SEO Startup website building software - Review SEO Startup website building software - Review SEO Startup website building software - ReviewPros: Built-in search engine optimisation; very easy to use; content managed locally; professionally designed templates; optional E-Shop plug-in

Cons: Simple single-column layout; basic static pages only

Bottomline: A very basic content management system that makes it easy to get your website up and noticed, but it may be too basic for some

Price: From £235 for a 10-page site


SEO Startup from Cardiff-based is designed to help small businesses create and manage their own websites and, just as crucially, help get it noticed by search engines.

To this end it comprises a basic Windows-based content management system and a set of tools to design, build and upload that content to a host server. The search engine optimisations are generated and applied automatically and you can also choose from a library of preconfigured templates to give your site a professional look and feel.

To get started you need to download the SEO Startup application and install it on a Windows PC. This is used to create and manage the site content locally using a graphical page editor, then generate the pages required and upload them to your live website using FTP. The site itself can be hosted by any provider or by itself, which charges £50 a year for the service.

We found SEO Startup delightfully easy to use, with a useful set of video tutorials to point us in the right direction. Having watched these it took just a few minutes to download and apply a template, create the pages we wanted and type in our content, with a simple graphical editor to, for example, change font type and size, align text, create simple tables, insert images and so on.

Anyone familiar with a word processor will be right at home with the SEO editor, and there’s no need to worry about the technicalities of where files will be stored and how pages are linked. All that’s required is to click a button to generate the final web pages from the content you’ve built and upload them to your live site.

Local and live previews are also available, and the clear advantage of this kind of approach is that you don’t need very much in the way of technical knowledge to build or manage a good-looking website. The search engine optimisation is also built in, again requiring you only to type in a few keywords to get your site noticed. However, there a number of limitations to this kind of easy-to-use approach.

To begin with the templates aren’t categorised by business type or described in detail, making choosing the right one a fairly tedious process. They’re also simple single-column affairs – fine for a lot of small start-ups, but not suitable for all.

What you can create is limited to basic static pages – there are no facilities in this release to, for example, add an email contact button, create photo galleries, manage a blog and so on. It is possible to edit the code created by the product yourself, but if you can do that then SEO Startup clearly isn’t the right software for you.

On the plus side, you can add extra functionality using plug-ins. For example, the company has just released an E-Shop module (£200 ex Vat), which lets you build and manage a basic online store. Other plug-ins and extra features are planned for the future and it’s possible to upgrade to the more functional SEO Sitebuilder product.

So let’s be clear. What you get with SEO Startup is a very easy-to-use tool that lets you build a professional web presence quickly and maintain the content yourself. Other products offer to do the same, but few also provide search engine optimisation to help drive visitors to your site – a benefit that is well worth having.