* Prices may differ from that shown
I think it's a safe to say that the vast majority of people reading this like the idea of having your own website. I'm sure most of you have spotted Mr Site either online or in your local PC World or Staples store and have pondered over the idea of buying it.
The concept of having a 'take-away website' is always going to appeal to those who don't know how to create their own website, or how to setup a site from the ground up. But does it live up to its 'out of the box' claims?
As a full-time graphic, web and multi-media designer I can help simplify this for you without head implosions brought on by jargon overload! I will explain in basic terms the pros and cons:
Mr Site is a multi-operating system and cross-browser web development suite - which means it will work on any computer running any of the popular web browsers and provides all the 'basics' you need to put your vision onto the web. From buying and setting a domain name (website name), to hosting (having somewhere to put your site once its created), SEO abilities (features that allow search engines to find your website), eCommerce solutions (abilities to setup an online payment system to sell products or services online), web statistics (charts and graphs to show you how many people are visiting your site and where they found you) to actually planning and constructing basic pages and publishing them to the world-wide-web.
If you've got an original idea for a site and you're looking to create a fully integrated web 2.0. 'modern' website you are going to find it impossible to design a website like this using Mr Site.
If you want to create a basic personal website, or offer a simplified website that sells a service, such as design, photography, construction, financial etc, or if you create your own clothing, jewellery and arts & craft items and want to sell small amounts of your products online, this is a good introduction to self-publishing and promoting your product or service via the web.
A great use of such a website creation tool for DooYoo members (who this review is originally aimed at) is to combine your interest in learning web development basics with your interest in creative writing. This will allow you to move from being a 'random reviewer' to having your own web presence (i.e. yourname.com website) to promote yourself, additional services that you offer, along with a central online hub to host your creative writing and reviewing portfolio that you have built up during your time on DooYoo.
But, DooYoo get what you pay for? Quite simply - yes! The average web-design company will charge you in the region of £500-£1,500 for an entry level website with standard eCommerce and payment gateways, so paying between £20-£100 for this software means you won't ever get the same quality or functionality as a 'real' website, but a 'draft' version to work with until you can afford to pay someone to do a much better job than a Mr Site user could create. The quality of design and user integration that Mr Site offers is extremely low quality and very dated in terms of design and interaction. If you're expecting to throw together the next DooYoo, or iTunes, stop reading this review immediately as Mr Site is nowhere near the standard of software that you require.
A major issue to note when contemplating the question "Is Mr Site for you?", bear in mind that it may cost £20 for a beginners package, £35 for a standard package and £100 for a 'professional' package - these prices are 'subscription' based! If you buy the 'professional' package you need to pay another £100 a year later, which is up to £8 per month, depending on the package you choose. For this price you could invest in an online web-based site editor that is common in some hosting web packages!
What do you get for your money? Each package includes:
* A domain (website.com) name
* A maximum of 5 web pages that can be created using the beginner package, 50 with the standard and 99 with the professional version.
* Up to 5 email addresses are included in the beginner package, 20 for the standard and 50 for the professional.
* 75MB web space (online storage for your website content - pages, images, videos, databases etc) for the beginner package, 150MB with the standard and 600MB for professional packages.
* 2GB bandwidth (how much visitors are allowed to download/view your website content) for both beginner and standard packages, whereas the pro packages offers unlimited bandwidth.
The above is what most basic website developers are mostly concerned with. All packages offer a reasonable amount of web space, email addresses and bandwidth to get you started. The main issue is how many pages Mr Site will let you create with the software program. Before deciding which package is best for your needs, you need to work out on paper, how many pages you think you may need to create on launch and how many pages you may need to add in 4-5 months time. This rule of thumb is a good estimated guide on deciding on a package. If for example, you only need a few pages online by next week, but in a month or twos time you may need 20+ more, then it's best if you planned ahead. Making mental notes with a pen and paper will save you time, money and stress in the future!
Another factor on deciding which package is good for you, or if Mr Site is something you should even consider is the SEO functions (Search Engine Optimization - how well your website, once created, can be found by others). A beginner and standard package owner will be restricted in what SEO features they are able to access with their Mr Site package. META tags (descriptive words embedded in HTML code that are used with search engines to help locate a website) and Google analytics are provided with all packages, but this is all you will get if you've chosen to opt for the beginner or standard versions. Professional package owners will get additional SEO bonuses provided by Mr Site that allows you to improve your page and image tagging, including site maps (a list of every page on your website) that makes it much easier for search engines to find your website.
Are you going to sell items or take payments for a service online? If yes, then you are provided with a PayPal ready online shop and layout editor. How many items or servies are you going to be selling? The beginner packages includes 1 shop page (all versions can have up to 99 item listings per page), the standard package 49 shop pages and the professional package can create up to 98 shop pages. If you are offering a number of design services, for example, all you will really need is one page, but if you are selling multiple products, then you need consider standard or professional. With the professional package you get a lot more eCommerce features included such as stock control, so you can keep note of how many items you have left of a certain product and be notified via email when you need to create, or buy, more items in advance.
