In the last decade, we’ve seen dozens of internet portals, software companies, and startups develop solutions solving the same problem: Everyone wants a webpage, but few people know how to actually make one. In the early days sites like Angelfire offered templates, but users were guaranteed a generic design that was ugly even by 1999’s standards. Since then we’ve made progress – modern WYSIWYG editors can produce high quality webpages within minutes, and affordable web designers are easily found. Yet somehow given these powerful resources, many people still manage to craft eyesores.
The problem, according to SnapPages founder (and sole employee) Steve Testone, is that we’re giving these users too much choice. He says that oftentimes designers will create perfectly suitable webpages, only to have them ruined when their clients start adding clashing colors and irregularly spaced images. Clients inevitably start complaining that their site has somehow become “ugly”, but they can’t figure out where they’ve gone wrong.
SnapPages is a gorgeously designed service that looks to solve this problem by taking some of the choice away from the end user. The site offers a number of customizable templates, allowing users to specify colors and the placement of columns, text boxes, and widgets, but only to a limited degree. For example, users can only choose three colors to be repeated throughout the template, which helps maintain consistency (they’re still free to upload their own logos and choose from a smattering of patterns).
This isn’t to say that the editor isn’t capable of creating rich, multimedia webpages. On the contrary, users are free to drag and drop text boxes, widgets (including Google Maps), and photographs into their sites. SnapPages also includes a full-featured integrated calendar and photo album viewer. All pages are built with standards compliant CSS/HTML, and are SEO friendly.
SnapPages has a lot going for it. The interface is sleek and intuitive, easily passable as something Apple might have designed. It may not be quite as tweakable as other WYSIWYG editors, but it produces professional results quickly, which is all that matter for most people. The full-featured premium service costs $50 a year (there’s a 30-day free trial), and there’s a limited version available for free. Other startups in this crowded space include SynthaSite, Wix, and Weebly.