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|Category:||Web / Internet|
|Product:||Mr. Site Takeaway website|
Mr Site Takeaway Website Beginner - In this age of convenience, a Takeaway Website is inevitable. Gary Wolstenholme takes a look to see if the free prawn crackers are actually any good.
- Internet Explorer 7
- Firefox 2 or above
- Safari 2 or above
A website is a popular way for displaying your photographic works. Whether it's just to share your images with friend, family and the world or if you have more professional aspirations, a website can be a valuable tool for promoting yourself and your work.
The problem for many lies in the daunting world of html code, file transfer protocols and finding out that Java scripts are not acted out over a coffee. Mr Site's Takeaway Website product aims to take the difficulty out of creating your own space on the web by providing browser-based step-by-step instructions. Some useful bits of freeware software are also included on the enclosed disk.
Mr Site Takeaway Website Beginner: In Use
To begin, you will need to visit the Mr Site activation page and copy across the details on the activation card provided. This activation number then becomes your password for logging into the Mr Site editor. Once you've registered your details, you then need to choose a domain name. A dot com or dot net domain is included in the price of the Mr Site package. For the purposes of the review I chose musicmusicphoto.com as I thought I'd place some of my recent music images online.
After entering your domain you'll need to wait five minutes for the registration to complete. Mr Site provides a stern warning and asks you to tick a box to say you agree not to click anything for at least five minutes. The tension was getting to me, so I had to put the kettle on at this point. Luckily for me, musicmusicphoto.com was available, so all passed smoothly without a hitch and I was presented with a pleasing 'success' screen.
Mr Site then analyses your computer to ensure it meets the minimum system requirements. As I've grown to love Google Chrome, and I have Cookies disabled, I was then presented with a less pleasing 'fail' screen. Seems like a trip back to Firefox is on the cards for me then, but even then Mr Site isn't happy. I need to upgrade my installed version of flash, and disable my pop-up blocker. I can't say I'm all that happy about disabling that feature of my browser to be honest. To be fair, this is due to my awkwardness with my choice of browser, the ones supported will cover most people's choice of browser.
Finally after upgrading and disabling things I managed to get through to the design console, which appears to provide six simple steps to complete your webpage. First, a choice must be made from over 100 pre-made templates. The choice can be daunting in itself, and many look very much like the standard templates available in Wordpress.
Wordpress is free, and widely used, so the chances of finding a similar-looking site are quite high. Although this issue is inevitable with template-based web packages, I did hope for a little better here. The menu position for each theme can be placed at the left, to the right or at the top of the page.
The next step is to add extra pages to your site and to change your site's title. Mapping out how you would like your site to navigate on a separate piece of paper will help to save any error here. Your site title can only be up to forty characters, which keeps things short and sweet, but could be deemed a little stingy if you wanted to put your name in there as well – for example, 'MusicMusicPhoto – Photographs by Gary Wolstenholme' just won't fit.
Now to change the content in each page. Two main options are provided, Simple is a plain text editor with an option to upload an image at the end and Creative gives you the ability to change the style of the text and add images, videos and all sorts of other web-based goodness. For the purpose of the review I completed the homepage using the Simple editor, and the rest with the Creative one.
The Simple editor is as basic as basic can be. You can only enter unformatted text and images can only be added in line with the text. Download links can also be added, which could be useful if you have original music or files to share. Unfortunately this feature does not work on the site I created.
As you would expect, the Creative editor provides many more options for customising the content of your webpage. On the review website I have created an image gallery using the built-in tool. The gallery editor is located in the Extras menu and provides a simple way to upload a group of images at once with titles and a description.
This then creates a completely new webpage with thumbnails that can be clicked to see a larger version, which opens in an impressive full-screen slideshow. I like this feature a lot, except for the option to add a watermark of your web address to the images. Although the watermark is very secure, it almost completely obliterates the image it's protecting. I would prefer to add my own using software that is less intrusive.
Publishing your site is simple and the results can be viewed in seconds. The domain I had registered at the beginning was already working by the time I had completed the design process, which in all took me about an hour. If you ever get stuck with a particular feature the CD-ROM provided has easy-to-follow video tutorials that cover most of the major features.
Mr Site Takeaway Website Beginner: Verdict
Those who have neither the time, inclination or necessary know-how to build their own personal website will find this product a simple and straightforward way to create their own presence on the web.
Price-wise, this product isn't bad either. Other features include a web-shop, an MP3 jukebox, contact form, guest book, a blogging system and a basic forum, which at £19.99 to start with and £1.69 a month thereafter you do get quite a lot of features for your money. On the other hand though, you do only get 75Mb of space, which is more than enough for a basic website, but you may need to purchase extra space if you wish to use any of the more advanced features.
Simple, browser-based interface.
Plenty of features to customise content.
Creative editor has plenty of tools available.
Mr Site Takeaway Website Beginner: Minus points:
Themes look a lot like other website themes.
Pop-up blockers must be disabled.
75Mb webspace may not be enough if advanced features are required.
Mr. SiteTakeaway Website Beginner