Statistics are a major asset to any website and Mr Site provides all packages with basic visitor statistics, so you are able to find out how many people are viewing your site and to help you highlight problem areas where visitors leave your site. The professional package offers slightly more detailed statistics such as informing you what browsers a visitor is using, what operating system they are using and how a person found your website.
Mr Site also provides all packages with various additional features and add-ons, such as guest books, music players, photo gallery, forums, contact forms, mailing lists, plus options to password some of your web pages (good if you run a service and offer clients restricted access to work before payments etc) and a number of widgets (drag-and-drop, pre-made applications) which allow you to add clocks and maps to your site.
Mr Conclusion...the Mr Site packages offer you the very basics in website creation. The design outcomes and overall features are not up-to-scratch with modern web development, but it is enough to introduce a complete novice to the art of web design. The software is technically basic, yet easy to understand, but the main selling point of Mr Site is a simple one-stop-shop for someone who has never created a website before. You need to consider not only the software that allows you to create the site, but the domain name, web hosting, search engine optimization, website statistics and eCommerce features. These features are the main selling points of Mr Site.
If budget is a problem and you feel confident of putting your plans into action, Mr Site is a decent entry-level, quick-fix solution to test the waters for the first time. However, don't be surprised if you soon outgrow your needs and are required to spend more money in upgrading your website once you are familiar with the basics of web design and development.
(I paid £29.99 for it new. This allows one year's usage including web space. If you want to carry on using it thereafter the charge is an ongoing £2.90 per month)
I am a complete web site building novice so was attracted to the Mr Site Takeaway Web Site.
Initially I was very optimistic about creating a web site customised to my own needs and it being easy but when I got into the nitty gritty in my opinion I found that what I could do regarding text formatting and inserting banner ads was very restrictive.
For example I was told by the 0870 prefix calls charged for help line that there was no way of getting text to scroll or be animated using the software but maybe I could get it to do this if I inserted my own HTML code. This was no use to me because I know nothing about HTML.
Similarly banner advertising in some forms of code could go on my page but in others couldn't.
The instruction manual didn't cover everything that the software could do and some things that were covered were explained too vaguely so I had to phone the help line. I spent about £15 on help line calls over a 10 day period.
I also had an issue with the time it was taking to "publish" my web site after uploading any changes. I had a 60 page web site and it took over 2 1/2 minutes each time purely because of the number of pages I had.
In the end I gave up trying to make a web site using Mr Site because I found it too time consuming, too restrictive for my needs and that the help line was costing me too much money in phone charges.
The software may well be suitable for many people but as a total Web Site building novice I found it cumbersome and not easy to use at all.
This review is also posted on www.ciao.co.uk
under my user name bella6789
To learn the basics of web design can take a long time,and the process of developing a site can take hours,if not days of work.Mr Site is great as you cancan have a professional looking site up and running in no time.Loads of templates to choose from and the usual extras are included which you would associate with much more expensive packages - you can even add your own html if you so wish.My only complaint is it takes a little time to get used to some of the features,and the user manual is not as detailed as i would have liked.But there are online forums which can answer any questions you have.In conclusion a great package for just £17.99 which includes you dot.com name and hosting for a year
Web Design can be an incredibly daunting process - i've got a Masters degree in Design for Digital Media - and i'm still useless at it! It's for that reason that I was pleased to find 'Mr Site: Takeaway Website', a system of web design which does all the work for you.
Costing £20 from Amazon, Mr Site works on both PC and Mac, as the actual design side of things is done online, and there is no software to install on the computer. The only CD which comes with Mr Site is the electronic instruction manual, which is also provided in booklet form.
After purchasing the product, the first thing to do is to activate your account. This is done by visiting www.mrsite.co.uk and entering the code which is supplied in the box. You can then choose a domain name (including .com, .net, .org & .co.uk) and providing it hasn't already been taken, it will become the primary address of the website you will create.
Designing pages using Mr Site is a really simple process. To start with, you can choose a template for the overall look of the site. The good news is, that these templates are endlessly customisable. You can put in your own banners, background images and logos, and choose your own typeface. It's easy to create a gallery page, and you can even add advanced features like payment systems and feedback forms.
In conclusion, with Mr Site you can design a website and have it online in under an hour. Obviously, if you want something that will look professional, it will take longer - but with this system, a beautiful website can be designed with little or no experience. The great thing about it, is that Mr Site has scope to allow designers with a bit of experience to add their own html programming and advanced features - it really can grow with you. Highly Recommended.
The Takeaway Website gives you everything you need to get a professionally designed dot com website online (e.g.It doesn't matter if it's a website for your business, your breakthrough single, your local art club or even for your sister's wedding photos, you can create it. You could even turn that hobby of yours into a thriving business with the Mr Site shopping cart. How? It's all in the box, it's jargon free and seriously easy to use.