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By Rich Karpinski

Why isn't it easier to build a straightforward, small business Web site?

There's plenty of software to construct a blog -- which is basically a Web site of course -- that is easy to construct, a breeze to update and includes no end of bells and whistles.

But try to build a nice, simple site introducing your product or service to new customers and suddenly you're diving into HTML books, relying on a cookie-cutter services or paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars to have a site built for you.

There's Got To Be a Better Way

There is. A handful of Web-based services are now available that let you build a legitimate small business Web site, including Homestead, Yahoo Web hosting and Microsoft Office Live.

But today, I wanted to take a look at a particularly slick new service that I ran across this weekend: Weebly.

I think it just might have the right mix of tools and price (free) to get any small business started with a Web site to support their operations.

What makes Weebly worthwhile?

Let us count the ways:

1. Simple Start - Once you've signed up, you're greeted with a simple form to name your site. You can start with a name.weebly.com address or go right to a custom URL. Domain registration is one of the most confusing aspects of starting a new site. Weebly makes it easy.


Start a site quickly, even add a custom domain (click to enlarge)


2. Sharp Designs - Most site creation services let you choose among templates. Weebly offers a nice mix of options, with a slick interface that lets you preview them before you make your choice.


Choose a design and drag to implement (click to enlarge)


3. Easy Editing - While WYSIWYG HTML editors flourished for a while, the trend lately has been to give more control back to Web site designers. But that, unfortunately, leaves us non-designers behind. Weebly cuts the difference by making page design and the addition of page elements an easy drag-and-drop function.


Start building pages right away, drag and drop style (click to enlarge)


4. Useful Goodies - Most basic site builders leave out the good stuff. Weebly doesn't. You can easily add YouTube or Google videos, insert ads, build a Flickr image library or deliver an integrated blog or RSS feed. Nice.


Add bells and whistles like video, pics, blogs and ads (click to enlarge)


For its nice mix of features, sharp design features and great price (free, even for a custom domain), Weebly is work a close look.



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