The Homesteader - Let us know what you think

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Hi everyone, a few weeks ago we sent our first newsletter, The Homesteader. Our goal is to provide you with some things that might help you grow your business. It will have some helpful site building tips, some general business articles, and a site that hopefully can give you some ideas for your own site. At this point there is no set schedule, we'll send it when we feel we have something of value to say to you.

I hope you will give it a good look and if you find it missing something, please let me know. Suggestions for articles or hints using Websitebuilder are all welcome. You can post them here if you like. 
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Drew N, Alum

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Posted 2 years ago

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Susan2960

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Sorry but I am cancelling Homestead after 7 years and going with WIX. We need the live Chat function.
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Chrissy7734

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I'm not cancelling yet but I agree, I need the live Chat as well.  I don't know why they changed it. 
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Drew N, Alum

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I am in the process of looking into this for you. I will let you know if I can find a simple solution. Just to be clear, do you mean having a live chat function on your websites, so that your visitors are able to communicate with you, or live chat support?
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Chrissy7734

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I'm referring to live chat support
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Drew N, Alum

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Thank you Chrissy7734. I will pass on this information. Unfortunately it was changed because the chat agents spent too much time with no chats.
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Karen6890

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Very frustrated with extremely uploads and ongoing error messages.
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Drew N, Alum

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Karen6890, I can take a look. I do see one of your sites is extremely large. Are you having a problem with all sites or just one? I am sorry, but I do not see any recent notes on your account. What error are you seeing?
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Drew N, Alum

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If you can start a new topic to discuss these issues, that would be great.
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Steven0453

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I'd like a counter into the tens of thousands of visitors, I'd like a better input page where people can tell me their address, phone number and what unit they want to rent from me, like be able to customize the feedback page. Can you help with that? Also a scheduling page, what calendar of events can I show? Steve
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Drew N, Alum

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Steven0453, we did remove the hit counter as search engines long ago announced that they were a detriment to your rankings. There are some people that do still like to use them and there are HTML options out there, but you must be very careful as many may contain codes that will harm your site with the search engines. I do understand that some people do still like to have one on their site, and I will note this with other requests.

If you are working on the Sitebuilder Plus site, then you can create a custom form and request the information you desire.

Unfortunately, we have never supported any sort of database integration so we can't offer a scheduling solution, but there are 3rd party apps that can be used. Many customer have also just used a Google calendar embedded into the site and added a pre made form. When added to the page you can select request an appointment.

I'm happy to help with any of this if you need it.
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Gord8461

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I'm extremely unhappy with Homestead.  Prices go up and services get flushed down the toilet.  I'll be cancelling with Homestead shortly, after being with Intuit first and then Homestead, well over 10 years.
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Dee Deaton

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I agree. The SEO doesn't really work unless you pay more. The photo galleries are not really lacking.  
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Drew N, Alum

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Gord8461, I would like to hear what services you are referring to? Maybe we can regain your confidence.
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Drew N, Alum

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Dee Deaton, I would also like to know what SEO are you referring to. It is a very complicated process and covers a huge amount of ground, and "work" is a relative term. What specific things do you believe do not work?
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Kenneth9111

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Been with Homestead almost from the beginning.  Still like the service.  I have four websites here and don't have very many problems, but when I do I ask a question here and it's always been solved very quickly.  Still the best place to build websites without paying thousands for someone to build it for you.  I have built websites at other hosts and there is no comparison.  The others are not intuitive and service response is measured in days, not hours.  Homestead provides a lot for the money. Am very satisfied.  A private message board/forum-type application would be a nice addition.   
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Karen4540

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I like my simple 5 page website for PAB Services LLC Legal Documentation & Notary services in White Plains, NY that I designed years ago. I had very little email feedback from it over the years.
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Drew N, Alum

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Thanks Kenneth9111, I am glad things are working out for you. Thanks for the comments, and I will pass along your thought about a forum type option. I assume you mean something like this community.
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Kenneth9111

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Yes.  I have several hundred members on my site and it would be nice to have a forum feature where folks can communicate with each other.    
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Drew N, Alum

