Let's see your site!

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Hey all:  I use Desktop Sitebuilder.  I'd like to see some sites built with Sitebuilder Plus (or whatever the new-fangled option is)... pros and cons to switching?  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous at the prospect.
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Joshua2161

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Posted 10 months ago

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Linda1081

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I'm still using desktop, afraid to investigate also!  I still really like desktop, it is an old friend.
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Joshua2161

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Same.  Mainly I want to see if SP has capabilities that I haven't discovered with Desktop.  I like Desktop a lot, and I have used numerous other website builder programs, but it has limitations.
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Richard8447

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Sitebuilder, Sitebuilder Desktop, Sitebuilder Plus, I don't know what Homestead calls all of it's various Website building programs. What I DO know is that I've been a Homestead customer since about 2002 and have designed and built literally hundreds of Webpages involving about a dozen or so Websites. I began using Homestead's Desktop version (don't know the actual, proper name of the program then) and saw a major 'upgrade' only once. (I also don't know the 'proper' name of their upgraded version that I'm using now.)

When that (lone) major upgrade did take place many, MANY years ago), I kicked, hollered, screamed and begged Homestead to revert to their 'original' Website program; they refused. So I had to 'adapt' to their new and improved' version.

What I CAN tell everyone is that I've used their Website program, without exception, with Windows XP, Windows VISTA, (with exception) Windows 8.1 as well as Windows 10.

About three or four years ago, I bought a new desktop with the Windows 8.1 O/S. That was fine, but when Microsoft offered free, limited time upgrades to Windows 10, I did that, but doing so caused some 'issues' as to how my Sitebuilder program worked. I called Homestead customer service and received varied responses and explanations based on the 'knowledge level' of who I spoke with.

I persevered and finally 'hooked up' with three (male) CSR's that really 'knew their stuff'. They told me of a 'patch' type 'fix' that would somehow  'fool' Windows 10 into thinking that the Homestead program was 'something else' and make it compatible. And it did; Homestead hen 'worked fine' with Windows 10.

Then, in June 2016, my computer got 'hacked' and I had to do a 'factory reset' which erased everything that was on my computer, including Homestead, and restored my computer to an 'out of the box' status. That was when all of my problems with Homestead began; and continue to this day. Calling Homestead's Customer Service number was basically useless; I kept getting the same (female) person who, in my estimation, didn't know anything about her job and kept insisting that my Website was 'too big'; that was why it was always crashing and I had to delete a whole bunch of files to resolve the issues I was having.

Reluctantly, I did what she suggested; problem still existed. Only, I had 'lost' of bunch of information that I shouldn't have because of what Homestead's CSR told me to do.

A few months back I discovered 'Drew' who, as I understand, works for Homestead and 'knows his stuff', too. While my 'issues' with Homestead still exist, at least I was able to tell them to him and he appeared understanding.

Sending an e-mail complaining about the lack of success I was receiving, I sent an e-mail to the CEO of Intuit (the TurboTax people), the company that owns Homestead. I received an e-mail back telling me that Intuit no longer owned Homestead; they had sold it, but was advised that they had forwarded my e-mail of dissatisfaction onto Homestead (or it's 'parent company'; not sure which.

That resulted in me GETTING A CALL FROM HOMESTEAD wanting to know (much) more about the issues I was experiencing. I was IMPRESSED; I apparently had 'struck a nerve. 

The person that called me was named 'Maria', was very knowledgeable, compassionate and understanding. I spent a lot of time on the phone with her explaining my 'history' with Homestead; particularly telling her, in detail, my experiences with Homestead Sitebuilder since June 2016.

We 'tried some different thing's, she conducted a 'remote session' of my computer and I had a glimmer of hope that everything would once be as it was.

It isn't.

My Homestead program continues to unpredictably 'crash' without any hint of it being about to happen and continues to cause me a great mount of frustration !!

