My Website Builder Review

So now that I’m no longer a complete amateur when it comes to technology and the internet, I figured it was time I built a website. I don’t know what I need a website for at the moment, but you never know – I might decide to have my own law firm one day. Hopefully I’ll be successful enough by then to pay professionals to get the job done.
So apparently (don’t laugh – I didn’t know this), there are tons of free website builders out there. My niece thought I was hilarious when I told her this – she says you can find anything on the internet for free, if you really want to. I figured there are probably others like me out there, maybe not as inexperienced with the internet as I am but for sure a lot have zero experience or knowledge when it comes to designing and building a website. So I decided to compare the different site builders out there and write a review – as an inexperienced “newbie”.
In the beginning, the idea of building a website looked extremely daunting. The law firm I work for have a two-man IT team. One of them told me that “it’s simple, you need a domain, a place to host the website, a designer and programmers to actually turn the design into a site. Then you need people to check that everything works in all browsers and platforms and make sure to keep track of the hosting fees, domain expiry date…”. Honestly, I lost him at “it’s simple”.
I’m guessing a ton of people like me out there are the reason why there are so many website builders that let you build a website without worrying about all that. Getting a domain, hosting your site, designing it and building it are done from one place! I’ve tried about 8 so far, I’ll probably try more since I’m officially addicted so stay tuned and if you have a site builder you think I should review let me know!

This was the first one that I tried and I was psyched that I had a working website after only a couple of hours! The entire service can be divided into two main locations – you’ve got the actual site builder, or user interface, and the dashboard.
The site builder works easily enough – you choose the design you want from a list of very pretty templates, drag items to wherever you want on your site (texts, images…etc.) and move things around to your liking. The design can be edited a bit but it’s a little hard to do or understand and you’re pretty much stuck with the templates. You can change your template at any time but you can’t really make the website your own. I’m guessing you’ll eventually find another website out there with the same exact design.
The dashboard was very annoying for me. It was hard to understand how to find all the premium options they offer and it’s stuffed with links and icons – it’s a mess! Creating pages and changing their order on the website though is very easy to do.
Overall I would give this site builder a 7 out of ten. The end result does look like a pro made your website, even if it isn’t really custom-made and unique. The only thing that kind of got on my nerves here (otherwise it would have gotten an 8) was that I kept having to go back and forth from the dashboard to the site builder.
More information on Webs can be found here: http://www.webs.com/

Ok this wasn’t originally second on my list but their website is designed so nicely that I just had to see what I could do with their service.
This website works with templates too but I have to say – their templates are beautiful! Really professionally designed! I almost wouldn’t care that the same design has probably been used by hundreds, if not thousands just like me.
The interface was very easy to use – it’s called “Drag & Drop” which means exactly what you think it means – you drag items to wherever you want them and…drop.
I was impressed with the fact that they have image effects and the fact that it’s all in one interface. Even if you want to create new pages or change their order, you don’t have to leave the builder – a small window opens inside the builder and voila!
Though you choose a template, you can still edit the way your site looks so that in the end, if you have the patience to work on it, you can have something unique.
The only thing that bugged me, and it’s not a minor thing, was that when you drag items one next to the other, you have to manually resize each item to fit into the columns whereas in other website builders this happened automatically.
Even though the end result can be an amazingly beautiful website, I still give this site builder a 7 out of ten because it takes a lot of work to get to that result and the whole idea is minimum effort.
For more info on Moonfruit, visit their website: http://www.moonfruit.com/

