What is Create.net?
Create.net is a fully hosted, UK based website builder that also offers the ability to add an online store to your website.
With a strong focus on small to medium sized businesses, Create.net has positioned itself as a UK based alternative to popular options such as Squarespace and Wix but is it any good?
Well in this review, we look to answer that question by taking an in-depth look at the Create.net platform.
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I try and keep my reviews as up to date as possible but in 2020, Create.net has updated their pricing and plans three times, so if the information is incorrect, I do apologise!
Create.net offer three main plans, with the Personal plan being designed just for building websites, and the two larger plans including ecommerce features.
Create.net offer three standard packages, but only two of these include any ecommerce tools as the basic (personal) package is just a website builder, which is great for simple business websites.
But if you do want to use Create.net for an online store you will need to use one of the two other packages.
The Professional package includes an allocation of up to 250 products and 10gb storage but if you want access to all of the ecommerce tools that create offer, then you will need to go for the Business Package.
You can also save yourself some money with Create.net by paying for the packages annually and it results in a 15% saving over paying monthly.
If you need more than the Business Package, then Create.net offer a tailored package, that starts from £79.99/m and this is a custom built package based on your specific requirements.
If you are interested in seeing how the Create.net pricing compares to other UK platforms, check out my How Much Does a UK Ecommerce Website Cost post.
To let you properly try out the platform, the create.net team give you a full 14 day free trial. On the free trial, you cannot take or process any orders but you can do pretty much everything else. If you want to start your free trial with Create.net, just click the button below.
Create.net Free 14 Day Trial
No Credit Card Needed
Before I get into my review, I thought I’d see what their customers think of the platform. I have searched Trustpilot, FaceBook and Google to find how they are rated:
4.9 out of 5
Now as EcommerceGold is mainly focused on ecommerce (surprisingly!), I am going to be focusing on the package that offers the best in terms of ecommerce related features, which is the Business package. If you are interested in any of the other packages, all of their features can be found on the create.net website.
- Personalisation Options – allows your customers to add a personal touch to your products
- Ebay Listing Tool – automatically list you products on your Ebay store
- Related Products – show your visitors other related products you have for sale
- Customers Also Bought – show your visitors what products other people have bought along with the one they are buying
- Product Ratings – display ratings and review that previous customers have left on your products
- Bulk Product Management – allows you to manage your inventory in bulk and saves you time
- Import Ebay and Amazon Orders – manage all of your orders from the Create dashboard
Marketing and SEO
- Blog – add more content to your site in the form of blog posts, great for SEO and generating organic traffic
- Social Share Widgets – let your visitors and customers share their favourite products to their social media accounts
- Discount Codes – create discount codes for special offers and promotions
- Events calendar – show any events you are holding or places you may be exhibiting or attending
- Custom Meta Data – create custom meta information such as title, description and keywords
- Sitemaps – auto generated sitemaps that are submitted to all the major search engines
- Abandoned Cart Tools – send out auto emails to customers who have abandoned their cart to encourage them to complete the sale
- Google Shopping – automatically upload your products to Google shopping
Reporting and Analytics
- Google Analytics Integration – show your analytics information directly in your Create dashboard
- Sale Turnover Reports
- Gross Profit Report
- Sales by Payment Gateways Report
- Abandoned Cart Report
- Sales by Source
- Top Selling Products
The selection of payment gateways isn’t huge but it does include all the main players:
- Create Payments (Credit and Debit Cards)
- Barclaycard EPDQ
The only gateway that would be a good addition is Klarna.
Do Create.net charge transaction fees?
Nope, they don’t charge any additional fees for using their platform. The only transaction fee you pay is your payment gateway fees.
Create.net Theme Selection & Customisation
Create.net offers a really good selection of over 40 different, free to use themes and they all have their own unique style, meaning that the theme selection covers a lot of different niches.
If you want to have a custom built theme, you can contact Create directly and they will quote you on how much it will cost. Alternatively, they do have what they call the Web Designer’s Kit. This allows developers or people who have knowledge of HTML and CSS to create their own template.
Theme customisation is very good in Create as they offer a complete drag and drop builder and it allows you to build custom pages such as your home or about page.
There are many different sections that you can add and each one offers a selection of layout and customisation options, meaning that there are many many different design options to choose from. Alongside the layout options, there are many different options to theme colours and font styles and sizes.
But there are a couple of things that could be improved with the theme customisation:
- Blog posts – blog posts are limited to a basic text editor, which is a shame as being able to use the customizer for blog posts would make them a lot better.