However, I MUST say in Homestead's defense, "When It Works' It Works GREAT". But there is no 'reliability factor'; that's the downfall' of Homestead.

That, plus CRS's that don't know their job.

I invite you to see what the truly reliable capabilities of Homestead once were, and still should be, by visiting my Website; created using the 'upgraded (in about 2008) version, of Homestead Sitebuilder.

Please visit www.thedeltashow.com. Then, please send me your comments, (thedeltashow@gmail.com) bearing in  mind; of course, that what  you're looking  at on my Website is Homestead Sitebuilder at it's  FINEST !!

Annimation, audio, links, fonts, colors, pictures, graphics; everything a Webmaster needs (and wants) to make an 'eye-appealing' end product. 

Why is Homestead 'trying to fix a 'problem' that doesn't exist by trying to convince it's uses to switch to a 'new and improved' version, which is HORRIBLE and 'customer unfriendly' ?!!

Wouldn't it make MORE SENSE to address, and fix, the 'root problem' ?

Richard Odoms

Hamburg, Minnesota 55339

(Edited)
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susan2829, Champion

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Linda and Joshua  

As long as you have the package that allows for multiple sites you can try out the new program, Website Builder, without disturbing your existing sites. When you log in you should see Add A New Website in the upper right corner of the screen. Click on that and give the site a name, it can be anything as once you are done building and decide to switch from your current site the domain will then be pointed to the new site. 
There are three builders: 1. The original Desktop version 2. SiteBuilder Plus 3. Website Builder   All new sites are being built on the latest version, Website Builder.  I have sites on all three builders. Desktop version was/is a great program, but it just has limitations and with Windows constantly making changes it becomes somewhat less stable. I really don't like SB+, 'nuff' said. The latest one was something of a challenge at first as it isn't the most intuitive program to work with, but the more I use it, the more I like it and it definitely puts sites into the 21st Century.
Try it you guys, you've nothing to lose.

Some Sites:
www.saintmarysmission.org
www.colemansprinklers.com
www.ricksremodelingandhomerepair.com
(Edited)
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themieleman, Champion

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Old homestead sites are not responsive, not mobile friendly and were not meeting googles new search requirements. Homestead's new Website Builder is responsive and is favorable to googles new search requirements. The landscape is ever changing and we need to move out of our comfort zones or be left out.
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susan2829, Champion

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Karen, yes there is a new builder instead of SiteBuilder Plus. It's called Website Builder.
When you log in you should see Add A New Website in the upper right corner of the screen. Click on that and give the site a name, it can be anything as once you are done building and decide to switch from your current site the domain will then be pointed to the new site. 
Your current site remains up and untouched.
The drawback is that you must rebuild the site as it and SB+ or desktop are too dissimilar to just move content over.
It isn't desktop, but I've never found a program that even comes close to that and at some point it will probably be discontinued. So I decided to give this new one a try. I'm really glad that Homestead is offering it instead of Plus which I feel is a dog!!
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Karen5787

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Thanks for the info Susan. I've been playing around with it for a little while. It's a lot like the websites offered by Wix, Weebly, etc. Unfortunately, not enough to get me to stay with Homestead. If I have to rebuild my webpages, I might as well do that on a different platform, as I've been watching Homestead slide downhill since that first buyout.  Plus, Wix, etc have better pricing.

I was hopeful the Website Builder might actually convince me to stay with homestead, but thinking no...The only thing that will convince me to stay with Homestead is if they revitalized the desktop program and make it easy to switch back.

