Sunday, March 06, 2016

My Take on Website Platforms as an Artist

This whining is about website building services I've tried, and the discoveries I made through using those services.  For your information, I am not a web developer nor a programmer; I am just an artist who makes paintings and stuff. 
I have been working on updating my websites ( in the past month, so that those sites can be viewed on mobile devices.  Last time I updated my websites was before the mobile device era, so it was about time that I stop the long-term procrastination to make my sites mobile responsive. As it turned out, this move has been harder than I anticipated.  By the time you are reading this, I might have completed the updates on both, depending on when you are reading this.
In the beginning, I read reviews on those major website platforms to decide what I would use. Here is a list of services I considered and what my thoughts were. These are my opinions that are based on the specific needs I have for my website, so these may not apply to a lot of others who have different expectations for their websites. 
Godaddy's website builder: Since this comes with my hosting, I tried it and quickly found that the templates/themes were limited and while still not terrible, I saw that the designs are not up to date with today's mobile devices environment. Sites made with Godaddy's builder won't look good on mobile devices. 
Wix: Wix has very high scored reviews. I didn't choose this platform because reviews mentioned the difficulty of switching template/theme. I need to try different templates while building a site, and I thought this would cause so much inconvenience. I suppose I could open multiples of free accounts while trying different templates, but still it would have been too much work. Thus, no Wix for me. Moving on. 
Weebly: I chose Weebly to put my LineScaping site content, then while doing so, actually after I completed it, I realized how limited Weebly was. Customization requires a bit of programming skills which I do no have, so I ended up spending a bit of time trying to figure out which code does what. And scripts in files didn't have programmers' comments - not enough to locate certain functions, any way. I then, soon after that, figured, no matter how much customization I would perform, the website would never look good. It will look okay, but not great. With this rigidity, so to speak, getting a paid template would not have improved the matter. I have seen the Weebly's limitations. So, after spending days to build a site, I am going to have to migrate the content to another platform (squarespace). That might be a one day task, but I need to move out of Weebly. 
SquareSpace: I chose this platform to put my content. At first, I found its structural design hard to understand as it differs a bit from other platforms, but once I became somewhat familiar with SquareSpace, I liked it better than others because this drag and drop things called "blocks" are designed so you can't screw up with layout. You can't put something in a certain spot if the whole layout won't work with it because the system won't allow it. The program itself is designed to make the site look its best. It took longer for me to figure out SquareSpace than learning other platforms, but as a whole this platform gives a good result of having good looking websites. No coding knowledge is needed on SquareSpace.  On Weebly, on the other hand, a website will suck if you don't do any coding work. 
 In any event, after all the hard work on Weebly, I concluded that I would need to migrate LineScaping site to SquareSpace because it's better in a long run. Weebly has 30 day money back policy, which runs out in one week. I must migrate it before that.
Weebly has 24 hr chat support, whereas SquareSpace's support is limited to during business hours of only weekdays.  I can easily love 24 hour support, but even 24 hr support won't keep me with Weebly because of the limited front-end customization and not so beautiful template designs.  As I said earlier, by the time you are reading this, my LineScaping site might have completed the migration to SquareSapce.
So... Goody Bye, Weebly! I will have two sites under SquareSpace. 

(This screenshot - from a site made with Weebly which I am going to stop using in the next few days as soon as migration to SqureSpace is complete. )