- Shop pages – there are very few options for the shop pages in terms of customisation and no option for a sidebar, which can make product filtering a lot easier.
- Navigation Menu – while not bad, it is limited to the shop options you can add and being able to add categories and sub-categories would make site navigation a lot easier for customers.
Basically, extending the very good page builder that Create has to every page on the site would make theme customisation very good and allow you to build much better and more engaging pages for your visitors.
Create have definitely put supporting their customers as a priority and every customer gets their own account manager, who can be contacted directly from the dashboard.
You also get your own dedicated account manager, this is a really good feature as having the same point of contact every time you need to speak to them makes life much easier.
On top of this, they also have really good documentation and many also include videos that help explain things, sometimes this is better than reading through a document.
Create Web Hosting and Performance
There isn’t much information about the hosting environment that Create.net offer, which is a little bit disappointing but that didn’t stop us from putting them to the test and for this we:
- Took 5 customer example sites
- Ran them through Uptrends speed tool using their London server
- Ran 1 test a day on each site for 3 days
By using Uptrends, we are not only able to test the load time on both mobile and desktop devices but also check out the Google PageSpeed scores and you can see the results below:
Overall, Create.net performed very well in all tests and outperformed all of their rivals in terms of PageSpeed scores and the team at Create are always looking at ways of improving their platforms performance.
To see how Create.net performed against it’s rivals in terms of speed and performance, check out my Fastest Ecommerce Platforms post.
How Easy is Create.net to Use?
Now that we know what Create.net offers, lets take a look at what the platform is like to use and for this, we will be looking at three main areas:
- Getting started with Create.net
- Inventory Management
- Order Management
Getting started with Create.net is very easy to do, simply enter your email address and you will then be taken to a page where you are asked for some basic information such as your name and shop name. You will also need to create a username and password.
On the first login to your dashboard, you will be greeted with a pop-up that has a video embedded in it. I would definitely recommend watching this video as it gives you a really good introduction to the platform, I like this touch.
Clicking off the pop-up brings you to the set up guide and every step includes a video showing you how to do it. I think this is a great addition as it takes away a lot of the guesswork.
The dashboard is very simple in terms of sections and this does make it easy to get around and you will know where most things are pretty quickly. I definitely think going to with the simplistic works well on this platform.
They have opted for a top navigation bar and this works really well with their system as your options for customising pages etc appear as a sidebar.
Inventory management is very important and we are going to look at three main areas:
- Adding a New Product
- Organising your Inventory
- Managing your Inventory
Adding a new product in Create is simple to do and the add new page is well laid out and makes use of tabs for different sections but there is a small and rather strange quirk and that is adding images to your products.
Because you don’t add product images on the add new page, instead, you create the product and then go back into the product overview screen and click on the photograph icon, which then allows you to add product images.
It would be nice to see this integrated with the add new and edit product pages.
Organising your products is very easy to do with Create as they have gone for the tried and tested category structure, which also allows for the creation of sub-categories and this makes it very easy to create a good hierarchy for your products. The only negative is that you can’t add these categories and sub-categories to the main navigation menu.
To effectively manage your inventory in Create, you need to activate the advanced view, which is a simple toggle switch in the shop section and this will give you access to the bulk editor, which allows for quick updates to:
- Product title
- SKU code
If you want to make any other changes to your product listings, you will need to go into the edit product page.
Order management is Create is very good and offers some good bulk tools including:
- Being able to update order statuses
- Print dispatch notes (similar to invoices)
- Export order information
You can also filter out orders to make it easier to find certain orders and the overview page gives you some good information including when the order was placed, the customer name, number or items and payment method.
There is also the option to print off dispatch notes individually and you can also view the full order information by clicking on the order id or the eye symbol, there is also an edit option when looking at the full order information, which can be helpful if you need to update or change an order.
Is Create.net a Good Option For UK Businesses?
Yes, Create.net is a good ecommerce platform for small UK based businesses as it offers an easy to use interface along with a good selection of features and backed up by UK based support.
The theme customisation options are very good and it is easy to build custom pages but it would be nice to see these customisation options expanded to the blog posts and shop pages as they do feel a bit basic in comparison to the main customizer.
But for anyone new to building ecommerce websites or wants a simple and easy to use website builder for their online store, then Create.net is definitely worth checking out.
The Not so Good:
Create.net Free 14 Day Trial
No Credit Card Needed