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Wednesday, March 22nd
It's uncommon to see much flexibility in a website design and editing tool: most software in this category tends to be online-only, but Nicepage includes a standalone application for Windows and Mac as well as a plugin for the WordPress content management system, a Joomla content management system extension, and an online design tool as well!
Helpful 2-minute Starter Video
The first thing we noticed with the online version was that it caused the computer's CPU to work overtime and it filled memory to full capacity. If you decide to use this version, make sure you don't have any other applications or browser tabs open and it should work fine. Upon logging into the online design tool, you will be able to participate in a 2-minute guided tutorial that shows you the basics of how to get started. You'll learn how to create a new blank page, add a logo and menu to the header, add blocks to the page, and add text and images to the blocks.
Variety Of Display Modes
Nicepage respects the user's desire to position and resize images and text according to their preferences. And, there are controls for viewing the page in desktop mode, laptop mode, tablet portrait mode, tablet landscape mode, and smartphone screen sizes.
Hundreds Of Templates Available
There are hundreds of ready-to-use modern templates in nineteen categories ranging from Architecture & Building to Wedding. Unfortunately, if you're looking for a specific subtype within each category, there's no way to keyword search to narrow the results down. Also, the templates tend to produce a single page website where the individual sections act as separate "pages" of content. There are SEO disadvantages to this practice that you should take into consideration when using this type of design for your website vs. multiple separate pages with distinct URLs. And, unfortunately, it doesn't appear to give you the option of splitting multiple blocks into individual pages.
Easy Access To Site Settings
If you make mistakes, you can click an undo or redo button until you get back to the layout you started with before the mistake. A site settings dialog allows you to control general settings, SEO parameters, Google settings, HTML, CSS, and visitor privacy settings all in one box.
Complex Pages Can Be A Little More Difficult
We did find it a little bit difficult to easily select block elements when a block had a lot of "layers" to it, such as text, images, cells, etc. So be aware that there is a learning curve in case you want to develop complex blocks or pages.
Comprehensive Pre-made Elements
The list of pre-made elements that can be added to pages and blocks is pretty comprehensive and covers a lot of what many website owners will need. For WordPress and other CMS-based websites you're designing, there is a list of widgets and short codes you can add.
No Central ECommerce Database
For eCommerce sites on the Nicepage.io hosting system, you will be limited to only placing bespoke content layouts for each product in your catalog. There is no central eCommerce database in which to properly add and publish products with their individual properties and attributes. Depending on how many products you manage, this may or may not be a problem. The linking of the "buy now" button is confusing to anyone who doesn't know what to enter in the link field for their particular eCommerce system's "add to cart" function.
Assistance Needed To Publish To Your Own Domain
Publishing the website on the free Nicepage.io hosting plan is somewhat cryptic and not useful in the context and requirements of serious website hosting. You'll get a URL in the form of subdomain.nicepage.io which doesn't help your site's SEO very much. It's not immediately clear as to how you'd go about publishing your site to your own custom top level domain (TLD) such as "example.com". After some digging, we found a support link in the Site Settings dialog with a generalized help form where you can request assistance in connecting your site to a custom domain.
Another Method To Host
A better method may be to purchase a WordPress CMS hosting plan, then install the Nicepage WordPress plugin on the WordPress site. That way, you can use the Nicepage editor directly within WordPress as your page builder and editing system. When you publish your site, it will be hosted directly on your custom domain that you have already set up via your WordPress hosting plan. The same goes for the Joomla CMS.
Export From Desktop Application
If you decide to use the standalone desktop application, the process of publishing your site involves exporting your design to a WordPress or Joomla .zip file which will contain your site assets and code built as a theme. There is also a way to include the editor plugin in the zip file so you can use the editor directly on your WordPress or Joomla site. And you can choose to export it as a project that can be imported back into Nicepage later for additional editing. We found the process to be delightfully straightforward in testing with no errors or other problems.
Other Export Options
Another export option is to save all the HTML (and the Nicepage project, if you want to import later for further editing). This will be best for sites that aren't using a CMS but are just "static" sites with no content management capabilities. You also have the option to export just screenshots of the fully-rendered website for use in portfolios or to show to your client for approval before publishing the site.
Licensing Is Restrictive And Expensive
We found the licensing a bit restrictive, and more than a little expensive. Licensing is a single user license on one laptop and one desktop computer. In an age of cloud computing, that makes little sense. To get updates after one year, you have to repurchase the entire license. There's not a separate support subscription for some fraction of the overall license cost.
Nicepage also doesn't currently include support for exporting websites from its online version. Nor does it have capabilities for WooCommerce on Wordpress or VirtueMart for other types of eCommerce websites. But, those features are on the roadmap for some future version. However, the user interface for designing sites overcomes many of these inconveniences, especially if you just need to create a basic site. For flexibility in where you publish your website after you've built it, Nicepage is a good way to go.
The way you build a website can directly impact the success your website has in attracting and retaining customers. So, it's important to choose a website builder that maximizes things like search engine optimization (SEO), usability, the speed at which each page loads (page speed), mobile browser compatibility, accessibility for users with disabilities, and dozens of other requirements.
Website builder software and services aim to remove the technical barriers that come with more sophisticated methods of building websites. With a website builder, not only is content easier to author, you also become a "drag and drop" designer of your home page and supporting sub-pages. This can be a blessing or it can be a burden depending on the quality of the website builder, how much time you have and your tolerance for learning curves.
Whatever you choose, remember that you may be stuck with your decision for a long time. In other words, think in the long term and visualize what your needs will be not just months from now, but years from now.
As you decide which website builder will be the best choice for your needs, there are several factors to keep in mind:
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