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Dr. Jay6260, can I ask you to create a new topic so we can discuss this further? I would love to get some more specifics about the manipulation of elements. I can make some guesses, but if you have specifics, please share them for me in a new topic and maybe we can get some others interested in telling us their thoughts as well. In any case, I can then easily share the information with the management and development teams.
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Drew N, Alum

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Hi Karen, I'm glad to hear you like your site. Let me know if I can help with anything.
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Robert2670

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How go I cancel. I’m retiring and have no need for the website anymore.
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Drew N, Alum

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We are moving this topic as it is not relevant to the current topic

Please reference the new conversation here: I am retiring and no longer need the site.
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CINDY3422

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Tired of the continued errors when loading to update pages. You need to update your system to make it easier for your customers to WANT to keep using your service.
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Drew N, Alum

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Hi Cindy, Can you start a new topic for me and let me know what errors you are seeing?
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Jerry8258

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Homestead you need to look at the other web masters and get with the program. After all these years you stopped your online help chat. That was a huge mistake. You claimed you where going to focus on your customers by doing that but that only hurt you more. And we need some things to be implemented back into the software like the chat service. And the paypal buttons and things that you use to have like password protected pages. Why are you making your service worse? All of us suggest that you make these changes before everyone leaves to the other web builders. I like you guys but your making far to many mistakes for me to stay. I'll stay until my service is up and if there are not those improvements then I'll find a web service that can and will serve the community.
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Drew N, Alum

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Hi Jerry, I understand what you are saying about the chat support. I used to be on the US based chat team. We do have people that really liked it, and I enjoyed it to, but it became used less and less over time. I will absolutely relay your feeling to the management team for review. I know there are some like yourself that would like it back, but to maintain it, it must be used.

As for some of the other things. by chat service, do you mean the chat support? or do you mean being able to add chat to your site? All builders have both password protected pages and Paypal buttons available. If you need some assistance in working with them please create a new topic and specify the specific site you need assistance with and will we see if we can get you fixed up.
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Leigh9544

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I will not be renewing... There are other companies who have better service for a lot less money.
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Drew N, Alum

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Leigh9544, May I ask, is price your determining factor? by better service, do you mean customer service? or software features?
(Edited)
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Brent3789

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I have over 100 sites with Homestead and I can't be more happier. Yes there are some small things I can't believe aren't taken care of yet (site builder doesn't have a spell check, which is weird). But for what I pay every two years it's well worth it. Who cares about Online chat. I talk to a person on the PHONE from the USA! That is the best service to me. It's easy to use and the sites look great. Now if you are trying to sell product online this might not be the best tool But service based companies looking at a website. Homestead kills it!
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Drew N, Alum

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Thanks Brent, I am glad you are happy with us. You are always welcome to post questions here and offer suggestions too. The original intent of this topic was to get ideas for articles people would like to see in the next newsletters, but I love hearing our success stories and I need to hear the failures, so we can get better moving forward. If you need anything, let us know.
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Calvin9669

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I agree with the many suggestions made, communication is of great value today. The more you can do with it your websites T helps us above and beyond. Update
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Drew N, Alum

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Calvin9669, always feel free to make suggestions as to what specific things you would like to improve. We are listening.
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Karen6890

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This platform seems to be a venting platform.  I'm looking for answers to the problems that exist.  
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Drew N, Alum

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Hi Karen6890, it was not the intention of this topic, but we can't do better if we don't know what is wrong. I did answer your initial question earlier and will get to any follow up as soon as possible to see if I can be of help. Thanks for being patient.
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Karen6890

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Well, I don't know what the problem is.  I reported the Error Code.  
I need to call customer support and see if I can get some answers.  Last time I called, the comment was, "Wow!  You have a lot of pictures."  Hmmmm....I'm a gallery.
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Drew N, Alum

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I will get it to take a look as soon as I can. I will see if I can come up with something that will help, but with big sites it can take a while to poke around everywhere.

