It was a new day yesterday,

Ian Anderson

but it’s an old day now …

2016 is finally over, and 2017 has crossed the threshold. While we lost many of my Rock and Roll idols during 2016, and we finally had to say goodbye to Tate, our seizure greyhound, it wasn’t all bad.

Dealing with some of my domains, making a transfer in December, I found that my prized possession, the .com for Tralfaz was lying fallow. So, instead of leaving it parked, or using it for some experimentation (the last use I had of it was as a playground for CakePHP, a pretty robust framework), I just spun up a simple WordPress site, picked a pretty clean theme (Hello World from Themehaus) and setting it up.

But, what will I post here?  I already have a site at with almost 800 posts. Many of those posts are trivial, or product reviews, or fun observations. I have thought about wading through and “cleaning” it up, reducing the noise. But that, in the words of Herr Drumpf, “Yuuuuuge.” Nope, apart from a complete restart, that is going to be a cesspool.

I do have a professional site The Product Bistro that I use for my product management, marketing, product marketing, and other serious topics. So that is covered.

Perhaps I should keep this serious, some posts on politics, on business, on technology or whatever.

Well, hang in there, and let’s see where this goes.

So you want a website – Weebly update

After my first “So you want a website” post, one of my faithful readers, David Kendall Grant mentioned that Weebly is an awesome, free, and very flexible website creation option.

Weebly-LogoI recall hearing about them in the past, but thought nothing about it, so I thought I would give it a try.

First, a basic setup is free. Like WordPress or Blogger, you can easily get a site up that is <your cool name>  I started setting up a website. It is pretty easy, and they have a huge variety of templates that you can use. You are sure to find something you like.

The creation of the site is done by dragging and dropping features. Pretty intuitive, and almost fun. You can create text/articles, picture galleries, insert advertisements, and have interactive items like Forums pretty easily. Really slick.

I didn’t see any way to really modify the template. For example, many of the templates have photos in the header area. No amount of hunting by me found a way to change those images. In a way this makes sense, that the templates have some rigor to them.

How can they do this and make money if they give you a pretty solid experience for free?

Well, say you want to have your own domain name (<your cool site>.com instead of <your cool site>, they will register and set it up for you for a fee.  A pretty pricey option at ~ $40 a year.  (For comparison, will do this for $18 per year, and if you host your own, it will be about $12 a year).  So that is some revenue.

There are also upgrades, two tiers of that you can graduate to. The starter tier ($3.29 a month) adds some support options, and the ability to remove the Weebly branding from the footers. The next tier is “Pro” that gives you a lot more flexibility, and adds things like site search, slideshows, Video and Audio players (boo, I hate web audio), and the ability to have other collaborators on your site.

My impressions:

I played with it for a couple of hours. I felt frustrated by the rigidity of the formats and the templates.  Of course I am the “free” user, and I am thus limited to what they give away.

I am not sure I would want to play with it enough to go pro.

I did see that you have the option of downloading your entire website. I didn’t play with that to see if it is in a format that can be moved to blogger or wordpress.

I am also not their target demographic.  I am much more likely to roll up my sleeves and dive in to tweak the stylesheets, or the templates of my own site. But for the creative, but not very technical user, I am sure that Weebly provides a great entry point.

I am not giving up on the experience, but I think the next step will be to cough up some green and get access to the premium features.

One thing that is a turn off is the constant “hints” to get my own domain, and to upgrade. Heck, yesterday I got three different emails to find out why I didn’t finish my site, or buy a domain.

I understand that as the free user, I am not really a customer, and they are incentivized to coerce me to pay more, but the hard sell is not very effective for me. As I said, I am not their target demographic.