July 12, 2004
By Craig Crossman
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Web-site designing easy
Trying to run a new consumer-oriented business in this highly competitive world without a Web site would be like trying to run a business without a listing in the Yellow Pages, only far worse. I'd say it comes close to going without a Yellow Pages ad, no telephones, no mailing address and no advertising anywhere to promote your business.
A web site in many ways rolls all these basic methods of communication into one window of access for your potential customers.
SpinSite good for novice
Once you've made the decision to create a Web site, how does one go about doing it? While there are a number of applications out there that lets you create a Web site without having to know HTML programming, I'd like to tell you about an alternative.
Ironically, enough, the product that helps you develop a Web site is in itself a Web site.
SpinSite (www.spinsite.com) is a service you access using an ordinary Web browser. After logging onto your account's development page, you begin to create and design each Web page, deciding where to place graphics and text.
The company calls SpinSite a "Web page designer" and not a series of Web page templates. The system lets you choose from a large selection of themes to get you on the way. but you can modify, add and delete just about anything you want.
You can virtually paint the screen as you add columns, rows, text, images and links. Threaded newsgroups and special Web pages such as a FAQ (frequently Asked Questions) pages and discussion forum page are literally a few clicks away from creation. Many other important elements can be added, such as requiring users to log in before being able to post a public message.
And as time passes and you become more proficient, SpinSite even allows you to go under the hood so that you can tweak and enhance your Web site using HTML. Because you don't need any development software, you can literally change or edit your Web site from any computer with Internet access and a browser.
A more recent addition to SpinSite is the ability to create an online store with inventory management that is integrated with PayPal's shopping cart. Currently, SpinSite does not offer a facility to accept credit cards.
3 months start at $49
After you create your Web site, SpinSite offers two performance packages. The Express package includes three months of hosting your Web site, an Instant Setup lets you go online in a few minutes, two e-mail accounts, 25 megabytes of document and image storage space and five Web pages for $49.The Platinum package ups the storage to 50 megabytes, five e-mail accounts, 50 Web site pages and adds several other features for $99. Check their Website for more details.
I'm not saying that SpinSite is right for everyone. But it does offer another way to creating and maintain a Web site. Having a server-based setup like the one offered by SpinSite offers a number of advantages over more traditional methods of Web site creation and collaboration.