Value Websites have been working with the Weebly content management platform since 2006. We're still working with it because, despite all it's improvements and developments, it remains a very intuitive and easy to use website editor and development platform.
Having said, that I regularly work with Kiwis who have problems with their Weebly website. In this news post I isolate three common problems I have encountered.
Unfamiliarity with the wide range of design and content elements that are available to Weebly users. Back in 2006 the Weebly elements provided were few and basic. With the development of content management systems (like Weebly's) CMS developers had to keep up with the field and keep providing new options. I believe Weebly have done this well, while keeping the system as easy to use and intuitive as possible. However, for amateur users, the degree of sophistication available can feel intimidating and difficult to grasp. Today, to get the most out of Weebly, users are well-advised to seek help from experienced Weebly designers who know the system and who in a short time can edit or improve a website. My advice to many Weebly users has been to have a tutorial of two with us, develop your website content and come back and ask Value Websites to tweak it. While the outcome will be that you spend a little, the result will be an attractive and functional website.
Not using the search engine optimisation (SEO) feature built into the Weebly system. When incorporating an image into your web pages describe it in the image tag option. E.g. the image below has the image tag, "Value Websites offers you a FREE no obligation consultation". This was inserted in the advanced features section of the image options. The website as a whole and each page has options to describe the page content via Title, Description and Keyword tags. Help the Search Engine Bots do their work by making it easy for them and by accurately describing what you are trying to communicate. Completing this exercise can help you to stay focussed and say what you want and need to say to get visitors to your web pages.
Have as much control over your website as possible. Maintaining contact with your designer, or insisting that they keep contact with you is an important thing to do. Having ownership and control of your domain name is essential - some designers will look after your domain on their account. In effect they own it not you as you might expect! I have been aware of great difficulties and conflicts arising from this. With the passage of time we humans forget things, including logins and passwords, and paying bills which sometimes will go to no longer active email addresses. Within Weebly some sites have been built on the Designer Platform by web designers. These websites can become problematic if good relationship and contact does not exist between designer and client. Weebly bills the designer for these platforms. And the designer bills the client. What happens when the designer does not pay the bill, possibly continuing to bill the client? The site gets downgraded, if not lost. It can be a messy situation. Some so-called web designers have set up Weebly designer platforms as a money making endeavour and then moved on to other pursuits forgeting that they have clients very dependent on them. Weebly will rightly refer clients on such platforms to the designer with whom Weebly deals. Not surprising that there has been some bad press for Weebly about this. At its best this has been a valuable service; at its worst it is a service to be wary of.
As the image at the top of this page suggests, Weebly is, "The easiest way to create a website". I firmly believe this to be true. However, with all truth there are challenges that can work towards undermining that truth. Let's keep aware of the challenges and keep on top of the issues. That way our website experience will be pleasant and profitable.
Owner and Manager
Christchurch and Canterbury business Precision Kerbing have been operating their Value-Websites-Designed-and-Built Weebly website since December 2015 - just six months. While we have been aware that the addition of the website has been a useful marketing tool for this business, it was pleasing this week to get the following endorsement from owner/manager Paul Diver,
Hi Terry we have just completed a review of our kerbing business to find that since we have had our website up and running we have reached new heights. We have had a lot of inquiries due to the website. We now ask people how they found us and pleasing to say most from the website, with one inquiry saying it was the most professional site in kerbing. I would like to say thankyou for the time and effort that you gave me in achieving the growth of the business.
Which image represents the way you collaborate and network as a self-employed or freelance worker?
A recent blog article from the Weebly Inspiration Centre challenged me to think about how I network as a freelance web designer. In summary the article offered the five challenges summarised in this extract from the article.
The number of self-employed and freelance workers is growing every day. But working alone isn't always easy. How do you maintain the relationships and collaboration that comes with a physical workplace?
I have to confess to some disquiet as compare my work style with what might be gained from good networking as suggested in the article. At best my networking attempts are relatively disorganised and spasmodic. I attempt to maintain regular and supportive communication with clients present and past, but I could do far better in relation to professional colleagues. As a generalist I tend to have a go at most things when some of them would be better contracted out to others more qualified. As a relative introvert I am not afraid of my own company as a worker, but I recognise that the stimulation offered by (net)working alongside others is important for creativity and motivation.
Having said that, I have recently connected with another web media and design professional with complementary strengths in our fields who lives in a nearby city. We have agreed to consult and cover for one another as the need arises, and to keep in touch. A liberating step forward and a challenge to take more seriously the challenged raised by the Weebly blog article.
Terry Alve - Value Websites Limited