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On Computers - Get Your Website Up and Running



ON COMPUTERS

Creation services get Web sites up and running


Several hosts offer various options for sites and stores


By JOY AND BOB SCHWABACH, Columnists


What? You don't have a Web site yet? Well, spin your own.


Two new Web site creation services caught our attention and we particularly liked the aptly named Spin Site, which gives you all the tools for a professional site plus hosting.


An initial fee of $49 provides three months of free Web hosting, and if you want to continue after that, the charge is $13 a month. There is no software to download; everything is handled online.


Site plans are presented as themes and you can place text and graphics wherever you want. You can paste in pages from Microsoft Word or from an old Web site. We found changing colors and layouts to be fast and easy, and the changes were automatically carried out through all pages of the site.


If you don't want to plunk down the $49 right away, you can create sample sites that are then put up on the Web for a week or so at no charge.


A more expensive option is available for a $99 initial fee and $35 a month. With this you can create security levels for your Web site so some parts are available only to users who have a password. You can also assign editing rights to some password holders.


For users who would like to set up their own store, there is a shopping cart and checkout feature that is linked with PayPal, the online payment service. The stores can have customer inquiry forms and you can collect statistics on visitor use and preferences.


If someone turns out to be a nuisance, you can block that person from visiting the site.


All sites created with Spin Site have a built-in search function — an absolute must for online stores. All changes to the site are made in real time, but do not take effect until you click “publish.” For more information, check out www.spinsite.com.


Other hosts


Here are two other Web services that allow you to create Web sites and online stores:


• The most important is Yahoo.com, which we have written about before and is excellent. Its software uses templates and is absolutely free. Basic Web hosting is only $12 a month. If you look at a list of corporate users, it's like a who's who of American business. Check it out at: http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com.


• We also looked at a service called CoffeeCup ( www.coffeecup.com). We liked it, but the number of negative comments from users made us cautious about recommending it strongly. These comments are at www.cnet.com.


Readers can search three years of columns at the “On Computers” Web site www.oncomp.com and can e-mail the Schwabachs at bobschwab@oncomp.com or bobschwab@aol.com.