Have you been thinking about designing a new website, but you’re worried that your technical skills are not up to spec? Would you rather avoid looking at any code whatsoever, instead working within an intuitive visual interface where you can drag-and-drop website elements, easily adjusting their parameters and specifics with just a few quick clicks of the mouse? And maybe you want to do all of this without spending a dime?
Related blog posts and resources:
You’re in luck. Mobirise is a free website builder software package that is “perfect for non-techies who are not familiar with the intricacies of web development.” And every website you build with Mobirise will already be mobile-friendly, easily adapting to almost any screen for an excellent user experience. And yes, it really is free.
The Offline Website Builder
There are many aspects that separate Mobirise from other similar website builders, but perhaps one of the most important is that it functions as an offline app. Simply download the installer package for Windows or Mac.
What you’ll find with a lot of other website builders is that they are browser-based, meaning that you need to have an active Internet connection. This also means you’re at the mercy of potentially limited server-side resources too. What’s more, many of these website builders are heavily integrated with specific paid services. If you want to use XYZ site builder, you need to buy a hosting package from XYZ, for example.
That’s not at all the case with Mobirise. It’s locally-installed software on your computer, running like any other local program. What this means is that you are much more in control of your creations. The offline app is perfect for creating small and medium websites, landing pages, business pages, online resumes, portfolios, and even online stores.
Once the software is installed, you simply login with Facebook or Google. Alternatively, you can create a new account with just an email and password. They don’t ask for any other information and you can get started right away.
Designing a Website
By default, you’ll be shown a sample page when you first launch Mobirise on your computer. This is a good way to play around with the features and options before designing your own custom website. The interface is minimalist and very visual.
Website design is completed with “blocks” that you can drag and drop into the web design. There is a button at the top for switching between desktop and mobile view, so you’ll know what your website looks like on the two sizes of device displays. For each block, if you click on the “gear” icon near the top right, you’ll be presented with a series of block options and settings.
For the intro block above, for example, you can choose which elements to display. There’s also the option to change the background to an image, a solid color or a video. In the case of the last one, you simply provide a link (like to a YouTube video) and you can even add an overlay to the video with your choice of opacity. This is very useful for ensuring your intro text remains clearly legible.
Block Choice and Customization
You can choose to create a new website from scratch or, more likely, you can start with a template or theme that you can then customize to suit your needs. All said, you can expect to find over 1500 website blocks, templates and themes.
To add a block, you click on the “plus” icon near the bottom right of the interface. This brings up the block menu. The blocks are organized into a number of categories, including headers, counters, images & videos, animated features, pricing tables, timelines & steps, forms, contacts and more. Simply drag a block onto the page to add it. The blocks are easily reordered and moved on your webpage by clicking on the up and down arrow (“drag block”) near the “gear” icon for that block.
Once you’ve added a block to your website design, you can click on any of the elements in that block to edit them accordingly. Text is straightforward enough. In this example where I added a group of products, clicking on an image lets me change that image. You can upload your own, browse a free online library (via Pixabay), or look at the site library for images you’re already using.
The image can then be linked too, including linking to a block on the homepage. That’s perfect for single-page designs, as might be the case for your online business site or portfolio page.
While you can choose from a huge variety of blocks, and the blocks can be heavily customized, I did encounter at least one limitation. Continuing with the example of the shop block, I can change the background color behind the cards, change the number of cards and so on. I can change the spacing above and below the block too.
However, the text description on each card cannot really be moved. You can see here that the left-align is right up to the edge of each card. I would’ve liked the ability to resize and/or move the text areas to address odd formatting and spacing issues like that.
You can view the whole site creation process and the many benefits of Mobirise through the video below.
Check Out the Demo Sites
A great way to see what is possible with Mobirise is to take a look at some of the live demo sites. If you scroll about three-quarters of the way down the main Mobirise webpage, you’ll find several live demos available.
The HTML eCommerce Website Template is a great example of using background images, a variety of blocks, and a professional-looking parallax effect on scroll. There’s even a great hover effect on the “meet our team” profile pictures for linking to social media. It looks really professional!
Is It Really Free?
The core Mobirise product is completely free to use, including a great number of blocks and features you can use to customize your website. However, once you start building your website, you’ll find you have the option to purchase a number of “extensions” and other upgrades.
These are all relatively affordable, typically around the $39 mark each, and they can unlock new themes, blocks and other functions that you may want to have on your website. The additional premium features and functions are not at all a requirement; they’re completely optional and since the app is offline, you can always build with the core framework.
You really have nothing to lose. If you’re looking to create a new website that’s mobile-friendly and great to look at, consider using Mobirise. It’s easier than you might think.
Related blog posts and resources: