WEB SITE CREATION – Fast, Simple, Inexpensive and Professional Looking…
© 2011 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Have you ever had the desire, or need to create a web site, but didn’t know how. Furthermore, if you did explore the possibility you soon found out that you needed knowledge in something referred to as HTML, HyperText Markup Language, the basic building blocks, code, of creating a site from the ground up. All this sound too complicated? Well it did to me too, and it is.
Karelia Software, creators of Sandvox, a Mac website building application, may just have the answer. Yes, Sandvox is designed around the Mac OSX operating system, but today so many computers are capable of dual platforms, so that this should no longer be an issue unless you have an antique, in which case it’s time to update yourself. I’ve located many programs that claim ease in developing web sites, but nothing comes close to Sandvox.
I tested version 1.6.8, Pro Edition, and also obtained a DVD tutorial, a definite must, to quickly walk you thru the steps. This DVD, also available as a download, takes you thru a chronological series of steps to complete your site. You can run it along side the program while you’re developing the site and not overlook a step. The menu selection and tools are very similar to those used in iWork™, an Apple™ program. The Pro Edition enables advanced features such as raw HTML pages/pagelets and Google integration for higher website visibility. Simply put, you can insert html script provided by others for things like weather and news headlines, or a PayPal link. If you do understand html you can create customized features of your own in far less time.
In order to properly test Sandvox, I created a web site for a small business I operate in my spare time; www.safetymaxtraining.us From start to finish, creation time was just under four hours. I selected a page design theme from the many included. If you don’t find one that suits you, additional themes are inexpensive and readily available from numerous suppliers on line. I easily created a home page with Weather Channel alerts, a FREE service that adds life to the page. Additional informational pages were just as easy to create requiring no expertise other than your creative abilities. A contact me page was a simple selection and allows for customizing to your informational needs. Adding PayPal as a link was clearly explained. A hit counter for each individual page may be added. Layouts for podcasts and bloggers are also included. Photos, graphics video and audio clips are easily inserted.
(TIP: By making a screen-shot of your theme page, minus content, you can create consistency for things like stationary, fliers and postcards and maintain a professional look throughout all your marketing pieces.)
Once your site is complete you’re only a few clicks away from publishing, providing you have a host. The host is the site that your site is published to and accessed by your audience. These steps are easily explained in the tutorial. Once published, it’s easy to make corrections, delete or add pages and change just about anything you like without loosing your unchanged content, hit counter, links or graphics. All you do is go back to the publishing button and follow the prompts.
(TIP: Be sure that the host you’ve chosen gives you all the log-on information required to publish. Without that you can’t complete the final publishing step.)
Sandvox provides you with tools to assist in gaining high search engine visibility and are inserted as you create the site. Also included in the Pro Edition is Google integration to maximize the visibility of your site, understand who’s visiting it, know where your visitors are coming from, discover what’s bringing them to you and know how long they look at each page. These features are not commonly found in other preformatted creation software.
In preparing for this article I needed a host. After much research I chose justhost.com , located in the UK. They were ranked in first place on a “top-ten” list I read, offer FREE domain name registration, unlimited email accounts and unlimited GB’s of space. If you commit to a four-year contract your monthly cost is only $4.45. They offer both live chat and email support, both of which are excellent, but I prefer the email method as it allows them time to study your question before replying.
Previously I mentioned the use of a theme in collateral material. I located a printer at www.nextdayflyers.com/ that provides doubled-sided, color, glossy 14 PT ultra-thick postcards at $46.00 for 1000. The price, print quality and service are exceptional!
Whether your need is personal, blogging or commercial, Sandvox is the simple way to create professional looking web sites. I can’t emphasize enough how impressed I am with the ease of its use and support. In the months to come they will release version 2.0 along with an accompanying tutorial that I anticipate testing. So…. create, don’t hesitate!
MSRP: Version 1.6.8 Standard Edition $57.00 – Pro Edition $97.00
*Tutorial DVD $179.00 – Download considerably less
*Currently not available until new version’s release. Price expected to remain the same.
Available on-line www.karelia.com/sandvox/
GADGETEER’S RATING: H H H H H
Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer.