Detailed Review of IONOS Website Builder 2021

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Written by Lesley Haught
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Detailed review of IONOS website builder

It’s really easy to create a great website using one of the best website builders -1&1 Ionos. You don’t have to know anything about basic HTML or CSS, let alone complex programming.

But a caveat first.

If you want a fully customizable site, then the Ionos website builder is not for you. You would be better off with a WordPress site and hosting it on Ionos servers.

However, for a small business owner or a personalized blog and portfolio, nothing can be better.

Follow these steps:

1. Sign Up

Head over to their website at www.ionos.com and sign up. You have to provide an email address and password to create the account.

You can choose from a variety of plans that are priced from $12 to $420 annually. All of them provide free domain names and SSL certificates.

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Sign In

2. Payment

At this stage, you would be asked to select a domain name. If you already own one or if you want to make the choice later, skip this step. It’s easy enough to add later on.

Checkout with PayPal or credit card (Master Card, Visa, American Express, and Discover).

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Payment

3. Create Site

After payment, log in using your customer ID (or email address). 1&1 Ionos home page offers you several options for adding an email address, domain name, etc.

You would have to select a template. Choose any. You can change it later without any trouble.

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Create Site

4. Click on Websites and Stores

It would take up to a minute to load the page if your internet connection is slow.

You can give your project a name (such as My First Online Store). If you wish, proceed without a project name.

Click on the blue Open MyWebsite Now button.

The editor is now active.

How to Use the 1&1 Ionos Editor

On the left pane, under the Ionos logo, you would find several icons.

Content–This shows the site in its entirety.

Design–Here you can alter the appearance of the site.

Pages–For adding, deleting pages, and inserting SEO tags.

Store–Configure the web store.

Gear Icon–Used for Settings.

Assistant–Read the tutorial or get help.

We will start with the last one first.

It is easily accessed and divided into subtopics that teach you how to add new sections, crop images, manage pages, and publish the site.

In the middle pane, you select your action, such as changing the font or adding a page and description.

Whatever actions you perform in the middle pane would show up in the editing pane that occupies most of the page.

Head over to Content and quickly scroll up and down in the middle pane.

Notice that on the very top there are Undo and Redo buttons. They work the same as on any other program (e.g. MS Word and Paint).

If you need more detailed help than this article, you could always scan through the tutorial.

There is nothing to be worried about. It’s not that any change you make is instantly published. Take a deep breath and create the website you have always wanted.

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How to Use the 1&1 Ionos Editor

On the top right, there are Preview and Publish buttons.

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How to Use the 1&1 Ionos Editor

Nothing goes live (available to the public) unless you click Publish.

Now click on Design.

The first task is to choose a template that is suitable.

Click on Choose Another Template.

A warning message would pop up. Ignore and click Proceed.

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How to Use the 1&1 Ionos Editor

The new page would show you fifteen templates (three at a time). Click on one and you can scrutinize it closely on the next page.

There are templates for CV, Photography, Wedding, Business, and Restaurant.

We can preview each template in phone, tablet, and desktop versions.

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How to Use the 1&1 Ionos Editor

Tip for newbie web builders out there. The template has embedded into it a text “lorem ipsum dolor sit amet”.

This is standard dummy text in the world of website creation. Wherever you find it, you can replace it with a text of your own.

Though 1&1 Ionos does not offer you a lot of choices when it comes to templates.

Sine Ionos is a small business website builder it has a lot of business templates. However, because a template is marked as Business, it does not mean you cannot use it for another purpose.

Spend some time selecting the template. Once you have made alterations to it, there is no way to change unless you want to start from scratch.

Next you have to upload a Favicon.

Puzzled?

Have you noted that when a webpage loads on the browser, you can identify the tab by a familiar logo? It is an icon associated with a website. The most well-known ones are Wikipedia’s W and Google’s G.

The Favicon has to be 512×512 pixels and an image file (usually jpg or png). You could easily create one in Paint (Windows) or Paintbrush (macOS). The logo of your business can serve as the Favicon.

Go to Settings and upload a Favicon. You can change it later if you need.

Switch back to Content and it would be visible as the site logo.

The top of the Content tab allows you to modify the Header.