Drag&Drop Sites
A friend told me to try this one and it took about two seconds to figure out why.
Since the process is a little different from the others I tried (choose a template, edit website), I’ll explain how it works here:
First you fill in this form with your website’s details so if you want a website for your business, say a law firm, you give the law firm’s name, upload the logo, tagline if you have one, business field (e.g. law), photos…etc.
Then you click to continue to the next level where their site builder actually creates 6 different websites, specifically designed to match the information you provided AND incorporating your logo and the photos you uploaded. Here’s the thing – there are no templates! It builds the websites using artificial intelligence technology, from what the company says, and creates and designs your website in real time so you get a unique, non-template based site. I chose the one that looked nicest in my opinion and was shocked when I saw the entire thing – it was filled with content and photos and looked like a real law firm’s website. The website was completely full and ready to publish with no work at all on my end, although I did change the texts they provided (even though they were relevant to the business field, I changed them to something more “me”).
When I began editing the website, I was pleasantly surprised. It was like they created it with one idea in mind – anyone can do this. Seriously, if you ever used an iPhone you’ll know how to use this interface in seconds. To be honest, even without iPhone experience I would think a five year old would even get the gist of it. Everything, and I do mean everything, is in the interface – no separate windows or popups – it’s completely drag & drop and (I learned this just recently) WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)! I could also edit the entire design, from the way the background looks as an entire piece or as three separate parts (header, body, footer) or even as separate layers, to the way the menu is designed. The content was easy to edit and work with and pictures had very impressive effects – fading, black and white…etc.
Also, what really surprised me was how well the pictures I originally uploaded in the form blended in the design. The top banner was a mesh of three different pictures fading into one another together with the logo and the tagline and it looked like a designer edited it – it worked.
I also checked their claim that they create matching Facebook and mobile sites for you. The mobile site looked like a mobile version of the website I created and every change I made to the website was automatically updated to the mobile version. I didn’t check the Facebook issue since I don’t have a fan page yet but my niece said that it’s very easy to do – just take the URL and embed it into your fan page.
The only thing that was missing in my option is the plethora of items I saw other site builders had which is the reason I’m not giving it a 10. Sorry Drag&Drop Sites but you get a 9 out of ten.
Drag&Drop Sites offers a free 14 day trial before having to upgrade. You also don’t have to sign up and give your email to try out the site builder itself, only if you want to save the website you created. More information can be found here: http://dragndropsites.co.uk/homepage
Oh just another issue, Drag&Drop Sites seems to be powered by a company called EXAI Ltd. From the looks of it, they’re the artificial intelligence guys. You can find more information about them here: http://www.exai.com.

Like Moonfruit, this website impressed me with its design and overall fun feeling that seemed to ooze out of it. Like a lot of others, you choose a template, BUT that doesn’t limit you!
You can do anything, and I do mean literally anything to your website. Move things around, edit them, add animation effects (which are very impressive) and create a website that is absolutely beautiful! The only thing I couldn’t control completely was the background design which could only be changed as one piece, but this was the case everywhere else (except for Drag&Drop Sites) so it’s probably not a big deal.
Overall this is an amazing site builder, but it’s not for people without any experience whatsoever, plus its hours of work if you really want something unique. Mostly you need to have designing skills to get a good looking website or you can just stick to the template but then “unique” flies out the window. The whole experience thing plays an important part in this review since I’m looking at these as an inexperienced person with no time to waste. Because of that, I’d give it an 8 out of ten but if you do have designing skills and you have the time to play around with a website consider Wix a 10!
Wix offers a free package with their brand at the bottom of your website and a subdomain. If you want your own domain, additional features or to remove their name from your site, you have to upgrade. You can see more information here: http://www.wix.com/

This was a really cool site builder and I didn’t have to waste a lot of time editing and building to get a good looking site. The items there, though not as plentiful as Wix, were no more than I needed and the builder itself was pretty user friendly.
Overall the site builder worked nicely and was easy to understand. There’s something about the interface that bugged me though, I can’t really put my finger on it. All in all it’s a good site builder for people without site building experience who want a fast, simple website. This is a definite 7 out of ten in my opinion.
Weebly offers free services for a limited number of websites (2) after which you have to upgrade. You can see more information here: http://www.weebly.com/

That’s it!
I tried a lot of others but I didn’t really want to mention them since their scores, in my opinion, were really low and I don’t want to bash anyone. I would like to hear about any more site building technologies though, if anyone has any suggestions.

PS - writing reviews is nice, I'll think I'll do a couple of more so if anyone has suggestions - send them over!



Thank YOU Google!