But I thank you for letting me know how to find the new program. It does make one wonder why Homestead doesn't send out messages to all their customers to let them know about updated programs. Their customer service has really gone downhill, too. It's just sad. 
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Karen5787

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By the way Susan, I looked at your sites. They're very nice, very professional looking. Maybe I need to take a better look at the Web Site Builder, after the Christmas rush is over.
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susan2829, Champion

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Thank you Karen. By all means give it a try. Being able to build without losing your current site I felt was a real plus.
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themieleman, Champion

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Joshua2161

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Your site looks good.  I think I remember looking at your site in the past but this is different -- did you recently update it?  Is the slideshow a Homestead product or is that a third party code/product?
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themieleman, Champion

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Hi Josh: I built a huge Napa Sew & Vac site with SB+. Bigcommerce is a Homestead partner. It's been their "go to" program for businesses wanting a full scale ecommerce website. Bigcommerce can be purchased directly from the Bigcommerce Site: https://www.bigcommerce.com/contact/. Bigcommerce offers many features I'd never considered @$29.95 per month. After developing my Bigcommerce site, I decided to fold my old site in favor of Bigcommerce. Bigcommerce is a responsive design and has all the tools for customers wanting to purchase using their mobile phones.
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Drew N, Community Manager

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Joshua2161, In the new builder you can make a slideshow/carousel with the photo gallery in Websitebuilder. You can see how in this link.
https://community.homestead.com/homestead/topics/how-do-i-add-a-slideshow
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Joshua2161

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That looks a lot like Cincopa which I currently use.
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Emery Heuermann

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     Wrtitten November 18, 2018: Desktop Sitebuilder is what made Homestead. There will be no upgrades, count on it. Unfortunately, its remaining users are now just cash cows until the end. EIG International, the current owner, has really made some bad decisions with Homestead. For the money they spent piddling around with "Sitebuilder lite" and "Sitebuilder plus" they could have reprogrammed Desktop Sitebuilder in its entirety and begun to recapture all their defected clients. One of their employees from years ago posted an article that Homestead can't upgrade desktop sitebuilder because of Java issues from many years ago and continuing conflicted copy right issues. they only have the right to "maintain" the program.
     For those that don't know, Homestead may no longer have a dedicated design team or programming department. They license the latest "website builder" from a third party who also rents out their software to other companies under different names. The source of this info is a couple of articles floating around on the internet. I have no idea if true or not.
     It is amazing that a once dominant company has intentionally been allowed to degrade. Its almost impossible to find a positive review. I guess I will ride it as long as Desktop Sitebuilder is allowed to continue. Been here since 2007 with 9 current websites. Here is one for anyone interested: www.mcgandhs.com here is another with a similar similar format: www.alpost305.org
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Drew N, Community Manager

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I'm happy to hear it. I also do not believe that the builder is available for lease. As far as I know it is only available on EIG brands. Websitebuilder should be around for a long time. Homestead and Websitebuilder are both divisions within the company. Neither really reports to the other, but ultimately the development team does work from suggestions made by customers and the support teams.
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Emery Heuermann

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Drew: Thanks for following up.
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Emery Heuermann

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Drew: Thanks for following up.
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Emery Heuermann

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I'm wondering why my comment posts twice?
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Drew N, Community Manager

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It happens sometimes. You may have inadvertently double clicked the comment button. That sometimes does it.
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Karen5787

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Josh, I'd give anything to be able to use the old desktop program again. I updated to the Sitebuilder plus a few years back and I wish I never had. If I remember correctly, I switched because the original desktop version was not working well with Windows 8 when it first came out, and I had just purchased a new laptop, which created all kinds of problems. One of the homestead reps told me the best thing I could do would be to upgrade to the Sitebuilder Plus.  Big mistake on my part. I should have just continued to use my old laptop for my website. 

The Sitebuilder "Plus" is slow, it has a lot of issues, it doesn't offer all the features the desktop program has and basically, I no longer enjoy working on my website. It's a chore, no longer fun. I LOVED working on my website when I had the old desktop program.

I once tried to go back to the desktop version because the sitebuilder plus program was unavailable for a period of time due to problems (it was Christmas time and I needed to remove links for items I'd sold out of), but it ended up screwing up all kinds of things on my website and it took me quite some time to get it straightened out. A Homestead rep told me you can't use both programs, you have to use one or the other. Since the old program will not pull in any updates/changes you've made on the sitebuilder plus program, going back would mean basically having to redo all my pages all over again. And that one time was not the only time Sitebuilder Plus has been down. It's happen quite a few times. 

