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RIVYT review

Instantly build a good-looking website from your YouTube channel

RIVYT
Image Credit: RIVYT

Our Verdict

RIVYT's free plan is great for creating a video-based website, but with no sign of any resources behind the service, we probably wouldn't pay for the commercial edition.

For

  • Quick and easy to use
  • Supports YouTube, Twitch, Vimeo, Wistia
  • Free plan
  • Video search

Against

  • Minimal control over design layout
  • Very few distinctive templates
  • Little support
  • Unprofessional website

RIVYT is a specialist website builder which enables creating a polished and professional video-based site from your YouTube, Twitch, Vimeo or Wistia channels.

The service can't begin to compete with big name builders like Wix or Weebly. There are only 21 templates, for instance. They're not very customizable. There's no blog, and few integrations with other platforms.

Read more: Pixpa

Still, as RIVYT is focusing on a single type of site only, this may not be as important as you think. 21 templates doesn't sound like a lot, for instance, but that's only because they don't include sites for hairdressers, or DJs, or restaurants. RIVYT is only giving you templates you might actually use.

It's also hard to complain about a shortage of features when many of them come for free. A starter plan gives you access to 21 templates, supports sites of up to 20 videos, and gives you basic customization options. Design options are very limited, though. The site can only be accessed from a RIVYT subdomain (yourname@rivyt.com), and your pages will have RIVYT branding.

The $50 a year ($3.33 a month) Unlimited plan removes the ads, allows up to 1000 videos on your site, and gives you unlimited design customization options. Support for live streaming, comments and live chat enables building a much more advanced site. MailChimp-based newsletter support can help you market your site, you can add and sell products via a simple ecommerce tool, and you're able to use a custom domain with the site (yourname.com.)

If you'd like to know more, try exploring some of the sample sites. Channelize includes an About page, a shop, a Subscribe option and a video search tool; Lystd has an unusual text-based approach; Syngle and Slydes makes good use of scrolling effects; Mag gives each page the look of a magazine article, and there are more designs on the site if you're unconvinced.

While this is all good news, the largely anonymous RIVYT website doesn't inspire much confidence. There's no up-front information on the company, nothing on the support you'll get, refund options, a money-back guarantee. Even when we clicked Terms on the site footer, hoping to view the Terms and Conditions, all the site did was display a duplicate of its Privacy Policy.

None of this makes us think RIVYT is up to no good (it's giving away too much free stuff, for that), but it doesn't make the company look very professional, either. 

Setup

An example of how easy it was to turn popular YouTuber Marques Brownlee's videos into a website (Image Credit: RIVYT)

Setup

All website builders say they make it easy to get started, but RIVYT really means it. This is all you need to do.

Go to RIVYT's website and enter a YouTube channel name into the box on the front page (doesn't have to be your channel, anything will do.)

Click Generate Site, and within a few seconds your specified channel will appear, reworked into rivyt.com's default template. This isn't crammed with features, but it looks good, with the channel's latest video taking up the bulk of the page, and thumbnails of others underneath. Videos can be sorted by date or the number of views, an About button displays a text description taken from the source channel, and a Subscribe link launches YouTube and invites you to subscribe to the channel.

Although free sites include branding, this is restricted to a tiny 'Designed by RIVYT' caption at the bottom of the site which also links back to rivyt.com. It's so minimal that most of your visitors will barely notice it, and even if they do, there's nothing to indicate it's a free site. Your visitors will probably just assume it's a company you hired to produce the site.

If you're happy with the site, click Activate, pick the free plan and you're invited to choose the RIVYT subdomain that'll be used to access the site (me@rivyt.com). Hand over your email address, and within a few seconds, the site is available and ready to be shared with others.

Free Plan

RIVYT's free plan (Image Credit: RIVYT)

Free plan

RIVYT doesn't have a a drag-and-drop editor, and there's no easy way to resize or reposition elements of the design, to add new components or extra pages. If you're looking to fine-tune a site in any way, this isn't the service for you.

The simplest way to give your site a new look, is to apply a different template. You really can't tell from the thumbnails exactly how each design will work for you, and we found ourselves having to try them all. Some of them look and feel very similar, and the end results didn't always match the preview. But there are some decent designs here, and even if you spend 15 minutes extra in finding one, it's no big deal-- you'll hopefully only do it once.

You do get a few ways to control the site's features. An optional Search box allows visitors to locate files by searching their descriptions for keywords. You can enable visitors to sort videos by date, or likes, and view your videos as a list or grid view. 

Your video selection doesn't have to be restricted to clips from a single YouTube channel. It's possible to add movies from YouTube, Twitch, Vimeo or Wistia, and reorder them however you like.

RIVYT's branding panel correctly picked used the logos, site title and About text used in our YouTube source. You're free to replace these, though, and can also add a tagline.

A Social Links panel enables adding your email address, shop and support URLs, along with your user names for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, SoundCloud, Tumblr and more. Add any of these and RIVYT will display the appropriate icon on your site.

Commercial Features

RIVYT's commercial features (Image Credit: RIVYT)

Commercial features

Upgrading to a commercial Unlimited account gets you the ability to add custom CSS. This gives you substantial control over the site's layout and functionality, assuming of course that you're a CSS expert (unlikely, especially amongst RIVYT's target audience of web design newbies.)

More usable features include the ability for RIVYT to automatically add new videos (upload to your YouTube channel, and the video appears on the site automatically.) MailChimp integration enables users to sign up for a newsletter direct from the site, and there's a basic shopping cart. It really is basic - simple fixed-format product descriptions and a PayPal checkout - but, at this price, we're not going to complain.

The commercial plan enables creating sites with up to 1,000 videos, up from the 20 in the free plan, and allows you to replace the RIVYT footer branding with your own.

Other highlights include support for automatically displaying active live streams, and the ability to connect the site to your chosen domain.

There's not much support for any of this, even on the website. Many features have no description beyond a tooltip, and even the most complex tasks only get the briefest of explanations. Some website builders give you lengthy screenshot-packed tutorials to help explain how you point a custom domain to your site, for instance. RIVYT offers just 76 words.

Fortunately, most of the Unlimited plan's features involve little more than flicking a switch ('Live Streaming' = on), so the shortage of support probably won't make much difference. And although the domain setup instructions were very brief, they were clear enough (plus there's support via email, though no information on the expected response time). Even if you're a beginner who's aiming to use every single one of RIVYT's most advanced features, you'll probably have your site up-and-running with just a few hours of work.

Final verdict

RIVYT is a very easy-to-use way to create a good-looking site from your YouTube channel. If that appeals, its free plan is a must-see, but with the service feeling more like someone's spare time project than a real company, we would think carefully before handing over any cash.