I just had to share because it's one of those beautiful moments in life where you just want to savor it forever.
I was on this case, details shall remain confidential, where I was on the verge of losing. And this was one of those cases where I was actually representing a good and descent guy! So I spent the last days before the trial thinking about how we'd try to settle out of court and praying that the asshole we were suing would just get what he deserved. I'm a huge believer in Karma.
So this one night I look at this Google alert email I got for french recipes (sue me...) and I figured "hey! I should start adding alerts about my cases!"
So I put the asshole's name and my client's name and the next day I GET AN ALERT!
The asshole idiot got interviewed by his kid daughter for her blog and he talked all about the case!
Needless to say his lawyer refused to represent him if he didn't settle and we won! My client got the money he deserved and that asshole learned that Karma is unforgiving :)
So thank you Google Alerts for winning me a case and making a fool out of someone who deserved it.

Jane Out.


The Cost of Errors

What Can a Spelling or Grammar Error Cost You?

You can never proof-read a written piece too many times before submission. English grammar rules are complicated enough without having to worry about simple misspellings. With writing being the main means of communication, grammar checking software such as WhiteSmoke's all-in-one writing solution can be a huge help to everyone from students and professors to doctors and professionals.  
Errors in spelling or grammar can be costly. Aside from causing embarrassment, a misplaced comma or apostrophe can change the meaning of a sentence. Even the slightest mistake on a job application can cost a candidate his/her job. Several years ago, a lawyer lost $31,350 (as a lawyer,  I have to stop and say "OUCH!") when the judge ruled that he should not be paid in full due to overabundant typos. It’s certainly worth taking the extra moment to read over your work, or even better to scan it with a grammar checker.
However, the importance of good grammar extends beyond just paper and pen. Since The King’s Speech has been at the forefront of award season, there have been several articles published on the significance of grammar and stuttering. The movie focuses on King George VI and his stuttering problem. Having a screenwriter with a stutter, it accurately portrays many of the symptoms and difficulties of stuttering. According to an article by Pam Belluck in the New York Times, research has shown that there is a connection between stuttering and the complexity of language. In a study conducted by Dr. Anne Smith of Purdue University, children with stutters responded normally to contextual errors in speech, but did not pick up on grammatical errors.
Whether written or spoken, language can be a very powerful thing. As they say, “the pen is mightier than the sword”. Inaccuracy can cost money, jobs and speech. A spelling and grammar check is always worth it. 

This article is taken from WhiteSmoke's Scribd profile, of which I am a follower: http://www.scribd.com/karen_white_1
I just had to post it because of the lawyer thing, and because I've seen writing mistakes take their toll on others. So here's a lesson to you all :)

Jane out.


Dean Koontz - Genius

I'd like to discuss this book I'm reading. Funny that this should be the book that I read now.
So the book is called "Relentless" and for those of you who haven't read of it - GO GET THE BOOK NOW! I'm a fan of Dean Koontz, I have all his books and have never come across a book I didn't enjoy. BUT I do not recommend them all, this one however is a whole new story.
So there's this guy, a writer, who writes a book. He's funny and nice, his family is a happy family and his books are successful. Oh, he has a weird dog and a prodigy for a son.
Anyway, his latest book gets a review from a famous and mysterious (no one knows anything about him) critic and he makes a mistake.
Before you know it the critic is a psychopathic killer bent on killing the author's little kid and wife before murdering him. The story unravels beautifully and the suspense is amazing.

My point is: if any of you have anything to say and you like criticizing or putting people down, buzz off. This is one fight you can't win!

Jane out!

