This topic began elsewhere
under a somewhat confusing subject line. I suggested bringing it out
differently in this post. In the course of discussion, SmartSites sent
me a link to the product`s home page, and I tried out the overall
process. Here`s what I wrote in the other thread:
who`ve been wondering, here`s a synopsis:
This product is very similar to the way you would use SiteBuilder or
another tool, offered by the hosting service when you sign up for a
domain name. In those situations, you first buy a domain, then host it
somewhere (Yahoo!, GoDaddy, etc.), and then you have some options.
One option is to use an editor like Nvu to create pages, then upload
your pages and images to various folders and subfolders. Another option
is to use some sort of template-and-editing tool provided by the host
service. There, you have more or less freedom to create content, place
it, and modify the underlying code.
What SmartSites has done is to separate the template tool entirely,
setting it up as a generic online building tool. It`s geared toward the
beginner, but does allow you to see the underlying HTML code and edit
It reminds me a lot of WordPress. When you first start a blog (the
online version), you don`t have to know anything. You pick a template,
fill in some forms, and start writing your content. Then, as you get
more comfortable with the user interface and environment, you can
customize with widgets and other options.
From my short tour SmartSites` application, the only thing I couldn`t
see were the actual folders. I`m supposing those could be presented for
anyone who needed them, but it`s not that important.
So: The question from the start of this topic is where and how to sell
an application that allows a customer not all that familiar with Web
site development, to build a very nice looking site.
The main benefit is the independence from from a large, commercial
hosting system. You`re not constrained by whatever Yahoo! says you have
to do. You have more freedom to move things around. Not total freedom,
but more than with those turnkey sites.
The second major benefit is to build a site WITHOUT a domain! You`re
given an address, space on the server, and a URL, but you don`t have to
have a domain yet. That`s really a nice feature! You can build the
site, mess with it, and ask for various customizations, all without
going live! You`re visible to the world at large, but more like a blog than a Web site at that moment.
When you have what you want, THEN you can move the whole
thing to wherever, or leave it where it is and have SmartSites host the domain. At that
point, you can also change the URL to your domain.com name.
I suspect this is going to have to be a viral marketing issue, with
word of mouth being the central promotional means. To that end, the
first step is to have just a little bit more informaiton on the main
page, then start marketing that URL. That could be done here on SuN,
through the "Marketplace," in your profile, and in various threads and
Join other forums, as they come along. Build a Squidoo lens, and keep
that active. Put together a WordPress blog, and use it to discuss
solutions and alternatives to problems people have with other hosting
service template builders. Those are my initial thoughts.
Given all the people looking for a better option to build their own
sites, as well as the professional developers who might want to use a
way to quickly handle small jobs, it seems to me this system would be a
really excellent solution.
I`m hoping we can get some other opinions in this thread. :-)