Sunday, January 19, 2014
In the ever expanding world of Do-It-Yourself website builders/site construction kits or whatever you might want to call them, it can be pretty difficult to find a web service that’s worth your time and investment. More often than not people get bored and tired in the first ten minutes of working with a website builder. The most common complaints are dull templates, buggy tools, poor functionality and other restrictions.
I’ve seen such website builders. But I’ve also come across several exceptional platforms debunking all the myths and misconceptions surrounding point-and-click site constructors. They’re constantly updating their systems according to the latest web design and development trends to retain current and attract potential customers. I think there will be even more updates in 2014.
Launched in 2009, MotoCMS website builder made it possible to build Flash-based websites with maximum ease. Today, it allows users to create both amazing Flash and HTML websites. MotoCMS sells unique CMS templates that come with a multi-functional, baked-in control panel. In brief, the entire process takes three steps: you select and purchase a template (from over 1,500 themes), upload it to the server (you can choose any web hosting provider) and customize it as per your needs. When your site is ready, you can publish it with a single click.
Benefits: one-time payment, no monthly fees; lifetime updates; What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get editing environment; huge collection of beautiful themes; inbuilt Mobile Editor; friendly support.
Disadvantages: MotoCMS isn’t a ‘one-stop’ website builder. You can’t get a domain/subdomain and hosting for your site via the system - you need to take care of website maintenance independently.
Squarespace is another platform to keep an eye on in 2014. It has a strong focus on design - just check out their brilliant homepage depicting different stories of success. You may also visit their ‘Customers’ page to see how published Squarespace-based websites may look like.
Benefits: powerful eCommerce platform; included mobile optimization; easy data import/export from/to popular blogging and eCommerce sites (Foursquare, Flickr, Instagram, WordPress etc.); live chat support; full code control (for Developer Platform users).
Disadvantages: they don’t have free packages (only 14-day trial); Squarespace editor isn’t fully WYSIWYG.
Wix has probably one of the most hard-working teams in the entire market. They’ve done a lot in 2013! The major update to my mind was the Mobile Editor launch. The new option allows Wix users to adjust mobile versions of their sites code-free, using the same drag-and-drop tools as in the desktop editor.
Benefits: extremely easy editor; excellent templates; rich App Market; never-expiring free packages.
Disadvantages: you can’t switch templates; there’s no possibility to rewrite inner URLs.
Though DIY site makers are still regarded by many as too primitive tools for serious web projects, there are several platforms suitable for building professional looking websites. Their feature sets are above average, their templates are 100% customizable and their customer support is rather responsive. I’ve tested these website builders myself, so I can confidently say that building a website using any of them is a cakewalk.
Malcolm Thomas loves testing new gadgets and software, especially Do-It-Yourself site constructors. He runs a personal blog http://mmthomasblog.com/ where he shares his experience and advice.