IPO Candidate WhiteSmoke Generates Revenue of $3.3 Million Last Quarter

Posted on GoArticles.com. See full article here

IPO Candidate WhiteSmoke Generates Revenue of $3.3 Million Last Quarter
By Katherine Belle

WhiteSmoke Inc., an English writing and translation software company seeking to go public in the U.S., published their latest numbers from quarter 1 of 2011 in the company's latest initial public offering prospectus on Monday, June 27th, 2011. The company offering is being underwritten by Rodman & Renshaw LLC and EarlyBirdCapital Inc., popular companies in the IPO scene.
WhiteSmoke has applied for Nasdaq listing under the ticker symbol “WHSM” while targeting the Education, Government and Business markets, all showing a growing demand for what this small hi-tech company offers. WhiteSmoke Inc. claims in their prospectus that though there are other companies they consider competitors in similar markets, they have yet to see anything similar to or at the level of their own solution. The Education, Government and Business markets are huge, and with the statistics in the “Industry” section of their prospectus showing the growing need for English as a common language on a worldwide scale, it seems this company has a bright future ahead of them.
The company has developed a PC solution that corrects grammar, spelling, style, punctuation and structure errors in texts as well as translates full texts and single words to and from nine languages. In addition, their product includes a Templates tab allowing the user to choose from a multitude of letter templates for instant use. A Mac version identical to their current PC version will be available by the end of this fiscal year. Also predicted to be launched by the end of this year is the WhiteSmoke Facebook application. In addition, applications for iPhone, iPad and Android are predicted to be launched by the end of 2012.
WhiteSmoke Inc., mentioned Monday that additional funding is needed to finance operations for the next 12 months. Evolution Venture Capital Fund, investors of WhiteSmoke Inc., have told the company that they are willing to provide the company with funding they require.
In addition to their flagship product, WhiteSmoke Writer, the company also offers a free trial version available for download together with toolbar applications from third-party monetization companies. Since the launch of this free product last year, it has become a huge revenue source for the company.
WhiteSmoke generated a total revenue of $3.3 million last quarter, a substantial grown from less than $1 million the year before and expect to continue to grow their operations by opening offices and hiring personnel worldwide.


English Lessons = Higher Employment Ratios?

Spain Increases English Lessons to Decrease Unemployment

Author: Katherine Belle

Spain Increases English Lessons to Decrease Unemployment

Spain currently has an unemployment rate of about 20%, which is twice as high as the European average. According to the New York Times, more and more Spaniards are searching for employment opportunities abroad. Unfortunately, many are experiencing difficulties due to poor foreign language skills, specifically their lack of knowledge of basic English. Many adults are returning to school to learn or improve their English or another foreign language.

While the current job seekers are having a hard time because of language barriers outside of Spain, education reforms are being made to ensure that future generations will not encounter such troubles. A third of Madrid's primary schools are bilingual, and by 2015 they are hoping at least half of the schools will be teaching more languages. In addition,  more and more schools have begun employing English speaking teachers.

Spain has a long way to go because in addition to struggling with vocabulary and pronunciation, even the campaign has poor grammar. The campaign to promote bilingual education boasts the slogan "Yes, we want!". Richard Vaughan, owner of Vaughn Systems, an English teaching company, estimates that less than five percent of graduates of engineering, law or business have even a working knowledge of English.

A useful tool to help improve one's English is WhiteSmoke Software. WhiteSmoke works with hi-end technology based on both statistical algorithms and NLP, or Natural Language Processing. This allows the software to actually learn how the human mind works when it comes to writing and better understand how to correct your mistakes. In addition, WhiteSmoke 2011 includes a full-text translator that allows you to translate to 9 different languages and a multilingual dictionary that translates single words and gives you usage examples of every word you translate, allowing you to see how your translated word is used in a sentence.  For those who want to improve their English, a Writing Review feature is available as well. The Writing Review gives you a detailed score of your original text with personalized improvement tips. WhiteSmoke 2011 with the WhiteSmoke Translator is a fantastic tool for those looking to improve their English.


Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/economics-articles/spain-increases-english-lessons-to-decrease-unemployment-4898319.html

About the Author

I'm an artist - I love making Jewelry and sculpting, which is what I do for a living. Another passion of mine is writing and literature - I'm obsessed with the English language (although I must say I love speaking Italian).


Thumbs Up on the Virtual Google API Rally!

Just wanted to give my "thumbs up" on That Girl Co's virtual Google rally!
I'm not really affected by this but my brother is and he's kind of disappointed with the Microsoft alternative. He's trying out WhiteSmoke Translator now, but he needs Hindu which they don't have so - yay for the Google API Rally!


Kudos to That Girl Co