by Anthony Bradley
Posted on Wednesday, May 6, 2009, at 4:26 pm
Now that personal blogging is becoming passé as more people turn to Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr for social networking, personal websites are often more desirable. For professionals, these websites have become a place to post a resume and to promote one's research niche. As a matter of fact, when looking for academic staff many schools now expect applicants to have a website, asking for resume "links" in addition to file attachments. These websites are also useful for non-profit organizations, start-up ventures, social causes, bands, schools, churches, etc., to promote themselves without having to pay a website designer. A free website! How great is that?
One of the best examples of a do-it-yourself website creator is Weebly. This service is very easy to use with elements such as videos, pictures, maps, and text added to your website by simply dragging them from the Weebly bar on the top of the web page. Using the "Design" tab you'll find dozens of thumbnail pictures of available design templates for your new site. Hover your mouse over a thumbnail to preview the new look instantaneously, or click the thumbnail to select it as the design for your website.
Unlike many blogs, one can add multiple pages with many features by adding and organizing your website's "Pages" tab. When you add a new page to your website, it's automatically added to the navigation bar. To make this process even easier, reordering pages is as simple as dragging and dropping them into place.
With all those easy-to-use features, Weebly still needs more development. One the more frustrating elements is formatting problems when you "cut-and-paste" from a Microsoft Word document. If your text is too large or has varied spacing, you will likely have to reformat and correct word spacing and indentations in several paragraphs after pasting. The worst problem I've encountered with Weebly is how easy it is to delete large portions of text by hitting the "backspace" key at the wrong time. The data is unrecoverable when this happens. Also, if you're trying to format a paragraph by pressing the "tab" key, you can get you in trouble as well.
Free websites have become the new cool, so if Weebly does not work for you there are other sites like Webnode.com and many others that offer fantastic options and graphics. Overall, even with the extremely frustrating possibly of losing unrecoverable content at the stroke of one key, I would give Weebly a B-plus because of its easy-to-use features.
Anthony is associate professor of religious studies at The King's College in New York and a research fellow at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty.