Moon fruit is a popular website builder service that has options a bit more basic than the competition, with the company only offering a small number of responsive templates. However, these can be customized by changing individual details or by dragging and dropping entire blocks of content. Your pages can include image galleries, forms, maps, social feeds, embedded videos, and more.
Moon fruit Basic plan gives you a single site with 500MB of storage, unlimited pages, but no specific bandwidth limit. Even though it costs £ 6.38 ($ 9.59) per month, it still includes the Moonfruit brand.
Moon fruit Professional regime luckily loses the ads. It supports up to five sites, a maximum of 10GB of storage, and gives you a free domain voucher. At the time of writing, the Professional plan appears to be good value for money at £ 5.39 ($ 6.99) per month, but this is a “limited offer”. Normally that’s an average of £ 10.79 ($ 13.99). However, it should be noted that this “limited offer” has been available for nearly three years to our knowledge.
As of January 2018, two more plans, Ecommerce Lite and Ecommerce Pro, were listed as “coming soon.” Neither has been present since at least January 2020.
Moonfruit offers a 14-day free trial, and even if you sign up after that, the company says they’ll give you a refund if you cancel within 14 days. It’s not automatic – you have to ask the support team through live chat – and if you’ve registered a domain through the plan, that cost will be deducted. But overall, Moonfruit’s policy is like any other, and you should have no trouble getting a refund, if you need to.
Creating your Moonfruit account is simple and works like most other services: enter your email, username and password, or sign up directly using your Facebook or Google accounts. Follow up by choosing your favorite Moonfruit subdomain (yourname.moonfruit.com) and once you’ve verified your email address you’re taken straight to the publisher, which almost looks like a blank page.
There is a section for the header, one for the footer, and a middle section to design your page. But where are all the items you need to start building? If you are hoping for an instant site that you can edit and use right away, chances are you will be disappointed.
There is a sidebar on the left that reveals options to add more pages to your site, insert new sections into an existing page, and an upload feature to include files on your site.
In the Settings section, you can add a favicon (the little icon that represents your site in a browser tab) and images that would appear on Facebook when your site is shared there. There are also built-in options to connect your site to Google Analytics and the Google Search Console, potentially giving you a lot more information about your website and its visibility on Google.
The closest models we could find were in the “Sections” of the sidebar. From there, you are presented with a long list of thumbnails. Being tiny, they’re not that easy to see and won’t even zoom in when you click on any of them to give you a better idea of what you choose.
There are eye-catching Hero sections (an important part of highlighting a key feature of the site), page bodies in various styles, navigation tools, and layout sections that organize your content in different column formats.
Drag the one you like into the main section of your blank site. It is then ready to be personalized.
Some website builders immediately impress you with their flashy visuals and depth of functionality. Moonfruit, well – not so much. We’ve explored the left sidebar before, but now that you’ve added a template to your page, clicking on any item reveals a context menu on the right, along with a few buttons at the top of the selected item.
These buttons are there for quick edits and shortcuts: Copy, Duplicate, Delete and a Help button that opens the support page for that type of object. There are undo and redo buttons at the top right of the page, and you can save the project whenever you want.
The context menu on the right changes its options depending on what is selected. Click on a text box for example and you get the text, position, background, links, outline and animation. Select an image instead, and these are replaced with Link, Parameters, Position, and Animation.
Clicking on any of these menus reveals the settings that can be changed. We especially liked the animation options as they give your page a bit of visual flair, which can be fun.
Before adding a template to your page, the Items section in the left sidebar was grayed out. But now you can select it and see all the options available to you.
You can drag new objects to your page through this menu: text, images, galleries, buttons, video (YouTube, Vimeo), music (Spotify, SoundCloud), Google services (Maps, Search, Calendar), social media elements (Facebook pages, comments and likes, Twitter feeds, Instagram, Pinterest and more) and a good range of form related services which include Wufoo, Google Forms and Moonfruit’s own form objects.
Some basic modifications are still very simple. Not happy with this button caption? Double click on it, type a new one, press Enter. You can change the content of text boxes in the same way, including changing the styles and colors of the text, inserting lists, and adding links.
Moonfruit limits the customizations you can apply to many page objects. You can’t manually resize or drag and drop a button, for example. All you can do is set it to align to the left, right, or center of the page, and to size it automatically, or to set the width to a percentage of the page.
But on the bright side, the editor has many built-in ways to edit each object. Even a simple button lets you customize the text style, size, color, hover color, button shape, border style, link type, and destination (new or even window).
No matter what changes you make, you can preview the views anytime on desktop, tablet, or mobile.
Moonfruit’s media management capabilities are a lot like the rest of the service – they cover the basics, but don’t quite have the power or customization options that you probably want.
Add a single image, for example, and you won’t be able to resize or position it precisely. Image editing functions are limited to brightness, contrast and saturation settings. Even these are only available in limited increments of 25% from 0% to 200%,
An Image gallery control supports filmstrip, gallery and slideshow views. There are a few tweaks – turning autoplay on or off, setting various styles of arrows – but nothing to set your design world on fire.
Video support is limited to embedding single YouTube or Vimeo clips. There is no video wall or anything more complex, although we did find an interesting option in the menus: you can set the background of any element to a stock or video. Youtube.
Audio support is a bit better, with the option to embed Spotify playlists or SoundCloud content.
Bonus options include the ability to embed Instagram and Pinterest content, as well as PhotoSnack slideshows, and an HTML Snippet option may allow you to use content from some other sites.
While this covers simple websites, other builders give you a lot more. Moonfruit provides a decent file manager to manage your content. Upload images from websites and you can organize them into folders, view them as grids or lists, and sort your media by name, size or age (newest first or oldest). Files can then be added directly to image boxes or galleries without having to upload them again each time.
Blogs and e-commerce
Moonfruit does not offer any type of blog functionality. There is, however, an element designed to integrate a WordPress.com blog. Essentially, you have to create and manage your blog at WordPress.com (which you can do for free), and the Moonfruit widget simply displays that blog’s URL in a box on your site.
This approach works in the most basic way, but it doesn’t look great, and not being able to manage the blog and website together could make your life harder. Even something as basic as coordinating the images and color schemes of the two sites will take time and thought.
Moonfruit does not have an e-commerce solution either. Not even a PayPal button.
Moonfruit provides a web knowledge base where you can search for details on any part of the service. It’s always accessible from a help icon in the editor, or you can browse it anytime from help.moonfruit.com.
We’ve moved on to exploring Moonfruit’s knowledge base, anyway. This has a reasonable number of articles, but they’re generally short and lacking in detail.
Confusingly, the knowledge base covers the same topics for the old Moonfruit editor and the new one, so most keywords will return a lot of articles that won’t help you. Worse, the site doesn’t make it clear who is what, starting some titles with “V6”, others with “Responsive Editor”, and hoping users will guess correctly.
(“Responsive Editor” is the latter of the two, and yes, that would have been our first guess as well. But we shouldn’t have to guess at all, and at the very least all V6 articles should now have a top explaining that ‘they’re referring to the old publisher, not the current one, which makes it clear to everyone what’s going on.)
This can be confusing as the old “V6” editor had blogging functionality, and even years after upgrading to “responsive” these instructions are still there even though blogging is no longer supported. Talk about the confusion among your customers.
Moonfruit is a basic website builder that currently lags far behind the competition in terms of power, features, ease of use, support, visual appeal, and just about everything in between.
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