Reviews on the new Site Builder?

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Would like peoples reviews on the new site builder. If you have used the new builder and published please share your review on it. Please share link to your site as well. Maybe we can get a new thread going on feedback for published new sites on the new builder!
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Andrew6573

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Posted 3 years ago

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Brian4612, Champion

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I will give my honestly held opinion Andrew but please take it in line with others that will be written. The launch razamataz was impressive offering a whole host of advanced elements that could create a responsive builder that would automatically adjust to the screen size viewing it so would do away with the need for a separate mobile version. A host of new enhancements, SEO taken care of automatically and lots of effects previously not available. So, on paper, a superb advance. I started to rebuild my website from launch but last week made the decision to give up, scrap the website, and go back to Sitebuilder + and revamp my existing website. My reasons were that myself and other experienced builders were constantly being frustrated with elements that were not included, such as anchor links, and a lot more, elements that were included either didn't work or had lots of glitches, we were constantly trying to find work around fixes whilst the homestead guys, Drew and Todd, added their knowledge etc to solving the myriad of problems and really supported us in liaising with the developers to sort out glitches we came across.

To be equally balanced, Champions such as Susan 2829 and San Diego, having more tenacity and doggedness than myself, have (and still are) solving problems and moving it forward and there have been a few excellent website produced with the new Websitebuilder. I have no doubt I will be building more websites with the new builder in the future. Once all the bugs have been ironed out it WILL be an awesome builder, I can see the potential. Having been with Homestead for many years I  firmly believe building a website should be fun not filled with frustration and time consuming problems.

I am sure many of my peers will have different views and I would certainly not dismiss any or argue in opposition. For the most part, its a good builder, eventually it will be a GREAT builder and this critique is purely based on my own experience, skill and knowledge of past programmes.

I wish you every success in building and applaud the work of my peers who have stuck at it and in no small measure, smoothed the way for new builders.
(Edited)
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susan2829, Champion

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Andrew I believe there are already a couple of threads that have been started asking people to share their sites. Unfortunately not many have replied but maybe yours will have better luck.

The new builder is fraught with issues. IMHO it was released prematurely and the developers are now trying to play catch up. On the plus side if they ever get it up to par it should be a very nice program - the potential is there.

Issues in no particular order of import:
1. Favicon does not work
2. Mobile is difficult to work with as it is limited in what you can do to edit it and it does need editing as it doesn't render properly. So there is a lot of back and forth between the desktop and the mobile view to achieve an acceptable mobile version.
3. Many sites are displaying a skeletonized view when first opening in the browser.
4. Stats aren't working
5. Inability to access files
6. Program isn't exactly intuitive and you can waste a lot of time trying to figure out what should be straightforward design.
7. Lack of a tutorial on using the program.
8. Waiting to see what effect changing over to this new program will have on Search results.

As with anything new, it takes some time to really learn what makes it tick. The benefit is that existing sites can stay in place while we build the new one and we can just walk away from it if it isn't our cup of tea.

I haven't finished my site so can't give out the site address, but if I ever finish I'll post!
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Andrew6573

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Brian and Susan thank you both for your post! Amazing info. on the new builder! You are right there have been a few threads but not much input on them. Hopefully this thread will be different and together we can help to work out some of the glitches with the new site builder while allowing users to gain feedback on their new sites made with site builder! All your info. is much appreciated as I can be aware of these flaws while I build.

Susan, one thing I noticed was definitely your #3

"3. Many sites are displaying a skeletonized view when first opening in the browser."

Any idea on what is causing this?
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susan2829, Champion

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No clue as to the why Andrew, but the developers are aware of it.

One thing you'll want to be sure to do and that is to work back and forth between desktop and mobile. Don't wait until you are done with the desktop to start on the Mobile.

Happy Webbing!
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Brian4612, Champion

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If you take nothing else from these critiques then carve Susan's advice regarding buiiding both website and mobile site together n stone...., I didn't and that was when I decided to call it a day
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All good critiques here, especially Susan's outline of requirements for program improvements.

In order to maintain my old site's look while utilizing the improvements that Homestead offers, I built my website "from scratch", copying and pasting text, etc. I likely will incorporate more of the Homestead improvements (which I have discovered since completing my site) - I was in hurry and it would have been nice to have had a tutorial for each feature.

Anyway, just remember to do the "back and forth" between desktop site and mobile site for each of your pages; that advise, had I known about it, would have saved me a lot of time.

The program is pretty darn good with lots of modern bells and whistles, I would say, and am sure it will improve with the addition of Susan's suggestions.
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susan2829, Champion

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I agree, Mary, that tutorials put together in a Help section would be HUGE in aiding everyone to conquer this beast and would definitely help webmasters to build quicker, cleaner and better sites without the frustration factor.

Be sure to share your site with us when you are done!

