I often get asked if I recommend a particular website building software or system and while I generally recommend WordPress, (the free, open source website and blog building platform that I typically use) - I have learned from experience that sometimes WordPress is a little too technical for the average Do-it-Yourself-er.
Recently a friend of mine, Licia, wanted to launch a new business and wanted to be actively involved in the process of designing and building her new website/blog. She had heard good things about Weebly, so we checked it out together and they appeared to have a nice selection of customizable templates, an easy to use interface and good customer support. So Licia bravely set out on the sometimes frustrating and time consuming process of creating a website for her new business, Hawaiian Lenses – affordable, stylish sunglasses with nearly invisible bifocal readers built in. I provided coaching and support for Licia throughout the process when she had questions and issues with the Content Management System, Search Engine Optimization, design, etc., and now after a few months she has just launched the new site, Hawaiian Lenses.
From a professional developers point of view Weebly lacked many of the customizations and features that I am used to with WordPress, but for people with more time than money on their hands and a desire to learn how to do something new, I think Weebly is a good place to start. I think Licia did a great job with this eCommerce site and the branding of their new “dualies” sunglass line! Licia also built a site for herself, she’s an amazing “sculptress” as well, visit her website here.
My interest in creating a website for our business may have been a little naïve. I had heard of many “user friendly” web site builders, but we all know that is a relative phrase. If you have never heard of CSS or HTML, most of these sites are not “friendly”, more like “pull your hair out” frustrating.
I was determined though to build a website, right along with building our business. There is a correlation to both, as we were constantly adjusting to product changes, as well as marketing changes. I knew it was important that I make rapid changes to our web site in real time.
I had two comrades that got me through the whole experience (and continue to hold my hand). Weebly web site builders and Emagine Web Marketing & Design. Weebly truly is a user friendly web site builder. They have many themes to choose from, and a drag and drop method that works well. It’s not perfect, but what I really like about this company is that they are constantly improving and updating design capabilities, based on user needs and requests. At this time they do NOT have a phone in customer service, but they do respond very well to email questions.
My guiding light, parachute, and back up system was Michelle at Emagine Design. Although Emagine develops sites using more complex programs, Michelle was willing to work within the parameters of Weebly and help me when I got “stuck”. She acts as a consultant for me which gives me the confidence to proceed on my own, knowing there is a professional willing to help out. Her “a la carte” approach to web design and marketing has really helped us launch our business with a more hands on, yet professional approach.
- Licia McDonald, Hawaiian Lenses