For companies looking to put together a Web presence quickly and cost-effectively, Yahoo Inc.s SiteBuilder 1.0 Web authoring tool and Web hosting services offer a good combination of software and services.
Web hosting services Yahoos SiteBuilder 1.0 provides a well-designed Web authoring tool specific to Yahoos Web hosting services. The software makes it easy to integrate a number of Yahoo-specific services. The main benefit of using the tools is the speed and simplicity with which companies will be able to create a business Web site and manage content updates. SiteBuilder can be downloaded free from webhosting.yahoo.com; service prices range from $11.95 per month for Business Starter to $39.95 for Business Professional.
EVALUATION SHORT LIST
SiteBuilder is a free download from webhosting.yahoo.com. Hosting prices start at $11.95 per month for the Business Starter package, the least expensive of three basic services. The highest-priced option, Business Professional, costs $39.95 per month, and additional features, such as storage space, are available a la carte.
We found the most impressive features to be those that integrate other Yahoo services, including Yahoo Messenger and Yahoo Maps, with drag-and-drop ease. Although adding instant messaging presence awareness to Web-based applications isnt a novel idea, many IM software providers would be envious of the simplicity of SiteBuilders implementation.
Most of the services will help companies provide better information to customers or, as with the case of Yahoo Messenger, provide real-time customer service. The downside, of course, is that integration is limited to the Yahoo-specific services, including Maps, Directions and Search.
The $19.95-per-month Business Standard and Business Professional services deliver the broadest range of features, including PHP/MySQL, Perl and group calendaring. All the services include e-mail accounts, domain name registration and subdomains.
As a site-editing tool, SiteBuilder has a number of features that worked well in testing and sped creation of content, including grid positioning, a navigation bar editor and an interface that allowed easy editing of multipage sites.
The content and site management features also made it easy to create and update the site during tests. We could easily work on the site offline and publish offline or update the content via one-button publishing. The multipage management features helped organize graphic elements in subfolders as well.
Another nice feature of the software is its broad range of templates—more than 200, based on about two dozen themes. The templates include a decent range of clip art within the themes. These templates have the design essentials for creating a decent home page. Each template includes standard, proven design elements to pitch prospective visitors to the site, such as a "Whats New" text box.
However, the templates are really only enough to get someone started building a site. We would like a broader range of templates for deeper pages within a site, such as in-depth product- or services-focused pages, as well as contact pages within the template themes.
Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.