Recently, I have a chance to make quick, low cost, small websites.
My requirements are:
- fast. easy to use to build an a-few-pages website.
- Free to edit and include free hosting
- The free account can use real domain name
- No forced 3rd party advertisement
After some google researches, only 3 choices meet my requirements. They are Webnode, Weebly and Google site. But after I have setup a site in Webnode, I discovered that it has to pay to use real domain after 30 days… So only Weebly and Google site are suitable for me.
All of them can provide everything a website needs. Add/drop pages, navigation, news, rich text editor, uploading image/video, integrating website statistic/analytic, a web form to collection user comment/enquiry and so on. All of them provide a forced footer to advertise themselves. There are some tricks to hide Weebly’s footer. But being a free account user, we have the responsibility to advertise them. I don’t mind to show their ads as long as there are no other third party ads.
Google site’s CMS is surprisingly the most ugly one. Being a big giant’s product, it looks like an old styled CMS. But it can still do the jobs. There are not many good themes to choose. It looks like that there is google app engine to provide more advanced functions but it is out of the scope of fast, small websites. However, Google offers more than a CMS. You will need a google analytic account anyway….
Weebly and Webnode offer more intuitive CMS. But both of them rely on flash for some functions… I don’t know why both of them require flash to edit the head image. Besides that, I can edit most of the parts in Webnode without flash. But in Weebly, many of the UI simply does not work without flash. Their CMS are in different styles and both of them are very good.
I finally chose Weebly because it is more user friendly however, it requires flash in many areas. To use real domain, Weebly asks users to create A record for their domain but I think CNAME should be the correct choice… Anyway, it finally works.
If you are willing to pay a little bit, your choice may be different. There are many alternatives in the world. Try googling.