With the old desktop version, you can have multiple pages open at once, jumping back and forth between them.. With the new program, you can only have one page open at a time, which is very time consuming. Shutting down one page to open another can be very slow. 

I used to be able to grab all the contents on a page to move it down the page, like if I wanted to add something to the top of the page. With sitebuilder plus, you can only grab the sections that are visible, so you have to work your way up the page, grabbing small sections at a time. Another process that just adds time and frustration to the process. 

There's also the problem of no compatibility with mobile devices. You can use dudamobile, or whatever it's called, but it really doesn't solve the problem. I've lost customers over this issue. More and more people are using their mobile devices to place orders.

I could go on and on, but my own personal opinion is, Sitebuilder "plus" should have been named Sitebuilder "negative".. 

I've been with Homestead for almost 16 years, and sad to say, I'll be leaving them after the 1st of the year. Sitebuilder plus has been a very negative experience for me. Everyone is different. Maybe you would enjoy it.  But for me, honestly, I'd give anything if I'd never switched over to the Sitebuilder Plus option. 
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Emery Heuermann

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This is a helpful comparison.
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Joshua2161

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Karen - your response has been the most helpful, by far.  Thank you.  For what I do, it is absolutely critical that I be able to grab the entire page contents and move them around.  My sites are constantly being edited and updated and time is literally money.  If I were to lose time by switching to the new platform it would be devastating.

Having multiple pages open at once is also critical for me, as I swap page content and templates multiple times daily.

I'm literally anxious just thinking about all of this.

I tried Duda at one point.  It was a disaster for me, so I shut it down after about a month.  Besides, at least for my purposes, I have not found a mobile site to be necessary.  I surveyed a small sample of people and the majority, by far, said that most of the time they click the "View Desktop Site" button on mobile pages because the mobile sites are missing content.  My pages are all about content, and it's continuously changing.  Duda could not keep up and when it did update, it screwed up the template so I ended up having to effectively rebuild my mobile site every time I updated content.  It was no good at all.

Thanks... ugh... but I do love Sitebuilder Desktop so I'll stick with it.
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Amy6613

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I completely understand the hesitation.  I was so used to the previous builder and was not up for spending the time learning the new one.   But I'm so glad I did!   Once you let go of the old, the other builder is actually easier and I think it looks more professional than the options available with the previous version - especially when you factor in the Blog options.   The only complication I have encountered is navigating through the mobile site options, but that is mostly due current trends and not necessarily sitebuilder issues. 

I only have two sites published so far, but am really happy with the look of the published products and ease of building them. (Please keep in mind, I'm by no means a professional and do these sites for community and personal use.) 

I would love to answer any more questions regarding the differences between the sitebuilders and options.  I just played around with the options until we became friends.  :)  Wishing you much luck (and patience) 

www.birchtreeplace.com

www.chathamwriters.group


(Edited)
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themieleman, Champion

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Nice Job!

www.birchtreeplace.com 
The list of items is not linked on the home page.

www.chathamwriters.group
The colored background makes the text difficult to read. You text frame is interfering with the text on the home page. You may like to add padding. Same on the Favs page. You text is also testing the boundaries on your Schedule page.
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Amy6613

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Thanks so much.  It's actually not a linked list of items, just a list.  As far as the writers, I'm not seeing any issues, but I have been accused of testing boundaries most of my life, so if you say so....;)
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Eric6098

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I think both your sites are professional looking and very well done :)
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Karen5787

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I like your sites, especially the Birch Tree Place.. I make handmade dolls and doll clothing for a living, so love your doll stuff.. Your sites are very inviting and pretty.
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Amy6613

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Thank you Eric and Karen.  Karen I would love to see your doll clothing.  :)

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