I use SiteKreator to run my two websites - Making A Mark and Pastels and Pencils. It's had a lot of recent updates which I knew nothing about because I'm not signed up their development blog - although I am now!
So for all of you out there who are also have websites with SiteKreator here's a summary of the recent updates. After the list come the headlines of what you need to know - and do read the bit about statistics. First there's the good news and then there's the bad news.........
This majored on editing and style improvements plus signalled the change re site statistics
- Preview styles in the Text and Image Editor! - a major improvement - a style preview has been added so you can see how changing a style will actually look on the site
- Easy integration with Google Analytics, Improved Site Loading - This contained a warning about changes to how the site statistics were going to work in future - including the option to incoporate Google Analytics into the site (and about time too!). It identified the process you needed to work through if you already had Google code on the site.
- Several improvements to the editing interface! - including a new preview icon to check how a page will look prior to publication; they've sorted the page image placeholder and the edit and add icons are now more accessible when in edit mode.
- Page Image Placeholder available for All Business Designs - now available in the Cocoa, Pasta, Futuretech and Charcoal designs
- Built-in Site Statistics are Now Optional - they don't actually mean optional. They mean they're now being disabled!!! See below for more notes on what comes next!
Built-in Site Statistics are Now Optional
Two weeks ago we announced that we were making some changes to the built-in "Site Statistics". Even though the majority of you do not use them, it was always turned on before. In order to improve the loading speed and performance of your website, we have disabled this feature unless you manually choose to use
- New feature — Optional Containers - this concerns the ability to toggle certain features on and off in some of the designs.
I switched to Google Analytics some time ago - but keep the inhouse to get the totals for the site since inception. It seems a pity to lose this but I guess speedier loading is better
Now the real 'oh no!' moment about all this is that in order to switch to Google Analytics
- you congratulate yourself for already having created an account in the days before SiteKreator thought it was a good idea to have them on the site (and gosh did that take a lot of sorting in terms of site maps etc!) and got the html on to the site
- then you realise you now have to go to every last bit of Google Analytics html and REMOVE IT
- only then you can switch over to Google Analytics (under site properties) without corrupting the Google Analytics stats.
What I'm doing is opting to keep the in-built stats (ie make them default) until I have time to get all the pages sorted as this isn't going to be a short job for me. I've got the Google Analytics code on the site anyway so I still get both - but I'm not going to be rushed into making the change.
Memo to SiteKreator - PLEASE give people proper notice if you are making a significant change to the site! Plus in my view it's not too much that you maintain a mailing list of all the emails people used to register their accounts and use these to provide critical technical updates. You can't expect everybody to subscribe to a blog which most won't know even exists! (This is a classic case of the internal perspective forgetting how the rest of the world works!)
- See the file upload progress and edit images with Picnik - this means you can now see the progress as image files upload. Plus making Picnik accessible is an improvement for those without editing software
I should add that despite occasional hiccups, I'm still very happy with SiteKreator. I ought to declare I've now got an official VIP account having been a very early adopter (back in 2005) who used to provide them with masses of feedback about how things worked (or not). I was always recommending them as website hosts and lots of artists seemed to sign up after I did. One of the effects of this was that it got a lot of artists on board at an early stage and some of the subsequent developments took account of that.
Being a VIP basically means I don't pay for the sites. It's always worth signing up early for sites at a beta stage as you sometimes get perks like this.
Memo to other would-be website design creators/hosts: giving perks to early adopters can mean you get a lot of benefits in terms of feedback and custom - so long as you respond to comments and address issues which are important to customers!
Maybe I ought to do a review of website options for artists?
Note: I've been very happy to recommend SiteKreator as a host for artists' websites since I first got my first account back in June 2005. A couple of years ago I finally got round to becoming an affiliate - which means if you sign up for their free trial now and then continue that I get another small perk!