Google Sites -- Need Advice

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Richard Serkes
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Google Sites -- Need Advice

Post by Richard Serkes » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:58 am

I want to create a simple website for an organization I belong to, one which has no money. I thought Google Sites would be perfect because it's free and has dozens and dozens of templates that require no HTML5 knowledge. That fits me to a T. All I want to do is to be able to select a template, click a field to add my own text and drag-and-drop photos to fields designated as photo fields. The problem is I just can't seem to get Google Sites to edit properly. I've tried every trick I know and I still can't edit what I need to edit.

I went online to see if I could get a manual but they tend to be several years old and refer to Google Sites in a previous version. Even the official Google Sites video tutorials show outdated screens and menus. So here's what I'd like to know...

1) Is there someone in SMUG who uses Google Sites who would be willing to give me a little face-to-face tutoring?

----- OR -----

2) Can someone recommend a free or almost free website creation software program that doesn't require any coding; just manipulating existing templates?

iWeb would be perfect but it has its limitations; namely, it isn't supported by Apple any more. No more fixes, no more upgrades, no more nothing. Although it will run under Mavericks (I checked) it's just a matter of time before a new version of OS X won't allow it to load. And at Apple Support I found a thread about an FTP problem with iWeb and Mavericks. The FTP doesn't work now. So getting your iWeb page to your designated server has to be done by "jury rigging" a third party app. This is not the way to do things.
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Jay Cline
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Re: Google Sites -- Need Advice

Post by Jay Cline » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:28 am

Though I haven't tried it I've been told by two reliable and brilliant sources (my sons) that http://www.squarespace.com is easy to use and they do everything for you on the technical side. Select a template, get a free trial and they register a domain for you. $9 a month on the low end.
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Richard Serkes
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Re: Google Sites -- Need Advice

Post by Richard Serkes » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:40 am

Jay Cline wrote:Though I haven't tried it I've been told by two reliable and brilliant sources (my sons) that http://www.squarespace.com is easy to use and they do everything for you on the technical side. Select a template, get a free trial and they register a domain for you. $9 a month on the low end.
Thanks for the suggestion but it would be $9/month out of my own pocket.
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Stephen Hart
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Re: Google Sites -- Need Advice

Post by Stephen Hart » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:17 pm

If the issue is hosting space, you can probably find a way to make it free. Dropbox is one example. Here's how.
Most ISPs have some limited server space included with a contract.

There's recently been a long discussion on Macintouch loosely centered around how to replace Adobe Dreamweaver. That's probably worth skimming, though there are a few old-school scolds declaring that the only way to build a good web site to type in all the html and CSS.

There are a couple of web site creation tools that are free*, but they're not going to be iWeb. You could probably do fine with any of the inexpensive** template-based web creation tools. Sandvox, Freeway Express, RapidWeaver, Quick 'n Easy Web Builder, etc.
One that's not quite out yet, but looked like it would be really fun to use is Macaw.

The only disadvantage of using iWeb now is that you might have to recreate the site in the future. If it's a small, simple site, that's not too much work. (That's going to be the same for any template-based web app if for any reason you switch.) And you already know how to use it. You don't have to use iWeb for uploading. You can tell it to save to a folder. Cyberduck is free and easy for uploading. There are web sites with tips on how to use iWeb nowadays. (Also, if your site isn't too big, it's reasonable to just upload the whole thing whenever you edit.)

* Kompozer is one example. Kompozer isn't template based, but you could probably get through that part. And it has FTP built in. I think Dreamweaver CS6, which I have, comes with a bunch of templates, which I'd be happy to pass on. Also, there are free templates on the web.

** Until you start buying extensions and add-ons. One poster on Macintosh mentioned using RapidWeaver, Flux and hundreds of dollars worth of add ons.

A slightly different tack is to use blogging software, such as WordPress. Lots of folks are doing web sites. My understanding is that there are many, many templates, some highly customizable. But there's a learning curve, and all the examples I've ever been pointed to look bloggy.

