If you’re thinking of creating a website and not sure where to start, this is the blog post for you. Fortunately, we live in a time where you no longer have to know everything about how to code your own website scripting with HTML, CSS, PHP, etc. You can use a content management platform! Content management platforms allow you to build a full website, directly in your browser without any prior knowledge of website development. Even better, there are free content management platforms (which allow you to do a lot, without having to bump up to the premium packages with additional features), such as WIX and Weebly.
If you’re just getting started and looking for a free content management platform, you may have heard names such as Wix, Weebly, Webs, webnode or squarespace. I myself use WIX to host my personal portfolio (click here to see my WIX website). I’ve also used Weebly (through the web-hosting site ReadyHosting) to create the website for Peter A Rotella Corporation, a construction company in upstate New York. You can create a website as your personal portfolio, as I have; you can create a website to host your artwork and photography with links to your Etsy page or DeviantART account; you can even use these content management platforms as venues to host your blog (although, for more personal things you may want to go through the WordPress or Tumblr routes). While you may have a different purpose for creating a website, it is important to note that working with these tools creates good results, even though they’re free.
- WIX can help you create beautiful and professional websites. WIX is a very design-centered platform, created in mind with those who have an image or a mood that they want to convey through their website, be it through color schemes or background, which may add a certain level of appeal to your website. Some of these pre-made templates are much more beautiful and detailed than what you get from other content management platforms. If you’re not the creative type and need help in building a beautiful design, Wix’s pre-made templates will help you get started.
- WIX offers a lot of flexibility with ability to place images, text and buttons wherever you want on each page of your website. I love the variety of ways in which you can customize what you are doing to your webpage through WIX.
- With so many options, and ability to put any text box or image anywhere, it is easy to make a page cluttered, or to put inappropriate text colors over clashing backgrounds. There are so many options that it might be difficult to figure out what you want and where to find it.
- Once you’ve picked a template and begun using it in WIX, you can’t switch to another template. A way to get around this is to explore multiple templates before choosing one, but it’s still less than ideal.
- Compared to the Weebly, it is more difficult to work directly with a support representative to answer your questions.
WIX offers good support for their website creation platforms – which is ideal, because WIX can be used to do some not-so-basic things.
WIX offers a tab for everything to do with the WIX-editor, which covers topics from editing tools, to adding in WIX apps into your website. WIX offers walk-through videos, and a descriptive walk-through for each topic. This support page also gives you in-depth information on managing your website.
(click here to see WIX’s support page)
- Weebly is clean, simple, and professional. Weebly offers a simple click and drag interface that allows you to create a professional website very quickly. You really don’t have to be too critical about the formatting of the locations of your newly added text boxes or images, as Weebly auto adjusts the spacing between any divided section. In this way, it adds a sort of “smart” design assistance, which can help prevent your website from becoming too cluttery).
- If you are not familiar with website design, Weebly offers more structure than WIX. Also, their on-site help is a little bit more “easy access.” If you decide halfway through your project that you don’t like the template that you’re using very much, it’s easy to pick another template without starting all over.
- I love the storefront option offered though Weebly, which allows you to connect with Paypal directly through your webpage, and to format your storefront creatively.
- I would not recommend Weebly if you want a highly personalized website. Weebly offers somewhat limited customization options, especially for different themes, which may not offer any color or design customization. I’ve tested out a lot of templates in order to get just-the-right-one for Rotellacorp, and there are a few free templates that hardly allow any color preference adjustments.
Getting help with Weebly is really easy (click here to see Weebly’s support page)
Weebly offers simple, easy to follow walk-through assistance for everything from moving a set of columns to custom HTML embeded widgets. There are even training videos, and live chat options.
All in all, WIX and Weebly are both great website platforms. There are things I like better about WIX, but I definitely think that Weebly makes web-design totally painless. When it comes down to it, you really need to experiment with either or both and see what you like.
If you’re interested in finding more about WIX or Weebly, join me at an upcoming WICshop. On July 17th, from 2-3:30pm there will be a hands on workshop where we will be using WIX (sign up here). One July 21, from 2-3:30pm there will be a hand on workshop where we will be using Weebly (sign up here).
Keep in mind that we don’t have to publish anything that we create at these workshops, but you certainly can! If you have any questions regarding these or any other content management platforms, please feel free to ask me (Allison Snyder), or stop by the WIC desk!