Remember the days of Geocities and Angelfire? Maybe, you don’t. But I have nostalgic memories of using Geocities to create a website to share with friends. That was a looong time ago. So, when I got a chance to review a new free website builder called Ucoz, I took the opportunity to assess the current market.
Kids today are all about Facebook and their “walls”. Compared to the days of Geocities – when we actually had to learn a few html codes -the social networking scene today is much more dumbed down. Socializing on the net used to educational! [/rant] Due to Facebook’s popularity, I thought all the website builders disappeared. I was wrong.
Whereas Geocities and Angelfire back in the day targeted youths, the website builders today target small businesses, realtors, and bloggers. The target market obviously had to change given the explosion of the social networking sites.
I spent a few hours signing up and looking around Ucoz.com. At first, it was very confusing. It took a while to figure out what’s what. And after a few hours? I’m still confused. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I know a thing or two about website making, and I was lost.
I understood what each page did once I got there, but the main problem was the control panel interface. It is not intuitive at all. Ucoz is based on different modules that you can install and uninstall. It’s got everything in there from blogging system to forum to photo album. As a user, you just need to take a long time to familiarize yourself with the UI. It feels like a powerful system, but things are all over the place.
I don’t recommend it to novice web masters. Once you get the hang of it, you should be able to incorporate various contents into your site. For example, you can easily add in a Twitter feed or Youtube or Picasa photos. Shopping mall and Google map integrations are also possible.
Overall, Ucoz is a powerful free website builder that needs to be streamlined.
It seems Angelfire is still alive at angelfire.com. It had the same core business continuing for all these years. Check it out if you’re interested. There are other ones, too. I hadn’t heard about these, but a brief glance through their sites indicates there are some good free services to be had. Wix.com, for example, looks like a good place to build yourself a flash website. Also try weebly.com, webs.com, jimdo.com if you’re looking to make a website for your small business or just a personal website.
How do these companies make money? Some have paid add-ons (ex. PHP) and others have tiered service plans that allow you to use more bandwith/storage etc.