You can change the Elements (do you allow Product Search from Home Page or not), the design (color and brightness), and Layout (do you want the logo in the middle of the page or the left?).

The region below the Header is the body of the webpage (known as Section).

You can alter the background image, add H1, add or remove social media share buttons of the Home Page.

Since a website has several pages–Home, About Us, Contact, Shop, Legal Notice–you can change the header and body of each as you find appropriate from the Content icon.

When you alter the header and body, at some point you would insert text of your own.

1&1 Ionos allows you to make changes to text from Header and Sections as well as from Design.

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How to Use the 1&1 Ionos Editor

What is the difference? The former is for local changes (to that part alone) and the latter for global changes that modify the entire website.

So if you want the entire site to be in Alegreya but would like the specific text to be in Arial, choose Alegreya from Design and change it to Arial where you wish.

In the same way, you can change the color, adjust saturation and brightness from both Design and Content > Individual Elements.

How to Include a Blog?

For hosting a blog, there is no easy way.

Click Pages and Add Page.

Name the new page Blogs.

Hover the mouse at the bottom right and Edit Content.

You would be able to add a Section.

In Section Type, choose Text (you could also choose Gallery, Article, Contact, Testimonial as per your needs).

Return to Content, head to Blog using the website navigation, and edit the text. You can alter the H2 and H3 but there is no way to add an H1.

It is quite cumbersome and hopefully, some templates in the future would have a built-in Blog option.

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How to Include a Blog?

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How to Include a Blog?

How to Configure the Store?

Before you alter the Store note that any modifications in this section are instantly updated (without clicking Publish).

You will be greeted by a Dashboard that offers you an overview.

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How to Configure the Store?

Scroll to Add Products.

You can either add them one by one or just use a CSV file to import Name, SKU, Description, Image URL, Price, and other details.

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How to Configure the Store?

After you have added them, you can Enable or Disable any. The disabled ones won’t show up at the customer end.

Go to the Product Page and check if the import has been successful, and every detail shows up.

You can access the Catalog through the middle pane.

1&1 Ionos makes digital marketing exceptionally easy. Click Marketing and use Google and Facebook to reach out to millions of customers.

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How to Configure the Store?

For store tracking, 1&1 Ionos includes two apps: Kilken and MonkeyData that provide unique insights about your business and customers.

You can review orders, sales, and inventory at the click of a mouse and be able to make data-based decisions.

Best of all, these apps are entirely free.

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How to Configure the Store?

Payment Gateways

You can enable COD from the Payments icon.

Otherwise, add payment gateways such as Stripe and Square. Both are integrated solutions and you need to enable their service and provide your banking details.

Ionos has also provided PayPal as an option.

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Payment Gateways

Shipping

By default, 1&1 Ionos includes FedEx and UPS.

While these take care of international deliveries (unless you are in the USA), local delivery rates have to be configured manually.

App Store

Won’t it be nice if your online store had 24×7 chat?

Add Tidio from the app store to enable automated messaging.

There are several more apps that help you maximize the potential of your business.

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App Store

Tips and Tricks

Ensure that you have a privacy policy.

To set it up, visit Settings > Privacy.

It hosts the standard banner displayed to visitors. If in your jurisdiction you require additional warnings, then modify the text.

From Settings, you can also add Custom Header Code. Remember that such code might change the default view of the template. Check carefully before publishing.

When you have completed the changes, click Preview. It would open the site in a new window. Make further changes as needed and last of all, Publish.

If you don’t publish, the site would remain as a work in progress when you sign out. It might take several weeks to fully configure a site.

Final Takeaway

1&1 Ionos is a reliable website builder. By no means is it as capable as WordPress but it is not meant to fit that role either.

All things considered, there are not many website builders that allow you to set up a simple site with multiple product pages inside a day.

1&1 Ionos is capable and robust; the backend resides on a reputed networking platform, is highly affordable and provides complete ease of use.

That is quite a package, in our opinion.

author

About Lesley Haught

As a professional web designer, I developed my first website in 2005. Since then I have created hundreds of web designs and dozens of ready-made websites. At the same time, I also write guides and articles about website development. At WebBuildersGuide, I write on website building software and compare their capabilities. In doing this, I try to be as objective and impartial as possible.

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