Review: Onepager Website Build and Host

Onepager launch pageRemember at the start of the dot-com boom, every telco, hosting company, two-bit email provider and ice-cream vendor was offering “simple, easy, out-of-the-box,” templated, idiot-proof web-sites? Web 2.0 went further, with drag-and-drop website design tools.

Well, another one popped up liveried in Easyjet orange: Onepager sets out to offer you a simple, easy, out-of-the-box, templated, idiot-proof web-site. Or more accurately, a one-page site. A One-pager.

If you walk through the try-before-you buy one page sampler, you can indeed create a customizable one-page site for free in less than ten minutes.

You need no technical skills. None. Except the ability to point a mouse and type your business details into the boxes. With maybe a Facebook address and a Twitter handle for the social network block. The site does have some pop-up tool tips that try to explain each element as you go through the process, although if you jump around, you lose the tips and I couldn’t see a way to re-open them or get a help file.

One Pager site builder main screenIn essence, you create fixed elements within a simple page template; Site Title, Logo graphic and text. You can then add or remove any other page element from the content tab;

  • Photos – an image gallery,
  • Services -a bullet-list of text,
  • Download – some files that you offer which you upload to Onepager, such as a brochure, Newsletter Signup – for emailing your visitors,
  • Hours – a list of your business opening hours powered by drop-lists,
  • Contact – your contact details,
  • Social – include your social media handles and tags for the commonest services – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.

The Onepager’s site editor has a stylizer at the bottom of the screen (below the preview) and has four tabs: Content, Theme, Style and Layout.

The Theme Tab presents various pre-defined themes that a user can select for the site. Each theme has a pre-defined background, foreground, font style, text colour etc. To switch a theme, simply click on a theme and all the content is automatically set to the new theme.

It is also extremely easy to switch the style, change the background colours, layouts etc with Onepager.

The Style Tab gives a user the option to pick and choose specific colours, font styles and sizes for different sections of the site. You can enter a Hex value of color for Page Background, Content Background and also upload an image for the Page Background. Once the image is uploaded, you have a choice to tile the image or center it, or auto adjust it to screen size. However, the finished site itself is not optimized for mobile devices.

Puttin’ on the Style
As far as this goes, I have to disagree with one reviewer last month:

  • “It’s almost impossible to create a boring site with Onepager.”
    Yes you can. This is so limited, and the layout so fixed, the dullness could kill.
  • “You just can’t go wrong with it.”
    Yes you can. The interface may be simple, but the results can look terrible.
  • “It does not require any design skills…”
    Yes it does. You can still crank out one page of trash. Google on “made in Onepager” and check the random sites that come up.

Naming
Free users do not have a choice of using a custom domain name for the site. Onepager does not even allow a vanity subdomain name for Free users. Free users are automatically assigned a cryptic site id like the one for our demo site http://onepagerapp.com/dt74 which may be short and sweet, but is also un-memmorable and not significant in any way.

The Rub
As in “aye, there’s the rub…” to quote Hamlet. It’s this: anyone in business today must surely realise that a professional website is essential to promote their company online. Most people lack the skill, the money and time to build a robust business website, which is why they get someone else to do it for them.

Onepager might appear to be a great solution for those looking for a simple business website that your customers can use to find opening hours, location, and contacts.

However, it’s more accurately been described as “DIY Landing Pages for Businesses” and “disposable landing pages”. Again, search Google on “made in Onepager” and check the random sites that come up. Honestly, would you go to any business or individual in the developed world whose websites look like those?!?! The guy who used to work for Gartner really should know better – and that’s all I’m saying.

So number one; consider very carefully the image this kind of website presents of you or your business. You could end up doing more hamr than good.

Number two; if your requirement needs any functionality more than what Onepager offers, or if you ever need more than one page, then Onepager is not for you. There is no provision to sell any product, insert any media or create a contact form.

Number three is price; with your site created you can ‘launch it’ after signing up for an account with Onepager that begins from $8 per month.

That’s $8 a month for a year in advance ($96) or $10 a month, that’s $120 a year. $120. A year?!?! For hosting one page! Re-arrange the following into a well know phrase. Rope. Old. Money. For.

The $10 paid service allows users to pick a name as a onepager extension, or purchase a custom domain at an additional $15/year, or redirect a domain bought else where. Paid users also get proper access to the Dashboard to view site trafic, see the Newsletter Signups and send Newsletters to their subscribers. Put another way, the free service gives you none of those. What exactly are you paying for?

Now consider the competition such as Weebly or Yola who at the last look, offered 10 or 25 sites for $60 a year. For $20 a month, SiteKreator offers a total small business package including email marketing, Facebook content syncing, propfessional themes and also live chat support.

Verdict
Smithie's example Onepager siteSeriously, as landing pages go, you couldn’t do any worse. As a working web presence? You might as well stick your head in the gas oven now.

This is so limited, you could do better using the 10Mb of free webspace and the drag and drop page designer in Flash or whatever that every single ISP has stashed away somewhere. You may as well use that under a web address you already own and have some control over. Alternatively, save your money for a book on web page creation. Or use Wordress. Or Blogger. Or pay your neighbour’s kid up the road to build one for you, if you really can’t stand to do it yourself. AJS

One Pager alternatives:
Weebly – http://www.weebly.com/
Yola – http://www.yola.com/
Homestead – http://www.homestead.com
Preation – http://www.preation.com
Spitfire – http://www.getspitfire.com

About Allan J. Smithie
Allan J. Smithie is a journalist and commentator based in Dubai.

5 Responses to Review: Onepager Website Build and Host

  1. Karlen says:

    Regards for all your efforts that you have put in this. very interesting information.

  2. Fleckra says:

    Hello, Allan yours is a nice post. I like this content a lot.

  3. Kpuo Selmkva says:

    Hello, Allan I like this article, I have shared it on Facebook. KS

  4. Ray says:

    Informative article, just what I needed. Ray

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