The Search for Easy to Use Website Builders

The Search for Easy to Use Website Builders

It’s funny how things tend to come back around on themselves, whether it’s music, fashion, art of whatever I haven’t thought of.

When I first started creating websites almost 20 years ago one of the commonly used tools (at least for people new to web developments) was Netscape Composer (part of Netscape Communicator). It was pretty easy to create a respectable looking website using the word processor style interface.

Then as more websites became dynamic most developers turned to text editors as more and more of the site was scripted in PHP or ASP (these a programming languages). Though there was still a need to visually design websites this was usually done in a separate tool by a graphic artist. So in effect websites became time consuming to build and cumbersome to update. Queue the Content Management System (CMS).

A CMS is a tool which the website maintainer can use to update the site. The early CMS systems were custom made which of course can be expensive to initially build plus expensive to maintain, as when requirements change a developer needs to modify the CMS to suite. Allot of these websites became outdated due to the quite often difficult nature of keeping everything up-to-date as often the CMS could only handle specific portions of the site.

The next phase of evolution started was the advent of modular CMS tools which could accept Plugins to extend functionality and where quite configurable within the default package (i.e. add pages, changing comment, adding photo galleries). WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are examples of these however there are many of these both Open and Close Source. WordPress at this time is the most popular due to a good mix of easy of use (no programming required to get a site fully operational) and functionality.

Now with the advent of modern web site builders like Wix and Weebly things are turning back towards a more graphic drag and drop style interface for simple websites. While WordPress may be lumped in here it is really a CMS (Content Management System) that is very easy to use, however it still requires someone who is at least a little technically minded. I bet most small business owners would get quickly annoyed with WordPress and thus hire someone more technical to setup the site.

Now the problem with most of the graphic site builders has been the proprietary nature of the offerings. By this I mean you have to sign up to the specific builders website and while entry level sites are free they are limited. You can pay for a more advanced offering however one major issue remains. That is your site is locked into the proprietary system and if you are unhappy with the service good luck in moving your site. In my experience it is easier to rebuild the site from scratch though organisations exist who will migrate your site for a fee.  Cms2cms being an example.

One thing that has become the norm in computer software is the advent of Open Source alternatives to commercial products. While for a long time these were generally either rough or limited versions of the commercial offerings (see Gimp vs Photoshop) in the CMS environment the Open Source alternatives have taken the world by storm (i.e. WordPress). So it should come as no surprise that groups are creating Open Source Web Builders and ImpressPages is probably the best we’ve seen so far.

ImpressPages like Wix and Weebly is a drag and drop website creator. It is theme-able (you can change the look and feel) plus it is based on the common hosting technologies of PHP and MySQL so you can host it anywhere that support these plus some other minimum requirements. The main advantage being you can move your site if you hosting provider isn’t providing the service you require.

If you’re interested in ImpressPages we actively support it plus you can install it easily via our easy script installers. If you’d like to know more please feel free to send us an email via the Contact Us page.

Leave a Reply