In this No-Code experiment, I aim to answer a simple question: Can you really create a professional website in 10 seconds with Simple.Ink? Simple.Ink is a code-free shortcut for building websites. Its clever Notion hack brings your ideas to life with minimal effort, so you can validate MVPs, gather pre-interest, promote yourself or start selling online in record time. A website builder on fast forward.
Simple.Ink is bringing no-code websites to the masses.
The service transforms your drag-and-drop Notion concept into a surprisingly beautiful and fully-functional website. Long gone are the days when you have to learn how to code or engage an agency to get your idea off the ground.
Simple.Ink’s generous free service also includes reliable hosting, SEO best practice and mobile-readiness, right out of the box.
The tool is aimed at:
Sound too good to be true? Let’s find out…
Behind Simple.Ink is a duo of serial makers – Ch Daniel and his younger 18-year-old sibling David.
Big believers in the No-Code movement, they noticed too many tools simply tried to replicate programming tasks, rather than empowering people to do more. As Ch Daniel told us: “I know people who can code who also love to use No-Code tools, but when it comes to replicating complex things, they’re going to use their coding skills. Our website builder hopes to change that.”
Simple.Ink might just be getting started but it’s won over an army of makers who value speed and simplify over anything else. Read our exclusive interview with Ch Daniel for Simple.Ink’s full backstory…
For this Simple.Ink review, I wanted to answer: Can Simple.Ink really create a no-code Notion website in 10 seconds?
New to both Notion and Simple.Ink, I decided to setup two websites from scratch using their template library. A total of 20 seconds’ work, in theory. Having published websites on WordPress, Squarespace, Wix and custom-builds, I couldn’t wait to compare a No-Code alternative and crown the best website builder, or at least the fastest.
I’d judge Simple.Ink on the following criteria:
There’s two routes to launching a website via Simple.Ink:
Either way, you’ll need to setup a Notion account. That grants you access to 50+ fully responsive websites templates, covering use cases such as to-do lists, personal portfolios, professional services, CVs, landing pages, online stores, you name it. Even No-Code job boards!
All of Simple.Ink’s free themes can be viewed as live sites. When doing so you’ll spot a ‘Duplicate’ button top right that adds a sample one page site to your account, ready to make your own.
First up, I opted for a ‘Link in Bio’ one, as you can see. This is made for promoting your greatest hits (social profiles, website links, YouTube channel, etc) via your social profile.
A few quick edits later and you’re good to go.
Next and final step is to share your Notion URL with Simple.Ink and tell them where you want to publish it and, hey presto, your site is live! I counted 15 seconds end-to-end but that includes me tweaking content.
My main observation here is just how painless the whole process is. There’s a tiny bit of jumping between platforms required but it’s a good 10x easier to publish and edit on a custom domain on Simple.Ink than any website builder I’ve used prior – Squarespace included.
Of course, there’s a ton of other customization options open to you but we’ll come to those later.
Let’s start with what’s possible within Simple.Ink itself…
Simple.Ink’s free plan enables some high level site visibility changes. Enough to be found on search engines and look good on social.
You’ll find the following customization options in ‘Website settings’:
To add new pages, content and functionality, you’ll need to head back over to Notion.
Notion is an incredibly versatile tool and the possibilities are endless. Drag-and-drop your way to embedded tables, kaizen boards, list databases, Miro boards, calendars, Loom recordings, table of contents, and lots, lots more.
What started life as a home for all your teams, projects and docs, has turned into an entire universe of No-Code websites.
Potential applications include product roadmaps, self-service help libraries, media kits, public journals and blogs, brand guidelines, editorial calendars, portfolio sites, and so on. If you can dream it, you can probably do it with minimal fuss and more control in Notion.
Notion’s free version powers all of this, with limits only file uploads up to 5MB and a maximum of 5 guest collaborators.
Jumpstart your site by using a Notion template. They’re free and ready to go.
Some of my favourites include the Portfolio Website for selling yourself, the Wall of Love (below) for added social proof, the Company Docs template for keeping everything in one place, and the public roadmap for keeping users abreast of what’s around the corner.
