and website builder platform, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage and IM-Creator sub-domain web address
Premium Plan Prices – Domain plan, $9.95 per month or $95.40 a year paid in full (equates to $7.95 a month); Pro plan, call for customized price
Domain Registration Cost – $10 per year for new domain name
Number of Templates – Over 50
Bandwidth – Unlimited with free and premium plans
Storage – Unlimited with free and premium plans
Shopping Cart – Can be added to premium plans for an additional fee
Support Options – Downloadable PDF manual, video tour, live design assistant, step-by-step how to tutorials, FAQs, with search function, community and support team forum, email support with average response time under 12 hours
Free Trial – 14-day money back guarantee
If you’re looking for super easy, IM-Creator is for you. In fact, you’ll find the word simple used throughout the IM-Creator site to describe its website building environment. And I found IM-Creator delivers on that promise, with a simple 3-step web building process, a simple HTML drag and drop editor, and simple navigation of its tool and task bars.
IM-Creator also gets kudos for making it easy to find all the information you need by clicking on the Simple, Elegant, Effective and Affordable sections displayed on the home page. And the ability to search the FAQs by entering a question or keywords is a big plus in my book.
While IM-Creator doesn’t offer anything different from other website builders, it does excel in presenting a super user-friendly platform for easily designing a website. So in that manner, IM-Creator stays true to its business philosophy. And let’s be clear, just because IM-Creator keeps it simple, it doesn’t mean the company skimps on using advanced technology features. For example, it was one of the first free website builders to begin offering the latest HTML5 features, and its entire platform and tools are truly designed with technology features that address the needs of those with no or minimal website design experience.
Granted, IM-Creator has its low points, the biggest being too few design template options – about 50 compared to the hundreds offered by other website builders. However, IM-Creator says it is adding new design templates daily. But in exchange for a small variety of design templates, you are receiving high-end, creatively designed templates. IM-Creator collaborates with professional website designers and it shows in the chic and innovative design templates it offers.
What IM-Creator lacks, I feel it makes up for big time in the value it offers. For instance, very few website builders offer unlimited bandwidth and storage like IM-Creator does with its free website option. With all things considered, IM-Creator is probably the best value you’re going to find in a free website builder.