I came across Weebly while reading some blog posting and recalled a conversation that I had recently with Jennifer Lee, the owner of A Doggone Good Life. Jen was a great program manager with a client of mine years back and is now a very happy entrepreneur pursuing her dream.
Jen and I were talking about some web-business ideas things, so when I read about Weebly and the professed ease with which one is able to create new websites, I had to give it a shot. After all, I've used web-site builders over the years. My general take-away is that they all sucked, sucked, sucked.
I tried Word to HTML generation (puke). I tried PDF to web-site generators (retch). I tried WYSIWYG generators (pain). I tried 1and1.com website builder (oh, boring ick). I tried NetObjects (workable, but still a PITA) and ColdFusion (there's a tool, but you need to be a serious web-head to make something worth while). The best was still coding a site by hand (slow and painful to revise) until one added some code generation (PHP, which apparently means "Powerful; Help Please") and Ruby on Rails (rocks).
The technically-light web entreprenuer does not want to learn coding paradigms, so out go PHP, ROR, ColdFusion, etc. What's left is for them to hire a company ($$) and pay them to maintain the site ($$$) or hire some full time staff ($$$$).
Nope, no more. Weebly makes very attractive and highly functional websites. SEO goodness, tags, sub-pages, custom HTML (for your easy shopping-cart functionality with PayPal). Also available are two-column layouts, YouTube, Flickr, Google Maps, forums, audio, a scheduler for your service-based organization, Google Adsense and Analytics, and an API to build custom widgets which your users can use on their Weebly sites.
There's enough serious good stuff that doesn't require a deep engineering background to grock to make me say, "Weebly is a great start".
Plus, Weebly will give you a FREE subdomain, or let you purchase a domain from them, or even let you use your existing domain (They even have instructions to point your domain from GoDaddy or 1and1 to their servers).
Oh, and let's mention that you can get started with a real website, e-commerce capable, with a blog and everything for FREE. Yes. Free. As in "you do not have to pay anything ever". They make their money on the premium services. And, the upgrade to Pro wasn't expensive. Something like $5 per month. Seriously, that's way cheep.
Check it out. I fast forwarded myself many years into the future and built a fantasy website called "Doggie Heaven" that I may actually do some day in the far, far future. I added some e-commerce functionality (don't actually buy anything, OK?) and a blog in only a few minutes.
There are a bunch of very servicable templates and I love the way elements are dragged and dropped onto the page for layout.
Very impressive, congratulations Weebly.