Published on 3 January 2013
Building attractive and easy-to-use websites is key to a small business's online presence. However, not all small business owners are technically inclined. Often, this can result in a gap between a small business owner's vision and the technical reality of coding a website.
This week we will review a solution that solves this problem by empowering small business owners with the tools to create a website.
We will review Easy WebContent - a cloud-based site builder that enables you to create websites for your small business on-the-fly. We will look at its features, interface, and see how it can be of use to you.
"Many small businesses and individuals do not want to spend thousands of dollars on custom websites or expensive content management systems to edit and manage their sites," says Payman Taei, Easy WebContent's founder. "But they do want to have control and ease-of-use over their web presence." This realization led Taei to build the solution.
Easy WebContent started in late 2008 as a simple cloud-based site editor. The solution was quite popular with site developers and, even earned praised from leading magazines such as PC World.
The praise acted as trigger for further refinements and iterations of the solution leading up to the present site builder. "The beauty of the tool is that you have control over your themes and structure as opposed to most competitors, who have strict templates with little to no flexibility," says Taei . According to him, typical audiences for the tool are small businesses interested in an "easy-to-manage website or blog." That is also the reason why Taei has kept costs low and affordable to "virtually anyone."
Given that the market is already cluttered with site editors and builders, I asked Taei about the advantages that small businesses could derive from editing their site on-the-fly. As an example, he outlined the case of a small business attending a tradeshow.
"Let's say you notice that a competitor has a lower price for a product that you sell," explained Taei . "You can login to your site immediately using our cloud-based solution and update your pricing."
Taei adds cost benefits to the list of advantages offered by the solution. "Having total control over maintaining and editing your own site allows you to bypass designers and web master and, in turn, save thousands of dollars per year and, also, become more efficient," he says.
On the anvil for the solution is a full upgrade of the site builder as well as a new product, which is a cross between Flash and PowerPoint. "It generates web and mobile content on-the-fly using HTML5," explains Taei . The new product will enable users to add elements such as interactive presentations, product demos, banners, or infographics easily to their websites using simple drag and drop options.
Easy WebContent bundles two related products in a single package. The first product is a site editor and the second one is a site builder.
The site editor enables you to edit sites on-the-fly while the site builder enables you to construct brand new websites using the solution's pre-loaded library of templates and themes and using a simple drag and drop interface. Registration is a simple two-step process during which you need to enter your email address and website URL (if you simply need to edit an existing website). If you do not have a website, the solution offers you the option to create new websites using their inbuilt Site Builder.
As I mentioned earlier, the Site Builder has a number of pre-configured themes and templates. You can mix and match these themes with a number of text- and multimedia-elements to customize the site. The solution already has a number of website themes that you can edit to customize the look and feel of your website. The solution incorporates multimedia content using standard embed codes available across social media sites. In addition, the solution offers access to the site's backend to craft SEO-compliant content and text.
This, however, does not mean that the Easy WebContent can replace professional designers. "If you want top notch custom design work, you want to rely on a professional to do it for you," says Taei . "But, let's face it, a custom site can run anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 and to a small business or individual that is not feasible."
Taei recommends Site Builder as a starting point for your website needs. "You can later modify it to fit specific needs," he says, likening it to taking charge of an online presence. Because it is a hybrid of multiple products, Taei says use of Easy WebContent depends on a small business's needs. According to him, the solution can also be used to create online presentations, animated banners, and infographics with the Easy WebContent Presenter tool.
I tried creating creating a website using the solution and I must say it was extremely easy. Part of the ease was due to the intuitive nature of the interface. All the elements for building a website can be dragged and dropped. In addition, the interface offers a slew of customization options from colors to sizes of block elements that enable you to make your website attractive.
It also includes a great Image Editor which allows you to do fully edit, optimize and apply standard image filters to your photos right within the application, eliminating the need to use image editing software outside of the program.
The solution has an excellent library of videos and documentation to help users. The videos are detailed and lead users through specific tasks associated with creating a website. The documentation is also exhaustive and ranges from frequently asked questions to detailed documentation about various features.
Unreservedly, yes. As Taei mentions, the solution is a great starting point for small businesses looking for a cheap and affordable online presence. With its array of customization options, I think the solution is an excellent fit to translate your online vision to specific websites.