I'm not sure I want to take on more web stuff, but if you need help, ask.
Last edited by Stephen Hart on Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Richard Serkes
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Re: Google Sites -- Need Advice

Post by Richard Serkes » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:24 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions. Now I have to do my homework. I suppose another alternative would be to create a Facebook page. The problem with that is I don't have a Facebook account and I REFUSE TO CREATE A FACEBOOK ACCOUNT (shouting on purpose). My privacy means too much to me.
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Jay Cline
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Re: Google Sites -- Need Advice

Post by Jay Cline » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:44 pm

Privacy, ain't no such thing.

Consider the time invested in learning to use software, $9 a month might just save you money.
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Re: Google Sites -- Need Advice

Post by Stephen Hart » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:59 pm

Jay Cline wrote:Privacy, ain't no such thing.

Consider the time invested in learning to use software, $9 a month might just save you money.
After wading through days and days of suggestions on Macintouch, I thought I might end up saving money and time by signing up for Creative Cloud. So I decided to download the latest and greatest Dreamweaver CC as a trial. ALL THE SAME BUGS ARE STILL THERE. AND SOME OF THE CHANGES MAKE IT WORSE. (Wipes foam from mouth.)

Well, at least that helped me make a firm decision against ever buying into Creative Cloud.
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Re: Google Sites -- Need Advice

Post by Stephen Hart » Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:21 pm

FWIW, there's also an app called EverWeb...

And here's a link to a set of tutorials on how to cope with iWeb after the death of MobileMe:

http://www.oldtoadstutorials.net/iWeb.html
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Re: Google Sites -- Need Advice

Post by Stephen Hart » Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:20 pm

I mentioned Quick 'n Easy Web Builder above. Here's a description from today's Macintouch:
Quick 'n Easy Web Builder is a full-featured, visual website builder from Pablo van der Meer (Pablo Software Solutions) that lets you drag and drop web objects from a toolbox without needing to write HTML or JavaScript code. Features include one-click publishing (locally or to a web server); an FTP client; site management (restructure, clone, etc.); form creation and processing; reCAPTCHA to help reduce spamming via PHP forms; support for Flash/Flash Video, YouTube, Quicktime, Real Audio and HTML5 audio/video; a photo gallery; templates; extension support; rollover images, image maps, and animated slideshows; a banner maker; the ability to insert custom HTML or JavaScripts; a jQuery user interface; drawing tools and objects; eCommerce tools; RSS feeds; a Google sitemap generator; site search; menus and more. Quick 'n Easy Web Builder 2.0.1 is priced at $19.99 for OS X 10.7 and up.
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Re: Google Sites -- Need Advice

Post by Stephen Hart » Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:58 am

Stephen Hart wrote:
Jay Cline wrote:Privacy, ain't no such thing.

Consider the time invested in learning to use software, $9 a month might just save you money.
After wading through days and days of suggestions on Macintouch, I thought I might end up saving money and time by signing up for Creative Cloud. So I decided to download the latest and greatest Dreamweaver CC as a trial. ALL THE SAME BUGS ARE STILL THERE. AND SOME OF THE CHANGES MAKE IT WORSE. (Wipes foam from mouth.)

Well, at least that helped me make a firm decision against ever buying into Creative Cloud.

Kind of following Jay's advice, I signed up for CC using my wife's education discount.
As I expected, the same Dreamweaver problems were there. Adobe support forums mention this in three threads going back to 2013 at least.

SMUG Guru Rick Johnston came up with the solution, one I should have suggested to myself. He tested DW in a new user and saw no typing or scrolling delays.
I did the same and also saw no delays or CPU spiking using one of my own files that had been nearly unusable before.
While still in Test User, I copied the newly-created DW prefs to my Shared folder.
Back in my own user, I made sure Dreamweaver was off and replaced the prefs file with the newly created one. Problem Solved. (Even old timers sometimes forget the best basic advice.)

I'm pretty sure I've deleted DW prefs in trying to troubleshoot this in the past. And I completely uninstalled Dreamweaver CS 6 before installing CC. Maybe replacing the file with a new one did the trick.

At any rate, a public thanks to Rick.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

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