Do you ever remove pictures from a page? If so, do you also remove them from the file manager? If not, that would help reduce the size of the site.
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Pam7470

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I LOVE YOU PEOPLE!  I recently took over updating our site and was having difficulties with email - called and got a real live person (!), I believe it was Michelle?   She was terrific and I'm happy to say all is well - thank you SO MUCH!
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Drew N, Alum

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I am very happy to hear it Pam. You are always welcome to post questions here as well. Sometimes it might be more convenient to just a post a question and wait for the response, which will be delivered to your email. Whichever works best for you. I will let Michelle and the manager know about your great experience!
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Paula6092

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I've been trying to get an add-on (simplestore) removed from my account for almost a week now. I don't understand why you took away our ability to add and remove features ourselves! I loved that about homestead and now I can't get help.
HELP!
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Drew N, Alum

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I replied to you in another topic. We need you to confirm the deletion. Simplestore and some other options have never been something you can remove on your own as we need to advise you what will happen before deleting and getting your confirmation. I posted that in the add on removal topic where you posted. Please confirm there and I will remove it.
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Jeffrey0893

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Homestead needs to get up to speed with the rest of the domain hosting World and offer https.  I am constantly getting warnings from Google saying that our web sites are losing search rankings because of it.  Any reason you are the last company to provide HTTPS?
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Drew N, Alum

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Jeffrey0893, We are still working on this for Sitebuilder desktop users. It is a very old program. If you use Sitebuilder Plus instead, or Websitebuilder, then you are able to secure your site with https right now.
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Timothy9092

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I like it
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Karen6890

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Yes, it is extremely large and hard to maintain.  The Gallery at Round Top is the large one and the one I have the most trouble with. But I pay for a large site.  It requires lots of pictures due to the number of artists that we represent.    It can take me hours to update the site due to the repeated Error Code and having to publish a change 3 - 4 times.  The Error Code is 0X17.  I have no idea if pages are publishing if I don't check.  I'm happy to reduce the size of the site if you have suggestions how to do this without eliminating the number of artists we represent.  I'm currently trying to get all of the artwork on Big Commerce as well...lots of products.

I would like to update my site with a simpler format but don't know how to do it without starting all over again.
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Drew N, Alum

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I am making this a stand alone topic

Please reference the new conversation here: I am getting errors publishing
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Paulhomest1835

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Homesteader yesterday had an article about slide show vs. photo galleries vs.  scrolling pictures. First problem I don't know what you mean by each. Every techie has different jargon, so give 3 small examples at the beginning of the article. of what you mean. Second problem, half way down the page you say this is in Website Builder, not Site Builder. but you don't say how to find out which I am using, nor how to use the other. Also it is horrible to have 2 software packages with different features and such similar names, like selling Chex and Chex Cereal as different products, and expecting people to remember which they bought. Maybe you could use that old invention, version numbers? When I log in to my account and click the box for "edit site", the tab is labeled "SiteBuilder Plus", but the url says "site/builder", so what image shows does SiteBuilder Plus support? Is that a 3rd software? I don't find any page on homestead.com comparing the 2 (or 3?) options and their features to help me decide which to use
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Drew N, Alum

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I agree with you that the naming was a little close, but version numbers were not appropriate, as Websitebuilder is a completely different program than Sitebuilder. You are using Sitebuilder Plus on your sites. Sitebuilder Plus was the online version that replaced the old desktop program. Websitebuilder was only released about a year ago and all new sites are assigned to Websitebuilder, so if you want to look at it and play with it, just create a new site and select a template.

You can view a completed site that one of our customers built in our site spotlight. That will give you and idea of what Websitebuilder can do.
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Paulhomest1835

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Thanks for the 3-way distinction.  Homestead, my time, and your time are all important to me, so I need more structured information than "play" and "an idea", though those are a start.  I'm managing 20 sites with hundreds of megabytes of files, and they matter to me and my users. I need and deserve a comprehensive list of features in each builder, with examples, not just ambiguous titles like slide show vs. photo galleries vs.  scrolling pictures. I looked at the dog site you suggest. It has no video, audio, search, external links, spreadsheets, tables, blog, pdfs, or serif fonts. It has a phone link which doesn't seem to dial. It serves its master, but doesn't tell me much about what Websitebuilder can do.
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Drew N, Alum

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Unfortunately, there is not a detailed manual. I do add some how tos here, and am trying to add some more when I have a chance and someone asks a question that I haven't already answered..