These aren’t rigid pre designed blocks. All of Notion’s powerful features can be easily moved and adapted. And on the rare occasion you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can even request Simple.Ink make a new template for you or add custom code if you really have to.
There’s Notion integrations galore to help you get even more out of your site. Link to many of the other tools and apps you use, including Fathom Analytics and GA, Typeform and Google Forms, PayPal and Gumroad (to turn it into an ecommerce site), LiveChat, Memberstack, Mailchimp, Calendly, and many more.
Notion integrates with absolutely any tool that has a sharable link or an embeddable code, so you have full freedom without the need for any coding knowledge. Plus, just like everything else, Notion reduces integrations to a simple copy and paste job, unlike the faff and bloatedness associated with WordPress plugins. Another win for No-Code.
Integrations are 100% free assuming the other tool doesn’t require a paid subscription.
Why should you upgrade to a paid Simple.Ink account? Here’s what Simple.Ink co-founder Ch Daniel has to say:
*“At the moment the main features are custom domains, advanced SEO, and soon unlimited everything.
*“We’re giving away a very generous premium plan for those who want to create. If there’s any commercial benefit mission in what you’re doing, you’re probably going to need these features. You’re not going to get your wrist slapped if you just want to grow without having any commercial mission.
“Very soon one of the main benefits of upgrading would be, in a word, ‘unlimited.’ We think many people are going to love it. Go check it out.”
So, in summary, you get:
What drag-and-drop website builders give you in speed to market, they often take away in load time. Not so Notion websites.
Notion have done a ton of work to optimize every part of their stack. This includes a well-controlled storage layer across all their applications to retrieve page content much more efficiently, which in turn makes Notion operate much faster.
$0-$12 per month
Just like Notion, Simple.Ink’s free forever plan is extremely generous and will enable you to build a portfolio of no-code websites. Upgrade from as little as $6 per month for add ons such as having the site reflect your branding with a branded domain name and removing the ‘built with’ Simple.Ink badge.
There’s no shortage of established website builders. No-Code ones are very quickly catching up.
Other website builders, especially the drag-and-drop versions offered by Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and GoDaddy all have additional features you can grow into, however they can be overkill for simple one page websites or validating an unproven idea. Simple.Ink, via Notion, beats them all on speed, versatility and cost. If I had to pick Simple.Ink’s biggest differentiator it’s speedy versatility.
With unlimited pages and a wide variety of plugins there’s also very few things a WordPress site can’t do, but it’s certainly more faff setting it up, keeping on top of the updates and stopping it from getting bloated with all the plugins. WordPress wins on scalability and SEO for sure, so it all depends what you’re trying to achieve and how much time and effort you want to put in.
As an indie tool, Simple.Ink really shines with its support. There’s walkthrough guides for everything you could want to achieve with a Notion-based site, from finding icons, setting up photo galleries and embedding PDFs to connecting your favourite app.
For anything else, Daniel and David are available via the live chat or welcome feedback and feature requests in app.
No-Code isn’t just a movement, it’s a cult. Believers preach about its ability to bring ideas to life faster, easier and cheaper than ever before, and they’re right.
Simple.Ink takes Notion’s beautiful templates and turns them into good looking, mobile friendly and easy to edit websites. With integrations there aren’t many things you can’t do.
Once you’ve setup your free Notion account, Simple.Ink totally delivers on its ‘build your own website in 10 seconds’ claim, which is pretty remarkable. I also love how easy it is to edit your website. Your website appears in the editor exactly as it does published so you can see any changes in real-time.
A Simple.Ink website is never going to be technically perfect for SEO or ideal for ecommerce, however if you’re much earlier in your journey it’s perfect for building in public and testing new ideas.
When interviewing Ch Daniel recently, he forecasts that ‘No-Code’ will cease to exist as a term in five years’ time – that it’ll simply become the prevalent way we build templated websites and perform most tasks online. Having tried out Simple.Ink and validated it’s zero-headache claim, I have to agree too.