CityMax Review: Overview
- One package gives you everything - Great Value!
- Best range of promotional tools of any builder.
- Award winning & established for over 11 years
- Difficult to add your own logo, but possible
- No built-in image re-sizing.
CityMax is the best in its class. It's the easiest to use and gives the best bang for buck. It has the widest set of features and promotional tools included in its all-in-one price, many of which are unique to this builder alone.
Price Range: $19.98/month (or $16.98/month when you buy a year)
Ease of Use
The Easiest Builder to Use
CityMax provides a single interface for all its tools that is clearly labelled and doesn't take too many clicks to use. No other builder does this better. This makes it so that once you've learned how their interface works, you'll find it easier to use other tools.
So far, it's the easiest website builder we've reviewed, though there are a couple of things that CityMax could do to make design customization easier.
User-Friendly Toolbar Gets You Where You Want to Go
CityMax's interface revolves around an icon-based toolbar across the top of the builder. It's well laid out and the buttons are labeled so you know exactly what to click on to do whatever you need.
Without looking at any documentation you know how to edit, view and add a page. When you click to add a page, all the page types are clearly displayed. What's great about this builder's interface is that the simplicity extends throughout every tool and application.
Microsoft Word Style Editor is a Pleasure to Use
CityMax's editor helps new users learn to edit their website quickly because it's styled like Microsoft Word. All the familiar tools are there with no guess work required to figure out its functions.
Editing the different page types is also easy. All the pages are form-based. You have only to fill in the blanks, hit save and the page is created for you. Be sure to click "Save" rather than clicking "View Page" though or you'll lose all your work.
Basic Design Changes Are Easy, but Hard to Add Logo
To change the design of your site, you only have to click on the Design button. There you'll find over 1500 pre-designed templates, 4 different layouts and with a few clicks you can edit the look of the border, header, index and body.
We did have a harder time adding our logo to our template though. There's no tool to do this quickly but you can upload your logo to a blank colored background or tile it across the header. There's a workaround if you have basic design skills and software, but it's not as easy to get your logo up this way and can be time-consuming.
Smooth E-Commerce Set-Up
CityMax has their own integrated shopping cart with lots of options that are easy to set up. Setting up your shopping cart will take some time, but CityMax does a great job of walking you through the process.
Adding products is a breeze. It's all form-based and has an easy image upload system. Unfortunately there's no way to upload many products at once. You have to do it one at a time. This can be time-consuming.
Setting up the rest of your shopping cart options is done in the "Tools" section. This can look intimidating because there are so many options to set up, but CityMax's documentation gets you through it step by step.
Support is Easy to Find and Understand
You'll never feel lost on CityMax because the Support button is always right at the top of the page. Most other builders seem to tuck a tiny support link off in a corner, in an attempt to discourage its use. And no matter which page type you're editing, there's always a link to the documentation for that page at the top.
CityMax's documentation is all clearly written and easy to follow, with plenty of screenshots. And if you still need help, you can submit a support question. Support responds quickly to all queries, usually in less than an hour, and helps you find the documentation you need to do what you want to do.
Easy MS Word Style Editor Does What it Needs to
CityMax's editor is easy to use and does everything a business owner needs to make a professional-looking website. Though it doesn't have a lot of flashy tools, nor does it have the best image upload and editing system, we still found that it was no trouble to get text and images on the page the way we wanted.
ActivEdit Mode Provides the Most Editing Tools and Layout Versatility
You have a choice of three different editing modes in the CityMax editor: Word-Style, ActivEdit, and Basic. ActivEdit is the most complete of the three.
The ActivEdit and Word-Style modes are very similar. They are both styled to work like MS Word, but ActiveEdit gives you more freedom and a few extra features, including tables, a spell-check and more colors and fonts to choose from. The Word-Style mode has all the standard text editing features (bold, italics, underline, bullets, and links.).
