If you’re a creative individual, you probably want your website to reflect your taste and skills. With Berta, you don’t need to know all the nuts and bolts of what’s needed to build a website. With Berta, you can create your artistic website, online portfolio, company site, and online shop.
Even better, Berta is an open source application for building websites. You can subscribe to the hosted website building service or download and install it on your server – although for that you need to know a bit about servers or hosting providers.
Berta was launched by Sandijs Ruluks in 2008. It’s headquartered in Riga, Latvia.
Pros and cons of Berta
Berta is an online service that allows you to express what you want. If you go with its hosted solution, you don’t have to take care of the tech stuff but pay a monthly subscription. Like other cloud-based services, you access the service via your browser.
You can also host it yourself on your own server using its open source version. With the open source version too, you don’t need to know about databases or have web dev skills, but you’ll need to know about hosting. For this review, I’m testing out the hosted service.
It comes with a template gallery and a drag-and-drop editor so that you get your ideas out of your head and see it as a website.
- Fair pricing
- Supports multisite
- You can use SVG files
- Easy to use
- Basic shopping cart features
- No forever free plan
Who is Berta for?
Berta is interesting for creatives like designers, photographers, architects, and artists. It lets you create websites to show your work, for online promotion, and to monetise your art.
How easy is Berta to use?
The signup process is simple enough, you’ll only key in your name and your email. A click on the confirmation email lets you set your password.
In the trial period of 14 days, you can use a subdomain of Berta with the pattern yourchosenname.berta.me. This is where you’ll see the website you designed. You’ll get an email with your login credentials and the link to the hosting and admin panel.
It’s easy to add content to your website. When you move your mouse, the editor highlights the element that you can edit.
In the top navigation, you get all the tools you need to design and publish your website. If you want to change the font, background, or page layout, etc, you head to the tab Design. In settings, your define things like language, social media buttons, and navigation.
Changing the design and content may feel a tad different if you’re coming from another website builder. Still, it’s self-explanatory and nothing is hidden away.
Design and themes
It’s obvious, Berta is addressing creative people when you look at the 7 prebuilt themes. After each name, (portfolio) is appended. Also, the themes all put your art on centre stage.
How easy is managing your ecommerce store with Berta?
You’ll find all you need to run an online store in the top navigational tab Shop. You’ll manage your orders and products in this Tab. You just need to add a section for your online store to your website and you can start selling. Even though Berta’s shopping cart features are quite basic, you can still add promo code.
Out of the box and for all plans, you’ll get a custom domain URL and Google Analytics. If you want to extend what Berta can do out of the gates, you can embed third party services.
What marketing tools does Berta provide?
The task of marketing and promoting your website falls to you. Berta doesn’t provide you with a blogging tool. If you want to collect email addresses or provide a contact form, you need to use a third party service and embed it.
You can connect your account with Paypal and allow bank transfer.
Berta provides SSL if you use its hosted service. If you’re using the open source version, you’re on your own with taking care of hosting, maintenance, security, and other technical stuff. Berta also takes care of backups.
When you’re working on your website, you’ll always find the chat icon in the lower right hand corner. You can browser Berta’s knowledge base, just click on Knowledge base in the top navigation. The knowledge base is well organised and also is searchable.
Berta’s pricing is reasonable, although the Basic plan comes with its branding. If you want the full feature set, you need to subscribe to Shop. Then you can also run an online store. If you don’t need that, the Pro plan is more than enough.
There’s no forever free plan but you can test Berta for free for 14 days. If you go with the open source version, you also need to factor in hosting and your time for maintenance.
Is Berta the right solution for you?
If you want a simple tool that lets you express your artwork, try out Berta. It has an easy to use editor and an uncluttered and self-explanatory interface. You can even start selling your work.
Although Berta comes with shopping cart features, it’s not really meant for you to run an online store with a gazillion products.
Berta is great if you want a company or portfolio site and only want to sell a handful of products.
If you need a more specialised website builder to publish your portfolio, check out Pixpa or Format.