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Though am by no means a web designer or developer, I often wish I could build a website on my own. That’s why I was intrigued by the new website development tool IM Creator, which lets you quickly design a webpage without having to know any code.
The tool is free to use, though it requires registration once you start designing a site and want to save it. Upon launch, you have a choice of website templates based on categories, such as restaurant, photographer, hotel or bio. You can also skip the templates and start from scratch, which is what I did.
While I started testing IM Creator just for this article, I ended up designing and developing a website for an idea I’ve had for a while now — a place where you can complain about your ultimate pet peeve. The whole process took me about an hour and I was very impressed with the simplicity and flexibility of the experience. (The ads were my own addition.)
IM Creator is a WYSIWYG editor, meaning what you see is what you get. Designing with IM Creator feels a bit like using Photoshop. You start with a blank white canvas and have a myriad of elements such as widgets, text, video, slideshows, basic HTML boxes and more. Each element can be re-sized and positioned anywhere on the canvas. The big difference from Photoshop, besides that application’s more advanced editing tools, is that once you’re done designing in IM Creator, you just hit publish and then you have a live website. There are some nice extra touches as well, such as being able to easily add search engine optimization (SEO) tags and Google Analytics.
Before you fire your web designer or developer, IM Creator has some restrictions you should keep in mind. You are limited to the design elements provided, and while there is an HTML box, you have to know HTML to understand what goes in there. Also, any graphics still have to be created and uploaded, so a designer would be needed to make your site visually appealing. This tool may actually be most useful and desirable to designers who lack any front-end web development skills.
IM Creator is one of the easiest and more flexible website creators I’ve used to date. The only issue I see is with the company’s business model. To publish your site to a unique URL, you have to subscribe to a monthly hosting option provided by IM Creator. While comparable to other hosting options in price, not having a choice might be enough to make potential customers jump ship.
The Israel-based company, founded in 2011, claims to have 2,000 paying customers as well as just becoming profitable. IM Creator has raised $300k from friends and family.
VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools.
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