The biggest difference between the two is that ActivEdit lets you add an image anywhere you can add text. When using the image icon however, you can only add images you have uploaded yourself and not ones from the image library.
Adding images in the Word-Style mode is simple but less flexible. Where your image is placed on the page depends on the page layout option you choose. You can't add an image anywhere on the page in this edit mode.
The third edit mode is Basic Editor. This editor will work in any browser but doesn't have any special formatting features. It's designed for people who want to edit using HTML programming. You can have control over the code rather than just entering content.
The Need for Three Edit Modes
At first we weren't sure why they bother having the Word-style editor at all since ActivEdit has all the same features and more. After a little investigation, we found out that some users with older computers may have some problems using ActivEdit. CityMax's customer support recommends using the Word-Style editor in this case.
We think that CityMax would be better off only having two editing modes, one comprehensive word-style editor and one for HTML. That being said, it is easy enough to switch between the three existing edit modes.
Image Upload is Easy but Takes a Few Steps
When you upload images in CityMax, they're not put directly on the page. You have to first upload your image onto their server, after which you can insert the image onto the page. It takes a few steps, but it's easy to do. Plus you can also upload up to 5 images at once.
Don't Forget to Save
If you want to view your page after you have edited it you must click "Save" or you'll lose all your work. Clicking "Save" will publish your page and take you to the view mode with all your changes.
Remember that with this system, you can't save without publishing. This means you might want to type up your text in Notepad if you're not sure you'll finish writing it in one go. The alternative is that you'll have to publish unfinished pages, which doesn't look professional.
Design Options That Handle The Usual Business Needs
CityMax provides for all the needs of a standard business owner. All the design considerations keep the most important thing in mind: clean website layouts that are easy to navigate and don't confuse the eye. There are no flash animation creators or sound libraries, but these are considered by most to be unnecessary and annoying.
Our only wishes would be for an easy way to integrate a logo into the template and more ways to easily customize templates to suit your business.
Wide Range of Templates that Are Easy on the Eye
There are over 1500 templates to choose from with 38 categories so you're sure to find one that suits your needs. They all look good and are easy to navigate. A few of the designs are a little outdated and boxy looking but these are exceptions.
Template Customization Covers the Basics
You can customize your chosen template to some degree to suit your business. You can change the basic layout of your site like where the buttons and header are located, the background image & color, page width & alignment, and the border & margin size.
There are also options for editing the index (i.e. menu). You can customize the button layout by changing the button alignment, spacing, border, width and font. You can add a background image to the index. All the colors of the index can be changed too (background, border, buttons, active button, and text). The body of your website can also be customized in much the same way.
There is, however, no way to change all the pictures and graphics of the template to suit your business. CityMax does allow you to edit the header though. You can add an image to the right of the template header or you can upload your own header or you can tile (repeat) an image across the header.
You can't switch your own images into a template or move around the various design elements like you can in some WYSIWYG ("what-you-see-is-what-you-get") editors. For that level of customization, they provide a design program.
Professional Design at a Reasonable Price
If you would prefer to have someone else design your site, for a very reasonable $249 you can hire CityMax's design team. They'll create a custom 5-page website that incorporates your own photos, company logo and colors. We don't usually like having to pay extra, but it's a good deal for high quality work and it saves time and effort. Note that this is the cheapest of the builder design programs available.
Adding a Logo Should Be Easier
There is no simple tool that lets you add a logo or text to the templates. This is something many businesses might want if they decide to use a template rather than hiring the design team. The only option is to add your logo to a colored background. There's a workaround mentioned in the documentation, but you'll need to use a design program like Photoshop. With all the other design options in the builder this seems like an oversight.
A Big Image Library, but They're All the Same Size
If you want to use photos to liven up your site, there are lots to choose from if you don't have your own. The image library is made up of 33 categories with over 1700 images. They're all high quality images, but they all come in the same size. If you want to change the size, you'll have to use a design program outside the builder.
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