Monday, December 01, 2008

Great Website Building Tool:

I've been meaning to post something on the free Web-based website-building tool Weebly because I find that I use it for something at least a couple of times a week. I personally have about 10 websites that I've created there that are in various stages of deployment. I find it particularly amazing that I can purchase a domain name (I use GoDaddy but you can get them through Weebly as well) and then have a site up with that domain name in about 10 minutes.

Of course, then the tweaking of the site begins, but it's the lack of a real barrier to entry that allows me to feel experimental. As Clay Shirky says (paraphrasing): when failure is (almost) free, you try a lot more things! And this is how I like to work--get it up fast, get feedback, and make it better.

When a project won't necessarily benefit from user collaboration, instead of using Wikispaces or Ning, I now use Weebly. I created a private Weebly site for my daughter's soccer team, which I coach, and it was super-easy to posts practice and game information, maps, and other material and not to have to worry about communicating with everyone. I have also used it for my new project, I used Weebly for the landing page, which then handily links to the associated wiki and Ning sites. This allowed me to get the project started in a matter of hours, and when the site needs more sophistication, I can graduate to something appropriately more complex.

(I also love using customized prefixes to keep everything related. "" is the Weebly site. "" is the Ning site. And "" is the wiki.)

More and more, as the tools become easier and cheaper, it seems to me that the value proposition of a project is no longer primarily the ability to create a revenue stream model in advance that will overcome the financial hurdles to creation (that's a mouthful); but rather the ability to quickly and easily gather an audience--and if the goal is commercial, working with that audience to find authentic services that they want you to provide.

Here's an "infommercial"-like video on Weebly that gives a pretty good sense of what it can do.