Over the last couple of years, Apple has been pulling back its efforts of making website creation easy. Namely, iWeb has not been updated in over a year, and new Macs don't even come with it, nor is it available on the Mac App Store. iWeb was a super simple tool that many consumers and businesses could use to create a simple website, fast. In fact, many businesses (including us!) would use iWeb to create their first site after incorporating, until they designed and published a more capable website. Unfortunately it's not so easy anymore.
The nail in the coffin for Apple's web creation efforts was the discontinuation of its MobileMe service, which allowed your iWeb-created website to be published to the web in one click. Many of our customers have not only had to jump through hoops to install iWeb on their new Macs, but are now having to publish their iWeb-created websites to a traditional hosting provider. Although this is a working solution, the writing on the wall indicates that if you want to continue updating and editing your website, it's time to find a new tool to design your website. Better yet, if you can find a total package that makes design and publishing a snap, like iWeb and MobileMe used to, then you'd be set.

There are a few options out there, but none that I've felt proud enough of to recommend to our friends and customers as a complete alternative to iWeb. The criteria I am looking for are as follows:

  1. Easy and quick to add content and publish to a host.
  2. Customizable to a point where you can still show your own brand and personality.
For example, Godaddy.com's Website Tonight doesn't make the cut. It's fast and simple, but the tools encourage in-the-box thinking, and the end result is often sterile. Bludomain.com is neat, but isn't too customizable, and is primarily geared toward creative professionals.

For those of you who are looking for a more advanced alternative to iWeb, and lets you have more customizable control with HTML and CSS, check out RapidWeaver. It's not quite as easy to use as iWeb, but I want to mention it if iWeb was beginning to hold you back from your website goals.

However, if you want to hit both of these goals above for simplicity and customizability, then I would highly recommend checking out SquareSpace. SquareSpace has been around since 2004, and they seem to be constantly updating their templates and capabilities with new services. Here are few things I like about them:

  • Drag and drop images to upload to your site.
  • Mobile versions for your website are created automatically.
  • The designs reflect the look and feel of today, and you can further customize them with your own layout and your brands colors.
There are two pricing options, $8/mo and $16/mo, and you can also start with a 14-day free trial.

Every business and website has different goals, so it's hard to make a recommendation for everyone. However if you're using iWeb now, and are looking for a newer alternative, SquareSpace will be the best replacement for overall simplicity in designing and publishing your website.

- Lucas