Yola is a web hosting company that also offers website building functionality. The company’s headquarters are in San Francisco, CA. Their goal is to ensure anybody, regardless of their graphic design and programming skills, is able to create a functional, beautiful, professional looking website. They achieve this through their simple drag and drop interface that enables people to add widgets to their site without having any HTML understanding. They also offer blog software and ecommerce functionality, as well as being a domain registrar. Yola is one of the best known website building and web hosting companies out there.
The company was first founded as SynthaSite in March 2007 by Vinny Lingham. In November of that same year, a $5 million financing round was secured through Columbus Venture Capital. This enabled them to launch their product’s beta version.
SynthaSite received $20 million in Series B funding in February 2009, which was provided by the Reinet fund. On March 26, 2009, the company was renamed Yola. According to Lingham, this was because the name was more befitting of where he saw his company will be going into the future. He felt the previous name enabled them to achieve a lot, but that it had now become obsolete. Reinet wanted to create something that was suitable for a global audience, which meant a name had to be created that was easy to remember and easy to pronounce regardless of someone’s native language, while at the same time expressing the excitement and creativity that their users bring with everything that they create.
The Yola management team stated that, when the SynthaSite users are included, they have over one million users by January 2009. This included groups, individuals, and small businesses.
The online store was introduced by Yola in 2012, offering people full functionality, including a range of different payment gateways and shopping cart functionality. The ecommerce facility came at a premium of $10 per month for those who had signed up for a hosting package, making it one of the cheapest around. The ecommerce functionality is maintained and developed fully by Ecwid. Adding a store widget is very easy to do as it is done by simply dragging and dropping it onto their site. Yola users were very pleased with this new addition, but some complained about the fact that the ecommerce functionality is a third party development, which is a shame when it is a key feature for many users.
In October 2013, more than nine million people used Yola for their website.
Yola users can sign up to five different service levels:
- Free, which includes a single site with free pages and a 1GB download capacity. The included web builder tools are basic.
- Bronze, which costs $49.95 per year or $5,95 per month, and includes a privately registered domain name, 2GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited storage.
- Silver, which costsg $99.95 per year, or $12.95 per month. This comes with a range of extra features, including 5GB of storage, Facebook publishing and mobile publishing tools, and unlimited premium styles. The Yola brand is also removed from the site, and people receive more web building tools and ad credits for Facebook and Google.
- Gold, which costs $199.95 per year or $24.95 per month, which has even more features, including traffic and keyword usage reporting, full site search optimization, and automatic SEO (search engine optimization) monitoring.
- Premier, which is charged at a one time $499.95 fee and comes with a professional five page website, a one to one consultation with a Yola designer, and all the Yola Silver benefits. After the Premier fee has been paid, it renews as a Yola Silver package.
Yola users can also buy domain names for .com, .org, .biz, and .net, as well as a range of country codes like .co.uk, .com.br, .ca, and more. Those who purchase an annual package receive their domain for free. Those who do not sign up for these packages have to pay $11.95 per year. All annual packages can also include private WHOIS registration for a further $9.95 per year. Uniquely, Yola only removes its own branding at the Silver package, whereas most other website builders and web hosts remove their branding on any paid for package.
Last but not least, Yola offers Yola Mail, which is a professional email services. This costs $9.96 per year and gives users a complete mailbox that fits with their personal domain. It also offers unlimited aliases, all of which are managed from the same inbox.
Yola offers Sitebuilder, which has received numerous awards. It is flexible, fast, and completely free. This means creating a beautiful website that looks completely professional, even without any third party advertisements, is very easy to do. They also offer a number of specific features, including:
- It is very fast, enabling people to build a website free from advertisements in as little as half an hour. The Site Creation Wizard allows even complete novices to build something beautiful very quickly.
- It is very easy to use, thanks to the drag and drop functionality. For those who still find that their skills are insufficient, or for those who do not have time, Yola can also build a website for them. The possibilities are truly endless, and no prior experience is required.
- It is free, enabling people to try the program for as long as they want. If they feel it is right for them, they can choose to stay on the free package, or they can upgrade so that they receive better features, including a custom domain name, enabling them to truly stand out from the crowd.
- It is flexible, offering hundreds of options for styles, which can all be customized by adding forms, maps, videos, photographs, and more.
- There are no third party ads, even on the free version. Yola wants to set itself apart by attracting visitors, rather than companies, which means they only have their own banner, which can also be removed on the premium packages.
- Pages can be published on the internet, Facebook, and on mobile.
- They offer a range of important business tools, including the online store, reliable hosting, social networking integration, and marketing tools.
- They offer excellent support.