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Xara web designer

Xara Web Designer

If you want to get a website online fast, there are over a dozen services, that can do that, and many of them are free. We’ve used the free versions of “WordPress” and “Yola” to create web sites. Friends have raved about Weebly for producing new sites, so we tried it and must agree, it’s very nice; it’s also free.

Weebly starts by asking if you want a website, a blog or a store. If you’re torn between choosing website or blog, here’s a good rule of thumb: Blogs normally change daily, with new posts coming in all the time. They’re typically for news sites; an organization or company would most likely prefer a regular website.

Sites created with Weebly can also be hosted on the web for free as long as you don’t mind having “Weebly” in the website address. There are hundreds of designs already available but if you don’t see anything you like, companies, such as DivTagTemplates.com, offer templates for $20 each, with advanced features like support for touch screen computers and tablets.

Online services like Weebly have one huge advantage over traditional website-building programs. They let you edit your site from any computer or smart phone, wherever you are and can connect to the Internet. You can also assign site editing to someone else without the purchase of additional software.

If you want more features than an online service offers, however, we’d recommend Xara Web Designer 10, $50 for Windows from Xara.com. It comes with free web hosting and the ability to make your site compatible with touch screen computers, tablets and phones. It’s easy to use, and starts with a template you can alter. Changing theme colors throughout the site is as easy as clicking on a color strip along the bottom of the screen.

Some of Xara’s special effects, like the ability to zoom into an image, are quite impressive, the kind of thing we see at big sites like Amazon. You can create a one-page “super site” for users who want to keep scrolling or swiping down the page without leaving it. Also nice: You can embed your Instagram photos in a gallery and make the pictures fade in and out as the user clicks on a button. Don’t go nuts with this; we’d stop short at making your website’s pages spin around as you go from one to another.

How long does it all take? In general you can create your own web site and be up and running in about a half hour. The more features you try to pump in of course, the longer it will take.

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