SnapPages: a Good Deal?
I read a LOT of blogs and web pages every day. One of the things I'm drawn to, of course, are the websites of other designers and design companies. I probably check out too many...it could be considered a sickness.
One of the reasons I look at them is to make sure that I'm offering the best products and service that I can. Since a well-known internet newsletter just recommended SnapPages, I thought I'd check them out. They offer web hosting with a website builder that's really easy to use. They have lots of cool widgets that anybody could add to their website to make it cooler than usual. Sites built with SnapPages seem to look pretty nice.
The verdict? Not Smart.
Why not? Simple: an effective website is more than pretty pictures and neato widgets. The purpose of most websites is to serve the needs of the organization it represents...and, most of the time, that means bringing in visitors. Because that's true, the first consideration when making a website isn't the easy Google Maps integration (it's not that hard normally anyway)...it's the CODE.
An average website with bad code is almost invisible to people searching for what they offer, and an average website with good code can show up on the first page. Yes, a nice design and fun stuff on a website will keep visitors around longer...but you have to get them there first. Unfortunately, while SnapPages makes it easy to make a website, they also make it easy to make a BAD website.
The first thing I do when checking out a site is - of course - notice the layout and graphics. If it looks decent, I then view the HTML code underneath the design to see how effective it will be at bringing in visitors. SnapPages gave several examples of good websites, and the first one I looked at showed the crucial flaw in their system: the code doesn't validate. As history shows, valid and semantic XHTML + CSS is the best way to bring in visitors.
Individuals looking for an inexpensive way onto the web should like SnapPages. Organizations looking for results should run away from companies like SnapPages as quickly as possible. I'm not putting them down...they fill a necessary niche on the web. I have no problem with SnapPages at all.
You, however, deserve better.