Best,
Susan
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Mary7894

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Will my site ever be done? Since 2003, have rebuilt multiple times. Always tweaking, revising text, etc. Plus filling orders, trying to find time for design work. Here's the link: ohboydleathergoods.com.
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susan2829, Champion

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HaHaHa! Did no one ever tell you that websites are like kids? You're never done with them.
Great site and your work is quite lovely.
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Mary7894

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Thanks for kind words! Much appreciated, Susan.
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Brian4612, Champion

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Thanks! All these topics are extremely useful to anyone starting out here. Together your list of links will answer many FAQ's. Seems to be a lot of repeated questions from beginners that would be answered. Wondering if maybe you can post this helpful list separate from this post with an appropriate title?  Other experienced users might add more?
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Brian4612, Champion

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 I collected them over a period of time as and when they came up for my quick reference but more than happy to create a new topic. Sitebuilder Tutorials.
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Mary7894

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I made a copy. Thanks. Hope others did too. I was just thinking that such a useful compilation of FAQ links as a general topic would get a lot of traffic.
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Andrew6573

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Working between desktop and mobile is a must, great advice! Thanks for the tutorial links on the new site builder! Still a work in progress here but am looking forward to seeing some of your websites!
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david2953

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One item I would add to those already mentioned is the limitations the software has with adding elements to the header sections without the ability to control if the added element appears on all pages of the site.  This functionality is present in the other sections with a toggle "show on all pages" or "not", but the toggle is mysteriously missing from the header section.  While there is a workaround, in that you can add an element to a section other than the header and then position it into the header, it can sometimes be a convoluted process.

Overall I thought the learning curve was fairly short and to a large degree consistent with SiteBuilderPlus.  Keep in mind that my site building experience is limited to my own site...so my experience is probably far less than many of the contributors in this community.  Fortunately, I did not run into too many problems with the mobile version.  A good part of that could be that I started with a temple...but I did for the most part wait until the desktop version was almost done before I started paying attention to the mobile version.  So perhaps I got lucky on that one.

From a search result, perspective Analytics is showing some noticeable improvements when comparing our older SiteBuilderPlus version with WebSiteBuilder. When comparing the first two weeks from our launch date our new site is reporting higher page views, a lower bounce rate and a higher time on page.  Most importantly our conversion rate and in our case the number of requested quotes is up 192% over the same period last year.  While the improvements are limited to a short period of time...I feel pretty encouraged and of course hopeful it will continue to perform better than the older version.  This time of the year is our slowest time...so it will be interesting to see how things look during our peak season.

Susan2829 was kind enough to offer some guidance and a few suggestions along the way but I would more than welcome any and all comments from members of the community.  The URL is www.csthousing.com 
(Edited)
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susan2829, Champion

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David that is really great that stats are up. Kudos and keep us posted!
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Kathy L.4689

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Have just begun experimenting with the new Sitebuilder and, after using the old one for many years on many different sites, I am thoroughly unimpressed.  There are fewer elements and options it seems although there appears to be a lot of spark and razzle-dazzle which, for me, is unimportant.  I will continue to explore the new cloud sitebuilder but will not give up my old one.  I'm also reluctant to recommend Homestead to others, especially inexperienced users, whereas I never hesitated before due to the ease of use in the original SiteBuilder. 
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Kathy L.4689

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I would like to see more versatility in the forms, such as radio buttons, check boxes, etc. and being able to place the elements freely on the page.
See http://www.worleyshauling.com/TransportAgreement.html
Have used Bravenet forms in the past which are completely customizeable and provide the HTML code to copy/paste onto the page.  They are very neat and clean and everything lines up as it should.
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Kathy L.4689

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The Worley's Hauling form was rebuilt using old Sitebuilder rather than paying more to continue using Bravenet. 
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Drew N, Alum

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Kathy L.4689, this is one of the first things I saw with forms too. I added it as a feature request, and have added your name to that idea.
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Kathy L.4689

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Traffic meters? 
Old Sitebuilder had a good selection but I usually use SiteMeter.com, or used to when they were reliable.  They were customize-able and gave a wealth of site stat information whereas Homestead site traffic info is sometimes difficult to find if you don't use it often.
(Edited)
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Drew N, Alum

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The site statistics are still being implements. The on site hit counters were removed because search engine often penalize you for it. There are many you can get and add via HTML, but you must be careful that they have no odd coding that is going to get you tagged as spam. If you want to use those you can, but we highly discourage it as search engines can actually penalize you ranking for having these on your site. They provide no real valuable information. Once the site stats are fully implemented, you will get much better info on your visitors
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Drew N, Alum

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The favicon should now be working for everyone.
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david2953

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Confirmed here....thank you!!
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susan2829, Champion

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Splendid. They're making progress! Thanks Drew for your efforts in helping to get the developer 'honey do' list whittled down.

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