The phone link will work if you are on a device that has a dialer, like a phone, or a computer with a voip phone, but I do understand your point. You can add video or audio to the new builder pages via Vimeo, YouTube or Soundcloud. They are no longer hosted on your site as they could be in Sitebuilder.

There are a ton of settings included in the photo galleries. Too many to possibly make a topic showing every combination of options and what it does. There is no built in search and it is limited in installing a google search box. HTML boxes currently run in an iframe, so it would have to be added in the site header or footer. You can link externally, but not from the navigation menu. There is a blog. You can set files to be downloaded. Currently there are no tables. The fonts are a selection of popular Google fonts.

Sorry I am unable to provide any type of manual, but many topics are covered here and I can and do add new ones when needed. But I post the basics of getting started and not full details on all options. That is where the "play" comes in. We are a DIY host, as most are these days.
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Brent3789

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- Spell Check. Not sure why this isn't on here yet.
- The ability to do a site map? Last time I asked you couldn't do it. Old site builder could.
- When making a template make it for people who will actually use this builder. 
Here are some people who would use the builder 
- Tree Service
- Lawyers
- Locksmiths 
- Dog Groomers
- Construction / Handy man
Service workers in general.
I've never seen so many templates focused on selling fashion. Is that a target you guys are going after?
- A more robust contact form. Adding pull downs and multiple choices (old builder had it)
I'll add more
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Drew N, Alum

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Brent3789, for some reason the browser spell check isn't working in Websitebuilder. It has been reported to the developers.

There is no file manager in Websitebuilder, so you can't decide where to upload a file and then specify the path. For that reason we built the sitemap into the system. When you publish, a sitemap is created automatically and placed in the root for you. http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml

Then templates are just example sites. I never thought there should be a business type association on them, as every piece of it is changeable. Any template can be used for any business type by changing the images and if desired the color schemes. Some people just delete the template elements and sections altogether and edit the colors then add the sections as they wish. I can certainly request templates for a specific business type if you have one or more you would like to see.

Fully agree on the contact form. We have requested it and hope to see it as soon as possible, but I have no ETA at this time.
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Brent3789

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Thank you that helps. Especially with the site map. First time I heard that. 
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Drew N, Alum

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You're welcome.
 I have the comment form on my site where putting your phone number is optional....I really would appreciate it if you made the form so that customers have to put there phone number without being optional.
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Drew N, Alum

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I will put in a request to see if it would be possible to make it an option.
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Drew N, Alum

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You could create a custom form and make the phone required.
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Dalelynn L. Sims

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Been with you from the beginning.  A bata tester.  I worry about what the future holds.  As has been said the desktop builder needs updating by KEEPING features like forms, which are not available on your on line builder.  This IS a great item and you should consider sample forms.  We use these with great success for reservations and more. While you have dropdown menus for the new on line version we are told to embed html for the desktop builder.  Now if we use the new online builder we get the same brush off, use an html plugin for forms.

This Is NOT progress.  Please keep the desktop builder and continue to improve to be more inclusive.  

Do this and you will be offering more than the page maker sites, you will be offering a versatile product that can truly be a business asset.

Thank you 

Dalelynn 
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Mileen3055

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Been with Homested for 8 years. If I could I would cancel Homestead. Up all night trying to save and publish pages on this gold forsaken place. Getting error after error. It's worse than ever.
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Katie6802

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I cannot even edit one of pages; I have to close down my other pages because this page is too big even to attempt to shrink the pictures. Is there anything I can do? I have been with Homestead since January 2001
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Drew N, Alum

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This is an issue with Sitebuilder desktop.

Please reference the new conversation here: Unable to work on page in Sitebuilder desktop

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